Great Babylon Prostitute
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Great Babylon Prostitute (Revelation 17.4-5)

"The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. The name written on her forehead was a mystery: babylon the great the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth." (Revelation 17.4-5)✞

Seven Hills

Seven Hills of RomeThe great Babylon prostitute is said in Revelation 17.1, "to sit upon many waters." The waters stand for either seas, commerce or a well-provisioned city. In this picture of Rome with its seven hills, John is using many of the ideas suggested by the prophets about ancient Babylon. Babylon is addressed by the prophet Jeremiah 51.13 as, "You who live by many waters and are rich in treasures, your end has come, the time for you to be destroyed." The River Euphrates actually ran through Babylon, and it was also the center of a system of irrigation canals, spreading out in every direction. This was a picture also of Rome's great influence in the corruption of the nations.✞

With Abominable Things

MartyrsLater, John of Patmos in Revelation 17.15 gives the waters a symbolic interpretation in Revelation 17.15, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages." The waters are the many nations and peoples and tongues over whom Rome ruled. In contrast to the prostitute, the Bride of Christ, the Church, is pure and obedient. Throughout history, people have been killed for their faith. Over the last century, many Christians have been killed by oppressive governments. The prostitute's drunkenness shows her pleasure in her evil accomplishments and her feeling of triumph over the church. But every martyr who has fallen before her sword has only served to strengthen the faith of the church. As Church Father Tertullian, (c155-c240 AD) ,a church leader and prominent theologian in North Africa said, "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." (Apologeticus, Chapter 50.)✞

"Great Babylon Prostitute"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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