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it is recommended that you be comfortable with the bible version being used.
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The Bible is chock full of prophecy.
This is what sets it apart from ALL other writings. The Quran, no prophecy, just drivel. Examine the writings of any other religion, no prophecy, just eloquent words, and sometimes they are not even that eloquent.
What we must realise however, is that prophecy can be directly told straight out just as it is, and sometimes it is symbolic, for various reasons.
In the case of The Book of Revelation, John was in exile on the Isle of Patmos. He was was writing about prophetic events that affected the Roman Empire, who were his captors. His writings needed to pass inspection by his jailers.
Prophecy is either given in literal direct language, or it is is given symbolically, never both.
In the case of Revelation 17, it starts out refering to " The Great Whore that sits on many waters "
Jesus walked on water, but I do not know of anyone who can " sit ON many waters ". A little further down it refers to a " scarlet coloured beast,----having seven heads and ten horns ". And a bit further down still, it refers to kings making " war with the Lamb ". This certainly sounds like symbolic prophecy to me. If you know of any occasions where there was a whore dressed in purple and scarlet watching a seven headed beast sporting ten horns, allowing those horns to make war with a Lamb, then please let me know.

We will work our way through the chapter and break down the prophecy piece by piece.

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials,
These are the same seven angels that John saw deliver the seven last plagues. Remembering that this is a vision, this implies that this event being described here is right down at the end of time.
and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither;  John is in vision seeing these angels describing events to him.
I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:  There is a lot packed into this small piece of verse.
Firstly, " I will shew thee " John is being shown, in picture form, the following:-
" the judgment of " He is being shown what will be dealt out to someone or something.
" the great whore " Not a title that would be endearing, coming from the God that created the universe. Not only has God (through the angel) described this entity as a whore, but a GREAT whore.
A woman is symbolic for a church that claims to follow Him. A virgin is a good church, and a harlot or whore describes an apostate church.
Pure Woman Jeremiah 6:2;
2 Corinthians 11:2;
Ephesians 5:23-27
Corrupt Woman Ezekiel 16:15-28; {      Excerpts Only       }
             29-38 {Read Ezekiel 16:15-58}
Ezekiel 23:2-9;
Hosea 3:1-5;

This being a "GREAT" whore, rules out any little tin pot church or cult. This is a powerful church, and it "sitteth upon" or controls many people and nations. " that sitteth upon many waters: Water is symbolic of masses of people. Revelation 17:15
We use similar terms still, like A sea of faces, or The people flooded in.
So, broken down, this piece of text means:-
The powerful, corrupt church, that rules over masses of people, is finally going to be judged.

With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication,
" committed fornication " The rulers of this world have enjoyed corrupt dealings with this church.
Just like wicked men are led by a prostitute into sin, these rulers have allowed themselves to be drawn and guided into ungodly practices by this evil church.
and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.  And they are not alone. The rest of the inhabitants of Earth have followed along, and been led down the same corrupt path taken by the leaders.

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness:
This is interesting. John, in vision, is taken to " the wilderness ". Remember, this vision is using symbology. This is not necessarily a physical wilderness that is referred to. John is in the time of 96AD when he is receiving this vision. This time period was rich in knowledge of Jesus and what had happened, and what He expected of His church. However, as we will see, this vision is about a time period much later in history, future to him.
John was taken to a time in history when knowledge of the scriptures was suppressed, when there was a wilderness of knowledge. This fact becomes very important in understanding the more complicated portions of this prophecy.
and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast,  As we have seen, the woman represents a church, and she was referred to as " a great whore ", so she represents a corrupt church, a very powerful one.
But she is " sitting on " a beast. So, what does this beast represent?
A Beast is a Kingdom or secular power. Daniel 7:17,23
Also, this beast is scarlet coloured. Scarlet represents sin. Isaiah 1:18
Scarlet also represents the blood of Jesus, but, of course, that was sacrificed to cover our sins.
full of names of blasphemy,  This woman/beast has names, that are blasphemous, all over it. The Bible gives two definitions of blasphemy:-
Someone claiming to be able to forgive sins. Matthew 9:2-3
Someone claiming to be God. John 10:33
Of course, on these occasions, it was not actually blasphemy, because the One making the claim was Jesus, who is entitled to be called God. However, anyone else making this claim would be definitely guilty of blasphemy.
having seven heads and ten horns.  A head signifies major power, whether it be secular or religious. Daniel 7:6
A horn represents a particular king or branch of power. Daniel 7:24 It even gives us that explanation in verse 12.

