Extracts and Comments from Revelation Chapters 17 & 18
The angel who spoke to John, had clearly been commissioned to do so by Jehovah God. His task, to explain the events of Chapter 17; and it was/is necessary, due to the success of Satan on Earth in confusing and misleading the population into all things opposed to God and His Truth! As the culminations are by then (and now) drawing close (the next Chapters to 22), and so much was/is happening, it was necessary.
The great effort by the Enemy in the O.T. was to physically thwart the prophecy of Gen. 3:15, the promise of Messiah, by attempting to sully the seed from Adam to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The great effort since the cross of Calvary is to thwart the promises of God to Israel, the salvation offered to the Gentiles, and Israel, made to the Patriarchs to thwart and eventually to try to destroy Israel from the Earth.
In this Chapter, the delusion created by Satan in these efforts are partially exposed!
(a)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 judgement of the great (a)whore that sitteth upon many waters:
(b)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".
(a) Here is detail about to be given of the judgement, by God, of the great whore, mentioned in Chp. 16. The Interlinear translates “harlot”, (Str. No. 4204), which is the feminine of a group of words from 4202 to 4205, all concerned with pornography (Greek “PORNE”), and prostitution.
Whoredom in its original manifestations at Babylon was rejection of The One True God, by Nimrod and his mother. It developed into many kinds of perversities, but particularly sexual. (See Chp. 13), which were (and are) used in pagan idol (Satan) worship.
(b) The kings have been (and are) obeisant to this entity. Whenever whoredom is mentioned in Scripture. It is referring to worship of something or someone other than the “One True God”. (2Chr. 15:3), (Jer. 10:10), (John 17:3), (Acts 17:23), (1 Thess. 1:9) and (1 John 5:20).
“The inhabitants of Earth made drunk with her wine”; the kings lead the people. The people trust the kings, and shut down their own minds. The idolatry sanctioned by the kings placates/soothes the people (drunk), and keeps them in order! For kings, read also governments.
(a)So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a (b)woman sitting upon a (c)scarlet coloured beast, full of blasphemy, having (d)seven heads and ten horns.
(a) John here again taken in the Spirit (see Chp. 1:10) to be given explanation.
(b) The woman here and of V.18, is representative of “that great city”, i.e. Babylon, in its original, as the foundation (after the flood) of ALL REBELLION AGAINST GOD ALMIGHTY. (See Chp. Rev Chapter 14:1(b)), under the initiative of Nimrod.
(c) “Scarlet”; the colour is startling, attractive, bright, however, in Isa. 1:18, Jehovah God gives the definition as representing SIN. “Beast”; see Rev Chapter 13 and notes.
(d) See verse 10 etc.
(a)And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, (b)having a golden cup in her hand (c)full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.
(a) “The woman arrayed in purple and scarlet colours”; purple representing royalty, scarlet representing sin, here clearly showing royal approval (i.e. kings of Earth), of the sinful way! (i.e. idolatry, and harlotry).
(b) “Golden cup”; represents regal source, i.e. see Chp. 15:7.
(c) “Full of abomination etc.”; these the practices and formulations, rituals of idolic and Satanic worship; all in opposition to the Truth of God.
Also; The "Ecumenical" movement, which denies Acts 4:12, Jesus Christ, as the only way of Salvation; preaching "many ways to God", is in the same category, although many of its members would be shocked at the realisation! Most of the leaders however are aware of their mission purpose. (See: Ecumenical (The) Movement and the Bible:)
(a)And upon her forehead a name written, (b)Mystery Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.
(a) Dr. Bullinger translates; “and upon her forehead she had a name written a secret symbol, (see 13:18 b), BABYLON THE GREAT, the mother of harlots, (see notes (a) V.1) and of the abominations of the Earth", (Comp.). The name of the woman is therefore a secret sign or symbol of “that great city” which she personifies (see V.18).
(b) The word "Mystery" is disputed by different translations. Youngs literal has "secret". NIV notes that the word should possibly be excluded, but offers "this mysterious title written". Interlinear has "mystery". Darby has "mystery", NKJV "mystery". RSV has "a name of mystery". Moffatt, "by way of symbol”. Dr. Bullinger gives great clarity in his explanation in App. 193. He also translates:
“And upon her forehead she had a name written, a secret symbol (Grk. musterion) BABYLON THE GREAT, the mother of the harlots, and of the abominations of the Earth”.
