Hell

The woman and the beast explained – Revelation 17:7-8

Previously: Judgment of the notorious prostitute – Revelation 17:1-6

The scripture

Rev. 17:7 – Then the angel said to me, “Why are you astonished? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast, with the seven heads and the 10 horns, that carries her. 8 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 will be present again. (HCSB)

The meaning of the woman and the beast

HellThe angel sees John’s bewilderment and remarks, “Why are you astonished? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and of the beast, with the seven heads and the 10 horns, that carries her” (v. 7). The term “secret meaning” is musterion in Greek and refers to what may be known only by divine revelation. John’s questions – and ours – are about to be answered.

The angel begins with the beast (v. 8): “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 will be present again.”

This description harks back to that of the beast from the sea in Rev. 13. He has 10 horns and seven heads upon which are written blasphemous names. These creatures from Revelation 13 and Revelation 17 are one in the same, and their description makes it clear they are affiliated with the dragon, who also is depicted with seven heads and 10 horns (Rev. 12:3).

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Scientology

What do Scientologists believe?

This is the last in a two-part series on Scientology.

 Read Part 1: What is Scientology?

ScientologySome of Hollywood’s brightest stars are dedicated followers of the religion L. Ron Hubbard founded more than 60 years ago: Scientology.

What do Tom Cruise, John Travolta and other Scientologists believe? Below is a brief comparison of key biblical teachings and the beliefs of the Church of Scientology.

Note: The Baptist Faith and Message features a fuller treatment of Christian doctrines and includes Scripture references.

What the Bible says about God:

There is one true and living God, who exists as three distinct, co-equal, co-eternal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

What Scientology says about God:

Hubbard rejected the Christian understanding of God, particularly the Trinity. Scientology expresses the concept of God in vague terms such as the Eighth Dynamic or Supreme Being. According to Scientology.org, “Unlike religions with Judeo-Christian origins, the Church of Scientology has no set dogma concerning God that it imposes on its members,” meaning they are free to interpret God in whatever way they wish.
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Judgment

Judgment of the notorious prostitute – Revelation 17:1-6

Previously: Every island fled – Revelation 16:20-21

The scripture

JudgmentRev. 17:1 –Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me: “Come, I will show you the judgment of the notorious prostitute who sits on many waters. 2 The kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and those who live on the earth became drunk on the wine of her sexual immorality.” 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit to a desert. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and 10 horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She had a gold cup in her hand filled with everything vile and with the impurities of her prostitution. 5 On her forehead a cryptic name was written: BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE VILE THINGS OF THE EARTH. 6 Then I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. (HCSB)

A tale of two cities

Revelation contrasts two women who also are depicted as cities. First, there is the faithful bride of Christ represented as the New Jerusalem. Second, there is the great prostitute, who is denoted as Babylon. John draws from the Old Testament to help us identify these women. In the Old Testament, Israel appears either as a pure bride (Isa. 54:5-6; 62:5; Hosea 2:19-10) or as a prostitute or adulteress (Jer. 3:6-10; Ezek. 16:15-22; 23:1-49; Hosea 4:12-13; 5:3), depending on her relationship with God at the time the prophets spoke.

This imagery is carried forward into the book of Revelation. It’s important to note that sometimes the harlot is not Israel but evil foreign lands such as Nineveh (Nahum 3:4) or Tyre (Isa. 23:17).

In addition to the prostitute imagery, John draws from the ancient city of Babylon, well-known for materialism and immorality. Revelation combines the images of the great city of Babylon with that of a prostitute to describe a center of pagan power. The image appears in Revelation as the “prostitute” (Rev. 17:1, 5, 15, 16; 19:2), the “great city” (Rev. 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21), and “Babylon” (Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21).

John’s focus in Revelation 17-18 is on God’s judgment of the prostitute. She has aligned herself with the beast from the sea and demonic spirits. Her own idolatry and immorality have corrupted the nations around her. Her wealth and power accelerate her corrupting influence.

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Scientology

What is Scientology?

This is the first in a two-part series on the Church of Scientology.

ScientologyA recent HBO documentary on the Church of Scientology has brought the religion L. Ron Hubbard founded 61 years ago back into the headlines. “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” profiles eight former Scientologists and is based on a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright.

The film highlights the church’s origins and traces its meteoric rise in popularity, largely through the embrace of A-list Hollywood celebrities. It also shines a light on how the church cultivates true believers, detailing their experiences and what they are willing to do in the name of religion.

But what, exactly, is Scientology? This column provides a brief overview of the Church of Scientology. The next column compares the beliefs of Scientology with the biblical doctrines of Christianity.

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Lightning over the Rincon Mountains

Revelation 16: Download the free study

Lightning over the Rincon MountainsWe are continuing to work through the Book of Revelation with a focus on four major views of the so-called Apocalypse of John. You may read the commentary to date by clicking here.

Whether you’re a preterist, who sees the events of Revelation as fulfilled in the first centuries of the Christian era, a historicist, who views the events of Revelation as unfolding throughout the course of history, a futurist, who sees most of Revelation as yet unfulfilled, or an idealist, who sees Revelation setting forth timeless truths concerning the battle between good and evil, there are important truths the Lord reveals to all of us in this book.

We would do well to approach Revelation with caution — and with great anticipation, knowing God will fulfill all His promises to us. We also should be comforted by the fact that Revelation is the only book in Scripture specifically promising a blessing to those who hear its prophecies and keep them.

With that in mind, and to make it easier to keep our notes together, we have captured the commentary into single Adobe files (pdfs) that you may download, print and share. Click on the links below to capture notes on chapter 15. If you missed the link to notes on any other chapters to date, links are provided as well.

Download the pdf: Revelation 16

Download the pdf: Revelation 15

Download the pdf: Revelation 14

Download the pdf: Revelation 13

Download the pdf: Revelation 12

Download the pdf: Revelation 11

Download the pdf: Revelation 10

Download the pdf: Revelation 8-9

Download the pdf: Revelation 6-7

Download the pdf: Revelation 4-5

Download Introduction to Revelation and chapters 1-3