Lets take stock of what we have found so far. The texts we have decoded so far can be read thus:-
One of the angels that John saw delivering the seven last plagues said he was going to tell him, from the perspective of the dark ages, about the judgement that is to befall the powerful corrupt church that has controlled the major powers and the people of the world for a very long time.
Sound about right? It is exactly right!

OK, Let's continue

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour,
Whoa! That narrows the field right down!
How many powerful corrupt churches do YOU know of that wear purple and scarlet as their colours?

The ONLY one that I know of that fits this description is the Roman Catholic Papacy,
and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls,  The catholic church is the richest organisation in the world. Their wealth is astounding, but never spend any money on the poor. The pope is always criticising the world for not giving to the poor, but NEVER digs into the catholic coffers. Here are some of the embelished "saints". Makes me sick.
having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:  Here is yet another clue that fits the catholic church. God refers to this " golden cup " as being full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. This is referring to the "mass".

There is just so much wrong with the mass, it would take a whole lecture to divulge.
I will list a few:-
Wine that contains alcohol. A fermented wine to represent the pure blood of Jesus?
The wine is supposed to represent the blood of Jesus SACRIFICED EVERY TIME THERE IS A MASS? The Bible says Jesus was sacrificed ONCE for all. This is the very reason that Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land. He struck the rock TWICE in temper, when he was only supposed to strike the rock (symbolic of Jesus) once. Jesus was sacrificed ONCE on the cross, not every time there is a catholic mass.
If you look at the implements being used in a catholic mass and watch how they are used, you will see that this is based on sun-worship, not on the death of Jesus.

And upon her forehead was a name written,
There is a lot packed into this short statement, so I shall break it right down in pieces.
forehead is symbolic of what is in a person's mindset, or what they are thinking. Ezekiel 3:8,9
is seen by God as more important than just a handle. This is why He changed the name of Abram to Abraham Genesis 17:5, Jacob to Israel Genesis 32:28, Simon to Peter etc. God assigns names to represent character. Here He is referring to the CHARACTER of the whore, not the name by which it is known.
MYSTERY,  " MYSTERY, ". As the next part of the verse shows, this religion is compared to Babylon, which is where sun worship started. The catholic church is steeped in superstition, which is derived from paganism. Worry beads, praying to and for the dead, making signs and gestures to keep evil away, praying to "the queen of heaven", repetitive mumblings, sun halos around pictures of "saints", are all passed down from the superstitious (MYSTERY) religion of Babylon.
BABYLON THE GREAT,  This church has the character and mindset passed down from Babylon, picking up enhancements introduced by Persia, Greece, and Rome. This church is a modern day powerful counterpart of the Babylonian sun worship.
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS  This woman (church) has daughters (churches), but these daughters are HARLOTS, so they are also corrupt like the mother. This is a reference to the corrupt "protestant" churches that came out of the mother. These are also the churches that will form "the image to the beast" referred to in Revelation 13. Just as the daughters look like the mother, the "image" will be like the original. The original "sitteth upon many waters" controlling the kings and people of Europe, and the "image" will also "sit upon many waters", controlling, firstly the people of the USA, and then the people of the whole world.
AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.  This church has been the originator of many practices and priviledges that God abhors.
Kings and queens of Europe has sold their souls to the papacy, doing it's bidding for blessings. It has promulgated many evil practices in the church:-
Indulgences There is only One who can forgive sin, that is God. Any claim by ANYONE that they have the power to forgive or remit sin is against the Bible, whether for free or for profit, is false and the Bible even says that it is blasphemy to make such a claim. Matthew 9:2-3
idolatry The catholic church is full of idolatry.
Kissing the toes of statues. Exodus 20:4,5
Mary is treated as a mediator.
There is only ONE mediator, JESUS. 1  Timothy 2:5   John 14:6
christmas trees and decorations Jeremiah 10:2-5
Easter with fertility symbols such as rabbits and eggs
hot cross buns Jeremiah 7:18
dawn service Ezekiel 8:15,16
eternal life in hell The Bible says that the wicked will be TOTALLY burned up, gone, finish, nothing left. Malachi 4:1 It also says that the dead know nothing. Ecclesiastes 9:5
praying to Mary, queen of heaven Jeremiah 44:17-19
praying to dead "saints" Deuteronomy 18:10-12
infant baptism Jesus, our example, was baptised by John the Baptist at the age of 30.
When the eunuch asked Philip if he could be baptised, his answer was " If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. ". An infant can not believe with all its heart. Acts 8:36,37
Repetitive prayer Repetitive prayer or chanting is a pagan practice. Prayer is meant to be a conversation with God, conveying your thought and requests and adorations. It is not supposed to be some mindless repeating of a meaningless prayer. Matthew 6:7
Rosary Beads This comes under the same heading as "Repetitive Prayer". For those who need the rosary explained, here is set of instructions.
Begin by praying the Sign of the Cross. A prayer that is read without thinking.
1. On the crucifix pray the Apostles Creed. Another prayer read or recited without thought
The rosary begins with 1 Our Father and 3 Hail Marys for an increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and love: REALLY??!!
2. On the first rosary bead, pray the Our Father. Yet ANOTHER recited prayer.
3. On each of the next three beads pray the Hail Mary.
After the last Hail Mary, pray the Glory Be & the Fatima prayer.
More recited prayers.
Next you will pray 1 Our Father and 10 Hail Marys for each rosary mystery.
You can find the 5 rosary mysteries here.
MYSTERY!!???    MYSTERY!!??? What did the name on the whore say???
How can this be denied?
4. Announce the first mystery, and then pray the Our Father.
(Ex: “The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation.”)
More mysteries and vain prayer.
5. Pray 10 Hail Marys. After the last Hail Mary pray the Glory Be and the Fatima prayer. Just more repetitive prayers.
6. Announce the second mystery, and then pray the Our Father.
(Ex: “The second Joyful Mystery is the Visitation.”)
Mores mysteries and repetitive prayers.
7. Pray 10 Hail Marys.
After the last Hail Mary pray the Glory Be and the Fatima prayer.
More hand waving, head bobbing, and repetitive prayer.
8. Continue to pray 1 Our Father and 10 Hail Marys three more times, announcing the third, fourth, and fifth mysteries before each decade.
After the last Hail Mary pray the Glory Be and the Fatima prayer.
More mysteries than an Agatha Christie collection.
Lastly, pray the Hail Holy Queen and the concluding prayer. What was Jeremiah saying about the evils of praying to the "Queen of heaven"
Sunday Worship This is a huge topic, but for more information, see the web page Mark of the Beast which has a whole section on how the catholic church changed the day of worship from the seventh day of the week set aside by God Himself at creation, to the first day of the week, the day of the sun god.

