The Book of Revelation
The central focus of the Book of Revelation is on the time just before the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings to establish his Father's kingdom on earth. In this book, there is much information that explains some of the major prophecies in the Book of Daniel that pertain to spirit beings, people, nations, and world events which will surround the people of God as they proclaim the Father's good news message to humanity.
An Evil Alliance
Just before Christ's return, there will be an evil alliance of nations allied with a great and wealthy religion. These two entities will use their great power and wealth to control the earth and its inhabitants. Moreover, this powerful religious and political alliance will be controlled by evil spirits who are ruled by Satan the Devil.
The Great Red Dragon, the Sea Beast, the Earth Beast, and the Great Whore are the four primary entities that are described in the Book of Revelation as being a part of an evil alliance that is in opposition to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the elect of God. The Book of Revelation also states that these four entities cause the wrath of God to be poured out upon the earth and its inhabitants.
These four entities are various aspects of Satan's physical and spirit empire that interact with physical people, nations, and evil spirit-beings in order for Satan to control and influence the nations of the earth.
There can be multiple meanings to the symbolism used in the Book of Revelation; therefore, a list of definitions is provided to help eliminate some of the confusion concerning these four entities and their relationship to each other:
The Red Dragon
Satan and his empire of evil spirits
The Sea Beast
Satan's empire of evil spirits superimposed on physical people and nations
The alliance of nations called the Beast
The Leader of the alliance of nations called the Beast
The Earth Beast
Satan's empire of evil spirits superimposed on a Babylonian religious system
The Babylonian religious system called the Woman and the Great Whore
The leader of the Babylonian religious system called the False Prophet
The Great Whore
Satan's empire of evil spirits superimposed on the Woman and the Great Whore
The Babylonian religious system that rules kings and nations
The Babylonian religious system that is the state religion of the alliance of nations called the Beast
THE DRAGON, BEAST, AND WHORE
As you review what is presented in this study, it is important to keep in mind that it is Satan the Devil (the red dragon) who controls all aspects of the evil alliance of nations and its wealthy and powerful religion. It is also important to realize that the leader of the Beast alliance of nations called the Beast and the leader of the Babylonian religious system called the False Prophet are both spirit-beings under the control of Satan masquerading in human forms.
A Spirit Empire
There are many scriptures in the Bible that prove Satan is the ruler of this present world (2.Cor.4:4) as well as the ruler of all evil spirits that are on earth (Rev.12:7-9). Below are two texts that give a small glimpse into his vast spirit empire:
"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" (Rev.16:13 KJV).
Notice that the dragon, the leader of the beast alliance of nations, and the leader of the state religion of the beast alliance of nations are all mentioned as separate, individual entities who have the power to send forth evil spirits to perform tasks for them.
At the return of Christ, the only three individuals that are mentioned as being cast into the Lake of Fire are Satan the Devil, the Beast, and the False Prophet:
"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Rev.20:10 Para.).
The Bible clearly shows that all wicked humans will be destroyed in fire, which is the second death. No human is going to be tormented in the Lake of Fire forever (Rom.6:23; Rev.20:14-15); therefore, it is clear that the Devil's two servants, the Beast and the False Prophet, must be spirit-beings, because they are not destroyed by this fire, but are tormented by it.
Almost none of the Book of Revelation is written in chronological order, and the explanations of its many subjects and their symbolic meanings are scattered throughout the book; therefore, we must attempt to piece together as much of the information as possible into an order that makes it understandable.
THE GREAT RED DRAGON
"And another great sign was seen in heaven; and, behold, a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns! And on his heads were seven crowns. And his tail drew a third part of the stars of heaven, and he throws them to the earth. . ." (Rev.12:3-4 KJV).
John sees a great spirit-being coming out of heaven that looks like a red dragon with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns. It is clear from biblical symbolism that this spirit-being has great authority and power as symbolized by the heads, horns, and crowns. This red dragon is so powerful that it is able to force millions of angelic beings that are under its control to the earth.
