Revelation Chapter 17
Rev 17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
Who is this great whore?This woman has great influence over kings and the people of the earth. Most theologians that I have read agree that this is a false religious system. The system at first seems to either rule over the government and controls the lives of the people under its influence or else the world rulers use the influence of this religious system to be able to control the population. Since they later hate this whore and destroy her, the second scenario seems to fit.
This system is not secular but a system that pretends to be spiritual. Whoredom has always been associated with idolatry and false worship of something or someone other than the true God. This could be a religion that even professes to be representing the true God but in reality is not. She dominates all the nations by religion until she is destroyed by the anti-christ who uses her to get power but then turns on her because he wants all power and allegiance to be given to him. Other kings of the earth will also turn against this religious system.
For all ages the governments used religion to control the people and religion has used the government in the same way. This is why that until the Lord returns we have to have separation of church and state even now. I know this sounds bad. If God's people can't rule the earth, who can? Yet until He comes the false and the real are mixed so much so that only God knows the difference. To give any religion power will mean suppressing and harming innocent people. It has happened in the past and will happen again. History repeats itself.
Since this religious system is called Babylon whoever this great whore is, the religion will be similar to the great religious system in the past that rebelled against God.
Although Nimrod united the people and was a mighty hunter who was against the Lord, his wife Semiramis is probably the one who developed the religious part of Babylon. Under Nimrod and perhaps his father Cush they became mighty hunters and heroes to the people taking control and ruling from cities like Nineveh and Babel.
After the flood in Noahís time, God commanded men to spread out and develop colonies. They were not to assemble in one place. The first rebellion against God after the flood was that they wanted to stay in one place make a big name for themselves and choose another god. Nimrod is said to have protected the people from wild beasts. The probably considered him a great warrior or hero and probably their god.
It is believed that they built a tower to defy God and attempt to set up a symbol of unity and power. Josephus (A Jewish historian), gives us other reasons for building the tower like escaping another flood in case God sent one. It was also an object of worship in an attempt to replace God with a god that allows men to control or dominate the world. Had Nimrod believed God's word he would have known that God promised never to destroy the world with a flood.
After the tragic death of Nimrod his wife wanted to retain her power. Tammuz was conceived after the death of Nimrod and to make sure she retained her power she convinced people that Tammuz was Nimrod reborn. They may have known of the prophecy given to Eve and she may have attempted to convince people her Son was the one to be born the Messiah. Satan may have used this to counterfeit the coming Messiah. He has always tried to thwart the plan of God.
However, we know them by their fruits and nothing that came from Babylon even remotely resembles the real Messiah. She wanted people to think Tammuz was Nimrod reborn or reincarnated so that she could retain her power over the people. She started a great religious system with priests and rites similar to what some religions have today. Babylon was the origin of all false religious systems throughout the world. Some have believed Babel meant confusion of tongues sort of like babbling but it actually means gateway to the gods. It will be judged severely by God because it is the first and will be the last religious rebellion against the real God.
False religion will have just enough of similarities to true religion to make it believable. Notice that Cain and Abel did sacrifices to God. The law of Moses required priests so the Babylonian religion had some similarities to the real way to God. We can find in the bible though that it developed into very much evil. Temple prostitution and child sacrifices became the norm.
Semiramis was also called the Queen of Heaven. When the people were scattered and their languages changed naturally the names of their gods were changed and taken with them wherever they settled. The Babylonian religion had its headquarters in Pergamos after the conquest of old Babylon. From there it spread to Rome where it later mixed with Christianity.
In Jeremiah we see this queen of heaven mentioned:
Jer 44:15 Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,
Jer 44:16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
Jer 44:17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
Jer 44:18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
Jer 44:19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
Jer 44:20 Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying,
Jer 44:21 The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind?
Jer 44:22 So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.
Jer 44:23 Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.
This queen of heaven so called was worshipped in the days of Jeremiah. This is from Babylon. Tammuz was mentioned in Ezekiel as an abomination in worship.
Eze 8:14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
This Babylonian religion is where we get the name Baal which was probably another name for Tammuz or Nimrod. False religion has a lot of superstition, fortune telling, sorcery or use of mind altering drugs, divination, witchcraft, astrology and other similar things we see revived in the latter days.
It didnít stop there in the days of Babylon and it will not stop there in the future. False religion and rebellion against God leads to other sins even murder. It leads to prostitution, all forms of sexual immorality, child molestation, child sacrifice, virgin sacrifice, murder, and many other demonic activities in the name of religion.
