Home Page Bible Topics Page Offsite Links Page Email Webbercreek Download This Bible Study Guestbook Bookmark This Site
Page # 17

Welcome to Prophecies of the Bible



Chapter 16=    =Chapter 18

:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

:2 With whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.


:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Je'sus. And when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go to perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other has not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

:13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

:14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these will hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

:17 For God has put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

On-Site Links


chap.1.gif chap.2.gif chap.3.gif chap.4.gif chap.5.gif
chap.6.gif chap.7.gif chap.8.gif chap.9.gif chap.10.gif
chap.11.gif chap.12.gif chap.13.gif chap.14.gif chap.15.gif
chap.16.gif chap.17.gif chap.18.gif chap.19.gif chap.20.gif
chap.21.gif chap.22.gif

Email Webbercreek

Send Email to Webmaster

Statement of Faith

Revelation of Jesus Christ

"...Babylon the Great..."

Prior to this chapter, the city of Babylon has been mentioned only two times in the Book of Revelation: once in 14:8, and again in 16:19. This is amazing, considering the great emphasis given to her in the two chapters we are about to look at.

The traditional view of the tribulation period portrays the Antichrist as having full control of the world's economy during his reign. This study however, takes the position that, for the most part, the Beast and Babylon will be locked in battle for control of the world's wealth, with the Beast winning out in the end. His victory however, will be short lived as his plan for total world domination and enslavement will be cut off by the return of Jesus Christ.

From the description given of Babylon in chapters 17 and 18, it appears that this great city, for all intent and purposes, will represent the world's version of the heavenly "new Jerusalem", which is described chapters 21 and 22.

With that in mind, it becomes apparent that she is intended to be to the Beast, what new Jerusalem is to the Lamb: a bride or wife. However, the major difference between the two is that new Jerusalem is forever faithful to her intended husband; whereas Babylon quickly prostitutes herself, and double-crosses her intended.

The perfect evil duo: the vilest of persons, walking hand-in-hand with the vilest of cities, is never to be fully played out. Babylon's deceit and harlotry will prove too much for the Beast, infuriating him to a point which is destined to lead to her destruction, at his hands. Again, we see an opposing or mirrored effect: the Lamb loves faithful new Jerusalem; the Beast hates unfaithful Babylon.

Chapter 17 deals with the unveiling of the mystery concerning this great city who is likened unto a harlot; and also explains the mystery of the Beast which came into full power in chapter 13. This chapter can be divided into the following segments:

Verses 1 and 2 are the introduction to the identity and final judgment of both the harlot and the Beast.

In verses 3 - 6, John is shown a vision of this woman, in the wilderness, sitting upon the Beast.

Verse 7 is a transitional verse whereby we go from the actual vision shown to John, to the explanation of it.

Verses 8 - 11 covers the identity and positional relationship of the Beast with the woman, as well as the kings of the earth, who are to be instrumental in her rise to power.

Verses 12 - 17 deal with ten kings who have allied themselves with the Beast, and their role in Babylon's destruction.

Finally, verse 18 points back to the beginning of the chapter by identifying what and who the harlot of this chapter represents.

Verses 1 - 2

"...the judgement of the great whore..."

Verses 1 and 2 begin the chapter as an invitation for John to come and preview the judgment of the great harlot of the earth, identified in verses 5 and 18 as the City of Babylon.

The word "fornication" as used in here in verse 2, and through out this chapter, is defined in Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, as idolatry. The idolatry directed towards Babylon, by the world, is fostered by the immense wealth which she will possess. Babylon, in all her glory, will become the idol which will capture the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of the earth.

An idolatrous relationship will exist whereby she will manipulate the kings of the earth and their subjects through this immense wealth. The golden cup in her hand is filled with her ill-gotten gain. This is poured out, as an offering to the people, in order that she may be glorified and exhalted in the earth; as they receive from her enormous treasury. The drink in the cup is so mesmerizing and pleasant, that the partakers are hopelessly in her clutches.