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus:
This wicked church has tortured, murdered, slaughtered millions of true Christians in it's thirst for power. It has spilled so much innocent blood, it is no wonder that Jesus is going to destroy it when He returns.
and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.  The word here actually means amazement, because John was shown the trail of evil and destruction left by this church. It had to be seen to be believed.

And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel?
No need to wonder, the angel is going to explain it.
I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.  The whole thing is to be explained to John.

Before we go any further, we need to remember where John is standing in regards to time.
He is standing in the wilderness of knowledge, when the Bible was suppressed and knowledge of the scriptures was at an all time low. I believe he was standing in the time just after the French Revolution when the Bible and other religious books were tossed into the street and burned. They declared their allegience to the " God of Reason " meaning they followed their own conscience instead of the word of God. This is a very important aid in understanding " that was, that is, that is not ".

The beast that thou sawest was,
" was " meaning it WAS, past tense, prior to where John is standing. This makes sense because John is standing at the point after the French Revolution, the papacy having it's power removed in 1798 by General Berthier at the command of Napoleon.
and is not;  In the period where John is standing, the papacy has had it's claws cut, so " it is not ".
and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit,  The actual word used in the original Greek is " abyss " which is the same word used to describe " without form and void " of creation. I take it that it's meaning here is the " wilderness " that John is standing in. Even though this beast had it's wings clipped by Napoleon, it will go on and return to power.
Revelation 13 refers to this same beast and says that the " deadly wound will be healed " meaning it will return to power.
and go into perdition:  The dictionary defines perdition as utter destruction, or eternal damnation. Both these are true of this beast. I think this is saying that the papacy is going to fill it's cup of iniquity to overflowing. This beast will eventually be tossed into the lake of fire. Revelation 19:20
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.  All the world, with the exception of those that hold true to Jesus and His teachings will be deceived and led to their eternal death by this church.
Notice it says "whose names are NOT written in the book of life".
This book contains the names of ALL those who are saved, right "from the foundation of the world" till the end of the world.
Their names are not there because they followed the beast (papacy) instead of God the Creator.

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
The Bible is not only choc full of prophecies, but some of these fit more than one meaning, each of which is true. An example of this is Matthew chapter 24. It describes the signs for the end of Jerusalem, but also the end of the world. The seven heads on this beast represent not only seven major powers that affect God's church through time, but also " seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth . The woman as we have seen, is the papacy in it's religious garb, and where does it preside? Yep, you got it, on " The Seven Hills of Rome ". I just love the Bible.

