Are you astonished?
As we approach the final revelation of John we are introduced to two cities personified as a woman, Babylon, Rome, the great prostitute and Jerusalem, the Virgin. It is the world and the Church.
John is taken into a desert and is shown the truth of the woman. She is blasphemous. She is the epitome of selfish wealth and extravagance, of hedonism. She turns people from God. The ones she cannot turn, she kills, v6, their blood runs from her mouth. It is this violence that is the major focus that the angel wants John to see and one other thing … Her deception, v2.
Then something astonishing happens!
v6 John is astonished.
He is tempted to worship the woman! That’s the meaning of the word astonished!
He is on the verge of being deceived by the power, the riches and the lavishness of the world he lived in.
The angel quickly spots this and pulls him together questioning him “Why John?” “John, don’t be enamoured,” is basically what is going on here, v 6-7.
Don’t be astonished because:
This beast she rides ONCE WAS.
Your God WAS
This beast NOW IS NOT
Your God IS
This beast WILL COME
Your God IS TO COME
See the difference. If you haven’t:
This beast she rides will go to his DEATH
But your God WILL NOT!
John, you need wisdom in this world, v9. We all do.
The rest of the chapter of 7 heads, 7 hills, 7 kings, the 8th king, the 10 horns, 10 kings are all about this:
God is using the world, the governments of the world, the ideologies of the word, they are all part of His-story, He is behind it all.
Today, pray for wisdom to know your God, to be able to resist the Oulu of the deceptive world which says you want/need more.
Be careful what astonishes you! Let it be God only.