The Harlot Church
Chapter 17 of Revelation
A careful description of the 1-- Great Whore = the false church employed by Satan during the great tribulation to deceive the world and if possible even the very elect. 2-- An exact account and explanation of the 10 horns or financial kings that rule the world with the beast. We see them finally turn on the Great Whore and destroy this mighty tool of the devil and his demons. This is not surprising-- Satan has always used dupes and people unwittingly.
Now the harlot church is seen from 2 views 1-- Seen as that beast with lamb-like horns in Revelation 13:10-18 or the false prophet-- head of the Antichrist whole church system. (see study on False Prophet) 2-- Seen as that great whore seated upon that scarlet colored beast-- Revelation 17:1-18.
Revelation 17:1 "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."
Read verses 1-3. So one of the seven angels came and talked with him. He says he will show him the judgment of the great whore. Of course, this is one of the seven angels that pours out these judgments.
Now a whore we know is an unfaithful woman, a woman who sells herself physically to many men. So this is an unfaithful woman. In the O.T., harlotry is a symbol of spiritual adultery by departing from God and setting your love and your affection upon the world and upon other things, having hopes in this world, kingdoms of men, money, whatever it would be that you would put in front of God.
Many references, I'll give you some
1. Isaiah 1:21-- there it says, how has the faithful city become a harlot.
2. Eze. 16, the whole chapter-- depicts Judah as an abominable harlot in the sight of God, spiritually speaking. She's turned away from God, who has blessed her and done so much for her, and He says you've become a harlot and you've played the harlot with the Egyptians and with the Assyrians and with these people and those people. You've not trusted in Me. You've trusted in your alliances, and so He says you've become a harlot.
3. Eze.23:5-49-- all through these verses, Judah is compared to a harlot having departed from God.
4. Nahum 3:4-- speaks of Assyria as a harlot, as a whore. It's a double application to the end time church. That picture of Assyria there also points to the harlot church in the last days.
5. Hosea 1:2;2:2-4-- speaks of the kingdom of Israel as a harlot.
6. Hosea 4:10-18-- it says there that they have separated themselves with whores, spiritually speaking. The people of God had departed from God and begun to trust in other things.
7. Hosea 9:1-- thou hast gone a whoring from thy God.
Now this whore sitting upon many waters is explained in Revelation 17:15. So she is sitting upon nations and peoples and tongues. That is her realm. She is in control of people.
Revelation 17:2 "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."
So the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. Fornication is illicit sex. It's immoral sex that one does not have a right to commit because it is not their wife. She's not married to them and they are not married to her. But they become joined together in an ungodly alliance and it is a close union without the sanction of God. So this church, this false church, is aligning itself with the kings of the earth.
Now if it says here that the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, then that, of course, also implies that she has committed fornication with them. They're both committing fornication with each other. First of all, the false church with the kings-- this shows that the church has married itself into the world and has moved into the realm of power, politics, money, men, influence and control in an earthly sphere. God has never commissioned His church to be in that realm and to deal with those kinds of things. It's a church that has grown rich and proud dealing in power, wealth, political alliances and control, and it's all the exact opposite of the spirit of Christ.
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, and the harlot church comes to establish her great throne upon the nations. So she has departed from God who was to be her only husband.
You can see the churches today, many that have gotten into the realm of just shear politics. The World Council of Churches sends money to fund communists in Africa and Latin America and other places.
Second, the kings committing fornication with the false church-- this shows that her false religion corrupts the nations, fills them with blasphemes, sin, false doctrine, licentiousness, and provides for them a cloak of religion under which they can sin and soothe their conscience. Now that's how the nations commit fornication.
Also, the kings commit fornication with her in the sense that they join themselves to her and use her for the purpose of bringing their own goals and establishing their own control.
The ten horns in the last day will use the harlot church to win and ensnare the people. Then when they are done with her, they will destroy her.
So this shows a harlot and her many bedpartners. The whole crowd has become filthy and abominable in the sight of God.
It says here in verse 2 that the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
So they are being made drunk with her doctrine, her lies, her deceptions, her excuses for sin, her false religion as a whole. They are made drunk with it. Men are made bold to sin and commit adultery against God because of the deceptions that she brings.
We see that after the flood there was spiritual fornication. The people joined themselves to Nimrod. They became one with him. They united with him. They submitted themselves to him, and that was spiritual fornication against God.
