Revelation of John

Compiled by WD Kemner April 2021

 

Chapter 17-18 – The Great Whore and the Beast

 

Chapter 17

 

 

When studying Chapter 17, one must continue into Chapter 18 and review it as well. Consider what is learned and understood from Chapter 18 and apply it to the understanding obtained in chapter 17

 

 

Revelation 17:1-6

 

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 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. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.  And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:  And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 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.

 

 

 

Description of Woman

 

Sits on many waters.  Committed fornication with many kings. See Revelations 18:3 Wore purple and scarlet; gold and precious stones, pearls. See Revelations 18:12 Golden cup in hand full of filth. Name written on her forehead.  Drunk with blood of the martyrs of Jesus.   Obvious from description that cannot be literal woman.  We will be told more later in chapter in verses 15-18.

 

 

Description of Beast

 

Scarlett color.  Has seven heads and ten horns. From Chapter 13, we already know this is a king or kingdom opposed to God

 

 

Revelation 17:7-8

 

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. 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.

 

 

 

We were told about this in Chapter 13:3. The mockery of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  The mortal wound the antichrist will receive and appear to come back to life.  That is why the terms: “Was, and is Not; and shall ascend” which means that he was alive, then he died and appears to be alive again.

 

 

Revelation 17:9a

 

And here is the mind which hath wisdom.

 

 

 

One that understands His Word will be able to understand this.  Now the Interpretation from God himself

 

 

Revelation 17:9b

 

The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

 

 

 

“Mountains” – term has been used before to reference kingdoms. Thus we have the seven kingdoms of the seven kings mentioned in next verse

 

 

Revelation 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.

 

 

 

 

 

There are teachings that speculate that the “five fallen” are the five Roman Caesars that had existed by the point in time that John had this revelation.  The trouble with this idea is when the history books are checked, there were more than five Roman Emperors who had come and gone by the time John wrote the book. It also does not fit the rest of the information.

 

 

 

 

Remember that all prophecy centers around the Jewish nation!  Why does man choose to deviate from scripture and place his own interpretations into scriptures? Why must “everything” be explained with the way we see or know the world today?  Put it all into proper context with scripture and the author.

 

Reference the study guide on Daniel Chapter 7

 

Revelation is a “continuation” of the visions Daniel had.  Daniel’s visions all pertained to the Jews. The central theme was always God’s punishment for the Jews turning their backs on Him.

 

Six kingdoms in history had all been used in bringing discipline on Israel:

 

1. Egypt 2. Assyrians 3. Babylon 4. Medo-Persia 5. Greece 6. Roman Empire

 

Egypt and Assyria had never totally destroyed the Jewish nation. Until the point when the book of Daniel begins, there was still a remnant in Jerusalem. The book of Daniel began with the last of the Jewish Nation taken into captivity in Babylon.  Chapter 7 of Daniel picks up from the point in time that Daniel was living in. It was God’s declaration of the future involving His children the Jews. Everything up and till the Roman Empire had taken place by the time that John has his vision of Revelations. John was living at the point of the SIXTH Kingdom of Daniel’s prophecies.

 

Verse 10 states:

 

“Five have fallen…”.  Egypt, Assyria, Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s country), Persia, Greece had all come onto the global world stage and gone away at the time John was living.

 

“…and one is…” The Roman Empire was THE POWER on the global stage at the time that John wrote his book.

 

“…and the other is not yet come;…” This is the SEVENTH Kingdom (of Revelations) and the FIFTH Kingdom (of Book of Daniel).  This is the future kingdom of the Anti-Christ. This was already mentioned by John in Revelations chapter 13.

 

“…and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.”   The anti-christ will continue in his power, authority and control for a space of time before and during the events in Revelation.

 

 

Revelation 17:11

 

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

 

 

 

Same language from verse 8 of this same chapter.  Why take it as anything different? 

 

Seventh Kingdom:

 

As learned from Daniel, the antichrist will originally control three of the ten kingdoms. The other seven refusing to give over control. 

