November 17, 2020

Horror Movie with a Happy Ending

Revelation 17

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The Great Prostitute and the Beast

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.1

When I saw her, I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit2 and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

15 And the angel3 said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, 17 for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”

Footnotes

[1] 17:6 Greek the witnesses to Jesus
[2] 17:8 Greek the abyss
[3] 17:15 Greek he

Horror Movie with a Happy Ending



Key Verse | Revelation 17:14

"They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is the Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful."

Bio | Cameron Cushman

Howdy from Funkytown, aka (Fort Worth)! I love helping entrepreneurs start new businesses. I love serving at Summit (Watermark men's Bible study) and telling the Bible story to the 3-5 year olds in Starting Blocks (Watermark's ministry for pre-K children). God has blessed me with three awesome sons: Duke (11), James (9), and Pierce (6), who never stop moving (except when they are sleeping). My bride Meghan and I have been married for 14 incredible years. With our powers combined, we are Team Cushman!

Central Truth

The outcome of the war has already been decided. SPOILER ALERT: Jesus wins!

Devotional | Revelation 17

This passage is filled with very descriptive and downright creepy images of beasts with horns and a woman with a face tattoo drinking blood from a golden cup. It reads like a freak show or a horror movie. These are...

This passage is filled with very descriptive and downright creepy images of beasts with horns and a woman with a face tattoo drinking blood from a golden cup. It reads like a freak show or a horror movie. These are the kinds of images that would give me nightmares as a kid. But, thankfully, this movie has a happy, triumphant ending.

Like with much of the rest of Revelation, there are broad interpretations about what each of these images represents. But, to simplify John's visions, the descriptions of the images represent temptations and desires that many of us still struggle with today:

  • Purple = royalty, power, influence
  • Scarlet = luxury, excess
  • Gold, precious stones, pearls = wealth, money
  • Abominable things and filth = pornography, perversion
  • Waters = all humankind, sinners

This world has many enticing things to offer, and some or all of these are going to trip us up at some point. In fact, the evil one wants it this way. He wants to trap us with shiny, attractive things that will take our eyes off of our Creator. Satan will win some of these battles, but we know who saves the day in the end (Mark 8:36). We know who will set us free (John 8:23; 8:36). We know who wins the war.

Verse 14 has all the information we need to know. "They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is the Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful." This is our happy ending. Our triumphant king comes to save His people. Our victorious field general wins the war for all creation.

If you choose to follow Jesus and are part of "his called, chosen and faithful followers," then you know how this movie ends. If you don't, then prepare to be scared and tormented by nightmares and sleepless nights. It's a simple choice—put your faith and trust in the One whom we know will win or in the one who deceives and will ultimately lose (Romans 8:1-2).

But this is not a movie. This is real life. It's my life. It's your life. Whom are you going to choose to follow?

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Discussion Questions

1. Which temptations of this world are the most attractive to you? Have you shared these temptations with others? How are they helping you keep the temptations in check?

2. What makes a "faithful follower" of Jesus? How does your life reflect that?

3. Do you believe that Jesus will win the war?

4. Whom do you choose to follow?

6 Comments available

Michael Scaman 18 days ago

Good summary.

It’s interesting these world rulers hand over their power to one person to war against the Lamb and it all lasts only an hour.

Jesus will win the war and I often see as a reminder that Psalm 44 is perhaps the darkest Psalm on persecution but it is followed by Psalm 45, a love song, a wedding song, reminding us the troubles of this world are followed by the Marriage supper of the lamb.

We might also see that we cannot sing ‘by the Rivers of Babylon’ because of grief in Psalm 137 but God is not constrained and God will make 'all kings sing" in Psalm 138.

Mary Buri 18 days ago

This chapter kept making me think of a certain country which fulfills a whole lot of the descriptions of Babylon… Which country comes to mind as exceptionally great? Exceptionally wealthy and powerful? Exceptionally influential over many other nations- you could almost say she sits on them? Which country is known for its sexual immorality and even spreads that immorality to other countries? Which country is most like a prostitute to God in that she once knew God and claimed to be His and experienced His goodness but has since turned her back on Him and brought shame to His name? The only thing that isn’t true - yet - is drinking the blood of His martyrs…

Linda Green 18 days ago

Thanks, Cameron, for personalizing the temptations for us today.

Am struck by the angel’s personal question to John, “Why do you marvel?” (Revelation 17:7) It will all be destroyed. Praying I’ll spend my time marveling at God and His glory instead of the world.

Greg Jones 18 days ago

Scholars ask, what is the roll of a prophet? Is it to warn? Is it to inspire repentance? Is it to tell the future? John’s Revelation has served two of three mentioned purposes. We are still waiting on the Lord’s return.

From inside the fish Jonah wanted to preach “salvation comes from the Lord”, because he knew that’s what would happen. Jonah3:9 and Jonah4:1-3 If Jonah preaches salvation comes from the Lord he’s validated as God’s prophet because that’s exactly what happens. The message God gave him could have gone either way.

In the end God’s message to prophets seems to be, what do you think your roll is?

Sue Bohlin 18 days ago

Cameron–OUTSTANDING devo!

How blessed are we to be able to read how the horrific story ends? Verse 14’s promise—the Lamb wins—is a beacon of hope-filled light in a dark and terrifying scenario.

The chapter is filled with symbolism, but it’s real people who will live it out. Real people are going to declare war on Jesus. Real people who will have access to the Bible and the script for the war—probably on their smartphones!—and yet will either ignore it or won’t believe it out of their arrogance and hubris.

Satan thought he defeated Jesus at the cross and BOY was he surprised at the “deeper magic from before the dawn of time” (the Narnia Chronicles) in operation. The evil characters we read here have access to God’s script but they won’t care.

I mean really, how dumb is it to wage war on God Himself?

Hugh Stephenson 19 days ago

GM Cameron. Magnificent job.

I do love verse 14. I have a close friend who is really good at praying, especially for a group. I love his prayers. He always starts with a praise to the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. I have heard this title for most of my life, but my friend has helped me more fully grasp the truth of the title only one person has.

I also like the temptations represented as images. Even though God has granted me many victories there are still real temptations for me, and this list is a good summary.

I love the title of “Jesus Follower”. I like the idea of distinguishing between a “fan” and a “follower”.

I like to listen to sermons & worship music and read books. But is my heart really following Him?

Are purple, scarlet and gold still pulling me away?

Matthew 4:19

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