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17:3 He carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness.
I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-colored animal, full of blasphemous names,
having seven heads and ten horns.
17:4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet,
and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls,
having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations
and the impurities of the sexual immorality of the earth.
17:5 And on her forehead a name was written,
The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits.
17:10 They are seven kings. Five have fallen, the one is, the other has not yet come.
When he comes, he must continue a little while.
17:11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth,
and is of the seven; and he goes to destruction.
17:12 The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have received
no kingdom as yet,
but they receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour.
17:13 These have one mind, and they give their power and authority to the beast.
17:14 These will war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them,
17:15 He said to me,
"The waters which you saw, where the prostitute sits,
are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.
17:16 The ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these
will hate the prostitute,
and will make her desolate, and will make her naked,
and will eat her flesh, and will burn her utterly with fire.
17:17 For God has put in their hearts to do what he has in mind, and to be of one mind,
and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished.
17:18 The woman whom you saw is the great city,
which reigns over the kings of the earth."
vs 1-7 Babylon was the main city the Jews associated with the captivity. In the end times it represents the corruption of human civilization. It behaves shamelessly, have no conscience. There is an outward beauty, but inward corruption. The "waters" are the human population as vs 15 mentions.
vs 8-11 The seven heads may represent the famous seven hills of Rome and also seven Roman emperors. "Five have fallen" could be five emperors who have died. One is ruling presently as John was writing. And there is one more of these seven to come. But the beast is spoken of as "once was, but now is not." He could have been one of the five who had died, but would be later raised from the dead coming out of the Abyss in the end times. That would make him an eight, but still part of the seven.
The Roman Emperors were:
vs 12-14 The ten kings are also mentioned in Daniel.
"And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time."Dan 7:24,25Obviously this last king is the AntiChrist. In fact Rev 13:1 mentions about he AntiChrist having ten horns and seven heads.
vs 16-18 Interesting that the beast and ten kings hate the prostitute. God has put his own hatred of the prostitute into the hearts of the beast and the kings, in order that He may use them to execute judgment upon her. Historically, God often uses authority figures to accomplish his ends.
"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." Prov 21:1But who rules whom? For it seems that the prostitute rules over the kings. The world system is not something that individuals can rule over. It rules them.
The Berean Christian Bible Study ResourcesJul 29,2015