THE HARLOT SYSTEM - Revelation 17



Revelation 17

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

April 28, 2020, the Year of Our Lord


The 2020 presidential election will not be between two-men. Joe Biden is a figurehead for the harlot/political-system. Donald J. Trump will again be running against a highly organized global-financial/political/religious/harlot-system.


The globalists (Beast system) need her (Mystery Babylon system) to get where they are going and will curry her favor. Then the system will unite to destroy her.


Rev. 17:16:  The ten horns which you saw 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


One of the angels in Revelation 14 proclaimed the fall of “Babylon the Great:”


Rev 14:8 - And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication


In chapter 16 when the seventh vial judgment was emptied, the imagery of Babylon, the monster, who has swallowed up God’s people, is forced by God to drink a double draught of judgment in her own cup.


Rev. 16:19: The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell; and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His Wrath.”


In 2020, the cities of the nations are in financial and political trouble. The shops are closed.  The city streets are empty of people.  Is this the final judgment of “Great Babylon” or a warning and precursor?


 Revelation 17, 18 and 19 read almost word for word with Jeremiah 50-51 and Isaiah 46-47.  Jeremiah’s prophecies are the prediction of the fall and perpetual desolation of Babylon, a prototype of pagan idolatry. 


 Genesis 10:10 mentions Babel as part of the empire of Nimrod.  Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 B.C.) was the greatest king of Babylon.  At the height of his power, the Babylonians over-powered the nation of Judah, destroyed Jerusalem, and carried God’s people into captivity for 70 years (606-536 B.C.).


  The prophecies in Revelation speak of “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”   This mystery Babylon is the spirit of Babylon which means “confusion; Babel – from 1101 = “Baw-lal” = “to overflow with oil; by implication, to mix; to fodder.  Babylon was the most influential power on earth.  Just as the wealth of the spirit of Babylon is the most influential power on the earth today.


To the Jew, Babylon represented a man-made religion that was demonic in nature with a lifestyle that was abominable in the sight of God.  Jews came to apply the name Babylon to any city that shook its fist in the face of God.


The harlot-church-system is also a type of Babylon and religious prostitution.


When John was writing the Revelation, all his mind could see was –Rome.  He saw its power and its evil.  To him, she was a religious prostitute.  The New Testament Babylon is “the mother of harlots” who has dominated peoples, multitudes and nations.  This spirit of confusion that pervades all man-made religion and governments has become a habitation of demons and foul spirits.


Babylon is pictured as a prostitute (representing a false union which cannot satisfy) who seduces people away from the true and living God, captivating the souls of men.


The Christian has been espoused to one Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 11: 1-3).  Like Isaac, we are the children of promise, sons of the “free-woman,” the heavenly Jerusalem---the true Church (Gal. 4: 21-31).


The force of the imagery and drama in Revelation is strongly felt because of the deliberate contrast drawn between Babylon and the New Jerusalem, which is presented as both Bride and City (19: 6-9; 21:1-27). 


With regard to “Mystery Babylon,” the divine command is clear: Come out of her, my people, that you are not partakers of her sins, and that you do not receive of her plagues (Rev. 18:4).


The judgment of  Mystery Babylon  is now portrayed in a further vision.  As the drama unfolds, we meet the infamous woman, the most successful prostitute of all time.


An angel will do most of the talking while John listens.


17:1-2: Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me saying, ‘Come here, I shall show you the judgment of the great harlot, who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.’”


The great harlot is metaphorical of not just a city, but all who have been unfaithful to God.  Whenever Israel turned from God to worship other gods, she was called an adulteress (Hos. 1:2).  Thus, this harlot is the world’s greatest seductress who uses materialism, immorality and religion to lure men and women away from the Lord.


This is not the first time a city has been described as a harlot.  Nineveh was such a city, who betrayed nations with her harlotries and charms (Nahum 3:4); as well as Tyre and Samaria.  Here the reference is to Rome’s domination of the Mediterranean world.


Jeremiah 51:13:  O you that dwell upon many waters, abundant in treasures, your end is come, and the measure of your covetousness.


The metaphor of “many waters” is interpreted in 17: 15: The waters which you saw where the harlot sits are peoples and multitudes and nations, and tongues.”


That the kings committed adultery with her is in reference to political and economic treaties, as well as their immoralities.



Revelation 17:3: The angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness;


The woman is in the wilderness.  Being is the wilderness is metaphorical of living in rebellion against the revealed will of God.  To be carried away in the spirit is the language of prophetic ecstasy as described in Ezekiel in 37:1  and 40.  The prophetic ecstasy, or to be raptured into the Third Heaven, is applied throughout the Book of Revelation.


17:3: …I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns…


The scarlet beast is the beast from the sea of 13:1.   The color of the beast, like the woman’s finery bespeaks of ostentatious splendor.  That she is riding the beast indicates, at this point, she is the more powerful of the two.  The antichrist’s beast system needs her influence to get where he’s going and will curry her favor.


 17:4: The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones, and pearls…


The harlot church system knows how to use the tremendous wealth accumulated by religion and politics in seducing men and women. 


 Having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality…


The literal Babylon was a golden cup in the Hand of the Lord. Jer. 51:7-8:  Babylon has been a golden cup in the Lord’s Hand that made all of the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore, the nations are mad.  Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed; howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so, she may be healed.”


I would say this again is either a warning for the nations in the year 2020 or a precursor of things to come.


