This chapter does two main things. First, it begins our next section in the prophets code, namely, how will God judge evil in the end of time. Here we find God judging the harlot church. And second, it serves as a repetition and enlargement of Revelation chapter 13, providing us with more information on the formation of the New World Order of Church and State.
How God judges Evil
Verses 1, 3, 9, 15, 18:
John sees the harlot church: John saw a harlot sitting on many waters. See Revelation 17:1. In Bible prophecy a woman represents a church. For example, Satan is enraged at the pure woman of Revelation 12, God’s true church. These are they that “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. However, in Revelation 17, the woman is a harlot, representing an apostate church. This harlot is the mother, implying that she has daughters who have joined in her apostasy.
This harlot represents an apostate church and what else?
The woman is that “great city” that reigns over the kings of the earth. See Revelation 17:18. If we can identify the city, we can identify the harlot church.
We are told that the harlot sits on seven mountains (verse 9), upon a scarlet beast (verse 3), and upon many waters (verse 1). The harlot is that “great city” that sits on “seven mountains.” The city famous for sitting on seven mountains is Rome. Papal Rome was that great city sitting on seven mountains that reigned over the kings of Europe during the Dark Ages. Inspiration predicts that this “great city” will again reign over the kings of the earth.
To reign over the kings of the earth, this harlot must possess or control political power. In Bible prophecy, a beast represents political power. See Daniel 7:17. What is the harlot riding on? The harlot is riding upon a beast, representing her rise as a political power.
She also sits on many waters. In Bible prophecy, “waters” represent “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Revelation 17: 15. In Revelation 13, this situation is described as the whole world wondering after the first beast, the Papacy. See Revelation 13:3, 8.
In summary, the harlot sits on seven mountains, representing her location in Rome. She sits on a beast, representing her rise as a political force. And she sits on many waters, representing the support of the multitudes of the earth.
Verses 3, 7–11: Seven Heads
The seven heads represent seven mountains upon which the woman sits, and what else?
The seven heads also represent seven kings. “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. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” Revelation 17:10–11.
The seven heads are seven kings or kingdoms. We saw in Revelation 13 that these kingdoms referred to the seven world powers beginning with Babylon. These are from first to last:
Which are the five kingdoms that have fallen?
These kingdoms fell in the order that they consecutively reigned. John saw this vision when Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Papacy had already fallen. If John was seeing this vision from the first century, then only three superpowers would have fallen, namely, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. Therefore, John must have been taken forward in time.
Five are fallen:
Babylon (605-539 BC)
Medo-Persia (539-331 BC)
Greece (331-168 BC)
Pagan Rome (168 BC – 476 AD)
Papacy (538-1798 AD)
John was taken forward in time when the Papacy fell in AD 1798. This year is a very significant year in Bible prophecy. The year of 1798 is referred to as “the time of the end.” See Daniel 12:4, 9. The book of Daniel was sealed up until “the time of the end.” It was in 1798, when the Papacy received her deadly wound, that the book of Daniel was unsealed. With the fulfillment of the 1260 year prophecy, pointing to the years of Papal supremacy and her eventual fall in 1798, there was a renewed interest in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, and the book of Daniel was unsealed.
We are also told that John saw the vision when the Papacy was already “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” Revelation 17:6
It says in verse 3, that John was taken “away in the spirit into the wilderness.” What wilderness? John was already on the desolate isle of Patmos. Therefore, John must have been taken “away in the spirit into the wilderness” time. In Revelation 12:6, 14, we find God’s true church fleeing from Papal persecution for 1260 years. The church had to flee into the wilderness, as it says in verse 6, “And the women fled into the wilderness,” and in verse 14 its says, “And to the woman were given two winds of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness.”
When John was taken away by the Spirit into the wilderness, he was taken forward in time when the true church had to flee into the wilderness between the years of 538 to 1798. We know that John was taken to the end of the wilderness time because the prophesy says that five are fallen (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Papacy). The Papacy fell in 1798. Therefore, John was taken forward in time to the year of 1798 to see this vision concerning the judgment of the harlot.
What nation followed the Papacy in Bible prophecy and became the sixth head?
When John received the vision in Revelation 13, he saw a second beast arise from the earth while the first beast [the Papacy] was taken “into captivity” and received its deadly wound in 1798. See Revelation 13:3, 10. While Napoleon’s general captured the pope and placed him in captivity in AD 1798, John saw America rise to prominence. See Revelation 13:11-17. Therefore, he says, “five are fallen” (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Papacy), “one is” (the United States), “and the other has not yet come” (the United Nations).
