Matthew Henry Complete

Commentary on The Revelation

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Chapter 17

This chapter contains another representation of those things that had been revealed before concerning the wickedness and ruin of antichrist. This antichrist had been before represented as a beast, and is now described as a great whore. And here,

  1. The apostle is invited to see this vile woman (v. 1, 2).
  2. He tells us what an appearance she made (v. 3-6).
  3. The mystery of it is explained to him (v. 7–12). And,
  4. Her ruin foretold (v. 13, etc.).

Verses 1-6 Here we have a new vision, not as to the matter of it, for that is contemporary with what came under the three last vials; but as to the manner of description, etc. Observe,

Verses 7-13 Here we have the mystery of this vision explained. The apostle wonders at the sight of this woman: the angel undertakes to open this vision to him, it being the key of the former visions; and he tells the apostle what was meant by the beast on which the woman sat; but it is so explained as still to need further explanation.

Verses 14-18 Here we have some account of the downfall of Babylon, to be more fully described in the following chapter.

I. Here is a war begun between the beast and his followers, and the Lamb and his followers. The beast and his army, to an eye of sense, appear much stronger than the Lamb and his army: one would think an army with a lamb at the head of them could not stand before the great red dragon. But,

II. Here is a victory gained by the Lamb: The Lamb shall overcome. Christ must reign till all enemies be put under his feet; he will be sure to meet with many enemies, and much opposition, but he will also be sure to gain the victory.

III. Here is the ground or reason of the victory assigned; and this is taken,

IV. The victory is justly aggrandized.

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