Partaking of the golden cup points to the buying and selling of goods, and the exorbitant profits which she will pay to those who contract with her. The merchants of the earth are made rich by her (18:15). Babylon appears to have unlimited purchasing power; in stark contrast to the "mark of the beast" system which is to be implemented by the Antichrist.

As stated previously, Babylon's grip on the wealth of the world will be the single greatest hurdle which the Beast must negotiate in order to have full control of the earth and its inhabitants. It will be the ultimate greed-driven battle between those who have, and those who have not; with the have-nots eventually winning out.

"...whore that sitteth upon many waters..."

While Babylon is pictured as sitting upon the Beast (verse 3), she is initially portrayed as one sitting upon many waters. In the early days of Babylon's existence, an extensive system of canals was built in and around the city (a 15 mile square), utilizing the waters of the Euphrates River. Because of this, she appeared from a distance, in a literal sense, to be a city sitting upon "many waters". Such a position, in a desert setting, may be seen as a sign of her greatness.

Old Map

In verse 15 of this chapter however, we are told that the waters upon which she sits, represent "...peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues". As we study this chapter we shall see that Babylon is actually seated at two levels:

1. "...upon many waters..."
2. upon "...seven mountains."

Babylon must be first be resurrected from the dust of the earth before the Beast can interact with her. The "many waters" probably represent the base, or foundation, which shall facilitate that restoration or rebirth.

The "...peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." which these waters represent, are most likely the oil rich Islamic nations of the Middle East which will restore Babylon to a prominent position of wealth and power in the world. Once that is accomplished, then she will be in a position to garner global power and wealth, in order to bring immense glory to herself.

Since Islam is known for its fierce opposition to anything of an idolatrous nature; it is more understandable how that the city itself; and not some object or objects within it, is the entity which will possess the idolatrous characteristics of chapter 17.

It would be an idolatry which is not blatantly obvious from a religious stand point; but more so in the vein that the world will lift her up and esteem her above all other cities of the earth. This is the counter to the exhalted righteous woman of chapter 12, who is also lifted up, but for different reasons. Anything can be made into an idol, even a city like rebuilt Babylon.

On the second level: the seven heads of the Beast upon which Babylon also sits (verse 9), represent a higher relationship or covenant which shall be established between her and the Beast; whereby it appears that he will place the kingdoms which he conquers, early in the tribulation, under her control.

Many have painted Babylon as a symbolic entity representing a variety things, but Scripture makes it clear that God has declared through His prophets that He intends to judge a literal city which is called Babylon.

So how is it that a city, such as Babylon in Iraq, which hasn't existed for centuries, could come into existence again, and rise up to become the most powerful city on earth? It's seemingly an impossibility!

It's no coincidence, that the wealth of the world is now being amassed in the Middle East. This should be our first clue as to how something like this might be possible. The following is a portion of a article written by Henry Thompson, one of the world's top economist:

"...The Arab Gulf has 65% of the world’s proven oil reserves. Iraq has 360 billion barrels of potential reserves, and 12% of the world proven reserves. Oil in the ground is like money in the bank making Iraqis wealthy.

Iraq can easily produce 6 million barrels of oil a day or 2 billion barrels per year out of its working oil fields. At $50 per barrel, that oil would sell for $100 billion. The population of Iraq is 24 million and that oil income translates to $4000 per capita per year.

For some crude conservative idea of the wealth of Iraq, suppose Iraq sells 1/4 of its potential reserves at an average price of $50 per barrel over the next 20 years. That would generate 90 billion x $50 = $4.5 trillion. If the population of Iraq grows to 30 million, that would be $150,000 per capita for 20 years, or $7,500 annual per capita income.

Estimated productive assets in the US according to the World Bank are $60,000 per capita, and in the world $5,000 per capita. If Iraq invests only 1/4 of its oil revenue for the next 20 years, it would match current US productive assets per capita.

