Revelation 17:1-7; 18:4-5 The Judgment on the Great Prostitute

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Revelation 17:1-7; 18:4-5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.”

The Great Prostitute Sits on a Scarlet-Colored Beast

3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and she was adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, and she had in her hand a golden cup that was full of detestable things and the unclean things of her sexual immorality.[1] 5 And on her forehead a name was written, a mystery: “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the detestable things of the earth.” 6 And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the holy ones and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. Well, on seeing her I was greatly amazed. 7 And the angel said to me: “Why is it that you were amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the wild beast that is carrying her and that has the seven heads and the ten horns.

4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and receive of her plagues; 5 for her sins are piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.

The book of Revelation is certainly one of the most difficult Bible books to interpret. So, we will turn to the two conservative evangelical Bible scholars who cover eschatological and apocalyptic Bible books: John F. Walvoord and Robert L. Thomas.

John F. Walvoord,

  The Invitation to View the Judgment of the Great Harlot (17:1-2)

17:1–2 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: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

Chapters 17 and 18 of Revelation are dedicated to the description of the final destruction of Babylon in both its ecclesiastical and political forms. It is evident from these chapters that the events described therein, especially those in chapter 17, precede by some considerable period the events represented in the seven vials. In fact, it is probable that the events of chapter 17 occur at the beginning of the great tribulation. The revelation is given to John, however, subsequent to the revelation of the vials. It must be remembered that from John’s point of view all of the events of the book of Revelation were future, and it pleased God to reveal various aspects of future events in other than their chronological order.


Any interpretation of Revelation 17 and 18 is difficult because expositors have not agreed as to the details of their interpretations. In general, however, it is helpful to consider chapter 17 as dealing with Babylon as an ecclesiastical or spiritual entity and chapter 18 as dealing with Babylon as a political entity. It is also helpful in chapter 17 to distinguish the vision in verses 1 through 6 from the interpretation in verses 7 through 18.

John is shown the vision of the destruction of Babylon, as representing false religion, by one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and is invited to behold the judgment of a woman, the symbol of Babylon, described as the great whore (Gr., pornē, usually translated “harlot”), who is seen sitting on many waters. The interpretation of “waters” is that these are the many nations ruled by Babylon.. The woman is further described as having committed fornication (Gr., porneuō, verb form of pornē). The inhabitants of the earth are declared to have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. The picture of the woman as utterly evil signifies spiritual adultery, portraying those who outwardly and religiously seem to be joined to the true God but who are untrue to this relationship. The symbolism of spiritual adultery is not ordinarily used of heathen nations who know not God, but always of people who outwardly carry the name of God while actually worshiping and serving other gods. The concept of spiritual adultery is frequently used in describing the apostasy of Israel (cf. Ezek. 16 and 23; all of Hosea). Characteristically, the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the husband of Israel (cf. Isa. 54:1–8; Jer. 3:14; 31:32). In the New Testament the church is viewed as a virgin destined to be joined to her husband in the future (2 Cor. 11:2), but she is warned against spiritual adultery (James 4:4).

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS Young Christians

The alliance of the apostate church with the political powers of the world during this future period of time not only debauches the true spiritual character of the church and compromises her testimony in every way but has the devastating effect of inducing religious drunkenness on the part of the inhabitants of the earth. False religion is always the worst enemy of true religion, and the moral wickedness involved in the union of the church with the world imposes a stupefying drunkenness as far as spiritual things are concerned. The hardest to win to Christ and the most difficult to instruct in spiritual truth are those who have previously embraced false religion with its outward show of a worship of God. The concept here presented, enlarging on the previous revelation in 14:8, makes plain that the apostate church has eagerly sought and solicited the adulterous relation with the world political powers and therefore is primarily to be blamed.

The Vision of the Woman on the Beast (17:3-4)

17:3–4 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 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.

Accepting the invitation of the angel, John is carried away in the spirit, that is, in a spirit of ecstacy, into a place described as the wilderness or literally “wilderness” (no article in the original). From this vantage point John is able to see the woman previously introduced as the great harlot. She is seen seated on a scarlet-colored beast which is full of the names of blasphemy and which has seven heads and ten horns. The scarlet beast is the same one described in 13:1 where the beast is the revived Roman Empire in its character as the center of the world government of Gentile power in that day. The fact that the woman is riding the beast and is not the beast itself signifies that she represents ecclesiastical power as distinct from the beast which is the political power. Her position, that of riding the beast, indicates on the one hand that she is supported by the political power of the beast, and on the other that she is in a dominant role and at least outwardly controls and directs the beast.


The situation here described is apparently prior in time to that described in Revelation 13, where the beast has already assumed all power and has demanded that the world should worship its ruler as God. The situation, therefore, seemingly is in the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week before the time of the great tribulation which is the second half. While such a relationship has many parallels in the past history of the Roman church in relation to political power, the inference is that this is a future situation which will take place in the end time. The significance of the seven heads and the ten horns is revealed subsequently in this chapter, the seven heads apparently referring to forms of government which are successive, and the ten horns to kings who reign simultaneously in the end time. The fact that the woman, representing the apostate church, is in such close association with the beast, which is guilty of utter blasphemy, indicates the depth to which apostasy will ultimately descend. The only form of a world church recognized in the Bible is this apostate world church destined to come into power after the true church has been raptured.

The description of the woman as arrayed in purple and scarlet and decked with gold, precious stones, and pearls is all too familiar to one acquainted with the trappings of ecclesiastical pomp today and especially of high officials in the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. Purple and scarlet, symbolically so rich in their meaning when connected with true spiritual values, are here prostituted to this false religious system and designed to glorify it with religious garb in contrast to the simplicity of pious adornment (cf. 1 Tim. 2:9–10). Alford states, “I do not hesitate therefore…to maintain that interpretation which regards papal and not pagan Rome as pointed out by the harlot of this vision.”1 The most striking aspect of her presentation, however, is that she has a golden cup in her hand described as “full of abomination and filthiness of her fornication.” The Word of God does not spare words in describing the utter filthiness of this adulterous relationship in the sight of God. Few crimes in Scripture are spoken of in more unsparing terms than the crime of spiritual adultery of which this woman is the epitome. As alliance with the world and showy pomp increase, so spiritual truth and purity decline.


