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The Two Women of Revelation

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The events described in the second half of the book of Revelation are directly related to the past and future of two symbolic women who are diametrical opposites. The first (Revelation 12) represents those who have been God’s covenant people—the “Church of God”—both Old Testament Israel and the New Testament called-out servants of Christ. The identity of this woman (national Israel or the New Testament Church) in Revelation is determined by the context and other scriptures. Jerusalem, the holy city, is portrayed as their spiritual home (Revelation 11:2 Revelation 11:2But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given to the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
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).

In the future, Christ’s faithful followers will become the eternally righteous community of the saved in the city of New Jerusalem. They are those who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17 Revelation 12:17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
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; compare Revelation 14:12 Revelation 14:12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
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; Revelation 22:14 Revelation 22:14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
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).

In this age they are despised, rejected and persecuted by most. But this woman, the true Church of God, is cherished by Christ. For a long time she has prepared herself to become His bride (Ephesians 5:27-29 Ephesians 5:27-29 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church:
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; Revelation 19:7-9 Revelation 19:7-9 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.
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). She will sit with Him on His throne and share in reigning over those who have rejected and despised her (Revelation 3:21 Revelation 3:21To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
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). She will assist Christ in teaching God’s ways to all nations (Revelation 20:6 Revelation 20:6Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
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; Micah 4:2 Micah 4:2And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
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).

The second woman, represented as a harlot, is another great city. “And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH… [She is] drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:5-6 Revelation 17:5-6 5 And on 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.
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).

What does she symbolize? “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18 Revelation 17:18And the woman which you saw is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.
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). She will be the pride of this world. But she will also have been the relentless persecutor of true Christians. God accuses her of being “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6 Revelation 17:6And 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.
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).

Her influential relationships reach into the highest political and social circles—”the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury” (Revelation 18:3 Revelation 18:3For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
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). “… Her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:5 Revelation 18:5For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
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).

God calls this harlot city—with her corrupt entanglements in international affairs—Babylon the Great. Her cultural and religious roots go back to ancient Babylon, the city where mankind rebelled against God soon after the great Flood in the time of Noah (Genesis 11:4-9 Genesis 11:4-9 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth. 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there on the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from there did the LORD scatter them abroad on the face of all the earth.
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). It was in ancient Babylon that Satan reestablished his control over mankind for “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
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).

The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes ancient Babylonia as a “cultural region occupying southeastern Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (modern southern Iraq from around Baghdad to the Persian Gulf). Because the city of Babylon was the capital of this area for so many centuries, the term Babylonia has come to refer to the entire culture that developed in the area from the time it was first settled, about 4000 BC” (1999 Multimedia Edition, “Babylonia”).

A modern city labeled Babylon the Great will, like ancient Babylon, set the cultural and religious standards for the end-time political-religious empire of the Beast of Revelation.

The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible explains the biblical implications of this Babylonian heritage: “As the realm of the devil … Babylon is … understood as the arche-typical head of all entrenched worldly resistance to God. Babylon is an agelong reality including idolatrous kingdoms as diverse as Sodom, Gomorrah, Egypt, Tyre, Nineveh, and Rome … Babylon, the mother of all harlots, is the great source and reservoir of enmity to God, as well as the objectified product of the ‘one mind’ [Revelation 17:13-17 Revelation 17:13-17 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to 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 said to me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw on 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 has put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
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] which gives power and authority to false gods. As such, she is the antithesis of the virgin bride of Christ, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the kingdom of God” (p. 338; “Babylon (NT)”).

The primary affairs of ancient Babylon were managed by priests who cleverly blended illicit sexual practices into their idolatrous religion. Traces of these traditions still exist in today’s religions. At the time of the end many ancient idolatrous concepts will again be elevated to international acclaim through Satan’s influence. Rome—spiritual heir of ancient Babylon’s idolatrous traditions—will again emerge as the chief city over a greatly expanded revival of the ancient Roman Empire.

How influential will this great city become? “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication’ ” (Revelation 17:1-2 Revelation 17:1-2 1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, Come here; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore that sits on 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.
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). An angel explains to John that “the waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15 Revelation 17:15And he said to me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
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).

Citizens of many lands will cheerfully embrace her satanic approach toward personal and spiritual relationships—her spiritual harlotry. They will welcome her influence and power over them. She will boast, “I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow” (Revelation 18:7 Revelation 18:7How much she has glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she said in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
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). God, however, labels her the mother of harlots, a city full of abominations. He condemns her practices and will destroy her along with every corrupt tradition she has preserved.

In contrast, the first woman, “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15 1 Timothy 3:15But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
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), will become the bride of Christ at His return (Revelation 19:7-9 Revelation 19:7-9 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.
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). Revelation ends with the people of God, after receiving eternal life, dwelling with Christ and the Father forever. “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:9-11 Revelation 21:9-11 9 And there came to me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like to a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
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). Here is the woman who forever will radiate the light and truth of God.

She will expand into an immense city of faithful servants of God—the everlasting holy city of New Jerusalem. Notice God’s final warning: “And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:19 Revelation 22:19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
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).

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