Before the Second Coming in chapter 19, John is shown the destruction of mystical and literal Babylon, beginning with religious Babylon.
Well, can you believe it? There are still those who are claiming that the Book of Revelation is hard to understand but absurd. Say, we for you see, we all know that the word itself, Revelation, means something has been revealed. And the first words of this book tell us exactly who it is that's being revealed. It's the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
God wanted us to read this book so much that he promised anyone who would take the time to read and respond to it a special blessing. And we find that blessing in Revelation, chapter one, verse three. Let's claim it together. It says, Blessed is he or she who reads, and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it for the time is near. But God knew there would still be people that would say, okay, so I look out my window and I see the Book of Revelation coming true in real time, but I still don't think I can understand the book.
And so to help those folks out, God also included a simple and easy to follow outline. And we find that in Revelation, chapter one, verse 19, Jesus gives John these instructions. He says, John, I want you to write the things which you have seen that was the resurrected and glorified Jesus in chapter one. Secondly, John, I want you to write the things which are that refers to the Church age, which began around 32, ad continues to the present day and is prophesied in chapters two and three in chronological order. And then lastly, Jesus says, John, I want you to write about the things which will take place after this, future events that will unfold after the Church age ends.
Now, where does the Church age end? This one's a little tricky. The Church age ends in Revelation chapter four, verse one. Let me read it to you. John says, after these things, I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven.
And the first voice which I heard, that was the voice of Jesus in chapter one, was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this. And up John goes, serving as a picture of the Church who will be raptured to be with the Lord. Jesus takes all of chapters four and five to make sure we don't miss the fact that the Church is with him in heaven before the wrath of God is poured out upon the Earth that has rejected him. And as that is happening, Revelation chapter six, verse 16, reveals that those on the Earth fully understand that they are being judged by God because they identify the source of their catastrophes as the wrath of the Lamb. Who's the Lamb?
In Scripture, it's Jesus. Chapter one introduces the focus of Revelation. Jesus Christ chapters two and three take us through the Church age. Up to the present day. Then the Church goes up in chapter four, verse one, we see her in heaven for chapters four and five, safe and secure with the Lord before wrath comes down in chapter six, and that wrath will continue for a period of seven years.
Known as the Tribulation, it's documented in chapter six through 19, at which point Jesus returns to the Earth with his Saints in the event known as the Second Coming. And that will be even more revealed later in our study through this incredible book in the final few chapters that we have almost reached. But here's what I can tell you for now. If you love Jesus, let me give you a sneak peek of how your story ends. It ends with the words and they live happily ever after.
Thank you Jesus, for that. Chapter 16 saw the final, bold judgment poured out, completing God's judgment of the Earth and leaving us right at the end of the Tribulation. The next event on the schedule will be the return of Jesus, the Second Coming that is going to unfold in Chapter 19. Chapter 17 and 18 are parenthetical, meaning they push the pause button on the main timeline in order to fill us in on some additional information before the main narrative in chronology resume. These two chapters are going to focus on the destruction of Babylon.
You might recall that in Revelation 14 eight, as the back half of the Tribulation began, an angel flew across the skies declaring for all the world to hear. Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her. Fornication we talked about how that was a proletic statement, a statement that refers to something that is yet to happen, but is so certain of happening that it can be spoken of as though it has already happened. The angel declared that Babylon's destruction was inevitable. It's so inevitable that it can be spoken of as if it's already happened.
We'll learn that Babylon's judgment and destruction began with the Angel's declaration and unfolded over the course of the Tribulation. In fact, some of it began right at the beginning of the Tribulation. When we were in Chapter 14, we explained the biblical concept of Babylon, but it's brief enough for me to repeat again here. The term Babylon can be a bit confusing because it's used in Scripture to refer to something literal, something abstract and mystical, and sometimes both simultaneously. Literally, Babylon is a city located in the present day country of Iraq.
