John has already started to describe Godís great battle against the evil forces that control the world. This is the last battle before Christís rule on earth begins. The nations have gathered their armies to fight at Armageddon (16:16). God has begun to fight against them. He has caused the earth to shake in a terrible manner (16:18). A fierce storm has made the armies weak (16:21).
Now we expect to read how Christ will appear to win the battle. John will write about that when he continues his account of the battle in Revelation 19:11. First, however, one of Godís servants, the angels, interrupts Johnís descriptions of the battle. John has not yet properly understood the evil powers that he is writing about. He needs to see who, or what, has caused these troubles across the world. The problem is not merely that rulers have led their people in an evil manner. Something has caused them to behave in that way. Godís judgement against that evil thing is essential before Christ begins to rule. Christís rule will never be right or perfect if he only rules over an evil world.
John already knows something about that evil power. He has mentioned it in Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 16:19. However, he does not yet understand the reality of it. When the angel shows him, it will astonish him completely (17:6). He hardly knew anything about it; but it will explain many of the things that are wrong in our world. It will explain why the nations gather to fight against God (Psalm 2:1-3). It will explain why Godís people suffer in this world (17:6). It will explain why evil things tempt people and nations so strongly.
All this will become clear when we understand the real meaning of the city called Babylon.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.