17:1Then one of the seven Messengers with the bowls came and talked with me. He said, “Here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot sitting on many waters.17:2The kings of the earth have been promiscuous with her, and the earth dwellers have been made drunk with the wine of her promiscuity.”
17:3He carried me away in spirit to the desert, and there I saw a woman riding a red wild animal covered with slanderous names and having seven heads and ten horns.17:4She was clothed in purple and red, and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She had in her hand a golden chalice filled with the disgusting filth of her promiscuity.17:5On her forehead was written a secret name: “Babylon the Great, mother of harlots and the disgusting things of earth.”
17:6I saw that she was drunk with the blood of the holy people and those who testify of Jesus, and I was aghast at the sight of her.17:7Then the Messenger said to me, “Why are you shocked? I will explain to you the secret of the woman and the seven-headed/ten horned wild animal that carries her.
17:8“The wild animal you saw was, and is not now, and is about to ascend from the Abyss and then be taken into oblivion. The earth dwellers whose names have not been written on the Scroll of Life from the establishment of the world will be in awe of the wild animal that was, is not now, and will be.
17:9“This takes wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains the woman sits upon.17:10These are seven kings: five have fallen, one is now, and the other has not yet come. But when he does, he will only remain for a short time.17:11The wild animal that was and is not now, is an eighth that comes from the seven but is proceeding to oblivion.
17:12“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet acquired a kingdom, but they will share royal jurisdiction with the wild animal for one hour.17:13They will all be in agreement and give their power and jurisdiction to the wild animal.17:14They will battle the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, since he is the Master of Masters and King of Kings, and those with him are appointed and chosen and trustworthy.”
17:15Then he says to me, “The waters you saw which the harlot is sitting upon are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.17:16The ten horns you saw, and the wild animal, will despise the harlot; they will obliterate her, strip her naked, consume her flesh, and set her on fire.17:17This is because God put it in their hearts to do his bidding, and to unite in giving their kingdom to the wild animal until the words of God are fulfilled.17:18And the woman you saw is the great city that has sovereignty over the kings of the earth.”1
- 1Note that the city has this sovereignty at the time the revelation was given; it is in the present tense. Thus the city had to exist in that day as well as the future time of the prophetic fulfillment.