This is why God hated for Israel to be involved in this stuff. False religious systems also cause the souls that are deceived into it to be lost for eternity. It brings no eternal life. We see this religious system revived in the latter days so it can be judged by God and destroyed forever.
There are also mystery rites and things in other religions so this woman just might be a combination of all into a one world ecumenical religious group.
Right now wherever the true gospel shines, this system is suppressed. However, if the true church is taken out of the world or the true church goes into apostasy, one can easily see this religious system gaining ground once again. She will then kill any of the true church that left on the earth when she is here. That is why we see the first set of martyrs in the book of Revelation under the altar. These were probably killed by the great whore of Babylon. Perhaps the second set of martyrs are killed by her as well because the anti-christ does not really start his killing until the latter half of the tribulation period.
This religion has been toned down greatly but we see from the book of Revelation that it is revived in the latter days. All witchcraft, sťances, use of drugs, which is sorcery, fortune telling, astrology, and such, is only a beginning of what is coming back.
Godís way to eternal life is to repent of sin and keep His commandments. Since mankind has always had trouble keeping the word of God and the blood of animals could not cleanse the sin and give them power over sin, He sent His own Son to live among us in the flesh, yet not sin in one point. When Christ was crucified, He died without deserving the penalty for sin which was death. Jesus didnít sin so He didnít deserve to die. If one believes in Jesus and accepts His death as atonement for their own sin, they can be saved from the penalty of sin. There is only one catch, we must be willing to turn away from sin ourselves and give over our lives to Jesus Christ.
We are bought with a great price; we are no longer our own master. To whom we yield ourselves to, is to whom we belong. We choose to yield to God or to the wicked one, even Satan by the life we live.
We canít live a holy life though without coming to Jesus Christ for remission of sin. He paid the price for us but we must believe in Him and come to Him to receive this gift of eternal life. The animal sacrifices the Jewish people did in the Old Testament period pointed toward the perfect way which was to come.
We see the first rebellion after the flood take place here in Babel. They wanted to go a different way than Godís way. They knew better. Perhaps they were mad at God for destroying the world and taking away what they had before. Perhaps they missed the old ways and looked back similar to Lotís wife looking back to Sodom.
God saw what they were doing and how the unity they had was leading them in the wrong direction. Unity is not good if we are unified for evil instead of good. God had to bust up that unity. We need to be thankful to God when He decides to bust up false unity. Unity that comes from God will be unity in spirit and in truth. Remember the word truth. Whenever someone or some organization desires unity but in order to have unity, we have to water down the truth of Godís word, watch out. They may have this same spirit that they had here. I imagine they were going about talking of brotherly love and unity before they even started building the tower of Babel.
There are many legends in other sources besides the bible. Some stories are similar coming from different people that were scattered all over the earth. Some of it may not be true. The only real source we can believe is the bible itself that God by His spirit has proved to us to be the truth.
Finis Dake believes that this religion is a system that appears after the rapture of the church and is not anything we see now in existence. Since we have seen the rise of the New Age movement in the last few years, he may have a point yet it is hard to forget the religions in the past and existing now that kill its opponents. Perhaps those religions were forerunners of this whore just like the Hitler was a forerunner of the anti-christ. Yet if there are harlots proceeding forth from this whore, it would seem that this is something that exists now.
Rev 17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
We see here that kings have been under the influence of this religion and have used it to keep their power and also the whore has used them to keep her in power.
We have seen this type of government systems in early history as well as the middle Ages.
Rev 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
She has the same territory under her power that will be given over to the anti-christ. She is separate from those kings and only influences the religious aspect of the kingdoms. These 10 kingdoms are in the vicinity of the old Roman Empire. The seven horns symbolize the 7 world empires to oppose God's people Israel from old times. The color of scarlet has always been associated with a whore.
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and latter day Revised Rome under the 10 kings are seven world empires that involve Israel in some way. The anti-christ will rule over all them becoming the 8th kingdom before the final coming of Jesus Christ. The 10 kings come from the Roman Empire territory that has been revised in the latter days. Notice it is not revived because it is not longer under one emperor but under ten kings but it is revised. The anti-christ will be the 8th kingdom to rule over the earth and revises the old Grecian Empire. Eventually he controls both Roman and Grecian territories.
Rev 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
This is a rich religious system with a headquarters in a great city. I sometimes wonder about our modern day prosperity preachers also. Riches and wealth in religion is gained by robbing the people in the name of religion. Devouring widow's houses and for pretense making long prayers.
