NT Fire Starters – Day 357: Revelation 17:1-18
READ: Revelation 17:1-18
THINK: Many who reject Christianity believe that religion is among the most deceptive, destructive things on earth. In a sense they’re right. But what they miss is that following Jesus isn’t about “religion”–it’s about a relationship with the Creator–the author of life ( Acts 3:15). Trying to get to God by human effort–apart from the way He provided through His Son, Jesus–that’s religion. Since religion is based on human initiative, it’s highly susceptible to corruption and compromise. Throughout history, religion has adapted to every corrupt world system. In the end times, the union between humanistic religion and world government will be complete but short-lived, eventually destroying all who are part of it.
RESPOND: What does “Babylon the Great” symbolize (16:19; 17:5), and what does it imply about the wicked activities that will be prevalent in the end times? (See 17:1 first note and 17:5 second note.) Who or what is “the great prostitute, who sits on many waters” (v. 1), and how do the implications of prostitution and adultery relate to religion? (See 17:1 second note and 17:15 note.) How will religion in the end times be linked to the corrupt world system? (See 17:2 note.) How will many religious leaders in the end times treat true followers of Christ and why? (See 17:1 second note, sub point 3.) Why will people be eager to follow the corrupt religious system of the end times? (See 17:2 note.) Who or what is the “scarlet beast” in the desert? (See 17:3 note.) Why is the woman who is on the beast holding a golden cup and what does the cup hold? (See 17:4 note.) What is significant about the description on her forehead? (See 17:5 first note.) What does it mean that “the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints”? (See 17:6 note.) How do people’s choices in life determine how they will respond to deception in the end times? (See 17:8 first note.) What does it mean that the beast “once was, now is not, and yet will come”? (See 17:8 second note.) What do the beasts’ seven heads represent? (See 17:10 note.) Who is the eighth king yet to come, and how does he also belong to the first seven kingdoms? (See 17:11 note.) What or who are the ten horns, what will they do in relation to Christ, and what will happen to them as a result? (See 17:12 and 17:14 notes.) How will the antichrist and the end-time world government use world religion, and what will they eventually do with it? (See 17:1 notes and 17:16 note.) How will they serve God’s purposes by doing this (v. 17)?
PRAY: Pray against the spirit of false religion that pervades the world and compromises with its corrupt system. Pray that you’ll never compromise your relationship with Jesus to gain “relevance” with people that will eventually take you down or turn on you.
ACT: Make a deliberate effort–as always–to conduct yourself in a way that demonstrates authentic Christian character and commitment. While aiming to relate to people in a way that communicates God’s love and message, make sure you don’t give a weak and watered down impression of what it means to surrender to Christ. Refuse to compromise God’s principles for people who think they can follow Jesus yet disregard the standards of God’s Word or tolerate behaviors that don’t reflect His purity.