Power for an Hour (v12)
Our first point regarding these 10 kings is that they will get to have Power for an Hour. Notice verse 12, “….” I think we can pull together some details about their career.
First, they will possess their kingdoms briefly, “for one hour”. In chapter 18 the destruction of Babylon is described as taking place in “one hour” (18:10, 17, 19). This doesn’t mean 60 minutes, it means very short. The time it will take to destroy Babylon will be very brief, occurring at the end of the 7 year Tribulation, and, right before that the time these 10 kings possess a kingdom will be very brief. Their kingdoms will be over almost as soon as they begin. They will lose their kingdoms almost as soon as they get them.
These are 10 kings who will not have a kingdom of their own until the later stages of the Tribulation period. Now, how do we know its at the end of the Tribulation and not sooner? Because they will be destroyed by Jesus Christ when He comes to the earth, which will happen at the end of the Tribulation.
Second, these kings will be part of the broader superpower government of the Antichrist. They won’t be separate, independent kingdoms. We know that because they are described as the 10 horns on the beast, indicating their connection with and outgrowth from this greater super-government. Daniel 7:24 seems to say this too, “The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom.” They seem to be sub-kingdoms within the broader super-kingdom of Antichrist.
Third, their authority will come from Satan. At first I thought it said they will get it from Antichrist specifically, but, it doesn’t. It says they will get power “along with the beast”. This indicates that the same source granting Antichrist power will be the source granting power to these 10 kings.
Now, why at the end of the Tribulation do they receive brief kingdoms? Why when history is almost to the finish line are these guys raised up to power? This leads us to our next point
Given Power Only to Give Power (v13)
Next we see that they are Given Power to Give Power. Verse 13 says, “….”
They receive power, but, then they give it to Antichrist. Somehow, he convinces them to hand over their authority, or, to exercise their authority according to his wishes. He is a master politician, a forceful and persuasive personality. But, the bottom line is this: in Satan’s plans they are support kingdoms meant to bolster the power of Antichrist. They are not kingdoms in competition with Antichrist, but, in cooperation with him. They form an alliance, a confederation.
Now, here’s the question: Why would they join with the Antichrist? Why would they submit to him and hand their power over to him after they just got it themselves? Let’s look at four possible reasons.
First, because the Antichrist will be an irresistible politician and personality. These 10 kings will not be able to resist his persuasion and his intimidation. How can you resist someone you worship? Revelation 13:4 says about his political power, “and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can make war with him?’” Verse 8 says, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him…” How can you resist someone who holds a gun to your head: “He [false prophet] makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast [Antichrist]…and [he/ false prophet] cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Rev. 13:12). How can you resist someone who has demons going out to recruit for him? Remember the 6th bowl in chapter 16 told us 3 demon-frog spirits would go out and gather the kings from around the world for the battle of Armageddon (v13-16)?
Daniel 11:36-39 details the unstoppable force that Antichrist will be on earth, “…” Antichrist will be the master politician and the most seductive personality.
Second, because they will hate the Lamb (v14) Notice verse 14a, “They will wage war against the Lamb…” Psalm 2:1-3 describes this very same thing, this International Alliance Against the Anointed One of God, “Why do the nations conspire and the people’s plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and band together against the LORD and against His Anointed One, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” These 10 kings will hate the Lamb, Jesus Christ, just as much as Antichrist will. They will hate Him for the same reasons too: they hate His authority as God. And Antichrist will use that to manipulate them into an alliance making them think that with the power of Satan, Antichrist and the host of demons assembled on the earth they could win. Remember what they will say? “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against him? (13:4)
Third, because they will share Antichrist’s hatred of the woman (v16). Read verse 16. Hating the Lamb will be enough to gain their allegiance. But, they will be all the more willing to submit their power to the plans of Antichrist if those plans include destroying the woman.
Fourth, it’s God’s sovereign plan (v17). Jesus is not away on vacation until He’s tapped to return to the earth. This is all happening just as God plans it and makes it happen. His sleeves are rolled up. His hand is guiding the events on earth. He is directing the hearts of the rulers of the earth. And this includes this alliance: God is ultimately behind their willingness to join with Antichrist. “For God has put it in their hearts…” This involves the Great Lie He will send to the people of the earth. Second Thessalonians 2:9-12 [Turn there and read].
Wake up for this point: God will send the delusion. They hated the truth with every fiber of their being. So God will give them the deluding influence. I am tempted to believe that this specific delusion, this specific lie, this specific deception God will send to them will be the lie that their alliance with Antichrist will bring them victory in a final battle against the Lamb. That the lie is not over the doctrines of our faith per se, like Biblical inerrancy or the Hypostatic Union or the Trinity. Rather the lie is going to be specific to that moment in history: that together, the kings will conspire against the LORD and the Lamb because they really do think they can win. In this way God is going to gather them together to unleash His wrath on them. “For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose…”
God has been using nation against nation since nations have been in existence. Jeremiah 25:9-11 shows us that Babylon is used by God to punish Israel. In Isaiah 20:3-4 the prophet Isaiah is told by God to walk around nearly naked and barefoot for 3 years as a sign. Forced nudity was a typical treatment of prisoners, and Isaiah’s nudity was a declaration to that nations of Egypt and Cush that Assyiria was going to be used by God to carry them all away as prisoners. Listen “….” Again, listen to God speaking to the nation of Ammon in Ezekiel 25:1-4a, 6-7, “….”
So, using one evil nation to punish another evil nation is perfectly within God’s right, and He has done it throughout history. And He will do it again at the end of history when He uses the evil empire of Antichrist to utterly annihilate the false religious system, portrayed as the woman. These 10 kings will be given power for an hour, and, that power is not theirs to keep. They are to subordinate themselves to the Antichrist and join forces with Him against the woman, and, as we see here, against the Lamb.
Executing the Most Notorious Woman (v15-18)
We come full circle now in the chapter. Chapter 17 began with the invitation to see the woman’s destruction. Finally at the end we see it. Read verses 15-18.
It will be a devastating defeat. Jeremiah 51:6-9 The woman, symbolizing the false religious system of the last days will be “wrecked” beyond recognition. In devastating fashion she will suffer annihilation at the hands of her own partner in crime.
The beast’s partnership with the woman facilitated his political reign. The woman sits on the waters, which are symbolic of the nations and peoples from all over the globe. That the woman is sitting on them pictures her as commanding their allegiance and devotion. The woman is able to take her power over all the people and turn them to the beast and be loyal to him. The beast, thus, by the woman’s facilitation, is able to increase his political power in the world. But, power is what he wants, and while getting more of it from the woman’s assistance, he hates not controlling her. Eventually, she who helped launch him will be hated by him because he will eventually want power over her. He will want ultimate and final control of the waters – the nations, people’s etc. To get it, he will have to destroy her, strike fear and awe into the people who followed her, so that they will say, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against him?”