Revelation Chapter 17
In Revelation 17, we get specific details concerning the judgement of the great harlot and the beast. The previous bowl judgments were aimed squarely at the beast and his kingdom. Now we get details about the judgement and who this mystery woman is.
17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters. Revelation 17:18 says the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth. So the woman is the great city.
In Revelation 16:19 the great city is split into three parts. In Revelation 11:8 the dead bodies of the two prophets lie in the street of the great city that is symbolically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. We know that the Lord was crucified in Jerusalem.
Sitting on many waters speaks of authority. Revelation 17:15 says "the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." So the harlot exercises authority over the peoples, multitudes and nations of the earth.
Revelation 13:1 says "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea." So the sea or the "waters" are peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues. They bring forth the beast / system of government. The woman sits on the waters or exercises authority over the beast / system of government, peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues.
17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been make drunk with the wine of her fornication. 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold an precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
We don't have to imagine what this all means. We are now told what it means. 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell the the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Revelation 13:3 tells us that the beast was wounded unto death and that the deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. So, the beast/antichrist system will come back to life and the harlot will be at the reigns controlling it. Remember the harlot is the great city. The center of commerce and trade and religion. All goods and services will be provided through this center of commerce. Without the mark of the beast, it will be impossible to participate in this system.
17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
Seven mountains as a designation for Rome is verified in ancient literature. But the seven mountains are also seven kings. So one could conclude that this final beast government is similar to that of ancient Rome but it's seat of power or the "great city" of Revelation 16:19 isn't necessarily Rome. The woman and the world economy "sit" on the seven heads which indicates that they control them. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. This means that there are seven beast kings and one of them will serve twice. How he serves twice is not clear. But if the dragon is involved, it will certainly include some sort of sorcery or deceptive trickery.
So, the beast could be one of the five previous Roman emperors prior to the writing of the book of Revelation by John. Of the seven of the major Roman emperors, the one that comes closest to fitting this description is Caesar Nero whose name numerically in Hebrew totals to six hundred and sixty-six. By June in A.D. 68, the emperor Nero had managed to alienate virtually every sector of Roman society because of his cruelty and incompetence. The Senate, the army and the people of Rome had enough, and without support from any quarter, the senate declared the emperor an outlaw. Unwilling to face the harsh Roman justice awaiting him, Nero ordered a servant to kill him.
Nero was called by the early church the beast. Quite apparent that he was possessed by demonic spirits. The things that he did could only be done by a mind perverted by Satan. The horrible atrocities that this man brought against the Christian church could only be done by a mind that was totally deranged by demonic forces. Domitian was sitting on the throne at the time of John's writing.
This eighth beast king is also represented by the little horn of Daniel which resembles the beast description of Revelation 13.
Daniel 7:21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 7:22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Daniel 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. Compare to the beast of Revelation 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months or time and times and the dividing of time or 3 1/2 years.
17:12 And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
These ten horns are probably different from the ten horns of Daniel 7:20. The little horn which comes up among the ten does look like the Antichrist though. The horns of Revelation 17:12 continue with the Antichrist for a definite period of time "one hour". They have no kingdom but receive power as kings. They are probably enlisted by Antichrist to make war with the Lamb. They will probably aid with resources and financial support required to wage such a war.
The ten horns of Daniel 7 could be countries, world powers, etc. The little horn subdues 3 and eleven become eight. Eight world powers with ten CEOs, so to speak.
17:15 And he said unto me, The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. Where the harlot sits indicates authority. The woman exercises power over multitudes, nations, and tongues.
17:16 And the ten horns which you saw upon the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17:17 For God has put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 17:18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.
The ten horns hate the harlot. 17:18 tells us that the harlot is the great city. It is the center of commerce and trade which reigns over the kings of the earth. Are the ten horns or ten CEOs of the beast kingdom made up of radical Islamic elements? Oil rich with plenty of cash, these would be able to aid Antichrist with resources and financial support. At the same time they are bent on destroying capitalism and the world economic system as we know it and replacing it with a Sharia system of government. Remember 9/11. This attack was aimed squarely at the world trade center.