Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke to
me. “Come,” he said. “I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute
who sits on many waters,
with whom the kings of the earth committed sexual
immorality, and those who live on earth got drunk on the wine of her sexual
So he carried me away in the spirit to a wilderness. There I saw
a woman sitting on a scarlet-colored beast which was full of blasphemous
names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple
and scarlet clothing and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls. She
had in her hand a golden cup full of abominable things and the unclean things
of her sexual immorality.
5 On her forehead was written a name, a mystery:
“Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of
the earth.” 6 I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints, and on the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.
7 The angel said to me, “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 “The beast you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have
not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will be
astonished when they see that the beast was, and is not, and will come.
 9 This requires a mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven
mountains on which the woman sits,
10 and they are also seven kings. Five
have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come, and when he comes, he
must remain for a short time. 11 The beast who was, and is not, is himself an
eighth king and yet is one of the seven, and he is going to destruction.
ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a
kingdom, but they will receive authority to reign as kings with the beast for
one hour. 13 These kings are of one mind, and they give their power and
authority to the beast.
14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb
will overcome them, because he is lord of lords and king of kings, and those
who are with him are the called, chosen, and faithful.” 15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the
prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.
16 The ten
horns which you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute and will
make her desolate and naked. They will consume her flesh and burn her up
17 For God has put in their minds to do what He has in mind, to be of
one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God
will be fulfilled. 18 And the woman you saw is the great city, which reigns
over the kings of the earth.”
The woman, a prostitute because of her false religion, represents the final form of
ecclesiastical evil. The beast is the final political ruler with whom the prostitute cooperates, until finally
the beast destroys her. That spirit of false religion and of church-state alliance has been a feature of
traditional Christianity for centuries. The kingdoms of this world-system cannot represent true faith
until Jesus intervenes as described by the “anchor” text in 11:15-18.
There is strong evidence of an original reading of “male prostitutes” (see Word BiblicalCommentary, Vol. 52C, p. 909).
This is firstly Jesus’ faithful Gospel of the Kingdom preaching. His death and resurrection are
of course essential elements of the Christian Gospel, but never to the exclusion of the Gospel about the
Kingdom which Jesus preached (Lk. 4:43; Heb. 2:3; 2 Jn. 7-9; 1 Tim. 6:3; Jn. 3:36; 5:24; cp. Isa. 53:11;
Is this a reference to a pseudo-Parousia or coming? The verb is related to the noun Parousia.
Very probably the 10 nations listed in Ps. 83, headed by Assyria, who features prominently in
the end-time vision of Isaiah and Micah 5. They are contemporary and together fight Jesus at his