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The. .Bible > A Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Chapter 17) Revealing the Mystery of Babylon the Great and the Beast

A Commentary on the BOOK of REVELATION

Or, A Disclosure From Jesus Christ
About What Must Shortly Come To Pass

by Tom Stewart

Chapter 17

His Name is called the Word of God.


Chapter 17:
Revealing the Mystery of Babylon the Great and the Beast

Both Chapter 17 and the following chapter describe the destruction of "Babylon the Great" (17:5), i.e., "I will shew unto thee the judgment of the Great Whore" (17:1); but, this chapter sets the stage for that destruction by revealing to us the identities of both Babylon the Great and the Beast, i.e., "I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the Beast that carrieth her" (17:7). Many commentators agree that ecclesiastical, political, and economic Babylon are described in this pair of chapters. However, the difficulty of interpreting the two chapters lies in distinguishing the spheres of influence of both the Great Whore and the Antichrist, since they overlap and are intertwined through their spiritual fornication. "Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts" (Nahum 3:4). That their conduct is illicit, can be seen through the name given by the Holy Spirit to Babylon the Great, i.e., the "Great Whore [Greek, porne, also translated as harlot]" (17:1). "17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God" (Deuteronomy 23:17-18).

An angel,
"one of the seven angels which had the seven vials" (17:1), is seen here instructing the Apostle John concerning the "judgment of the Great Whore" (17:1). She is described as sitting "upon many waters" (17:1) and sitting astride the "Beast that carrieth her" (17:7). Just as Antichrist arises "out of the sea" (13:1)-- signifying that he will emerge out of the "isles of the Gentiles" (Genesis 10:5)-- the Great Whore sits "upon a scarlet coloured beast" (17:3)-- signifying that she both derives her power from the Antichrist and exerts controlling influence over him-- a symbiotic relationship. "What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith He, shall be one flesh" (1Corinthians 6:16). Historically, the Roman Catholic Church has been noted to have this whorish relationship between Established Religion and State, and as mammoth as Rome is today; the Roman Pontiff would need to elevate himself even more to continue the prophetic destiny of the Church of Rome-- most probably through the recent inauguration of the United Religions. "This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men" (Daniel 4:17). [See our series of articles, "Babylon the Great" ---New Window, for a development of the past, present, and future of this arch foe of the LORD Jesus Christ.]

Why have the Kings of the Earth committed spiritual fornication with Babylon the Great? Just as physical fornication is intercourse between unmarried partners, spiritual fornication is an illicit departure from God for the gratification of self. "They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to Me, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 3:1). Rulers have both their own sense of religion for themselves, as well as their understanding of what religious sense motivates their people, which they must harness to establish their kingdom. "24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand" (Mark 3:24-25). An example of how the religious sense of a ruler converted the king, but not the kingdom, is that of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. "34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto Heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honoured Him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation... 37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase" (Daniel 4:34, 37).

The spiritual fornication of the kings is most often the spiritual temperament of the people, i.e.,
"And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings" (Hosea 4:9). Kings not only enforce the Law, but they lead by their example-- for good or for ill. "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" (17:2). Regardless of the actual form of government, rulers understand that their government requires the support of the people, and often make their decisions based upon the will of the people-- without concern for what is right. "13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 said unto them, Ye have brought This Man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined Him before you, have found no fault in This Man touching those things whereof ye accuse Him: 15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him [along with Jesus, to make your allegations against Him]; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto Him. 16 I will therefore chastise Him, and release Him. 17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.) 18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with This Man, and release unto us Barabbas: 19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) 20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. 21 But they cried, saying, Crucify Him, crucify Him. 22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath He done? I have found no cause of death in Him: I will therefore chastise Him, and let Him go. 23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that He might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. 24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. 25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will" (Luke 23:13-25).

We are here reminded that the Apostle John was given a series of visions in the Apocalypse, for one of the seven angels of the Vial Judgments carries him "away in the Spirit" (17:3) to see a third vision of Christ climaxing His judgment of the world (17:1-21:8). [See our notes on Chapter 11 ---New Window, verse 1 for the fourfold division of John's Apocalyptic visions.] Why was this vision given to John in the "wilderness" (17:3)? In this instance, the "wilderness" (17:3) seems to indicate the theme of judgment. "How is the hammer of the whole Earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!" (Jeremiah 50:23). The Great Whore (17:1) is the woman that sits upon the "scarlet coloured Beast" (17:1). The "seven heads" (12:3) of the Dragon signify seven governments, kingdoms, or empires, from which the "ten horns" (12:3) or ten different rulers reign, i.e., "ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise" (Daniel 7:24).

The phrase
"full of names of blasphemy" (17:3) indicates that both the Great Whore and her paramour the Beast are full of evil speaking against our LORD Christ, "who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen" (Romans 9:5). Though sin is plainly the despising of the Law of Love, i.e., "sin is the transgression of the Law" (1John 3:4), how anyone could loathe the God who is love, is truly a mystery. But, the "mystery of iniquity doth already work" (2Thessalonians 2:7). Or, as the Apostle John informs us, "Little children, it is the Last Time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the Last Time" (1John 2:18). Virulent hatred of God exists in the world, because God in His wisdom has allowed moral agents to exercise their Godlike image, i.e., "in the image of God made He man" (Genesis 9:6), for or against Himself; however, it is the "goodness and forbearance and longsuffering" (Romans 2:4) of God that brings any of us unto "repentance" (2:4). That Loving Longsuffering of God that seeks our repentance, is even more unfathomable than the blackest sin and blasphemy of the Great Whore herself. "17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all Saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:17-19).

The Great Whore is "arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls" (17:4), indicating an opulence unknown to the vast majority of the world, but so easily identifiable with the ecclesiastical pomp of the Church of Rome. "7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow... 16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!" (Revelation 18:7, 16). What justification does the Church have to impress the ungodly with worldly displays of wealth in the name of seeking the salvation of their souls? None whatsoever! "And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head" (Luke 9:58). Neither pageantry to impress the benighted masses or woo the overindulged elite, justifies the ostentation that places the emphasis upon the "lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1John 2:16). Only with the greatest caution and understanding could any successful ministry justify the building of any superstructure that would potentially overpower the hearts of the Faithful. "7 Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die: 8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9 lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain" (Proverbs 30:7-9).