War in Heaven
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought along with his angels, and did not prevail; neither was their place found in heaven anymore. And the great dragon was cast out—the old serpent being called the Devil and Satan, he who deceives the whole inhabitable world was cast out onto the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev.12:7-9 KJV).
At some point in time, there is war in the dimension of time and space known as heaven. During this war, the great red dragon who is Satan the Devil is cast out of heaven along with all the angels who are under his control.
Who is Satan the Devil?
In order to understand the true meaning of many prophecies, the biblical record about the great evil religious and governmental system that will exist just before Christ returns, it is necessary to understand who Satan the Devil is and what kind of authority he has over the earth and its inhabitants.
In 2. Corinthians 4, verse 4, Satan is shown to be the god of this world and in Revelation 12, verse 9 he is called the great dragon and that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world.
Matthew 4:1-10, contains the account of Jesus going to the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil prior to beginning his formal ministry of proclaiming the good news message from God the Father. The Devil came to Jesus and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth and offered to give them all to him if he would bow down and worship him.
Because he was able to offer all the kingdoms of the earth to Jesus Christ as a gift, the great red dragon who is Satan the Devil must be in control of the earth and all its inhabitants (except God's elect children) at this present time. Satan is not only the present ruler of this world but also the ruler of a vast unseen empire of evil spirits (demons) who do his bidding.
The Symbolism of Revelation 12:3-4
The red dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns with crowns represents Satan and the leaders of various aspects of his empire, (Satan and his empire of evil spirits). More specifically, the seven heads represent seven powerful evil spirits who directly serve him.
The seven crowns either symbolize the authority of the seven heads or seven lesser evil spirits. The ten horns are ten lesser evil spirits who are in control of nations and/or other evil spirits.
The Devil's Anger
"Woe to the ones dwelling on the earth, and in the sea, because the Devil came down to you having great anger, knowing that he has but a little time. . ." (Rev.12:12 KJV).
If Satan and his fellow evil spirits already control the earth and its inhabitants, why is he so angry at being cast out of heaven? He is so angry because he no longer has access to God the Father's realm of existence, which means that he has only a short time before he will be punished for his rebellion against God. Because Satan is denied what he wants and is about to be punished for his disobedience, in a rage, he comes to earth to take out his anger on God's physical creation.
As we will show, it is Satan the Devil who will empower and control the religious and political alliance of nations prophetically called the Beast. He will also empower and control the leader of this alliance called the Beast and the leader of the Babylonian religious system who is called the False Prophet.
THE SEA BEAST
Revelation 13:1-18 Paraphrased
"And I stood on the sands of the sea. And saw a beast coming out of the sea, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on its heads names of blasphemy. And the beast that I saw resembled a leopard, with feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion. And the dragon gave its power to it and its throne and great authority" (vs.1-2).
Notice that the beast who comes out of the sea (see Isa.57:20; Rev.17:15) is almost identical to the red dragon (Satan) who was cast out of heaven. We know that Satan already has authority and control over the earth and its inhabitants until he is deposed by Jesus Christ (Dan.2:44; Rev.11:15); therefore, it is logical to assume that the beast that will come out of the sea (people) is not Satan, but represents something else.
What the apostle John sees is a beast very similar to the one Daniel saw. The beast comes out of the sea (out from among the nations) and it is like a leopard, a bear, and a lion and it has ten horns (Dan.7:4-6).
The red dragon (Satan) gives this Sea Beast its power and authority. Moreover, the Sea Beast represents national leaders and the nations of people whom they rule, and these national leaders are themselves ruled, influenced, and controlled by evil spirits who directly serve Satan. This is Satan's spirit empire superimposed on the physical leaders and nations of this world.
The Sea Beast represents Satan's empire of evil spirits superimposed on people, nations, and an alliance of nations called the Beast.
A Wounded Head
"And I saw one of its heads, as if it had been wounded to death; and its fatal wound was healed. . ." (Rev.13:3).