The Roman church did this many times in a practice called indulgences in which one could buy their way out of purgatory. Are modern day prosperity preachers any different when they get rich by making those that listen to them either think they will get rich if they give or be cursed if they don't give? All of them rob people not only of their last dime sometimes but they also rob us of giving simply because we LOVE God, love those that preach the gospel and love those that labor in the word.
The gospel of Jesus frees me from the curse of the law if I believe in Him. I can now do good works because I believe in Him and from the depth of my heart. I give because I love to give. I don't want to be threatened into giving and forced like we are forced to pay taxes. I refuse to listen to that teaching. Love is a better motive for giving. Supporting a faithful minister of a local church or missionaries going to other countries to spread the gospel, is a great way to be part of supporting the word of God.
Rev 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
One of the commandments is dead set against idolatry. To worship any other thing than the real God, is idolatry. God hates it because it separates people from Him and destroys their souls. All false religions deceive people into thinking they are right with God when their sin remains within them. Sin separates us from God. God sent Jesus to die for sin and cleanse us from sin. If we don't let Him come into our lives and change us, we will be lost. False religion shows us another way to God or a way that is dependent upon manmade rituals or commandments. In reality they cannot save any soul from hell because the sin remains. Sacraments cannot remove sin.
From this religious system came other false religious systems just as wicked. They are called harlots. I don't buy into the teaching of some that Denominations are the harlots. As Iíve stated before not all church splits and divisions are from Satan. As God busted up the unity at the tower of Babel, He had to bust up the Middle Age Roman Church because they had gone completely into apostasy. Denominations are not evil unless they go along with false doctrine and do not preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Harlot religions would be offspring of the main one but who continue in the same apostasy with variations.
We have a religion has that grown and become strong today called Islam. It began not long after much of the church went into apostasy. It may have arisen because of the apostasy. Evil prevails when good people or a good church goes into apostasy. A good bible believing powerful church will hinder lawlessness and evil.
Some believe Islam is the latter day Babylon or false religious system that gains control and then is destroyed by world leaders. Since it is in the area of old Babylon, they may have some merit in believing that way.
It was believed by many that the Roman Catholic church was the great whore of Babylon because of the way they had power over nations during the Middle Ages.
Yet we have to be careful not to interpret bible prophecy by current events. Still a few believe the great whore is some New Age idolatrous religion of the future. Just keep all our hearts open to hear from God as we get closer to the time of Christ's return. Any religion that persecutes people and kills those that disagree with them are not true religion that saves the lost and brings people to the real God. Being born again by God's spirit cannot be forced on people. We have to come willingly as God's spirit draws us. If anyone tries to use force the religion they represent is false.
Harlots are those that teach false doctrine and teach any other way to be saved than through the atoning blood of Jesus to cover sins but if a denomination or non-denomination teaches salvation through Jesus Christ, they are not part of any harlot religion unless they depart from the truth and become apostate. In other words they are not harlots just because they are considered a denomination.
Any church can have revival, repent and be true followers of Jesus no matter what they call themselves. Independent or denomination. At the same time any of them can compromise the truth of God's word and become apostate no matter what their name is. Cults, New Age and other false religions that do not teach true salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ could be part of this great false religious system. Just be sure to watch and pray that we be counted worthy to escape all these things and stand before Jesus Christ.
Rev 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
We see here that one way we can identify who this whore is. She kills the true servants of Jesus Christ. She is rich and she dominates not only her own people but the kings of the earth. This shows us that big is not necessarily better. She uses idolatry in her worship.
I will now write a list I got from Dake's comments on what religions have killed. I must add that not every one that is part of these religions are guilty of killing because it is the leaders who make the decrees. I realize secular governments have also killed but my main concern is to cover religions.
1.The first group to kill the faithful servants of Jesus were the religious Talmudic Jewish leaders.
2. Pagan Babylon's religion that occupied Rome killed the early Christians and Jews.
3. Muslims killed both Jews and Christians.
4. Greek Catholics martyred believers
5. Roman Catholics have killed many that disagreed with them.
I will add one more to the list. I don't' know why Dake did not mention them unless all knowledge of Church history was not yet revealed in the days he was still living.