It is one of the most notable cities of antiquity, serving as the capital of empires and the cultural center of the world for centuries. In the abstract and mystical sense, Babylon refers to the world system, all the systems established by the world's current ruler. Satan, economic, governmental, religious, sexual, entertainment values, all of secularism. It's all Babylon mystically. So when we study Scripture and see Babylon referenced.
We need to slow down and figure out the context to determine if it's referring to the literal city, the mystical concept, or both. Chapter 17 and 18 describe the destruction of mystical and literal Babylon over the course of the Great Tribulation. Chapter 17 make a note of this. Chapter 17 focuses on religious Babylon, while Chapter 18 focuses on economic Babylon. If you've heard the message that I taught on this chapter in 2015, you'll notice that this study will have some major differences from that message.
I'll address the reasons why when we get closer to the end of the message, but for now, don't be alarmed if you hear something different or something that surprises you. I'll address the elephant in the room closer to the end of the message. For those of you who've heard my previous version of this message, the text of Chapter 17 is structured in such a way that a mystery, a hidden truth is presented and then explained. In light of that, I think the most helpful way to work through this chapter is to read the mystery first, move right onto the explanation, which we'll go through in detail, and then come back again to the mystery, but hopefully with enough understanding to be able to interpret it the second time around. So let's start by reading through the mystery that's recorded in the first six verses of Revelation 17.
John writes, Then one of the seven Angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, Come, I will show you the judgment of the great Harlot, who sits on many waters, with whom the Kings of the Earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the Earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So we 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. 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. And on her forehead a name was written, Mystery Babylon the Great, the mother of Harlots and of the abominations of the Earth. 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. Hopefully thus far we can agree on one thing. That's a mystery. That is a mystery the first time you read through it, not a lot you can take from it. So let's start unpacking the explanation and see what we can learn.
Our explanation needs to start with who this great Harlot is. Side Note The last time I taught on this message in 2015 was a Mother's Day Sunday. That's a true story. Who is this woman? Well, after lots and lots of study into the different views.
I'll just let you know the punchline up front. It's my belief that the woman represents religious Babylon in the mystical sense. She represents religious Babylon in the mystical sense. She represents all religious and spiritual systems that are false. Now, what makes them false?
They don't point to Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. This woman's appearance in this chapter is to reveal her role in the first half of the Tribulation and her final judgment at the halfway point of it. Here's the idea we're going to see emerge in the text. There will be some type of unification religious movement that will emerge in the first half of the Tribulation. It won't be a one world religion.
We know that because there will be Jews worshiping at the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. Rather, it will be a new openness toward universalism belief systems that currently claim exclusive truth like Judaism and Islam will no longer do so. There will instead be a spirit of cooperation as all those on the Earth who have not turned to Jesus embrace all religions as equal. The only ones who will disagree will be those who will turn to Jesus and for refusing universalism, they will be hated and viewed as bigots, who are holding back humanity from glorious progress. The world will not tolerate such persons in the Tribulation.
They will almost certainly emerge some type of world Council of religious cooperation, and it will be led by the false Prophet. All of this, as we shall see, will be in preparation for the Antichrist cult that will emerge at the halfway point of the Tribulation. But why is this woman a harlot? Why is she presented as a prostitute? It's because throughout Scripture, God uses sexual immorality as a metaphor for spiritual unfaithfulness.
Every man and woman were created to worship God, and when we don't, God likens it to a wife cheating on her husband. God views false religions idolatry, paganism, et cetera the way a husband would their wives going out and working as a prostitute. It is that awful, wicked, heartbreaking, and abhorrent to God. So make a note of this. God's word often uses harlotry, prostitution, adultery fornication, etc.