It is important to note that a distinction is made between each of the seven heads of the Beast. One of the seven called the Beast sustains a fatal wound. Although this head could represent a nation of people who are controlled by a powerful spirit-being, when we look at other scriptures pertaining to the leader of the alliance of nations who is also called the Beast, it seems that this head is actually a national leader.
"And the earth marveled at the beast. And worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast: saying, Who is like the beast; who is able to make war with it?" (Rev.13:3-4). See also Rev.13:1-2.
It is important to understand that some extraordinary events are going to happen surrounding the dynamic and charismatic leader of the Beast system and the way in which he comes to power. The circumstances surrounding the death and resurrection of this individual will be so incredible that when people see this event they will be astonished.
Because of these incredible events, people will believe the proclamation by the False Prophet that this individual is a god in the flesh. Therefore, they will worship the red dragon (Satan) and because people will worship Satan, we can assume that, when this person comes on the scene, there will already be a religious organization in existence through which to perform this worship.
Will people actually worship Satan? The answer is yes. According to the Bible, most people have been both knowingly and unknowingly worshiping Satan and other evil spirits since Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, and people will continue to do so until God's plan for the salvation of humanity is finished.
"And a mouth speaking great things and blasphemes was given to it [the Beast's alliance of nations]; and authority to act forty-two months [3½ years] was given to it. And it [the Beast] opened its mouth in blasphemy toward God, and to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and those dwelling in heaven" (Rev.13:5-6).
This mouth represents the supreme leader of the alliance of nations called the Beast and is the same mouth spoken of in Daniel 7:8,11, 20,
25. He is the leader of the Fourth Beast (fourth empire) that Daniel was told would exist in the end of the age just before Christ's return.
War With the Saints
"And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them: and authority was given to it over every tribe, and tongue, and nation" (Rev.13:7).
This is also the same individual spoken of in Daniel 7:21,25 and 8:24 who will make war with the saints of God. It is important to understand that it is God who allows this evil alliance of nations led by this powerful evil spirit to persecute and kill his elect children in order for some of them to be spiritually purified. God also allows the persecution of his elect so that they can perform a witness for him.
"And all those dwelling in the earth will worship him, whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life who was slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev.13:8).
All the people on earth will give homage to this powerful alliance of nations and its leader, and as shown in verses 14 and 15, many will bow down and worship an image that represents the Beast system and its leader. Those whom God the Father has chosen to become a part of his Family and Kingdom at the first resurrection and the coming of Jesus Christ are specifically warned not to worship the Beast if they do not want to lose their salvation.
Now that we have identified the Sea Beast as an alliance of nations that is led by an evil spirit who is masquerading as a human, and that this alliance and its leader are under the control of the red dragon who is Satan the Devil, we can explore some of the details that concern the Sea Beast and what it does during the end of the age.
THE BEAST WHO WAS, AND IS NOT, AND YET IS
In Revelation 17:8 and 11, there is a reference to the beast who was, and is not, and yet is. These scriptures are confusing because there seems to be a different personality being spoken of in each one: one is the beast who goes into perdition and one is the beast who is the eighth of the seven (Rev.17:11). However, both scriptures refer to the same person.
The Beast Goes Into Perdition
"The beast that you saw, was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and go into perdition; and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, seeing the beast, that it was a thing, and is not and yet now is" (Rev.17:8 Para.).
There are a number of things that are important to take note of in verse 8 that will help to identify who and what it is that goes into perdition:
It was and is not: Notice that this beast existed before John's vision and at the time of John's vision, it did not exist in the form of a religious and political form of government.
Out of the abyss: The Sea Beast will come out of the abyss, which is the realm of evil spirits, and it will exist for a short time on its way to perdition. Although this beast comes out of the abyss (the realm of the spirit world), it also comes out of the sea (from among people, Rev.13:1;17:15). This is yet another proof that the individual who is the leader of the Beast alliance of nations is an evil spirit masquerading as a human being.
It goes into perdition: The English word perdition is translated from the Greek word: apoleia, and in the context of verse 8, it refers to an everlasting state of torment that is reserved for certain evil spirits. Therefore, we can logically assume that the leader of the Beast alliance is a powerful evil spirit.
