Bible Commentaries
Revelation 17

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole BibleMorgan's Exposition

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Verses 1-18

We now come to the true unfolding of the nature of Babylon and the detailed account of the judgment to fall on her. The name on the forehead of Babylon commences with the word "Mystery." Babylon stands for the whole system of organized godlessness in the history of the human race. In its course it has been surrounded by every kind of material splendor, "arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls." Through the ages, men turning from the vision of God have seen only the material glory of ail.

As the seer gazes on the fearful vision he wonders with a great wonder.

The angel then proceeds to explain the meaning of the vision. The beast represents the temporal authority which has been the strength of all spiritual harlotry. The heads refer to successive world powers which had risen and fallen. The powers having existed and passed at the time of John's writing were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece. The one then existing was Rome, and still there was one to come. Ten kings remained who would finally act with the beast, having one mind with him. These will act against Babylon, and also against the Lamb, but He will overcome them.

Very striking is the seer's declaration of the overruling of God in the words, "God did put it in their hearts to do His mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast." Thus the angel's explanation ends with a manifestation of the perpetual truth that all godlessness carries within itself the elements of its final defeat and overthrow.

Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Revelation 17". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.