In the book of Revelation, the apostle John saw a vision of a woman wearing scarlet and riding a beast with seven heads and 10 horns. This woman represents a false religious system responsible for the persecution and murder of God's saints over the last 2,000 years. It will play a major role in world events just before the return of Jesus Christ to this earth.
This particular woman is rightly branded in Revelation as a faithless harlot (prostitute). "And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Revelation 17:5).
But what does she symbolize? "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth" (verse 18). She will be the pride of this world, yet she will also have been the relentless and ruthless persecutor of true Christians. God has clearly stated that this woman is "drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (verse 6, emphasis added throughout).
Her influential relationships reach into the highest political and social circles in national governments and the business world: "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). Always remember, however, that our Creator has her lawless activities firmly in mind, knowing that "her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities" (verse 5).
Symbolically, God calls this harlot city—with her intimate but 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).
How influential will this great city become? John related: "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 [spiritually] drunk with the wine of her fornication'" (Revelation 17:1-2).
An angel had explained to John that "the waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues [languages]" (verse 15).
Citizens of many lands, speaking many different languages, will enthusiastically embrace her satanic approach toward personal and spiritual relationships. They will welcome, with approving fascination, her influence and power over them. She will boast: "I sit as a queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow" (Revelation 18:7).
God, however, labels her as the mother of harlots, a city full of abominations. He condemns her spiritual practices and will see that she comes to destruction along with every corrupt cultural and religious tradition she has foisted upon the earth. To understand more, request or download our free booklet The Book of Revelation Unveiled. WNP