And there are seven kings:
Ok! Hang on for the ride! It looks complicated, but it is simple if you remember where John is standing. He is standing in the wilderness of knowledge just after the French Revolution.
These seven kings are the ones that have influenced history in regards to God's church.
five are fallen,  Five are fallen. The tense here is ARE/HAVE fallen, past tense. These are powers that have been and gone.
They are:-Babylon
Medo Persia
Pagan Rome
Papal Rome
and one is,  one power is ruling at the time that John is standing in. There is a whole study on " The Beast from the Bottomless Pit " which refers to Atheistic communism as promoted by France. Make no mistake, this power has done much damage to God's church. Out of this came many antiChristian values, not the least of which is evolution, denying the Creator.
and the other is not yet come;  This power is to arrive after the period in which John is standing. That power has been recognised by many theologians as the United States of America. Many were looking for it to arrive at the end of the 1260 year prophecy. This prophecy declared that the papacy would receive " a deadly wound " after the 1260 year ended in 1798. Revelation 13 also pointed to this second beast, the one from the earth, to arrive as the first beast from the sea was going into captivity in 1798. The USA was declared an international entity in 1796, right on time. So, " the other is not yet come " refers to the USA.
and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.  The USA has been a power for just over 200 years, that is a " short space " in the eyes of God.

And the beast that was,
The eighth power is now being described. This power was there BEFORE the point that John is standing. That rules out Athiestic Communism and the USA, they appeared AFTER that point in time.
and is not,  again, rules out Athiestic Communism, because it IS , present tense where John is standing.
even he is the eighth, and is of the seven,  So, a beast OTHER than the USA or Communism (because they have been ruled out) is going to be the eighth beast. Ok, it is one of the seven. Let's look at them again.
Babylon    No longer exists, and God says it NEVER would again.
Medo PersiaNo longer exists.
GreeceIt exists, but can you see it ever being powerful again?
Pagan RomeThe nation of Rome has gone. No, Italy is not Rome.
Papal RomePapal Rome is hungry for power and is persuing it.
     The Bible also refers to the "BEAST" as a religious power.
Atheistic CommunismRuled out. Did not appear until the point in time in which John is standing.
The USARuled out. Did not appear until after the point in time in which John is standing.
The eighth beast can be none other than Papal Rome. Revelation 13 also says that Papal Rome will have it's deadly wound healed. See the commentary on The Sea Beast of Revelation 13
and goeth into perdition.  As we have already discussed, in the period that the papacy has it's final slice of power, it will fill it's cup of iniquity to overflowing.

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings,
The ten horns are referring to ten kings that have some major bearing on the history of God's church.
which have received no kingdom as yet;  Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! " no kingdom as yet ". As at the time just after the French Revolution, these kings did not exist.
This means that they appear at some point after that time.
but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  They are going to receive power for " one hour WITH the beast ". I am not sure whether this "one hour" is literal or symbolic, but because Revalation 17 is symbolic, then I assume it is also, meaning about 2 weeks.
A point to note is that their power is WITH the beast, and the papacy has not yet received it's power back, so these ten kings still do not exist. Not as KINGS anyway.
It is widely known that the earth is going to be divided up into ten REGIONS under the New World Order, and I believe that these ten kings are the heads of these REGIONS. Also, the use of the term " no kingdom as yet " implies that the kingdom does not yet exist, and neither do these ten regions.

These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
These are obviously very powerful men and will use their power to bring the papacy back to power and Heal the deadly wound .

These shall make war with the Lamb,
This war will not be direct with Jesus (The Lamb), but with His people. This will be the point at which the Mark of the Beast will come into play, and the "war" that is referred to here is The Battle of Armageddon which is not a battle as we would see it, but a battle for the souls still alive just before the return of Jesus.
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.  The good news is:- Jesus will win.

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
This confirms what I was saying at the beginning of this study. These "waters" are the peoples of the earth.

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore,
All is not going to plan for the papacy. These ten kings will recognise that they were swindled, and plan retribution.
and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.  I am unable to fully understand this verse, but I recognise that it is not good news for the papacy. I think that this is where it will come to a sticky end.

For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will,
The Bible says that it is God who sets up kings and takes them down again. Daniel 2:21 God is going to oversee the appointment of these ten kings. They will not necessarily be Christians, or even good men, in fact they are probably evil also. But God will steer their interests to fulfill His plans.
and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.  They are going to fast track the papacy to world power once more to expedite God's plans to end this world with all it's suffering and pain.

And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
This is none other than Vatican City leading the evil kings of the earth to destruction.

It helps to reinforce what you have learned by taking the optional quiz,
or simply return to the menu and do the next study.