The total value of Iraq's potential oil reserves at an average profit of $75 per barrel over next 100 years would be 360 billion x $75 = $27 trillion or $900,000 per capita, making every Iraqi a millionaire. These calculations do not include natural gas revenue, lately about equal to oil revenue for producing fields.

In the entire Arab or Persian Gulf, proven oil reserves are 1.95 trillion barrels. Selling this at an average profit of $75 per barrel over the next 100 years would generate $15,000 trillion income. If half of that is invested, it would amount to $7,500 trillion or ¼ of the present total productive assets in the world.

Iraq is a wealthy country. "

This article was written some time ago and the calculations were based on much lower oil prices than we have seen in 2008. At any rate, it is clear that the economic clout of the Middle East is growing at an astonishing rate. Any slide in the oil revenues, such as seen in late 2008, will certainly be only a temporary setback for these nations.

These figures also make very clear the reasoning of the U.S. and others to thwart any possibility of Middle Eastern extremist getting their hands on Nuclear Weapons. If such a scenario were to develope, it could shackle the world's economy and literally bring it to its knees before those people.

Military intervention would be extremely difficult to initiate if such parties had a nuclear deterent. Plans, pushed by the U.S., to build an anti-missile defense system in Europe are clearly in response to the volatile political atmosphere of the Middle East: and the constant fear that nations such as Iran will develope nuclear weapons and possibly use them for political, economic, or even religious blackmail. That appears to be the real fear driving the industrial west's foreign policy in the region.

So where is it headed? With the rising power of world economic blocs such as the European Union, and a possible North American Union (U.S., Canada and Mexico) taking shape: it looks more probable, that at some point, the oil rich nations (OPEC, or the Middle East only) will eventually form an economic bloc of their own. With no industrial base, it would appear that it will be integrated into the system as the world's market place.

OPEC has held some talks with Russia (2008), pointed at the possibility of it joining the oil cartel. This may ultimatly result in an alliance between the coming Antichrist and Babylon; assuming that Gog, mentioned in chapter 12, and the Antichrist, are the same person, who is to come out of the far north to attack both Israel, and eventually Babylon itself.

As stated, a Middle Eastern zone would not be built upon an industrial base, due to its lack of natural resources; but would be one which will complement all others, by the buying and selling of merchandise which they produced {18:11}. In all likelihood, this position will be made a reality through the immense revenues being generated by oil sales.

Babylon may well be destined to become the new capital of such a union (the Kings of the Earth, as it were). If the higher echelons of the Islamic World were to pour their enormous resources into her developement, Babylon could quickly rise to the position to which she is called.

Given the geo-political and religious state of affairs in that region of the world, it also becomes clear that without the injection of such resources, Babylon's probability of rising again would be minimal, if not impossible.

Scripture however, demands that she come back because God has yet to judge her in the fashion by which He has declared through His prophets.

The oil wealth of the Middle East could certainly provide the vehicle through which the prophecies of Scripture will be fulfilled. Even with a slump in market conditions, the trend which has begun towards higher oil prices in the world, is undoubtedly an integral part of the fulfillment of the part of Bible Prophecy, whereby Babylon will be elevated to a position of greatness which she never knew in the past. It will be a true "rags to riches" story.

The bottom line is: Babylon will be wealthy beyond compare. The initial wealth, which lifts her up, has to come from somewhere. Since she is physically located in the heart of the Islamic world, and those nations (the waters upon which she sits) are building vast fortunes generated by oil sales; it stands to reason that her rise to power will be, at least initially, jump-started through revenues from that source. Saddam Hussein began the process by spending more than one billion dollars towards her resurrection; others will finish it!

After almost 1,900 years, many doubted that Israel would ever rise to become a nation again, but God is faithful to His word. He declared that Israel would return as a nation, and so it has. He will also be faithful to bring back Babylon; and to remember that as she plundered and destroyed Jerusalem in the past, so He will do to her. He has not forgotten her sins though she has hidden herself in the dust of the earth for centuries! The place where organized rebellion against God began (Gen. 11:1-9), is also the place where it shall end (Jer. 50:40 ; Rev. 20:15).

