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Keys to Revelation - Chapter 17

Written by: Capoccia, Tony    Posted on: 05/12/2003

Category: Bible Studies

Source: CCN

                        Keys to Revelation - Chapter 17

Taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

          BIBLE TEXT                                  COMMENTARY

REV 17:1  One of the seven angels        [seven angels...bowls] - See REV 15:1 who had the seven bowls came and          and 15:7. said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great              [great prostitute] - Defined in REV prostitute, who sits on many              17:18, "The woman....is the great waters.                                  city that rules over the earth."  The                                           great city is best understood, in the                                           last days of the earth, as Rome. 

                                          Actually, it was the ancient city of                                           Babylon, that had the first major                                           worldwide influence for evil.  This                                           influence impacted such areas as:                                           government, politics, commerce,                                           education, art, manufacture, labor,                                           amusement, etc. Eventually, Rome, as                                           the last world empire became the                                           symbol for the Babylonian system                                           which is opposed to the ways of God.

                                          [sits on many waters] - REV 17:15                                           defines the waters, "The waters....                                           where the prostitute sits, are                                           peoples, multitudes, nations and                                           languages."  During these last years                                           of the Tribulation Period it will be                                           the city of Rome which will be the                                           capital city of the world and will                                           have great power and influence over                                           the entire earth, leading it into                                           spiritual and physical adulteries.

REV 17:2  With her the kings of the      [kings of the earth] - Represents all earth committed adultery and the          the nations of the earth that have inhabitants of the earth were            had illicit relations with the city intoxicated with the wine of her          of Rome.  Rome, of course, being the adulteries."                              final and last symbol of the worldly                                           system that began with Babylon.

                                          [committed adultery] - Nations that                                           have not only committed immoral acts                                           and engaged in unlawful sex, but also                                           were involved in religious apostasy.

                                          [intoxicated] - They were controlled                                           by the immorality and the powers of                                           the false religion.

REV 17:3  Then the angel carried me      [carried me away] - John is trans- away in the Spirit into a desert.        ported in his vision to the desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with      [desert] - Not a place of blessing or blasphemous names and had seven          nourishment, but rather a place that heads and ten horns.                      is appropriate for divine judgment.

                                          [a woman] - This is the woman called                                           the great prostitute (17:1) and                                           continues to represent the city of                                           Rome and the entire Babylonian                                           influence throughout the ages.   

                                          [sitting] - A position by which she                                           can manage and guide the beast.

                                          [scarlet beast] - Same beast that                                           rose out of the waters in REV 13:1.                                           It is the symbolic for the great                                              Christ-hating power of the Antichrist                                           and his revived Roman Empire.

                                          [blasphemous names] - The leaders of                                           world systems have continually mocked                                           the name of God and even at times                                           made blasphemous claims of being                                           deity themselves.

                                          [seven heads, ten horns] - Beast has                                           the same number of horns and heads as                                           the Red Dragon (Satan) of REV 12:3                                            and similar to the descriptions found                                           in DAN 7:7-8, 24.  It is a another                                            clear reference to the Antichrist and                                           the revived Roman Empire.         

                                          The seven heads are a symbol of the                                           seven hills of the city of Rome (see                                           REV 17:9) from which the Antichrist                                           will most likely establish his throne                                           during this time.  The heads also are                                           used to represent the kings of past                                           and future of this world empire (REV                                           17:9)                       

                                          The ten horns refer to the original                                           ten kingdoms of the old Roman Empire                                           of which three were subdued by the                                           little horn of Daniel 7:8, who is to                                           be identified with the world ruler of                                           the great tribulation (Antichrist)                                           who reigns over the revived Roman                                           Empire (United Europe?), see REV                                           17:12                       

REV 17:4  The woman was dressed in        [purple and scarlet] - Purple was purple and scarlet, and was              often the color of royalty and the glittering with gold, precious            color scarlet indicated luxurious and stones and pearls. She held a            haughty splendor.  This world system golden cup in her hand, filled with      promoted pride, luxury, and self abominable things and the filth of        devotion. her adulteries.                                            [golden cup...filled with...filth] -                                           Just like the woman and the world                                           system, they both glitter on the out-                                           side but are filled with the filth of                                           their spiritual and physical sins of                                           adulteries within.                                          

REV 17:5  This title was written on      [written on her forehead] -  Roman her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE        prostitutes wore a label with their  GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND      names on their foreheads.  Likewise, OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.        this harlot proudly displays her                                           descriptive name.