The Name of the Woman (17:5)


Upon the forehead of the woman was written her name described as “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” The word mystery is a descriptive reference to the title, not a part of the title itself as implied by the capitalization in the Authorized Version. This can be seen by comparing the name given to the woman in 16:19 and 18:2. It has been commonly held that the title “Babylon the Great” assigned to this woman is not a reference to Babylon as a city or to Babylonia as a nation but a religious designation, namely, that the woman corresponds religiously to what Babylon was religiously. The meaning is made clear by her description as “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” It has been noted by many writers that the iniquitous and pagan rites of Babylon crept into the early church and were largely responsible for the corruptions incorporated in Roman Catholicism from which Protestantism separated itself in the Middle Ages.

The subject of Babylon in the Scripture is one of the prominent themes of the Bible beginning in Genesis 10, where the city of Babel is first mentioned, with continued references throughout the Scriptures climaxing here in the book of Revelation. From these various passages, it becomes clear that Babylon in Scripture is the name for a great system of religious error. Babylon is actually a counterfeit or pseudo religion which plagued Israel in the Old Testament as well as the church in the New Testament, and which, subsequent to apostolic days, has had a tremendous influence in moving the church from biblical simplicity to apostate confusion. In keeping with the satanic principle of offering a poor substitute for God’s perfect plan, Babylon is the source of counterfeit religion sometimes in the form of pseudo Christianity, sometimes in the form of pagan religion. Its most confusing form, however, is found in Romanism.

In Genesis 10 and 11 it is recorded that Nimrod was the founder of Babel, later called Babylon. In chapter 11 is recorded the rebellion of men against God in attempting to make a city and a tower that would reach to heaven. The history of the ancient world reveals that it was a common practice to build huge mounds (ziggurats) of sun-dried bricks of which the most ancient illustration has been discovered at Erech, a place mentioned in Genesis 10:10 and dated more than 3, 000 years before Christ. The tower of Babel was apparently a forerunner of later towers dedicated to various heathen deities. There was no stone with which to build, and therefore bricks were used with mortar binding them together. The tower of Genesis 11 was a monument to human pride and an express act of rebellion against the true God.

In judging this act God confounded the language of the people and gave the city the name of “Babel,” meaning “confusion” (cf. Gen. 11:9). The city, later named Babylon, had a long history. It became prominent under Hammurabi (1728-1686 B.C.) who was the guiding light to the empire during the Old Babylonian period. Babylon’s greatest glory was achieved under Nebuchadnezzar who lived during the Neo-Babylonian period about 600 years before Christ. Daniel the prophet wrote his book at that time. The story of the city and empire has been deciphered from thousands of cuneiform tablets unearthed by archaeologists.


Of primary importance in the study of Babylon is its relation to religion as unfolded in Revelation 17. In addition to materials given in the Bible itself, ancient accounts indicate that the wife of Nimrod, who founded the city of Babylon, became the head of the so-called Babylonian mysteries which consisted of secret religious rites which were developed as a part of the worship of idols in Babylon. She was known by the name of Semiramis and was a high priestess of the idol worship. According to extrabiblical records which have been preserved, Semiramis gave birth to a son who she claimed was conceived miraculously. This son, given the name of Tammuz, was considered a savior of his people and was, in effect, a false messiah, purported to be the fulfillment of the promise given to Eve. The legend of the mother and child was incorporated into the religious rites and is repeated in various pagan religions. Idols picturing the mother as the queen of heaven with the babe in her arms are found throughout the ancient world, and countless religious rites were introduced supposedly promising cleansing from sin. Though the rites which were observed in the Babylonian false religion differed greatly in various localities, there usually was a priestly order which furthered the worship of the mother and child, practiced the sprinkling of holy water, and established an order of virgins dedicated to religious prostitution. Tammuz, the son, was said to have been killed by a wild beast and afterward brought back to life, obviously a satanic anticipation of the resurrection of Christ.

In the Scriptures themselves, though many of these facts are not mentioned, there are a number of allusions to the conflict of the true faith with this pseudo religion. Ezekiel protests against the ceremony of weeping for Tammuz in Ezekiel 8:14. Jeremiah mentions the heathen practices of making cakes for the queen of heaven (Jer. 7:18) and offering incense to the queen of heaven (Jer. 44:17–19, 25). The worship of Baal, characteristic of pagan religion in Canaan, was another form of this same mystery religion originating in Babylon. Baal is considered identical to Tammuz. The doctrines of the mystery religions of Babylon seem to have permeated the ancient world, giving rise to countless mystery religions, each with its cult and individual beliefs offering a counterfeit religion and a counterfeit god in opposition to the true God revealed in the Scriptures. Babylon as an evil woman is portrayed in the prophecy of Zechariah 5:1–11 where the woman of verse 7 is described as personifying wickedness in verse 8.

The Babylonian cult eventually made its way to other cities including Pergamos, the site of one of the seven churches of Asia. The chief priests of the Babylonian cult wore crowns in the form of the head of a fish, in recognition of Dagon the fish god, with the title “Keeper of the Bridge,” that is, the “bridge” between man and Satan, imprinted on the crowns. The Roman equivalent of the title, Pontifex Maximus, was used by the Caesars and later Roman emperors, and was also adopted as the title for the bishop of Rome. In the early centuries of the church in Rome, incredible confusion arose; and attempts were made to combine some of the features of the mystery religion of Babylon with the Christian faith, a confusion which has continued down to the present day. In this chapter in Revelation, the last stage of counterfeit religion is revealed as it will be in existence in the period before the return of the Lord to earth.

It is a sad commentary on contemporary Christendom that it shows an overweening desire to return to Rome in spite of Rome’s evident apostasy from true biblical Christianity. In fact, modern liberalism has far outdone Rome in its departure from the theology of the early church, thus has little to lose by a return to Romanism. Apostasy, which is seen in its latent form today, will flower in its ultimate form in this future superchurch which will apparently engulf all Christendom in the period after the rapture of the church.

The Woman Drunken with the Blood of Martyrs (17:6-7)

17:6–7 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 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.

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 true 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 Jesus. Here the primary reference is not to ancient Babylon but to Babylon 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 Jesus Christ. 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 John contemplates the woman, he records, “I wondered with great admiration,” or more literally, “I wondered with great wonder” (the verb in the Greek, thaumazō, has the same root as the noun thauma, both meaning “to regard with wonder or astonishment”).

