CHAPTER 17 | Verses 1-7

Verse 1: “And one of the seven angels, carrying the seven bowls, came and spoke to me saying: ‘Come, I will show you the judgement of the great harlot, who sits upon many waters.’”

The harlot is not a specific woman. It is an idolatrous, self-gratifying, religion that is connected to the beast empire. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes.

Many waters speaks of a great multitude of people (17v15).


Verse 2: “The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and those who dwell upon the earth became drunk from the wine of her fornication.”

Those who dwell upon the earth (see 3v10): these are those who have given themselves over to a worldly way of thinking. They are drunk, out of control, and refuse to live according to the standards, restraint or parameters of Almighty God.


Verse 3: “And he led me by the Spirit into the wilderness. I looked, and behold a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, and to her was seven heads and ten horns.”

The wilderness has to do with those (John, in this case) who are absolutely dependent on God. When we approach spiritual truth, to put it into action in our lives, we need to understand our absolute dependence on God – for all things.

The characteristic that really defines this evil empire, in the last days, is harlotry (idolatry). It will consist of improper worship. Its lifestyle will conflict with the laws/commandments of God.

Scarlet relates to sinfulness (Isaiah 1v18). Names reveal identity, but they also reveal character. This beast’s character is blasphemous (he does that which is against the character of God).

There is nothing new about this beast (a vast empire). It has already manifested itself six previous times. The seven headsrelate to seven empires(17v9-10), the ten hornsto ten kingdoms(17v12).


Verse 4: “The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet. She was decked out in gold, precious stones and pearls. In her hand was a golden cup full of abominations, and the filth of her fornications.”

Purple is associated with royalty. This kingdom will present itself as if it is royal. Cup has to do with consumption. What we consume we become. This cup looks good, valuable, but it is full of filth. This religion will look good and desirable, from an outside standpoint, but it is an abomination. Abomination means ‘in conflict with holiness’.

Verse 5: “Upon her forehead is written a name: ‘Mystery: Babylon the Great. Mother of Harlots and the Abominations of the Earth.’”

Babylon, from a prophetic and Old Testament perspective, hasto do with exile and its consequences. Exile brings about pain and suffering.


Verse 6: “And I saw the woman: drunk from the blood of the saints and the blood of those who had the testimony of Yeshua. And I was amazed concerning the appearance, with great amazement.”

Blood hasto do with death. This empire is driven by its unbridled desire for the blood of the saints (those who walk in the character of God). The Bible ties those who live holy and sanctified lives (saints), to those who conduct themselves, or behave, in the way that Yeshua did.


Verse 7: “And the angelsaid to me: ‘Why are you amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, who has seven heads and ten horns.’”

This angel is going to give John a greater understanding of this beast. He conveys that this empire is related to the harlot, and to the seven heads and ten horns.


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