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"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 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." Rev 17:5,6

The important question to be answered is that of the identity of Babylon. We get a good idea of what Babylon really is by noting that she is a whore.

"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." Rev 17:2

Now the question is, what does a woman, especially an adulteress represent in Scripture ? We are very clearly told that a woman represents a church. A pure woman represents God's church and a whore represents an apostate church. In the OT the people of Israel were often collectively referred to as a woman. Sometimes it is as God's unfaithful wife. Hos 2:19-20, Eze 23 Isa 54:1-8 etc. At other times Israel is as a young pure woman (Eze 16:8:14) These two similar yet different metaphors are used to describe Israel in her apostate and pure states respectively. This metaphor is carried over into the New Testament, the church was often referred to as God's bride (2 Cor 11:2, Eph 5:21-23, Parable 10 virgins etc) So the metaphor of a woman is used consistently to describe a church.

In Revelation 12 we find a pure woman, representing God's pure church into which Jesus Christ is born, and which is then persecuted for a period of 1260 days (or years, Num 14:34, Eze 4:6 ) by a certain red dragon which we shall investigate a little further on.

In Revelation 17 we find however a harlot, an adulterous woman who persecutes God's saints. This can only refer to an apostate church, who appears to be God's church, but is in adultery with the things of the world. What does spiritual fornication/adultery represent. Adultery is an illicit relationship between two parties. Spiritual adultery is the mixing or the joining of the sacred and the profane, the holy and the worldly, the church and state.

“Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned my holy things they have put no difference between the holy and the profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profane among them." Eze 22:26

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4

We also note what this harlot is sitting on.

"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." Rev 17:3

How very interesting! Here we have this RED beast with 7 heads and 10 horns. Did we note in Rev 12 that it is a RED dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns that persecutes the pure woman (God's faithful church) for 1260 years? Beasts are always used in Scripture to represent the governments of the world—the state. Guess what! It is the apostate woman that rides on this very same dragon; in fact it is she that is directing the action because it is she that gets drunk with the blood of the saints being who are persecuted by the beast she sits on. What does the beast represent ?

Apart from effectively being the same beast that we find in Daniel 8, Rev 17 gives us some clues. The 7 heads are 7 mountains (v 9) on which the apostate church sits, and the woman is also a great city which would rule over the earth for a long time (v 18). How many cities of any long term consequence do you know are famous for being situated on 7 hills ? We also find this same 7 headed 10 horned blasphemous beast in Rev 13, to make matters more interesting.

We also note that Babylon has many daughters. What would this be but other churches which have arisen from her that have the same persecuting characteristics and doctrines as their mother.

Now I should say something about the pure church outlined in Rev 12. The beast (in conjunction with Babylon) is rather unhappy about the pure woman so...

"the Dragon was wrath with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus." Rev 12:17

This is fascinating because in Rev 14 we find an interesting message that is given to the world by some angels :

"And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Rev 14:8

So the whole world is going to partake of the spirit which the harlot Babylon has to offer and of course we are told in Rev 13 that "all the world wondered after the beast", and they worshipped the beast. We see the whole world going after and coming together in fellowship for a common worship. Interesting, isn't it. Any way, lets not get side-tracked.

"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand…." Rev 14:9

Oh, yes, we all want to steer clear of that don't we!, but in the same chapter our attention is then brought back after looking at Babylon, to the pure woman, because we are told again:

"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev 14:12

Why then does the Scripture present this contention between the apostate woman and God's true bride ? In Rev 18 we find another angel with another important message regarding Babylon. and he says,

"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies." Rev 18:2,3

So we find that all nations have followed after this woman and have merged the things of God with the things of the world, in an unholy matrimony, and worldliness and materialism has flooded in together with all sorts of uncleanliness and sin (such as idolatry). A big union, all in a common worship. What does God say ?

"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev 18:4

Come out, of her, don't participate in that unholy system which claims to be God's spouse, and appears to be of Christ, while simultaneously enjoying the pleasures of worldliness and sin.

"Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." 2 Cor 5:17

Yes you are right, there is a true visible church, and its so visible that its easy to see, in fact the Scripture tells us what it looks like, to make sure we don't end up on the side of Ms B. drunk with the blood of the saints.

"The Dragon was wrath with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus." Rev 12:17

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