The angel, perceiving that John wonders at what he sees, states that he will declare the mystery of the woman and of the beast. He does so, however, by describing the beast first in detail, then the woman and subsequent action relating to her. Few passages in Revelation have been the subject of more dispute among scholars who have attempted to interpret them than this explanation of the angel. Great care, therefore, must be exercised in determining precisely the component parts of the divine revelation herein given.[2]


A Call to Separation from Babylon (18:4-5)

18:4–5 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

As John contemplates the announcement of the fall of Babylon, he hears another voice from heaven addressed to the people of God instructing them to come out of Babylon. In a similar way the people of God were urged to leave Babylon in ancient days (Jer. 51:45). Seiss explains the phrase “come out of her,” citing Jeremiah 50:4–9 where the children of Israel are urged to “remove out of the midst of Babylon” (Jer. 50:8), and the command “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul” (Jer. 51:6).2 Alford compares the command to come out of Babylon to the warning to Lot to leave Sodom (Gen. 19:15–22).3 The purpose of leaving Babylon is twofold: first, by separation from her they will not partake of her sin, and second, they will not have her plagues inflicted on them. The reference to plagues refers to the vials of chapter 16, especially the seventh vial which falls upon Babylon itself (16:17–21). This is further evidence that the event of chapter 18 is subsequent to the seventh vial and therefore in contrast to the destruction of the harlot in chapter 17.

In verse 5 the sins of Babylon are declared to reach to the heavens with the result that God remembers, that is, judges her iniquities (cf. Jer. 51:9). The fact that her sins have reached (Gr., kollaō, literally “glued” or “welded together,” i.e., piled one on another as bricks in a building) unto heaven is an allusion to the tower of Babel which began the wicked career of ancient Babylon (Gen. 11:5–9). Though God perm/its the increment of sin, its ultimate divine judgment is inescapable.[3]

Robert L. Thomas,

17:1 The appointed angelic guide for this “excursion” through Babylon is appropriately one of the seven angels who have administered the bowl judgments: Καὶ ἦλθεν εἷς ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀγγέλων τῶν ἐχόντων τὰς ἑπτὰ φιάλας, καὶ ἐλάλησεν μετʼ ἐμοῦ λέγων, Δεῦρο, δείξω σοι τὸ κρίμα τῆς πόρνης τῆς μεγάλης τῆς καθημένης ἐπὶ ὑδάτων πολλῶν (Kai ēlthen heis ek tōn hepta angelōn tōn echontōn tas hepta phialas, kai elalēsen met’ emou legōn, Deuro, deixō soi to krima tēs pornēs tēs megalēs tēs kathēmenēs epi hydatōn pollōn, “And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits beside many waters’ ”). This is an amplification of Babylon’s judgment announced in conjunction with the last of these bowls, so an angel connected with them provides the enlightening explanation (Johnson). The involvement of a member of the same group shows the connection of 21:9–22:5 with these bowls too (cf. 21:9).5 It is pure conjecture to specify which of the seven angels this is. It may have been the seventh since it is under his bowl that the announcement of Babylon’s judgment comes, but this is uncertain because the text only stipulates εἷς ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀγγέλων τῶν ἐχόντων τὰς ἑπτὰ φιάλας (heis ek tōn hepta angelōn tōn echontōn tas hepta phialas, “one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls”).6 It does not say the last of the seven angels. This is the first appearance of an interpretive angel in Revelation,7 unless one considers one of the twenty-four elders who assumed this role in 7:13 to be an interpretive angel (cf. 5:5 also).

The angel initiates the conversation with John by his invitation to witness a judgment. His words are δεῦρο, δείξω σοι (deuro, deixō soi, “come, I will show you”), the very words he uses in 21:9 when introducing “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” This is one of a number of factors that shows the intended contrast between the Babylon here and the New Jerusalem there.8 The angel promises to show “the judgment of the great harlot” (τὸ κρίμα τῆς πόρνης τῆς μεγάλης [to krima tēs pornēs tēs megalēs]). Κρίμα (Krima, “Judgment”) is a judicial verdict as well as the implementation of that verdict.9 The future tenses of 17:14–17 give the verdict in the form of prediction, but the implementation of that verdict comes in chapter 18 which continues the angel’s revelation of the great harlot (cf. 18:3, 8, 10, 20).10

The term πόρνης (pornēs, “harlot”) applied to Babylon matches the practice of πορνεία (porneia, “fornication”) attributed to her in 14:8.11 It is indicative of her spiritual harlotry and representative of an ecclesiastical or religious facet that is a counterfeit of the real. In prophetic language, prostitution, fornication, or adultery is equivalent to idolatry or religious apostasy (Isa. 23:15–17; Jer. 2:20–31; 13:27; Ezek. 16:17–19; Hos. 2:5; Nah. 3:4).12 The OT prophets charged Nineveh (Nah. 3:1, 4), Tyre (Isa. 23:15–17), and Babylon (Jer. 23:17) with harlotry. Even Jerusalem acted the part of a harlot through her spiritual whoredom and religious apostasy (Isa. 1:21; Jer. 3:8–9). With this background, it is beyond dispute that this woman of Rev. 17:1 is the epitome of spiritual fornication or idolatry.13 She leads the world in the pursuit of false religion whether it be paganism or perverted revealed religion. She is the symbol for a system that reaches back to the tower of Babel (Gen. 10:9–10; 11:1–9) and extends into the future when it will peak under the regime of the beast.14 Since the angel never uses the term “adultery” (μοιχεία [moicheia])—a more restricted term implying a previous marital relationship—in connection with the woman, she need not be representative of apostate Israel or the apostate church.15 Pornēs can include moicheia, because it is broader. So this woman represents all false religion of all time, including those who apostatize from the revealed religion of Christianity.

This harlot will be the object of future judgment—pornēs is an objective genitive following krima. Her religious corruption comes into view repeatedly in ἐπόρνευσαν (eporneusan) (v. 2), πορνείας (porneias) (v. 2), πορνείας (porneias) (v. 4), τῶν πορνῶν (tōn pornōn) (v. 5), πόρνη (pornē) (v. 15), and πόρνην (pornēn) (v. 16). Seven times this chapter uses words from this family that denote whoredom. The emphasis continues in chapters 18 and 19 too (18:3, twice; 18:9; 19:2). Her existence is a travesty of the worship of the true God.

