Great Harlot Revealed

Babylon is revealed as a bejeweled harlot dripping with the shed blood of martyred saints – Revelation 17:1-6

In chapter 17, Revelation presents the impressive figure of “Babylon.” She is labeled “harlot” and identified as the “great city,” and she is responsible for the deaths of the martyrs. “Babylon” is also closely associated with the deceptions and economic power of the “Beast.” In her, the book’s first audience would see the city of Rome.

The vision begins the third major division of the book, as once more, John finds himself “in the spirit” and sees this next vision. This division continues through the first paragraph of chapter 21, where John saw “New Jerusalem descending from heaven” - (Revelation 17:1-21:8).

The immediate vision of “Babylon” is connected to the “seven bowls of wrath” by several literary links. The angel who explained the next several visions was one of the seven angels that had the “seven bowls of wrath.” The punishment of “Babylon” detailed in chapter 18 expands the judgment seen in the “seventh bowl of wrath,” the final one that “completed wrath of God.”  This means the events described in chapters 17 through 20 do not follow the “bowls of wrath” chronologically.
  • (Revelation 17:1-3) – “And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came, and spoke with me, Hither, I will point out to you the judgment of the great harlot, who sits upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. And he carried me away into the wilderness in the spirit. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”
The third literary unit presents the outworking of the “seven last plagues” against the men with the “mark of the beast,” the kingdom of the “beast,” and the “great city, Babylon.”

She sits on many waters.” The “waters” represent “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues,” the “sea” of fallen humanity from which the “beast” ascended. The description echoes the judicial pronouncement of the prophet Jeremiah against Ancient Babylon:
  • (Jeremiah 51:7-13) – “Babylon has been A GOLDEN CUP in Yahweh's HAND, that made all the earth drunkTHE NATIONS HAVE DRUNK OF HER WINE; therefore, the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: wail for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed… Yahweh has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes; because his purpose is against Babylon, to destroy it: for it is the vengeance of Yahweh… O thou that DWELLEST UPON MANY WATERS, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.”
And the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” This same pronouncement was heard previously in chapter 14 - (“She that made all the nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” - Revelation 14:6-8).

The description also echoes the lead deceiver from the church at Thyatira, that “prophetess, Jezebelwho calls herself a prophetess, and seduces my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.” The verbal parallel is deliberate, for “Jezebel” represented the seductive activity of “Babylon” that was active already in the congregation - (Revelation 2:20).

And he carried me away in the Spirit to the wilderness.” This marks the start of the new literary division. Likewise, each of the first two divisions began when John found himself “in the spirit” transported to a new vantage point (on Patmos, before the Throne – Revelation 1:10, 4:1-2, 21:9-11).

She was sitting on a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” The description connects “Babylon” to the “beast from the sea” that had “ten horns and seven heads, and upon his heads names of blasphemy,” and to the “Great Red Dragon,” the real power behind the “Great City.”

That she “sits on the beast” suggests her influence over it. She is closely allied with the “beast” and the “Dragon” against their common enemy, the “Lamb” and his “army,” the “saints” - (Revelation 12:3, 13:1).

Blasphemy” or blasphémia more accurately denotes “slander,” false accusations. Previously, the Jews of the “synagogue of Satan” engaged in “slander” by leveling false charges against the church at Smyrna. Likewise, the mouth that was given to the “beast from the sea” hurled “slander” against God and “those who tabernacle in heaven.” Her “blasphemy” refers to the slanderous charges made by her against the “saints,” and most likely, to the legal charges used to haul Christians before civil magistrates.
  • (Revelation 17:3-6) – “And the woman was arrayed with purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone and pearls, having a cup of gold in her hand, full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and upon her forehead a name is written, a mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the abominations of the earth. And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And I was astonished when I beheld her, with great astonishment.”
Revelation now lays the groundwork for the contrast between the “Harlot” and the “Bride of Christ” in chapter 21. Unlike the bejeweled “Great Harlot,” the “wife of the Lamb” was adorned with the glory of God, and “her light was like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, clear as crystal.”


The “bride of the Lamb” was also identified as the “city” of New Jerusalem, which was made of pure gold with walls adorned with “precious stones,” and no “unclean or abominable thing” could enter it. In contrast, “Babylon” was “full of abominations and the unclean things of her fornication.”


Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.” In the Greek sentence, “mystery” is set in apposition to “name.” It is not a part of the “name” inscribed on her forehead. The clause more accurately reads, “a name, a mystery, Babylon the Great.” The Greek term for “mystery” refers to something that is hidden or secret. The angel now unveils the “mystery.”


On her forehead, a name was written.” The “harlot” is contrasted here with the “saints,” those who have the “name of his Father written on their foreheads. They are the “servants of God” and follow Jesus. But the “Harlot” is the servant and ally of the “Dragon,” and that means on some level she also is a counterfeit to the church, just as “Jezebel” was active in seducing the congregation in Thyatira.

Babylon the Great” is another link to the seventh “bowl of wrath,” where she was also called Babylon the Great.” Elsewhere, she is called the “Great City” - (Revelation 11:814:8).


Having a cup of gold full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication.” “Fornication” is used metaphorically for the sins of idolatry and compromise. Her “golden cup” full of “abominations” connects her to the “Dragon” who uses idolatry to deceive the nations - (Revelation 2:21, 9:21).


She is the “great city” that is responsible for the “blood of martyrs” (martur). Likewise, in the vision of the “two witnesses” (martur), the “great city” was responsible for their deaths, and before that, for the death of Jesus - (“Where their Lord was crucified”).


