I’ve really enjoyed the sermons by Voddie Baucham on Revelation, especially this three on Revelation 17. There we find the story of the beast and his counterfeit bride, the great prostitute known as Babylon.
In the beginning of chapter 17, the harlot is riding on top of the beast, at the end of 17, she is destroyed by the beast. It is almost shocking for anyone who reads such because they ask: “how is it that the beast that loved her, could destroy her?” The answer is found in the nature of the beast. The beast’s nature is to destroy and kill.
This should not surprise us since the beast, harlot and anti-Christ are all counterfeit in who they are. They are the un-holy trinity and stand in opposition to the real and living Triune God. Everything about this un-holy trinity is counterfeit. The happiness they offer the world, the peace the offer the world and the contentment they offer the world. But nothing theworld has to offer can satisfy. It wasn’t meant to.
Only Christ can satisfy. Not false religions, fallen works, failed riches, etc. And we see the evidence everywhere of this truth. Voddie points out the realities through several examples. First, he points out the athlete who works hard, trains hard and then finally makes it in the pros, making millions of dollars a year, only to throw it away for the fleeting joy found in illegal drugs.
We ask the question: “Could you not have put aside the drugs, just for a while?”
The answer is a resounding “no!” The money that he made does not satisfy. It is not meant to satisfy. Money is merely a tool God has given to us to use in this world. But it cannot satisfy the longins of the soul. This is why the rich athletes go after drugs, alcohol, harlots and such. He thinks, like we think, that those things will somehow satisfy us. If this is what we truly believe, then those things own us.
His second illustration was closer to home. He tells us all that we have heard of the man who was married to the most beautiful woman, perfect in form, pleasing to the eyes, attractive in every way, yet the man ends up cheating on her. The question he asks is so appropriate: “do we really believe that someone who is beautiful enough will actually satisfy us?”
Obviously, given the fallen nature around us, the answer is no. Beauty is not the gospel. Riches are not what we need. Joyful feelings produced by drugs do nothing to quench the thirst that resides in us. Marriage to an equally-yoked partner will not do it either. All because these things, while some of them are good and useful, are never meant to fulfill us. They are not meant to satisfy us.
We can be married to the person we thought was the perfect one for us, and still be unsatisfied. All because God never intended marriage to satisfy us. I know, this goes against popular thought. We hear preachers all the time tell us that if we find the perfect mate, or read the right book, we will have a marriage that satisfies. Usually, those preachers have something to sell us. Marriage wasn’t intended to satisfy, neither was the world.
This is why the harlot is the counterfeit bride. She is placed before us by the world and it’s system to try and deceive us into thinking we can find happiness in her. But she cannot bring this happiness, and this is the reason the beast ends up killing her.
Only those who are the bride of Christ will find true happiness in marriage. But not in our earthly marriages. We find contentment in the marriage we have in Christ to Christ. Everything else falls short, even in that marriage that is ordained by God, between one man and one woman. Do not be deceived by the world and it’s systems of hopes and promises. They will never satisfy.
(PS: I will need to edit this later, I’m in a hurry this morning).