The Book of Revelation (part 29) Revelation 17: The Destruction of Heathen Religions
March 10, 2021
The Book of Revelation (part 29)
Revelation 17: The Destruction of Heathen Religions
Revelation 16 contains the final judgments that cleanse the earth of all rebellion. These bowl judgments last about a month, and destroy the kingdom of the antiChrist and his system of control.
Part of his control is a religious system that has ruled the earth for thousands of years as a counterfeit of the true worship of Almighty God.
Revelation 17 shows the complete destruction of that false religious system that has been used by Satan to stand in the way of the Kingdom of God and to wreak havoc on the earth for thousands of years.
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Revelation 17:1-2 (NKJV)
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, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
The great harlot is a religious system that has operated throughout history to influence the conduct of nations and their rulers.
Notice Revelation 16:17-19 and the seventh Bowl Judgment:
Revelation 16:17-19 (NKJV)
Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.
The cleansing of the earth in preparation for the 1000 year reign of Christ includes God judging a false religious system that has ruined mankind and the nations of the world for thousands of years.
This religious system has sought to take the place of God in the nations of the earth.
Here in Revelation 17 and 18, God shows the utter destruction of this false religious system.
Let’s examine this system.
This Harlot has lovers.
Harlotry and whoredom is used in the Old Testament to describe the spiritual unfaithfulness of Israel to God.
The great harlot, or great prostitute, sits on many waters. Notice what verse 15 says about many waters:
Revelation 17:15 (NKJV)
Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.”
This false religious system represented as a harlot has affected the nations of the world. It has been worldwide in its influence.
Look at this list of gods through the ages that started with Babylon:
Nimrod rebelled against God and led a group of people away from God and His laws.
Genesis 10:8-10 (NKJV)
Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.” 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
Note about Nimrod from Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible:
Nimrod comes from the Hebrew marad (H4775 ), “to rebel.” It points to some violent and open rebellion against God. Nimrod began to be a mighty one in the earth by bold and daring deeds. His rebellion is associated with the beginning of his kingdom and suggests that his hunting and mighty deeds were related primarily to hunting men by tyranny and force. He lorded it over others, hunting and destroying all who opposed him in his despotic rule over people. This is the meaning understood by Josephus and writers of the Targums. Josephus says that Nimrod persuaded people to ascribe their happiness to him rather than God. He became a great leader, taught people to centralize, and defied God to send another flood.
Notice the Tower of Babel:
Genesis 11:1-4 (NKJV)
Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Notes From Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible about Babel.
(Dake Study Bible Notes) The Tower of Babel
There are no words in the Hebrew for “may reach,” which means there is nothing in the text to suggest that its height was to be as high as heaven. Rather, the top would be dedicated to the heavens, with signs of the Zodiac portrayed as visible objects of worship. Up to this time the whole race not only had one language, but one form of idolatrous worship. When God confounded their language, they began to disagree on religion and other matters, branching off into sects and parties.
ALL heathen religions got their start at Babel:
Nimrod – Semiramis (wife) the Queen of Heaven – Tammuz (son)
Osiris – Isis (wife) – Egypt
Bacchus – Ishtar (wife) – Assyria
Iswara – Isi (wife) – India
Deoius – Cybele (wife) – Asia
Eros – Aphrodite (wife) – Greece
Cupid – Venus (wife) – Rome
Every single heathen religion dates back to Nimrod and Babel. It has polluted the world with its defiance of God and His laws.
Its judgment is sure.
Revelation 18:3 (NKJV)
For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, 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.
The rulers of nations have “fornicated” with her, which shows that they used her and her false religion for political gain.
Business has used her influence to make money.
Notice what Jeremiah said about Babylon – referring to this lady of the night – false religion that has corrupted the entire earth:
Jeremiah 51:7 (NKJV)
Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand, That made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; Therefore the nations are deranged.
The Harlot’s companions or accomplices
Revelation 17:3 (NKJV)
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
John was taken away in the spirit and was able to see both the past and the future.
This false religion harlot has an accomplice: Kingdoms of the world
The scarlet-colored beast refers to the kingdoms that aid the harlot.
The woman rides the beast. Both have a mutual benefit.
The beast helps the woman, and the woman helps the beast.