A gilded cup is held by the Whore,
"full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication" (17:4). The cup is gold, which is lawful for all to possess, but its contents of disobedience and rebellion are deceptively marketed to mankind as good and right-- and not the self-seeking, self-loving, self-gratifying, God-hating thing that it really is. "O love the LORD, all ye His Saints... for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever" (Psalms 31:23; 136:1). The Whore seeks to entrap mankind to gratify herself, as well as justify her actions. "4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil" (1Corinthians 13:4-5). As long as we "walk in love" (Ephesians 5:2), it is unfathomable that all men would not likewise love the Blessed LORD with all their heart, soul, and mind; but, Scripture has wisely depicted evil to give the Innocent Saints the necessary understanding of our enemy, which is the Whore. "I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil" (Romans 16:19). "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2Corinthians 2:11). Those who refuse to separate themselves from the Whore, become partakers of her evil deeds, and are justly worthy of her punishments. "And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4).

Why should the "Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding" (Isaiah 11:2) inspire the Apostle John to record that Babylon the Great is "THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (17:5)? The ziggurats of the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and the Mayan people of Central America indicate the antiquity of such structures as the Tower of Babel-- built like the Egyptian pyramids in receding tiers, often of sun-baked bricks, e.g., "Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter" (Genesis 11:3). These ziggurats normally had shrines at the top, which indicated their use for religious worship. One of the most ancient examples of these ziggurats was discovered in Erech, i.e., "And the beginning of [Nimrod's] kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar" (10:10), dating more than 3,000 years before Christ. For this reason, Babylon the Great would be viewed as the Fountainhead of Idolatry and Spiritual Harlotry and "ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (17:5), since the time of Noah's Flood.

The very name Babylon is also translated as Babel in the Old Testament.
"8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the Earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod [literally, rebellion] the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel [literally, confusion], and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar" (Genesis 10:8-10). Subsequently, the building on a "plain in the land of Shinar" (11:2). of a "city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven" (11:4); was devised to exalt man and not God. "11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. 12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish" (Psalm 49:11-12). Jehovah's judgment was to scatter and confuse them, because the intent of the builders of the Tower of Babel was not only to exalt the name of man, i.e., "let us make us a name" (Genesis 11:4), but to refuse obedience to the Almighty's command to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth" (9:1)-- which implies populating and overspreading the Earth-- as can be seen in their concern that they would "be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole Earth" (11:4).

It is typical of a prostitute to know
"no shame" (Zephaniah 3:5), inasmuch that Scripture speaks of a "whore's forehead" (Jeremiah 3:3), i.e., "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush" (Jeremiah 6:15). John Gill (1809) recorded that some harlots of ancient times impudently advertised their names over their doors, as well as upon their foreheads. But, the name emblazoned by God upon the forehead of the Whore, "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (17:5), makes simple her identification. "Knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth" (Proverbs 14:6). The Greek word musterion, which is translated "MYSTERY" (17:5), is capitalized by the translators of the King James Version as part of the title "BABYLON THE GREAT" (17:5); however, it may only be an adjective describing the woman's title, e.g., "Babylon the great" (18:2). John Wesley also reminds us, "This very word ["MYSTERY"] was inscribed on the front of the Pope's mitre, till some of the Reformers took public notice of it" (from Wesley's comments on Revelation 17:5 in his "Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament" [1765].) [See our article, "An Earnest Appeal to Roman Catholics: Or, Roman Catholicism Examined in Light of the Scriptures" ---New Window, for a realistic look at Catholicism.] In his classic expose on Romanism, Alexander Hislop (1809-1865), a Scottish Free Church minister, wrote, "There never has been any difficulty in the mind of any enlightened Protestant in identifying the woman 'sitting on seven mountains,' and having on her forehead the name written, 'Mystery, Babylon the Great,' with the Roman apostacy" (from the Introduction to "The Two Babylons: Or, The Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife" [1853].) It has been a common position of Christians since the Reformation to view Roman Catholicism as a corruption of the Primitive Church, and a torch bearer of the "mystery of iniquity" (2Thessalonians 2:7) that has polluted the world from Ancient Babylon to the present. Henry Alford (1857) saw Roman Catholicism in the BABYLON THE GREAT of this passage: "I do not hesitate therefore, induced mainly by these considerations, which will be confirmed as we proceed step by step in the prophecy, to maintain that interpretation which regards papal and not pagan Rome as pointed out by the harlot of this vision" (from "Alford's Greek Testament: An Exegetical and Critical Commentary," IV, p. 705.) [See "The Reformation and the Church of Rome" ---New Window from our in-depth series of articles on "Babylon the Great" ---New Window for Martin Luther's perspective of Rome's connection to Babylon.]

What will be the final form of Babylon the Great? We can be sure that the Whore:

(1) Will be personified as "the False Prophet" (Revelation 16:13). Since Babylon the Great only rides the Beast, i.e., "I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast [the Antichrist]" (17:3), she is not to be confused with the Beast himself. Her intimacy with the Beast stems from her need for the governmental power of the Beast to assure her a monopolistic religious franchise, i.e., "as many as would not worship the image of the Beast should be killed" (13:15).

(2) Will promote the worship of the Antichrist., i.e., Babylon the Great "exerciseth all the power of the first beast [the Antichrist] before him, and causeth the Earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed" (Revelation 13:12). Babylon the Great's ingenious device will be forcing the world to take the Mark of the Beast, which assures the participation of every human being in the world in the religion of Babylon the Great in exchange for life and its physical necessities. "16 And [the False Prophet] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (13:16-17).