Dr. Bullinger further notes “the name of the woman is therefore a secret sign or symbol of “that great city which she personifies (V.18)”!
What is very clear, is that Satan has successfully tricked the world's population into believing the opposite of the truth! As the physical Babylon was destroyed and never revived, (Jer. 51), so here, the dealing is with its spiritual equivalent; which here is beginning its defeat at the hands of God; and the "stone not cut by human hand", (Dan. 2:34 and 45).
The spiritual Babylon, equivalent and much greater than the ancient physical Babylon, has/is having the effect worldwide that ancient Babylon had under its founder Nimrod, and his mother. They succeeded in turning people from the True God (Elohim) to many and varied pagan gods and practices, which have spread worldwide.
Their main enemy and object is the God of the Hebrews Jehovah; (and His chosen people); and Jerusalem His chosen Dwelling Place!
Their assault continued throughout the O.T.; and since Acts 28:28, is now also focused on all Christ-ones (Christians true) worldwide.
The warfare with Satan and his spirits (demons) is spiritual as well as physical, and is confirmed in the following references, and many in Scripture: Eph. 6:10-18, 1John 4:1 to 5:8 and John 4:24!
See: Babylon & Mystery Babylon:
(a)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 (b)wonder.
(a) The “woman”, here shown to have drunk to excess the deaths of all who have, and will die for their Lord. See early Chapters of Revelation.
(b) This word wrongly translated “admiration”, by A.D. 1611 C. of E. translators; which greatly misleads the understanding! The NKJV translates “amazement”.
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carried her, which hath seven heads and ten horns.
(a)The beast which you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into (b)perdition: and they that dwell on the Earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the (c)foundation of the world, when they behold (d)the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
(a) See Chp. 13 and notes.
(b) “Perdition”: (Str. 684 = destruction, wasted, from 622 = perish, destroy).
(c) “Foundation”; (Comp. App. 146). There are two Greek words used in the New Testament, which the A.D. 1611 translators inconsistently used to arrive at the word “foundation”, clearly to suit their own dogma. In this case, the word “KATABOLLE”, they translated "foundation", but it should have been, “cast down or overthrow”. The translation then would read, “in the book of life from the overthrow of the world”. The Overthrow in point, is that prior to the Creation Actions of God in Gen. 1- 2.
“The Body of Christ”, known before the foundation (overthrow) of the world, is by implication not on Earth, (Eph. 1:4), (1 Peter 1:20.) & (See Rev. 3:5 (c)).
(d) Babylon is probable the candidate for this statement! She had been the great power early in all history after the Flood. She "was not" at the time John wrote; and she is the likely head of the future beast, here described (Chp. 13), but in essence of the old area Babylonia, now Iraq/Syria.
Historians date early Babylon as approx. 23 centuries BC; which corresponds with the Bible approx. dating's, (Gen. 10:8-9 & 1Chron. 1:10).
The city was destroyed in approx. 689BC, in one of its many conflicts. It was rebuilt shortly afterwards, and by the time of Nebuchadnezzar was at its Zenith (604-561BC); and that was due to Jehovah God's permit for His purposes with His people Israel (Dan. 2:37 & Deut. 32:8). That period was to include the "Hanging Gardens, and the Ishar Gate", which Saddam Hussein failed to rebuild!
Cyrus' decree (2Chron 36) allowed Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.
In 539BC, it lost its independence to Cyrus/Darius of Persia, who invaded Babylon successfully via the "water gates", after lowering the river water. This is recorded in Dan. 5, during "Belshazzar's feast"!
The Persians ruled until 331BC at the invasion of Alexander the Great; but by 141BC was completely desolate; and has remained so since, (Jer. 51:37-64)!
Saddam Hussein tried to rebuild Babylon in 1983-2003, but failed.
In 2006, after Saddam Hussein's demise, plans were raised to convert the ruins to a "cultural centre".
In 2009, the site was re-opened to tourism and research.
The area known as Iraq, is partly the area of old "Babylonia"!
NOTE: (Nov. 2012) and (Aug. 2014)
It must be stated here that many respected Bible commentators and students, are of the firm opinion that physical Babylon is to be rebuilt!