Verses 3 - 6

"...a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast..."

The vision of the judgment of this woman now begins as John is transported, "...in the spirit..." into a remote place called "...the wilderness..." where he sees her sitting upon a scarlet colored Beast having seven heads and ten horns.

In as much as the Beast is carrying the woman; it would seem to indicated that a covenant has been initiated between the two. Verse 9 helps us to understand that the woman is not sitting upon the back of the Beast, but rather upon its seven heads. The seven heads therefore would represent the base upon which such a covenant would be founded.

Jesus has a standing covenant (of marriage) with the Church (Eph. 5:23-25) which will inhabit new Jerusalem in the future. Here in chapter 17 we may be seeing the Beast in a similiar covenant relationship with Babylon. A relationship by which he lifts her up, with the intension that he will be glorified through her when he comes into the fullness of his power.

During the tribulation period, the kings of the earth (evil leaders) will bring their glory and honor to Babylon (18:3). Conversely, after the tribulation period, the new kings of the earth (the saints) will also bring their glory and honor to new Jerusalem (21:24). The glory of the former shall pass away, but the glory of the latter shall abide forever.

At some point during the first half of the tribulation, things will come unraveled, with Babylon turning her back on the Antichrist; enraging him to the point that he will not stop until she has been stripped of her wealth and totally destroyed. He will then take that wealth to Israel with the plan to make Jerusalem his permanent capital. In effect, he will attempt to usurp the position reserved for Jesus Christ {Luke 1:32}. That plan however, will end in his destruction, at the hands of the Lord.

This Beast is obviously the same one described in Rev. 13. The scarlet color mentioned here is, no doubt, a tag showing his kinship with the "...great red dragon..." which appeared in chapter 12, and from which he received his power, authority and royal appointment (13:2).

Verse 4 shows the opulence associated with this grand harlot, and as stated before, blatantly displays her, not only as superior to modest earthly Jerusalem, but also as the rival of "new Jerusalem", which is yet in heaven.

Verse 5 identifies Babylon as the "...MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH..." The word "MOTHER" is used here in the sense that she has daughters; rather than meaning that she is the chief harlot of the earth. She is that for sure, but the emphasis here is that she has daughters (cities in the world who take their que from her). These daughters probably represent the capital cities of the Kings of the Earth, who have come under the control of Babylon's harlotry.

The Mystery Name written on her forehead is "BAB'Y-LON THE GREAT". She does not, even symbolically, received the "mark" or "name of the beast" in her forehead showing that her allegiance is to him. To the contrary, we need to re-emphasize that for most of the tribulation period, Babylon will be set at odds with the Antichrist, and pose the single greatest problem he will have to deal with. Once this traitor has been eliminated, then he will feel the world is finally at his feet.

"...I saw the woman drunk ..."

Here John marvels as he saw the woman as being drunken with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus. This shows her anti-Christian attitude; and makes it clear that the blood she is held accountable for is primarily that of the tribulation saints, since those killed were believers in Jesus Christ.

At this point in chapter 17, she does not appear to be one exerting calculated control over the Beast; but rather as one who is in a drunken stupor, and on the verge of falling off of her seated position upon the Beast.

The sense here is, that the Beast is very focused, but the woman, through her arrogance, has unknowingly positioned herself perilously close to destruction. She has a false sense of security by making an unrealistic assessment of how safe and secure her position really is {18:7}.

In verse 7, the angel questions John as to why he marvelled at what he saw. He then informs John that he will explain the mystery of both the woman and the beast which carries her.

Probably the most difficult thing in understanding this chapter is placing the events depicted in it, in the correct time frame. We are dealing with a chapter that explains the judgement of Babylon at the end of the tribulation period; yet in doing so, we alternately move forward and regress again in the describing of how those judgments come about.

