Imagine a world in turmoil, forces of darkness and evil descending upon the earth like an ominous veil. But fear not, a beacon of light and hope emerges, a promise of deliverance … a proclamation of victory!

References to Bible Verses:

Revelation 17:1-18; Genesis 11:1-10; Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19; Ezekiel 8:14-15; Jeremiah 17:18; Jeremiah 44:17-19; Jeremiah 44:25; Revelation 13:1; Revelation 4:1; Acts 1:24-25; Daniel 2:35; Daniel 2:24-45; Revelation 16:12-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Galatians 4:26

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Jason: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Unveiling Revelation. We are your host, Jason.

Laura: And Laura,

Jason: The Book of Revelation unveils a vision like no other, a glimpse into the future where empires crumble and true power is revealed. In the chapters to come, we will dive into profound truths about the fall of Babylon and the triumphant victory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Laura: imagine a world in turmoil, forces of darkness and evil descending upon the earth like an ominous veil, but fear not, a beacon of light and hope emerges, a promise of deliverance, a proclamation of victory.

Jason: Prepare yourself, for the journey ahead is both treacherous and transcendent, but remember the words of Revelation 1:3, "Blessed are the ones who read aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take heart what is written in it, because the time is near."

So I don't know about you, Laura, but Babylon is truly an interesting topic in the words of Spock, it is "fascinating." Babylon was an actual city located on the Euphrates River in Genesis 11 versus 1 through 10. We learn about Babylon's animosity towards God. In fact, Merrill Chapin Tenney, an American professor of New Testament Greek and author of several books, described Babylon here as, "The seat of the civilization that expressed organized hostility to God."

Laura: Later on, we see that Babylon was the capital of an empire that viciously conquered Judah. And again, Tenny provides some context, writing, "Babylon to them," that is the Jews, "was the essence of all evil, the embodiment of cruelty, the foe of God's people, and the lasting type of sin, carnality, lust, and greed."

And of course, we've mentioned several times that Babylon is associated with organized idolatry, blasphemy towards God, and persecution of God's people. What are we going to do, this three strikes you're out thing? I don't know. In many ways, the Roman Empire was a clear personification of what Babylon represented.

Babylon is mentioned 287 times in the Old Testament, which makes it the most referenced city in the Bible outside of Jerusalem.

Jason: I think we're way past, way past three strikes.

Laura: I think you're right.

Jason: So David Guzik wrote the following in his commentaries, "The concept of Babylon is greater than Revelation 17 and 18 and the Antichrist's reign. Babylon was present in John's day, typified by Rome in our day and throughout history as the world system, but under the Antichrist, Babylon in both its religious and commercial aspects will have influence over this earth has never seen before."

So this brings up an interesting bifurcation of Babylon into religious Babylon and commercial Babylon. And in these next two episodes, this one and the next one covering chapter 17 to 18, we will dive into both aspects or iterations of Babylon and her fall.

Laura: All right, Jason, you and your 5 dollar words. Bifurcation? I love

Jason: It's a fun word.

Laura: It is a fun word. So anyway,

in Revelation 14:8 and 16:19, we've already mentioned the fall of Babylon. But here in Revelation 17. We begin to focus on the detailed accounting of Babylon's fall. We begin in Revelation 17:1-2, with an angel describing religious Babylon as the great prostitute or the great harlot in other versions.

"One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute who sits by many waters. With her, the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries."

Jason: So through some research, we found that as a religious system, Babylon's inception came long before Christianity. It was created as a satanic imitation and anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. It was founded by the wife of Nimrod, who was a great grandson of Noah, and her name was Semiramis. Now, she gave birth to a son who she claimed came from a miraculous conception, and his name was Tammuz, and because of that, they claimed that he was a savior. Here's where we see some overlap though, because the Canaanite name for Tammuz was Baal. Maybe you remember him from, the Old Testament, the Bible does mention some of the features of this Babylonian religion in Ezekiel 8:14-15, Jeremiah 17:18, as well as Jeremiah 44:17-19, and Jeremiah 44:25.

Now this is all around about way of demonstrating that Babylon has been destined to fail for a very long time. The part that talks about sitting by many waters represents a unification of false and idolatrous religions across the world during the tribulation. Now, understand that the devil is sneaky, so this Babylon can find her way into churches that are supposed to represent Christ. I mean, we're talking Catholics, Baptists, Protestants, Lutherans, and many others turning these people away from Christ, much like the Jezebel from the church of Thyatira we talked about way back in episode 43.

Laura: One of my commentaries puts an interesting spin on this, and while it does correlate with what you said, Jason, it also gives it a bit of a twist. It relates this verse, well, the entire chapter, really, with what happened back in chapter 16, verses 17 through 21. Not as a separate event, but as the same event in more detail.

