Let me state right from the get go here that I am going to be making some references this morning to a religious system that many of you have come out of and more than likely have many family members that are in it today.
I am referring to the RC Church. By making the comments that I am making let me be clear about a couple of things:
- These comments that I am making are in reference to the RC church as a system, not the individuals within them.
- I believe that there are people within the Catholic church who have believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who believe that they are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.
Chapters 17,18 focus on one aspect of these 7 bowl or vial judgments, and that is the judgment of Babylon. Revelation 16:19 and 14:8 have already declared Babylon’s fall and in Revelation 17 and 18, the fall of Babylon is carefully detailed.
- Revelation 17 primarily explains religious or spiritual Babylon.
- Revelation 18 primarily refers to commercial Babylon
Some important and interesting introductory facts concerning Babylon before we jump into the exposition of chapters 17 and 18:
- According to the E-sword bible program, the name Babylon is mentioned in 249 verses and 282 times in the OT; 11 verses and 12 times in the NT.
- Babylon is mentioned more than any other city except Jerusalem.
- The name Babel is mentioned 3 times in Gen 10.10; 11.19 and in the Hebrew language in Ezek 23.17
- From all of those passages, 6 chapters, Isa 13,14 & Jer 51,52 & Rev 17, 18, are descriptive of the total destruction of Babylon, which is something that has never happened. So once again, we are compelled to see this event has something that is yet to happen.
The ancient Biblical history of Babylon is very interesting:
Gen 10:8 And Cush begat Nimrod (rebellion): he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before (against) the LORD. 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar (Iraq).
- The Land of Shinar, which was known in ancient times as Mesopotamia, is the country of Iraq today. It was in this region that the ancient empires, Assyria and Babylon, were centered.
- The city of Babylon was located on the Euphrates River, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, about 85 kilometers (55 mi) south of Baghdad.
- In Genesis 11, The Bible records the attempt to bring the post flood world together in an effort to reach God by the building of the tower of Babel (Gen. 10-11).
- The name “Babel” is a derivative of 2 words bab and el. “Bab” means “gate” and “El” means God. When put together, Babel means the gate or gateway to God. Hitchcock’s Bible Names tells us that the name Babylon also means confusion or mixture.
- Keep in mind that while the Tower of Babel was being built, Noah’s post flood altar was built as a means of approaching and worshipping the True and Living God existed.
- We know that from Gen 3.15 to the time of Noah that the bible teaches that the only way for sinners to stand right with God must be through a God ordained blood sacrifice for your sin. Babylon therefore represents all false religious systems that prostitute this one way to God with other ways…..systems.
- Thus, spiritual Babylon has come to represent fallen man’s religious systems or works based efforts to reach God apart from and in opposition to the one way that was ordained by God..
- So this whorish religious system that we are looking at in Revelation 17 goes as far back as the time of Cain and Abel, but it takes an actual form in Genesis 10 and 11.
- I think you will find some of these ancient Babylon facts both interesting and disturbing at the same time. According to ancient records and legend, Nimrod, who founded Babel, had a wife known as Semiramis. who founded the secret religious rites of the Babylonian mysteries. Semiramis was also known as the Queen of heaven
- Semiramis, the queen of heaven, had a son with an alleged miraculous conception who was given the name Tammuz (a satanic prostitution of the virgin birth prophesied in Gen 3.15).
- In many artifacts or drawings that have been found from the Babylonian era, we see the mother and child, Semiramis and Tammuz portrayed with the halos above their head.
- This mother/ child cult has become a part of nearly every religious system and culture. Tammuz, according to the tradition, was killed by a wild animal and then restored to life, (a satanic counterfeit of Christ’s resurrection) that will happen again during the great tribulation period (Rev 13).
§ Ezekiel protests against the ceremony of weeping for Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:14)
§ Jeremiah mentions the heathen practice of making cakes for the queen of heaven (Jeremiah 7:18) and offering incense to the queen of heaven (Jeremiah 44:17-19, 44:25)
Genesis 11:1-10 shows that right after the flood, Babylon “was the seat of the civilization that expressed organized hostility to God.”
- Babylon was later the capitol of the empire that cruelly conquered Judah.
