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.
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.
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 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 theseven 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:
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:
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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