6. Protestants killed those who disagreed with them.
John Calvin ran a church-state type of church in Geneva Switzerland in which many were burned to the stake for opposing their religious beliefs of Calvinism. Not all Calvinists kill people so please don't over react to that statement. The Church of England was party to much persecution and burning to the stake dissenters. I haven't heard too much about the Lutherans except for some writings of Martin Luther being very anti-Semitic which may have influenced the latter day holocaust or caused the holocaust to be justified in the minds of some Germans. Ulrich Zwingli started out pretty good but later had some Anabaptists drowned for believing in believer's baptism. The Puritans were Calvinists, some good and some bad. One preacher I listen to a lot on the Internet, called Jacob Prasch even goes so far in saying that if Baptist or Pentecostals would have lived during the Reformation, they would have been killed for what they believe.
The first generation of Puritans in the United States were good people I believe but after the second generation, Quakers and other fringe groups were persecuted, banned from their towns and even hanged for disagreeing with them. They also burned those that some believed were witches. There were some main line denominations that burned down some of the holiness and Pentecostal churches in the south of the United States. That was not widespread. I did notice that when the holiness preaching started, religious persecution began to disappear among civilized nations.
Some of us have considered those men of the Reformation as heroes for the faith. They did start out pretty good but it wasn't long until some of them were as bad as the Roman Church leaders before them. I think it is time for the church to face the truth and admit mistakes in our past. The secular world is going to find out about these things anyway so we might as well expose the sin and repent so we can get on with preaching the gospel Jesus called us to preach and not go around getting into politics, combining church and state and beating our fellow servants. If we cover up our mistakes, running around pretending to be goody two shoes, behold our sins will find us out. It takes repentance to really change or we repeat the same mistakes.
This knowledge of church history has some believing that the Catholic Church is the whore and the protestant churches are the harlots. Dake, I know disagrees with that theory. I am open to it but with reservations. The bible says by their fruits ye shall know them. If one person is burned to the stake by a religious system, that shows me a state of apostasy exists. It is plain that this whore arises to power first before the anti-christ rules supreme so we know it exists either just before or at the same time as the anti-christ. Some believe it existed ever since Babylon existed and crept into the church during the days of Constantine.
If her headquarters is in Rome, a city on seven hills, then we would know for sure that it was the Roman Catholic Church. Yet we see the city mentioned is Babylon. Perhaps that city will be rebuilt and the false religious system will rule from there. That would make us lean toward the Muslim religion. The Muslim religion though does not use Idols but they do kill those that will not obey their religion. Beheading is they way they kill and that would fit in with the Martyrs in earlier chapters.
Still one thought is that all apostate religions may join into one and it be all these religions together including the New Age movement. We might include Talmudic Judaism in this but less likely than the others I think. Why limit this to only one future religious group. They might all join together in a false unity. That would make them powerful enough to rule all nations for a season. The Roman Catholics did rule until the Protestant Reformation in the same territory of the Roman Empire. The Muslims rule in many of the countries that use to be part of the Grecian Empire. Protestant rule was limited or only certain cities or countries like Geneva Switzerland, Germany and England. God had mercy on them and didnít allow them to get as big as the others. I say mercy because that is just what it was mercy.
In spite of the big push for latter day unity, we must remember that God in His mercy always busts it up or we become tyrants. We donít need religious unity until Jesus returns. Sorry but we canít be trusted with it. My comments on chapter 16 cover this subject also. Local churches need the unity in spirit and in truth in order to feed the flock of God without disorder. Small denominations or Independent churches need unity of the spirit to keep out false teachers, replace pastors who die, and send out missionaries but thatís as far as it should go until the Lord returns.
To verify my words here, all one has to do is read church history and it becomes plain. The smaller we are the more dependent we are on the Lord. The bigger we get the more we trust in our own greatness and we start to push around everybody else that doesnít agree with us. The gospel then suffers reproach and is hindered.
I wish we could have a godly nation that is a Christian theocracy but we canít be trusted with that. The Middle Age Church has already tried and failed. Many other religions have tried that also. It canít be done until Jesus Christ comes back in person and sets up His theocracy.
In this woman whoever she may be, is the blood of the saints who believe in the truth. The Roman Church at one time has killed over 68 million Protestants in just 200 years. So if the Roman Church is this great whore the Protestants who copy after her are the harlots. Notice I said the Protestants who copied after her. Liberal Protestant churches who no longer preach the truth of Godís word could be this. Those that teach and preach the truth like the apostles did would not be part of this. I will not say all liberal Protestants are apostate but the apostate ones could very well be the harlot.
