Day 15

The Woman and the Scarlet Beast

from the Revelation reading plan

Revelation 17:1-18, Psalm 90:1-17, 1 Timothy 6:11-16

BY Erin Davis

John’s prophecy recorded in the book of Revelation is timeless. I am confident he wasn’t zeroed in on our current political climate when he described worldly leaders who were morally bankrupt and drunk on power. And yet, the shoe fits, doesn’t it? Sadly, since the fall of humanity in the garden of Eden, this shoe always seems to fit.

Here in Revelation 17, we see humankind’s perversion of power personified in the prostitute. She is dressed to impress and mired in scandal. She is greedy, flashy, and horrid. I find it hard to look away. This passage has plenty of mysteries, and I won’t claim to understand them all. But life on planet earth has trained me to recognize the distorting effects of power. She is every ruler who has ever reigned and every heart twisted and broken by sin.

She is presidents and prime ministers, congressmen and counselors. She embodies parents and principals, laws and limitations. But one thing she is not—she is not the Lamb of God. Neither is the beast who is with her. Their rule and reign is fleeting. With that in mind, look closely at how the beast is described:

“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and is to come” (Revelation 8, emphasis mine).

Stack those words up against these descriptions of Jesus (again, emphasis mine):

“Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who was, and who is to come” (Revelation 1:4).

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

“Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying,

Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God, the Almighty,
who was, who is, and who is to come” (Revelation 4:8).

The beast will reign until he doesn’t. The prostitute may have a moment in the limelight, but she cannot diminish the Light of the World by a single lumen. Every leader who has ever ruled, every king who has ever been crowned, every circumstance that has ever terrorized you—all will come to an end. But Christ will remain. Only His throne is established forever.

Political leaders aren’t the only ones with power over me. If I keep looking inward, at my own power-hungry heart, I see some of me in the prostitute as well. I keep clawing my way back onto the throne that sits in my heart. I keep trying to take control away from the only One who is worthy to rule. Yet, the reign of sin will not last forever inside of me because brokenness won’t always be king of this world.

Because of Jesus, sin’s power is not ultimate. Sin was, but will be no more. Only the spotless Lamb and His Bride will remain. Long live the King of kings!

Post Comments (20)

20 thoughts on "The Woman and the Scarlet Beast"

  1. Andrea Ingersoll says:

    So much to understand and I have to admit I will have to re-read all these verses again. I’m just thankful that God is by my side, that He knows me and all my sin and that his Mercy and Grace is new every morning.
    I’m grateful that He is in control of who seems to be in control and that he will use those who don’t want to serve him, anyway. His thoughts are bigger than my thoughts. I have so much peace because of Christ, no matter what is happening in the world and in my life.

  2. Ashton M says:

    Only 1 week left, I’m already sad about it.

  3. Brittany Brooks says:

    Wow this is amazing! My king will rule Forever. Thank you Jesus! How amazing and comforting is it, knowing that there will be pain but it won’t last. Knowing that it is already conquered through the blood of the lamb, our savior. I am so beyond thankful to God for his grace and mercy for us.

  4. Shameka Lane-Ruffin says:

    Amen! Either God or I can reign on the throne of my heart, but not both. I cannot serve two masters. Lord give me the strength and wisdom to always surrender my will for Your will daily.

  5. Mandy Ferrugia says:

    Such incredible imagery in this text. A true mirroring of good vs. evil: The Lamb and His Bride vs. the beast and his prostitute.

  6. Zoe Gonzales says:

    Sometimes I don’t want to fight and sometimes I don’t want to endure. Come Holy Spirit, help me to want what You want.

  7. Kristina J says:

    “…. the One who was and is and us to come…” yes, Lord Jesus, you are King over all kings and Lord over all lords. Be King over my heart today and everyday. Help me to love you first and most above all else.

  8. Angie says:

    Shawn Parks, it sounds like you have some wonderful memories in the making this week and on your cruise. May your final week of this difficult school year be blessed with examples of how God has used you in the lives of your students and co-workers. You will be/and are in my prayers for school, the retirement party, solo, and coming cruise (how fun).

    Churchmouse, I agree, pride and power are enemies that built almost without our realizing it over a lifetime. Praise God he doesn’t leave us bound to self but, draws us back to him.

    I remember being in the midst of a struggle as a young mom and saying to a godly mentor, “I’m not like that at all, I know my strengths and weaknesses.” She looked me dead in the eye, and in love said, “No, you do not. We deceive ourselves easily.” She didn’t go into more detail. She didn’t lay out my faults or misconceptions. She also didn’t leave me believing a lie. She planted a seed and allowed the Holy Spirit to do the work. Another thing she told me once was, “If you want to be a kind, gentle and gracious 60 year-old, you need to start now.” It reminds me of 1 Timothy 6:11 & 12 where it says to “PURSUE righteousness godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.” Pursue sounds to me like a journey, a work in process. Thankfully God loves me in the pursuit and his mercy covers me…because 60 is coming very fast. :)

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