The harlot’s position as one “who sits beside many waters” (τῆς καθημένης ἐπὶ ὑδάτων πολλῶν [tēs kathēmenēs epi hydatōn pollōn]) raises the question of how she can sit “upon many waters” and upon the scarlet beast (17:3) at the same time. It is unnecessary to attribute this to the fluidity of apocalyptic language and John’s inconsistency with himself.16 In his vision, he saw the woman sitting beside the waters—ἐπί (epi) can mean “on the shore of” (cf. John 21:1) (Beckwith)—and upon the beast. In other words, he saw the woman sitting in both positions. The “many waters” represent “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues,” according to 17:15. These groups represent the world’s population over whom she has control.17 Verse 3 will picture her control over the beast who rules these people, a control that is of limited duration, however (cf. 17:16–17).

The “many waters” (ὑδάτων πολλῶν [hydatōn pollōn]) interestingly corresponds to Babylon’s situation on the Euphrates, with its canals, irrigation trenches, dikes, and marshes surrounding the city and contributing to its protection and wealth.18 Jeremiah addressed Babylon as “you who dwell beside many waters” (Jer. 51:13). This geographical feature of the city doubtless came to John’s mind as the angel spoke and provides a good metaphor for the city’s preeminent position in world affairs, but his first meaning must be the one clarified in v. 15.

17:2 The harlot has committed fornication with all levels of society, from the kings of the earth to the rest of earth’s inhabitants: μεθʼ ἧς ἐπόρνευσαν οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς, καὶ ἐμεθύσθησαν οἱ κατοικοῦντες τὴν γῆν ἐκ τοῦ οἴνου τῆς πορνείας αὐτῆς (meth’ hēs eporneusan hoi basileis tēs gēs, kai emethysthēsan hoi katoikountes tēn gēn ek tou oinou tēs porneias autēs, “with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and those who dwell in the earth have become drunk from the wine of her fornication”). The diction of this accusation against her reappears in 18:3, 9.19 Religious prostitution occupies the forefront in this chapter and the closely related economic harlotry in chapter 18. The Babylonian system gains international influence and even domination in both realms through its cooperation with the beast in his political domination.20 Religious compromise necessitated in this kind of association is totally incompatible with the worship of the one true God, and so amounts to spiritual prostitution.

The title for human rulers contrasted with the παντοκράτωρ (pantokratōr) is οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς (hoi basileis tēs gēs, “the kings of the earth”) (cf. 1:5; 6:15; 16:14; 17:18; 18:3, 9; 19:19; 21:24) (Swete). These leaders join the Babylonian system at the sacrifice of whatever spiritual principles are necessary. This has always been the case as with Assyria, Babylon, and others in the past. It was the case with Rome in John’s day, and will be especially true in the final days just before Christ returns (Lenski, Ford). Pragmatic considerations will dictate cooperation with the powers that be in an atmosphere that is strongly anti-God and eventually boils down to worshiping the beast.21 Included in this compromising alliance are now, but even more so in the future, the apostate church which has eagerly sought and solicited an adulterous relationship with world political powers (Walvoord).

The alliance thus forged by the leaders inevitably induces drunkenness in all earth’s inhabitants. Since in 14:8 Babylon “made all nations drink,” the peoples of the earth “have become drunk from the wine of her fornication” (ἐμεθύσθησαν … ἐκ τοῦ οἴνου τῆς πορνείας αὐτῆς [emethysthēsan … ek tou oinou tēs porneias autēs]). The designation οἱ κατοικοῦντες τὴν γῆν (hoi katoikountes tēn gēn, “those who dwell in the earth”) differs slightly from the usual designation in this book, οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (hoi katoikountes epi tēs gēs, “those who dwell upon the earth”) (cf. 3:10, etc.). They appear to be the same people, however. Their “marriage” to the harlot is so binding that they marvel at the beast and have no place on the roster of the Lamb’s Book of Life (17:8; cf. 13:14–18). Their allegiance to the false Christ is so strong that it intoxicates them and creates in them a lust to go after false gods.

17:3 After his initial speech, the angelic guide removed John to a different vantage point to give him a perspective of the harlot: καὶ ἀπήνεγκέν με εἰς ἔρημον ἐν πνεύματι (kai apēnegken me eis erēmon en pneumati, “and he carried me away into the wilderness in the spirit”). Very similar terminology describes John’s prophetic trance in 21:10. This is the third of four uses of ἐν πνεύματι (en pneumati, “in the spirit”). In the other three, John finds himself on earth (1:10), in heaven (4:1), and on a mountain top (21:10). This time the angel takes him to a place of desolation, a solitary wasteland (εἰς ἔρημον [eis erēmon, “into the wilderness”]).

A wilderness was a place of refuge for the woman in 12:14, but this has no relationship to that wilderness. This wilderness alludes to Isaiah’s “oracle concerning the wilderness” (Isa. 21:1) which includes the prophecy “fallen, fallen is Babylon” (cf. 14:8; 18:2; Jer. 51:8). This may refer to the desert outside of Babylon of the Euphrates as John’s vantage point for his vision,22 or it may anticipate the harlot’s desolate condition in the end (17:16).23

From his new perspective, John saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast: καὶ εἶδον γυναῖκα καθημένην ἐπὶ θηρίον κόκκινον, γέμον[τα] ὀνόματα βλασφημίας, ἔχων κεφαλὰς ἑπτὰ καὶ κέρατα δέκα (kai eidon gynaika kathēmenēn epi thērion kokkinon, gemon[ta] onomata blasphēmias, echōn kephalas hepta kai kerata deka, “and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns”). Her position atop the beast is quite fitting to picture the influence of the religious power over the secular leader.24 The scarlet beast is the same one who emerged out of the sea in 13:1. The earlier passage does not give his color, but it does note his seven heads and ten horns and names of blasphemy. The second and third angelic announcements in chapter 14 implied a close association of this beast with Babylon (14:8–11) in that the doom of Babylon entailed the doom of those who worship the beast. Here that relationship becomes explicit. The beast is the empire, or more particularly, the ruler who perfectly embodies the spirit of the empire.25 He controls the system politically, but the woman represents the false religion that gives spiritual cohesion to the system. Even though θηρίον (thērion, “beast”) has no article here, Rev. 19:19–20 fully establish that this beast is the same as the one in 13:1 (Alford, Swete).