As an idiom for idolatry, an idiom for idolatry. To use that type of biblical imagery, the false religious system represented by this woman will be the embodiment of spiritual hoardem. With that in mind, let's dig into the explanation. Take a look at verse seven. It says, but the angel said to me, Why do 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. We just talked about who the woman is, and if you've been with us through our study of Revelation, you should recall that the beast is Antichrist. The seven heads and ten horns will be explained in a few verse is angel tells John the beast that you saw was and is not and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. Perdition just means destruction. There are a few different views on this verse.
I'll share my thoughts, but as always, you do your own research and come to your own conclusions. The angel refers to the beast Antichrist and tells John that he gas is other words, he existed in the past. He is not. He does not exist today, but in the future he will return from the bottomless pit. Now remember, the term the beast does not refer only to Antichrist, the person.
More specifically, it refers to the person when they are possessed by the spirit that will emerge from the bottomless pit. Until that happens, Antiochus the man is not the beast. Now when did the beast exist? In the past? I suspect it was in the form of a man named Nimrod.
In the Book of Genesis. He was the first version of the Antichrist, so to speak. Nimrod was possessed by the same spirit that will possess the Antiochus. We find a redemptive example of this concept. In Luke chapter one, verse 17, an angel comes to a man named Zechariah and tells him that his son will Minister in the spirit of Elijah.
That son would be John the Baptist, and the angel meant that the same anointing that was on Elijah would be upon John. And it was that's the idea with Nimrod and the Antichrist, but in a demonic sense. The beast was not on the Earth around 95 Ad when John was recording the Book of Revelation, and the beast is not on the Earth today. However, the person who will become the beast is likely alive right now. At the halfway point of the tribulation, the spirit that possessed Nimrod will emerge from the bottomless pit and enter a rising global political leader who has just been assassinated and bring him back to life as the beast Antichrist.
Now, because we've got the time for today, I want to share a little more about this man named Nimrod. The Bible tells us that he was a great grandson of Noah. His name means we will rebel. And in Genesis chapter ten, we are told of Nimrod. He was a mighty Hunter before the Lord.
Therefore, it is said, like Nimrod the mighty Hunter before the Lord and the beginning of his Kingdom was Babel, Erech, Akad and Kalnai in the land of Shinar. The phrase before the Lord is a mistranslation. The original manuscripts and traditional Jewish understanding is that it should read Nimrod, the mighty Hunter in defiance of the Lord. Genesis six four tells us there were Nephilim Giants on the Earth before and after the Flood story for another day. That same verse calls these Nephilim mighty men because Genesis ten nine calls Nimrod a mighty Hunter.
Some believe Nimrod to be the first Nephilim giant to appear in Scripture after the Flood. Genesis ten and eleven tell us that Nimrod began his Empire with four cities, including Babel. We don't know if he founded them or conquered them, but after those first four cities, he founded another four, including Nineveh. The Bible presents Nimrod as the ruler of the first Empire in world history. And I'll show you in a moment that he was likely the world's first dictator.
Genesis, chapter eleven, verses one through nine, tells us that under Nimrod's rule, a great tower was built in Babel in defiance to the Lord's command to mankind to spread out across the Earth and multiply. Nimrod led people in defiance of God and said, let's stick together and build this great tower. It will Mark Babel as the world headquarters of those who do not fear the Lord. In the centuries that followed, the location of the tower of Babel would grow into a mighty city state named Babel on Babylon. And that's pretty much everything the Bible tells us about Nimrod.
There are many historical writings that aren't in the Bible, but talk about things related to the Bible. They are not divine truth like the word of God is. But they can sometimes help us understand how historians, scholars and Hebrews of the ancient world viewed the Scriptures. For example, in Josephus Antiquities of the Jews, he writes, God also commanded them, the people of the Earth, to send colonies abroad for the through people's of the Earth, that they might not raise seditions among themselves, but might cultivate a great part of the Earth and enjoy its fruits after a plentiful manner. But they were so ill instructed that they did not obey God.
