- Read Revelation 17:12–15 along with Revelation 16:14–16. What do you learn from these texts about the “ten kings”?
- Different interpretations have been offered regarding the identities of the ten kings. However, Revelation does not tell us who they are. All we can derive from the text is that they are a short-lived political confederacy appearing right before the end and supporting the harlot. Their number signifies that the world powers will render total, unwavering allegiance to the beast.
- Revelation 17:13, 14 reiterates in a nutshell the battle of Armageddon—introduced in Revelation 16:12–16. Induced by miracleworking demonic powers in conjunction with the dragon, the sea beast, and the false prophet, the worldwide political confederacy will make war with the Lamb. In other words, the battle of Armageddon is not a military battle in the Middle East or elsewhere but the final conflict of the Second Coming in which Satan and his confederacy fight against Christ and His angelic host.
- Read Revelation 17:16–18. From what we saw in Revelation 16:2–12, what lies behind the ten kings’ change of attitude toward Babylon? Who is behind what happens to Babylon?
- Filled with hatred, the ten horns, which are the successor powers to the divided nations of Europe, suddenly turn against the harlot Babylon (the end-time manifestation of the papacy), making her desolate and naked; they symbolically will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. In writing about what will happen to the harlot Babylon, John employs language similar to what God said would happen to adulterous Jerusalem ( Jer. 4:30). Burning by fire was the punishment for a priest’s daughter who was involved in sexual immorality ( Lev. 21:9).
- The deceived political powers have become disillusioned because of the inability of Babylon to protect them from the plagues. They feel deceived and, in hostility, attack her. This end-time apostate religious system, together with all those who choose to identify themselves with it, experiences the fullness of divine judgment.
Source reference: SDA 1Q19 Quarterly