Revelation Chapter 17
This chapter begins with one of the seven angels, which administered one of the seven vial judgments, coming to John and inviting him to witness the judgment of God upon the “great whore.” We are told that this woman sits upon many waters. These waters are people in which the woman is controlling according to verse 15.
The fact that the ancient city of Babylon is to be restored and play an important part in the tribulation period is very clear. This is seen in the following two chapters. At first glance the following two chapters have some things in common and one would think they are speaking of the same thing. This is not the case however. As we move forward we will see that these two “Babylon’s” are different.
The seventeenth chapter speaks of “Babylon” as a woman. This woman is called “Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.” In the eighteenth chapter the city of “Babylon” is referred to as a city. The fact that the two do not symbolize the same things is clear for that which is said of a woman cannot be said of a city, and that which is said of a city cannot be said of a woman.
There are also things that do not make since if these two chapters are talking about the same things. For example:
- The woman and the beast are symbolic in chapter 17. Nothing is symbolic in chapter 18.
- Everything has to be explained in chapter 17. Everything is clear in chapter 18.
- The woman of chapter 17 will rule the nations. The city of chapter 18 will not.
- In chapter 17 we are told that the ten kings of the earth will become angry and destroy the woman. In chapter 18 the kings of the earth weep and cry because of the destruction of the city of Babylon, which is not caused by them but by a great earthquake and fire.
- No voices warn people to come out of one. But warn people to come out of another.
Again, we see that the woman of chapter 17 will be destroyed 3 ½ years before the city of chapter 18 will be destroyed. In fact chapter 18 begins with the phrase “After these things”, referring to the destruction of the woman in chapter 17. These two therefore cannot be the same. Having established this plainly let us consider this woman called Babylon.
One question we must ask is, “Why is this woman referred to as Babylon?” When you think of Babylon this begins to make sense. The river Euphrates, on which the city of Babylon was built, was one of the four rivers that flowed through Eden. Satan no doubt chose this site as his headquarters from which he would perform his work.
It was near Babylon that Satan first tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit. And from that time mankind worsened and worsened until the day that God sent forth a flood and destroyed them from the face of the earth.
After the flood the city of Babel, or Babylon, was built by Nimrod, the descendent of Ham, according to Genesis 10: 8-10. This was the seat of his first great apostasy. It was here that the “Babylonian cult” was formed. This cult was a group claiming to posses the highest wisdom and to reveal divine secrets. (Much can be learned about this cult with a simple web search.)
The city of Babylon continued to be the seat of Satan until the fall of Babylon at the hand of Xerxes. At this time the Babylonian cult was forced to move. Satan moved his seat to Pergamos according to Revelation 2:12-13.
When the King of Pergamos died in B. C. 133, he bequeathed the Headship of the “Babylonian Priesthood” to Rome. They set up a Pontiff who was head of this priesthood. Later the Romans accepted this Pontiff as their civil ruler and Julius Caesar was made Pontiff in B. C. 74. In B. C. 63 he was made “Supreme Pontiff” of the “Babylonian Order.” This cult continued to pass down the position from generation to generation until in A. D. 378 the head of the “Babylonian Order” became the ruler of the “Roman church”.
When Gratian refused the position of Supreme Pontiff, Damascus, the Bishop of the Christian church at Rome was elected. In A.D. 378 the Babylonian System of worship became part of the Christian church. Thus Satan united Rome and Babylon in one religious system. Soon the rites and traditions of the Babylonian cult found their way into the church.
The worship of saints and the Virgin Mary was set up in A. D. 381. Most all of the festivals of the Roman church are of Babylonian origin. The “rosary” for example is of pagan origin. Celibacy, the Order of Monks and Nuns all have no warrant in the scriptures. The Nuns of the Roman church are nothing more than an imitation of the “Vestal Virgins” of the Pagan Rome.
Many of the traditions that even conservative churches celebrate today have roots in Babylonian religion. Festivals and holidays such as Easter and Christmas have roots in Babylon.
Not only is this woman called Babylon, but she is also called “Mystery.” Mystery is a good way to describe the Roman church, for they surround themselves with mystery. For many years the papal crown actually bore the word “Mystery”. The mystery of baptismal regeneration; the mystery of the Lord’s supper where the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ; the mystery of holy water; and the mystery of lights on the altar. You even think of mystery when you think of the priest when during rites and ceremonies he mumbles in a language that is dead and confusing to all who hear.
Cardinal Newman, in his book “The Development of the Christian Religion” admits that … “Temples, incense, oil lamps, votive offerings, holy water, holidays and seasons of devotions, processions, blessings of fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure and images are all pagan in origin.”
All this was a mystery in John’s day because the Papal church had not yet developed; though the mystery of iniquity was already working according to II Thessalonians 2:7. This however is no longer a mystery, for you and I have history to look upon and compare with the scriptures to realize the identity of this woman as being the Papal church.
Notice also that this woman is called a “mother.” If she is a mother then there must be some children. Many branches of churches have come from the Catholic Church. Many churches today are denying the truth of the scriptures. They have a, “form of godliness but deny the power thereof.” Soon these babies will return to their mother. We are already seeing the movement of “non denominational churches” growing by leaps and bounds today. That mentality will fit in perfect with this false church.
The fact that the woman sits on a scarlet colored beast reveals the fact that at time the beast, or Antichrist, supports or is controlled by the woman. In other words there is a state church that will rule over the state and thus the long time dream of the Roman church will be realized, to have worldwide supremacy.
Let me point this in perspective for you. After the true church is taken out of the world, the false church will rise to power. This false church will have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. It will quickly become a universal church, but it will only continue for a short time, 3 ½ years to be exact.
John tells us that the beast on which the woman rides has seven heads. While we know that the seven heads of the beast represent seven mountains, which represent the Roman Empire. Geographically speaking, Roman is the only city with which sits upon seven hills. Please don’t miss this for it is a tremendous text in that it shows us the center of this world church.
We are also told that there are seven kings.
This tells us that in John’s day five kings had already fallen, one king was in power, and one was yet to come. The last or seventh king no doubt will be the Antichrist. In this verse John tells us that one of the heads of the beast had received a deadly wound.
The only clear explanation is that the seventh head, or the Antichrist is the one who receives the deadly wound, probably at the hand of an assassin. The body of the Antichrist will lie dead, but before the burial his body will come back to life and he will therefore become the eighth king as well as the seventh.
This will make the world wonder after the Antichrist and they will proclaim, “Who is able to make war with the beast.”
This will probably take place at the middle of the week, the time in which the dragon is cast out of heaven. It will account for the drastic transformation in the attitude of the Antichrist. It will be at this time he will break his covenant with the Jew, desecrate the temple and calling himself God. All this will fulfill Daniel chapter 9.
After the short time of power is expired for the woman Babylon, the kings of the earth will begin to hate her. The kings will receive power at the hand of Antichrist and therefore they will no longer need the woman (church). They will eat her flesh (take away her riches) and burn her with fire (burn her sanctuaries and churches).
While Antichrist allows the role the false church plays during the first 3 ½ years, he will not do so for long. Once raised from the dead, and embodied by Satan, Antichrist will not permit any worship that does not focus on him alone. Proclamation will be made commanding all to worship the Antichrist. Marks will be applied to identify his followers. And those who do not worship the Antichrist will lose their head.