Roman Catholicism mixed many pagan idols and feasts with Christianity. Remember pagan Rome got its religion from Pergamos which got theirs from Babylon.
Every feast in the Old Testament that Israel celebrated was ordained by God even to the very day it was to be kept. They all stood for something and they all were to be kept as memorials to certain events. They were connected with the worship of God. After the coming of Jesus Christ, we were only commanded to keep the Lordís Supper in remembrance of His death for our sins. The only other ordinance we are to keep is water baptism. Christians were not commanded to keep any other special days. When Paul wrote for men not to judge people whether or not they keep certain holy days, it was speaking of Jewish feasts, not pagan holidays. Christians could keep Jewish feasts days but they were not commanded to do so.
My research tells me that Jesus was probably born around October. Iím not trying to spoil anyoneís Christmas celebration but I do not want us to be in ignorance of the truth weíve been afraid to discuss because we donít want to identify with Jehovahís Witnesses or other religions that not only deny Christmas but also deny the basic truth of salvation by the grace of God. Faith is Jesus is the way of salvation not doing rituals, ceremonies and other religious works that are outward.
True salvation comes by turning away or repenting of sin and being born again by Godís spirit. This happens the moment one truly believes in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.
Usually though it is the religions that deny this basic truth that also deny Christmas and that is why we are afraid to approach this subject and we keep our people in the dark and allow them to remain ignorant concerning the origin of Christmas. When we do that, we lay them wide open for the unbelieving world to throw it in our face. Like I said before, we live in the day of the Internet and this information is all over it. Some of it is a bunch of nonsense but much of it is true. If we do not teach our people the truth and we try to gloss over Christmas and Easter hiding its origins, the world is going to tell them for us and they will throw Christ out with it. Wake up church. Lets quit pretending.
Why is the Christian church afraid of the truth?
There is some questions we must ask though before assuming this whore is the Roman Church.
If the city was Rome which existed in John's Day, why wasn't that city mentioned instead of Babylon? The answer many give on this is that the Roman Church has many rites and rituals that the old Babylon religion had. I have to agree that to be true. Many customs and ways are similar to a lot of religions that existed before Christ even came.
When Constantine came to power, he wanted a united kingdom. Most of Rome was Christian or Pagan so why not combine the two and have complete control over all? Makes sense to many but it was the death of the church in that day except for a few isolated churches who hid from the Church of Rome for survival. God has always had a people I believe. Actually the church was not apostate all at once. Many fought against the mixing of idolatry with the church at first. They even made a creed stating clearly what the church believed. That creed is not what was bad but later rituals crept in like the worship of Mary and other saints that were similar to the old Babylon religions.
Because of error that crept into the early church, they over reacted by organizing and putting in place a hierarchy system of church government. They meant it to protect the flock of believers but in reality they began to suppress the people and separate clergy from laity. The clergy stood in place of God and kept the people from having freedom to worship God on their own in spirit and in truth like Jesus wanted them too. This is called Nicolaitism that had started back after the apostles had died.
Nico means to conquer or bind and Laos means the common people. No wonder Jesus hated that doctrine. It kept the people from knowing Him as Lord and worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. We are all to worship God and have a part in our church worship services. It is not to be just the paid clergy that does everything. We need God too.
Christ would have hated that doctrine of the Nicolaitanes because the clergy was getting in the way. Instead of leading people to God and a relationship with Jesus Christ, they were doing the worship for them. They became dependent upon the priests for salvation because the priests would do the ritualistic services that supposedly granted them salvation.
People in the church ceased to become "born again" by God's spirit and just became a religion dependent upon the sacraments, rituals and works of what a priest did on their behalf. This is what is meant when we talk of being saved by grace instead of works. The works implied there is not the works of repenting or turning from sin but trusting in the rituals, ceremonies and sacraments done by the priests in the Old Testament and also by Christian religions that insist on those kinds of religious acts to save the soul instead of repenting of sin and faith in Christ alone to save.
Some use the saved vs works scriptures to justify sin. Sorry but part of salvation is repenting of sin as we believe in Christ. That is the reason Jesus died is to save us from sin not in our sin.
The Lordís Supper, going to church, being baptized in water do not save the soul. We are baptized in water because we have been saved and it is an outward sign of obedience as we are literally baptized into the body of Christ. It also represents being dead to sin and raised in the likeness of Christ when we come up out of the water symbolizing His resurrection. We are resurrected in the newness of life.