Revelation 17:3 "So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns."
So we see this world church is established upon this world government system and she has been working hand in hand and has been established on the world system every since the beginning.
The woman sits upon the beast. Literally, sitting; she is sitting on this scarlet colored beast. So this shows that her heart and her position is exactly the opposite of a servant of God. Servants of God aren't sitting in throne position and in glory and pearls and so on. She is not depending upon Jesus. She's not standing to do His will. She is sitting upon her own throne which is a beast. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world", John 18:36. But the whore has made her kingdom of this world. So she is a false church; she's an unfaithful woman.
Now scarlet is a color representing or has represented in the past
1. The papacy, the Roman Catholic papacy.
2. Scarlet is also the type of sin.
3. The blood of martyrs that has been shed.
4. And of royalty.
This beast is full of names of blasphemy having seven heads and ten horns. These names of blasphemy are names of assuming the position of God. All throughout these various empires there have been emperors who have assumed the position of God and the titles of God and the prerogatives of God, and it is blasphemous to God's ears. These heads and horns are the same ones we see in Chapter 12:3 and 13:1.
Revelation 17:4 "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."
So we see associations that bring us right back to an image that is very similar to the Roman Catholic Church, the papal colors, rich adornments.
A description of a Cardinal Wolsey of England, 1500's: "Whenever he appeared in public two priests, the tallest and comeliest that could be found, carried before him two huge silver crosses, one to mark his dignity as archbishop, the other as papal legate. Chamberlands, gentlemen, pages, chaplains, choristers, clerks, cup bearers, cooks, and other domestics to the number of more than 500 among whom were 9 or 10 lords and the stateliest yeomen in the country, filled his palace. He generally wore a dress of scarlet velvet and silk with hat and gloves of the same color. His shoes were embroidered with gold and silver, inlaid with pearls and precious stones."
If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his, Romans 8:9.
Now she has in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. Now I am not saying that this harlot is exclusively and only the Roman Catholic Church. Do not misunderstand me. I do believe that in the last days the Roman Catholic Church is going to be a very big part of this false church system and the thing that draws it all together. You realize, of course, that if this harlot is seated upon the beast with seven heads and ten horns, she has been there seated before the Roman Catholic Church ever existed. The Roman Catholic Church is the manifestation of the harlot in our day. It's the manifestation in our day as she has developed over a period of years.
She has a golden cup in her hand. You can't help picturing the Chalice of the Catholic Communion service, which is an imitation and a false representation of the true communion with Christ.
The golden cup-- the gold speaks of Deity, so she claims to know God, to have the power of God, that the sacraments are the means of salvation to God. She claims to know God, have His authority and represent Him. But it is a false claim, just as the Antichrist rides a white horse. It's a false righteousness.
This is full of abominations. Another translation of the word abominations could be "disgusting things", e.g., false doctrine of demons which make allowance for corruption and sin. All of the falseness represented in that system can be summed up as an abomination. Jeremiah 51:7,8 (Read), but she can't be healed, it goes on to say.
Revelation 17:5 "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."
This name is upon her forehead. The name on the forehead shows that she has full knowledge of what she is doing. It is a departure from God with full knowledge rejecting the truth of God. Her mind becomes full of blasphemous, false, abominable things.
Revelation 2:20-24, We see that in the Thyatira Church age there were those that spoke of the depths of Satan. They spoke of the deep things that they represented in that false church system, that Catholic Church system, but they were really the deep things of Satan.
She is called, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. We see in 2 Thess.2:7 that there is a mystery of iniquity that is already at work. It was at work in Paul's day, and it is at work in our day coming to the full. This Babylon church system is part of it. It is working hand in hand. It is a part of the mystery of iniquity.
BABYLON takes us back to Babel. Babel means confusion. Babel was founded by Nimrod after the flood. It was a joining together of false religion and politics into a single unified church/state system uniting people contrary to the will of God, into one system against God. God saw what was happening in the earth and He divided their tongues and scattered that world government system of that day and they were scattered upon the face of the earth.
After that, other world kingdoms began to arise. There were seven major ones: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and in the last days the Antichrist system.
Babylon here is called the mother of harlots. So she is the source of all spiritual adultery and all false religions. If Babylon is a religion, which it is, and a philosophy, then other false religions which have come out of her can be called her daughters. They take after their mother and are harlots also. So she becomes the mother of harlots. This is actually the way things have been historically.
