Revelation of John 17* One of the angels who had the vials, explains the meaning ofthe former vision of the antichristian beast that was to reign1260 years, and then to be destroyed. (1-6) And interprets themystery of the woman, and the beast that had seven heads and tenhorns. (7-18)1-6 Rome clearly appears to be meant in this chapter. PaganRome subdued and ruled with military power, not by art andflatteries. She left the nations in general to their ancientusages and worship. But it is well known that by crafty andpolitic management, with all kinds of deceit of unrighteousness,papal Rome has obtained and kept her rule over kings andnations. Here were allurements of worldly honour and riches,pomp and pride, suited to sensual and worldly minds. Prosperity,pomp, and splendour, feed the pride and lusts of the humanheart, but are no security against the Divine vengeance. Thegolden cup represents the allurements, and delusions, by whichthis mystical Babylon has obtained and kept her influence, andseduced others to join her abominations. She is named, from herinfamous practices, a mother of harlots; training them up toidolatry and all sorts of wickedness. She filled herself withthe blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus. She intoxicatedherself with it; and it was so pleasant to her, that she neverwas satisfied. We cannot but wonder at the oceans of Christianblood shed by men called Christians; yet when we consider theseprophecies, these awful deeds testify to the truth of thegospel. And let all beware of a splendid, gainful, orfashionable religion. Let us avoid the mysteries of iniquity,and study diligently the great mystery of godliness, that we maylearn humility and gratitude from the example of Christ. Themore we seek to resemble him, the less we shall be liable to bedeceived by antichrist. 7-14 The beast on which the woman sat was, and is not, and yetis. It was a seat of idolatry and persecution, and is not; notin the ancient form, which was pagan: yet it is; it is truly theseat of idolatry and tyranny, though of another sort and form.It would deceive into stupid and blind submission all theinhabitants of the earth within its influence, except theremnant of the elect. This beast was seven heads, sevenmountains, the seven hills on which Rome stands; and sevenkings, seven sorts of government. Five were gone by when thisprophecy was written; one was then in being; the other was yetto come. This beast, directed by the papacy, makes an eighthgovernor, and sets up idolatry again. It had ten horns, whichare said to be ten kings who had as yet no kingdoms; they shouldnot rise up till the Roman empire was broken; but should for atime be very zealous in her interest. Christ must reign till allenemies be put under his feet. The reason of the victory is,that he is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. He has supremedominion and power over all things; all the powers of earth andhell are subject to his control. His followers are called tothis warfare, are fitted for it, and will be faithful in it. 15-18 God so ruled the hearts of these kings, by his power overthem, and by his providence, that they did those things, withoutintending it, which he purposed and foretold. They shall seetheir folly, and how they have been bewitched and enslaved bythe harlot, and be made instruments in her destruction. She wasthat great city which reigned over the kings of the earth, whenJohn had this vision; and every one knows Rome to be that city.Believers will be received to the glory of the Lord, when wickedmen will be destroyed in a most awful manner; their joiningtogether in sin, will be turned to hatred and rage, and theywill eagerly assist in tormenting each other. But the Lord'sportion is his people; his counsel shall stand, and he will doall his pleasure, to his glory, and the happiness of all hisservants.
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