Chapter 17, tells about a Babylonian woman who has a double identity: she is a woman and a city. This is one of the keys to understanding Chapters 17 and 18 – recognizing that Babylon the Great is both a woman and a city at the same time.
As a mother, Babylon the Great is a failure. She is a prostitute and a mother of prostitutes. The Bible tells us that a prostitute is more than just a woman who physically commits sexual sins. A prostitute is also a person who spiritually has stopped following the true God and has turned to idol worship.
Babylon the Great abandoned the true God and has raised her daughters (false religions) to do the same. She is the mother of false religions who wants all her daughters to grow up in her one-world prostitute religion.
The names of some of her daughters are “New Age”, “Satan Worship,” “Mother Earth Worship,” “Globalism,” “Hinduism,” and “Islamism.” They talk about love and peace, but none of these love Jesus, and none of them talk about peace with God through Jesus.
Babylon, the city, will open her doors to one-world government, one-world religion, and global trade.
Babylon will be filled with adulterous kings or heads of nations. Obviously kings cannot marry a religion, so think spiritually. Just as we, the Church, is the “Bride of Christ,” adulterous kings will marry false religions in the sense that they accept these false doctrines of the false religions.
The Great Harlot is Described
Verse 1 – Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,
Verse 2 – with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with wine of her fornication.”
In the Bible, seas and waters represent great masses of people. They represent people, nations, and tongues. The fact is that she is supported by these masses and she controls them during the Tribulation Period.
There will come a time when there is no more separation of “Church” and “State.” This harlot religious system will conspire with world leaders to produce a merger of religion and government. A religious system united with a political system to manipulate the people of the earth into a false government – approved religion.
The wine of her adulteries is a reference to demonic possession. The people will be lead away by deceiving spirits.
A false prophet of international fame will suddenly emerge to gain control of the world religious system and use it to reinforce the worship of the Antichrist.
Verse 3 – So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
We already know that the beast with seven heads and ten horns is the Antichrist. Since the woman is sitting on the beast, we must assume that her prostitute religion and the Antichrist will exist on earth at the same time.
At first the Antichrist will support her one-world religion and support her authority, but things will eventually turn sour between the two.
Verse 4 – The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.
She will be clothed in purple, signifying a royal stature. She will appear enticing and appealing to the world. This golden cup will be full of all things vile. The more false a religion is, usually the more wealth it has. And the more sure religion is, usually the less material things it has. A church can become wealthy by becoming spiritually bankrupt.
Verse 5 – And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOT’S AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
A false religious system was born on the plains of Shinar in ancient Babylon, where the first dictator, Nimrod, defying God, built a tower that would reach heaven. The tower was used for studying the stars and establishing the basis for astrology. From the very beginning Babylon was associated with sorcery and astrology.
The prostitute, which is the one-world religious system, originated at the Tower of Babel.
Verse 6 – And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. and when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
This system will be overflowing with the blood of the Tribulation Saints. She will be active in putting to death those who give their lives to Christ.
Obviously, Mystery Babylon, the apostate pagan church of the last days, will not develop overnight. This will take place over a period of years with conferences leading up to the seven-year Tribulation Period.
I see this taking place now in church organizations today, where there is no call for repentance and any life-style is welcome. Everything is all “nicy-nice” and all about loving everybody and everything. The true gospel of Jesus Christ is so watered down you might as well go to a football game were shouting and praising a team is more exciting. I don’t think the church has far to go before it becomes an abomination of God in heaven!
The Great Harlot is Destroyed
Verse 7 – But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you a mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has seven heads and the ten horns.
Verse 8 – “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
The beast “was,” existed before John’s lifetime. The beast is “not,” died with a mortal wound. The best “yet is,” came back to life by satanic power.
Verse 9 – “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.
Verse 10 – There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.
Interpreting these two verse requires the spiritual understanding of Scripture, not of world geography.
The woman, according to verse 10, sits on not seven hills, but seven kings, kingdoms of the world governments. The seven mountains or hills is a symbol of kingdoms. The seven heads are attached to the beast, not the woman. The woman sits on the whole beast, not just the seven heads. Therefore she has control over the seven mountains instead of pointing to her physical location.
“Five have fallen” are the five Gentile world kingdoms, Assyrian, Medo-Persian, existed before John’s lifetime. “One is”, refers to the sixth kingdom, Roman, that existed during John’s lifetime, and “The other has not yet come,” refers to a seventh future kingdom, the Revived Roman Empire, which will exist after John’s lifetime. This kingdom will remain during the seven-year Tribulation Period.
Verse 11 – “And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
The beast who once was, and now is not, is the Antichrist. “He is of the seven” means he will be one of the seven already mentioned. Since he is yet to come, he must come out of the seventh Gentile world kingdom which will be the Revived Roman Empire.
As an eighth king he will take over the seventh Gentile world kingdom and establish his own brand of world government – a New World Order. The Antichrist will rise to power in the government, a Satanic State. Such a government would operate through a world headquarters, a world court, and even a world military.
Verse 12 – “And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.
The Antichrist will rule the world which will be divided into ten divisions. In charge of these divisions will be a separate leader who will answer to the Antichrist. One hour is a Bible term that means a short time.
Verse 13 – “These are of one mind and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
Dictators usually come into power by using violence, force, or political trickery. The Antichrist will be much worse that anything the world has ever seen. He will outlaw basic freedoms such as; freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of worship.
Verse 14 – “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are called chosen, and faithful.”
Verse 15 – And he said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.
This false religion, the harlot, will deceive multitudes of people and it will be worldwide.
As we read this, we Christians wonder how can people ever be so deceived? But aren’t multitudes deceived now in today’s world? The lust of the flesh and the pleasures of this world are powerful and binding. If people can’t resist today’s temptations, what makes them think they will survive this Tribulation Period for seven years? Christ will be and always has been our only hope!
Verse 16 – “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
At the half way point in the Tribulation Period, three and one-half years, the Antichrist and his allies will destroy the prostitutes religious system. Obviously there is no more room for Babylon and her one-world religion and one-world government.
The Antichrist cannot be God and subject to those who worship God at the same time. Someone has to go. They will confiscate all her wealth and kill the deceived people. The Antichrist will enter the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and declare himself to be God.
Verse 17 – “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
Isn’t it funny, not “ha ha” funny, that evil people can be used by God to accomplish His purpose, don’t know it?
Verse 18 – “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
Some like to speculate or spiritualize everything in the Book of Revelation. However, I believe this woman is the actual ancient city of Babylon and that her reconstruction will be complete in the “End Times.” The Bible prophecies will be fulfilled when someone announces that Babylon will become their capital. Babylon will once again become the capital of an empire in the Middle East.
There already exists an establishment to bring all religions together. One is called Parliament of World Religion. The first was in 1893, which was an attempt to create a global dialog of faiths.
In 1993 a convening of the Parliament of World Religions was held and 150 religions from Buddhism to Catholicism were represented in this meeting. The outcome of this meeting was “The Declaration of a Global Ethic” which sought to outline the core values and beliefs common to all faiths.
This organizations vision is; to live in harmony and contribute to a better world; cultures and fears and hatred are replaced with understanding and respect. The world’s most powerful institutions move beyond self-interest to the common good; all people commit to living out their values and aspirations to the common good.
In other words, their goal is not unity, but to bring inter-religion harmony. I say, it all sounds good, but where is Jesus? Hidden in their agenda is, to remove that there is only one way to the true God of heaven, which is through Jesus Christ!