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Last year we read through the New Testament. This year (2009) we want to look at passages of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. Feel free to comment or ask questions. Your comments will be delayed though in posting due to spam control.
Re 17:1 ¶ 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. (KJV)
Who is this Babylon? I have said many times if you look at the description the Roman Catholic church is the one that best fits it. From the colors represented to the wealth it hoards to the fact that presently and historically it is the church with most world wide influence over countries since it is the national religion of many nations. This is not my opinion alone. Let's look at what some preachers and others have said :
Adam Clarke in commenting on verse 3 says : So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness] This wilderness into which the apostle was carried is the desolate state of the true Church of Christ, in one of the wings of the once mighty Roman empire. It was a truly awful sight, a terrible desert, a waste howling wilderness; for when he came hither he:-
Saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.] No doubt can now be entertained that this woman is the Latin Church, for she sits upon the beast with seven heads and ten horns, which has been already proved to be the Latin empire, because this empire alone contains the number 666. See ACC for Re 13:18. This is a representation of the Latin Church in her highest state of antichristian prosperity, for she SITS UPON the scarlet coloured beast, a striking emblem of her complete domination over the secular Latin empire. The state of the Latin Church from the commencement of the fourteenth century to the time of the Reformation may be considered that which corresponds to this prophetic description in the most literal and extensive sense of the words; for during this period she was at her highest pitch of worldly grandeur and temporal authority. The beast is full of names of blasphemy; and it is well known that the nations, in support of the Latin or Romish Church, have abounded in blasphemous appellations, and have not blushed to attribute to themselves and to their Church the most sacred titles, not only blaspheming by the improper use of sacred names, but even by applying to its bishop those names which alone belong to God; for God hath expressly declared that he will not give his glory to another, neither his praise to graven images.
Albert Barnes on verse 2 : Verse 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication. Spiritual adultery. The meaning is, that Papal Rome, unfaithful to God, and idolatrous and corrupt, had seduced the rulers of the earth, and led them into the same kind of unfaithfulness, idolatry, and corruption. Compare Jer 3:8-9; 5:7; 13:27; 23:14; Eze 16:32; 23:37; Ho 2:2 Ho 4:2. How true this is in history need not be stated. All the princes and kings of Europe in the dark ages and for many centuries were, and not a few of them are now, entirely under the influence of Papal Rome.
Spurgeon on verse 5 : These words are like a photograph of the Papacy, no portrait could be more accurate.
Matthew Henry on chapter 7 (at least a portion of what he said) :1-6 Rome clearly appears to be meant in this chapter. Pagan Rome subdued and ruled with military power, not by art and flatteries. She left the nations in general to their ancient usages and worship. But it is well known that by crafty and politic management, with all kinds of deceit of unrighteousness, papal Rome has obtained and kept her rule over kings and nations. Here were allurements of worldly honour and riches, pomp and pride, suited to sensual and worldly minds. Prosperity, pomp, and splendour, feed the pride and lusts of the human heart, but are no security against the Divine vengeance. The golden cup represents the allurements, and delusions, by which this mystical Babylon has obtained and kept her influence, and seduced others to join her abominations. She is named, from her infamous practices, a mother of harlots; training them up to idolatry and all sorts of wickedness. She filled herself with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus.
I am not saying I agree with everything everyone of these men and others say, but I am saying it is fairly plain to see that there are many who believe that this is talking about the Roman Catholic church.