There will be in the Tribulation period a great apostate ecclesiastical system headed up under a powerful religious leader, drawing after it thousands of deluded worshipers, who in reality are worshiping the devil and the beast. This enormous world-system will be brought to a fearful end and all those connected with it will share its fate.
1 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:
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.
3 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.
4 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:
5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
10 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.
11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Revelation 17 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 17:1-2 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 17:3 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 17:4-5 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 17:6-10 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 17:11-14 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 17:15-18 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 17:1-18 – The Great World City Overthrown
This scarlet-attired woman is that miserable attempt made in every age to counterfeit the true Church of the living God. Man does not like the religion of the cross, of faith, of self-denial, and each age has witnessed some false system from which all these objectionable elements are eliminated. Surely a meretricious system has revealed itself successively in Babylon, Jerusalem, Rome, London, New York, and other great centers. Fashion smiles on it, wealth bedizens it, human power unites with it, and in every age it has been drunken with the blood of martyrs.
Between this miserable travesty of the Church and the Church herself there has been perpetual conflict. But the ultimate victory has always remained with the Lamb, and if only we side with Him, as the called, chosen, and faithful of Revelation 17:14, we also shall be more than conquerors. Human prestige and power shall not ultimately avail in the conflict against the all-conquering Savior. And finally the very world-powers shall turn against the apostate and adulterous Church, Revelation 17:16. Come out from her and be separate! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Revelation 17:6—Drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
Pagan and papal Rome have had to contend with an unbroken line of the witnesses of Jesus. In the words of an exiled Huguenot, “Since the birth of anti-Christianity, there have not been wanting those who have cried against its errors and idolatries.” They have been called by various names—Paulicians, Waldenses, Albigenses, Wicliffites, Lollards, Lutherans, Zwinglians, Pietists, and Schismatics; but God never left Himself without witness. They might all have adopted the symbol and motto of one of them, “A lighted candle in a candlestick,” with the words, “The light shineth in darkness.” (John 1:5).
But how terribly has the vision of the text been verified! Think of the persecutions under the Emperors, when the entire empire was filled with fire and sword. Take the single instance of the Empress Theodora, who slaughtered and drowned one hundred thousand of these Paulician Christians. During the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, Romanism, then in the plenitude of its power, gathered itself for a great, determined, and persistent effort to crush out all that opposed its supremacy, and to clear Christendom of heresy. And wherever any revival of true religion took place, or any confessors of Christ could be found, they were hunted, if possible, to death.
We have not yet resisted unto blood, in the strife against the sin and evil of our time. It is not that the world or the professing Church loves us better, but, probably, we are deficient in the spirit that lived in the martyr’s breast. O Spirit of the living God, kindle that flame of love again which shall make us willing to suffer the loss of all, even of life, for the sake of Jesus! —Our Daily Homily