For which reason they fell into calamities. When they flourished with a numerous youth. God admonished them again to send out colonies. But they, imagining the prosperity they enjoyed, was not derived from the favor of God, but supposing that their own power was the proper cause of the plentiful condition they were in, did not obey him. Nay, they added to this their disobedience to the divine will.
The suspicion that they were therefore ordered to send out separate colonies. That, being divided asunder they might be, the more easily oppressed. Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through his means that they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness.
He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his own power. Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God. And they built a tower. Nimrod was a tyrant who ruled by making men fear him. More than they feared God.
In the Targam of Jonathan, we read from the foundation of the world, none was ever found like Nimrod, powerful in hunting and in rebellions against the Lord and the Jerusalem. Targum says he was powerful in hunting and in wickedness before the Lord, for he was a Hunter of the sons of men, not literally but spiritually. Here's how Nimrod hunted men, and he said to them, Depart from the judgment of the Lord and adhere to the judgment of Nimrod. There it is said, as Nimrod is the strong one, strong in hunting and in wickedness before the Lord. He was a bad guy.
A bad guy. For all these reasons and more, Nimrod is considered by many to be the first appearance of the Spirit that will possess the Antiochus in the Tribulation, making him, in a sense, Antichrist. Ii I'm sorry, Nimrod II let's get back to the text. In verses eight, it says, 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. As we've discussed previously, everyone on the Earth who does not belong to Jesus and will never belong to Jesus will Marvel when Antichrist rises from the dead as the beast.
They'll say, this man must be a God. Let's keep going into verse nine because all these bits and pieces are going to come together in a clear picture over the coming verses. Here is the mind which has wisdom. That's a way of saying, Think about this, meditate on what I'm about to say. Ponder it.
Use extra discernment. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. Now, the key to understanding this is found in Daniel chapter two. We find Daniel living in what city, Babylon? Not a coincidence.
He's a Hebrew exile serving as a counselor to King Nebuchadnezzar. The King has a dream, and only Daniel can interpret his dream. In that dream, the King saw a massive statue of a man, and Daniel describes it like this. This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces.
Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed together and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors. The wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found, and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole Earth. Daniel then explains the dream to the King by revealing that each material used in the statue represents an Empire. First was the Babylonian Empire that included Nebuchadnezzar. It was followed by the meatopersian Greek and Roman Empires, and the final Empire will be the revived Roman Empire, ultimately ruled by Antichrist.
If you want to learn more about that, you can check out the Daniel Message series on our website.
Daniel wraps up his interpretation of the King's dream by explaining that the stone that destroyed the statue was Jesus to establish his Kingdom on the Earth. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar and in the days of these Kings. So, in other words, in the same season of history, where the final Kingdom is on the Earth, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people. It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it broke in pieces.
The pieces, the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the King what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain and its interpretation is sure. So write this down. In Daniel chapter two. God uses a mountain as a metaphor for his Kingdom.
He uses a mountain as a metaphor for his Kingdom. And we see mountains used as a metaphor for a Kingdom in other scriptures as well. In the Psalms, in Isaiah, and in the Book of Jeremiah, Jesus is the stone. In the King's dream. Where does the stone come from?
He is cut out of the mountain without hands. Jesus came to the Earth as a man from the Kingdom of God, and he came willingly. He didn't have to be cut out forcefully using tools. He came of his own accord. He will return to the Earth, destroying Antichrist kingdoms and indeed all earthly systems.
The Kingdom of Jesus will stand forever and fill the whole Earth. All that to explain this, the seven mountains on which the woman sits are seven kingdoms. Seven kingdoms. Verse ten, it says there are also seven Kings. The angel continues to speak of the seven kingdoms, the seven mountains, and we learn something about them.
Five have fallen. One is and the other has not yet come. So make a note of this.
These seven kingdoms are the seven great empires who dominated the Israelites. The Bible is Israel centric. And so these seven empires are the ones that affected and will affect Israel. That's why there's no illusion in scripture to empires like the Maya or Inca or the Chinese dynasties. It's Israelcentric.
Five have fallen. This refers to the empires of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo, Persia, and Greece. One is. This refers to the Roman Empire that was in power when John was recording the Book of Revelation. The other has not yet come.
This refers to the revived Roman Empire that will ultimately be ruled by Antichrist. Verse eleven, the beast that was and is not is himself also the 8th and is of the seven and is going to prediction, this is a little tough, but hang with me and I'll walk us through it. The beast that's Antiochus that was and is not. We explained this back to verse eight, is himself also the 8th and is of the seven. It's a little convoluted in the verbiage, but the idea is that Antichrist will be part of the 7th Empire, the revived Roman Empire, before he is possessed and becomes the Beast.
Remember, he will be a political leader during the first three and a half years of the Tribulation. It's at the halfway point of the seven years when he is assassinated, possessed, and resurrected as the Beast. At that time, he takes full control of the 7th Kingdom, the revived Roman Empire, and it evolves into an 8th Kingdom, so to speak. That's why Antichrist is of the seven. He's part of the 7th Empire.
He's one of the Kings of the 7th Empire, but he's also the 8th because he's going to take full control of that 7th Empire, morphing it into an 8th Kingdom, so to speak. Then it says, and he's going to perdition or destruction. God is reminded that Antichrist's ultimate destination, his destiny, is destruction. Unlike the preceding empires, Antichrist Empire will be directly destroyed by God himself. Verse eleven continues and we read, and when he Antichrist comes, he must continue a short time.
His Empire is going to be short lived. How short? Well, I mean, I can't be too precise, but I would say three and a half years, 42 months, 1260 days, time times and half a time. Verse twelve. The ten horns which you saw are ten Kings who have received no Kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for 1 hour as Kings with the beast.
Daniel 724 tells us that during the first half of the Tribulation, the revived Roman Empire will be divided into ten regions, ten nations, ten territories, so to speak, and each will have a ruler or King. As Antiochus is rising on the political scene, he will overthrow three of those ten Kings and rule over their regions. In the back half of the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, Antichrist will appoint ten Kings to do his bidding across his Empire. So write this down. The ten horns are ten Kings who will serve under Antichrist.
In the Great Tribulation. The ten horns are ten Kings who will serve under Antichrist in the Great Tribulation. These ten Kings also appear in Daniel chapter two as the ten toes of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and in Daniel seven, also as ten horns. The phrase 1 hour does not refer to a literal hour, but rather a passage of time. We still use the word this way in verses like their finest hour.
In this instance, the hour refers to the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation. Verse 13 These the ten Kings are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These Kings will be regional supervisors, with one job following Antichrist blindly. Verse 14 these the ten Kings will make war with the Lamb, that's Jesus and the Lamb will overcome them for. So how is it possible that Jesus will overcome ten Kings?
The word Ford in this instance just means because he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. And I love that. I love the juxtaposition of the ten earthly Kings. And then the introduction of Jesus as the King of Kings. We sometimes forget that's who he is in a proper old school monarchy, the King speaks and it is done.
He has absolute, unquestioned authority. The gap between a commoner and a great King was incalculable insurmountable. Think of how a commoner would have looked at a King. Think of how a Babylonian farm worker would have looked at a Nebuchadnezzar unassailable in his palace on his throne. Now understand this.
That is the way God is compared to every earthly and supernatural power in existence. That's how they view Him. He is the King of Kings. He is the Lord of Lords. He speaks and they obey.
There is no other option. He commands and his will is done. He has absolute, unquestioned authority. He's the King of Kings and he's the Lord of Lords. It says, These will make war with the Lamb and the Lamb will overcome them, for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
And then I love this too. And those who are with Him are called chosen and faithful. If you've given your life to Jesus, it was because he called you. It was because he chose you, and he's placed His Spirit in you to give you the power to live faithfully to Him. The word faithful is in here as an intentional contrast to those who reject Jesus.