And I'm pretty sure our listeners are probably tired of hearing the word mosaic, but it makes sense here. The commentary I'm looking at relates Babylon to the early Roman Empire because of the multiple gods and the blood of the Christian martyrs on its hands. In the Bible, prostitution oftentimes does mean just that, but it can also refer to the practice of worshiping other gods. And with the spiritual state of these people, I can imagine that both are correct interpretations. And being drunk is often associated with immoral behavior.

Now, that water can either refer to sea commerce or a well watered and well provisioned city, which does lend credence to your theory of commercial Babylon and religious Babylon. Rome, which is a type of Babylon, is located on the Tiber River, and it once controlled the seats of power and water trade routes throughout the Mediterranean, all the way from the British Isles to the Euphrates River. And that is a lot of territory. And it is interesting to note that Babylon, the actual city, was where the Tower of Babel was built. And where God confused the Earth's languages. And I'm sure there's a reason for this correlation, but that's a topic for another episode.

Jason: Fair enough. Now there's one more part of these verses that I think is important to highlight. It talks about intoxicating the Kings with the wine of her adulteries. Now I'm no fan of Karl Marx, but he once wrote that religion is the opiate of the masses. Now, my boy, David Guzik suggests amending this to read False or empty religions are the opiate of the masses. Within the context of those following the Antichrist here in chapter 17, they are truly being seduced by a religious system that appears attractive, but is morally deviant.

So now we've gone through what the angel has described.

Laura: And let's be honest here, Jason. Aren't you the least bit curious which angel this is? Or rather, which bowl he poured out? I know I am.

Jason: I'm curious about a lot of this, but let's talk about what John gets to observe in Revelation 17:3-6

Laura: alright, fine. Insert facetious eye roll emoji.

Jason: so it reads, "Then the angel carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and 10 horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and it was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a gold cup in her hand filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. The name written on her forehead was a mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes and of abominations of the earth. I saw the woman was drunk with the blood of God's holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished."

Laura: Make yourselves comfortable, because there's a lot to unpack here. Now it starts with an angel whisking John away into the wilderness, or desert, for another vision of judgment and to observe a great prostitute. This woman represents an ungodly approach to religion, and the titles of prostitute, harlot, even whore of Babylon, all create a parallel of sexual sin to spiritual infidelity, and my research suggests that this vision is largely meant to be symbolic.

Jason: So this woman is seen riding the same beast we see in Revelation 13:1 with the seven heads and ten horns, which is the beast rising from the sea or the Antichrist. This beast is described as a scarlet beast, which is a color that represents religious trappings of false religions. Now, there are two perspectives of this woman, writing the beast. The first perspective is. The people of earth who are likely to see her as this religious idol. And the second, but more important perspective is God's perspective. He sees the blasphemy associated with her.

Laura: Knowing this beast described here has the same description as both the dragon in Revelation 12:3 and the beast in 13:1. Of course, I had to do a bit of a deep dive to see what was what. I mean, after all, Babylon can't be both of them, right? Anyway, the word used for dragon in chapter 12:3 is "drakon", and the word used for beast in both 13:1 and 17:3 is "therion", which leads me to believe that this beast with Babylon is indeed the Antichrist from chapter 13, And not the dragon from chapter 12.

Jason: Oh, surely you didn't doubt me.

Laura: Of course I didn't doubt you, Jason. And don't call me Shirley. That's my aunt's name. But with nearly identical descriptions, I had to check.

Jason: By the way, Therion sounds like something the elves would say in Lord of the Rings.

Laura: Yes, it does. Yes, it does.

Jason: Anyhow, the clothes are symbols of luxury, purple, gold, and precious stones. Scarlet here can represent the false religious trappings, but Scarlet can also represent government.

Laura: My commentary suggests that purple is indicative of royalty, whereas scarlet is more indicative of carnality or humanity.

Jason: So we got a little bit of both. Now, across her forehead was a mysterious name and Roman prostitutes frequently wore a headband with their names engraved on it. So despite her fancy appearance, she is nothing but a prostitute. Now we mentioned this harlot back in episode 51, in contrast to the woman in revelation 12, who gave birth to the child or Jesus. There is a parallel between these two women though, just as the Antichrist is a rival and antagonist of Christ, this harlot or Babylon rivals and is the antagonist to the woman or Israel. Sensing a pattern here, Laura?

Laura: Absolutely. There are patterns and connections all throughout scripture, if you follow the rabbit trails long enough. And if our listeners have listened to all the rest of our episodes, they know we go down those rabbit trails frequently. For example, we know that Babylon was the center of idol worship. King Ahab and Jezebel made worship of all the state religion in 1 Kings 16:29-33. And Nebuchadnezzar set up an idol and forced everyone to worship it in Daniel 3:1-7. Now what's interesting is that after the Persians overthrew Babylon, The Babylonian worshippers of Baal moved to Pergamum, which prompted Jesus rebuke in John's letter for allowing the practice of idolatry to continue.