Sometimes it's not always clear which time frame, of the tribulation period, we are dealing with. The main thrust of chapters 17 and 18 however, is the judgment and eternal destruction of Babylon. The actual judgment brought upon the Beast is not covered until we reach Chapter 19. In short order, the scenario will play out like this: first the Beast will destroy Babylon, then Jesus will destroy the Beast.

Verse 8

"...was, and is not; and shall ascend ..."

Although this chapter opens with words concerning the woman; it's the mystery of the Beast which is revealed to John first.

The "was" in this verse points back to verse 3, and refers to the time prior to the wound unto death received by the Beast, as stated in chapter 13. In other words, the time frame for "was", is during the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation period.

It also points to the time when the sixth king (17:10) is exerting his power. The one who "was" (verse 8) is the same as the one who "is" (verse 10). Verse 8 puts him in the position of rising; whereas verse 10 places him in the position from which he shall fall (the wound unto death).

The "...is not..." refers to his fall and the time which he spends in captivity in the bottomless pit, after receiving the wound. This short period of time immediately preceeds the mid-point of the tribulation.

In Chapter 13 we see the Beast ascending out of the sea. In Jewish understanding the sea represents one of three entrances to Gehenna, in which the "horrible pit" is located {REVIEW}.

Since he ascends from the bottomless pit very near the mid-point of the tribulation, we can understand that verse 3 is showing us that the Beast fully supported Babylon during the early part of the tribulation, or during the first 3 1/2 years of the period; only to become her enemy afterwards. So what happens to bring about this rapid change in attitude by the Beast?

After his apparent demise, Babylon will embrace yet another king (the seventh), which the Beast, after his ascent from the pit, will eventually confront and prevail against (Jer. 50:41-44).

After he ascends from the bottomless pit, the support which Babylon had enjoyed from him, will no longer be in effect. From that point onward, he will become her major adversary, and chief rival for the world's allegiance.

Those who dwell upon the earth, who have not trusted in Jesus, will be amazed when they see the reappearance to the Beast, and many will be be persuaded to follow his leadership; showing their allegiance by receiving his mark. It's important to understand that the mark of the Beast does not come into use until after the Beast proclaims himself to be God, at the mid-point of the tribulation period. This is verified by chapter 13.

Verse 9

"...the mind which hath wisdom ..."

Verse 9 tells us that the seven heads of the Beast represent "...seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth." Many believe this is a reference to the City of Rome, which was built upon the legendary seven hills.

This is a very simplistic approach to something which Scripture tell us requires wisdom to understand. In the days when the Book of Revelation was written, it was widely known that Rome was built upon seven hills. In fact, ancient Jerusalem was also built on seven hills; as was Constantinople, capital city of the eastern Roman Empire from the 4th to the 15th centuries.

From Daniel Chapter 2:35, we understand, through a sort of dual symbolism, that mountains can also represent kingdoms. In verse 44 of that chapter, we are told that God will set up a kingdom which shall not end, but will break all other kingdoms to pieces. So from this, it's clear that the mountain, spoken of there, is the Kingdom of God.

"... And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth."

We may view the seven heads and seven mountains of Rev. 17 in a similiar fashion. Just as the stone and great mountain of Daniel 2 are not literal, the seven heads of the Beast and the seven mountains are also not literal; but represent seven kingdoms, or regions, over which Babylon is to exercise authority.

In the Book of Daniel, we see two symbols used to represent two literal truths. Jesus (the stone - whom the builders rejected) will come, destroy the kingdom of the Beast; and establish on earth, the Kingdom of God (a great mountain).

Likewise, here in chapter 17 of the Book of Revelation, the heads and mountains upon which Babylon sits, are two symbols which represent two literal truths: the heads are the seven kings, and the seven mountains represent their kingdoms over which Babylon is given power.

It should also be remembered that the seven heads are pictured in the vision shown to John as a part of the Beast (kingdom) which is to be delivered up to Babylon's control (sitting upon them). As long as she is in control of the heads, she can also control the Beast (economically speaking).