It is a thing: When the angel describes the beast as a thing, he does so in order to show that this individual also represents a religious and political form of government that will have had seven successive resurrections to power by the time Christ comes to destroy it.
Although the first statement "was, and is not" in verse 8 seems to contradict the last statement "is not, and yet now is", it is not a contradiction, because the angel is referring to a future time in which people will be in amazement over the great power and accomplishments of this religious and political alliance of nations called the Beast. According to Revelation 13:8, the only ones who will understand the truth about the meaning and intent of this Beast will be those whom God has personally chosen prior to the existence of the earth (i.e., the elect of God who will be proclaiming the soon coming Kingdom of God).
There can be little doubt that the Beast who was and is not and is about to rise out of the abyss is a powerful evil spirit who will lead and control a religious and political governmental system (the Beast) and is in fact, its supreme leader. However, keep in mind that this evil spirit is not Satan the Devil; it is another evil spirit who does his bidding. See Rev.16:13; 20:10.
Eighth of the Seven
"And the beast which was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven and goes into perdition" (Rev.17:11 Para.). See Dan.7:11-12; 2.Thes.2:3.
The Eighth Beast
Why is the Beast "which was, and is not" referred to as the eighth beast of the seven? If you start with ten, then depose three, there are only seven left. But who dominates the seven? The little horn noted by Daniel who eliminated his opposition and became the leader of the Beast alliance of nations dominates the seven; therefore, he is actually the eighth leader in a succession of leaders.
What is not said in this prophecy is that, when this leader (the Beast) assumes the responsibility as the supreme leader of the Beast alliance, he probably does not continue in his former leadership responsibility and someone else fills his former position and becomes the eighth of the seven leaders.
This eighth Beast (national leader) also goes into perdition like the Beast noted in Revelation 17:8. This is yet another proof that both references are speaking of the same individual.
In order to understand verse 11, one must understand that the beast that was, and is not is the same seven headed beast that Daniel spoke of (Dan.7:23,24) and it is the same one that the woman who is symbolic of a Babylonian religion rides (Rev.17:3).
The primary reason that verse 11 is confusing is that the angel is not speaking of all seven heads of the beast as a whole, he is only speaking about the seventh head that is the last religious and political system under the control of Satan. The angel is also explaining something about one of its ten horns, which are symbolic of the ten initial leaders of the alliance of nations that is collectively called the Beast. Therefore, in order to understand who the eighth beast of the seven is, we must first understand the symbolism of the ten horns on the seventh head.
Although the two verses that follow verse 11 seem to be connected to the Sea Beast, they are not. These two verses speak of another group of ten nations, civil rulers, and evil spirits that serve the beast alliance of nations. See chapter 17 entitled, The Ten Horns of the Prophetic Hour.
Also keep in mind, while analyzing the Beast and the horns, that these are evil spirits that are being spoken of, and that these events may take place in the spirit realm of existence and may or may not be reflected in people and events in the physical realm of existence.
The Seven Heads
"And I stood on the sands of the sea, and saw a beast coming out of the sea, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on its heads names of blasphemy" (Rev.13:1 Para.).
"The seven heads are seven mountains [nations/empires] on which the woman [evil religious system] sits. And the kings are seven: five have fallen, and one is, and the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain a little" (Rev.17:9-10). See also Dan.7:7.
Because the heads seem to represent seven successive religious and political nations/empires under the control of Satan and the great whore, and only one of these symbolic heads will exist just before the return of Christ (Dan.7:19-22), it seems logical that the "beast which was, and is not" is the eighth and is of the seven, and is the one that will go into perdition. He must come out of the seventh and last great religious and political alliance of nations under Satan's control. See Dan.7:11-12; 2.Thes.2:3.
The angel explains to Daniel what the beast and the goat are and that they will rise up and control the earth just before Christ's return:
"And the ten horns of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be different from the first, and he shall subdue three kings" (Dan.7:24 Para.).