                                          [MYSTERY BABYLON] - Although once a                                           real city, it now no longer exists,                                           however, the influence of the "ways"                                           of the city and empire continue until                                           the last days of the Tribulation.

                                          [MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES] - This city                                           has had the influence over all other                                           cities and cultures, as a mother's                                           ways would influence her daughters.                                            

REV 17:6  I saw that the woman was        [drunk with the blood] - One of the drunk with the blood of the saints,      great sins of the city and empire of the blood of those who bore              Rome was the slaughter of the saints. testimony to Jesus. When I saw her,      The history of the church reveals I was greatly astonished.                that a great many Christians were                                           martyred by the Roman Government and                                           later, by the Catholic Church of Rome                                           during the Inquisition. Of course, it                                           is the revised Roman Empire of these                                           last days that murder the Tribulation                                           Saints.

REV 17:7  Then the angel said to me: "Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 

REV 17:8  The beast, which you saw,      [the beast] - Again it is the Revised once was, now is not, and will come      Roman Empire and its leader -- the up out of the Abyss and go to his        Antichrist.  The Roman Empire's most destruction. The inhabitants of the      famous leaders was Nero, and he was earth whose names have not been          known for his treacherous treatment written in the book of life from          of Christians.  This type of leader the creation of the world will be        and the Roman Empire was passing astonished when they see the beast,      from the scene and would appear to because he once was, now is not,          be gone forever.  However, to the and yet will come.                        utter amazement of the entire world,                                           the old Roman Empire, with its wicked                                           rulers, will be revived in the end                                           times. It will not be Nero who comes                                           back to life but the Roman Empire.

                                          In addition, it could be that the                                           Antichrist is also killed but raised                                           to life by Satan in order to deceived                                           the world by trying to "upstage" the                                           resurrection of the Lord Jesus                                           Christ.

                                          [world... astonished] - Truly if some                                           world leader would be killed and then                                           somehow raised to life by some great                                           power, then the entire world would                                           follow after him because it would be                                           their desire to have that power to                                           help satisfy their needs.  One must                                           remember that the world does not want                                           the true power of God because of the                                           cost involved--the turning from sin                                           and the yielding of one's life to the                                           true Savior.

                                          Both the resurrection of the Roman                                           Empire and the Antichrist would truly                                           cause a wicked world to be deceived.

REV 17:9  "This calls for a mind          [seven hills] - The woman, the city with wisdom. The seven heads are          of Rome, sits on seven hills.  Rome seven hills on which the woman            was known as the city on seven hills, sits.                                    these hills received the names of                                           Palatine, Aventine, Caelian,                                           Esquiline, Viminal, Quirinal, and                                           Capitoline.   

REV 17:10  They are also seven            [also seven kings] - The heads are kings. Five have fallen, one is,          not only symbolic of the hills of the other has not yet come; but          Rome but also of the kings of the when he does come, he must remain        Roman Empire.  for a little while.                                            [five have fallen] - These would have                                           the five emperors before John, that                                           is, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula,                                           Claudius, and Nero. 

                                          [one is] - The emperor ruling at the                                           time of the this vision would then                                           have to be Vespasian.

                                          [the other has not yet come] - After                                           Vespasian came the emperor Titus,                                           who became the instrument in the hand                                           of God of destroying the holy city                                           and the temple.

REV 17:11  The beast who once was,        [eighth king] - The last emperor was and now is not, is an eighth king.        Titus and the next one will be after He belongs to the seven and is            the revival of the Roman Empire and going to his destruction.                will be known as the Antichrist.

                                          [belongs to the seven] - That is, he                                           also is a Roman Emperor. 


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