Millions of people—and even many theologians—are puzzled by the mysterious "harlot" of Revelation 17. Yet the Word of God devotes most of an entire chapter, plus many references elsewhere, to this vital topic. Who is this "harlot"—and how does she relate to the Antichrist?
Whoever this great "harlot" is, she is very powerful. She has caused the deaths of untold millions in the past, and millions more will die at her hand in the future. She is destined to dramatically change the lives of all those living in the end times—including many of you who read this booklet! This harlot sits astride a system encompassing many nations and peoples: "And he said to me, 'The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues'" (Revelation 17:15). This harlot continues to exist right up to the Second Coming of Christ! For God's Word describes the "ten horns" or ten kings (v. 12) which will arise at that time: "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire" (vv. 14, 16).
Modern theologians and Bible commentaries try to be "politically correct" in their references to this great harlot. For instance, notice this comment from the Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, pp. 553-554: "In an important sense, the interpretation of this chapter controls the interpretation of the whole Book of Revelation. For a majority of exegetes, Babylon represents the city of Rome. The beast stands for the Roman Empire as a whole, with its subject provinces and peoples. The seven hills (v. 9) are the seven selected dynasties of Roman emperors from Augustus to Domitian. The ten kings are heads of lesser and restless states, eager to escape their enslavement to the colonizing power. John's prediction of the fall of Babylon is his announcement of the impending dissolution of the Roman Empire in all its aspects."
While the commentators correctly identify Babylon with the city of Rome, they generalize that "early Christian readers would understand that whenever they were threatened with death by any temporal power... they were in reality facing the bloodthirsty mother prostitute God was about to judge and destroy once for all" (p. 557).
Yet although they correctly understand the identity of "Babylon," these scholars, like most today, are unable to see that the "woman"—the great harlot—"rides" the Beast (modern Babylon). She is clearly set forth as being distinctly separate from the Beast—the empire with ten final kings giving their power and authority to one super-dictator also called the "Beast." Obviously, the woman cannot "ride" the Beast and at the same time be the Beast!
Many scholars do realize, however, that the Beast of Revelation 17 is the Roman Empire and its "revivals" in various forms. For a fascinating and thorough explanation of the identity of this "Beast" of Revelation 17, please write for a copy of our booklet entitled The Beast of Revelation. It will be sent to you absolutely free upon your request.
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