Remember, God views them as engaged with the great Harlot, but he views those who belong to Him as faithful. It blesses me so much to hear God refer to Me as faithful, because that's not usually how I tend to view myself. But this precious word reminds me that just as Jesus makes us righteous, His Spirit empowers us to remain faithful. And for 2000 years, His Spirit has empowered believers to face persecution and even death and remain faithful to the end. If you belong to Him, he will make you able to stand no matter what you face.
He calls us faithful because he knows for a fact that he is able to make us faithful. Amazing. And if you want to practice some biblical righteous personal affirmations, start praying this to build yourself up in how God sees you. Lord, thank you that I'm called. Thank you that I'm chosen, and thank you that by Your power I am faithful.
Verse 15 Then he said to me, the waters which you saw, where the Harlot sits are Peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. Finally, a simple explanation. The whole world will be drawn into spiritual fornication in the first half of the Tribulation, as the world's religions unite in harmony, only those who do and will belong to Jesus will not participate. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the Harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill his purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their Kingdom to the beast until the words of God are fulfilled.
Remember, the ten horns are the ten Kings who will serve under Antichrist in his Empire. At the halfway point of the Tribulation, Antichrist will rise from the dead as the beast. And you'll recall that he will enter the Holy of Holies in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and declare himself to be God. He will abolish all other religions and demand the worship of all Peoples. The false Prophet will facilitate this and direct the Empire to worship Antichrist, which they will.
The emergence of a revived Roman Empire and a spirit of universalism will pave the way for Antichrist the beast. That's what's being pictured here. Antichrist and the world's religions will peacefully coexist for the first three and a half years of the Tribulation. But then, at the halfway point of the seven years, Antichrist will become the beast and devour all other religions, replacing them with himself with the help of his ten Kings. And the false Prophet.
Verse 18. And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the Kings of the Earth. We'll read verse five again in a moment, but you might recall that the great Harlot has the title Mystery Babylon, the mother of Harlotte's written on her forehead. This chapter, the next chapter, and the title on her forehead make it clear that the great city this woman represents is Babylon. And I'll touch on why that matters in a moment.
To sum it up, verse 18 is telling us that the woman is part of mystical Babylon. As we said near the beginning of this study, she is religious Babylon. Well, as I mentioned Additionally in that introduction, if you heard the version of this study that I taught back in 2015, you might remember that my position then was that the Catholic Church was the woman of Revelation 17. And that is what many believe. But personally, I'm no longer convinced.
And before I explain why that's the case, I just want to remind you that we try to be really open at Gospel City about the fact that there will be areas of Bible study where our views will evolve and change over time. And that should be the case for anyone who is studying the Bible consistently, whether for 20 minutes a day or 4 hours a day. As you spend time in the Word, you should find your understanding growing. And that will include sometimes changing and evolving your view on a specific passage of Scripture. That's what's happened here with me.
I'm not teaching the same series I taught in 2015, and I'm doing just as much study, if not more. And I'm studying different material this time around to try and grow in my knowledge as much as possible. And that journey has led me to changing my view regarding the identity of the woman. And I hope we all recognize that this is not an essential piece of doctrine. If you go to a Church and you want to find out if this is a biblically, solid Church, I hope you're not asking.
Do you understand, of course, that the woman in Revelation 17 is the Catholic Church? And if they say no, you're like, this Church is a joke. I hope we all understand this is not an essential piece of doctrine, because if you love Jesus, you're going to be in heaven. Let me explain how I came to this conclusion, though, and then, as always, you can come to your own conclusions. Now.
There are a few main reasons why many believe that the woman could be the Catholic Church in verse is we read the seven heads or seven mountains on which the woman sits. People will point out that the original Greek word translated mountains, Oros, can also be translated Hills. And Rome has been famously known throughout history and still is today as the city of seven Hills.
In verses 18 we read and the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the Kings of the Earth. People will point out that at the time John was writing, that great city which reigns over the Kings of the Earth would obviously be Rome.
Scripture and history teach us that Babylon was the birthplace of paganism, and it's Babylon where we see some of the most enduring pagan archetypes of the ancient world emerge. Specifically, the concept of the feminine divine and mother son worship. The feminine divine is essentially the concept that certain feminine traits are divine. At its root, it comes from men inspired by Satan who became sexually obsessed with women. And this is why traditional forms of the feminine divine tended to be highly sexualized in their mythology, the physical appearance of their deities, and their worship rituals.
The concept comes from a desire to worship sex and is of course, ultimately driven by Satan's desire to pervert God's design. Instead of having Yahweh as God men leading their families in righteousness and sex being sacred in marriage, Satan created a form of paganism where false gods are worshiped and womanhood is reduced to carnal sexuality, and all of society becomes driven by lust. It's also in Babylon that we see a mother son model of paganism emerge where the feminine divine has a son and both are worshiped because of their intimate connection. This model shows up in multiple ancient mythologies and indeed the Bible records Israel getting caught up in this type of paganism. For example, Jeremiah rebukes them for worshiping the Queen of Heaven, who apparently their forefathers had also worshiped.
I believe that the pagan concepts of the feminine divine and mother son worship are alive and well today in Catholicism. I do believe that the Mary of the Vatican is not the mother of Jesus but the Queen of Heaven. This is why Rome teaches that Mary is divine, even though the Bible does not present Mary the mother of Jesus that way. And so, because of that Babylon feminine divine, mother son paganism that traces back to Babylon, there is a view that the woman of Revelation 17 is the Catholic Church. Let me share why I believe no longer that that's the case.
Verse five tells us she has mystery. Babylon the Great written on her forehead. Babylon and the Euphrates River which runs through it are the focus of chapters 17 and 18. Pretty much everything in this chapter is figurative. For example, the waters upon which the woman sits.
What is our justification for switching to a literal interpretation for the seven mountains? How do we justify doing that? Hermeneutically while the Greek word translated mountains in verse is Auros is translated as Hills. Three times in Scripture, it's translated as mountain, 41 times in Scripture and 21 times as Mount. If it should really be translated seven Hills, it would be glaringly obvious to John and his readers that the angel was referring to Rome.
It would be like me saying, now think about this. I'm going to give you a clue. If you can decode it, I'm going to the Big Apple. It would be that obvious to John and his readers what city this was, if it really was meant to be translated as the city of seven Hills. And if that was the case, the angel would not have needed to preface that revelation with the statement, Here is the mind which has wisdom telling the reader to exercise special discernment.
It wouldn't have been necessary. While the links to Babylonian pagan mythology are valid, many of the specifics that are used to draw parallels with Catholic doctrine are not verifiable. Most of them trace back to a book titled The Two Babylons written by Alexander Hislop in. For example, it was Hislop who first claimed that Easter derived its name from the ancient pagan goddess Ishtar. Unfortunately, it turns out, his lot based that claim on nothing more than noticing that the word sounded kind of similar.
We can check the claims that authors, speakers, and pastors make about essential theology by examining the Scriptures. However, historical and anecdotal claims like sermon illustrations, were often very difficult to verify. Before the Internet became widely available, Christians tended to believe the things they were told by authors, speakers, and pastors that they considered to be Godly men understandable, and those Godly men were often repeating historical and anecdotal claims that other men had made whom they also considered to be Godly men. Unfortunately, when we trace things all the way back to the source, we sometimes discover that the original author, speaker, or pastor was incorrect or subpar in their research, such as the case with many of the claims made by Alexander Hislop in The Two Babylons. And those claims have been repeated for over a century and a half by many authors, speakers, and pastors.
