May 4, 2013

The Harlot of Revelation

Chapter 17 of the book of Revelation presents the vision of a harlot riding a beast. This study takes a verse-by-verse look, with my notes on what (I believe) the text is saying. 
The reader should bear in mind, thru-out, that the entire book of Revelation is written as allegory.

[1] Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgement of the great harlot who sits on many waters, [...]
Note: This vision is devoted to describing the harlot (prostitute) and the beast, and their fate that occurs at the 'end of the Age. The angel addresses the 'many waters' later in the text.

John, the writer, continues his description of the vision...
[2] with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.
Note: the immoral activity of this 'system' (the harlot) has made many people intoxicated, and involves the participation of the 'kings' (political heads) of the earth. They are 'drunk' on wealth, on political power, on indulging their lusts of every kind.

[3] And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.
Notes: beasts, in prophecy, are symbolic of kingdoms (or nations, as we now say); blasphemous names indicate a wicked nature, contrary to God. The mention of 7 heads/10 horns creates a link with the book of Daniel's prophetic visions, and with those of ch. 13.

[4] The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality,
Notes: the rich adornments, gold and precious stones all denote great wealth; the cup of filthiness indicates that this wealth was not obtained ethically, and that the system is corrupt to the core.

[5] and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
Notes: Babylon harkens to the ancient seat of occult knowledge. As 'mother of harlots,' this system has spawned numerous detestable spin-offs, that are abominable in God's eyes.

[6] And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly.
Notes: this system has martyred many believers in God and Christ, over the ages. Knowing that OT scripture often used a woman to represent 'Israel', many exegetes have extrapolated the image to conclude that the harlot must represent the Roman Church (the Vatican) which notoriously persecuted true believers (called 'heretics') over the Dark Ages.

The angel tells John he will explain the vision for him.
[7] And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? 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.
Note: The verses to follow are crucial (and paramount) in understanding the prophecy.

First, the angel/interpreter starts with the beast.
[8] “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and [will] go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. [My italics].
Notes: From Daniel (the OT 'apocalypse') and the following verses, we infer that the beast is a composite of 'kingdoms' or, as we say today, nations. Note the stress on the fact that this beast 'was'-- i.e. existed before this revelation; it 'is not,' -- didn't exist at the time of writing; and it 'will come (again)'-- will appear 'out of the abyss' at some future date.
NB: in studying chapter 13, we found the similar beast, one of whose heads received a deadly wound yet survived, to the wonder of the world. Using the clues from ch. 13 with help from this ch. 17, we clearly observed that the (1st) beast is the modern state of Israel.

The angel then expounds on the 7 heads.
[9] Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, [10] and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. [11] The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.
Notes: most expositors see the 7 mountains and promptly conclude that, sure enough, this is Rome (city of 7 hills). However, the angel continues with the convoluted clue about the 7 kings (kingdoms). Remember that there were 7 dominant kingdoms in John's era and region-- Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Persia, Rome. Of these, all except Greece had 'fallen' to become (five) Roman provinces. The 'one' is Rome. The 'eighth' which is also one of the seven, again, is Israel. It was one of the original seven, and in 'resurrected' format returns as the eighth kingdom of the vision.
Note, especially, that the 'Roman Church' did NOT exist before John, thus cannot be the beast that 'was and is not' at the time he wrote the revelation.
Next, he considers the 10 horns.
[12] The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. [13] These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. [14] These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.
Notes: From Daniel 2, which sketches the most straightforward picture of the future, it's reasonable to conclude that the 'ten kings' represent the present European Union. Altho some analysts abandoned this idea when the EU grew beyond ten members, the fact is that ten is a symbolic number for a designated set-- here, the revived 'Holy Roman Empire.' Mainly thru Germany, the EU has lent its support to Israel (the beast). In so doing, the EU has declared war on Christ.

Concluding, the angel relates the coming fate of the characters depicted.
[15] And he said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. [16] And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. [17] For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled.
Notes: the angel indicates that the harlot is located in a region with a great population, with numerous 'nations' and languages. This scenario could point to either Europe, as some expositors favor, or the Middle East, as others claim. However, one might argue that if the word 'nations' is used in the sense of ethnic groups, then it could possibly refer to the 'New World' (i.e. USA), the melting pot of cultural and linguistic groups.
Ultimately, the angel/guide confirms, the nations that were 'ridden' (covertly ruled) by the harlot will throw her off, and destroy her. This turning will evidently be a nasty, horrific event.

Finally, the guide makes a defining statement regarding the identity of the woman.
[18] The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.
Notes: Now this is a tantalizing clue! After all the other hints, the angel ends by saying the harlot is a city that reigns over the kingdoms of the earth. On the surface, even mindful that this is an entirely symbolic depiction, several possible candidates come to mind.

So, what city reigns over the earth at this time? Protestant pundits have insisted it's the Vatican; others claim it's Rome (as of a revived Holy Roman Empire); still others say it's Brussels, as seat of the EU (and having '7 hills,' incidentally). There are unavoidable problems with any of these choices, and with most other proposed candidates.

