Review: During the tribulation period there will be a one-world government headed up by the Anti-Messiah. There will also be a one-world religious system headed up by the false prophet. They are both referred to as "Babylon". Chapter 17 describes the destruction of "Religious Babylon". Chapter 18 describes the destruction of "Political Babylon".
Revelation 17:1-6 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Y'shua (Jesus): and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (KJV)
A virgin symbolizes the "Church", believers from the day of Pentecost until the rapture. (Eph. 5:27; Rev. 19:7,8)
Here the corrupt and polluted religious system is described as a prostitute.
Rev 17:2 "With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." (KJV)
We are told she has corrupted ALL of the nations of the earth.
She is pictured as riding "a scarlet beast, with blasphemous names, and 7 heads and 10 horns". Sound familiar? It should. See our notes on chapter 12 and 13 if it doesn't. This is the one-world political system.
Her description is opposite that of the "Bride of Messiah", who is dressed in white.
Her name is: MYSTERY - BABYLON THE GREAT - THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES - AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Although the city of Babylon was destroyed by the time John was inspired to write Revelation, the religion of Babylon continued and spread through out the world. But just what was the religion of ancient Babylon?
Nimrod was the Great Grand-son of Noah. In Gen 10 we are told his kingdom-included Babel.
Gen 10:8-9 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the L-RD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the L-RD. (KJV)
The name Nimrod means, "let us rebel". He is described as "a mighty one" which comes from the Hebrew "gibor" which means tyrant. The Jewish Encyclopedia says "Nimrod was "he who made the people rebellious against G-d". In the expression "before the L-RD", "before" also carries a hostile meaning, it would be better translated "against".
When Nimrod, the priest-king of Babylon, died his body was cut into pieces, and burnt, and the pieces were sent to various areas. He was greatly mourned by the people of Babylon. After Nimrod's death, his wife, Queen Semiramis, claimed that he was now the Sun-god. Later when she gave birth to an illegitimate son named Tammuz, she claimed that he was Nimrod reborn. Semiramis must have been familiar with the prophecy that the Messiah would be born of a woman (See Gen 3:15) An instrument in Satan's hands, she claimed that her son was supernaturally conceived and that he was the promised seed, the "Messiah" However, not only was the child worshipped, by the mother, was also worshipped as much or more than the son!
Much of the Babylonian worship was carried on through mysterious symbols thus it was a "Mystery" religion. As an example since Nimrod was considered to be the Sun-god or Baal, fire was considered as his earthly representation. Thus, candles and ritual fires were lighted in his honor. Nimrod was also symbolized by sun-symbols, fish, trees, pillars, and animals.
Romans 1:21-26 "Because that, when they knew G-d, they glorified him not as G-d, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible G-d into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore G-d also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of G-d into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause G-d gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (KJV)
Think back to the story of the "Tower of Babel" (Gen 11).
"Archaeological evidence suggests that the Tower of Babel was in reality a building given over to astrology, or the heathen worship of the heavens. Among the ruins of ancient Babylon is a building 153 feet high with a 400-foot base. It was constructed of dried bricks in 7 stages, to correspond with the known planets to which they were dedicated. The lowermost was black, the color of Saturn, and the next orange for Jupiter, the third read for Mars, and so on. These stages were surmounted by a lofty tower, on the summit of which were the signs of the Zodiac." Willmington's Guide to the Bible, p 35.
As the people dispersed from the Tower of Babel and spread through out the earth (Gen 11:9) they took their worship of the Babylonian family and its mysterious symbols with them. To this day we find evidence of the religion of Babylon in one form or another in all false religions of the earth! Truly Babylon was the "Mother", the originator, of all false religions of the earth.
In Rev 17:6, the woman is drunk with the blood of the saints. These are
not just the believers from the tribulation period. It includes the countless
number of believers who have been killed for their belief in Y'shua down
through the ages.