(3) Will spiritually fornicate with the kings of the Earth, i.e., "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" (17:2), because, as with the Antichrist, she needs their help to force her religion upon the world. Her spiritual fornication is that she will champion the violation of the Most High God's Law of Love. "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind... Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:37, 39).

(4) Will be blasphemous, i.e., "And [Babylon the Great] had power to give life unto the image of the Beast, that the image of the Beast should both speak... full of names of blasphemy" (13:15; 17:3). "10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart... 21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him" (Proverbs 7:10, 21).

(5) Will be materially rich, i.e., "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" (Revelation 17:4).

(6) Will be a murderer of the True Saints, i.e., "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs of Jesus" (Revelation 17:6).

(7) Will reign over the people of the world, i.e., the "inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication... The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (Revelation 17:2, 15).

(8) Will be characterized as a city, i.e., "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the Earth" (Revelation 17:18). Alexander Hislop recorded:

"No other city in the world has ever been celebrated, as the city of Rome has, for its situation on seven hills. Pagan poets and orators, who had not thought of elucidating prophecy, have alike characterised it as 'the seven hilled city.' Thus Virgil refers to it: 'Rome has both become the most beautiful (city) in the world, and alone has surrounded for herself seven heights with a wall.' Propertius, in the same strain, speaks of it (only adding another trait, which completes the Apocalyptic picture) as 'The lofty city on seven hills, which governs the whole world.' Its 'governing the whole world' is just the counterpart of the Divine statement--'which reigneth over the kings of the earth' (Rev 17:18). To call Rome the city 'of the seven hills' was by its citizens held to be as descriptive as to call it by its own proper name. Hence Horace speaks of it by reference to its seven hills alone, when he addresses, 'The gods who have set their affections on the seven hills.' Martial, in like manner, speaks of 'The seven dominating mountains.' In times long subsequent, the same kind of language was in current use; for when Symmachus, the prefect of the city, and the last acting Pagan Pontifex Maximus, as the Imperial substitute, introduces by letter one friend of his to another, he calls him 'De septem montibus virum'--'a man from the seven mountains,' meaning thereby, as the commentators interpret it, 'Civem Romanum,' 'A Roman Citizen.' Now, while this characteristic of Rome has ever been well marked and defined, it has always been easy to show, that the Church which has its seat and headquarters on the seven hills of Rome might most appropriately be called 'Babylon,' inasmuch as it is the chief seat of idolatry under the New Testament, as the ancient Babylon was the chief seat of idolatry under the Old" (from the Introduction to "The Two Babylons: Or, The Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife" [1853].)

(9) Will be destroyed by the Antichrist, i.e., "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" (Revelation 17:16).

(10) Will be judged by the Almighty God. i.e., "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" (Revelation 17:17).

Consequently, identification of Papal Rome, i.e., Roman Catholicism, with Babylon the Great, and the Pope with the False Prophet, are both historically accurate and prophetically most probable. "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance; He will render unto her a recompence" (Jeremiah 51:6). Though the Roman Pontiff has adopted the wait-and-see Gamaliel approach to the June 2000 chartering of the United Religions Initiative (URI), if the Almighty soon chooses to remove His watching and waiting Saints by Pre-Tribulational Rapture, then the events of the ensuing Tribulation Week will take away the necessity of a voluntary, interfaith URI. "Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4). Of course, the events of the Tribulation Week will mean that the Pope must mandate the worship of the Antichrist "in the midst of the week" (Daniel 9:27), if he continues to pursue the headship of world worship, namely as the False Prophet.

The refinement of True Christian Character demands a suffering that even Babylon the Great has unwittingly provided. "3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 and patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Romans 5:3-5). As distasteful to our flesh as any kind of suffering is, we do not seek tribulation, but neither should we avoid it, if the path of loving obedience directs us under its blows or through its flames. "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the Church" (Colossians 1:24). As the Apostle John said, "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you" (1John 3:13); therefore, his reaction to the "woman drunken with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (Revelation 17:6) was that when he "saw her, [he] wondered with great admiration [literally, wondered with great wonder]" (17:6). The Greek word thaumazo means to wonder with great wonder or astonishment. And, what astonished the Apostle John? That the world would hate the True Saints, was clearly understood by John; therefore, his astonishment must have been that the Great Whore was seen by the world as representing True Religion, while persecuting the True Church-- and, it may be added, with the greatest intensity and thoroughness ever allowed by the Almighty. "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isaiah 48:10). "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God" (Zechariah 13:9).

The intimacy and similarity between the Antichrist and the False Prophet, the
"Beast out of the Sea" (Revelation 13:1) and the "Beast out of the Earth" (13:11), "Mystery, Babylon the Great" (17:5) and the "scarlet coloured Beast" (17:3), made confusion between the two likely for the Protestant Reformers, whose vantage forced their conclusion; and especially, their position is understandable, since the False Prophet "exerciseth all the power of the first beast [the Antichrist]" (13:12). For the present, whether the Roman Pontiff is identified as the False Prophet and not the Antichrist, is of small consequence, since both epitomize the pinnacle of human evil. "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (17:6). It is a task of mind boggling proportions to recount the depths of savagery inflicted upon the Body of Christ by Babylon the Great under the sponsorship of the Church of Rome. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). "Foxe's Book of Martyrs" (1563) contains eyewitness accounts of Rome's atrocities; and, it continues to be attacked by Roman Catholics as a dishonest and untrustworthy portrayal by John Foxe (1516-1587) of the suffering of the Reformers, as well as vilified as containing grotesque stories of popes and monks with, as they ridicule, a motley succession of witnesses to the truth. "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved" (John 3:20). The histories of the Waldensians, Albigensians, Lollards, Hussites, Huguenots, etc. are only representative of how bloodthirsty Rome may treat her heretics; but, even more, the fires of the Inquisition have touched untold numbers. "We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

As history witnesses, it has been the common position of the Protestant Reformers and many noted Christians since the Reformation, to identify the Pope as the Antichrist:

(1) John Wycliffe (1330-1384) (Precursor of the Reformation):

"Wycliffe had come into communication with the Italian, Spanish, and French dignitaries of the Church, who enjoyed the confidence of the Pope and the cardinals. There was given him an insight into a circle which would not have readily opened to his view in his own country. Other lessons too he had been learning, unpleasant no doubt, but most important. He had not been so far removed from the Papal court but he could see the principles that reigned there, and the motives that guided its policy. If he had not met the Pope he had met his representatives, and he had been able to read the master in his servants; and when he returned to England it was to proclaim on the house-tops what before he had spoken in the closet. Avarice, ambition, hypocrisy, these were the gods that were worshipped in the Roman curia these were the virtues that adorned the Papal throne. So did Wycliffe proclaim. In his public lectures he now spoke of the Pope as 'Antichrist, the proud worldly priest of Rome...'" (excerpted from "The History of Protestantism" by J. A. Wylie.)