The beast has 7 heads and 10 horns. The heads refer to kingdoms that have ruled over God’s chosen people Israel over the centuries of time.
The previous heads or kingdom are: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and Islam (defeated the Byzantine Roman Empire).
There have been mutual benefits for both the harlot and the beasts. There has been a cooperation between the false religions and the kingdoms that have ruled over Israel and hindered the kingdom of God.
This same beast is mentioned in Revelation 13:1.
Revelation 13:1 (NKJV)
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
Revelation 17:4 (NKJV)
The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.
This “woman” is a professional prostitute and dresses the part. Purple and scarlet were expensive to make from dyes in Bible days.
Gold, jewels and pearls are to make her attractive to her “clients,” the nations of the world.
The golden cup is full of the works of the religions of the world that are an abomination to God.
Those who receive the wine offered by this prostitute will end up in hell. People often would rather have a form of godliness through organized religion rather than the power of the gospel that demands great self-sacrifice. They would rather do something to earn God’s favor rather than humble themselves to God through submission to Jesus.
Revelation 17:5 (NKJV)
And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
The mystery is that Babylon the great is the fountainhead or beginning or mother of all the heathen religions on earth.
This woman has only one golden cup in her hand. There is only one source for the heathen religions of the world. Every religion that excludes Jesus as the only answer to the sin of man has drunk from her cup!
So, the destruction of Babylon will not only be the destruction of a real city called Babylon, but of the false religions of the world!
Revelation 17:6 (NKJV)
I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
False religion is the source of the persecution of the people of God throughout all ages. This woman, signifying false religion, gets intoxicated with the blood of martyrs throughout the ages. She is finally judged.
The world has been amazed by this false religion goddess. It has entertained her and given her place.
Revelation 17:7 (NKJV)
But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.”
Governments of the nations of the world throughout history have allowed this harlot, false religions, to give them respectability and power.
The harlot of false religions has teamed up with governments and economic gain to seduce the people of the world for thousands of years now.
There is a Babylonian system at work worldwide right now that is seeking to unify the nations of the world under an umbrella of economic, religious, and governmental laws so that all people from all nations are equal.
It is coming under the guise of the Great Reset, and under the guise of helping everyone be safe from the virus!
If we do not keep this system out of America with those in our Representative Government keeping us away from it, then America too will fall for the ploy of the harlot of the ages. Her goal is to unite the world, just like it was the goal in Babel at the origin of rebellion against God.
Revelation 17:8-9 (NKJV)
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 9 Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.
The beast here is the empire of the antiChrist, which is stated that it was, it fades away, then comes back.
The seven heads are seven mountains or kingdoms that have ruled over God’s people Israel since Israel’s beginning.
The seven kingdoms or empires are:
- Byzantine Roman Empire conquered by Islam in 1453
Revelation 17:10 (NKJV)
There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.
The five kings from Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece had come and gone. The rulers of Rome were still alive during John’s writing of Revelation.
The one that “has not yet come” is the Islamic Empire, that overtook the Byzantine Roman Empire in 1453 by conquering Constantinople and renaming the city Istanbul.
The Islamic Empire ruled the Middle East and Israel from 1453 to just after World War 1. It basically lasted from 1453 to around 1923, which is 470 years. This is “a short time.”
Revelation 17:11 (NKJV)
The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
The power that controlled these seven previous empires or kingdoms will resurrect again just before Jesus returns, and will be the final kingdom or empire to rule the Middle East and Israel before Jesus returns. This will be the empire from which will come the antiChrist.
Keep your eyes on Turkey!
Revelation 17:12-13 (NKJV)
The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
Islam is rising to power again in the Middle East, and ten nations will join the kingdom of the antiChrist to fight Israel.
The antiChrist will assent to some kind of a seven-year treaty with Israel and will lead a league of ten other nations into a supposed peace coalition with Israel.
These nations will assent to the antiChrist’s wishes and leadership.
Revelation 17:14 (NKJV)
These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.
The antiChrist will turn against Israel halfway into the seven-year period and will begin to persecute both Christians and Jews. Jesus called this “great tribulation.”
Matthew 24:21-22 (NKJV)
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
Jesus, along with the raptured saints that will return to earth with Him, will destroy the antiChrist, and totally defeat the false religious, one-world system with which the antiChrist is seeking to rule the world.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 (NKJV)
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
Revelation 17:15-16 (NKJV)
Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.”