The Lordís supper is gathering together to remember what He did on our behalf similar to the Jews celebrating Passover in memory of the flight from Egypt when they were saved from being killed by the death angel when the blood of the lamb was applied to the doorposts. This was a preview of the blood of Jesus that saves us from sin. We go to church or join a church because we are already saved and want to fellowship with other believers. That alone never saves the soul.
Quoting a person I heard on the Internet a few weeks ago, "What Jesus died to free us from the Roman Church put back."
Israel had priests doing the service of the temple in the Old Testament because Jesus had not yet come and made Himself the final sacrifice that was needed to save mankind from sin. Mankind could not go to God before Christ came without going through a prophet or priest. There were isolated cases where they did but usually they depended upon a priest.
That all changed with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now all who believe have access to the throne of God. That is the glorious part of becoming a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven and we are made clean by the shed blood of Jesus. We can now be filled with the spirit of God, (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit). We can talk to God ourselves even if no priest is present. I, John Doe, Jane Smith, a little child or anybody can have access to the throne of God just by believing in the Son of God, Jesus Christ who came for that purpose to bring us back to God after being separated from Him because of our sins.
The Old Testament taught us about God and how severe sin was and how sin separated us from a holy God. The New Testament teaches us how to get to know God not just know about God, how to get our sins washed away and inherit eternal life.
There are some who say the Mystery Babylon or Great Whore is the United States. The one thing that is missing though is that the United States is not a city and the United States does not martyr anyone for their religious faith as yet. I know that can change. We will keep the United States in mind as we watch the events that transpire in the future.
Rev 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
Why did John marvel? Could it be he saw something he recognized and was shocked to see what had become of the church?
I'm not saying for sure that this whore was the apostate church but it may have been something John recognized. He was familiar with Judaism; Muslims did not yet exist, and he was familiar with pagan religions for they existed in his day, so why would he marvel? Could it be that he was surprised that the church he helped start had grown so apostate that they would beat their fellow servants and kill those that opposed them?
It could be that the head of this religion is in Rome and the head of the commercial Babylon is from literal Babylon but that is my speculation. If this great whore is the apostate church, it will not just be Roman Catholics. There are many good Catholics that have been saved by grace and live godly lives. It is not just Protestants for there are many good Protestants that are true believers in Jesus Christ. There is a possibility that on one street corner is a Baptist church full of love and on fire for God and on the next corner, we may see a total apostate church operating under the same Baptist banner. We can't go by a name. This could be true of Pentecostals, Methodists and all organized churches. There are good ones and apostate ones. Until the Lord returns though there is hope for revival so we have to let Him judge individuals. We have to be careful not to uproot the wheat ahead of time. Yet in saying that, we have to warn against false teaching and error but in the spirit of love.
The old Babylon religion had priests to do rites, sacrifices and many other practices that were an abomination in the sight of God. Child sacrifices, whoredom, virgin sacrifices, idol worship and many other things occurred. No religion should try to mingle that religion with Christianity. Some of the Roman Catholic traditions came from the Babylon religion that had spread to the Roman Empire.
So we see from chapter 17 that this woman is some kind of false religious system that has united church and state or religion and state, which ever it may be. Until she is destroyed by the beast, she is in control.
We must consider also the Muslim religion before going further. The Muslims did not exist in Johnís day. That also may have been why he marveled. It is something he didnít recognize. The Muslim religion has always killed Christians and Jews. While the Roman Catholics no longer kill anyone of their faith, we might assume this woman represents Islam instead of Roman Catholicism. We tend to interpret prophecy by events in todayís world. This could lead to error similar to the church thinking they replaced Israel when there was not nation of Israel before 1948.
Babylon is located in a Muslim country which is Iraq. Perhaps as Iíve said before the two religions join together. The Babylonian rites are more similar to Catholicism than the Muslim religion but Iím afraid Iím not that familiar with Islam to say for sure. There are more bible prophecy teachers that are moving away from the belief that this system is Roman Catholic and they are believing it is Islam since Islam beheads so many people. Who knows for sure? It could be joining together of all religions or a new religion yet to come.
Rev 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
The woman sits on a beast that existed before John's day but was fallen and will exist again. The supernatural spirit from the Abyss that was behind the Grecian Empire will rise again to control this beast. Daniel mentions this Empire when he tells of one who is like the anti-Christ who tried to destroy the holy people in that day, a forerunner of the anti-christ. His name was Antiochus Epiphanies. I hope to get into an in depth study of Daniel later. We see that the main territory of this system is also the Old Roman Empire territory. Two religious systems control that area today but there are others. That can change. It could be a combination of all religions or a new one yet to come.
