The armies of the nations will gather at Armageddon under the command of Christ’s great enemy, antichrist (16:16). Their purpose will be to fight against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2) and against God. However, immediately before that happens, antichrist will carry out a terrible attack against another city. He, and the kings with him, will completely destroy the city that Revelation chapters 17 and 18 call Babylon. The woman in chapter 17 is a word-picture for that city. The real meaning is a great city that rules over the world’s rulers (17:18).
The news about what antichrist does to that city will be a terrible shock for people across the world (Revelation chapter 18). Its power over the world’s people and the world’s financial and trading systems was immense. It even tried to use that power to control antichrist for its own benefit (17:3). That was why antichrist hated that city so much.
The word-picture in Revelation 17:16 is of a woman who tempts a powerful man to be her lover. Then, she uses sex to control him - but she cannot control his secret feelings. His attitude towards her changes from desire to hate. Suddenly, he shows complete anger towards her. He murders her in the most terrible manner that he can imagine. That is how antichrist will act towards that city; the kings or rulers with him will join him in the attack for the same reason.
That great city showed what human power could achieve. It used its power for evil purposes (17:4-6), but still antichrist hated it. Antichrist wants no power to remain in this world except his own power, which is really the devil’s power. Therefore, in the end, antichrist will hate even that power that people achieve by their own efforts. He will even destroy the power of the world’s financial and trading systems (18:11-18). He will destroy its greatest city.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.