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The Verdict Please!

Revelation 17-19

John L. Kachelman, Jr.


I. Imagine a courtroom with a trial in progress. On trial are 5 defendants accused of oppression, persecution, and ill-will toward Jehovah God. The trial is conducted so that all evidence is openly displayed and then the jury is sent to deliberate the verdict. The jury returns and the verdict is read aloud for the justice to be given.

1. Such an event transpires in our present section. God is sitting as Judge to carry out the verdict.

2. The defendants are:

a. Those who wear the mark of the beast. (These have already met their fate in Rv 15-16).

b. Three others will receive their sentence in this section - Babylon the great harlot; the beast from the sea; and, the beast from the land (the false prophet).

c. In the next section we see the final verdict on the dragon (Satan) pronounced.

II. John's readers were awaiting the news of these verdicts. Look now as these verdicts are read. In this section we note a stress on the Judgement of God (cf. 17:1; 18:5-8, 20; 19:2, 15). "Now John fixes his eyes firmly on the end-time. He concerns himself not with the apparent triumph of the evil, but with their final and complete overthrow. He sees God as casting down every stronghold and hurling His judgements against the wicked. No might of theirs avails. God is completely triumphant."


I. The verdict regarding Babylon the great harlot (18:1-24). 

A. We are introduced to this woman (17:3).

1. There have been many theories as to what Babylon means - a literal city, apostate church, the city of Rome, the Roman Catholic Church, etc.

2. In order to understand this symbol consider the following points.

a. It is called a "great harlot" which indicates something that allures, seduces, or draws one from God.

b. It is worldly - ancient Babylon was a pleasure mad city (Isaiah 13:1, 11).

c. Babylon in Revelation stands as a symbol of worldly allurements which seeks to seduce humans and draw them from God. It symbolizes the luxury, vice, and glamour of this world (1 John 2:16).

3. This great harlot is an enemy of God's people. Being persecuted and deprived they must have been tempted to compromise. Babylon could have made persecution cease, and make their lives rich and comfortable (cf. Luke 12:15-21).

B. John's readers were informed about the true verdict on the world's allurements.

1. The world looks good and promises great things but the look is deceptive and the promise false (17:4).

2. The world will fall and will be subject to the wrath of God (18:1-24). Because of her persuasive allurements many will have their hearts set on the things of the world and in the end all who have followed her will see their hopes and dreams collapse! (18:9,11,17).

3. In the end the great harlot proves to be a disappointment - total ruin and collapse await all who pin their desire to the world (18:21).

C. The message for today - beware of the temptation and allurement which the world offers (1 Timothy 6:6-10). Satan uses the world's allurements to cause many to fall (18:4-5; 2 Cointhians 6:14-17; 1 Timothy 5:22b).

II. The verdict regarding the beast from the sea (17:8-14).

A. This scarlet beast is the same as in 13:1ff and symbolizes the worldly governments opposed to Jesus. 17:9 identifies to John's readers which government is referred to - Rome. We apply the principle.

B. The angel tells John the following facts about the wicked governments:

1. They will remain just for a little time (v. 10).

2. They will ultimately go to destruction (v. 11).

3. They are the servants of Satan (v. 13).

4. They will be used by God to achieve His end (v. 17).

5. They will become disappointed with the pleasures of this world but it will be too late because their hearts are too hard to repent (v. 16; 9:6).

C. The message for today - Evil and wicked governments exist and persecute believers. Their action against God results because they are infatuated with the world. They will be punished (19:20).

III. The verdict regarding the beast from the land (19:20).

A. This beast is the false prophet, the great deceiver (Rv. 13:11-14). It symbolized false religions which were used by Satan to trap believers.

B. Brief attention is paid to this beast for his fate is tied to that of the first beast.

IV. The verdict regarding all who oppose God (19:11-21).

A. Satan's allies have gathered many together in opposition. Once again we see battle lines being drawn for final combat. 

B. But before the battle the result is announced (v. 17). All who oppose God are destroyed! Being cast into the lake of fire signifies utter destruction. Those in opposition are fighting a hopeless battle!


I. Once again John presented a picture urging his readers to persevere. There are only 2 groups in the world and only one is safe.

1. Some believers failed to see the urgency of the situation - they were ready to compromise with Babylon and follow the beast's directions.

2. From the standpoint of the persecuted church it might seem that evil men were getting away with sin. But from heaven's standpoint it is plain that God is not mocked - He remembers (18:5)!

II. As the final verdict is rendered we see these 2 groups clearly described --

1. Those who are the called, chosen, and faithful sing the "Hallelujah Chorus" in heaven's eternity (19:1-9).

2. Those who have yielded to the world, succumbed to evil pressures of the world, and have been deceived by error will taste the wrath of God as the wine press is trod (19:11-21; Isa 63:1-6). The smoke of their destruction will rise forever (19:3).

III. We have thus seen 4 enemies of Christ's destroyed. All have gone to defeat. One foe, the leader of them all, remains. It is the dragon, Satan. His ruin is described in the next section. 

Copyright 1998 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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