 

Eighth Kingdom:

 

At a point, “something” occurs that cause them to submit to his authority. When the antichrist is killed and appears to “rise again”, his entire “kingdom” will be a lot different that it was before.  It will now become hard for the world to not view him as “God”

 

 

Revelation 17:12-14a

 

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. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, …

 

 

 

The Ten Horns of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13

 

 

Revelation 17:14b

 

…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.

 

 

 

A “hint” of more to come in the following chapters of Revelation regarding how the antichrist and his kingdom will be overcome by the true Lord of lords.

 

 

Revelation 17:15

 

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

 

 

 

Peoples of varying different nations, languages and cultures.

 

 

Revelation 17:16-17

 

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. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

 

 

 

Revelation 17:18

 

And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

 

 

 

What one thing “reigns” over kingdoms of the world?  Controls them, or effects decision making. Something each would have in common with their neighbor, even if it is vastly different in what it looks like. The one thing is RELIGION.

 

 

WHO IS THIS WOMAN?

 

 

There has been much speculation regarding the “woman” of this chapter and the “Babylon” of the next chapter. Here is what we DO KNOW from the verses in Revelation:

 

We have learned from John’s vision in chapter 13 that there are two entities on the planet working for the purposes of Satan. One is the anti-christ.  Called a beast in chapter 13.  The second is the Beast that will give all recognition to the antichrist and generate world-wide worship of the anti-christ.

 

We can make the assumption that the Beast (2nd one) is a “religious leader”.  A leader that is in authority and can “influence officially” a “large religious network”.  It will not be until chapter 19:20 that John calls this beast “The False Prophet”

 

Take scripture for exactly what it states and do not interchange theories.  God says what he means and means what he says. Where it is obvious is the only place where symbolism can be used. A “woman” in chapter 17 is OBVIOUSLY NOT a physical female human.  Babylon IS A REAL entity. Scripture as a whole are complete from beginning to end.

 

Many have used that information “alone” in an attempt to make their “guess” that this woman is the Roman Catholic Church based upon many things including its global influence and its history.  There is NOTHING in the book of Revelations that names the Catholic church OR ANY OTHER religion currently on the World stage as being THIS “religious network”.  We have already established from the beginning of this study one rule.  DO NOT MAKE PROPHECY FIT INTO WHAT IS CURRENTLY EXISTING IN THE WORLD. Church in Rome may well be involved.  It also may well not even be in existence. We do know that this religious network of the Beast WILL BE ON THE WORLD STAGE at the point in history of Revelations taking place.

 

The IMPORTANT point to remember, at some point, the Antichrist will destroy EVERYTHING that does not worship himself.  The “True Church” has been taken away in the “Rapture”.  What is left of the world “Religious Organizations” is in chaos anyway.  The largest single religious entity at that point could be the Roman Catholic church.  If it is, will the Roman Catholic Church throughout 2000 years of their own history and control, give it away to another man?

 

The antichrist WILL have his own religious structure behind him, he will not “need” anyone else. He will “outlaw” any “religion or church” that is not his! Chapter 17 is looking at the “world-wide religion” that is being controlled/pushed/enforced by the city Babylon of the next chapter. Chapter 18 will now look at Babylon as a physical geographical entity.

 

 

 

Chapter 18 – Destruction of Babylon

 

 

When studying Chapter 18, combine what is learned in this chapter with what Chapter 17 has discussed.  Both will complement each other.

 

 

Revelation 18:1-2

 

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

 

 

 

Babylon the great has fallen. Center of all evil, den of iniquity.  Throughout scripture evil was always compared to Sodom and Gomorrah.  This city has surpassed that level.

 

 

Revelation 18:3

 

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

 

 

 

A repeat of what was stated in Revelations 17:2 All nations have been involved and taken part in the evil and wickedness of Babylon.  This is a city on the “Global Map” in order to be the “center of” everything.

 

 

Revelation 18:4

 

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

 

 

 

His people are told to come out.  Must be “physical entity” that God’s people could have gotten themselves a part of and be told to get “out of”.  Nowhere in scripture is the term “Babylon” used to refer to anything other than the capital city of Chaldea.