(2) Martin Luther (1483-1546) (Lutheran):

"In another way the decree of the Pope helped to overthrow the system it was meant to uphold. It compelled Luther to go deeper than he had yet ventured to do in his investigations into the Papacy. He now looked at its foundations. The doctrine of indulgences in its sacrilegious and blasphemous form he had believed to be the doctrine of Tetzel only; now he saw it to be the doctrine of Leo of Rome as well. Leo had endorsed Tetzel's and Cajetan's interpretation of the matter. The conclusion to which Luther's studies were tending is indicated in a letter which he wrote about this time to his friend Wenceslaus Link at Nuremberg: 'The conviction is daily growing upon me,' says he, 'that the Pope is Antichrist'" (excerpted from "The History of Protestantism" by J. A. Wylie.)

(3) John Knox (1505-1572) (Scotch Presbyterian):

"Knox preached in the castle, and at times also in the parish church of St. Andrews. In his first sermon in the latter place he struck the key-note of the Reformation in his native land. The Church of Rome, said he, is the Antichrist of Scripture. No movement can rise higher than its fundamental principle, and no doctrine less broad than this which Knox now proclaimed could have sustained the weight of such a Reformation as Scotland needed" (excerpted from "The History of Protestantism" by J. A. Wylie.) Agreeing with Luther, Knox finally concluded that the Papacy was "the very antichrist, and son of perdition, of whom Paul speaks" (from "The Zurich Letters" by John Knox, pg. 199.)

(4) John Calvin (1509-1564) (Presbyterian):

"Some persons think us too severe and censorious when we call the Roman pontiff Antichrist. But those who are of this opinion do not consider that they bring the same charge of presumption against Paul himself, after whom we speak and whose language we adopt... I shall briefly show that Paul's words (in II Thess. 2) are not capable of any other interpretation than that which applies them to the Papacy" (taken from "Institutes of the Christian Religion" by John Calvin.)

(5) Cotton Mather (1663-1728) (Congregational Theologian):

"The oracles of God foretold the rising of an Antichrist in the Christian Church: and in the Pope of Rome, all the characteristics of that Antichrist are so marvelously answered that if any who read the Scriptures do not see it, there is a marvelous blindness upon them" (from "The Fall of Babylon" by Cotton Mather.)

(6) John Wesley (1703-1791) (Methodist): Speaking of the Papacy, John Wesley wrote,

"He is in an emphatical sense, the Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled the Son of Perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers... He it is...that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped...claiming the highest power, and highest honour...claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone" (from "Antichrist and His Ten Kingdoms" by John Wesley, pg. 110.)

(7) Charles Chiniquy (1809-1899) (Former Roman Catholic Priest, speaking of his struggle to find Christ):

"Thus, as the unexpected contradictions of the Holy Fathers to the tenets of my church, and their furious and uncharitable divisions among themselves, were striking me, I plunged deeper and deeper in the deep waters of the Fathers and the Word of God, with the hope of getting rid of the deadly darts which were piercing my Roman Catholic conscience. But, it was in vain. The deeper I went, the more the deadly weapons would stick to the flesh and bone of my soul. How deep was the wound I received from Gregory the Great, one of the most learned Popes of Rome, against the supremacy and universality of the power of the Pope of Rome as taught today, the following extracts from his writings will show: 'I say confidently, Whosoever calls himself Universal Priest, or desires so to be called, is in his pride the forerunner of Antichrist, because, in his pride, he sets himself before the rest'" (from "Fifty Years in the Church of Rome" by Charles Chiniquy.)

However, it is certain that even Rome could not eradicate all of the godly through martyrdom, for Christ promised that the "gates of hell shall not prevail against" (Matthew 16:18) the True Church; and, though at times, it is difficult to believe otherwise, Rome could not martyr but a small portion of the True Saints, for the LORD of the Lampstands has promised Suffering Smyrna, "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a Crown of Life" (Revelation 2:10). "36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the Earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the Promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:36-40). [James Aitken Wylie's "The History of Protestantism" ---New Window (1878) contains, among many other things, a scholarly account of the martyrdom of the Saints (the Waldensians, Albigensians, Lollards, Hussites, Huguenots, etc.) at the hands of the Church of Rome.]

The angel of this verse is "one of the seven angels which had the seven vials" (17:1). "Wherefore didst thou marvel?" (17:7), he asked. Or, why were you amazed? This is spoken not as a rebuke, but the angel prepares John for the revelation of the "mystery of the woman, and of the Beast that carrieth her" (17:7). The explanation must have been agreeable to the First Century mind of John, for we have it on the word of an angel of God that the clarification was given, i.e., "I will tell thee the mystery" (17:7). Though we may prefer the angel to have given the explicit names of people and organizations that we may glean from current events, i.e., "Tell us plainly" (John 10:24), it was necessary to describe the Antichrist and False Prophet in more general, spiritual terms-- requiring the indwelling Spirit of God to make the specific application to the hearts and minds of the readers at the appropriate time. "But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1Corinthians 2:10).

