(This is a continuation of the article onBabylon The Great Coming Into View. Click the highlighted link to read the first part of the article.)
Rev.17:3 "So the angel took me in the Spirit into the wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it."
In the scriptures, beast is used figuratively to represent world powers. The Babylonian Empire, Medes and Persia and Gracian Kingdom were described as beasts (Dan.7-8 two chapters). Without controversies the same pattern of interpretation was implied in Rev.17. The beast of Rev.17:3 is a world empire or government. At the time John was seeing this vision this Beast was not in existence (Rev.17:8)
"The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died."
This explanation given by the Angel shows that the Pagan Rome ruled by the Caesars was not the Beast in question because it was in the days of the Caesars that John was given these visions. The Angel said something remarkable, that is, the Beast had existed and will reappear in future (paraphrased). Can we trace the previous existence of this Beast?
Let us first take a view of what the Beast will look like when it reappears, then we can see what it was in the past. Its future appearance was described in Rev.13:1-2,
"Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. 2This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority."
This Beast existed before not as a single kingdom but as different kingdoms. It is a mixture of the Leopard Kingdom (Gracian Empire), the Bear Kingdom (Medes and Persia Kingdom), and the Lion Kingdom (Babylonian Empire) - Dan.7. If we want to see what the Beast of Rev.17:3 will look like when it reappears we have to check it out in Rev.13. It will be a combination of the tyrannies, cruelty, wealth and pride of the Babylonian, Medeo-Persian and Gracian Empires. That was why it had no specific name but a description (Dan.7:7, 19-28). The Beast described in these scriptures is the same Beast described in Rev.13:1-2, and Rev.17:3. The Angel who spoke to Daniel gave this interpretation, "Then he said to me, 'This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path.'"
We can see from the scriptures that the Beast of Rev.17:3 is the last Gentile world power ruled by the Antichrist; it is not Nero neither does it describe any of the rulers of the Pagan Roman Empire.
The Angel interpreted the seven heads. Rev.17:9-10,
"This calls for a mind with understanding: The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills where the woman rules. They also represent seven kings. 10Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief."
Seven Kings is also talking about seven kingdoms. Rev.17:12 used kings and kingdoms interchangeably. A king receives a kingdom. The seven kings of Rev.17:3 is talking about seven kingdoms that existed consecutively. The Angel said, five have fallen, one is (the sixth - Pagan Roman Empire) and the 7th is yet to come. So, these major world kingdoms existed consecutively.
Prior to the Pagan Roman Empire, there existed five major world empires, namely, the Egyptian Empire (ruled by the Pharaohs), the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire (the notable ruler is Nebuchadnezzar), Medeo-Persia Empire (notable rulers are Cyrus and Darius) and the Gracian Kingdom (notable ruler is Alexander the Great). The next notable world empire was the Pagan Roman Empire ruled by the Caesars. The seventh head is going to be the Antichrist kingdom and a development from the sixth head.
Some translations render it seven mountains, which does not really change the meaning. The Angel noted that these are physical mountains or hills on which this woman sits. The Angel went further to identify this woman as the City that rules over nations of the earth (Rev.17:18), "And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world." This was given as an explanation, an interpretation, not a parable. We need to look at cities in the world to see which of them fits into this description. According to britannica.com, major cities situated on seven mountains include, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Mexico City, Alaskan Mountains, New York City and Rome.
According to the Wikipedia the City of seven hills refers to Rome, quote, "City of Seven Hills usually refers to Rome . However, there are many cities that claim to be built on seven hills." Other cities built on seven hills include, Seattle, Lynchburg in Virginia, Istanbul, New South Wales, San Francisco, Edinburg, Cincinnati, etc. Of all cities mentioned in Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia, only Rome fulfills the description given in Rev.17:3.
The description given by Britannica is precise, quote, "Rome... is located in the central portion of the Italian peninsula, on the Tiber River about 15 miles (24 km) inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea. The capital of an ancient republic and empire ... whose armies and polity defined the Western world in antiquity and left seemingly indelible imprints thereafter, the spiritual and physical seat of the Roman Catholic Church, and the site of major pinnacles of artistic and intellectual achievement, Rome is the Eternal City, remaining today a political capital, a religious centre, and a memorial to the creative imagination of the past."
According to Matthew Poole's Commentary, "... the generality agree it to be Rome. Amongst the ancients, Tertullian, Jerome, Ambrose, CEcumenius, Augustine, Eusebius: of later writers, Beda, Aquinas, Salmeron, Pererius, Bellarmine, Lapide, Ribera, (all papists), besides a multitude of protestant writers."
Any Bible scholar who dares believe the scriptures and its historical facts would no doubts concur that Mystery, Babylon the Great, that great City identified by the Angel in Rev.17:18 is none else but Rome and Roman Catholic Church.
We have seen from the scriptures that this woman is the fallen church, and the Beast is the last world empire, Revived Roman Empire ruled by the Antichrist. Without controversies, the false church will ride upon the influence and power of the last world empire. It would be a mixture of religion and politics; it would be a protection of the religious figures by the world government. It would look like the Kingdom of God on earth, but would backfire.
Benson Commentary stated, "A woman sitting upon a beast is a lively and significative emblem of a church or city directing and governing an empire. In painting and sculpture, as well as in prophetic language, cities are often represented in the form of women: and Rome herself is exhibited, in ancient coins, as a woman sitting upon a lion."
The most dominant religion at the End-Time is not going to be Islam, but apostate Christianity. Christianity that embraces all faiths, fraternizes with government, advocates liberal ideologies that permit all forms of sin and fleshly indulgence, political in orientation and shows disdain for conservative ideology and only-Jesus-saves gospel.
A delusion is coming to Christendom to cause a massive swing in this direction. Not many Christians and churches will still stand on the old gospel. Beware! This is the religion of the Antichrist and that is what would rule at the end.
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected." Matt.24:42-44.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father..." (John 14:12).