“So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” Revelation 17:3.
Now this beast is the same one that you see coming out of the sea in Revelation chapter 13.
“…I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.” Revelation 13:1.
It also corresponds to the one described in Daniel chapter 7.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.” Daniel 7:7.
This last one in Daniel prophesied of the coming of the former Roman Empire, while the ten horns speak of its return in our future; initially ruled by the ten kings.
As for the references to the beast in Revelation 13 and 17, they too apply to the revived Roman Empire, and at the same time refer to the beast/Antichrist who will rule over all.
As mentioned some time earlier, the beast and his empire are quite synonymous. As you might say Nazi Germany and immediately think Adolph Hitler, they are different, yet synonymous.
This beast is scarlet in color, some translations say the color is red, which is essentially the same, yet scarlet is bright red and expensive.
Scarlet dye is also obtained by the crushing of a worm making it a fitting color for the beast who will crush men underfoot like so many worms.
This would refer to the beast’s bloodthirsty nature much as Satan is portrayed as a fiery red dragon.
Politicians today are no different from the beast, they are concerned only about power and riches and they consider those who vote for them and pay them as worms to be used or crushed underfoot.
“The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.” Revelation 17:4.
The colors purple and scarlet are taken by many to be the colors of Papal Rome, even so it is also the colors of royalty, and as a result it is not a good idea to jump to conclusions at this point.
Purple does have religious overtones; the tabernacle had hangings of blue, purple, and scarlet, which colors are mentioned in the request for offerings of materials for the construction of the tabernacle.
“And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue and purple and scarlet yarn, fine linen thread, and goats’ hair…” Exodus 25:3-4.
Purple is also the color of royalty. After the destruction of the Midianites who were oppressing Israel (see Judges Chapters 6-8), Gideon engaged in an act of stupidity in making an article of a priestly garment which then became an object of worship. Purple is mentioned in its construction.
“Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks.” Judges 8:26.
This is one mention of kings wearing purple, the color of royalty. Another verse connecting purple with royalty is in Mark chapter 15.
“Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison. And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and began to salute Him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.” Mark 15:16-20.
Purple is said to be the color of universal domination, how appropriate for the world super-church.
I could not find much on scarlet other than it is also in the tabernacle and is connected to royalty. Scarlet may signify earthly grandeur; which is not too hard to see since the woman is “…adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls…”
What a beautiful sight, a woman dressed in purple and scarlet. Stunning colors and her beauty is set off even more with the addition of pearls, gold and precious stones, all this along with fame and power. Everything the world values the most.
Yet, she is just a harlot. While there are many women trapped into this lifestyle because of rejection by family or poverty, this one, like some, is evil, malicious and the ruin of many a young man and the downfall of many an old fool.
This is a worldly religion that begins and ends on the earth. And after that, the lake of fire; worldly religion only lasts a lifetime, and no one lives forever. Walk through any graveyard and really pay attention; there are dead people under your feet!
This beautiful woman has “…in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.” Gold generally is a picture or type of God.
The things within the tabernacle are made of gold or are overlaid with gold. Things in the holy place such as the golden lampstand, which represents Christ, the golden altar, which shows Jesus Christ as our intercessor, the ark of the covenant, which has the mercy seat over which God is seated in the holy of holies.
This golden cup however depicts an outward form of God, an illusion of righteousness, but is filled with detestable things, the filthiness of her fornication, the offal of the world’s evil.
The Lord may have given us a glimpse into this cup while He talked to the religious leaders of Israel.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:25.
Again, in another place the Lord said to a Pharisee.
“…Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness [marginal, eager grasping or robbery].” Luke 11:39.
“And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:5.
There are possibly two meanings for the word mystery. First it is a reference to the mystery religions that had their beginnings in ancient Babylon. The mystery in this case refers to secret teachings, rituals, or incantations associated with a particular cult.
The second meaning of the mystery is that never before has a unified false religion encompassed the entire world. Babylon the great has long been considered dead and buried, yet she has always existed in the form of idolatrous religions which the world will soon see.
The words in all caps I might add are not my doing; they are in your Bible that way. “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS”, ancient Babylon is the beginning, or mother of false religions, and this name confirms it.
“AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”, out of idolatry comes the filthy rituals that go with it, cult prostitutes, pedophilia, sodomites (male temple prostitutes), child sacrifice, adult human sacrifice; everything from the human sacrifices of the Aztecs in the western hemisphere, to the, child prostitutes in Hindu temples, the abominations of the earth.
