And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled.
One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians explains: “God is merely fixing, setting, establishing that which men and women have already chosen.” (SEA) Calvinist, Stephen Garrett, explains: “Those who say God causes things ‘passively’ still have God causing it. If I know that my inaction will cause a certain thing, is my inaction not a cause in the same way action is a cause?” (My Daily Bread, emphasis mine)
When God gives someone up, He also gives them over, but it’s with the intent of bringing something good out of if. Consider an example from the apostle Paul: “I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1st Corinthians 5:5) This was reluctant, in that this was not what Paul desired from the start, but in giving him over, it was for a righteous purpose.
Ben Henshaw comments: “...the passage does not say that God controlled their wills. It only says that He put it into their hearts (or minds) to share a common purpose. This common purpose was secured in the fact that they gave their kingdoms to the beast. ... Second, their wills and desires were already in line with those of the beast so God did not influence them to sin (since He did not give them those desires). They were already in allegiance with the beast in their hearts before God put it in their hearts to give their kingdoms to the beast. God only influenced them to make tangible the allegiance which was already in their hearts so that God could accomplish His purpose. ... Third, verse 13 tells us that these kings received their authority from the beast. So these kings are not even really yielding their kingdoms to the beast in a sense because the power and authority they have came from the beast in the first place. The emphasis, then, is on the fact that God put it in their hearts to exercise their power in line with the purpose of the beast (i.e., to cooperate with him to accomplish something). And what was that purpose? This is the key to understanding this passage. Verse 16 tells us what God was trying to accomplish: ‘And the ten horns [kings] which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.’ God put it into the hearts of the kings to be of one purpose with the beast to destroy the whore of Babylon. God was using the beast and the kings to exercise divine judgment on her (who probably represents the corrupt world system). So God put it in their hearts to do His will, which was to destroy Babylon (the great harlot). Was the destruction of Babylon a bad thing? No. It was a good thing for Babylon to be destroyed, an act of divine judgment, and it was that alone which God put into their hearts to accomplish. So God actually put it in their hearts to do a good thing, even if their intentions were not good! Fourth, even if God had irresistibly influenced them to be of one purpose it does not follow that this is always how God operates. In fact, the fact that the text specifically tells us that God put it into their hearts would seem to suggest that this is not how God usually operates. If God always controls man’s thoughts and will, then there would be no need to make a point of it here. The fact that the text makes a point of God’s involvement suggests that this is not always the case.” (Arminian Perspectives)
Calvinist, John MacArthur, comments: “Antichrist’s self-serving, satanically inspired actions are, however, precisely in the scope of God’s sovereign plan. In fact, it is God who will put it in the hearts of Antichrist’s followers to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast. God’s power is behind the destruction and consolidation of the evil empire; as always, Satan is the instrument of God’s purposes.” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11, p.172, emphasis mine)
John Calvin writes: “...Satan continually goes about roaring for his prey. Since he is driven by such furious madness to destroy us, nothing is more absurd than for us to lie drowsing. Before the need to fight appears we should already be preparing, because we know our destruction is sought after by Satan, and every means of injuring us is cleverly and carefully grasped in his hands. When it comes to the encounter, let us know that all temptations, wherever they come from, are fabricated in the workshops of that foe.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Matthew, Mark and Luke Vol. III, and James and Jude, p.141, emphasis mine)
Calvinist, Erwin Lutzer, writes: “In the Books of Daniel and Revelation, when the future actions of the Antichrist and his cohorts (who are controlled by Satan) are predicted, it always says, ‘It was given to him power.’ Obviously, Satan serves God’s purposes.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.220, emphasis mine)
Lutzer adds: “The devil is also a being filled with only hatred and deceit. He is a rebellious liar and malicious sadist. He desires to see humans suffer for suffering’s sake. Thus he always stands in opposition to God even when he does what God ordains.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.221, emphasis mine)
Lutzer writes: “Satan, regardless of how evil his actions, always serves the purposes of God. God frequently uses the devil to serve his higher ends. When Satan taunted God about Job, the Lord allowed Satan to inspire evil men to kill Job’s servants and steal his cattle; he gave Satan the power to use wind and lightning to kills Job’s children.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.220, emphasis mine)
Lutzer explains: “Nonetheless, his permission necessarily means that he bore ultimate responsibility for it. After all, he could have chosen ‘not to permit’ it.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.210, emphasis mine)
Lutzer adds: “In a word, what God permits, he ordains.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.210, emphasis mine)
Lutzer clarifies: “Calvinists pointedly admit that God ordains evil--this is consistent with both the Bible and logic. In ordinary discussions about human events, we can say that God permitted evil, as long as we understand that he thereby willed that the evil happen. Calvinists agree with the Westminster Confession of Faith that says God ordains all that ever comes to pass. In a word, what God permits, he ordains.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.210, emphasis mine)
Lutzer continues: “If God wills the damnation of the ungodly, he may use Satan in whatever capacity he chooses to fulfill his purposes. Even Arminians must admit that God allows the devil to have the satisfaction of working toward the damnation of many.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.221, emphasis mine)
Here is a link to a Blog discussion on this point.