The beast’s scarlet (κόκκινον [kokkinon]) color matches part of the woman’s clothing (17:4) and is a possible ironic allusion to the symbolism of atonement or purification under the law (cf. Lev. 14:4, 6, 49, 51, 52; Num. 19:6) (Ford). Luxurious textile materials were often this color (18:12, 16; cf. Num. 4:8; 2 Sam. 1:24; Jer. 4:30). Scarlet blended with dark blue (ὑακίνθινον [hyakinthinon], Isa. 3:23, LXX) and red-blue (πορφύρα [porphyra], “purple,” Ex. 39:1[39:13, LXX]; 2 Chron. 2:7[2:6, LXX]) (Swete). The color symbolized luxury and splendor, which are its apparent connotations here and in v. 4. They mockingly put a scarlet robe on Jesus just before His crucifixion (Matt. 27:28–29). But scarlet is also the color of sin (Isa. 1:18) and contrasts with the whiteness of righteousness and purity (Moffatt, Hailey). A little later a rider on a white horse will come with His armies all dressed in white (19:11, 14) (Johnson).

The names of blasphemy were on the seven heads in 13:1, but here they cover the beast’s whole body. The masculine participle γέμοντα (gemonto, “full”) understands the neuter noun θηρίον (thērion, “beast”) to represent a person, an agreement according to sense rather than a grammatical one (Beckwith). Here is a secular power that blatantly and profusely profanes the name of the true God, but the ecclesiastical and religious authorities have no qualms about forging a close alliance with such a ruler and kingdom. This shows the depth to which apostasy can sink (Walvoord). In its ultimate form the blasphemous names on the beast refer to the self-deification of the false Christ and his demands that his subjects worship him (Ladd).

As tentatively suggested at 13:1, the seven heads of the beast are seven consecutive world empires throughout history, and the ten horns on the last of the heads are ten kingdoms contemporaneous with the final false Christ (17:12). The relationship between the harlot and the beast has existed throughout human history, but will reach its ultimate closeness in the days just before Christ returns. She controls him, but she also is dependent on him as the friction between the two later in chapter 17 will show (17:16).

17:4 The woman’s clothing and adornment is elegant, but repulsive to the pious mind: καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἦν περιβεβλημένη πορφυροῦν καὶ κόκκινον, καὶ κεχρυσωμένη χρυσίῳ καὶ λίθῳ τιμίῳ καὶ μαργαρίταις, ἔχουσα ποτήριον χρυσοῦν ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτῆς γέμον βδελυγμάτων καὶ τὰ ἀκάθαρτα τῆς πορνείας αὐτῆς (kai hē gynē ēn peribeblēmenē porphyroun kai kokkinon, kai kechrysōmenē chrysiō̧ kai lithō̧ timiō̧ kai margaritais, echousa potērion chrysoun en tȩ̄ cheiri autēs gemon bdelygmatōn kai ta akatharta tēs porneias autēs, “and the woman was clothed with purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand filled with abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication”). A description of “the great city” in 18:16 resembles this one very closely (Charles).

“Purple and scarlet” (πορφυροῦν καὶ κόκκινον [porphyroun kai kokkinon]) are the two colors used to describe the robe they tauntingly put on Christ. Because the two colors are so close to each other, one gospel writer calls the robe scarlet (Matt. 27:28) and two others say it was purple (Mark 15:17, 20; John 19:2, 5) (Alford, Swete, Lee, Charles). Yet they were two distinct colors (cf. Ex. 26:1) (Swete). The Tyrian purple dye was produced from two shellfish on the Phoenician coast (Lee). Κόκκινον (Kokkinon, “Scarlet”) is a word derived from the coccus or Kermas berry, though the Kermas was a little worm instead of a berry, from which the dye was made.26 The former color denoted royalty and the latter luxury and splendor as outlined above in connection with the color of the beast (v. 3).

The woman’s adornment with gold stands out because of the expression combining two cognate words with the same idea (cf. Ex. 26:37, LXX). She was “decked (lit., made gold) with gold.” She was excessively bedizened with the richest ornaments. Precious stones and pearls enhanced her attire even more. Her appearance was like the greatest queen in order to impress and allure her paramours.27 This flashy adornment may have recalled to John the finery of the temple prostitutes in Asia Minor, though prostitutes of all times and in all places adopt this kind of appearance (cf. Jer. 4:30) (Alford, Swete, Moffatt). This description is in sharp contrast to the appearance of the bride of the Lamb whose apparel consists of “fine linen, bright and clean” (19:8).28

The last part of the woman’s paraphernalia is the golden cup in her hand, which adds to her royal appearance but whose contents epitomize the depths of her degeneration. Jeremiah used a golden cup to picture the degrading influence Babylon on those around her (Jer. 51:7). From her perspective, the cup’s contents represent her own glory and grandeur, but in reality they are her self-destruction as the consequences of her sins turn upon her (Hailey). God sees the true picture and calls them βδελυγμάτων καὶ τὰ ἀκάθαρτα τῆς πορνείας αὐτῆς (bdelygmatōn kai ta akatharta tēs porneias autēs, “abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication”). “Abominations” was a characteristic term for idols in the OT (Beasley-Murray), where it denotes ceremonial and moral impurity, but especially idolatrous rites (cf. Deut. 18:9; 29:17; 32:16; 1 Kings 14:24; 2 Kings 16:3; 21:2; 23:24; Ezek. 8:6, 9, 13, 15, 17; 11:18; 14:6; 16:2; 20:7, 8).29 These are blasphemous activities that God detests, and the harlot’s cup is full of them!

“The unclean things of her fornication” (τὰ ἀκάθαρτα τῆς πορνείας αὐτῆς [ta akatharta tēs porneias autēs]) further defines those abominations. The adjective ἀκάθαρτος (akathartos) in the NT has associations with idolatry (2 Cor. 6:17) and perhaps cult prostitution (Eph. 5:5) (Johnson). So the harlot thrives on spreading her filthy vices and corruptions by allowing earth’s inhabitants to drink from her beautiful, but contaminated cup.

17:5 John also saw a label on the woman’s forehead which divulged her identity: καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ μέτωπον αὐτῆς ὄνομα γεγραμμένον, μυστήριον, Βαβυλὼν ἡ μεγάλη, ἡ μήτηρ τῶν πορνῶν καὶ τῶν βδελυγμάτων τῆς γῆς (kai epi to metōpon autēs onoma gegrammenon, mystērion, Babylōn hē megalē, hē mētēr tōn pornōn kai tōn bdelygmatōn tēs gēs, “and upon her forehead [was] a name written, a mystery, ‘Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth’ ”). John does not tell whether the label was directly on the skin as with the mark of the beast (13:16–18) or the seal of the slaves of God (7:3; 9:4; 14:1) or was on a band such as the ones worn by Roman prostitutes (cf. Jer. 3:3) (Swete). Either way, the name written on her forehead was a mark of identification.