Jason: Fascinating.

Laura: Wow! Nice! Nice! Spock!

Jason: We've already mentioned that this is not literally Babylon, but a spiritual representation of it. She is the source or mother of all idolatry or abominations. She is the embodiment of Satan's ecumenical movement, a unified religion of this world.

Laura: And ancient Babylon is in modern day Iraq. Interesting, yes?

Jason: It is interesting. And we will definitely touch on that when we get into chapter 18 funny enough, but let's get real for a moment. In our modern world, there seems to be a substantial population who hold this idea that, well, it doesn't really matter what you believe, just so long as you believe, right? All religions lead to God. And this is laying the groundwork for this harlot's spiritual seduction. We're seeing this world casually disregard the truth in lieu of what feels good and what seems right. And that is starting to infect even the church today.

Laura: Exactly. Truth is becoming relative rather than absolute. Jesus didn't say, I am a truth. He said, I'm the truth. And we need to point people to him instead of to themselves or anywhere else.

Jason: More scrabbit trails, now back to revelation.

Laura: You stole my word and I love it.

Jason: It's a great word

Laura: I know, right?

Jason: For those listening. We've kind of combined. Rabbit and squirrel to scrabbit. It just works. So moving on, as John watches this vision, he is absolutely beside himself. Imagine apostle John, who we believe scribed revelation, the only apostle who witnessed Jesus's death is greatly astonished by what he's witnessing in these visions.

Laura: Wouldn't you be? I mean, things just keep getting more and more astonishing.

But this angel gives us some context to help understand this great harlot starting with Revelation 17:7-8, "Then the angel said to me, Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast which you saw once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the Earth, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life from the creation of the world, will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come."

Jason: Wow. So the visions in revelation 17:1-6, leave John amazed and astonished. And now this angel seeks to explain the symbols. Though after you read those verses, I kind of felt more confused. But this breaks down into this. The Scarlet Beast is identified in Revelation 17:3 and was originally described in Revelation 13:3. Thanks to Laura, we have a little bit more of a trail on that one. This beast is indeed the Antichrist who had a mortal wound and was healed. And arises from the bottomless pit, which points to a satanic power. This beast supports the woman, which represents the religious Babylon we just talked about.

Laura: This creature has a known past, present, and future. There is a bit of debate when it comes to framing the when in these tenses. Does this relate to John's lifetime? I mean, in other words, does this mean John's present, or should we defer to Revelation 4:1, where John was told, "Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this." In other words, in John's future, possibly our current age, maybe future, anyway. Or does it simply just mean prior to the Tribulation, at the beginning of it, and then during the Tribulation?

Jason: Now that being said, one interpretation of this in regards to the past could be Judas Iscariot. He betrayed Jesus after Satan entered his heart. And he later committed suicide. Now, the interesting part that ties into this interpretation is in Acts 1:24-25, "Then they prayed, Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs."

Laura: Did you catch that last part? Judas left to go where he belongs. Perhaps down to the bottomless pit? I mean, is Judas part of this beast's past? Maybe.

Jason: And another interpretation is in reference to Nero, who is rumored to have come back to life, or a representation of Nero at least. However, I think the interpretation that seems to make sense, to me at least, is that this beast's past, present, and future represent the Roman Empire. It collapsed in the past, experienced a period of basically not existing in the present, and will emerge in the Tribulation as a revived Roman Empire to be fully and finally destroyed when Jesus returns to Earth. Yet this sudden return leaves all the people worshiping this false religion completely astonished.

Laura: The Angel continues his explanation with Revelation 17:9-11, "This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen. One is. The other has not yet come. But when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an Eighth King. He belongs to the Seven and is going to his destruction."

Jason: Okay, there's some bit of unpacking that needs to be done.

Laura: How much luggage did you bring on this trip?

Jason: You have no idea. It starts out explaining that the beast's seven heads are seven mountains. Now, some believe the seven mountains are the seven hills of Rome because Rome included seven hills on the Tiber River. These hills are Palatine, Aventine, Caelian, Equiline, Viminal, Quirimal, and Capitoline.

Say that 10 times fast.

Laura: No thank you.

Jason: Rome later did add Janiculum and another hill to the north. Some find this possible connection to Rome as a means to create a connection between the religious Babylon and the Roman Catholic church. Now, the biggest flaw to this. Is that the religious Babylon will be much bigger than the Roman Catholic church, if you can believe that.

The other problem with all of this is that the Greek word used for mountain in verse nine is Oros. And according to Strong's translation, it means mountain, not hill or mountain, not hill and Rome was built on hills. However, in the Bible, mountains are sometimes used as symbols of governments see Daniel 2:35.

