Revelation Study Chapter 17


1.      We now begin a look into Babylon. Babylon is both a spiritual entity and religious system, as well as a physical place. Babylon is described as a woman, much in the same manner that Israel was back in Chapter 12 of our study. We are about to see its fall at the hands of the Anti-Christ and his 10 kings at a point just after the Tribulation mid-point. In contrast, Chapter 18 will show its fall at the hands of God.

2.      We start out as John is told by one of the seven bowl angels to come and see the judgment on the great harlot. Now this is not just any harlot, but rather, the great harlot. A harlot is more than just a woman committing sexual sin, in the Bible, it is one who commits spiritual fornication. Just as the saved are the Bride of Christ, Babylon is the “bride” of Satan in that it is where the one world religion spawns, but has though history as well. From the beginning in Babylon through a world of false religions that one can view as her “daughters”, such as Catholicism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, etc. All that aren’t following the One True God, are of this harlot woman. We are told she sits on many waters, which simply means, she is in control of masses of people. We are also told she committed fornication with the kings of the earth. This shows us a One world religious movement, which is exactly what the Ecumenical movement is after. It already has a base in San Francisco, California with worldwide representatives called United Religion Initiative with the likes of the Pope, Billy Graham, and the list goes on. As verse two states, they are drunk with her wine, in the fact that Satan has a stronghold on them with deceiving spirits.

3.      She is now pictures as sitting on a beast with seven heads and ten horns. We already discussed the meaning of those back in Chapter 13, but this is the Anti-Christ. This shows that in the beginning of all this, the anti-Christ, and his kings, will support this false religious system, and actually will be somewhat under her authority. But the time is near, that will change and Anti-Christ will want all to serve him!

4.      Many assume the purple and scarlet she is arrayed in reflect royalty. While that may be true in a sense of how the world will look to her, it has a deeper meaning. In Isaiah 1:18 we are told our sins are red as scarlet, but will be washed white as snow. These colors show she is full of sin. She speaks blasphemies and has a cup full of them. Why a cup? Much in the same way we take part in communion for Jesus, the world will commune in her lies, deceit, and false religious system done through deceiving spirits and demon possession.

5.      Her name is given as the “Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth”. Beginning back with the tower of Babel to what we have today, this will be part of this system. Her followers as well as she herself will be drunk on the blood of the saints she kills. Yes, a terrible time for those professing to Christians as they will be persecuted and martyred. This will be in order to have her one-world religion. She wants to stamp out the competition.

6.      As John marvels at what he sees, the angel tells him he will explain it to him. Verse eight gives us a descriptor of the Anti-Christ and show that his end result will be that he will fall into perdition. Sadly, those who are not in the book of Life, will be caught up in his scheme, and as we are told here, marvel, yet, marvel to the point they follow him to their death.

7.      Verse 9 & 10 give us a look at a dual meaning of the heads of this beast. First, we will look at verse 9. We are told the seven heads are seven hills or mountains that she sits. There are many cities across the world that can represent such a place, but only one with a religious metropolis with world-wide influence. Rome. This is neither the time, not is there enough space for me to show you the heretical and apostate background of the Roman Catholic church, but I will tie it in for you specifically with this verse. There is a hill in Rome, on one of the seven in which it sits, with an arena called the Circus. Caesar Nero used to have Christians killed there to his followers joy. In the middle of the arena was an obelisk, similar to the one seen at the Washington Monument that has a huge pagan background. When Rome was defeated, the arena was destroyed, but the obelisk was left standing. A grand Roman temple ended up being built on that hill and exists today. See, that hill was called Vaticanus, and the temple and religious institution is none other than the Vatican of the Roman Catholic church. The obelisk, still standing centered in it, is a place were many self-professing Christians are spiritually slain to this day!

8.      In verse 10, we see the second meaning of the heads being seven kings, five fallen, one is, and the other to come that continues for a short time. The kings are kingdoms, and the 5 that were are the Assyrian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Greek. The one that is was the Roman which was thriving in John’s day, and the one to come and continue for a short while is none other than the revived Roman Empire. Here’s a hint, keep a watch on the hill Vaticanus!

9.      The beast who was and is not and yet will be is the Anti-Christ who will be the 8th king. There has been no real world leading kingdom since Rome fell that had that kind of grip, and it was not just a physical grip, but spiritual as well. As a form of Anti-Christ, it was, yet has been gone for a very long time; however, a new form of anti-Christ will come yet again in the form of a one world system, and an actual persona being the man known as the Anti-Christ. The 10 horns are 10 kingdoms or countries in this system that will give their allegiance to the Anti-Christ. And they will come to this point in power and influence through the harlot Babylon. Up to this point, the Anti-Christ and these ten kings are somewhat submissive to the harlot, yet something happens. What is it? When we look in 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 we see that the Anti-Christ goes into the Jewish temple and declares himself to be God. Whoa! Now there is no room left for this religious harlot Babylon because the Anti-Christ wants all worship for himself. On a side note, if you will read the book of Daniel, you will see Daniel’s prophecy of these things with the 7 heads, 10 horns, and the little horn. All this must come to pass, and we are told in verse 17 that God uses this Anti-Christ and his minions to fulfill His will and prophecy.

10. The final verse tells us this harlot is the city which rules over all the earth. Spiritually this will most definitely be the case as it leads the world in its false religion and oppresses those who come to salvation during this time. I have already spoken of the Ecumenical movement under the leadership of Rome which many Protestant churches are signed onto with the Worldwide Council of Churches. Yes, this should alarm you, the wheels are turning!



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