Some have used the first word of her name, μυστήριον (mystērion, “mystery”), to argue for a nonliteral understanding of the name “Babylon.”30 They compare the adverb πνευματικῶς (pneumatikōs, “spiritually”) in 11:8 that the writer allegedly uses the same way and refer to the use of mystērion in 1:20 as a precedent. But mystērion used again in v. 7 certainly does not furnish a license for allegorical interpretation, nor is its usage in 1:20 any ground for a spiritualized interpretation here. Mystērion is a noun, not an adverb like pneumatikōs, and it comes from a different root. The frequently cited arguments from the use of “Babylon” as a code word for Rome in the Sibylline Oracles and 2 Baruch do not give adequate consideration to the second-century dating of these two books.31 Apparently Tertullian late in the second century is the first church father to use “Babylon” as a name for Rome.32 The “seven hills” mentioned in 17:9 and the reference to the great world-city in 17:18 and throughout the chapter also serve as proof that “Babylon” means Rome, but the “seven hills” can and probably does have a nonliteral meaning as the end of v. 9 shows. The woman sits upon seven kings or kingdoms, as subsequent discussion will explain. The rest of the alleged evidence for a Roman reference is too general to be decisive. The references to “many waters” in v. 1 and to the “wilderness” or “desert” in v. 3 are inapplicable to Rome, but fit quite well with Babylon on the Euphrates (Johnson).

Mystērion in the NT is usually a mystery to be revealed. So here the true character and identity of the woman, previously kept concealed, are now objects of clear revelation (Hailey). The word implies a new revelation, not something to be kept hidden. In this case it is the exposing of what is evil about Babylon (Lenski). Subsequent revelation will show her to be a great city (17:18), but also a vast system of idolatry through the centuries that the great city represents (Bullinger). The system had its beginning on the plains of Shinar through the work of Nimrod and will reach its pinnacle there just before the second advent (Bullinger, Seiss). Reports of Babylon’s present utter desolation and impossible restoration33 are radically overstated.

The other question about the syntactical role of mystērion, whether it is in apposition to ὄνομα (onoma, “name”) or part of the inscription on the woman’s head is resolvable through a comparison with 14:8 and 18:2. The woman’s name is “Babylon the Great,” not “Mystery Babylon the Great” (Smith, Walvoord). This along with the fact that mystērion seems to have a parenthetical independence here brings a decision favoring the appositional relationship.34 This gives the sense, “a name written, which is a mystery” (Johnson).

“Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” (Βαβυλὼν ἡ μεγάλη, ἡ μήτηρ τῶν πορνῶν καὶ τῶν βδελυγμάτων τῆς γῆς [Babylōn hē megalē, hē mētēr tōn pornōn kai tōn bdelygmatōn tēs gēs]) is the name that constitutes the mystery. Babylon is a theme in Scripture beginning in Gen. 10:9–10 with its first mention and continuing into these closing chapters of the last book of the Bible. It was a city where false religion began (Gen. 11:1–9) that has continually plagued Israel, the church, and the world (Walvoord). It will once again become the world’s leading city religiously as well as commercially and politically as the end draws near. Her role as “the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” makes her the progenitress of everything anti-Christian.35 This includes all false religions, not just those that are Christian in name only, but also everything that is pagan and idolatrous under Satan’s control (Seiss). The Genesis 11 passage tells where it all began, with the building of a tower that became a forerunner of the world’s idolatrous practices throughout history (Seiss, Walvoord). So the metropolis that functions as headquarters for the beast’s empire has a long reputation for its anti-God stance. It is a city, but it is also a vast religious system that stands for everything God does not tolerate.

17:6a The anti-Christian posture of the woman is visible in her treatment of the faithful: καὶ εἶδον τὴν γυναῖκα μεθύουσαν ἐκ τοῦ αἵματος τῶν ἁγίων καὶ ἐκ τοῦ αἵματος τῶν μαρτύρων Ἰησοῦ (kai eidon tēn gynaika methyousan ek tou haimatos tōn hagiōn kai ek tou haimatos tōn martyrōn Iēsou, “and I saw the woman drunken from the blood of the saints and from the blood of the witnesses of Jesus”). Not only does she entice others to intoxication through the enticements of her lust; she herself gets drunk from the blood of the saints and witnesses of Jesus (cf. 18:24).

“The saints” (τῶν ἁγίων [tōn hagiōn]) and “the witnesses of Jesus” (τῶν μαρτύρων Ἰησοῦ [tōn martyrōn Iēsou]) are two names for the same persons, the repetition of ἐκ τοῦ αἵματος (ek tou haimatos) being for emphasis, not to distinguish one from the other (Swete, Beckwith, Moffatt, Lenski). The designation “saints” indicates they have kept themselves pure, and “witnesses” shows they have faithfully preached the gospel about Jesus (Kiddle). Christians should do both, and this is why the woman is against them (Lee). This persecution and martyrdom of the faithful is a chief reason for God’s indictment of the woman (Beckwith). It is not just what she promotes; it is also what she opposes that makes her an object of judgment. Among the ancients, being drunk with blood spoke of a lust for violence, vastness of slaughter, and their maddening effect on one who was inclined to initiate savagery (Beckwith, Charles). This was the reaction of the earth-dwellers over the deaths of the two witnesses in Jerusalem (11:10). The past has witnessed isolated examples of this degree of persecution, but nothing like what it will be in the future. The reign of the beast will create an environment in which the harlot will martyr saints and witnesses on a universal scale (cf. 13:7, 15) (Bullinger, Ladd).

The significance of the symbolism (17:6b–14). A few words of explanation from the angel will clarify matters more.

17:6b John’s amazement at what he had seen provides a natural transition to his explanation: Καὶ ἐθαύμασα ἰδὼν αὐτὴν θαῦμα μέγα (Kai ethaumasa idōn autēn thauma mega, “And I marveled with great amazement, seeing her”). “Complete astonishment” is not too strong to express John’s reaction to the sight of the woman on the beast. The cognate construction ἐθαύμασα … θαῦμα (ethaumasa … thauma) is literally, “I marveled a marvel.” With the addition of μέγα (mega), an already emphatic statement attains greater strength.

