CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 17  

 

NOTE:

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 2018) drawing close (the next Chapters to 22), and so much was/is happening, it was necessary.

The great effort by the Enemy Satan 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; that effort failed! 

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; and to thwart, and eventually to try to destroy Israel from the Earth; which at this date (Aug. 2018) is still future!

In this Chapter, the delusion created by Satan in these efforts are partially exposed!  

 

V.1   (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: 

V.2   (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 (Governments) 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” (which started in Babylon), (2Chr. 15:3), (Jer. 10:10), (John 17:3), (Acts 17:23), (1Thess. 1:9) and (1John 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.

V.3   (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 Rev Chapter 14:1(b)), under the initiative of Nimrod, and his mother!  

(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.   

V.4   (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 (d)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:) 

(d)  See 2(a) above. 

V.5   (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, 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 Israel); 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, in Scripture: Eph. 6:10-18, 1John 4:1 to 5:8 and John 4:24!  See: Babylon & Mystery Babylon:     

V.6   (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”; NASB, “wondered greatly”;  HCSB, “utterly astounded”; Youngs Literal, “great wonder”; The Amplified, “amazement”.   

V.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 carried her, which hath seven heads and ten horns.                     

V.8   (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; (see speculative paper; The Genesis 1:1 Enigma).

“The Body of Christ”, known before the foundation (overthrow) of the world, is by implication not on Earth at that time, (Eph. 1:4), (1Peter 1:20.) & (See Rev. 3:5 (c)).  

(d)  Satan’s “Beast” is the candidate for this statement!  He had been the great power early in history after the Flood.  He "was not" at the time John wrote; and “Mystery Babylon” is the likely headship of the future Beast, here described (Chp. 13), but in essence of the old area Babylonia, now Iraq/ Syria.  He empowers (via. Satan) the confederate Nations ‘see below’ who are aligned against Israel!  

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.                      

V.9   (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).  

V.10   (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 Biblical prophecy in our opinion is when Israel is affected, and not "Lo-Ammi" (not My people), 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 ) (two 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).               

V.11   (a)And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

V.12   (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. 

V.13   (a)These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 

V.14   (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. 

V.15    (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.

V.16   (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. 

V.17   (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!   

V.18   (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”.  

 

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