Altho John refers to a 'city,' we have to remember that the whole text is figurative. Thus, the city could (probably does) represent a system of belief or practices united under one rubric. If we piece all the clues in this chapter together, I suggest that the most likely nominee is London, or more precisely, the City of London, England. This 'city' represents the center of a system, that system being none other than the 'fiat money' banking syndicate that underpins-- and thereby rules-- all the nations of the world!

Those who've studied the socio-economic-political state of the world, comprehend how the international bankers, leveraging their enormous monetary power, actually exercise dominion over all the nations. (In fact, only 3 countries do not have a central bank owned/controlled by the Rothschild banking complex-- and they are all under attack at this moment.) The capitol of this global empire, ruled by fiscal might, is a small, independent, financial enclave called 'the City of London' in the heart of the metropolis.

London is a highly cosmopolitan city, with teeming millions of people from all parts of the world, speaking numerous languages.

Notice that the whore is fabulously wealthy; this certainly accords with the banking elite. Also, she is identified with 'Mystery Babylon,' which clue eludes most exegetes because they aren't familiar with the traits of the secret ruling elite. Those relatively few individuals who occupy the hidden seats of true authority are allied with luciferian forces that give them the uncanny ability to dominate the seven continents ('mountains').

Moreover, I contend that this banking empire has used its almost limitless wealth to spawn related organizations and/or systems. Delving into 'black history,' one finds that the bankers instigated soviet Communism in the early 20th century. They also funded fascism in Europe to trigger World War II. The international bankers fund/attend all manner of 'abominations' around the world, including bizarre, occult conventions like 'the Bohemian Grove' in California. They utilize both Freemasonry and the Vatican, and are the financial bulwark of militant Zionism. Their cult can honestly be said to be 'the Mother of Harlots.'

Is the global banking establishment responsible for shedding the blood of 'saints' (believers in Christ)? On the surface, no. Below the surface, undoubtedly. For instance, their Communist revolution in Russia caused the death of some 20 million souls, many of them Christians. In fact, the last scenes have yet to unfold; as the last tribulation engulfs the world, we can expect much blood to be shed by believers at the hands of this godless, antichrist 'harlot.'

Multiple Babylons!

The only 'problem' with my interpretation of Babylon in chapter 17, is that it does not accord with my own understanding of Babylon in chapter 18! However, I think there is a reasonable solution to this dilemma.

In our dreams it is common for objects and situations to morph from one form to another, perhaps several times. This would make no sense in the waking world, but is normal in the dream world. In like manner, I believe that concepts used in apocalyptic prophecy can 'morph' in their figurative meaning. In particular, Babylon appears in several significant scenes in John's revelation. I contend that Babylon has different roles in each appearance. Even in the epistles, Peter refers to Babylon; but that entity had already ceased to be a player on the political stage. Scholars concur that he was referring obliquely to Rome.

After the exile of Jews in Babylon, the name of that city-state signified religious oppression and abhorrent pagan practices (for instance, child sacrifices to Molech and other gods). Since Babylon was also home to astrologers, necromancers, sorcerers, magicians, and 'Chaldeans' (see Daniel 2) its name became synonymous with the occult, which is to say demonic realm.

Alexander Hislop wrote a famous book entitled The Two Babylons, which reveals the Vatican (Roman Catholicism) as a revival of ancient, pagan Babylon. The key point is that Babylon is emblematic of all that is opposed to true Godly worship.

Thus, references to Babylon in John's Revelation are intended to link back to the book of Daniel-- written in Babylon-- which is replete with dream-vision imagery, and importantly, explanations by 'angels' of these images-- the same images employed by John.

The picture of 'Babylon' was introduced in chapter 14 in an enigmatic proclamation:
[8] And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion [wrath] of her immorality.”
It seems to be a brief foreshadow of the major elaboration in chapter 18, which we'll touch on, below.

Chapter 17 reveals the drunken harlot on whose forehead was written the 'mystery' title of 'Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots and of Abominations of the Earth.' In fact, because there was no punctuation in the original manuscripts, one could reasonably state the title as 'Mystery Babylon the Great, etc.' especially given what we've noted about Babylon's occultism. Piecing together all the clues, I have made a case that the harlot is the City of London; or more accurately, the global financial dictatorship directed from that city.

Then Babylon re-appears in chapter 18; which begs the question, 'Is this the same entity as just dealt with in chapter 17?' And my answer is 'no!' Here's why. Notice that chapter 17 presents a complete scenario in itself. It opens with the angel telling John he will show him the judgement (fate) of the prostitute, and ends with the description of how the beast turns on the woman and destroys her. (And note that the text was divided into chapters and verses only much later than the original writing.)

The next verse-- which demarcates the start of chapter 18-- begins with the words 'After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven' (my italics). Clearly, the vision has shifted to a different scenario. This new angel cries out 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!' And I'm saying that this time, Babylon refers to a different entity than in chapter 17. The same occult connotations are meant to be conjured up by the name Babylon, but this time they apply to another entity.

Since this essay is intended to reveal the great harlot of chapter 17, I will not elaborate on the text of chapter 18. I have analyzed chapter 18 in another essay, and direct the interested reader to study it there...

(c) J. Krzyzewski, May, 2013

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