When Noah's ark landed upon the mountains of Ararat and he and his sons came out, they had a new earth, figuratively, in which to dwell, a place where they could live righteously before God. But within a very few generations, man on the whole had quickly departed from God and now there was a harlot, a whore, a false religious system that had departed from God.
Nimrod was Noah's great-grandson. There was Noah, then Ham, then Cush, and then Nimrod. Of course there were a lot of other grandsons also. But Nimrod was a direct descendent of Noah, being his great-grandson. So you can see man departed from the true knowledge of God which Noah and his sons had.
This system at Babel became the source of all false religion in the world. They had a mother goddess, Nimrod's wife, queen Samiramis, she became the symbol of a mother goddess. Her son Tamuse who died, she claimed rose again. You can see this false counterfeit religion.
So all over the earth now there are religions involving the mother and the son and the son who rose. It has taken different forms down through history, quite possibly a counterfeit of God's salvation plan.
Catholic doctrine has a direct line of succession back through Roman and Greek paganism right to Babel, because Roman and Greek paganism, it is plain to see, came out of Babel. Their gods are just renamed gods from older cultures which take you back to Babel.
Of course, we know from history that the Roman Catholic Church came in as a mixture of paganism and Christianity through Constantine's desire to unite his empire with one unified religious system. So when he decided to make all the pagans Christian, quote and unquote, he took many of the trappings of the pagan Roman religion and put them right into his new Catholic, that is, universal, Church.
The Roman high priest was called Pontifex Maximus, and so the Pope is called Pontifex Maximus. The Roman pagan religion had a college of cardinals and they had vestal virgins. Take that "virgins" with three bags of salt. They were temple prostitutes. The corresponding counterpart to that in the Catholic religion is nuns. Now I'm not saying that nuns are necessarily prostitutes, but you can see how these things carried over.
This is why Babylon is called the mother of harlots, and this is why we see her sitting upon the beast with seven heads. She has existed all through these seven major world governments in different forms. She comes to her fullest expression in the last days as the mystery of iniquity comes to the full.
So God would tell His people in these last days that it is vitally important to come out of her and to be separate and to walk holy just as Abram came out of Ur of the Chaldies over there near Babylon. He had to come out of there, lest he be corrupted with their spiritual fornications.
References for coming out of her: Revelation 3:21-23; 18:4,5.
Revelation 17:6 "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."
So he sees the woman drunken with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. If she is drinking this blood out of her cup, then it is showing that she has mixed the blood of the saints with the abominations and filthiness of her fornication. So we can see why God would judge her so severely in His anger and wrath.
And when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. That word admiration means "amazement or wonderment". So today when she arises into her abominable fullness, the world will wonder. There will be wonderment upon the earth. Of course, John is not wondering and being dazzled by her; he is just amazed, but there are going to be people who are going to be dazzled and astonished and say, "Boy, this is that unity we've been waiting for." And there is going to be an intense demonic pressure upon people's minds to try to persuade them that this is the fulfillment of the plan of God. This is that unity which Jesus said, "Father that they may all be one." This is that unity and oh, look at the humility and the love of the brethren. But they are not brethren, they don't belong to God (in a qualified sense). They have not bowed themselves before His truth, His Word.
She is drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. We can look back through history during the Reformation, there are estimates between thirty and sixty million born again Christians were slaughtered by the Catholic Church in an effort to stop the Reformation and bring back her wayward sons to the faith, as she says. The Popes enunciated a policy that they would stop at no means in an attempt to bring the sons back to the faith, no means, even up to the point of killing them if necessary. And in the last days, this world church system is going to have a hand in martyring many thousands of Christians.
Revelation 17:7 "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."
So this angel is going to show John the mystery. That is, he is going to tell him what it means. The mystery is going to be revealed to him. A parallel passage 1 Cor.10:11. The ends of the world are come upon us, and God would reveal these things to us in a fresh way, so that we can know what's happening in the world and be not deceived.
Revelation 17:8 "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."
This beast that was and is not, of course, refers to that revived world government system in the end of time.
Here it says "it ascends out of the bottomless pit". Now what does that mean? How can the beast, the Antichrist and his government, ascend out of the bottomless pit?
Well, we see in another passage, Rev.9:1,2, that there were hordes of demons that ascended out of the bottomless pit and they were in the form of locusts.