The Beasts of the Apocalypse:

(1) The four angelic seraphim around the throne of God (Revelation 4:6-9; 5:6, 8, 11, 14; 14:3; 15:7; 19:4) are the godly "four beasts" (6:1)-- "second beast" (6:3), "third beast" (6:5), and "fourth beast" (6:7)-- who are delegated the task of announcing, i.e., "Come and see" (6:1, 3, 5, 7), the first four Seal Judgments (6:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8), and opening the Second, Third, and Fourth Seal Judgments. The Greek word zoon speaks here of living creatures, not wild animals (Greek, therion). And, these are the same "four living creatures" (Ezekiel 1:5), i.e., living creatures like a "lion... calf... a man, and... a flying eagle" (Revelation 4:7), of the prophet Ezekiel's vision.

(2) Actual wild animals (therion) or "beasts of the Earth" (6:8) are described as part of the instruments used by the Almighty in connection with His killing of one-fourth of the human population of the planet under the Fourth Seal Judgment. "Beasts" (18:13) are also listed as part of the "merchandise" (18:11-12) of the "merchants of the Earth" (18:11), who "were made rich by [Babylon the Great]" (18:15).

(3) Satan is the "Beast that ascendeth out of the Bottomless Pit" (Revelation 11:7), who martyrs God's Two Witnesses (11:3)-- Moses and Elijah. In this instance, the Greek word therion describes Satan like a wild beast. "And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the Bottomless Pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon" (9:11). However, the Saints are reminded that Satan is a present foe that resides in this world-- coming and going from the Pit-- "whom resist stedfast in the faith" (1Peter 5:9), knowing that if you "resist the devil... he will flee from you" (James 4:7). Satan's empowering of the Antichrist is for the selfish end that he will thereby gain the worship that he so fervently desires. "And they worshipped the Dragon ["the Great Dragon... that Old Serpent, called the Devil, and Satan" (Revelation 12:9)] which gave power unto the Beast [the Antichrist]: and they worshipped the Beast, saying, Who is like unto the Beast? who is able to make war with him?" (Revelation 13:4).

(4) In the overwhelming majority of instances, the Antichrist is the Beast of the Apocalypse (13:1-4, 12, 14-15, 17, 18; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2, 10, 13; 17:3, 7-8, 11-13, 16-17; 19:19-20; 20:4, 10). "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a Beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy" (Revelation 13:1). When distinguishing the difference between the person of the Antichrist and the Antichrist system that produces him, the Antichrist will be a specific human at a future time; whereas, he will arise out of the religious, political, economic, and social power structure of the world, which is the Antichrist system. "And the Beast [the Antichrist] which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the Dragon [Satan, the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2)] gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority" (Revelation 13:2). Keep in mind that whatsoever portion of this world, which is willfully kept in disobedience of King Jehovah, is the world or Antichrist system of Satan. "15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1John 2:15-16).

(5) The significant and twin beast of the Antichrist is the False Prophet. "And I beheld another Beast coming up out of the Earth; and he had two horns like a Lamb, and he spake as a Dragon" (Revelation 13:11). The False Prophet embodies the desire for worship that Satan has always possessed since his fall. "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north" (Isaiah 14:13). Satan's imitation of the Trinity is the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet. "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the False Prophet" (16:13). The certain doom of the Antichrist and the False Prophet is that they will be "cast alive into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone" (19:20) at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, while Satan's final judgment will be held in abeyance until his Post-Millennial Revolt is crushed by King Jesus. "And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire and brimstone, where the Beast and the False Prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (20:10). Hallelujah!

Unlike the Elect, those that "dwell on the Earth shall wonder" (17:8) after the Beast. Their "names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world" (17:8). God gave them over that "they should believe a lie" (2Thessalonians 2:11) "because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved" (2:10). The angel proceeds to describe to John the "Beast that was, and is not, and yet is" (17:8). What kind of Beast can be both "is not, and yet is" (17:8), as well as "was" (17:8)?

The Beast That Was, and Is Not, and Yet Is

(1) Satan is the Beast that "was" (17:8), and as Apollyon, he but again "shall ascend out of the Bottomless Pit" (17:8). This Beelzebub (Matthew 10:25), the so-called Lord of the Flies-- "the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub [Hebrew, lord of the fly] the god of Ekron?" (2Kings 1:3)-- though he is as a "roaring lion, [that] walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1Peter 5:8) and as a "serpent" (Genesis 3:4) that did "bruise [the] heel" (3:15) of the Son of Man on the Cross of Calvary, when Christ was "wounded for our transgressions [and] was bruised for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5), at that time the LORD Our Substitute did mortally "bruise [the] head" (Genesis 3:15) of Satan, the creaturely Beast. This leaves the wild Beast in a wounded and raging condition, requiring the meek Saints to "submit [themselves] to God [and to] resist the devil [knowing that only then] he will flee from you" (James 4:7), until he shall finally "go into perdition" (Revelation 17:8). Perdition is the Greek word apoleia, meaning destruction and utter ruin, which is the exquisite destruction designed by the Almighty to divorce the Devil from interfering with the happiness of the Godly, while preventing Satan's eternal soul from experiencing anything but the "blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 13).

(2) The Antichrist is the Beast that "is not" (17:8)-- at least, at the time of the writing of the Apocalypse. This second person in the Trinity of Evil is the Counterfeit Christ that triumphantly enters the Tribulation Week as a Messiah-like peacemaker, speaking "great swelling words" (Jude 16), to "confirm the covenant with many [but not with all, i.e., the recently awakened Tribulation Saints] for one week" (Daniel 9:27). The character of the Antichrist can be seen in the first four Seal Judgments. He will imitate Christ the Conqueror-- Who "ascended on high... [and] led captivity captive... [to give] gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also" (Psalm 68:18)-- when he, the arch Son of Satan, goes forth "conquering, and to conquer" (Revelation 6:2) in the First Seal Judgment, gaining for himself world domination through diplomacy. Antichrist the Little Horn (Daniel 7:8) will mimic Christ the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) in the Second Seal Judgment, when he takes True "Peace from the Earth... [with] a great sword" (Revelation 6:4), no doubt to establish the peace of no further opposition to himself. Antichrist the Lawless One-- "then shall that Wicked [literally, the Lawless One] be revealed" (2Thessalonians 2:8)-- will copy the Abundant Christ-- Whose rain falls "on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45)-- in the Third Seal Judgment, when his policies and leadership introduce the world to the "black horse" (Revelation 6:5) of famine, sharing the abundance of his administration. In the Fourth Seal Judgment, the Man of Sin (2Thessalonians 2:3) will bless the world with "Death, and Hell" (6:8) in his abortive attempt to counterfeit for his people the life that comes only from Christ the Life (John 14:6).

