The cycles of judgement have ended! One of the angels comes to John to show him how Babylon, the beast and the prostitute come to a sticky end.
In chapter 17 we see how Babylon is the counterfeit church, just as Satan, the beast and the prostitute are a counterfeit trinity. Babylon is corrupt; the church is pure. Again we see the number seven in action – there are seven angelic messages of doom in chapter 17 and 18, three laments by those committed to Babylon and a command from heaven to rejoice!
Satan attacks saints in two main ways: The beast attacks with power and persecution, trying to stop our witness; the prostitute/Babylon attacks with seduction, aiming to destroy the purity of the saints.
Babylon stands for the city of Rome and its huge immorality – Rome is set around seven hills, so it’s a pretty unsubtle indication for the original readers (v.9). To get on in Roman society, you had to participate in idolatry and immorality. Every earthly kingdom becomes like Babylon. Babylon, then and now, promises riches, luxury, sensuality and prosperity. Today, Christmas Day, we see how Babylon has corrupted the celebration of the incarnation of Christ in a feast of gluttony, commercialism and consumerism!
Notice, in v.8, that believers’ names have been written in the book of the life “from the foundation of the world” – this is an example of the doctrine of election that is such a comfort for believers, that He in fact chose us and will not let us go.
God will fulfil his purpose for the whole earth (v.17) and in you. Celebrate Jesus’ coming in the flesh to rescue us from sin and His choice to make you a child of God too.