1 And [kai] there came [erchomai] one [heis] of [ek] the seven [hepta] angels [aggelos] which [ho] had [echo] the seven [hepta] vials, [phiale] and [kai] talked [laleo] with [meta] me, [emou] saying [lego] unto me, [moi] Come hither; [deuro] I will
shew [deiknuo] unto thee [soi] the judgment [krima] of the
great [megas] whore [porne] that sitteth [kathemai]
upon [epi] many [polus] waters: [hudor] KJV-Interlinear
17 And one
of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying,
"Come here, I shall show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on
many waters, NASB
In the last chapter we have seen that the world will come to its end in near total destruction. Chapter 17 will reveal the spiritual side, the false spiritual side of Satan's religious cosmos, and then chapter 18 will show the material side.
Both together reflect that which humanity pursues, however unfortunate error those pursuits are.
Since the fall of Adam, each person has been born into this world as an incomplete person. Having human life, then in order to complete ones self, each person needs the spiritual side of their life.
Even then, both of these sides (physical and spiritual) require development and growth in order for the individual to grow, to mature and to be all that God intends. Most folks pursue the physical or carnal side and instead of pursuing truth for the spiritual side, they tend to invent sin related religions, and pursue those as the fulfillment of their spiritual half. This only leads to disaster.
No one seeks God, from the strength of their own will, Rom. 3:11. Mans need for God is corrupted by sin, and therefore they invent their own gods or philosophies or cults or beliefs whatever they might be, Rom. 1:21.
Therefore, into that spiritual vacuum, steps Satan and his policies of evil. Then to insure that people do not find God, and that people have some form of adequate substitute, Satan promotes sin and religion through that sin. Satan promotes lies, Jn. 8:44, and he promotes false truths through his demon followers, 2 Cor. 11:14-15.
So, onto the scene comes religion and many forms of philosophy, even agnosticism or atheism or secularism. Anything that will satisfy people or dissuade them from pursuing truth, and substitute lies in the form of other spiritual beliefs.
During the Tribulation, both fear and desperation will drive people to the anti-christ and the mother of all religions, which he will lead. And this religion or false philosophy is described as Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots. That is coming up in verse 5.
Therefore, Satan has had a policy and plan for leading humanity astray by means of the use of religion, and here in chapter 17, that policy is revealed and explained.
Remember that religion is not just a church or a theological belief, but an all inclusive system of beliefs or non-beliefs, or indifferences, designed to keep people from pursuing or even inquiring about truth.
But as people grow further and further away from truth, then the spiritual vacuum inside of them crying out, so to speak, for the completion of their lives, will turn them to the empty miracles of the false prophet, who is the anti-christ's sidekick.
But since the fall of Adam, Satan has tried to infiltrate humanity and history will all sorts of religious or irreligious views, and that in turn is the principle target of the final judgments of the Tribulation.
One of the seven angels who had been active in the issuance of the seven bowl judgments, makes this link between false religion and judgment.
Note one quick thought. With Satan locked up during the Millennium, then his influence will be absent and therefore religion will not be present during the Millennium, at least not until Satan is released at its end.
The phrase, 'whore that sits on many waters,' is a reference not to a single individual, but to the entire system of false religions and philosophies and so forth from throughout history, and especially in the Tribulation where they will all come together to form one coherent yet evil religion sponsored by the anti-christ.
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