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 (17)

17 thoughts on "The Woman and the Scarlet Beast"

  1. Carla Brooks says:

    Amen!

  2. Amy Hill says:

    The study was awesome

  3. NanaK says:

    As I (attempt to) still my mind and open my heart before the Lord to receive His wisdom for me from these passages and our devotion, my heart is saying to me, “Yes, and amen.”
    Thank you Erin for this devotion, and thank you dear Sisters for sharing your hearts.
    Shawn: praying for peace and calmness for you this week and the greatest comfort in all circumstances throughout the hectic times, that you are chosen and loved.

  4. Sue says:

    How often “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.”

    May I instead be intentional at keeping Christ on the throne of my life.

  5. Shawn Parks says:

    Against the backdrop of all the evil, my heart whispered a sigh of relief at the words “names written in the book of life since before the foundation of the world.” I realize that it was actually talking about those whose names were not written. They would be astonished at the beast’ return. But even as my eyes passed over the words “written in the book of life since before the foundation of the world” my heart settled in the Truth. Not only is there a page in that book with my name on it, but It was written before I was. How great is my God! My human mind cannot even fathom the completeness of His plan that He chose me, and created me, and sought me, and redeemed me, and guides me, and delights in me, and has prepared a place for me, and loves me. He will free me from the snares of the evil on this earth when the Lamb ends the reign of the beast. Every intricacy of my being is known by God. Every intricacy of my life’s past, present, and future is known by God. He knew when I would give my life to Him at age 6. He knew the struggles that I would have and the tragedies I would face. He knew the times I would seek him out and the times I would try to go it alone. He knew when He would touch my spirit in miraculous outpouring of His boundless glory, and He knows when I am desperate to see His face. He knew the nights that I would cry out to him. And, he knew when I would sing before him in full-voiced praise. He knows already when I will stumble next. He knows already when He will call me home. And before I was, He loved me. Today, in this moment as I get ready for my last full week of school jam-packed with projects, discipline issues, grading, testing, announcement of a new principal; at the same time planning a surprise retirement party for my husband that is Saturday; balancing a checking account before our extended family’s Alaskan cruise; waiting for our last renewed passports to arrive; and preparing my solos for my in-laws church for Sunday; He loves me. In His timeline of forever, He loves me. I know because the Bible and His book of life tell me so. .

    1. Janet C says:

      ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    2. Jennifer Martin says:

      ♥️♥️♥️

    3. Caitlin C says:

      Amen! What a beautiful reminder of God’s power in our lives. ❤️❤️

  6. Churchmouse says:

    Pride and power are a deadly combination. They are also often subtly exhibited throughout one’s lifetime, not just at the pinnacle of one’s success. Do not be deceived. We can all fall prey to these, Satan’s temptations. Each of us needs to be on the alert, examining our own hearts and not just wagging our fingers at others.

    Lord, reveal evidence of pride in me. Expose my flirtation with power. Let me repent of both. Help me to submit to Your authority for You alone are worthy to sit on the throne. I humble myself before You. I bow down. Demolish any thrones I’ve set up for myself. Let pride and power be as a stench from a garbage heap. Amen.

    1. Catrice Hayes says:

      Beautiful thank you

  7. Kristen says:

    Amen! My pastor just preached a message about putting Jesus in first place. Early in Revelation, He was telling the one church the good they were doing, but rebuked them for not having Him as their first Love. He needs to be on the throne of our lives and not us as Erin was saying. I’m seeing/hearing that twice in less than 24 hours. I need God’s help to do that for sure. He has the best plan, and I certainly do not.

  8. Amber says:

    wow! very well written

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