June 30 2022
Today, Thursday June 30
Revelation 17:3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 18 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
7 But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.
9 Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.
18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth."
Here in Revelation 17, the “woman”, also called the “harlot” (vv. 1, 5, 15, 16), is mentioned at least five times. This chapter begins with John being given an invitation to by one of the angels who had the seven bowls, to go to wilderness and see this “woman” on a scarlet beast. It is obvious by her name and what she is called that she represents the apostate, false church that is left behind after the rapture of the true church.
It is interesting to note that there are four different women mentioned in the book of Revelation. There is the woman called Jezebel in the church at Thyatira, who symbolizes apostasy creeping into the church (Rev. 2:20). Second, there is a woman who gives birth to a male child, who represents Israel (Rev. 12:1). Third, there is the harlot in this chapter, who symbolizes the final apostate one-world religious system (Rev. 17). Finally, there is the woman, who is the bride of Christ, the church, that is presented at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9).
The angel that carried John away in the Spirit into the wilderness told him not to marvel or be amazed because he would be told what is the mystery of the woman and the beast that carries her. So, as you read the rest of the chapter an explanation is given as to whom the woman is and how she rises to power and is eventually destroyed.
Revelation 17:8 makes it clear that the woman is a city, and in John's day, she was reigning over the kings of the earth. The seven heads of v. 3 are identified as seven mountains in v. 9. There seems to be little doubt by many Bible teachers that the city is Rome. It is situated on seven hills; when Revelation was written, Rome was reigning over the kings of the earth. I know other good Bible students think this city is Jerusalem or even the original city of Babylon in present day Iraq.
This city is prosperous and powerful, but also idolatrous ("blasphemy") and dangerous. For one thing, it pollutes the nations with its filth and abomination (pictured by the golden wine cup); for another, it persecutes those who belong to the Lord (Rev. 17:6). Power, wealth, pollution, persecution: these words summarize the "great harlot's" involvement on a worldwide scale.
Certainly in John's day, the Roman Empire was living in luxury, spreading false religion, polluting the nations with its idolatry and sin, and persecuting the church. John's readers would not be surprised when he used an evil harlot to symbolize a wicked city or political system. God even called Jerusalem a harlot (Isa. 1:21). Isaiah said that Tyre was a harlot (Isa. 23:16-17), and Nahum used this same designation for Nineveh (Nahum 3:4). (Read Jer. 50-51 for further historical parallels to John's prophetic message.)
Again, to summarize this chapter, we believe that this woman is the apostate religious system that the Antichrist uses in the first thee and a half years of the Tribulation to unite the world into a one-world religion as he promises peace and prosperity and rises to power. But as we will see later in this chapter, the very kings who put this woman into this position of power and influence, will be used to destroy her. (Rev 17:16)
I am so thankful that today we can be a part of the pure woman, the bride of Christ, by simply putting our faith and trust in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary!