The Prostitute on the Scarlet Beast - Part 1

Revelation 17 gives us the account of the great prostitute sitting on a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns. Since the Book, like in other prophecies are written in symbols, the real meaning can be difficult and can be interpreted in many different ways.

Rev 17:1–6
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. With her, the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. This title was written on her forehead:

MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.

Whenever the Bible speaks of a prostitute or an adulterer, it is basically symbolizing a false religion, or in simple words, a misleading faith that claims to be the truth but is not. It is an objection of the true faith unto the true God. God described Israel in the past as an adulterous wife and prostitute because they worshipped foreign gods.

The great prostitute on the scarlet beast portrays a false faith or religion that victimizes mankind spiritually. This woman is also an inspiring symbol of the European Union, a woman sitting on a bull.

Ezek 16:30-34
"'How weak-willed you are, declares the Sovereign LORD, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute! When you built your mounds at the head of every street and made your lofty shrines in every public square, you were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment.

"'You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! Every prostitute receives a fee, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.

Even Jesus Christ condemned the generation of His time calling them adulterous generation (Matt 12:39, 16:4; Mk 16:4). Therefore the Prostitute or the Adulterer in Revelation 17 are the people of our days who did the same sins as in the past. They are the unbelievers, the enemy of Jesus Christ.

The story of the great prostitute is not only about unbelieving people but also they persecuted those who believe as it says, 'I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.'  It is about the false religions that had victimized nations and caused souls to sin because of misleading doctrines claiming to be the truth. It is also a war between the false church and the true church of our Lord Jesus.

This false religion is symbolized as the Great Prostitute, the false church; the ornaments of gold and purple robes mean that this counterfeit church used religion simply to gain wealth for herself and also gain control or influence over many kings and nations. The seven woes on the Pharisees by Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:13–29) truly applies to them. Take note that in Revelation 17:5, the woman is also Babylon the Great for she reigns over all the world. In the last days, the world will just be one kingdom, a one big beast with seven heads and ten horns. The beast is scarlet in color, the color of sin.

The Seven Hills of Rome: Palatine - purple; Aventine - dark green; Capitoline - red; Quirinal - orange; Viminal - teal; Esquiline - light green; and Caelian - lavender.
Source: Wikipedia Encyclopaedia

There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.

The heads have dual meaning. These are the spiritual and physical sufferings. For this topic we will only discuss the spiritual suffering. For the details on physical sufferings, please read The Antichrist and the Number "666".

In the same chapter, it says that they represent the seven hills on which the woman sits (verse 9). It is no other than Rome, the capital city of the great Roman Empire. History books refer to Rome as the City of Seven Hills. Seven kings ruled Rome in succession atop seven different hills from 753 BC to 509 BC. These hills are the Capitoline, Palatine, Avantine, Caelian, Esquiline, Viminal, and Quirinal hills. Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, along with Remus, served as its first kings. For more reference on the city of Rome, visit this link.

But what is actually being implied being the spiritual suffering is the religion associated with Rome that is the Roman Catholic religion. The Roman Catholic “Church” today constitutes the majority of Christians the world over with an estimated membership of over one billion. Its organization is deeply rooted within government affairs of many nations and they interact or exert influence in many aspect of world’s policies. That is why it said in verse 2:

"With her, the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”

The Roman Catholic Church or the Roman religion is a centralized institution with its headquarters in Vatican City, Rome, an independent city–state. It enjoys many government privileges in many nations. Their income generated from its members runs into huge sums bigger than any average country - "The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls." The influence of this religion is worldwide and likened to the kingdom of the Antichrist, Babylon, the kingdom of false religion.

I know this is surprising to many and is hard to accept. So many of Christians in the world today have been born as a Catholic and that to be critical on this issue hurts our pride. Paul had warned us for he knew that a counterfeit Christianity will soon rise:

2 Tim 4:3-4
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

However, even the Protestants should not be so quick to judge the misled Christian brothers. Even the more conservative Christian churches today share the same sins as the prostitute having have acquired the practices of the religion of Rome. For more on this, read the next topic concluding the study of the great prostitute.

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