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Revelation 17: Summary

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After looking at God’s wrath that falls against the two aspects of Satan’s kingdom in chapter 16, John now receives a new set of visions.  In chapter 17, this judgment is continued to be described by presenting to John the identity and characteristics of Satan’s kingdom…

  1. Judgment of Babylon 17:1-18
    1. The identity and characteristics of Satan’s Kingdoms 17:1-18
      1. Scarlet Beast (Satan’s Political Kingdom) 1-3
      2. Woman (Satan’s Religious Kingdom) 4-6
  • The Mystery Of The Woman and The Beast Revealed – 7-18




  1. Revelation 17:1-6 – The Woman And The Scarlet Colored Beast

In this section of John’s vision, the woman is described.  This woman symbolizes the religious aspects of Satan’s kingdoms.  This involves the false religions and false teachers that can be found in the world around us.

She is given the title of “Great Whore”, expressing her sinfulness, seductive nature, shamelessness and also her unfaithfulness to the Lord and His Word.  She is described as sitting on “many waters” speaking of the great authority and control that she exercises over the masses of lost humanity.  The sins she causes in the midst of mankind are described as fornication and drunkenness.  This speaks of acts of uncleanness that flow from sin natures that are left to run uncontrolled in the lives of the lost.

John is taken to the “wilderness” to receive this vision of the woman and the beast.  The term “wilderness” is describing a desert, the place where no life can be found.  This is the type of area where this Satanic duo is found and prospers, in the hearts and lives of those who are destitute of spiritual life.  Also lifelessness is the end result of those who follow the messages and dictates of these kingdoms.  Her close relationship with beast (the political powers of Satan) is shown by her riding upon it.

The angel begins a look at the scarlet beast.  Its color reveals the bloodshed and death that was inflicted upon God’s people by the oppressive nations of the world.  Its chief end is to speak evil of (blaspheme) the true God.  It’s seven heads are symbolic of the seven political world empires that have existed prior to John and will exist following John’s death until the second coming of Christ.

The woman is described as being dressed in the colors and adornments of royalty and wealth, picturing her great attractiveness in the eyes of lost mankind.  Her temptations are pictured by a gold cup being offered to mankind which is filled with sinful abominations.  She is given a series of four titles: “Mystery”, “Babylon The Great”, “The Mother of Harlots”, The Mother of Abominations of the Earth”.  From these we can learn the following truths…

“Mystery” – the true character of this woman is known to the saints of the Lord, but unknown to the lost who have been deceived.

“Babylon the Great” – The message of Satan’s false religions are worthless to man and only causes confusion.

“The Mother of Harlots” – She produces great sins among men by seducing lost men to share her sinful acts and teachings and actively seek her preservation.

“The Mother of … Abominations of the Earth” – She also produces great abominations through seduction  She seduces lost men, they, in turn, begin committing great acts that God hates.

Finally, she is shown as being drunk with the blood of the saints, picturing the great martyrdom that is committed at her hands and the enjoyment she receives from the taking of life of God’s people.

John then says that he “admired” her telling us after he had studied her, he was dumbfounded, he was amazed at how powerful, deceitful, and seductive she was.


  1. Revelation 17:7-18 – The Identity And Characteristics Of The Beast And Woman 

The angel begins to describe the beast with a three-fold description: “thou sawest not and is not” – speaking of the beast’s existence in the kingdoms prior to, and following, John’s life on earth;   “shall ascend out of the bottomless pit”

The origin of this beast is Satanic, sinful and deserving of divine punishment;  “and go into perdition”… the beast’s destiny is destruction and absolute ruin.  The greatness of this beast causes mankind to be amazed and wonder at it.

The beast is described as “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” and later as seven kings that of them, “five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come”.  These both speak of the existence of the world empires in relation to John’s life.  “Was” and “fallen” – the world empires that had existed prior to John’s day; “is not” and “not yet come” – the world empires that are yet to exist following John’s day;  “and yet is” and “one is”– the world empires that existed in John’s day (Rome).

The woman being pictured as sitting on the seven mountains reminded John of the World Empire that existed in his day…. The Roman Empire.

The ten horns on the seventh head of the beast symbolically represents the variety of kingdoms that would rise to world powers, be short lived, and never be allowed to rule over the entire world.  They would all exist following John’s life on earth.  It would be these nations that would be in existence at Christ’s second coming and unify to oppose Christ at His coming.  This is the eighth kingdom being talked about by the angel.  The angel assures John that even though the nations will unite to oppose Christ, Jesus will be the ultimate Victor over the united foe.

The waters upon which the woman is seen sitting pictures the mass of fallen mankind under her influence.

Although both aspects of Satan’s kingdoms are under Satan’s control, the Lord places in their hearts to fight among themselves.  Throughout history we have seen the political powers of the world go to war against the false religions of this world seeking, unsuccessfully to destroy them. This would be done through putting to death those who held to a particular religious faith.

Finally the angel describes the woman as “that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”  The great city is speaking of Babylon (vs 5), the seat of rebellion and pride of mankind.  She is the one that exercises the ultimate control over the political powers of this world.  The false religions of the world, in many ways, rule over the political kingdoms of this world.



Beginning in chapter 17: we have seen the recipient of God’s wrath, the kingdoms of Satan presented in great detail. Both the characteristics and identity of both aspects of Satan’s kingdom are brought into view.  In the next section of our study, chapter 18, will present various warnings for mankind to separate themselves from the kingdom of Satan…

  1. The Results of Babylon’s Judgment 18:1-24
    1. Victory Announcement 1-3
    2. Invitation for God’s People To Separate Themselves 4-20
  • Millstone Cast Upon Sea… the Final Destruction Of Babylon 21-24


May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.



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  1. Citizen Tom says:

    Thanks for the Bible exposition. Hope you had a blessed July 4th.

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