 

 

 

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With the exception of the quoted Scripture verses from the King James Bible, all items located on this website are either created by WD Kemner (unless indicated otherwise) and free for your use or are in the public domain and free to use.

 

Documents created by other authors are referenced to by external hyperlinks. Those items are protected by the copyrights which govern those websites and permission to use materials from those sites must be obtained from those authors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

World History Encyclopedia has a summary of the history of Babylon at the following website

 

https://www.worldhistory.org/babylon/

 

 

 

The history of Babylon spans a huge segment in the history of the world.  It began centuries before the story of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel in Genesis 10 and 11.  All the prophets spoke against it.  The “city” is spoken of by Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Micah and Zechariah.  She was used by God in his discipline of the nation of Israel. It was Babylon that carried off the temple items along with the royal family and captives. At the time of the apostles there was a church in Babylon.  2 Peter 5:13

 

 

Revelation 18:5-6

 

For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

 

 

 

Her sins are so large. She has created her own punishment

 

 

Revelation 18:7

 

How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

 

 

 

She exalted herself to the point of only recognizing herself

 

 

Revelation 18:8

 

Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

 

 

 

She will receive plagues: death and famine.  All in one day

 

 

Revelation 18:9-11

 

And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

 

 

 

The world will cry and lament over the destruction of Babylon. Probably more from the lost income and precious value to them of its commerce

 

 

Revelation 18:12-16

 

The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

 

 

 

See Revelations 17:4. Descriptive of the products and wealth of Babylon.  Further justifying it as a physical location and place heavily centered in the economic world of its time.

 

 

Revelation 18:17-19

 

For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

 

 

 

The concern of the world at its loss

 

 

Revelation 18:20-22

 

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

 

 

 

Rejoicing in Heaven at the final discontinuation of the filthy sin and arrogance of Babylon

 

 

Revelation 18:23-24

 

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

 

 

 

The promise that there shall never be life in this city again. This proves this passage never applied to any other time in history since the city of Babylon has been reused.

 

 

BABYLON

 

 

Babylon has been in scripture since the beginning.  It has been a center of evil and man’s mockery of God Almighty.  The prophets have repeated the judgments of God throughout the Old Testament. An entire study can be devoted to it, that is not the purpose of this study. Go back and research and study the history of Babylon through the history of mankind.  For example:  Jeremiah 51:7 and Revelation 17:2-4. This study will only touch on enough to give the reader an understanding of how that fits into Revelation.

 

Babylon has its beginning with the days of Noah’s flood. His three sons dispersed over the earth. Ham had a son named Cush.  Cush had a son named Nimrod that is all too familiar to the study of Babylon. It is with these generations after the flood that we see man already attempting to distance himself from God.  Developing their own versions of God to worship, even setting up worship of themselves as Gods. Babylon would become the center of evil worship that would spread to all languages and cultures of the world. Involving rituals and worship of mother and child. Some rituals being done secretly to prevent the backlash that was expected.  The “mystery” part is not difficult to see developing.  Pagan worship would go on up to modern day.

 

There are other scriptures that involve this Babylon:  Isaiah Chapters 13 and 14; Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51 The “physical/geographical” city of Babylon MUST exist in order to be “destroyed”

 

These are referring to the Destruction and Judgment on Babylon.  Now, some have argued that this occurred in 70 AD with the end of the captivity of Israel.  However, the prophets use the term “the Day of the Lord” in reference to when these events would occur. The passages are double references, to both then and in the future to come.

 

Jeremiah 51:26 talks about destruction of Babylon and that not one of its stones will ever be used again.  This has not happened yet.  History shows many cities built from the ruble of Babylon.  Another one needs built and then destroyed.

 

 

Research work of others who have written on this

 

 

“The Two Babylons” by Alexander Hislop written 1853   https://archive.org/details/theTwoBabylons/mode/2up

 

“Lectures on the Book of Revelation” by H.A. Ironside (1919)   http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/NTStudies/LecturesonRevelationsHAIronside1920.aspx

 

“The Book of Revelation” – Clarence Larkin (1919)  https://openlibrary.org/books/OL23282334M/The_Book_of_Revelation