We know it will have idolatry (image or icon worship), kill true believers and Jews, practice sorcery, demand unity, be rich and controls the rulers of the earth.
Notice that the ones deceived by this woman and the beast are those that do not have their names written in the book of life.
Rev 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
This is the main reason so many think that this woman is the Roman Church because Rome is upon seven mountains. I am not closed minded to that explanation but if the mountains represents kingdoms which the next verse seems to indicate then the apostate unity of all religions would make more sense as to being the whore. That would include any other religion that tries to take the place of Jesus Christ and impose its own self into the place of Jesus or in case of non-Christian religions in place of God. Misrepresenting God has always been a problem in the past and in the present.
That is why God hates idolatry. We cannot make anything or anyone to represent God. Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other that could open the little book we saw in previous chapters. There is no other way of salvation as we read in the gospel of John. Anything but the simple gospel of Jesus Christ is just a religion that tries to imitate God or replace God but it does not do the job. God cannot be replaced. The religions I mention by name donít mean every individual or leader in that religion. There is always a remnant of a few true believers in every religion that stays true to God.
In the days of the holocaust both Catholics and Protestants either sided with Hitler against the Jews or kept silent. At the same time there were individual church leaders or common people who secretly helped the Jews both Catholic, Protestant and secular. So we should warn against any religious system that is apostate and has allowed the use of force, persecution, and intimidation against innocent people or those who are in total apostasy. It is evil systems with the church/state or religion/state mixture that is dangerous no matter whether it is Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim.
When it comes to the conscience we all have to decide in our own hearts what to believe. It must not be forced upon us. If we don't allow freedom of choice in Christianity for instance, we will only have wet baptized sinners and not born again believers. Jesus only can change the inward soul of man. No one else has the power to change one from a sinner to a saint.
Dake states that the 7 kings, 7 mountains and 7 heads are all the same. He does not consider the seven hills of Rome to be any significance.
Rev 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Here it is clearer that this is not literal mountains but kings. Who is fallen? Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Perisa, and Greece. The one that "is" in John's day would have been the Roman Empire. The other one will be the revised Roman Empire according to many bible theologians and the anti-christ revises the old Grecian Empire.
Yet we know that the mountains can represent both those on which Rome sits and kingdoms. Many times there is more than one interpretation of scripture. Sometimes one prophecy is the pattern to the same prophecy being fulfilled in latter days.
Rev 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
It appears that this beast is revived Grecia from which comes with the anti-christ. It existed in the past, was not present in John's day and is to come along after the revised Roman Empire of ten toes pictured in the image of Daniel chapter 2. . It can be said that Babylon was, and is not and yet is, I might add indicating a latter day rebuilding of literal Babylon in Iraq.
Remembering though that the Roman church resembles old Babylonian rituals, we can still see how they might play a huge part in this latter day false religious system. Since the Pope of Rome is looked upon as a great spiritual leader even by Billy Graham, the United States presidents and other men of fame, I will not rule out a future pope as being a leader of this false religious system.
To be fair, I have here Matthew Henry's explanation for this vision of the woman:
"Here we have the mystery of this vision explained. The apostle wonders at the sight of this woman: the angel undertakes to open this vision to him, it being the key of the former visions; and he tells the apostle what was meant by the beast on which the woman sat; but it is so explained as still to need further explanation.
1. This beast was, and is not, and yet is; that is, it was a seat of idolatry and persecution; and is not, that is, not in the ancient form, which was pagan; and yet it is, it is truly the seat of idolatry and tyranny, though of another sort and form. It ascends out of the bottomless pit (idolatry and cruelty are the issue and product of hell), and it shall return thither and go into perdition.
2. This beast has seven heads, which have a double signification. (1.) Seven mountains - the seven hills on which Rome stands; and (2.) Seven kings - seven sorts of government. Rome was governed by kings, consuls, tribunes, decemviri, dictators, emperors who were pagan, and emperors who were Christian. Five of these were extinct when this prophecy was written; one was then in being, that is, the pagan emperor; and the other, that is, the Christian emperor, was yet to come, Rev_17:10. This beast, the papacy, makes an eighth governor, and sets up idolatry again.
