Today: [Revelation 17:] Who is Mystery Babylon and Can’t We All Just Get Along? In Rev. 17 one of the angels with the seven vials reveals to John what is called the “Great Whore of Babylon.” There are many ideas as to what this is. We also see the anti-Christ forces turning against each other as God confounds our enemies and brings about His will in the earth.
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[Rev 17:1-18 KJV] 1 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: 2 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. 3 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. 4 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: 5 And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 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. 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 carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8 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. 9 And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 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. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. 12 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. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 14 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. 15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16 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. 17 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. 18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
In v. 1 John sees one of the seven angels with the seven vials that comes over to talk with him. John is invited to see the judgment of the Great Whore that sits on many waters. Who is the Great Whore? She is depicted as a woman sitting on a beast with many names, drinking the blood of the martyrs. This is very representative of the false church outside of Christ down through history. Women in type and symbol often but not always represent churches in the Bible. The woman is the church of the Middle Ages who spills the blood of the martyrs for 900 years as chronicles in George Foxes’ Book of Martyrs.
The beast she sits upon speaks of what the church because as a religious system after Martin Luther’s day: a beast with many names (Latin “denomis”). She is called Babylon. Babylon was a tower built to reach to the heavens. The Christian religion outside of Christ is that which seeks to build a performance-based approach to God with only a nominal acknowledgment of grace or dependence in an indwelling of Christ in the heart by faith. It is true that only a minority of groups in Christian culture believe in a New Birth experience. Most of the church even in our day see their involvement with God as that which is arbitrated by the institutions of the church rather than by a vital personal relationship with a living Lord. Of those who do believe in the New Birth how many of those are cold in their faith caught up in the culture of the world?
This woman whatever she represents is coming to judgment in Rev. 17. There are those who believe that the Great Whore, Mystery Babylon is the United States typified by Lady Liberty in New York harbor. Demetri Dudamin, a Romanian pastor, tells of an angelic visitation where the angel declares this because America as the melting pot of the world receives all into its borders with their gods and their godlessness without truly teaching the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This Great Whore is described as committing fornication with the kinds of the earth causing all the inhabitants of the earth to be made drunk with the wine of her fornication. One former terrorist turned Christian missionary makes the statement that oil is the wine of America’s fornication whereby wars have been fought, and principles of moral rectitude set aside all in the name of commerce and economic values. Might this be so? Perhaps not but we would be unwise to dismiss these possibilities glibly.
Who are the seven heads and ten horns? Those who believe that the totality of Revelation came to pass before Constantine’s time believe that these seven heads and ten horns represent components of the Roman Empire. These are those with a preterist viewpoint. Is this possible? It is impractical to think that none of the prophecies of Revelation applied to anything that has happened in the last 2000 years. The danger is that many preterists, therefore, dismiss this book altogether as yesterday’s newspaper of no further use to the believer other than to take it and line your birdcage with it. That is a very perilous viewpoint.
Still, others firmly insist based on v. 9 that the woman is the Catholic church because the angel tells John that the seven heads are seven mountains and Rome is built on seven hills. We might also point however to the seven mountains of influence that so many have taught on in recent years. These are seven spheres of influence in modern culture first suggested by Bill Bright in 1975. These include:
Arts and Entertainment
What would be Mystery Babylon in this context? Remember that the metaphor of a woman also speaks of the soulish nature of man. It is that portion of man’s make up that drives him, provokes his appetites and pursuits independent of God and separate of God. Regarding those through history have taken the blood of the saints were they not hedonists given wholly over to their lusts and their perversities? Is that not the tsunami of perversion that is still sweeping full force through the nations of the earth today?
In v. 10 the angel reveals five of the seven kings are fallen at this point leaving one in power and one that is yet to come. Thus it is unlikely to be Rome, and that depiction doesn’t quite fit the seven mountains of influence. We also set that of the seven heads with ten horns they describe kings who have received no kingdom but will move as one with the beast which was and is not at this point but will be. Whatever this describes it speaks of nations and peoples and world leaders coming together with one mind just as Nimrod did with the peoples of the earth in building the tower of Babylon. To what end? To make war with the Lamb.
How will these make war with the Lamb? Remember the conversion of Saul of Tarsus? Jesus asked Saul why he was persecuting him. Thus we understand that by making war on Christianity these peoples and nations will by proxy be making war with Jesus Himself by declaring war on the believer. Toward this end in v. 17 we see multitudes and nations and among every tongue of the peoples of the earth upon the many waters of the sea arising to join in war against the Lamb. What happens next? The attitude of one mind among the peoples against Christ turns to hatred of one another and against the whore to burn her with fire.
Have you noticed when the political forces which militate against our values and our freedoms are about to accomplish their goals they are suddenly moving against one another? We can lament the infighting and bickering in Washington but where does it originate from? Can you imagine the national disgrace that would be brought upon our nation if the politicians of our country were suddenly of one mind in one accord? Do you really think you would approve what would happen next? Make no mistake about it – as God confounded the languages of the nations to put an end to the building of the tower of Babel, so He has confounded the political parties of our government and those of the nations of the earth to prevent them from accomplishing their godless plans and we can only rejoice and say to the FAther “you do all things well!”
This strife among the godless takes place because God put it in their hearts to do so to bring about their own destruction.
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