The End Times
In my last post, we began to unpack Revelation Revelation 17:1-6 to explore The Vision of the Harlot ~ Part 1. In this post, we continue to unpack Revelation 17:1-6 in The Vision of the Harlot ~ Part 2.
“Then came one of the angels with the seven bowls; and he said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great whore who is sitting by many waters. 2 The kings of the earth went whoring with her, and the people living on earth have become drunk from the wine of her whoring.’ 3 He carried me off in the Spirit to a desert, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast filled with blasphemous names and having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet and glittered with gold, precious stones and pearls. In her hand was a gold cup filled with the obscene and filthy things produced by her whoring. 5 On her forehead was written a name with a hidden meaning,
BAVEL THE GREAT
MOTHER OF WHORES AND OF
THE EARTH’S OBSCENITIES
6 I saw the woman drunk from the blood of God’s people, that is, from the blood of the people who testify about Yeshua. On seeing her, I was altogether astounded.” ~ Revelation 17:1-6 (CJB)
By now we should be accustomed to the breaks in the accounting of the subsequent action, as once again, the on-going drama comes to a standstill as the writer inserts the subject of Bavel in Revelation 17:1 – 19:10. It is necessary in understanding the overall scope to accurately place chapters seventeen and eighteen in the correct setting in the drama. First of all, there are two different and separate Bavels. Revelation Chapter Seventeen deals with the religious or mystical Bavel, while Chapter Eighteen reveals the political or material Bavel.
Picking up where we left off in Part 1, we now turn to Revelation 17:3 were the woman is pictured sitting on a scarlet beast. This depicts the rider in control of the beast, who is the Anti-Messiah. For more information about the beast read again Revelation 13:1-10. If there are ever two who deserve one another, it is these two, for neither has an honest bone and their motives are anything but pure. They seek to use each other! The first forty-two months of the Tribulation will be a power struggle between the woman and the beast. By the midway point, the beast (the political system) will overcome the woman (religious system) and destroy her. Verse sixteen states, “As for the ten horns that you saw and the beast, they will hate the whore, bring her to ruin, leave her naked, eat her flesh and consume her with fire.” Revelation 17:16 (CJB) The final forty-two months shall be given to the worship of the beast himself. William Newell comments on what Bavel is: 
- Bavel is a literal city on the Euphrates River, with a form of idolatrous worship which began almost immediately after the Flood, in the days of Nimrod and extended throughout the whole earth. We find this first form of Bavel opposed to God’s people Israel. Bavel is Satan’s capitol, just as Jerusalem is God’s capitol, and we find this first Bavel was permitted under Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and its temple.
- Bavel, next, is the same system in another city: Rome and opposing the same idolatrous system to God’s saints of the Church age – a monstrous system of evil doctrine that unites the Church with the world.
- The final form of Bavel is the literal city on the Euphrates, rebuilt as Anti-Messiah’s capitol of the last days, opposing Israel as God’s earthly people who will have gathered back to their land (the Church of course, having been raptured), and opposing Jehovah’s worship with the most powerful and enslaving forms of idolatry that the world has ever known—the worship of the Beast and his image!
Verse four tells of her mode of attire, her wealth, and her abdication of Godly truth. Any religion that is not based upon truth soon becomes filled with worldliness and wickedness. The Catholic Church has a history of such a reputation. The woman is described as dressed in purple and scarlet the same colors as the robes of the bishops and cardinals of the Vatican Council. (Again, I want to re-iterate that I know many good, born- again, spirit-filled Catholics, both lay, and clergy. However, we cannot ignore the factual history of the institutional Roman Catholic Church.)
In verse five the woman is given a name: BAVEL THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF WHORES. In response to the Reformation Period of history, the Catholic Church spawned many different religious sects and secret societies. Many of these groups went out with missionary zeal spreading heresies over the earth by carrying only half-truths. To an unsuspecting world, they became THE EARTH’S OBSCENITIES.
Verse six speaks of the evil of these obscenities and HaSatan’s ultimate purpose in using them to persecute the true church. The verse says I saw the woman drunk from the blood of God’s people, that is, from the blood of the people who testify about Yeshua. Any religion that opposes God is a false religion. One that kills the saints is a satanic religion. The only time this woman has ever practiced tolerance is when she has no choice, due to world political restraints. For a clear example of the bloodshed and cruelty practiced by this religious organization read about the death of many of the Reformers and the Inquisition.
The woman is pictured not only as the source of all evil in apostate Christendom but also as the one who is actively engaged in the persecution of the faithful saints. Her wickedness in this regard is demonstrated by the description that she is drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Yeshua. Here the primary reference is not to ancient Bavel but to Bavel perpetuated in apostate Christendom especially in its future form. The history of the church has demonstrated that apostate Christendom is unsparing in its persecution of those who attempt to maintain a true faith in Yeshua. What has been true in the past will be brought to its ultimate in this future time when the martyrs will be beyond number from every kindred, tongue, and nation. The blood shed by the apostate church is exceeded only by that of the martyrs who refuse to worship the beast in the Great Tribulation. As Yochanan contemplates the woman, he records, On seeing her, I was altogether astounded.
Special Comparative Note on Chapter 17:1-6 
Note: See The Vision of the Harlot ~ Part 1 for the Four Views on Chapter 17:1-6.
In my next post, we’ll explore The Mystery of the Harlot Expounded contained in Revelation 17:7-11.
 A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.
 Material in this post is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg. Notations in brackets, if any, are my comments.