SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- In this chapter John sees a vision of a woman riding a beast. The symbolism of this vision is then interpreted to him by an angel. Here’s a little bit about the interpretation to help clarify what we’re seeing:
- The great prostitute represents a great city that rules over the kings of the earth.
- The waters represent peoples, multitudes, nations and languages... or, more simply, everybody on earth.
- The ten horns represent the kings of the earth who exist for the sole reason of giving authority to the final king, the beast.
- The beast represents the final king of verse 11, who “is going to his destruction.”
- The seven heads of the beast represent two things: seven hills on which the great city is located and seven kings that came before the beast.
- The beast and the ten kings make war against God but they cannot defeat him. So they turn on the great city and burn it to the ground. These tumultuous events are condensed into one vision, which doesn’t have an effect on the outcome: God wins. It seems that all the human fuss of kings, cities, wars and authority doesn’t matter in the end.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- No matter what happens in our lives or in the world, no matter how bad things get or how much evil seems to be ruling the day, the truth is that God is always winning (and will have) the ultimate victory.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Have you ever experienced something that seemed momentous at the time, but looking back years later didn't seem so important? Well, it's not that the things that happen in our lives have no significance, but when we look back from the vantage point of heaven, they will lose their importance. We'll realize that what truly had value is that which lasts forever. And we'll understand that no matter what happened, God was always in control and the final outcome was never in doubt. So, how could you start living your life with more of an eternal perspective now? And if you did, how might it change the way you live?