“And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.” Revelation 17:6.
I do not know about you, but I always took the word drunk to mean intoxicated, and, of course, you kind of wonder how that happens, turns out I was wrong.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the word drunk, or drunken, is in this case a metaphor for someone who has shed blood or murdered profusely. This makes a little more sense.
Another aspect of drunk is that it is a little like consuming alcohol, the more you drink, the more you want, even to the point of senselessness.
So the woman will be reeling from the blood of millions being slaughtered during the first half of the tribulation and craving more. Do you remember the second horseman of the apocalypse on the fiery red horse?
“And another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.” Revelation 6:4.
This guy is still riding!
The woman is “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus”. The word saint may be used of both Old and New Testament believers, so this reference can take us back to antiquity from the very beginning of Babylon, through the dark ages up to the present day. Even now, the false religions of the world are killing Christians. With this in mind, “the martyrs of Jesus” would have to be those killed during the tribulation.
“But the angel said to me, ‘Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.’” Revelation 17:7-8.
Now this is where it gets out of hand; as we have seen in chapter 13, the beast comes out of the Gentiles and is the first of the four horsemen of the apocalypse (Revelation 6:1-2).
If you review chapter 13, it will become obvious that the beast is killed in the middle of the tribulation and then rises from the dead in an imitation of Christ’s resurrection.
This corresponds with the description here, the beast, “…was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition [marginal, destruction].” Revelation 17:8a.
The confusion begins with the tenses, this beast was, when was he? He is not, why is he not? He is going to ascend out of the bottomless pit, what is he doing there? And he is going to perdition, what?
Some folks seem to forget that the whole chapter falls within the law of recurrence, so when they come to this block of Scripture this entire section is pulled out of context and an effort is made to explain what the angel means apart from this revelation of the super-church.
Taken in context the account would go something like this:
The beast that appeared at the beginning of the tribulation and was working in what could be described as a subservient position to the harlot (the harlot sits on the beast) along with the ten kings, has been killed (dead) and is not.
His death being at, or near the middle of the tribulation, he now rises from the dead out of the bottomless pit, to take over the world. And then the beast will be killed, go to destruction (perdition) at the end of the tribulation.
When the words “was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition” are taken out of context there is the tendency to come up with some unlikely explanations as to who this, beast who was and is not, could be.
This in turn tends to cloud up the plain sense interpretation of the beast depicted in chapter 13.
Some have said that since the beast was (past tense), it is likely that he will be the resurrection of someone like Judas Iscariot, since he is called the son of perdition by Jesus.
“While I was with them [the disciples] in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me [Jesus] I have kept; and none of them is lost [marginal, destroyed] except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:12.
Another more logical suggestion, though just as erroneous, is the first rebel and king of ancient Babylon, Nimrod. It is from the death of Nimrod that all of the cult religions were born.
In an effort to maintain her power his widow Semiramis became pregnant, and claimed that the child was miraculously conceived, the child was presented as the deliverer promised by God in Genesis 3: 15.
This is the beginning the cult of the worship of the mother and child, and the unleashing of a flood of godlessness that extends to this day.
Both of these and other postulations are in error because they are contrary to Scripture.
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” Hebrews 9:27.
Speaking of the destinations of Lazarus and the rich man after their death, the Lord said the following.
“And he [the rich man in hell] said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them [his five brothers] from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets [the Scriptures], neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:30-31.
Nimrod, Judas, Vlad the impaler, Tomas De Torquemada, Adolph Hitler, Chairman Mao, and the rest of the band are all burning in hell for eternity and are not going anywhere.
“And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world…” Revelation 17:8b.
These earth dwellers are those who, having rejected Christ for the last time, have had their names erased from the Book of Life which was written from the foundation of the world.
Everyone’s name had to have been written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, otherwise how could it have been called a book? Names are erased from this book, not added in, see Exodus 32:30-33, Psalm 69:27-28, Daniel 12:1, and Revelation 3:5.
“…when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” Revelation 17:8c.
This phrase would seem to indicate a sense of recognition on the part of the earth dwellers. Yet, how would they recognize a resurrected Nimrod or Judas as being someone to marvel at?
However if they had seen the beast who was famous throughout the world, before his death and then after his resurrection, that would be an astounding sight indeed!
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6.
Revelation 17:3-8 taken from godisrevealed.com updated on 2-18-17, reposted on 10-9-22.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.