Verse 10

"...are seven kings ..."

The time frame now regresses with this verse to sets the stage of Babylon's judgment from the beginning. There are a total of 17 kings involved in Babylon's rise to power, and her ultimate downfall. Seven of those play a role in her meteoric rise to power; and ten, plus one of the previous seven (the Antichrist), are instrumental in her downfall.

While the seven mountains (kingdoms) upon which Babylon sits, should not be equated with the "many waters" (peoples, nations etc.) which represent the foundational phase of her revival: the latter may collectively play a role as one of the seven blocs which are to come forth. The seven kings or kingdoms, given into her hands, serve as the power base which comes forth after she returns to the world stage, through the life given unto her by the "many waters".

The first seven kings may represent individual nations, but it's more likely that they represent seven regions, or blocs of nations, into which the world will be divided prior to the Antichrist going forth, "...conquering and to conquer...." (6:2).

A Globalist agenda, driven by the world's "elite", may be the force behind this restructuring of national alliances; supposedly for economic, political and security purposes. The yet to be revealed Antichrist person, may be the head of one of these blocs, who will go forth conquering the other blocs, which resist being pulled into a Global government. Obviously, Babylon is destined to become not only the heart of the world's economic system, but also the seat of such a government.

"...five are fallen..."

The Greek word for "fallen" (pepto) as used here, means, "to remove from power by death". Who is it that will accomplish this task? The first five kings will be conquered by the sixth king ("...one is...") who is the same one who goes forth "..conquering and to conquer.." (chapter 6). This king will initially submit his kingdom to Babylon, and then set out to bring all other kingdoms into subjection to her.

As he goes forth rapidly conquering these kingdoms; they as regional building blocks of an emerging world government, will be submitted, one by one, to Babylon's control through the apparent covenant he will have with her.

It would seem that the intention of the Beast is to deliver up all conquered territories to Babylon, and then make his grand entrance to her as, the victorious "King of kings and Lord of lords": a most worthy groom. The scenario may play out like this:

After delivering up the fifth kingdom to Babylon's control, the Antichrist, as the sixth king, will be within sight of his goal, when it will enter into his heart {EZ. 38:10} to go forth as the leader of a great northern army, to attack Israel, as explained in chapter 12. Remember that this is to occur during the first half of the seven years of tribulation.

Both Isaiah and Jeremiah have us understand that Babylon too will eventually fall (at the end of the tribulation period) under the attack of a great northern army: the army of the Antichrist.

The Antichrist however, will fail in his initial attempt to conquer Israel, and with his demise will briefly go into captivity in the bottomless pit.

"...the other is not yet come..."

After the Beast goes into the bottomless pit, Babylon's covenant with the Beast will be annulled, and she will come under the control of the seventh king mentioned in verse 10. He may well be an emerging leader of the Islamic bloc of nations (the many waters), which initially brought Babylon back on the world stage.

This seventh king (17:10) is the one who will be lifting up Babylon in her greatness when the Beast ascends from the bottomless pit. He is also the one spoken of in {Jer. 50:43}. It is against him that the northern army (army of the Antichrist), comprised of the forces of the ten kings, will come bringing utter destruction upon both him and his harlot wife.

When it's finished, all seven kings, including the Antichrist, will have been removed from power by death: the first five at the hands of the Antichrist, the Antichrist himself; and finally the seventh king who will be killed in Babylon's destruction, after the Antichrist is revived from his wound unto death.

"...is of the seven..."

The previous verse helps us to understand that the kings referred to in this chapter are divided into two groups: those which are instrumental in Babylon's rise to world power (the seven); and those which will bring about her downfall (the ten).

We were first told that there are seven king: Five are fallen, one is and the other is not yet come. Here in verse 11, we are told that the Beast, who rises out of the bottomless pit (verse 8), "...is the eighth..."

