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Illustration: Bad knock-offs - counterfeit
Imagine for a moment: its time for a new car.
You have a look around at what’s out there, at what manufacturers are offering ...and then you spot it!
You fall in love.
You can’t stop thinking about it.
It’s exactly want you want: It’s a new Land Rover Ranger Rover Evoque.
It’s got style, and class.
Its the right size and colour and everything.
Now that your heart is set on this new car, you set about getting one.
It’s going to be expensive.
You start saving, you scratch around to pull as much funds together as you can.
Its a hard task, lots of sacrifices to make, but you think it will be worth it in the end.
Now, while you’re slogging away working for your goal, your friend comes along and says, “oh, you want a Landrover hey? That’s a lot of work, its too much!
Why work so hard for that when you can have this?”
The Land Wind x7.
It’s a Chinese knock-off of the Evoque.
It looks almost the same, even side by side.
You can even get it in the same colour!
“Why bother waiting and working so hard for the Land Rover when you can have the Land Wind for one third the price?”
“You can have your dream now, all you have to do is give up on engine power, gearbox size, paint quality, and authenticity.”
It’s easier, you can get it quicker.
You can experience it now rather than wait.
Who cares that it’s not authentic, its all the same in the end right?
I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.
One is the real deal, but the other is alluring, because it’s so much more accessable and immediate.
In the end through while these may look similar in some ways, they’re fundamentally different.
Different origin, different mechanicals, different development process, different quality levels.
One is the real deal, and the other is a counterfeit.
A Knock-off.
An imitation.
A fake.
A fraud.
In our Bible passage today we see a counterfeit too.
It’s a counterfeit Bride.
A Knock-off.
An imitation.
A fake.
A fraud.
This part of Revelation, ch 17-19 exposes the Anti-bride for who she really is.
Her beautiful exterior is torn away to reveal the ugliness beneath.
Her failures are named.
Her true character is revealed to the world and she is undone.
God gets rid of the fake, and her allies that have sponsored her.
Jesus will marry the True Bride, who is pure within and without.
Jesus will defeat all the counterfeit authorities that have sold their souls to the Devil and stand against Him.
Quick Recap
All that to come.
But before we get there, let’s remind ourselves where we’re up to in Revelation with a quick recap.
As we’ve stepped our way through the book in broad brushes we’ve been getting a big picture view of how God operates in history, how he deals with his enemies and what he has planned for the future.
It’s an encouragement to believers.
But, because this is a genre of literature called “apocalyptic” we can’t expect that we can sit down with a history encyclopedia and match up obscure events in world history with specific events that happen in Revelation.
Voddie Baucham has a helpful saying about Revelation: “It’s a Picture book, not a Code book.”
It shows us imagery; varied, vivid, overlapping and multilayered.
We get to see often the same event from different angles, like instant replays on State of Origin we get the overhead, then we see from the sidelines, then a slow-mo close up (Was it really a try?).
All from the same game just different perspectives.
In Revelation John swings back around for another pass, new angle, which often picks up themes from all over the bible and intertwines them to tell the story.
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Because it is so rich and multilayered we can’t touch on every aspect of the visions at hand, so you can feel free to text me and I’ll respond during the week to any queries you have.
One of the images that has been used in Revelation is that of an “unholy trinity”.
The Dragon Serpent, the chaos Beast and the False Prophet who are opposed to God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
They do stuff that kinda looks like God because it’s miraculous.
They have some authority that they exercise, but they are directly opposed to God.
Let’s remind ourselves of these characters from Rev 13:
And another snippet from Rev 16
So we have this unholy trinity operating in the world, oppressing God’s people, deceiving the rulers and authorities of the world to side with them.
They are God’s enemies.
And God brings his wrath on them.
And last time we were in Revelation Steve took us through 7 Bowls of God’s Judgment on the world, and on those who refused to turn away from their defiance of God, even in the face of his wrath.
Now today we’re coming back in for another look at an aspect of that Judgment, once again from a different angle, and we’re circling around to focus in some stuff that was mentioned in that last chapter.
SO lets dive in and look at 5 elements of God’s judgment!
The Anti-bride
Our story picks up with a familiar character: The Beast, the false messiah.
So the Beast turns up in John’s vision, in Chapter 17, but this time he has a rider, someone mounted on the beast.
It is the Anti-bride!
The Counterfeit.
Let’s see how she is described:
SO we have a picture of a great prostitute.
She is the anti-bride.
This woman is someone who is alluring: she’s well dressed, wealthy, prosperous, but she’s not the kind of woman you want anything to do with because she is unfaithful, whoring herself out to anyone and everyone.
She’s promiscuous, and brandishes her sinful rebellion by holding a cup of abominations.
But who is she?
What is she a picture of?
Who does she represent?
The next verse tells us:
And we get a bit more in v 18
So, there we have it, the Anti-bride is an image of Babylon.
This woman is representative of the city state that oppresses righteousness and God’s people.
That deceives the nations.
She is alluring because of her power and wealth and beauty.
But she’s corrupt.
From the inside out.
Throughout the bible different countries and cities are described as women.
Some are beautiful pure brides, some are defiling prostitutes.
Babylon is the embodiment of the Prostitute, the unfaithful one who will give up anything to prosper and get ahead.
Babylon is the city and kingdom who gains wealth and power by any means necessary while shaking its fist at God saying “I’ll do it my way!”
Babylon is like Babel where the insolent men decided to build their monument to assault heaven.
Babylon is like Sodom & Gomorrah whose lawlessness and sexual immorality is infamous.
Babylon is like Tyre, the Old Testament city which profited from sea trade becoming a wealthy and luxurious.
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