"Then the he-goat became very great: and when he was mighty the great horn was broken; and in its place came up four outstanding ones [four more horns] toward the four winds of the heavens. And out of one of them [the four horns] came a little horn, which became very great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the bountiful land [the holy land]" (Dan.8:8-9 Para.).
Although four of these ten were somehow allied with each other, the one called the little horn eliminates his three associates from their positions of authority in the process of becoming dominant over the entire beast alliance of nations.
The Beast "who was, and is not" that goes into perdition and the eighth Beast of the seven who "was, and is not" that goes into perdition are the same evil spirit who is the leader of the Beast's religious and political alliance of nations. See Dan.8:8-9.
The angel also said that this national leader had a past existence: "he was." But if this national leader is human, how could he have existed in the past? Think back to King Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the great image and recall that this symbolic image and the one who personified it would continue throughout the centuries and exist during the last days. Then the stone that was formed without hands would strike the feet of the image (its foundation) and destroy it. See Dan.2:27-34.
Because the individual mentioned in verses 8 and 11 had a past existence and is the leader of the last beast, he is probably not a human with the spirit of man; he is probably only in possession of a human life form. Moreover, he is the physical manifestation of a powerful spirit being who has existed throughout the centuries as the leader of various nations/empires.
THE EARTH BEAST
"And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and it had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. And it executes all the authority of the first beast before it, and it makes the earth and those dwelling in it to worship the first beast that was healed of its deadly wound" (Rev.13:11-12 Para.).
There are a number of important things revealed in verses 11-12 concerning the relationship between the Sea Beast and the Earth Beast (the second beast):
The Earth Beast comes from the earth.
The Earth Beast has two horns like a lamb.
The Earth Beast speaks as a dragon.
The Earth Beast has the same authority as the Sea Beast.
The Earth Beast has the authority to dictate religious ceremony and ritual.
In addition to these facts about the Earth Beast, chapter seventeen of the Book of Revelation shows a great religious system patterned after the Babylonian religious and governmental system; therefore, we can make the following three assumptions:
Lamb and sheep normally symbolize Christ and those who serve him; however, the Earth Beast speaks like a dragon (lies and blasphemes against the true God), has the same authority and power as the Sea Beast that is authorized and empowered by Satan, and forces people to worship the Beast (idolatry) who sustained the fatal wound. Therefore, we can assume that the Earth Beast represents the Babylonian religious system, which is in opposition to the true God.
Because the Earth Beast seems to represent a state religion that is patterned after the Babylonian system and has two horns, we can assume that the two lamb's horns either represent two combined religious systems and/or people or their leaders who are highly influenced or possessed by two evil spirits under Satan's control.
As with all Babylonian religious and governmental systems, both the civil and religious leaders share power and authority over all aspects of their subject's lives, and each of these leaders supports the aims and goals of the others. As we will see, this is the type of relationship that exists between the Sea Beast (an alliance of nations) and the Earth Beast (a Babylonian religion).
A Warning from Jesus and Paul
Jesus used the symbolism of sheep when he warned of false prophets who would masquerade as his servants in order to deceive the elect of God:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" (Matt.7:15-16 KJV). See also Jn.8:44; Rev.12:9.
The apostle Paul said to be aware of false apostles and deceitful workers who will preach a different Jesus and a different gospel from the one that brings true salvation. See 2.Cor.11:3-4; Gal.1:6-9.
1. Corinthians 11:3-4; 13-15 KJV
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled [deceived] Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes [and is] preaching another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit [an evil lying spirit], which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted. . ." (vs.3-4).
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (vs.13-15).
"And it does great signs and even makes fire to come down out of heaven upon the earth before men" (Rev.13:13 Para.).
Although verse 13 seems to be speaking of the supreme leader of the state religion of the Beast's alliance of nations who is the False Prophet, it is important to understand that this evil religious system and its leaders have tremendous supernatural power that they will use to deceive people and to counter the supernatural works that the elect of God will be doing as they proclaim God the Father's good news message of his coming kingdom and the return of his son, Jesus Christ.
"And it deceives those dwelling on the earth, because of the signs which were given to it before the beast . . ." (Rev.13:14 Para.).