Most use Zech. 5 as evidence, as well as Isa. 13 and many other references from Scripture. This must be a matter of individual interpretation, at different stages of history, with as open a mind as possible; prayerfully considered.
The main argument by those that propose the rebuilding of Ancient Babylon the city; are the many references to its destruction in the O.T. by Jehovah God, "In the Day of the Lord". It is our contention that Babylon the city, is confused with Babylon the Land, as in Scripture the land is referred to as Babylon, instead of "Babylonia" (i.e. modern Iraq and part of Syria). This view is supported by such references as Jer. 51:43, referring to "the cities" (plural). Also Jer. 51:29 and elsewhere "the land of Babylon"!
A further supporting comment is that even if Babylon the city was to be rebuilt, as such a small entity, it would not easily encompass the whole Earth as the narrative of Chps. 17 and 18 show.
However, time will show the true interpretation.
(a)Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
(a) "Seven heads are seven mountains”; (see V.10, 11 & 12).
(a)And they are seven kings: five are fallen, one is, (b)and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space.
(a) Remembering that the criterion in prophecy in our opinion is when Israel is affected, and not "Lo-Ammi", Daniel 7 gives the likely understanding of the 7 kings listed;
— 1) Babylon, (Lion) (one king).
— 2) Medes &Persians, (Bear ) (two kings).
— 3) Greece, (Leopard ) ( 2 kings), 330B.C.-167B.C. Ptolemies & Seleucids, 167B.C. - 63B.C. Hasmoneans & Maccabees.
— 4) Rev. 17:10, "one is", Rome, (one king). This at the time of John's writing.
(b) "The other is not yet come"; this seventh king cannot exist in power until Israel is again "central", in the sense of Divine Prophecy, i.e. at the "Covenant" stage of Dan. 9:27.
Note: Charles Welch, in his book ‘This Prophecy’ page 206; points to Dan. 7, and the above empires. There, Greece is shown to have ‘four heads’, (Dan. 7:6), and Medo – Persia one.
That therefore shows the Ptolemies and Seleucids as two; and the Hasmoreans and Maccabees as two, which corresponds with the split of Alexander’s empire into four, after his death, (see 13:8 and notes).
(a)And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
(a)And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
(a)These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
(a)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”.
(a) See Chapter 13 and notes. Also Daniel and other O.T. prophecies.
(a)And he said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes and nations and tongues.
(a) Self-explanatory; all the peoples, religions, and nations are controlled by the whore (see V.1 & notes), i.e. peoples etc., are holding sacred and sacrosanct, false values, worship, learning, knowledge and standards all of which stem from Satan/Nimrod; which leads them to many alternatives of worship other than the One True Jehovah Zebaoth, and His Christ! (Acts. 4:12); or as is now often the case in the West, almost none at all!
(a)And the ten horns you saw on the beast, these will hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
(b)For God had put into their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
(a) These ten kings will fight against corruption of a kind, and appear to be righteous! They apparently vanquish the worldwide evil standards and decimate the whore! If these ten powers are worldwide religions, this will be an amazing spectacle. However, V.12 says they are kings.
(b The power of God here seen in getting the ten powers to clean up the world (in the sense of V.1 and notes), and amazingly to give their “kingdom” (POWER) to the beast, led by the Anti- Christ!, located in Jerusalem. By this he achieves a sense of false purity, (banning and outlawing prostitution and all its ramifications including child abuse), and obtains support and “respectability”, with all sections of society, and religions!
(a)And the woman you saw is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the Earth”.
(a) This “woman and city”; are popularly equated to Rome and the Roman Church, as in V. 9 seven mountains are mentioned in her context, and the “7 hills of Rome” are assumed by many commentators to be the meaning. Amazingly most commentators agree on that interpretation.
However, the writers agree with Dr. Bullinger that “the whore”, and her principle were active many thousands; maybe millions/billions of years prior to Rome's existence. Rome and the Roman Church, is only an example, and a good one, of pernicious falsehood.
As is well known they have placed a “priest”, in-between Christ and the individual, who must take “confession”, interpret Scripture, and deal with any and all human troubles, instead of Christ alone with the individual. In addition, they have added a layer of intercession i.e. “Mary,” whom they say must intercede for the individual with Christ.