Now later in time, at the end of the Millennium, Satan will be loosed from the bottomless pit for a short season, Rev.20:1-8. So when it says this beast rises out of the bottomless pit, we're saying that the Antichrist system and the Antichrist have Satan as its source, just as Jesus, the man, said I came down from heaven. He meant that heaven was his source. His source was God, the heart, plan, and mind of God and therefore, he came down from heaven in the fullness of time.
So this beast has Satan as its source. A parallel passage is Rev.11:7. So this is talking about the beast again with Satan as its source. Rev.13:2-3, the dragon gave the beast his seat, his power, and great authority.
This was, and is not, refers to the wounding of the seventh head of that world government at the time of the manchild's birth and ministry. That wound is inflicted. The seventh head was, then it was wounded unto death, and that corresponds to "is not" here in 17:8, and then it's revived.
Rev.13:3 "And I saw one of his heads, that is the seventh head......." Rev.13:12 "And he, the false prophet... cause all to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." Rev.13:14; Rev.17:11 Adds another aspect of understanding to the scripture. So when that world government system and he, the Antichrist, in the sense that he is trying to bring it in, is put to death. It receives its deadly wound because of the work of God that is going on in the earth. Then after the saints are raptured, it rises up again. And this time it says he is the eighth. The eighth refers to the Antichrist himself being in full power over that system. There was a world government, but now he is the eighth-- he is now in full control of it.
It says in verse 8, they that dwell on the earth shall wonder. So that restoration of the 7th head, of that world government, will amaze the people of the world. How quickly it comes in, it just comes in like a flood, and it's there in full power--he's in full control in a very short period of time, and the people wonder about it. Was, and is not, and shall ascend, simply shows the progression in time. It's past, present, and future. It shows a process of time. First, we see the Antichrist revealed, then the system is wounded, and then it's revived coming from the bottomless pit. Satan is now at the helm of the system-- he's the source. This is when the Antichrist is empowered by Satan himself, 2 Thess.2:9.
Revelation 17:9 "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth."
And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The mind that knows the meaning of the following, has wisdom-- here's what follows.
The 7 heads are 7 mountains, on which the woman sitteth. Mountains in the Bible are representative of kingdoms
Psalms 30:7 (Read) Jer.51:24,25 (Read) where Babylon is called a mountain. Eze.35:2,3 (Read) where Edom is referred to as Mt. Seir. Amos 4:1 (Read) speaks of the mountain of Samaria, northern Israel. Dan.2:35,45 (Read) Jesus Christ becomes a great mountain or a great kingdom which fills the whole earth (his Millennial kingdom). Obad.8,9,19 speaks of the mountain of Esau, and that is the kingdom of Edom. Zec.4:7 (Read) God says concerning the kingdom coming against Zachariah, and also in type, the world system which contests the plan of God in Jesus Christ.
So this woman of false religion has been involved with every world empire. She's been sitting on them all. The Egyptian priesthood and religious leaders, the Assyrian priesthood and religious leaders, the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, and Antichrist have all been a manifestation of the same harlot system seated upon these various world empires. And that's why it says here in verse 9, the 7 heads are 7 mountains, on which the woman sitteth. She's been seated on all of these world kingdoms. All of these religions and religious leaders have heavily influenced the nations with their spiritual sorcery and spiritual drugs. Also real drugs have seduced, and have intoxicated the nation with lies and deception.
Revelation 17:10 "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."
So in John's day he's seeing that 5 have fallen. The 7 kings represent the 7 kingdoms. For instance, in Dan.2:38,39, when Nebuchadnezzar saw an image and the head was gold and the shoulders and breast were silver and the loins were brass, the legs were iron, he spoke of that head and said to Nebuchadnezzar, "Thou art that head of gold, Nebuchadnezzar, thou art this head of gold."
But then he said, "After thee shall arise another kingdom." And then he was speaking of the Medio- Persians, you see. Thou art the head, and after you shall arise another kingdom.
Nebuchadnezzar is being identified with his kingdom, and then there comes another kingdom. So it's both a king and the kingdom.
So these 7 kings here represent 7 kingdoms, and 5 are fallen. In John's day, there were 5 of them fallen: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece. And he says one is and that is the Roman kingdom, and one is not yet come and when he cometh, he must continue a short space-- that's the Antichrist world government system at the end of time.