(3) The Antichrist system of the world, i.e., the religious, political, economic, and social power structure of the world, is the Beast that "yet is" (17:8). We are informed through the Apostles John's First Epistle that even in the First Century there were "many antichrists" (1John 2:18). This system of antichrists has spanned the ages of humankind, for the human antithesis of God has always been the Antichrist. "The fool [Hebrew, nabal-- signifying the Arch Fool, Antichrist] hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1). The world system that spawns the Antichrist has always been at enmity with the Saints-- only variously employing the crafty means of Vanity Fair Friendship to confuse and disarm unwary Pilgrims. "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4). Why does the Antichrist system of the world have such animosity to the Holy Jehovah? "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). Until the miracle of the New Birth begets a renewed heart and mind in the life of one of Satan's former serfs, the Royal Law of Love will be odious; and, the Antichrist world system will continue to persuade its benighted masses of the indispensability, and yea further, of the supreme good of self-love-- without the slightest hint of our overpowering necessity of seeking, trusting, loving, and obeying the Living God. "Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11).

In the day of the Apostle John, the city of Rome was famed for its situation of encompassing seven hills, i.e., Capitolinus, Palatinus, Aventinus, Esquilinus, Coelius, Viminalis, and Quirinalis, as noticed by Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Claudian, Starius, Martial, and others. But, though this may draw the reader to correctly identify the "woman" (17:9) with Papal Rome, the identification of the "seven heads" (17:9) is that they "are seven mountains" (17:9). Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a "great image" (Daniel 2:31) makes reference to a "stone [that] was cut out without hands [Jesus Christ, the KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords], which smote the image [human government]... became a Great Mountain [Christ's Millennial Kingdom], and filled the whole Earth" (2:34, 35). Using this understanding, the "seven mountains" (17:9) are seven kingdoms or temporal dominions upon "which the woman sitteth" (17:9). Seven, being the number of perfection or completeness, i.e., "on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day" (Genesis 2:2), the "seven mountains" (17:9) represent the totality of kingdoms and empires, which the "woman" (17:9)-- Babylon the Great-- seduces and manipulates.

Scripture reminds us that if you will not
"rejoice with the wife of thy youth" (Proverbs 5:18), then the resulting apostasy, i.e., Greek, apostasia, falling away, as seen in the Professed Church's imitation of the world's pattern of marriage-then-divorce, i.e., "And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?" (5:20), will cause Professing Christians to commit adultery against God and their former spouse. "Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery" (Matthew 5:32). The door will then be wide open to embrace the Great Harlot. Why? Because, "he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10). Infidelity to the "wife of thy covenant" (Malachi 2:14) places you one step closer to committing spiritual adultery with Babylon the Great. The "MOTHER OF HARLOTS" (Revelation 17:5) is the Spiritual Harlot that has beguiled mankind since ancient Babylon, and she will continue her siren call and the spiritual ruination of Professing Christians until her soon judgment. "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the Great Transgression" (Psalm 19:13).

The "seven kings" (17:10) represent seven successive kingdoms or empires, i.e., Egypt (1600-1200 BC), Assyria (900-600 BC), Babylon (606-536 BC), Medo-Persia (536-330 BC), Greece (330-146 BC), Rome (200 BC-400 AD), and Revived Rome, which seems to be the European Union, that was formed from the older European Economic Community (1957-1958) through the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), which was enacted on November 1st 1993. Though the first six kingdoms fit the historical pattern, the lengthy gap between the Roman Empire and the Revived Roman Empire takes more effort on the part of the reader to interpret, but it was just such a stretch that the unbelieving Jews did not make to accept that the Messiah would make a first appearance-- to be rejected, abused, and killed, i.e., "He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken" (Isaiah 53:8).-- then, to return a second time after a significant space of time in triumph and judgment. "34 The people answered Him, We have heard out of the Law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest Thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? who is this Son of Man?... 37 But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: 38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, LORD, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed?" (John 12:34, 37-38). In fact, even the early Jewish Christians were not initially clear about the necessity of a Second Advent for Christ, when they asked the Risen Messiah, "LORD, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6).

"Five are fallen" (17:10) refers to Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece having come and gone-- the zenith of their power already abated. "For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?" (Proverbs 27:24). Since the Apostle John penned this Apocalypse around 95 AD, Rome was the "one [that] is" (17:10), while the Revived Roman Empire was the one that "is not yet come" (17:10). The longevity of the Revived Roman Empire will be short-lived, for "when he cometh, he must continue a short space" (17:10). Even as the Devil knows that "he hath but a short time" (12:12), the seventh king must sense a need for haste to accomplish Satan's will. "Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths" (Isaiah 59:7). Again, it is certain that "he must continue a short space" (17:10), for it has been decreed by the Spirit of Christ through the Apostle John. "This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men" (Daniel 4:17).

At this point in the Divine Narrative, our analysis of the "Beast that was, and is not" (17:11)-- see our comments on verse 8-- is focused upon the coming Antichrist, i.e., "even he is the eighth" (17:11). The implication is that the Antichrist will come out of the seventh kingdom, i.e., "is of the seven" (17:11). Though the "seven kings" (17:10) represent successive dominions, the Antichrist will uniquely be the consummation of the seventh kingdom. Antichrist's designation as the eighth identifies him as the epitome of defilement, for:

(1) on the eighth day, the male child was circumcised, i.e., "And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised" (Leviticus 12:3), since the previous seven days his mother was in her separation and uncleanness, i.e., "If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days" (12:2),

(2) the eighth day after his healing from leprosy, the healed leper was to offer sacrifice for his ceremonial cleansing, i.e., "And [the newly healed leper] shall bring [the required sacrifice] on the eighth day for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the LORD" (14:23), and

(3) a woman was not considered ceremonially clean of her menstrual discharge, until she had offered "two turtles, or two young pigeons" (15:29). Even so, the Man of Sin "goeth into perdition" (17:11)-- that place of Unending Defilement-- just as his "father the Devil" (John 8:44), for "like people, like priest" (Hosea 4:9).