The blood of saints.” Previously, the “beast from the sea” was authorized to wage war against the “saints,” who were identified as “they that keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.” And the first four bowls of wrath were poured out on the men who had the “mark of the beast” because “they had shed the blood of saints and prophets” - (Revelation 13:7-10, 14:12, 16:6).


Thus, the “Great Harlot” is linked inextricably to the violent deaths of the “saints” on account of their testimony for Jesus. That she is “drunk” with their blood indicates the great pleasure she takes in their deaths, going all the way back to the death of the first “faithful witness,” Jesus Christ.


I was astonished with great astonishment.” Here, there is a wordplay between the verb “astonished” (thaumazo) and the noun “astonishment” (thauma). The same verb was used earlier when “the whole earth wondered after the beast from the sea” - (Revelation 13:3, 17:8).


John found her appearance “astonishing.” Her outward beauty and grandeur were so impressive that he was taken aback. Outwardly, at least, the “Great Harlot” was not repulsive, but attractive, even momentarily to John. There are reasons why she was so successful at deceiving humanity in general, and more ominously, some of the “saints.”


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Comments

  1. You have the answers before your eyes but display no insight. Plainly the Great City Harlot Babylon is Jerusalem where the Greatest Prophet was tortured & murdered making my family Judah the BEAST for murdering God's Messiah Son HE sent to us .Man of Sin is the 11th king[male P.M] & 8th head[7th fatally wounded-Rabin] known as 'the little horn'[son] = [the]BIBI whose name/number is 666 in old Hebrew Gematria & WHO is as Jesus[Matt27;37-king of the Jews] & magnifies himself WHAT Jesus is :- the righthand son[Heb; Binyamin] & God's Gift[ Heb;Netanyahu-not his real name -changed] .Jesus Witnesses will be murdered outside the ABYSS[Rev11;7-8] Synagogue [Ezekiel 8] under the Dome of the Rock the antiChrist has built.... Maranatha Shalom....old Messianic Jew.

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    1. my family Judah[now calling itself the lie of Israel -united] is the BEAST country.

      Daniel 7- picture talk explained- in 1947 the Jews, from USSR, approached the new United Nations to annex Palestine. The Lion [United Kingdom] x eagles wings [USA] as one after WW2 alliance were torn off when the USA sided with the Bear[USSR- three ribs torn out-Estonia,Lithuania,Latvia] against the Lion- UK's wishes to talk the [Arabic] Leopards four wings; Lebanon,Jordan Syria &Egypt into this Motion put before the U N was passed with one dissenting vote , Lion;UK was then made to walk on it's own two feet as policeman until nationhood 1948 repeatedly bombed by the Stern gang forerunners Mid -East Terrorism. So travelling in S.E direction out of the nations[Lithuania-USSR] BEAST that comes out of the [Mediterranean] Sea was born treading down ALL around it - 4 Leopards wings. BEAST is reborn that murdered by demanded Roman Crucifixion God's Messiah Son sent to redeem them..It comes out of the Mediterranean .God has turned HIS Face from them since letting ALL that has befallen them until they recognise Jesus Christ'.
      1948-1996 Ten kings/horns[P.Ms- male sons] that are 7 heads[of Govt] :- Gurion [x2 office], Sharett, Eshkol, Shamir[x2], Begin, Perez, Rabin [x2 killed in 2nd office by rumoured minor MOSSAD . Head was Binyamin Netanyahu new incoming king- 12th P.M -one queen -Golda].e in the DELAY of the Last Week[Rev10;6] I believe......
      I tell you this unless they repent & recognise our Messiah Jesus they will not survive what will shortly come to pass.
      Your prayers for family would be appreciated by my LORD Yeshu ha Moshiach.... Bibi's 3rd? act of Parliament 1996 was to try to [but failed] ban the teaching of Christianity in Israel & for the last 2 years Bibi has tried to pass into LAW[but failed] marking ALL the children of Israel on the r/hand with his Teva Biotec r/hand micro-chip he already India & China where you can not trade without it.

      Something else you may or may not consider but I hope you do :-Daniel 9;27 took place in the Great Synagogue Rome January 2016 between a false Prophet Pope Francis & Netanyahu & was broken 3.5yrs later when Bibi opened June 2019 his false satan's ABYSS[Rev11;7,8] Sacrifices April 16th 2016... Synagogue [Ezekiel8] under the Dome of the Rock consecrated Red Heifer sacrifice Mt of Olives September 2019-.Concealed until the Time of the END -NOW[Dan12;9- old values false! i.e 42mnths, 1260day, 3.5yrs Totals....'.Time ['the time of trial'-3.5yrs] Times [x3.5yrs] & half a Time[+1.75yrs] '=14years. Dn7;25- 'they [Israel] will be given into his [antiChrist's] hand' - BIBI's WAS 1996 ..WAS NOT 1999 [subdues 3 kings- Dan 11].. WAS AGAIN 2009 -April 2019 election fail -powerless caretaker king until May2020 Gantz coalition until election fail March 2021 & removal June = 14years -Prophecy fulfilled- now watch for[no honour of kingship] unholy political alliance or Coup d'etat? his final 42 months when sworn in. the New Temple will be built & the Last Two Prophets come measuring. & battling antiChrist & his unholy followers.Baruch Hashem..called Israel ....nothing is hidden .Shalom.. who controls the World's Money &Trade modern Israel. . his last 42 mnths when sworn in things will rapidly escalate...watch how Bibi will introduce his Teva Biotec microchip to the rest of the world.Shalom..old Messianic Jew.

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