Now some commentators would make this: five are fallen, and they would say, those were Emperors of Rome that had fallen
But the problem is that in John's day, at the time that this was written between 96 and 100 A.D., there had already been at least 10 Roman Emperors who had fallen. So it can't be referring to Roman Emperors when it says 5 are fallen, because there were at least 10:
Now Tragen was Emperor in John's time, at the time of the book of Revelation between 98 and 117 A.D. But after Tragen, there is not just one more to come which must continue a short space, there were 45 Emperors up to and including Constantine the Great. I think that is 45 total including the ones I've already mentioned. And after Constantine, there were 21 Emperors up to the fall of Rome. So the total number you come up with is approximately 77 to 79 total Roman Emperors. So you can see that can't possibly fit Rome.
Furthermore, it says there are 7 mountains and therefore there has to be 7 separate kingdoms. They can't be 7 kings of the same kingdom. There are different kingdoms being spoken of here. These 5 fallen cannot be 5 Emperors, neither can they be 5 of the 7 hills of Rome.
Some also say the 7 heads are 7 mountains, on which the woman sitteth, and that's the 7 heads of Rome that sit on the 7 hills of Rome, and that's the Catholic Church. Nice parallel but it doesn't fit, because 5 of the hills of Rome have not fallen. They're still there, so they can't be these 5.
They must mean 5 kingdoms. According to the typology of scripture, these 5 mountains must be 5 kingdoms. They have to be something along the lines of the order and the magnitude of the Roman empire. They have to be world kingdoms because they're all classed together. There's been many, many more than 7 kingdoms in the earth's history, but as far as these major world conquering kingdoms and by that in past time, we've been speaking about the known world. But in the end of time, the Antichrist kingdom conquers the entire earth. These have to be world kingdoms that we're speaking of.
And one is, and the other is not yet come. "And one is" = the Roman Empire. "And the other is not yet come" = the Antichrist Empire.
Revelation 17:11 "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."
Again, we're speaking of that 7th head, that end-time world government. "And it was, and is not." So this is the government that is going on at the time of John's vision, that is, in the end times, in the Day of the Lord.
And the 7th head we saw already was wounded unto death, and that, of course, corresponds here to "is not".
Even he is the eighth. That is, when the Antichrist system is restored from its deadly wound by the sword, the Word of God, then the 8th, the man, the Antichrist himself takes his seat in full control of this world government. That happens after the Rapture, and he reigns for 42 months, Rev.13:5.
It's the same world government system as before the Rapture but now it is restored, and when it is, Satan's man is at the head of it in full control. So that's why it says, "He is the 8th."
Rev.6:1,2 is a parallel to this. It speaks about the Antichrist as a rider upon a white horse with a bow. And it says, "He went forth conquering and to conquer." And a crown, a victor's wreath, was given to him. This is the same period of time when he rises up as the 8th-- it corresponds exactly to that rider with the bow going forth.
And is of the seven. That means the 7 world kingdoms are the foundation of the mystery of iniquity which now has it's final maximum fulfillment and culmination in the man of sin, the Antichrist.
So this beast is dealt a death wound and then when it's revived, it's called the eighth, and is of the seventh. The seventh world government was already in existence before the Rapture, and then it was dealt a death wound, then it's revived, and so now it's called the eighth which is of the seventh.
And goeth into perdition. Perdition is destruction. He goes into destruction. In Rev.19:20, we see him going into destruction-- they are the first residents of the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 17:12 "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."
So they're 10 kings, which have received no kingdom as yet. These horns are not there in John's day. They are all on the 7th head. They have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive power one hour with the beast. That is, they're all in power during that 7th head, that beast system in the end of time.
These 10 kings are 10 financial powers. We know they cannot be nations for a variety of reasons, and I'll be pointing some of them out here.
One reason is that the nations of the earth are not truly what is wielding the power of the earth. The nations are pawns which are being manipulated by men who are in control of these nations financially.
The most common interpretation is that these 10 are the common market nations of Europe. That's the most wide spread, standard interpretation. But this can't be true because they don't receive their kingdom until they reign one hour with the beast.
They can't be nations that have kings and are existing now as nations. They can't be France and Spain and Italy and Germany and these others because it says they have received no kingdom as yet. When do they receive the kingdom? In verse 12 it says they receive power as kings one hour with the beast. So it's not until the reign of the beast, the Antichrist reign, that they receive their official kingdom.
