Revelation 17:5–6 (NLT)
5 A mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” 6 I could see that she was drunk—drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus. I stared at her in complete amazement.
Revelation 17: 1-6: John receives the vision and the explanation of the judgment of the great prostitute. She sits on a scarlet beast with 7 heads and ten horns written over with blasphemies. She holds a goblet of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality. She is named “Babylon the Great, Mother of all Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” She is drunk on the blood of the saints. John is amazed at the sight. 7-18: The angel explains this vision:
The beast: Was once alive, now is not, yet will come up from the bottomless pit to be destroyed. Those without their names in the book of life will be be amazed when the beast reappears.
The seven heads: Represents the seven hills where the woman rules and also seven kings. Five kings have fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come.
The eighth king: This is the scarlet beast
The ten horns: They are ten kings who have not yet risen to power. They will reign with the beast and go to war with, and be defeated by the Lamb who is the King of all kings and the Lord of all Lords.
The waters: These are the masses of people from every nation and tongue. The beast will turn on the prostitute along with the ten horns, strip her naked, eat her flesh and burn her remains with fire.
The great prostitute here is seen by almost all interpreters to be the Roman Papal church, no matter their approach to Revelation. The false church, therefore, will turn on the true believers, even to the point of shedding their blood. This happened in history and will happen again.
Since this is true, so is the following:
- There is a false church and a true church—one who truly follows Christ and one who doesn’t. I must be in the true church!
- The false church will persecute the true church. I should not be surprised at the persecution.
- The plan of God will allow for both the rise and the persecution of the false church.
I will meditate on how to regard Roman Catholicism, since this seems to be the meaning of the symbol of the prostitute.