The reason for his great amazement is unstated. It may have been the sight of such unrestrained wickedness in the true nature of the woman and God’s permitting her to exist (Kiddle). It may have been his inability to grasp the symbolic meaning of what he saw.36 It may have been the contrast between the splendidly attired woman and beast on the one hand and a city in ruins that he had expected to see (Swete, Ladd). It could have been some combination of these, but whatever it was, it was different from the marveling of the earth-dwellers over the beast in 13:3, because he was not about to become a follower of the beast.37

17:7 Seeing his astonishment, the angel asks him rhetorically the reason for his reaction, and then proceeds to explain the meaning of the symbols: καὶ εἶπέν μοι ὁ ἄγγελος, Διὰ τί ἐθαύμασας; ἐγὼ ἐρῶ σοι τὸ μυστήριον τῆς γυναικὸς καὶ τοῦ θηρίου τοῦ βαστάζοντος αὐτήν, τοῦ ἔχοντος τὰς ἑπτὰ κεφαλὰς καὶ τὰ δέκα κέρατα (kai eipen moi ho angelos, Dia ti ethaumasas; egō erō soi to mystērion tēs gynaikos kai tou thēriou tou bastazontos autēn, tou echontos tas hepta kephalas kai ta deka kerata, “and the angel said to me, ‘Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast which bears her, who has the seven heads and ten horns’ ”). He proceeds with an extensive explanation of the beast (vv. 8–17) and a less extensive one of the woman (v. 18).38 What has been hidden will now be revealed about the two (i.e., mystērion). They are one mystery not two because of the close relations between them (Lee). The fate of one is inextricably tied to that of the other. The revelation concerning the beast has several parts: the beast himself (v. 8), his heads (vv. 9–11), his horns (vv. 12–14), the waters (v. 15), and the horns again (vv. 16–17) (Moffatt). The change from καθημένην (kathēmenēn, “sitting”) in v. 3 to βαστάζοντος (bastazontos, “which bears”) in this verse is significant. The verb that here portrays the beast’s relationship to the woman indicates that he supplies her motive force and purpose (Kiddle).[4]

18:4 After an introduction in v. 4a, the call for God’s people to exit the city follows in v. 4b: Καὶ ἤκουσα ἄλλην φωνὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ λέγουσαν, Ἐξέλθατε, ὁ λαός μου, ἐξ αὐτῆς, ἵνα μὴ συγκοινωνήσητε ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις αὐτῆς, καὶ ἐκ τῶν πληγῶν αὐτῆς ἵνα μὴ λάβητε (Kai ēkousa allēn phōnēn ek tou ouranou legousan, Exelthate, ho laos mou, ex autēs, hina mē sygkoinōnēsēte tais hamartiais autēs, kai ek tōn plēgōn autēs hina mē labēte, “And I heard another voice out of heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, My people, that you not share with her sins, and that you might not receive of her plagues’ ”). John heard “another voice out of heaven” (ἄλλην φωνὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ [allēn phōnēn ek tou ouranou]) issuing this call to God’s people. It is not the voice of God or of Christ, because the long poetic lamentation that follows would violate prophetic decorum if it were a divine voice. It is rather an angel speaking in the name of God as in 11:3 and 22:7–8. In this connection note the first person pronoun μου (mou, “my”) (v. 4) and the third person reference to ὁ θεὸς (ho theos, “God”) (v. 5) included in this call.92

The aorist imperative form of ἐξέλθατε (exelthate, “come out”) expresses the urgency of the call. This summons resembles the ones to leave Babylon in Isa. 48:20; 52:11; Jer. 50:8; 51:6, 9, 45; Zech. 2:6–7). A call of a different kind came to Abraham (Gen. 12:1), but Lot received a similar one (Gen. 19:12) (Swete). The calls in Isaiah were invitations to a joyful exit, but this is a cautionary call and more closely approximates the ones in Gen. 19:15–22; Num. 16:23–26; Matt. 24:16. This allusion is probably to Jer. 50:8; 51:6–9, 45 (Alford). This is a call to leave a literal city (Mounce), but beyond that it is also a call to shun the enticements represented by the system of which that city is the embodiment (Beasley-Murray). It is a call to leave the enticements of idolatry, self-sufficiency, reliance on luxury, and violence against human life (Johnson).

The vocative ὁ λαός (ho laos, “people”) with the personal pronoun μου (mou, “My”) indicates that the first part of this statement (vv. 4–5) addresses the faithful (Moffatt). They are primarily those alive at the apex of the beast’s kingdom and the yet-to-come climax of the Babylonian system. A legitimate inference from this call is that saints will inhabit the beast’s kingdom to the very end, with the danger of being deluded through a lingering fondness for Babylon and a consequent involvement in her remaining judgments. The illustration of the lingering fondness of Lot’s wife for Sodom is an appropriate analogy for what this call tries to preclude (cf. Alford, Caird).

The purpose of the call comes in the words ἵνα μὴ συγκοινωνήσητε ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις αὐτῆς, καὶ ἐκ τῶν πληγῶν αὐτῆς ἵνα μὴ λάβητε (hina mē sygkoinōnēsēte tais hamartiais autēs, kai ek tōn plēgōn autēs hina mē labete, “that you not share with her sins, and that you might not receive of her plagues”). The words ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις (tais hamartiais, “with her sins”) is associative instrumental, prompted by the συγ- (syg-, “with”) prefix of the verb συγκοινωνήσητε (sygkoinōnēsēte).93 The precaution is not against having fellowship with the punishments of Babylon’s sins, but against having fellowship with the sins themselves.94

How to Interpret the Bible-1

The position of ἐκ τῶν πληγῶν αὐτῆς (ek tōn plēgōn autēs, “of her plagues”) is proleptic and therefore emphatic.95 Failure to separate from Babylon will involve the disobedient in the plagues to fall on the city and all who fellowship with her sins (Johnson). For John to place the plagues in the future after having spoken of the city’s destruction as past (18:2) is no problem, because this is a poetic intercalation in which chronological sequence is not a governing consideration.96 This is a call to separate from the evil system and receive protection from the remaining plagues of God’s wrath (Smith, Walvoord).