Shiite and Sunni Islam dislike each other. These two different sects of Islam came from two different descendants of Mohammad, the founder of the religion of Islam.
The milder sect, the Shiites, have embraced the Western nations and are resented by the Sunnis. They will turn on each other at the return of Jesus.
Revelation 17:17 (NKJV)
For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
Revelation 17:18 (NKJV)
And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.
(Dake Study Bible Notes) The Tower of Babel
There are no words in the Hebrew for “may reach,” which means there is nothing in the text to suggest that its height was to be as high as heaven. Rather, the top would be dedicated to the heavens, with signs of the Zodiac portrayed as visible objects of worship. Up to this time the whole race not only had one language, but one form of idolatrous worship. When God confounded their language they began to disagree on religion and other matters, branching off into sects and parties.
A Babylonian description of the tower of Babel discovered in 1876 indicates there was a grand court 900’ X 1,156’, and a smaller one 450’ X 1,056’, inside of which was a platform with walls around it, having four gates on each side. In the center stood the tower with many small shrines at the base, dedicated to various gods. The tower itself was 300’ high with decreased width in stages from the lowest to the highest point. Each stage was square. The first stage measured 300’ square and 110’ high; the second measured 260’ square and 60’ high; the third 200’ square and 20’ high; the fourth 170’ square and 20’ high; the fifth 140’ square and 20’ high; the sixth 110’ square and 20’ high; and the seventh 80’ long, 60’ wide, and 50’ high. On the top platform measuring 60’ X 80’ was a sanctuary for the god Bel-Merodach.
The builders evidently finished the tower, because the work was stopped on the city only (Gen. 11:4,8). One ancient Babylonian tablet reads, “The building of this illustrious tower offended the gods. In a night they threw down what they had built. They scattered them abroad and made strange their speech. Their progress was impeded. They wept hot tears for Babylon.”
The builders were supposed to have been giants who waged war with the gods. Nimrod himself is called “a mighty one” and the giants in Gen. 6:4 are called “mighty men.” These came from the fallen angels and daughters of men after the flood (Gen. 6:4, notes).
(Dake Study Bible Notes) Nimrod
Nimrod comes from the Hebrew marad (H4775 ), “to rebel.” It points to some violent and open rebellion against God. Nimrod began to be a mighty one in the earth by bold and daring deeds. His rebellion is associated with the beginning of his kingdom and suggests that his hunting and mighty deeds were related primarily to hunting men by tyranny and force. He lorded it over others, hunting and destroying all who opposed him in his despotic rule over people. This is the meaning understood by Josephus and writers of the Targums. Josephus says that Nimrod persuaded people to ascribe their happiness to him rather than God. He became a great leader, taught people to centralize, and defied God to send another flood. It is said that Nimrod hunted down wild beasts also, which were killing many people, and taught people to build walls around cities for protection against them. Josephus: THE ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWSBOOK 1Chapter 4Section 2
The term “mighty hunter” (Gen. 10:9) could refer to a hunter of animals or of men to enslave them. Nimrod was a hunter of both human beings and animals. The Hebrew gibbowr (H1368 ), translated “mighty” here, means a powerful warrior, tyrant, champion, giant, or strong one. It is used of giants who were renowned for wickedness (Gen. 6:4), and of other wicked men (Ps. 52:1-3; 120:4; Isa. 5:22; Jer. 9:23). It could refer to Nimrod as a tyrant and oppressive despot. He established the first kingdom and the first universal false religion opposing God since the flood of Noah (see pt. 7, Mystery Babylon). This was done “before the Lord,” that is, openly: in the presence of God with all defiance. That is why God, when He came down to see Babel, took action to counteract the rebellion of Nimrod (Gen. 11:1-9).
(Dake Study Bible Notes) [beginning of his kingdom was Babel] This is the beginning of empires among human beings–not necessarily divine institutions guaranteeing law and order, as ordained by God to Noah (Gen. 9), but the achievements of lawless tyrants who taught people to revolt against divine laws and true authority. The story of 11 concerns events before this portion of 10 where eight great cities constitute the first two empires, Babylon and Assyria (Gen. 10:10-12).