I'm sure they're all Godly men, most of them, but they haven't fact checked their sources by looking into where their sources got their information. That was the case with me when I last taught this message, and it's why just a few months later, I stopped taking anything at face value, no matter where I heard it, no matter who I heard it from. And I started tracking down the primary source on everything that I teach to use a phrase from the Internet, Lfmf, which means learn from my fail. The final reason why I don't believe the woman to be the Catholic Church is because of what I shared earlier. Babylon is more than just a literal city, just as Zion is more than just a literal city.
However, Babylon is also a literal city, just as Zion is also a literal city. Whenever there is a literal geographic location associated with Babylon in the Scriptures, it's always Babylon, just as whenever there is a literal geographic location associated with the Zion in scripture, it is always Jerusalem. Babylon is not literal geographic Rome, and the woman is not the Catholic Church, at least in my current view, although she is certainly part of religious Babylon. Let's wrap up by returning to the mystery of the first six verses, and let's see if we can wrap our minds around it. Now, verse one says, Then one of the seven Angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, Come, I will show you the judgment of the great Harlot, who sits on many waters with whom the Kings of the Earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the Earth were made drunk with the wine of her.
Fornication this angel says, John, I want to show you how the Lord will judge Babylon through the tribulation. Once the Church leaves the Earth in the Rapture, the Earth will rapidly descend into an orgy of ungodliness as the world unites in their hatred of God and their love of sin in every sphere of life. The judgment of religious Babylon is that when she reaches the state that every false religion envisions world harmony, unity, peace, and understanding. When John Lennon's "Imagine" comes to life, it will culminate in the Empire of Antichrist, which will usher in hell on Earth. That is how God will expose, judge, and destroy religious Babylon.
Verse three. 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. 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. And on her forehead a name was written, Babylon the Great, the mother of Harlots and of the abominations of the Earth. 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. We should all understand this scene now. The woman is religious Babylon, whose Universalist spirit will intoxicate the world with the false promises of peace, unity, and financial prosperity during the first three and a half years of the Tribulation. She is ending the beast Antichrist as they partner together for the first three and a half years of the Tribulation to prepare the world for a single religion that will worship Antichrist alone during the Great Tribulation. One aspect of that partnership will be a frenzied persecution of Christians.
The world will hate righteousness to such a degree that they will want to kill it everywhere they find it. Antichrist will seize control of the final world Empire, the revived Roman Empire, and will appoint ten Kings under his rule, and he will lead the world into sin, darkness, and evil to a degree we cannot even imagine. Writing a closing thought for this message was not easy, and I don't really have a neat and tidy closing thought. This is not the kind of content that gives you a nice devotional thought for the day, if you hadn't noticed. So, I'll just say this in closing.
Universalism, the belief that all roads lead to God is not only logically incoherent, it's demonic. It will be used to unite the world in rejecting God and ultimately worshiping Satan. Our world romanticizes the idea of universalism and things like bumper stickers that read Coexist, but the reality is that there are only two kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Darkness. Satan loves universalism because he doesn't care what flavor of spirituality you choose. He just cares that it isn't Jesus, because if it's not Jesus, you're part of his Kingdom.
Universalism is indeed about unity, but only in the sense that Satan wants to deceive everyone into rejecting Jesus. As I said, no warm and fuzzy thoughts to close today. And so with that, let's pray. Would you buy your head and close your eyes? Father, thank you for giving us your word through your son, Jesus and Jesus.
Thank you for revealing to us the truth about where things like universalism are going. Father, I pray for any among us who are listening to this message or watching this message, who are holding on to any beliefs that are not of you, whether they are traditional beliefs or family heritage or to do with the people, group or anything like that. If there are any beliefs that we're holding onto that are not of you, Lord. We repent of that right now and we renounce those things and place all of our faith in Jesus. Thank you for sharing with us the truth, Lord.
We ask that you would protect our minds in a time of great deception, Lord that as your words said, you would renew our minds. Give us the mind of Christ and help us to keep our eyes on you. The way the truth and the life we love you, Jesus. It's in your name we pray Amen.