In order to exclude any possibility of confusion; or give the appearance of a contradiction, it is then stated that, the Beast, "...is of the seven..." He is the only one of the seven kings, who is removed from power by death, and subsequently returns. There are not a total of eight kings; but there are six kings who live and die, and one king who lives, dies and then lives again.

Verse 12

"...ten horns ... receive power as kings one hour..."

As shown above, the ten horns pictured as part of the Beast in verse 3, represent the ten kings who will rise up in one of the seven heads (kingdoms) under Babylon's control; to give their allegiance to the Beast.

This is demonstrated by the fact that the kings (plural) have received no kingdom (singular) as yet. This indicates the formation of a confederacy, whereby the ten principal leaders band together, in defiance of Babylon's control, to select a common leader for their union. That leadership will be conferred upon the one who rises from the bottomless pit.

Daniel 7:8;24 however, indicates that there shall be some initial resistance in giving power to the Beast. Three will rebel at the idea. Those three will be, "...plucked up by the roots...", and as indicated by Rev. 17;13 will eventually come into full agreement on his leadership. This was covered more fully in chapter 13. Verse 17 says that God Himself shall put it in their hearts to give their kingdom to the Beast.

The authority to act as kings for one hour points to 18:10 whereby the Beast makes the ten to be equal partners in the plundering and destruction of Babylon. Verse 14 states that these will also wage war against the Lamb and those who follow him at His revelation.

Verse 15 makes reference to the base foundation of nations and peoples upon which Babylon was rebuilt. Verses 16-17 express the intense hatred the Beast and ten kings have for Babylon; and that it is God who is steering the events of history, and not men or Satan.

The chapter ends with verse 18 declaring that Babylon is that "...great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth". She is not a system, a false religion or some sort of political persuasion; but a literal city which incorporates these attributes into her makeup.


Chapter 17 is probably the most challenging of all chapters in the Book of Revelation to understand. This is because two of the book's greatest mysteries are unveiled here: the mystery of Babylon the Great, and of the Beast of chapter 13.

Initially it appear that Babylon and the Antichrist will have some sort of covenant relationship, by which all territories conquered by him shall be put under her control. However, when the Beast is wounded unto death (chapter 13) and passes temporarily from the scene, into the bottomless pit, Babylon will forge a new covenant with the king who will succeed the fallen leader.

The indication is, that upon the Antichrist's ascent from the bottomless pit, he will become extremely enraged with Babylon because of her infidelity; and will essentially become her chief foe during the last half of the tribulation period. This intense hatred, and his determination to destroy Babylon, and her new spouse, is really at the heart of both chapters 17 and 18.

The mystery concerning Babylon begins with the idea that this great city of antiquity will be restored; and to a level of greatness which she never realized in the distant past. Her resurrection from centuries of being buried in the Iraqi desert, will be meteoric with her wealth and power unprecedented among the histories of the cities of the world.

Saddam Hussein began the task of pulling her up from her desert grave by spending more than one billion dollars, in rebuilding portions of her walls, palaces and other buildings. With his capture and execution however, Babylon's rise to power has been temporarily suspended. It is certain, that in the future, her rise to life will be resumed, for she is destined to control the economic affairs of many nations during the tribulation period.

Be that as it may, ultimately the great city of Babylon will be judged for not only her sins of the tribulation period, but for those of the distant past as well. This judgment will initially be enacted through the hands of the Antichrist. She will be plundered and burned by him; with that judgment followed up by God Himself destroying the very earth upon which she sits. In her destruction, it appears that the lake of fire will be created, into which all of the wicked of all times will be thrown (Rev. 20:14-15).

The Beast and False Prophet will be among the very first to be cast into the lake of fire, at the Revelation of Jesus.

Previous 16                 Top                18 Next

Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

Search This Website Search the Web

Original Material displayed on this page is copyrighted. Please Contact this site Regarding Its Use. This page, and the original information it provides may not be copied for commercial use of any kind.

Clovis Miller is the Webmaster of Prophecies of the Bible.
To report problems click on his name.

Comments and Suggestions to improve this site are always welcome

Page # 17