Now that doesn't mean they don't have power before then. We know they are not going to be ten totally average men working at Boeing and so on. They can't be 10 totally powerless men and then all of a sudden receive absolute power. We know they've had power before the Rapture, Revelation 12:3.
But as far as reigning in full control with the beast in total dominion over the earth, having fully surrendered up their power to him with one mind reigning with him-- that does not occur until the 3 ½ year Tribulation.
But receive power as kings one hour with the beast-- that's the beast's hour of dark glory, the Tribulation. It's spoken of in Rev.13:5, where it says that the Antichrist was given 42 months to reign.
This hour is symbolic. An hour can be a literal hour or it can be a period of time, a designated special period of time. And concerning that hour, we read in Rev.3:10 that because we have kept the word of His patience, He shall keep us out of that hour of trial which shall come upon all the earth. We're going to be kept out of that hour. That's the same hour we're speaking of here in Rev.17:12 where they reign one hour with the beast.
We know clearly in the last days that the real source of power is money. It's a financial system. And as Rothchild said, "Give me the purse strings of a nation and I care not who sits upon its throne." Because he knew where the real power was. The real power is not in the President of the United States. It's not even in any of the world leaders. It's in the men behind the scenes. It's a mystery to people out in the world-- they don't know what is happening. They really don't, there's a brainwash in the news media.
Most people know that there are big international bankers who are running the world. We know that everything is going in that direction. Global this and global that, its all around us.
So they're reigning with the beast in that appointed hour. And that hour has another parallel: 2 Thess. 2:6 (Read) that's his appointed time, his allotted time, the Tribulation period where he reigns.
Now the crowns on these horns in Rev.13:1 show that that hour of power of the beast has begun. Earlier in Rev.12:3 the hour had not come because the Rapture had not occurred. But now after the Rapture, in the Tribulation, the 10 horns are crowned. And so the 42 months of Rev.13:5 and the beast rising out of the sea, Rev.13:1, correspond to Revelation chapter 6, seals 1-6, the Great Tribulation.
Revelation 17:13 "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast."
And that is, they are entirely united in mind and purpose and action because of their ravenous desire for control of money and of men and of nations. They are willing to pool their resources in order to reach their goal. They're willing to come to terms at one conference table and work hand in hand for world control.
And shall give their power and strength unto the beast. Literally, "they shall give their power and authority unto the beast. And you can see therefore, the intensity of their desire and their lust for money and control, if they're willing to give their authority to someone else in order to attain it.
Each one of those men if he could attain it, would be over the whole ball of wax. He would share it with no one. But being realists, in a worldly sense, they see that the only way that they're going to achieve their dominion, at least in their life times, is by pooling their authority. So they give their power and strength unto the beast. Read verse 17, it is God who puts it in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
Revelation 17:14 "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."
"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them." This making war with the Lamb is spoken of in Revelation 19:19-21 (Read).
"For he is Lord of lords, and King of kings." This means in part that He is Lord of those lords, and King of those kings. He overcomes them because He is King of all kings. There is no king that can stand in His way when He rises up in His wrath, no king!
"And they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." Now that refers to the saints which will return with Christ at the Second Coming. We see in Revelation 19:14 that armies follow Christ when he returns, these armies are probably saints, including the Raptured saints, the victorious martyrs who came out of the Great Tribulation, and probably the 144,000-- all returning with Christ at the Second Coming.
Revelation 17:15 "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
And therefore this woman is seated upon and dominates nations and peoples and multitudes of the world. She sits as a queen. She sits as royalty, as I mentioned before. She is not standing as a servant of God at all. She desires her own ease, her own power.
The beast is her seat. A parallel passage speaking of her in typology is Isaiah 47:7,8 (Read). It's talking about this world Babylon. The N.A.S. translates that, "I sit as a queen forever." And in the end of time she'll say, "I am and none else beside me. And we're getting rid of all these other people." Isaiah 47:9 (Read). So she's going to be destroyed suddenly, just as Babylon in those days was destroyed suddenly.
Revelation 17:16 "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."
So we see that God here is using the Antichrist and his ten horns, these ten powerful men, to do His will, because the next verse says "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will and to agree", etc. They are unknowingly doing the will of God.