- To the Jews, Babylon was the essence of all evil, the embodiment of cruelty, the foe of God’s people, and the lasting type of sin, carnality, lust and greed.” (Tenney)
- To those familiar with the Old Testament, the name Babylon is associated with organized idolatry, blasphemy and the persecution of God’s people.
- In John’s day Rome epitomized all the antagonism and opposition to the Christian faith. (Mounce)
- Thus, the ancient spiritual and historical roots of Babylon and Rome are mysteriously connected in the identity of this mother of harlots that will be a part of the system of the antichrist that will appear in the last days.
Rev 17:1 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:
· The same phrase come I will show you is used later, probably by the same angel, when John is shown the Lamb’s wife: “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 21:9+).
· The Great Harlot of this chapter represents a worldwide apostate religious system that is in opposition to the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3) and is to be contrasted with both the Lamb’s wife (the church) and the woman of Revelation 12 (Israel).
- One of the 7 angels says, I will show you the judgment of the great whore-John will see the judgment of this whore at the point of it’s greatest influence in the last days.
- Both Isaiah and Jeremiah devote major passages to this topic which are essential background to an understanding of this chapter (Isa. 13, 14, 47; Jer. 50, 51). As we have seen before, prophecies in the OT often contain a mix of near-term and far-future predictions. In the case of the prophesied destruction of Babylon, the near-term aspects were fulfilled in the capture of Babylon by Cyrus (Dan. 5:30-31), but the city of Babylon has never been totally destroyed as predicted by the far-future aspects of Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s prophecies.
- This great whore, or Babylon sits on many waters. In other words, this religious harlot is a false religion that will dominate the world in the tribulation period and it has a very powerful universal, international impact.
- Rev 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
2 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.
· Rev 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication
· Prostitution frequently symbolizes idolatry or religious apostasy. Nineveh (Nah. 3:1,4), Tyre (Is. 23:17), and even Jerusalem (Is. 1:21) are also depicted in Scripture as being harlot cities.
· It is with this woman that the kings of the earth commit fornication, showing this to be a unity of religion and state. This wicked system will be a mixture of spiritual, political and commercialism.
The inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication-
· This mystery religious system will proclaim intoxicating doctrines that are in opposition to the clear teachings of The Word of God. Spiritual fornication throughout Scripture always points to something that is corrupt or perverted doctrine and practice
· To prostitute something is to take that which has a proper use and to turn it into an improper use. A prostitute takes sex, which has a proper use, and perverts it with an improper use, turning it into something illicit.
· The entire world, except for the remnant who believe in and are loyal to The Lord Jesus Christ will be swept up into the intoxication and sin of a false system of religion.
· There are always those who can be dazzled by evil. The one way to avoid spiritual trends and fascinations is to stay in The Word of God. Set your affections on things above, keep your heart and eyes on Jesus Christ. Then evil will be seen for what it is.
Rev 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
· The woman (great whore of vs. 1) is sitting upon the scarlet colored beast (seven heads and ten horns). The Woman seated on the Beast does not signify that she will rule over him, but intimates that he will support her.
· This beast with 7 heads and 10 horns was previously seen in Rev 13.1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
o The 7 heads and 10 horns are a description of the beast, not the woman.
· Revelation 13:1 refers to the Antichrist and his dictatorship.
o So, the woman of Revelation 17 riding a beast is symbolic of the combining of the ecclesiastical power of church (the woman) and political power of the state (the beast).
However, the figures of 7 heads and 10 horns is also found in the description that is given to describe the dragon or the devil.
· Rev 12.3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads (Satan).
o So, this mystery religious system is given the very same identity and nature as the dragon and the beast, which means that is it devilish in nature.
o The 10 horns are later defined (17:12) as 10 kings who had “not yet received a kingdom.” We know from Daniel’s prophecy that the 4th beast or kingdom is the revived Roman Empire.
o So, this wicked religious system is in partnership with the worldwide system of the Antichrist that includes the European Union. The harlot will sit upon the beast, which means that it will also ally herself with the world’s political leaders.
· This scarlet colored beast is full of names of blasphemy- Because of the self-deification of the rule and demanded worship of the Antichrist.
o Dan 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High.
o Dan 11:36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
o 2Th 2:4 Who (the man of sin..the son of perdition) opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
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:
- Purple and scarlet, are royal colors; they are not only colors of religious adornment; they are also colors that speak of luxury and splendour. Though outwardly the woman has the appearance of being beautiful, inwardly, the woman is a religious harlot and a beast.