What are the "ten horns" (17:12)? The Spirit of God has revealed that they "are ten kings" (17:12). The interpretation that the "ten kings" (17:12) represent the European Union is appended with the thought that the Antichrist's global kingdom will ultimately-- for in the Apostle John's time, they had "received no kingdom as yet" (17:12)-- metrically divide the world into ten parts. "41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken" (Daniel 2:41-42). By comparison, the feet have ten toes, which act jointly for the benefit of their ruling body. This seems to have been the mind of the LORD, when He gave the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the "great image" (2:31) to Daniel, to designate that the final form of human government would have the strength of the Ancient Roman Empire's "legs of iron" (2:33), but its power would be diluted to have the human weakness of feet of clay, in that the feet and toes are represented as "part of potters' clay, and part of iron" (2:41). "Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of Him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of Him that framed it, He had no understanding?" (Isaiah 29:16).

The Ancient Roman Empire stretched from England through Spain to Northern Africa during its nearly six centuries (100 BC to 476 AD) of marching across the then known world of Western civilization. Most of Europe, Greece, and Asia Minor fell under the control of the iron of Roman peace {Pax Romana). Syria, Palestine, and Egypt were added to the Empire, before it reached its greatest extent under the emperor Trajan (c. 117 AD). Roman law, coinage, civil engineering, roads, and communication welded together diverse peoples into the stability and security that the Living God providentially used to rapidly diffuse the message of Christianity throughout the world.
"10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. 11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. 12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go" (Acts 25:10-12). By comparison, the European Union (EU) is presently (circa 2002) composed of fifteen nations, i.e., 1950: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; 1973: Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom; 1981: Greece; 1986: Spain and Portugal; 1995: Austria, Finland and Sweden. There is preparation for the accession of thirteen eastern and southern European countries, i.e., Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Turkey. The EU projects to the world an image of "stability, peace, and economic prosperity." "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh" (Matthew 24:44).

What is the meaning that the
"ten horns" (17:12) shall "receive power as kings one hour with the Beast" (17:12)? The "ten horns" (17:12) point to a global expansion of the EU format with ten regional governors under the Antichrist. The final form of human government before the Return of the LORD Jesus Christ will be with the Antichrist, but only for "one hour" (17:12). What does "one hour" (17:12) signify? Our comments on the Promise made to the Church of Philadelphia, i.e., "Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the Hour of Temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth" (Revelation 3:10), are repeated:

"The 'Hour of Temptation' (3:10) is equivalent to 15 days, if Daniel's Seventieth Week (1 week) equals 2,520 days. One hour would be 1/168 of a week or .0059523 of a week, which is 15 days. This would be the time equivalent to Tishri 1 to Tishri 15. If the Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church occurs at perhaps the midnight hour on Tishri 1, then approximately 8 to 9 days (depending on how you count it) would be left in the Tribulation Week, which would then extend through Tishri 9. This would allow for the pouring out of about one Vial a day during the Seven Vial Judgments. Armageddon lasts 5 days from Tishri 10 (the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ) to Tishri 14-- the day before Tishri 15 (the Inauguration of the Millennial Reign of the LORD Jesus Christ on Earth). 9 days (for the Vial Judgments) plus 5 days (for Armageddon) equals 14 days, which lacks only one day to complete the 'Hour of Temptation' (Revelation 3:10). That one day lacking is Tishri 15." [See our article, "The Appointed Time" ---New Window, to see how the Seven Feasts of Israel of Leviticus 23 correspond to upcoming prophetic events. Also, our article, "The Wisdom of More Than One Rapture" ---New Window, demonstrates the possibility of both a Pre-Tribulational and Pre-Wrath Rapture.]

Each of the "ten kings" (17:12) will be prepared to administrate their respective domains in concert with the Son of Perdition. "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast" (17:13). Satan hopes to promote the success of pan-European cooperation, i.e., the European Union, as a model for future global governance through the Antichrist-- capitalizing on the world's yearning for material well-being, as well as their fear of instability, conflict, and annihilation. "Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness" (Psalm 52:7). Man is inexcusable in choosing the alternative of Antichrist, for the Almighty has given mankind the understanding that:

(1) God exists, ought to be trusted, and rewards those who do so confide in Him, i.e., "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6),

(2) Man has sinned not only against God, but his neighbour, i.e., "14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, having not the Law, are a Law unto themselves: 15 which shew the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another" (Romans 2:14-15), and

(3) He offers forgiveness to rebels who repent, for even an Angel will ultimately herald the Good News to all surviving rebels shortly before the KING of Kings returns, i.e., "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the Everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the Earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (Revelation 14:6); further, accomplishing the fact that "this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and [only] then shall the End come" (Matthew 24:14), and thus, authenticating that the "grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11).

What madness! "These shall make war with the Lamb" (17:14). How unthinkable that man should fight against God! "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD" (Proverbs 21:30). It is infinitely easy for the High and Lofty One to terminate such ants as wicked men are. "By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of His nostrils are they consumed" (Job 4:9). But, have the Professed Saints realized that all sin is warfare against God? "Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). And, have we learned that Jesus Christ was "manifested to take away our sins" (1John 3:5), if we will actively trust Him to be, do, and accomplish in us all that He is and is able to do. "Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:4). [See our article, "Exceeding Great and Precious Promises" ---New Window, to explore our sanctification through His Promises.]