Five are fallen
Babylon (605-539 BC)
Medo-Persia (539-331 BC)
Greece (331-168 BC)
Pagan Rome (168 BC – 476 AD)
Papal Rome (538-1798 AD)
One is (John is in the spirit in the wilderness time of 1798)
United States (1776 – Present)
The seventh had not yet come (This power did not exist in 1798)
United Nations (1945—Present)
The Eighth Head (It is of the seven and comes back to power)
Papacy (the deadly wound is healed and all the world wondered after the beast, the Papacy) See Rev 13:3
The seventh head is the next great political power after the rise of the United States in 1776. It is a power that had “not yet come” when John saw the vision in 1798. Revelation 17:10. But when it would come, it would “continue a short space.” More on this later.
The eighth king is that beast power “that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is one of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” Revelation 17:11. The Papacy, which is one of the seven, is that first beast of Revelation 13 which received a deadly wound that was healed. The eighth king is the Papacy “that was” a beast political power (ruling both civilly and religiously from AD 538 to AD 1798), “and is not” a beast political power (when she received the deadly wound when America was rising to prominence), and “even he is the eighth” (when the deadly wound is healed and the Papacy becomes a political power again).
Many students of the Bible have often noted that the number eight represents something that has gone from old to new or something that has been resurrected. For example, there were eight people on Noah’s ark that brought them from the old world into a new world. Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, or the eighth day following the seventh. This old fallen world will be recreated into a New Earth when the eighth millennium begins. There will be six thousand years of sin. The earth lies desolate for a thousand years after the devastation of the seven last plagues. See Revelation 20. Then in the eighth millennium God will create a New Earth. See Revelation 21, 22.
Therefore, the eighth head must be a resurrected kingdom, a power that once was, but has been revived to control again. The Papacy is the only one of the seven kingdoms that fits that description. The Papacy “was” a political power. She experienced her “is not” state after AD 1798. She will rule again in the imminent new world order of church and state, which will last but for a short time.
Verses 3, 12–17: Ten Horns
“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings for one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” Revelation 17:12, 13.
These ten kings “who have received no kingdom as yet,” represent the seventh head which “has not yet come.” Notice that they are ten kings or powers that presently do not have a kingdom when John sees the vision in 1798.
Notice also that they are not ten kings that have ten kingdoms. They are ten kings that have no kingdom as yet. In other words, they share a kingdom together. When they have power with the beast, the political arm of the Papacy, they will have a kingdom, the new world order of church and state. Rome will be the primary capitol. The pope will reign supreme when the Sunday laws are made universal.
These ten kings represent the world through the United Nations, which gives its allegiance to the Papacy. They will be supportive of Sunday laws throughout the world. The United Nations has already divided the world up into ten political and economic regions.
Already the United Nations touches every aspect of human life. In judiciary matters, there is the World Court which already has laws that supersede the American Constitution. In matters of health there is the World Health Organization. In matters of finance there is the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In matters of policing there is the U.N. Peace-keeping Forces. The only thing that is lacking in this scenario is the ratification of a constitution by a quorum of nations. The primary capitol of this new world order will be Rome.
Notice the relationship between the seventh head and the ten horns:
“is not yet come”
“head” represents a political power
“continue a short space”
“have received no kingdom as yet”
“horn” represents a political power
“receive power as kings one hour
Will Papal governance over the world bring persecution to the people of God? “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” Revelation 17:6. As the blood of the saints of old was shed, persecution will be rekindled. There will be a final inquisition. The persecution in these last days concerns worship, for it is the “blood of the saints” that will be shed. The church that is right with God is not the one in union with the governments of the world. God’s true church is the one that is being persecuted. Jesus said, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:2.
The church that controls the state is the apostate church. As Benjamin Franklin said, “When religion is good, it will take care of itself: when it is not able to take care of it, so that it has to appeal to the civil power for support, it is evident to my mind that its cause is a bad one.”
It is not predominantly secular powers that will lead us into the greatest time of trouble. Rather, it is apostate religious powers. In the name of Christ, they will persecute the followers of Christ, because they know not Christ. To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to love those whom He has redeemed. To know Him is to know His Word. To know His Word is to know the truth. And this is where we all need to be. We need to love those for whom Christ has died. We need to love the truth and be seekers of the truth. Together, a love for souls and a love for the truth will make us disciples of Christ.
But the harlot church teaches not the truth and has murdered more of God’s people than any other institution, whether secular or religious. What makes her so abominable in the sight of God is that she does all this in the name of Christ.
None of us can afford to be part of promoting error or in persecuting the righteous. God has not given any of us to the right to judge another’s heart. The wheat and the tares will grow up together. But it is God that decides who will be saved and who will be lost. Our commission is to share the truth as it is in Jesus. Cast out the nets. Sow the Word. Scatter the precious seeds of truth everywhere.
Let that precious seed bear fruit in your own life. As such, it will make you a servant not a persecutor. It will make you a minister of the truth, not of error.