It is important to understand that many unrighteous and righteous individuals have had the ability throughout the ages to wield supernatural power. However, this ability only indicates that a person has found a way to tap into supernatural power, is possessed by a spirit who is directing this power through them, or has been authorized by God or Satan to use this kind of power. The only way to tell if individuals are righteous or not is to look at the fruits of their life and their teachings in relation to the truth of God.
"Saying to those on the earth to make an image of the beast who has the wound of the sword and lived. And it was given to it to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could speak, and might cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (Rev.13:14-15 Para.).
This False Prophet has an image made of the leader of the alliance of nations (the Beast), which he empowers with an evil spirit, so that it has the ability to speak. The False Prophet then forces people to worship the image or suffer death for disobedience. This forced worship is reminiscent of king Nebuchadnezzar's forced worship of the image he made.
Anyone who seriously studies the Bible should understand that the forced worship of this image constitutes idolatry, and upon seeing or hearing of this forced idolatry, they should understand that they are indeed living in the end of the age, and that this alliance of nations and its worship system is indeed the evil religious and political government of the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation.
The Mark and/or Name
"And the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the freemen and the slaves, allow it [the beast's state religion] to give them a mark on their right hand, or on their foreheads: so that none could buy or sell, except they have the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of the name of it. Here is wisdom. Let him having reason count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and its number is six hundred and sixty-six" (Rev.13:16-18 Para.).
The mark and/or name of the Beast is a sign of allegiance to this evil religious and political system of the Beast. It is obvious that there are many undesirable physical consequences for not accepting this mark. For those who worship the true God, the threat of physical consequences for not accepting the mark are minimal compared to the eternal consequences for accepting it.
THE GREAT WHORE
"And one of the seven angels who have the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying to me, Come, I will show you the judgment of the great whore that sits on many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants have become drunk through the wine of her fornication" (Rev.17:1-2 Para.).
The great whore and the mother of whores are both symbolic of the mother of all religions that are in opposition to the Sovereign God and his system of worship. This very ancient belief system combines both religion and government and has manifested itself in many different forms since Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden.
"And he [the angel] said to me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples , and crowds, and nations, and tongues" (Rev.17:15 Para.).
Notice that this great evil religious system is practiced throughout the world, mingles itself with the civil rulers of nations, and is a system that, because of its deception, causes those who practice it to lose touch with the reality of God's truth.
The Woman Rides the Beast
"And he carried me away into the desert by the spirit: and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, filled with names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns" (Rev.17:3 Para.).
The woman is symbolic of a rich and powerful religion and the Beast is the Red Dragon who is Satan the Devil. The inference is clear; the woman and the Beast are inseparable, one rides, the other carries—evil upon evil:
"And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and being gilded with gold and precious stone and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand filled with abominations and unclean things of her fornication: And on her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, The mother of whores and of the abominations of the earth" (Rev.17:4-5 Para.).
Because whores and abominations are symbolic of evil worship systems, the angel is revealing that this religious system is the source from which all evil religions sprang—the mother of whores. He also reveals that this religious worship system is extremely powerful, influential, wealthy, and evil, and it exerts control over nations and national leaders throughout the world.
Who is The Woman?
"And I saw the woman was drunk from the blood of the saints, and from the blood of the witnesses of Jesus: and I marveled, seeing her with a great astonishment. And the angel said to me, Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast supporting her, the one having seven heads and ten horns" (Rev.17: 6-7 Para.).
The angel gives a number of keys that unlock the symbolism pictured by the mysterious woman and the Beast:
The religious system symbolized by the woman has always persecuted and killed the elect of God and those who proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ. From the eleventh chapter of Revelation, we also know that the False Prophet will be instrumental during the last 3½ years before Christ returns in persecuting and murdering God's elect and the Two Witnesses.
The woman is supported by the Beast, but she is not symbolic of the Beast. The woman and the Beast are two separate entities who are joined together for a common purpose.