The Mary factor has been bolstered by numerous alleged so called sightings by people worldwide which have been interpreted as Mary. It is the opinion of the writers that these are of the Enemy, Satan, to give credence to the Roman Catholic Church and their many non-Biblical teachings. They ignore conveniently Scripture’s, statement (1Tim. 2:5) “For there is One God, and One Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus”.
Note: What follows is a description of Satan's consort that has had and is still having such devastating effect upon the minds and bodies of men and women worldwide. The physical Babylon which was destroyed and has never been re-built, was the physical precursor to this great Satanic spiritual reality, (in the opinion of the writers).
Many teachers state that the physical Babylon must be rebuilt prior to its destruction which they see as physical, as opposed to the spiritual effect started by Babylon and now worldwide, which is our contention.
This Satanic consort is the great anti-thesis to that required by God Almighty of His Created beings, and had Israel remained faithful to their divine task of evangelising for the one True God, the True consort of Jehovah God would have emerged in the faithful wife Israel.
However, as is now joyfully the case, Christ Jesus achieved the beginning of the same effect on the Calvary Cross, the completion of which is shown in the New Heaven and New Earth situation at the end of Revelation, (Chp. 21).
The dealings of God with this entity described as “Mystery Babylon” (Rev. 17:5), has many commentators giving many differing views, and ours that follows is maybe different again, but is worthy of consideration. It is notable that after Noah, Babylon quickly emerged as the prime City of the Biblical area and description, and was following the ways of Satan (prince of the world Jn.12:31, 14:30, 16:11 and Eph. 2:2).
The original name Babel, (Semitic = Bab-ili = “gate of the god”). This was Satan’s starting point after Eden, for worldwide control of humans and his attempt to thwart all the efforts of God Almighty. See: Mystery Babylon:
In Dan. 2 is the description and interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the “image” (Dan. 2:31), the head of which Daniel showed was Nebuchadnezzar’s Kingdom. His, and all the described Kingdoms that followed are controlled by the god of this world Satan; and have left their mark on the world's systems, and the ones yet to be will do the same; all in the power and control of Satan.
This we contend is “Mystery Babylon”, and will be destroyed without trace (Dan. 2:35) by the “stone” (cut without hands, Christ Jesus, Dan. 2:34). The description of the destruction of this Satanic world system is just prior to Satan’s “binding”, for the duration of the “Kingdom of God on Earth” (in the Lord’s prayer), which is also known by many Christians as “the Millennial”.
Supporting the above idea, is the fact of anti-Christ's number (666); which in Greek gematria is "SSS", the ancient Babylonian secret symbol of the "Old Mysteries" which are in part all the pagan anti-God religions and practices of Nimrod and Babylon origin. This link with anti-Christ seems conclusively to point to "Spiritual Babylon", see (Chapter 13:18).
A further point for this idea, is that as per Chapter 2:13, the "seat of Satan", after his ejection from Heaven with his angels, is Pergamum, in modern day Turkey (ancient Greece). Had Babylon been in existence in that future day, Satan would undoubtedly have taken up residence there, as it is his capital of evil power, in opposition to Jerusalem and Jehovah Zebaoth! Some might argue that Satan would rebuild Babylon from Pergamum, but he only has an extremely short time after his expulsion from Heaven, to his demise and binding (Rev. 20:1-3)! It is not without reason that his priests moved to Pergamum after the demise of Babylon pre. AD!
After these things I saw another angel come down from Heaven, having great power: and the Earth was lightened with his glory.
(a)And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, (b)Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of demons, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
(a) Powerful messenger, and the message so joyful that the angel is bursting with power in the voice!
(b) See 14:8 and notes. Also, Isa. 21:9, 47:9-11 & Jer. 51:8. The physical Babylon became desolate approx. B.C. 539, after the Medes and the Persians ruled (Medo – Persian Empire). The angel's declaration concerns the great Satanic spiritual parallel, which has grown from the physical original, and has spread worldwide.
This concerns all man’s activities which are not under the auspices of God. Particularly; all trade, commerce, money making activity and anything related to world commerce where a hierarchy of favour and coercion for favour from men/women is involved. There is probably no area of human activity excluded from the curse of spiritual Babylon, except "prayer and worship in spirit and in truth", John 4:23-24.
