March 8, 2020
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Beauty and the Beast.
In the classic story of Beauty and the Beast, “Beauty” was genuinely beautiful both inside and out, while the Beast looked like a monster on the outside but was beautiful within. Revelation 17 describes two mysterious creatures who rise to world power, and both are monsters. At first glance, most people looking at Revelation with all its beasts and creatures will back away, saying, “This looks like science fiction.” But these two important creatures aren’t all that mysterious when we understand who they are: a Babylonian mother and a Babylonian monster. I call them “Beauty and the Beast.”
As we get closer to the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the age, no Christian can afford to be ignorant of prophecy. I believe the shadows are lengthening, the sands of time are running low, and we stand on the threshold of the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming. I believe what’s prophesied in Revelation is imminent, and a beast—the Antichrist—is lurking in the shadows, ready to take over.
In Revelation 17, the Rapture of the blood-bought church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Bride of Christ, has already happened, and we’ve joined our Savior in Heaven for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. But on Earth, it’s the time known as the “Tribulation.”
The woman represents an apostate, false, worldwide religion. John describes her in Revelation 17:1-5.
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
She is the false church. In Bible prophecy, a woman, not a man, is the symbol of religion, whether it be good or bad. The true church is called “The Bride of Christ.” The harlot of Revelation 17 is the opposite, the “antichurch,” because the Antichrist is going to have an antichurch.
You see, Satan is not against religion—not at all. As a matter of fact, Satan is working for worldwide religion. His first temptation in the Garden of Eden was not against religion, it was a temptation to “be as God,” but the devil’s way.
During the Tribulation, the entire world will be unified under the Antichrist (the Beast), and one of his partners to achieve that unity will be “Beauty”—false religion. She will have all the money she’ll ever need (v. 4), decked out in rich clothing, fine jewelry, and gold. Together, with Babylon, they’ll achieve worldwide domination.
Babylon, like the Beauty, also stands for false religion.
“Babylon” is both a real city and also a term the Bible uses, like our term “Wall Street” or “Madison Avenue.” When we say “Wall Street,” we don’t mean the literal street but an economic system. When we say “Madison Avenue,” we mean the merchandising system. When the Bible says “Babylon,” in Revelation it means more than the ancient city—it means all false religion.
Like a couple wearing matching shirts, Beauty and Babylon both represent false religion, and the Beast will use both of them.
As far back as Genesis 10, Babylon has been the cradle and the grave of false religions. Nimrod (a prototype of the Antichrist) founded the city and began constructing the Tower of Babel, the top of which would be a place for pagan worship. All false religion roots back to Babylon—a den of demons. Our world is haunted by the ghosts of Babylon.
Remember when Babylon’s king, Nebuchadnezzar, threw three young men into a fiery furnace because they refused to worship his golden idol? The prophet Isaiah looked ahead through the corridors of time and saw a future Babylon as a merciless woman. Now, 700 years later, the Holy Spirit through John mentions Babylon nine times in Revelation 14-19, as a powerful city ruling the earth, oppressing any believers in Christ. Babylon reflects a ruling power that’s rejected God and literally gone to war with His eternal plan for the earth He created.
When the Bible links the woman (false religion) with Babylon, the mystery about her is unlocked. Verse 5 calls her “the mother of harlots.” Her daughters are false religions like Satan worship, Mother Earth worship, pantheism, globalism, Hinduism, Islam, apostate Christianity, and “New Age” religions including humanism, goddess worshipers, advocates for “human potential,” reincarnation, and astrology. It’s a syncretism of all of the world’s religions. New Agers believe that God revealed Himself in Jesus, but also in Buddha, Krishna, and a host of others.
Just as there is coming a one-world government, there is also coming a one-world religion whose origins began at the Tower of Babel.
You ask, “Will anybody buy into that?” Religious unity has been endorsed by Pope Paul II, the Dalai Lama, and the leaders of the World Council of Churches. Friend, a worldwide religion, intolerant of Christianity, is coming.
Christianity is not truly a “religion;” it’s a vital relationship with Jesus Christ. Verse 6 says “Beauty” is “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” During the Tribulation, the Antichrist will force “conversions.” You will bow the knee to the Beast, or you will die if you are alive in this time. False religion has always been bloody.
“Beauty” has a consort, a “special friend.” Revelation 17:3 says, “And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”
This is the Antichrist and his kingdom.
He does sound beastly with seven heads and ten horns (vv. 7-13). With the Beast as the Antichrist, the Woman and Babylon representing false religion, you have the ultimate alliance of church and state. Antichrist’s purpose will be to deceive the earth’s population into total submission to him (v. 8).
You say, “Well, if I go into the Great Tribulation, I’ll not be deceived.” Oh yes, you will. The Bible says this Antichrist is coming:
…with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, [If you hear the truth and don’t receive it, here’s what will happen to you] because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
When you hate the truth, you will embrace a lie.
The Beast, the Antichrist, will concentrate his power and his consorting with religion in Rome, the city built on seven hills or mountains (v. 9). He will rule over a united one-world government. The world will have one mind: to yield to the Beast and to acknowledge his lordship.
Since the Antichrist is on a collision course with God, demanding that he, not God, be worshipped, war with the Lamb is inevitable (v. 14). At the Battle of Armageddon, the nations of the world come against Israel, but primarily against the King of kings and Lord of lords. The devil in his insanity will still think he can overthrow the Lamb of God. But it will be “The Triumph of the Lamb.”
The Beast and all under his command will meet their demise at Armageddon.
What happens to the woman, to apostate religion, this beauty who is ugly? The Babylonian monster, the beast she rode upon to power, will turn around and destroy the Babylonian mother (v. 16). Antichrist wants to be the world’s ruler world; he doesn’t want any competition, not even religion.
That’s the story of Beauty and the Beast.
There is coming like gangbusters a world religion and a one-world government.
So we can pray as we’ve never prayed before. So we can win souls. We need to get our loved ones saved. So we can prepare our loved ones for what’s coming. So we can comfort one another as events occur because we see them fitting into their prophesied places in history.
We cannot afford to be ignorant in these days. Though we’re not yet in the Tribulation, coming events cast their shadows ahead and current events are confirming Bible prophecy. Get a bulldog grip on the truth. If you’re not saved, my best advice to you is to give your heart to Jesus Christ. Not later today, but right now.
You belong to Jesus Christ. He’s King of kings and Lord of lords. You don’t belong to the one-world government or the harlot church. You are the bride of Christ.
You may think things are coming apart, but I want to assure you, everything is falling into place.