Revelation, Chapter 17

This is part of a study on the book of Revelation


Revelation 17 is all about the destruction of idolatry, the false religious system. It is referred to as “the great whore of Babylon.”


God declared twice that He will judge Babylon: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great.” See Revelation 14:8 and 18:2. And, while the vials were being poured out, God remembered this “Babylon.” Revelation 16:9 “God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.”

The concept of “Babylon” in the Bible refers to the Babylonian Empire, or the city Babylon within. Also, the idolatry that came with the false religious system that emanated from it. See more Idolatry.


In Revelation 4, Jesus Christ had caught the Church, His bride, up to heaven. See here Revelation, Chapter 4.

One would think that was the end of religion. But, false religion thrives throughout the Tribulation. It is an all inclusive religion that is very tolerant. It is a time of COEXIST.

Once everyone is on board, it became very intolerant. In fact, it demanded their worship.


The concept of a whore has to do with a woman that is unfaithful to her husband. In the Bible it is about being spiritual unfaithful to God.

This whore, a false religious system, has shared God with other gods. God forbids idols and images, of what is in heaven or on earth, but they incorporate it in their worship.


God chose Israel not for their own power and glory, but to be a servant and a blessing to all the nations. This relationship between YHWH and Israel, depicts that of a husband and wife. Isaiah 54:5 “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel.”

Whenever Israel looked at other gods, it was spiritual adultery to YHWH. Jeremiah 3:6 ….the LORD said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there.


In the New Testament, the Church is the bride of Christ. She is about to get married to Him. Paul warns the Church against spiritual unfaithfulness, that is fornication. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:2: “I promised you ton one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.”


Through history, Satan has plotted and planned to establish himself inside the Church. He wants the worship that belongs to God, even if it means sharing.

Israel kept YHWH, but they shared Him with other gods. The Church kept Jesus Christ, but they too share Him with other gods. They both fell into the same trap of idolatry.


John saw in a vision the destruction of this false religious system, and here in Revelation 17, he described to us what he saw.


Revelation 17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

The angel had poured out the vials, and he is telling John to come and see what happened to this “great whore.” This false religious system, and the idolatry that goes with it.

The one who “sits upon many waters” refers to this system that rose up, and reigned, over many nations. See verse 15.


Revelation 17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

It is boing from bad to worse. This “whore” is now going into bed with political power. Religion and politics became one flesh in this act of fornication. This is religion and politics in cahoots to bring about their own plan, the beast system. That is the One World Order.

The people bought into it, since it looked quite religious from the outside. The result is a world and its people staggering around like a drunk.

Note! Today, the Church is crippled with a casual disregard for the truth. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe. It is already intoxicated.


Revelation 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

John saw a woman, “the whore”, riding the beast. She was controlling and directing this beast, at least for the moment. She lusted after power, and it corrupted her.

The beast with seven heads and ten horns, is the same one we saw in Revelation 13. See here Revelation, Chapter 13. A beast of a system with a beast of a ruler, which will eventually be the Antichrist.

John saw the beast was scarlet in colour, describing a sinful system. See Isaiah 1:18 “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.”


Revelation 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

This whore is wealthy, covered in emblems of luxury, gold and precious stones. It looks religious and holy from the outside, but it is full of abominations.

Note! What we consume, we became. Paul used “the cup” when he told the Corinthians to flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:21 “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”


Revelation 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

In spite of all her glamour, she is nothing but a prostitute. She is wearing the headband to prove it, as Roman prostitutes used to do. “Mystery Babylon the great” refers to her roots, the false religion of Babylon. The mother-and-child-worship which originated in Babylon.

She is “the mother of” which implies she has daughters. We saw, she intoxicated other religions. The reformation fought, and started to move away from it. The Charismatic Movement in the 1800’s moved further away from it. But, the end time Church is that of apostasy. See here End Times, the church.


Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

John was stunned by what he saw. This religious system, the whore, had persecuted those who was faithful to God in history. But now, she is driven to kill the Tribulation saints, and revelled in it like a drunk revels in wine.

Note! During the Tribulation, those who turn to Christ after the rapture, will pay with their life for it. They will be martyrs, and they are refered to as the Tribulation saints.


Revelation 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

The angel noticed John’s amazement, and he explained more. The beast of a system had a beast of a ruler. It is the one you saw before, in Revelation 13. He was once alive, but died from a serious wound. He will come back during the Tribulation.

Note! The beast system, the One World Order, will eventually have its rightful beast of a leader, the Antichrist. Some scholars believe this one who “shall ascend” refers to the system, and others believe it refers to its leader.

I believe it to be the Antichrist self, and it will be staged like a pseudo resurrection of the great pretender. Also because of the writing in: Zechariah 11:17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.


Revelation 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

There is much debate whether this refers to physical Rome, the city on seven hills. No doubt, religious Babylon incorporates Roman Catholicism, but it is much bigger than that.


Revelation 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come: and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

The empires and their leaders throughout history:

1. Egyptian EmpirePharaohsWAS
2. Assyrian EmpireAssyrian kingsWAS
3. Babylonian EmpireNebuchadnezzarWAS
4. Medo- and Persia EmpireCyrusWAS
5. Greek EmpireAlexander the GreatWAS
6. Roman EmpireCaesarsIS
7. Revived Roman EmpireTen KingsIS
8. One World Order/Beast SystemAntichristCOMING
The World Empires and Leaders

This beast has a habit to appear here, to disappear, and to reappear over there. It is satanic, and it mutates itself in order to bring about its diabolic plan.

The 7th one helps to bring about the 8th one. The last one, the 8th, shares characteristics with all the previous ones, but he is different. But, His fate is clear, “going into perdition” means he will be destroyed.


Revelation 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

The world leaders that worked as one council to brought about the 8th, received power. Yet, the moment of sharing in the glory, was very short.


Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful,

These world leaders had one thing in common, they were against God. They did not want the blood of the Lamb, they wanted to do it their own way. And, they did not want Messiah to rule and reign over them as King of kings. They want to rule.

They joined with the Antichrist in the war against Christ, at Armageddon. The faithful ones with Him were those who arrived at the scene with Christ. More about this in Revelation 19.


Revelaiton 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitutes, and nations, and tongues.

In history, religion has often been the willing servant of tyrants in exchange for power.

This religious system is well connected, because of her affiliation with political leaders. She has influence worldwide. Thus, she was sitting and enjoying her status, at least for the moment.


Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

Once the power of the Antichrist has been consolidated, it no longer needs the whore. It turned on her, and destroyed her. The whore became the sad story of the woman that was used and discarded. In this case, by Satan himself.


Revelation 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of Godshallbe fulfilled.

God warned before that Babylon will fall, and He called His people to come out of her. Now, the end had come. He Himself directed the judgment against religious Babylon. To do so, He used another wicked group, the political system, as an instrument to judge the whore.

Note! God is not the author of sin. He allowed them what they always wanted.

Revelation 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

In John’s day Rome was the political, economic, and religious center of the world. No doubt, it will play a huge role in the end times.

The End.



  • The Seven Letters to the Seven Churches by Dr. Chuck Missler
  • Revelation by Dr. Baruch Korman
  • The Unveiled Christ of Revelation by Dr. John Barnett
  • A Light in the Darkness by Rick Renner
  • 101 Answers to Questions About the Book of Revelation by Dr. Mark Hitchcock
  • Revelation: A Chronology by Dr. Jimmy De Young


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