Drunkenness may seem a mild picture for divine wrath compared to the horrors of war, natural disaster, plagues and disease that God is shown visiting on sinners.  But the cup of wrath is a particularly dark symbol of judgment.


The cup of the wine of the fierceness of God’s wrath (Rev. 16:19) is the judgment in view for the harlot-financial/political/religious system.   “This weapon of God is released and used when God has brought out his full wrath.  It is used when the cups of iniquity and wickedness of agents of darkness have reached a capacity that is full and overflowing.  The moment God brings out this weapon, there is no going back.  It is referred to as the cup of fury and trembling (Isa. 51:17).  The cup of fury will make the enemies of God tremble. (Isa. 51:22).”  (101 Weapons of Spiritual Warfare- Dr. D. K. Olukoya.)  


The image of the cup of wrath carries special horror because drunkenness (unlike being overtaken by battle, earthquake or plague) is something a person does deliberately.  Drunkenness implies a humiliating progression. 


According to this scripture in the end-times, this judgment of drunkenness will cause people to go mad.  This state of intoxication (whether from alcohol, drugs, addictions or insanity) is here spoken of as an end-time plague on all nations.


However hateful has been the persecution of Christians down through the centuries, it is nothing compared to what this evil spirit is going to do when it teams up with that political and economic giant---the beast.  They will be responsible for the wanton slaughter of countless Christians.  The killing of saints is pictured as having an intoxicating effect on the harlot.



Rev. 17:5-6: And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.


The righteous are blessed with the cup of His blessings, but the wicked will taste the cup of His wrath. 


Psa. 16:5-6:  O LORD, “You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.”


Luke 22:20: Likewise, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.


Rev. 17:7-8:  The angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.  The beast that you saw was and is not and is about to come up out of the abyss and to go to destruction.  Those who dwell on the earth will wonder, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast, that he was, and is not and will come.”


The beast is described in 11:7; 13: 3, & 8.  While the beast is the empire, the interpretation oscillates between the empire and its personification in the persecuting emperor who after his mortal wound comes to life again as the last Antichrist.  He was, now is not, and yet will come” is a profane parody of the divine name of Jesus in Rev. 1:4: “Him who is, and who was, and who is to come.”


Rev. 17:9-11: Here is the mind which has wisdom; the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.  They are seven kings; five have fallen, one is; the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.  The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.


This is definitely a riddle.  The mention of the seven hills would be an instant clue for the early readers of this book.  Rome was built on seven hills.  There was no doubt in anyone’s mind but that Rome was the anti-Christian center of the world.  However, the interpretation goes beyond the city.  It is my personal belief (which is as good as anyone’s and really means nothing) that the seven hills not only mean Rome at the time this was written, but is prophetic of the high-places of world-power in the last days.


The five Roman emperors who had fallen are not totally identifiable.  If we reckon from the first emperor, we count, Augustus; Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius and Nero.  The 6th king was in power as John was writing.  The angel says #7’s reign will be brief.  Some Biblical scholars believe the 7th king was Vespasian (69-79A.D.).  Josephus predicted two years before Vespasian ascended to the throne that he was destined to fulfill part of the Revelation prophecies.  There are many theories as to who the 7th king was or will be. 


However, there is very little dispute among scholars but that the 8th king will be the imperial antichrist.  At the end, the power of a persecuting empire will be embodied in the imperial Antichrist, who belongs to the seven, presumably in the sense that he is of like-demonic nature of one of the seven.


Antichrist is designated as the man doomed to destruction in 2 Th. 2:3.


17: 12-14: The ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.  These have one purpose and they give their power and authority to the beast. 


The ten horns have a different significance from that of their prototypes on the nameless beast of Daniel 7:7.  With the exception of the rule of the imperial antichrist and the final triumph of the Kingdom of God destroying the persecuting empires, all of Daniel’s prophecies came to pass by the time Stephen was martyred.


The ten horns represent ten kings, who are yet to arise as allied dependents of Rome in making war against the Lamb (13), but subsequently, in concert with the people of the empire itself, turn and rend her (16).  They cannot be identified with known historical characters.  The city of Rome was indeed sacked in 410 A.D.  by the Goths, who had entered into alliance with the emperor; but it is doubtful if John foresaw that event as a fulfillment of his vision. 


By 410 A.D. Rome had surrendered to the sovereignty of Christ. 


John reminds us with reference to the empire that he knows best, that imperial dominion does not endure.  Any power which sets itself against the Lord and against his anointed signs its own death-warrant.


Rev 17:14: These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.


Revelation 19 describes this eschatological victory.  The called, chosen, and faithful followers are described as the armies of heaven dressed in fine linen, white and clean.


17: 15-18:  He (the angel) said to me, the waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.  The ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.  For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be fulfilled.  The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.


The imperial allies and provinces of the beast system/one world order unite in this annihilating attack on the great city, Babylon, that rules over the kings of the earth.


The theme of great Babylon’s downfall is continued in chapter 18, but is presented in terms of the destruction of a great mercantile city.


Next week – Chapter 18 – The Fall of Babylon, The Great.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

I entered into the labors of F. F. Bruce International Bible Commentary; C. S. Lovett’s Lights on Revelation; Dictionary of Biblical Imagery; Understanding Types and Shadows by Kelly Varner; Sermon by Carolyn Sissom, Babylon, dated 3/3/2009.

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