But then verse 10 starts to talk about seven Kings. Five had fallen. One is, and another has yet to come. And this verse is very difficult. We've touched on it before in episode 50. Now this could be the five fallen Kings, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, with the six being Demetian and the head of the revived Roman empire being the seventh.

Laura: And I think we can safely identify the Antichrist as the Eighth King. But another interpretation is that the Five Who Have Fallen may refer to the Five World Empires that existed before John's day. Including Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Medo Persia, and Greece. And the one that is would have been the world empire of John's day, which was Rome. The one yet to come would be the revival of the Roman Empire.

Jason: So here's the thing. When dealing with Revelation, I found it's important we don't get overly dogmatic about any specific viewpoint. That being said, and regardless of how you see these seven, the Antichrist and his government will be the eighth. And him belonging to the seven could represent that the Antichrist is sharing characteristics with all of the previous world empires. The message here is clear. The 8th king is going to be destroyed.

Laura: And one thing I've learned about prophecy and prophetic words as they relate to the future is that what we're stewing over now will be incredibly obvious after the fact.

Jason: That is probably really true. But this angel goes on. In Revelation 17:12-15, "The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them, because He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and with Him will be His called, chosen, and faithful followers. Then the angel said to me, the waters you saw where the prostitute sits are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages."

Laura: Don't get too comfortable, we are not done unpacking yet. The ten kings without a kingdom could represent a ten nation confederation. Gotta love the rhymes.

Jason: Alliteration is fun.

Laura: Like the toes in Daniel 2:24-45. Henry Alford, who was a 19th century English churchman and theologian, wrote the following in reference to this, "They are ten kingdoms which shall arise out of the fourth great kingdom there. Ten European powers, which in the last time, in concert with and subjugation to the anti Christian power, shall make war against Christ. In the precise number and form here indicated, they have not yet arisen. What changes in Europe may bring them into the required tale and form, it is not for us to say."

Jason: The part of verse 13 that reads, "They have one purpose" has also been translated into "These are of one mind." And in lieu of Alfred's writing, some saw the European union formerly known as the European Economic Community as a potential fulfillment of these 10 nations. Now there are 27 countries in the EU now. So it's probably not likely, but understandable considering that the European Economic Community started in 1957 with six European nations who met in Rome and signed the Treaty of Rome. Regardless of where, this will happen. Being of one mind or having one purpose is joining together under the Antichrist to rage war against Christ in the battle that was referenced back in Revelation 16:12-21.

Laura: And back to the harlot. She presides over peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues, Which tells us her influence is worldwide through her connection to the Beast. It will truly be a one world religion.

Jason: This angel finishes explaining the symbolism to John, and now as we wrap up chapter 17, We will see that this great harlot is judged in Revelation 17:16-18, "The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked. They will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish this purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority until God's words are fulfilled. The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth."

Laura: Well, doesn't that sound like a lot of fun?

Jason: Right!

Laura: This probably occurs during the midpoint of the Tribulation Period. The apostate religion, or those who have abandoned Christ, discovers the true nature of the beast and the Antichrist won't tolerate the people worshipping anyone other than himself, which we know from 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed. The man doomed to destruction, he will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."

Jason: So basically, once the Antichrist's power has been consolidated, he no longer needs the help of religious Babylon. So he will destroy her and her one world religion. And this is how tyrants operate. They use religion for their purpose and then discard it.

Laura: What's interesting is how God uses the wicked to direct judgment against the harlot, this religious Babylon. These people who are condemned become instruments of God's judgment against yet another wicked group. And in the end, God gives the people what they want. A godless religion, and godless rulers.

Jason: So my commentaries make an interesting point regarding this great city that rules over the kings of the earth. Now, in John's time, Rome was the political, economic, and religious center of the world. However, Babylon has always been that great city that rules over the kings of the earth. But we as Christians, we have to make sure we have established our citizenship to the right city, or as Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 4:26, "The Jerusalem that is above and is free. And she is our mother."

Laura: Idolatry is alive and well in our modern time. We see it in places like Hollywood, Wall Street, and Washington D. C. Make sure you don't spiritually reside in any of these cities, and keep your citizenship with God's kingdom.

Jason: And this seems like a good place to end this episode. Don't you agree?

Laura: I would agree with that.

Jason: Join us next week for the conclusion of unveiling revelation, the fall of Babylon and victory of Christ, where we shall share the fall of commercial Babylon and The long awaited return of Christ and his ultimate victory.

One quick announcement I'm working on. I am going to be rolling out a new type of episode. It's called Fellowship and Faith. Just giving you a heads up. It'll be coming. I think May 9th is going to be the first publication. My friend, Laura will be joining us. It's going to be kind of a round table type discussion. So be sure to, keep watching to make sure you don't miss that.

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Until next time, remember to read your Bibles, remember to love each other and may the Lord bless you and keep you. God bless everyone.

Laura: Bye.