The Beast that supports the woman has seven heads and ten horns. This Beast is Satan personified and seven nations/empires and their leaders, which have come under his personal control.
The Woman and the Seven-Headed Beast
"The seven heads are seven mountains [nations/empires] on which the woman [evil religious system] sits. And the kings are seven: five have fallen, and one is, and the other has not yet come; and when he does come, he must remain a little while" (Rev.17:9-10 Para.).
When we realize that the seven heads are symbolic of seven successive religious and political nations/empires that have been controlled by Satan and the Great Whore, which will exist just before Christ returns, it becomes clear that verses 9 and 10 pertain to the coming of the seventh religious and political system.
"The woman you saw is the great city, that rules over the kings of the earth" (Rev.17:18 Para.).
It is interesting to note that the only city in today's world that rules over kings of nations is Vatican City, which is within the city of Rome and sits on seven hills (Rev.17:9).
The Great Whore is Destroyed
"And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the whore, and will make her desolate and naked, and they will eat her flesh, and will burn her down with fire. For God gives it into their hearts to do his mind, and to act in one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman who you saw is the great city, having a kingdom which rules over the kings of the earth" (Rev.17:16-18 Para.). See Jeremiah, chapters 50 and 51.
Very near the time of Christ's return and perhaps during the last two plagues that Christ pours out on the Beast alliance of nations and the world, the alliance of Middle Eastern nations of Psalm 83 that are to the north and south of Israel will be motivated by God to destroy the capital city of the Beast's Babylonian religious system.
Although the scriptures do not say why these ten nations hate the Great Whore, what takes place is probably just one more powerful evil religious system destroying another powerful evil religious system with which it has major irreconcilable theological differences concerning who and what to worship.
Revelation 18:1-23 Paraphrased
"And after these things I saw another angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illuminated by his great glory. And he spoke in a strong great voice, saying, Babylon the great has fallen! It has fallen and it has become a dwelling place of demons, and a prison for every unclean spirit, and every unclean bird, even having been hated; because of the wine of the anger of her fornication which all nations have drunk, even the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth became rich from the power of her luxury" (vs.1-3).
This is the point at which the great religion that will have attached itself to the Beast's alliance of nations is destroyed by the ten Middle Eastern nations that have allied themselves with the Beast for one prophetic hour.
A Serious Warning
"And I heard another voice out of heaven, saying, My people, come out of her, that you may not share in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues. Because her sins are joined together, even up to heaven, and God remembered her unjust deeds" (vs.4-5).
Although verse 4-5 are likely directed to the houses of Israel and Judah, after the first return of Christ to gather the elect of God, this is an extremely serious warning from Jesus Christ to come out of the evil religions of this world and remain separate from the things of this world that can pollute one spiritually. The plagues that God will pour out upon this evil religious system and the people who are associated with it will be terrifying and fatal; therefore, it would be wise to heed this serious warning.
The prophets continually warned Israel about spiritual adultery, which the apostles also did when they warned the elect of God to be aware of the ministers of Satan who would attempt to deceive them into worshiping false gods:
"When the Lord your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you succeed them, and dwell in their land; Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after they are destroyed from before you; and that you enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise. You shall not do so to the Lord your God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hates, have they done to their gods. . ." (Deut.12:29-31). See Ezk.8:16; Jer.10:1-5.
The apostle Paul warns the Father's elect at Corinth not to become entangled or participate in Satan's religions:
"Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has he that believes with an infidel? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" (2.Cor.6:14-16 Para.).
Be Separate From Satanic Religions:
The apostle Paul exhorts the Father's elect at Corinth to avoid mixing truth with paganism, and he told them to separate themselves from the religions of that day:
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2.Cor.6:17 KJV).