We are all involved in the system at present, until it is brought to an end (see 14:8) and elsewhere, hence Paul's warning, (1Tim. 6:10); which shows that “love” of money, not possession of it is the evil to be avoided. The fact that we are all in the system at present, does not mean we should be involved in all its excesses. It does mean we should be ever mindful of the many pitfalls that are everywhere, and in faith navigate out of reach of the dangers; ever with our eyes in faith on Our Lord.
Such was the case with Peter the fisherman, who the Lord called from the boat to Him, walking on water. As soon as Peter took his eyes off Jesus he started to sink; such is the peril in Satan’s “Babylon world”.
The Almighty’s disfavour was shown through Christ's cleansing the Temple in Jerusalem with a whip, of money-changers and traders, (John 2:15) & (Psm. 69:9), which is a precursor of the great fall of “Babylon”!
(a)For all nations have drunk of the wine of her fornication, and the kings of the Earth committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the Earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies”.
(a) The clear message is that kings, merchants and people, have “idolised”, Babylon in trade, favour, privilege etc., have grown rich in this idolatry (harlotry)! Their god therefore is riches, gain, and particularly power, instead of Jehovah Zebaoth!
(a)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.
(a) “Come out of her My people”; see Isa. 10:20-24.
(a)For her sins have reached unto Heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
(a) “The woman; spiritual Babylon”, is about to receive the justice of God.
Reward her even as she rewarded you, and punish her double according to her works: in the cup which she has filled, fill double for her punishment.
How much she has glorified herself, and lived luxuriously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she said in her heart, “(a)I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow”!
(a) “I sit a queen”; in Chp. 17:18, she is described as “The woman”,
Interlinear translates the Greek “GUNE”, (Str. No. 1135), as “particularly a wife”. As the O.T. Israel was the “GUNE" (HEBREW "ISHSHAH") the unfaithful wife of Jehovah, (Hos. 1-2), so here “the woman”, “Babylon”, is the harlot of Satan (Isaiah 47:5, 7 & 8, and the whole Chapter. Also Jer. 44). She is a queen only whilst Satan is the “Prince of the Power of the Air”, the god of this world, (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan however is about to lose all power on Earth, (Chp. 20:1-3).
(a)Therefore shall her plagues come (b)in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God judging her.
(a) The fire judgement, see (Chp. 19:20) & (20:15).
(b) Isaiah 47:9.
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 (a)one hour is thy judgement come"!
(a) When the time is reached (God’s timing is perfect), the judgement is extremely swift! (Isaiah 47:9, 11,15 etc.).
And the merchants of the Earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buys their merchandise any more.
(a)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 of vessels of ivory, and all manner of 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 men.
(a) The list of luxurious goods, leading finally to men! The bodies of people! (Comp. page 1907). (Isaiah 47).
(a)And the fruits that thy soul lusteth after are departed from thee, and all things that were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
(a) All merchants, traders, sellers, ship owners etc., that relied on the power of “the woman”, for their livelihood, mourn her demise with great sorrow. All of these people (many millions) would be marked and owned by the beast, if the marking has world-wide application as opposed to Israel only.
(a)The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand a far off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing.
(a) Isaiah 47:15.
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!
For in one hour so great riches is come to naught. 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 onto 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 (a)one hour is she made desolate"!
(a) Jer.51, Isa.13, Zech.5 & Isa.47, etc.
(a)Rejoice over her, thou Heaven and you saints, apostles and prophets; for God has avenged you on her.
(a) This long awaited sentence on “the woman”, much celebrated in Heaven, and clearly seen by the saints, apostles and prophets, at the time of its enactment!
(a)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 craftsmen, of whatever craft, shall be found anymore in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
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; (b)for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived".
(a) The sentence of “Babylon; the woman”, detailed.
(b) Her great seductive powers, and Satan's power (sorceries), brought the Earth (nations) to ruin, compared with the plan of Jehovah Zebaoth! She is the great attraction as the consort to Satan, but is not seen as such, as yet by the nations of the world!
(a)And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, (b)and of all that were slain upon the Earth.
(a) All who stood against her/Satan; God’s prophets, His saints were slain; (this clearly not physical Babylon, which gives credence to our view re. world-wide spiritual Babylon)!
(b) This in Interlinear reads, “and all of those having been slain”. I.e. all men and women who opposed “the woman”, throughout the Ages.
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