How the best conceived weapons can prosper against God is preposterous, for the
"Oracles of God" (Romans 3:2) need only to briefly assert that the "Lamb shall overcome them" (17:14). If "no weapon that is formed against [the servants of the LORD] shall prosper" (Isaiah 54:17), how much more inconceivable that the pots should rise up to outwit and subdue the Potter! "2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear My words. 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it... 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine hand, O house of Israel" (Jeremiah 18:2-4, 6).

His Name is
"LORD of Lords, and KING of Kings" (17:14); and, since this truly declares His position, He leaves to the human dramatist the need to paint pictures with words, canvas, celluloid, and computer generated graphics to persuade us that a Being with such a name will deftly conquer the mightiest human foe that can be conceived. "Who is like unto Thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (Exodus 15:11). His very name of "LORD of Lords, and KING of Kings" (17:14) assures us that He must conquer the "ten kings" (17:12), because when He speaks, it must come to pass. "6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto Thee, O LORD; Thou art great, and Thy Name is great in might. 7 Who would not fear Thee, O King of Nations? for to Thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto Thee" (Jeremiah 10:6-7).

Notice that the King's attendants are so honored that they would appear with Him as His
"Called, and Chosen, and Faithful" (17:14). The Resurrected and Raptured Saints are His "Called" (17:14), who have the honour of conquering with the Conqueror. "5 Let the Saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; 7 to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; 8 to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all His Saints. Praise ye the LORD" (Psalm 149:5-9). To be elevated to this honour, is the predestiny of the "Chosen" (17:14), for the LORD Jesus said, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you" (John 15:16). Though we must aspire and exert our utmost to be His "Faithful" (17:14), it is He alone that makes us faithful, for "Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it" (1Thessalonians 5:24).

The same angel that began this chapter's narrative describing the "judgment of the Great whore" (17:1), said to John, the son of Zebedee, "The waters which thou sawest, where the Whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (17:15). Unless the context of Scripture demands a figurative interpretation, we are to receive It's Words as literally as we would talking to one another; but here, we are specifically told that the "waters" (17:15) are to be non-literally interpreted as "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (17:15). It is a fearful thing to be given over to a "reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28) to be accounted as one of the many upon whom the "Whore sitteth" (17:15). "7 And it was given unto [the Antichrist] to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:7-8). May such reminders of the fearfulness of the "reprobate [Greek, adokimos] mind" (Romans 1:28) should cause us to lean upon the LORD to keep us from the Great Falling Away. "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway [Greek, adokimos]" (1Corinthians 9:27).

The "ten kings" (17:12) will turn against their paramour, i.e., "these shall hate the Whore" (17:16). The selfishness that Satan cultivates in his own to promote rebellion against Jehovah, causes the "ten kings" (17:12) to despise the Whore, for they can truly love only themselves. How unlike True Love, which "seeketh not her own" (1Corinthians 13:5)! Once Babylon the Great has been targeted by the Beast's hatred, he-- in concert with the "ten kings" (17:12)-- will isolate, abuse, and spoil the Great Whore, i.e., "make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh" (17:16), in the tradition of a cruel, invading army, raping and pillaging what they have come to destroy. "Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished" (Isaiah 13:16). When they have finished with her, they will "burn her with fire" (17:16). However, neither they nor the Whore have anything left, but a future of Unending Destruction. "For Tophet [literally, a place of fire, where infants were sacrificed to Molech] is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; He hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it" (Isaiah 30:33). The destruction of the False Prophet, even at this point, will be to the Religious System of the Whore, and particularly to City of Rome-- see verse 18-- but, it is the LORD Jesus Christ that will have the ultimate honour of capturing alive both the Antichrist and the False Prophet to Eternally Destroy them in the Lake of Fire. "And the Beast was taken, and with him the False Prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the Mark of the Beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone" (Revelation 19:20). And, that destruction will be "world without end" (Ephesians 3:21). "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44). If I AM made the burning bush not to be consumed before Moses, then He will yet again make the Whore's destruction unending. "Hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19).

The Living God plays His creation like a symphony orchestra, and even His enemies "fulfill His will" (17:17). Most memorable of misjudgments was the Satanic Conspiracy to crucify the LORD Jesus Christ, who had to die in the fashion He did, i.e., "that the Scripture might be fulfilled" (John 19:24, 28); but, "none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the LORD of Glory" (1Corinthians 2:8). Luke further affirms the lunacy of the Most Wicked Action "against the LORD, and against His Anointed [Hebrew, mashiyach-- Messiah]" (Psalm 2:2): "27 For of a truth against Thy Holy Child Jesus, Whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy Counsel determined before to be done" (Acts 4:27-28). In the context of Revelation 17, these cohorts of the Antichrist destroy the Whore-- which is the Roman Harlot, the world religion of Satan, the global religion of the False Prophet. "Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked" (Jeremiah 30:23). In particular, their destruction is aimed against "that great city" (17:18) of Rome. This collaborative effort will continue "until the Words of God shall be fulfilled" (17:17).

The greatest clue to the identity of the "woman which thou sawest" (17:18), is that she is "that great city" (17:18)-- of Rome. Religiously and historically, no other city has so reigned "over the Kings of the Earth" (17:18). Present attempts to discount the role of the Papacy as part of the system of the Beast-- incorporating Ecumenical Christianity and probably the United Religions Initiative-- range from incredulity that any could think such a thought against the Vicar of Christ to certainty that some impostor will ultimately misrepresent Catholicism. "9 We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto Heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies... 45 My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD" (Jeremiah 51:9, 45). But, if the Spirit of God cannot awaken such understanding of the Babylonian character of Roman Catholicism, then it will be most certainly impossible to properly understand the events that must shortly come to pass. "Consider what I say; and the LORD give thee understanding in all things" (2Timothy 2:7). [See our "Babylon the Great" ---New Window series of articles, detailing not just the development of Roman Catholicism from Babylon (Part 2) ---New Window, but Babylon's involvement with the Protestants in the Ecumenical Movement (Part 3) ---New Window, and the inclusion of all religions in the United Religions Initiative (Part 6) ---New Window.]


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