Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


The Revelation
Revelation was taught by Dr. James Modlish

Chapter Seventeen

The Harlot And Her Daughters


Chapters 17 and 18 introduce us to Babylon, which typifies the last great world system - before the return of Christ. In 17 the emphasis is on the religious aspect of the system, while in 18 it is the commercial that is stressed. Note that religious Babylon will be overthrown by the Beast (17.16-18), while commercial Babylon will be destroyed by God.



Since the seven vials (Ch. 16) brought about the climax of God's wrath on the world, including the fall of Babylon (16:17-21), one of those angels invite John to go to the wilderness to see. "the great whore" - the final apostate world-system.

It has been pointed out that there are four women in Revelation:

[1]. Jezebel, picturing apostasy creeping into the church (2:20).

[2]. Israel (12:1)

[3]. The harlot, the final apostate world-system (17).

[4]. The Bride, the church (19:7).

The natural man cannot see the truth given in this chapter; even John would not have known them apart from the invitation of the angel. Worldly minded church members refuse to face the facts of this chapter; they prefer to believe that the "world church" is an answer to prayer! How wrong they will be seen one day!


There are several symbols involved in this description, but the angel explains them to us. If we accept the interpretation of God's Word, we will have little trouble understanding what the chapter teaches.

[1]. The Woman - Verse 18 makes it clear that she is a city, and in John's day, she was reigning over the kings of the earth. The seven heads (Cf vs: 3) are identified as seven mountains in (vs. 9). There seems to be little doubt that the city is Rome. It is situated on seven hills; when Revelation was written, Rome was reigning over the Kings of the earth.

[2]. The Beast - This is the same Beast we met in (Ch. 13), the AntiChrist. Verse 8 indicates that this world ruler will come out of the bottomless pit, which may suggest a man raised from the dead. "Perdition" links him with Judas (Din. 17:12; 2 Thess. 2:3). The fact that the Beast has seven heads and ten horns also identifies him with Satan (see 12:3 and 13:1). Verse 10 tells us that the seven heads are seven kings (as well as seven mountains); and (vs. 12) explains that the ten horns are ten more kings. So, the Beast pictures the kingdom of AntiChrist as well as his person.

[3]. The Seven Heads - We have already seen that these represent seven mountains (vs. 9) and seven kings or kingdoms (vs. 10). The five kingdoms that were fallen were, Babylon under Nimrod, Egypt under Pharaoh,. Assyria under Sennacherib, Persia under Cyrus, and Greece under Alexander the Great. "Caesar" is the king at the time John writes these words. John is being persecuted at the time of this writing, 90 A.D. by Domitian, the Emperor of ROME!

There is going to be another king showing up after that, "and when he cometh, he must continue a short space."

(Rev. 17:11) - "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, -and goeth into perdition."

"Even he is the eighth." He will be the king after Caesar, King of Rome.

"And is of the seven." He is the sixth head of Satan. Then the sixth head of Satan is the Antichrist, typified in history by Alexander, the Great, and unnamed in the book of Daniel. His number is "666" and he was the "6th" head of the dragon. When he shows up, he will be the eighth king after the Roman Empire is complete. This means that when the Antichrist comes, he will take over the Roman Empire under the Roman Catholic Church (Dan 2). As the ten toes of Daniel's image grow out of Rome (the legs and feet), so the ten kings of (Rev. 17:12) reign with the Antichrist over a Roman Catholic Empire. And the beast, the Antichrist, is the eighth king that shows up, and he is one of the seven heads on the Devil.

[4]. The Ten Horns - Verse 12 explains that these are ten kings. They parallel the ten toes of Daniel's image in (Dan. 2:36-45), the revived Roman Empire. In John's day, these kings had not yet received their power; this is reserved for the last days when the Federation of Europe, headed by the Beast, comes into focus - Note that these ten kings willingly give support to the Beast in his battle against Christ and the saints; and that, with the help of the Beast, they will destroy the great whore!
[5]. The Waters - The waters on which the whore is seated are the peoples of the world (vs. 15). She will have influence over the whole world, politically, economically, and, most of all, religiously.


The whore represents the apostate world church of the latter days, centered in Rome. The name "Babylon" takes us back to (Gen. 10:1-11; 11:1-9), where the first organized rebellion against God took place. The name "Babel" means "confusion" and stands for all apostate religion. It takes little study to see that the Babylonian system has been guilty of persecuting true believers ever since Cain killed Abel.

The pattern for the last days seems to be as follows: Protestant groups will move closer to Rome and finally there will be formed one great World Church. This World Church (the harlot) will meddle in the political and economic affairs of the world and, with the help of the Beast become a great power. The World Church will "ride into power" on the back of the Beast, that is, with the help of Satan and the Federated States of Europe. The Vatican has always been interested in seeing the nations of Europe unite, because she knows that this will give her greater power.

The Beast will get the support of the ten kings as he rides to victory (Rev. 6:1-2), so that there will be a union between nations of Europe, the Beast, and the World Church centering in Rome. The picture we have here in (Ch. 17) is actually what takes place during the first half of the tribulation period. Note that the Beast has not yet been revealed in his true Satanic character.

At the middle of the tribulation, the Beast will want to have all power and worship for himself (Ch. 13). This means he must get rid of the harlot, because she represents the worship of God, if even in an apostate way. Verse 16 indicates that the Federated Nations of Europe will turn against the World Church at Rome and destroy her! This will fulfill the prophecy of (Rev. 2:20-23). Once the whore is out of the way, the Beast will set himself up as god and demand the worship of the nations.

We see today the development of this great World Church. False religion began back in Babylon with Nimrod, and has spread from nation to nation until today we have the entire Roman system filled with pagan doctrines and practices. The visit of Pope Paul to the UN is one step toward a World Church, uniting all apostate religious groups with Rome. The apostate church is called a "whore," while the True Church is pictured as a pure Bride. The whore is in the wilderness; the Bride is in heaven. The whore is adorned by Satan (17:4), while the Bride is adorned by Christ (19:8). The whore is judged forever: the Bride reigns forever. The whore is stained with the blood of the martyrs; the Bride is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

It behooves the dedicated Christian to separate himself from Satan's false church, and be true to Christ and the Word of God.

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