- Matt 23:28 Even so ye (religious Phariasees) also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
- Decked with precious stones and pearls- speaks of the abundant wealth of this false religious system.
- Golden cup in her hand, full of abomination and filthiness of her fornication-
- Jer 51:6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. 7 Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.
- The cup of the religious harlot is full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication
- Speaking of ancient Rome, Tacitus wrote "the place into which from all over the world all atrocious and shameful things flow and where they are most popular," and Seneca called her "a filthy sewer."
- Primasius, the old Latin commentator, says that Rome is called a harlot, because "she left her Creator and prostituted herself with devils."
5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
The word mystery indicates something unknowable by man unless and until revealed by God. The antidote for mystery is not investigation or discovery, but revelation.
· The name on her forehead MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. Roman prostitutes frequently wore a headband with their name engraved upon it.
· From this, we know that the woman is not just a figure of the time of the end, but has her roots stretching back to early history.
· The word mother here means that she has given birth to all other spiritual or religious systems and forms. This satanic religious system will be ecumenical in nature, for it will embrace all religious notions of God.
· The RC Church boldly lays claim to being the Mother of all Christianity.
· In addressing a prayer gathering of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and others, Pope John Paul II told participants that their efforts were “unleashing profound spiritual energies in the world and bringing about a new climate of peace.” The Pope pledged that “the Catholic Church intends to ‘share in and promote’ such ecumenical and inter-religious cooperation.”
· The Catholic Review commented on this event and said, “The unity of religion promoted by the Holy Father Pope John Paul II and approved by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not a goal to be achieved immediately, but a day may come when the love and compassion which both Buddha and Christ preached so eloquently will unite the world in a common effort to save humanity from senseless destruction, and leading to toward the light in which we all believe.”
The spirit of mystery Babylon is alive and well beloved. I can tell you personally that I have received letters inviting me to interfaith prayer meetings. This meeting would be a gathering of elected political officials and leading members of all faiths (Islam; Hinduism, Buddhism; Catholicism; Protestantism). We are invited to come together in the name of God ????? for the common good of our city….can you imagine Elijah or Paul organizing a prayer meeting with the prophets of Baal or the idol worshippers of Athens for the common good of the city?
Oh by the way, I have not gone to those meetings, but I would like to go on record as saying that I would gladly meet with any member of any faith and share with them the good news of The Lord Jesus Christ as being the Savior of the world and that there is none other Name given under heaven whereby we must be saved.
· Keep in mind beloved that after the rapture of the church, when the bride of Christ is taken up to heaven out of every denomination and tribe and kindred of mankind, all that will be left on earth will be an apostate church system along with other religious systems.
· We are presently living in the restrained version of evil and deception.
· I believe that this religious system is speaking of a system that includes but is much more than the RC Church for it will include apostate Protestantism as well
· To say that [the Harlot] is exclusively Rome or the Roman Catholic Church is to grossly underestimate the global impact of this great harlot,
· As I stated earlier on, Babylon has been the mother of all harlots and abominations from the dawn of time. From her have come ancient paganism, Chinese Confucianism, Asian Buddhism, Indian Hinduism, Shamanism, Taoism, Shintoism, animism, astrology, witchcraft, spiritism, Sikhism, and all the world’s vast complex of “gods many, and lords many”
· She is the embodiment of Satan’s own ecumenical movement - the religion of the world system. And I do personally believe that the city of Rome and the undeniable powerful RC Church will be a key component to it all
o Our world, with its “it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe” philosophy, is ripe for the harlot’s seductions. We see the casual disregard for the truth crippling the church today.
o False religion is always the worst enemy of true religion. John Walvord.
o The church of Jesus Christ is not inclusive, but exclusive (Matt 7.14,15). The door is open to all, but the way is narrow for it is limited only to those who repent and believe in The Lord Jesus Christ.
If you are concerned this morning about being deceived or caught up in any false religious system, let me leave you with some incredible promises from God:
- John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
- John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
- Stay in The Word….stay in fellowship….make yourself accountable to others in the body….pray about everything and worry about nothing…..keep your eyes on Jesus Christ….remember the cross!