18:5 A continuation of the call assigns an additional reason (ὅτι [hoti], “because”) for God’s people to depart from Babylon: ὅτι ἐκολλήθησαν αὐτῆς αἱ ἁμαρτίαι ἄχρι τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ ἐμνημόνευσεν ὁ θεὸς τὰ ἀδικήματα αὐτῆς (hoti ekollēthēsan autēs hai hamartiai achri tou ouranou, kai emnēmoneusen ho theos ta adikēmata autēs, “because her sins have joined unto heaven, and God has remembered her unrighteous acts”). The picture presented by the aorist passive deponent verb ἐκολλήθησαν (ekollēthēsan, “have joined”) is an unusual one. The verb κολλάω (kollaō, “I glue together”) is from the noun κόλλα (kolla, “glue”). The passive form means “cleave to,” “to join one another in a mass,” or “to grow together into a mass.”97 The idea is not that Babylon’s sins cling to heaven, because this does injustice to the reflexive note in the word, but that they cling to each other steadily until the cumulative “structure” of which they are a part has finally reached to heaven (Beckwith). The allusion is possibly to the use of bricks in building the tower of Babel where the destitute career of ancient Babylon began (Gen. 11:3–4) (Walvoord). The phrase ἄχρι τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (achri tou ouranou, “unto heaven”) (cf. Jer. 51:9) paints the picture of a combined stack of bricks (i.e., sins) so high that it elevates the roof of heaven (cf. Gen. 18:20–21).98

Like ἐκολλήθησαν (ekollēthēsan), the aorist ἐμνημόνευσεν (emnēmoneusen, “has remembered”) is also prophetic. God will not forget the crimes of Babylon (16:19). The noun ἀδικήματα (adikēmata, “unrighteous acts”) refers to crimes in the legal sense as it does in Acts 18:14; 24:20 (Ford). The massive misdeeds of the Babylonian system have indelibly impressed themselves on the memory of a God of justice. He must do the right thing by punishing Babylon for her iniquities, so it behooves God’s people to distance themselves from the city as far as they can.[5]



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[1] Sexual Immorality: (זָנָה zanah; πορνεία porneia) A general term for immoral sexual acts of any kind: such as adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between people not married to each other, homosexuality, and bestiality. – Num. 25:1; Deut. 22:21; Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 5:1.

1 1.  Henry Alford, The Greek New Testament, IV, 705.

[2] John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Galaxie Software, 2008), 243–249.

2 2.  Ibid., p. 408.

3 3.  Henry Alford, The Greek New Testament, IV, 715.

[3] John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Galaxie Software, 2008), 260.

5 Mulholland, Revelation, p. 276.

6 Friedrich Düsterdieck, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Revelation of John, in Meyer’s Commentary, trans. and ed. Henry E. Jacobs (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1887), p. 428; Henry Alford, The Greek Testament (London: Longmans, Green, 1903), 4:704.

7 Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (New York: Macmillan, 1919), p. 691.

8 Lee, “Revelation,” 4:735; Wall, Revelation, p. 205.

9 J. Massyngberde Ford, Revelation, vol. 38 of AB (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1975), p. 277; Homer Hailey, Revelation, an Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), p. 342.

10 Düsterdieck, Revelation, p. 428; Lee, “Revelation,” 4:735; R. H. Charles, The Revelation of St. John, ICC (New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1920), 2:62.

11 Henry Barclay Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John (London: Macmillan, 1906), p. 213.

12 Ford, Revelation, p. 277; Wall, Revelation, p. 205; contra Thomas R. Edgar, “Babylon: Ecclesiastical, Political, or What?” JETS 25, no. 3 (September 1982): 336–38.

13 Johnson, “Revelation,” 12:555; Hailey, Revelation, p. 343; Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990), p. 182.

14 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse (New York: Charles C. Cook, 1909), 3:114–15.

15 Lee, “Revelation,” 4:735–36; Leon Morris, The Revelation of St. John, TNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), p. 204.

16 Contra George E. Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), p. 223; Morris, Revelation, p. 205; Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), pp. 308–309; cf. Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1–7, An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody, 1992), pp. 33–34.

17 John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Chicago: Moody, 1966), p. 243.

18 Hailey, Revelation, pp. 342–43.

19 Charles, Revelation, 2:63.

20 Swete, Apocalypse, p. 213.

21 Ladd, Revelation, p. 222.

22 James Moffatt, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” in The Expositor’s Greek Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d.), 5:451; Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols. (Nashville: Broadman, 1933), 6:429.

23 Düsterdieck, Revelation, p. 429; Lee, “Revelation,” 4:737.

24 Alford, Greek Testament, 4:706.

25 Beasley-Murray, Revelation, pp. 252, 254, 255–56.

26 Lee, “Revelation,” 4:738; G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1950), p. 251.

27 Swete, Apocalypse, p. 216; Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:430; R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation (Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern, 1935), pp. 494–95.

28 J. P. M. Sweet, Revelation (Philadelphia: Westminster, Pelican, 1979), p. 254; Wall, Revelation, p. 206.

29 Swete, Apocalypse, p. 216; E. W. Bullinger, The Apocalypse or “The Day of the Lord” (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, n.d.), p. 501.

30 Moffatt, “Revelation,” 5:452; Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:430; Martin Kiddle, The Revelation of St. John, HNTC (New York: Harper, 1940), p. 343; Johnson, “Revelation,” 12:556.

31 See discussion at 14:8.

32 Adv. Marc. iii. 13.

33 J. B. Smith, A Revelation of Jesus Christ (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald, 1961), p. 242.

34 Düsterdieck, Revelation, p. 431.

35 Alford, Greek Testament, 4:707; Walter Scott, Exposition of the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Swengel, Pa.: Bible Truth Depot, n.d.), p. 342.

36 Hughes, Revelation, p. 184.

37 Michael Wilcock, The Message of Revelation, The Bible Speaks Today, ed. John R. W. Stott (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1975), p. 160.

38 Bullinger, Apocalypse, p. 514; Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:431.

[4] Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1995), 281–292.

92 Düsterdieck, Revelation, p. 443; Alford, Greek Testament, 4:715; Swete, Apocalypse, p. 228; Bullinger, Apocalypse, p. 561; Lee, “Revelation,” 4:767.

93 Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:437.

94 Düsterdieck, Revelation, p. 443.

95 Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:437.

96 Wall, Revelation, p. 215.

97 Charles, Revelation, 2:97–98; Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:437–38.

98 Moffatt, “Revelation,” 5:457; Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:437–38.

[5] Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1995), 320–322.

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