There is a parallel in Jeremiah 51. We see a continual principle in the Word of God that God uses men to fulfill His purpose, even unrighteous men that are not serving God, consciously. God will make them vessels in a certain sense that He can use to fulfill His purposes upon the earth. Jeremiah 51:1,28,29 (Read) verse 1-- that destroying wind here is the Medes and the Persians. Verse 29-- so God uses the Medes here to fulfill the purpose of the Lord. Also read Isaiah 10:5,6 Assyria was God's tool to fulfill His purpose.
These ten horns and the Antichrist shall hate the whore and make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. "Eat her flesh", Vincent's Greek word studies says it is: a token of extreme hostility.
The Antichrist kingdom uses her, and then after using her to deceive the world and gain the submission of the hearts and worship of the people, he destroys her. That's the way Satan deals with his own and with his servants. After he is done using them, they're destroyed-- they are not rewarded. Satan hates even the ones that follow him.
Now this way, with the harlot system out of the way, Satan can go for all the glory, so to speak, without false religions robbing him of the glory that he wants to receive by himself. Satan used religion up to this point, but then he will move for a totally open worship of himself without any religious philosophies getting in the way at all.
Revelation 17:17 "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled."
So they unite in one world kingdom and finally purpose to destroy all forms of religion. The result would be a totally Satanic society. God here uses Satan and his plans as an instrument to judge the whore.
Revelation 17:18 "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth."
"Reigneth over the kings of the earth"-- literally says, the woman who has a kingdom upon the kings of the earth.
Now it could be translated upon or over. Over fits the Greek idiom. There are other scriptures that talk about reigning over someone and they use that Greek word eppi or upon. Here she has a kingdom upon the kings of the earth. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that she has had total control over every king who's ever been upon the face of the earth, but she has a kingdom upon the kings of the earth.
Taking the sense of upon, you can see how she derives her power from the world system and from the kings of the earth. So she has a kingdom based upon them, just as we see her here sitting and riding upon the beast. She is deriving her authority from the beast.
On the other hand if you take it as over, she has a kingdom over the kings of the earth, then you would see the truth of the fact that she has reigned over kings and over empires since Nimrod and on. She's the institution of false religion and power that exerts influence over the nations and over the people's leaders. You can see that in history, e.g., during the height of the papacy, the midnight hour of the papacy, Pope Innocent III said, "I am over kings as the sun is over the moon." He exerted total authority over the kings of Europe. They trembled if they didn't obey his will. He would withdraw the priesthood and the sacraments, and the people would go into a superstitious hysteria, thinking that they couldn't go to heaven unless they had the church and the sacraments. The kings would just buckle under immediately and do his will.
Now that great city refers to this false church system, this false world Babylon religion-- it's a false city. God has His true city, the New Jerusalem, and Satan has his false city, the Great world Babylon. In chapter 18 of Revelation you see that the whole chapter is taken up in a pictorial description of the destruction of this harlot system. (For more detail on chapter 18 see study on the fall of Babylon).
Brief Summary of the Destruction of the Harlot Church and some facts that we can see about it
We see that it is done at the hands of the world government system. This destruction is done at the hands of the beast and the ten horns. We see that in chapter 17:16.
We see that it is God's will being performed through ungodly men-- he's using men to do this destruction, Revelation 17:17. It's more than just a disbanding or a forbidding of the harlot system. It's more than that. It's not just, "OK, no more church."
Some facts we see here
1. It involves death, Rev. 18:8.
2. The destruction is violent, Rev.17:16; 18:21.
3. It occurs as a retribution, as a revenge, Rev.18:6, and it is God who is taking the vengeance.
4. We also see that it is judgment, Rev.17:1; 18:8.
5. It involves the anger of the wrath of God, according to Rev.16:19.
6. It is complete and permanent, Rev.18:21.
7. It also causes others to fear and be horrified, Rev.18:1,9,15,17-19.
8. It involves great financial loss that happens suddenly, Rev.18:11-19.
9. It is sudden, Rev.18:8,10,17,19.
1. It could involve mass slaughter of leaders and all of importance in the world church. That would certainly fit as a revenge for the killing of the saints. Again, it is ungodly men, the Antichrist and the ten horns who bring this about. We see that death is spoken of in Revelation 18:20,24.
2. Now as to whether a world church headquarters will be destroyed, that's a possibility. But the destruction in this chapter is not the bombing of a headquarters, it's more than that-- it's the destruction of a whole city. It speaks of this city, and by city, I mean the system. It's not a single literal city or building, but it's the whole system that God is taking vengeance upon. So that's the destruction of Babylon.