A City Called Confusion

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(Revelation 17 & 18, Genesis 11, Jeremiah 50
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 9

A City Called Confusion

(Revelation 17 & 18, Genesis 11, Jeremiah 50)

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Most people prefer not to make hard choices. We like to drift along with our world as it is and hope for the best. Relying on inertia is a fatal decision. We will face the choice between forces that are against God and those who promote the worship of God. Our study of the Bible this week suggests that we should make this choice as soon as possible, because drifting into the anti-God camp means that our logical thinking is impaired. That makes the right choice even more difficult. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Two Women
    1. Read Revelation 17:1-2 and Revelation 14:8. The great prostitute symbolizes something that is obviously not good. What do you think she represents? (Comparing Revelation 14:8 makes her sound like Babylon the Great. Babylon is a power historically aligned against God’s people.)
    2. Read Revelation 12:1 and Revelation 12:5. What does this woman symbolize? Is she good or bad? (When we previously discussed the woman of Revelation 12:1 we decided that she represented those who follow Jesus because this woman “gave birth” to Jesus. Thus, this is a religious group that is aligned with the true God.)
      1. Since the woman of Revelation 12:1 represents those who follow Jesus, what does that say about the nature of the great prostitute of Revelation 17:1? (She also represents a religious group that is not a good one. It is not aligned with the true God.)
      2. We are told that political leaders have committed “sexual immorality” with the great prostitute and that ordinary people have become “drunk” with her view. What do you think that means? (It means that people in all walks of life share her world view.)
    3. Read Romans 1:21. What does this tell us about those who reject God? (Their thinking becomes “futile” and their hearts “darkened.” This sounds like someone who is drunk. This is further evidence that the great prostitute’s wine that individuals are drinking in Revelation 17:2 is a rejection of the true God.)
    4. Look again at Revelation 17:1. What does it mean that this prostitute is “seated on many waters?” (Read Revelation 17:15. This prostitute has a very broad influence over the world. This must be a world power that is the enemy of God.)
      1. How would you describe the overall theological view of the prostitute group? (Both the political leaders and the general population are in agreement with her anti-God point of view.)
    5. As you contemplate these two women, what does that suggest faces those who live on the earth? (These two women represent opposing powers. We must choose between them.)
  2. Babylon the Great
    1. Read Genesis 11:2-4 which describes the movement of people after the Flood. What is the goal of these people? (They want to become famous and they want to be flood-proof.)
    2. Read Genesis 9:11. God made this promise to humans after the flood. What does this promise tell us about the nature of the tower builders? (They did not believe God. They did not rely on God. Rather they relied on their own plans and ability.)
    3. Read Genesis 11:6. What does God think about this unity of evil purpose? (God says unity means nothing is impossible for them.)
    4. Read Genesis 11:7-9. What is the cure for the power of unity? (Diversity! God gives them different languages and they are dispersed over the earth.)
      1. What does God call this place of tower building? (Babel.)
    5. This is the first use of the word Babel in the Bible. As you consider this story, what does Babel represent? Is it a religious movement? (Babel represents a rejection of God and a substitution of human power. It is “religious” in the sense that it is specifically anti-God and in favor of displacing God in favor of humans. This is the foundational theory behind idol worship.)
    6. Read Jeremiah 50:33-34. What do we discover about Babylon here? (A conflict between God’s people and Babylon. Babylon has oppressed and taken captive God’s people.)
    7. In Jeremiah 50:35-38 God promises that He will use weapons and nature to defeat Babylon because it is a “land of images ... mad over idols.” Read Jeremiah 50:39-40. What is the future of Babylon? (It is overthrown and deserted.)
      1. If that is the case, why are we seeing Babylon the Great referred to in Revelation? Why is the message of the second of the three angels (Revelation 14:8)a comment about the defeat of Babylon? Is the second of the three angels giving us very old news? (Revelation is a book of symbols. The great prostitute who acts like Babylon is a symbol of a world view. A view that rejects reliance on God and worship of God, and replaces it with reliance on human thinking. A thinking that is muddled because of its comparison to wine.)
    8. Let’s get back to Revelation 17 and follow the path of the great prostitute. Read Revelation 17:5. What should we conclude about “Babylon the great” being written on the forehead of the great prostitute? (She fully embraces the anti-God, pro-human views that first emerged in the Tower of Babel.)
      1. Is there any relevance to her being called a “prostitute” who is the “mother of prostitutes?” (This is another reason why God’s people and the anti-God faction are described as women. Are they faithful to our father God or not? Those who are unfaithful are prostitutes.)
    9. Read Revelation 17:6. What is Babylon’s attitude towards God’s faithful followers? (It wants to kill them.)
    10. Read Revelation 17:7-9. What do you think it means that the great prostitute is “carried” by a seven headed beast that will “rise from the bottomless pit?” What is the bottomless pit? (Read Revelation 20:1-3. It is the place where Satan is bound. This means that the great prostitute is “carried” by Satan.)
      1. Notice that Revelation 17:9 says that the great prostitute is “seated” on “seven mountains.” What do you think that means? (In a number of places in the New Testament the Greek word translated “mountain” is used to describe “mount Sinai.” See, e.g., Acts 7:38. When I write these lessons I generally use older commentaries. Very old protestant commentaries state that these mountains should be viewed as hills, and that Rome famously sits on seven hills.)
      2. The concept of Babylon as an evil power begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. What broader historical view could be represented by these seven mountains? (Some believe that the “mountains” are areas of influence. Specifically, family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.)
        1. If Babylon is an anti-God, pro-human philosophy (and it is) do we see Babylon in these areas of influence?
  1. Victory
    1. Read Revelation 17:14 and Revelation 14:8. How does the battle between the two women end? (We are allied with Jesus, the Lamb. He defeats the beast.)
      1. How are the followers of Jesus described in Revelation 14:14? (“Called, chosen, and faithful.”)
    2. Friend, you are called to follow Jesus. He has chosen you. Will you choose Him? Will you be faithful to Jesus by rejecting reliance on human power and relying instead on the power of God? Why not make that choice right now?
  2. Next week: Satan’s Final Deception.