The Father's elect are not to participate in or be a part of this world's religions, because such participation constitutes spiritual adultery. The elect are the ambassadors of the Kingdom of God to this world (2.Cor.5:20). Anyone who is called to worship the true God and is associating with or dabbling in the religions of this world, would do well to heed the following extremely serious warning from Jesus Christ and remove themselves far from these evil practices:
"Give back to her as she also gave back to you, and double to her double, according to her works: in the cup which she mixed, mix to her double. By what things she glorified herself, and luxuriated, by so much give back to her torment and mourning. Because she says in her heart, I sit as a queen, and I am not a widow; and I do not see mourning at all. Because of all this, in one day her plagues shall come, death, mourning, and famine; and she shall be consumed with fire: for the Lord God judging her is strong" (Rev.18:6-8).
Christ says that the Babylonian system of religion that will be aligned with the Beast is extremely evil and that those who lead it are worthy of all the horrible and terrifying punishment that they will receive. The leaders of this great religious system are arrogant and self-important, believing that they are above the laws of God; therefore, Jesus Christ will totally destroy this evil system from off the face of the earth.
Destroyed in One Hour
"And the kings of the earth will weep for her, and will wail over her, those having fornicated and shared her luxury, when they see the smoke of her burning, Standing from afar, because of the fear of her torment, saying, Woe! Woe to the great city Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment came" (Rev.18:9-10).
"And they [those who mourn over her] threw dust on their heads, and cried out weeping and mourning, saying, Woe! Woe to the great city by which all those having ships in the sea were rich, from her coast lines, because in one hour she is ruined" (Rev.18:19).
This great and powerful religion that has its capital in a city close to the sea will meet its fate in a very short time, perhaps in only 15 days (one prophetic hour).
"And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her: because no one buys their cargo any more: Cargo of gold and silver, and of precious stone, and of pearls, and of fine linen, and of purple, and of silk, and of scarlet, and of thyine wood, and every ivory vessel, and every vessel of precious wood, and of bronze, and of iron, and of marble, And cinnamon, and incenses, and of ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine meal, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and the bodies and souls of men" (Rev.18:11-13).
The merchants of the world will weep and mourn, because this great religion will be the lifeline of all commerce through its association with the Beast alliance of nations and it will apparently control the movement of goods through the positions held by its worshipers in the Beast system. Notice that this evil system will also traffic in the lives (a reference to slavery) and corpses (bodies) of people as a commodity.
"And the ripe fruit of the lusts of your soul went away from you, and all the fat things, and the bright things went away from you, and you will find them no more, not at all. The merchants of these things, the ones being enriched from her, will stand from afar because of her fear and her torment, weeping and mourning. And saying, Woe! Woe to the great city, having been clothed with linen, and purple, and scarlet, and having been gilded with gold, and precious stone, and pearls! For in one hour such great wealth was desolated. And every ship-pilot, and all company on the ships, and the sailors, and as many as work the sea, stood from afar, And cried out, seeing the smoke of her burning, saying What is like this great city!" (Rev.18: 14-18).
"And one strong angel lifted a stone like a great millstone, and threw it into the sea, saying, This way on an impulse, Babylon the great city will be thrown down, and it will never more be found. And the sound of harpers, and of musicians, and the flutists, and of trumpeters, will never more be heard in you; and every craftsman of every craft will never more be found in you; and the sound of the mill will never more be heard in you; And the light of the lamp will never more shine in you; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will never more be heard in you" (Rev.18:21-23).
From this scripture and others, it is clear that the capital of this great religion will be completely destroyed and will never again be rebuilt.
The Elect of God Rejoice
When this great satanic religion and its capital city are destroyed, the elect of God will rejoice because one of the basic causes of all of humanity's problems will be removed. Now God the Father's righteous religious system will be established in Jerusalem as the only religion on earth and his plan for the salvation of humanity will go forward unimpeded by Satan's evil religions and those who lead them:
"Rejoice over her, heaven, and the holy apostles and the prophets; since God judged your judgments on her" (Rev.18:20). See also verse 24 (ibid).
These chapters of Revelation show the relationship between the alliance of nations called the Beast, the leader of this alliance called the Antichrist and the Beast, the Babylonian religious system called the Great Whore that is led by the False Prophet, and the elect of God who will proclaim God the Father's good news message in opposition to Satan's religious and governmental system.
By B. L. Cocherell and Charles E. Barrett b2w14f