Satan is not senseless or unintelligent. He knows very well that if temptation was not tempting no-one would fall for it. Temptation is always inviting, alluring and appealing. We are always tempted by that which seems to be so good and promising. Or as Revelation 17 says, temptation is like a golden cup, which looks attractive, but is actually “full of abominations” and “impurities” (Revelation 17:4).
The Great Prostitute
In Revelation 17 we are confronted with another highly symbolic passage. The Great Prostitute is a picture of Babylon, the great ungodly city filled with evil (17:5, 18). Babylon the Great is the world with all its industry, glamour, commerce, human trafficking, art, culture, luxury, and vice (18:11-13). Babylon is everything in the world that is opposed to God. And Babylon is a prostitute. In other words, the things of this world that are opposed to God allure, tempt, and seduce people away from God.
The Great Prostitute is seated on the back of the Beast (17:3). We see that there is a close association and friendship between the beast (the powers, governments and empires of this world) and the prostitute (the seductive influences of the world opposed to Christ). This is seen every day when the world’s governments and powers buy into the world’s seductions, attitudes and behaviours.
Verse 4 is very revealing:
The woman ( the great prostitute) was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.
The Golden Cup
The prostitute looks so noble and attractive. She’s wearing fine clothes and expensive jewellery. She’s holding and extending a golden cup for others, even God’s people, to drink from. Golden cup seems so inviting and good from the outside. But from inside, the cup is filled with “abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality”.
Is this not the reality of the world today?
The things of the world opposed to Christ seem so attractive and the golden cups seem so appealing.
I’ll give you a few examples:
The abortion industry
In the United States it falls under the organisation “Planned Parenthood”. “Planned Peranthood” sounds very good, proper and logical. Of course you would want to plan. In South Africa, many clinics offer “womb termination” and even give a 50% student discount. Child slaughter is practised under the euphemisms of “women’s health” and “pro-choice”. The abortion industry is a golden cup filled with hurt, pain and child murder.
A Cosmo’s online article is entitled. “Doing it you way”. No considering other people as better that yourself, but rather how to get your own way in life. Not the best recipe to a successful marriage. Another article is entitled, “Seven ingredients for great sex”. I guarantee you that the ingredients do not include the stable and secure commitment of marriage.
Online articles include, “Make love like a lesbian” and “Whiskey, the most important meal of the day”. You can go to a link to send photos of your girlfriend and have others guys vote for her. FHM is another golden cup filled with unhappy marriages, sex addicts and guys that will never be marriage material. By the way, the porn-filter on my computer didn’t allow me to go to any of the articles of FHM or Cosmo. This tells me that my porn filter is really good and these articles are really bad.
The concept of co-habitation
It sounds so delightful to live with your girlfriend and all the movies make it look very cool and trendy. Yet what generally happens is that living together creates instability, unnecessary sexual pressure and a lack of marriage commitment from the guys. Why would a guy spend all the money and make all the extra commitment in getting married if he can have his cake and eat it without marriage? Ladies, if your boyfriend ever asks you to move in, the correct answer is, “Sure, right after the honeymoon!” Co-habitation is a golden cup.
Pornography looks so appealing, seductive and alluring. Yet in reality it’s a golden cup filled with addiction, tears, regrets and despondent wives.
The Afro-American dream
Last golden cup is perhaps the most seductive, it’s the Afro-American dream. According to this golden cup our highest goal in life is be one of the directors of our company where money is no object. We aim to live in a big house on a private estate and driving the latest SUV. We will do anything, hurt anyone and go anywhere to achieve this. Yet this dream will destroy your soul and your family.
Satan is not senseless, if temptation was not appealing, no-one would fall for it. The Great Prostitute’s cup is golden on the outside, but inside it is putrid and will end up destroying you.
If you are interested in studying the book of Revelation, I really recommend William Hendriksen’s commentary, More than Conquerors.