3. This beast had ten horns; which are said to be ten kings which have as yet received no kingdoms; as yet, that is, as some, shall not rise up till the Roman empire be broken in pieces; or, as others, shall not rise up till near the end of antichrist's reign, and so shall reign but as it were one hour with her, but shall for that time be very unanimous and very zealous in that interest, and entirely devoted to it, divesting themselves of their prerogatives and revenues (things so dear to princes), out of an unaccountable fondness for the papacy."
End of Matthew Henry's comment.
I make references to Finis Dake and Matthew Henry because their explanations are total opposites. I have respect to both opinions though and I like to consider both versions. When I mention names I will make it clear that everything I say may not be what they fully believe but I will always try never to misrepresent them in any way.
Rev 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
Rev 17:13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Again we see the one who was bringing this vision to John jumps ahead to show John that all this evil is coming to an end probably so that he and other readers of this prophecy will not get overwhelmed by the seemingly success of this beast. I see throughout Revelation that God reminds us of the good ending before going on to show us the fearful things.
Rev 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
This religious system controls more than one nation. This is true of Roman Catholicism at least in the past and could be in the future. This is true of Islam today. It is no longer true of any Protestants or Jewish religions at this time. Keep an eye on New Age religions at this time.
Make sure all of our worship music glorifies the Lord and not people. Nothing unites like music as we saw in the days of Daniel when music was used to get people to worship Nebuchadnezzarís image. I'm not saying the use of music is wrong, In fact it can be used for good and is good. The bible teaches us to worship Him in hymns and spiritual songs along with the use of instruments.
I'm just saying keep one eye open and watch like Jesus told us to do. Don't be quick to accept everything that comes along in the name of being "of the spirit" or "of God." If we get it wrong once in a while at least we are trying to do what Jesus told us to do. Watch and pray. Better to be over cautious than to get into something that is of the Great religious apostate system. Lets stick with "Thus saith the word." We weigh everything by the fruit it produces and whether it draws us to God and not to the worship of a person, image, institution or anything else.
Rev 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
Now we see that the secular political powers do not want to share their power with any religion so they kill and hate the whore, getting rid of all religious systems. Anti-christ wants all power and authority. These 10 kings help make this come to pass but it also brings judgment upon the apostate religious system that persecuted and killed God's saints, both Jew and Gentile believers from all over the world.
Rev 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
Rev 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Babylon use to reign over the kings of the earth but the closest one to do that in the immediate past is Rome. The United States may come close but it is not a city. England use to rule over much of the earth but does not do so now. Their rule was political rather than religious though. The Muslims are trying to increase their territory also. Babylon may literally be revived and rule again before the reign of the anti-christ so at this point we watch and keep our spiritual eyes open.
Notice the kings of the earth hate this Babylon and destroys it whereas the Babylon of chapter 18 is also destroyed but its destruction is mourned by the world. The world hates one but loves the other indicating more than one or else the religious aspect of Babylon is hated but the commercial riches are mourned.
So we see the woman representing a religious system has a headquarters. We can speculate Rome or a literal rebuilt Babylon. I believe the United States has to undergo a lot of changing before she can be considered this mystery Babylon. America fits some description in chapter 18 of commercial Babylon but still they do not as of this date martyr anyone for their religious beliefs.
Still there are some that cleave to the America, Mystery Babylon. Here is one:
Why did God name America Mystery Babylon?
"Tell them, because all the nations of the world immigrated to America with their own gods and were not stopped. Encouraged by the freedom here, the wickedness began to increase. Later on, even though America was established as a Christian nation, the American people began to follow the strange gods that the immigrants had brought in, and also turned their backs on the God who had built and prospered this country."
Still we see that the anti-christ rises up out of 10 kingdoms primarily out of the territory that use to comprise the Old Roman Empire. This may indicate that Dake may be right in saying that his rule is not over the entire world since he seems to always be fighting other nations while he is in power. . Most other theologians disagree and believe his rule is worldwide.
There is a way to make sure we are not part of this false religious system. Does our assurance of salvation depend on our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ or does it depend upon a priest, pastor, prophet or organized church (or religion)? Is our faith in Christ alone for salvation or in joining the Church of Christ, Methodist, Church of God etc.? Finally does our religion or church believe that we have the God given right to kill those that do not accept our religious views. If so, run and get out of that religion. If our church, denomination, religion or faith starts beating their fellow servants by persecuting dissenters, run and get out? If our affiliation has a history of killing in the name of Jesus or in the name of someone else, run and get out. Jesus said to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves.
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