HARLOT RIDING THE WILD BEAST
do not have words to describe how frightful this picture is. The
harlot is the false church, as we have said. And the wild Beast
is the restored Roman Empire, which will be brought back
together by Antichrist with the assistance, I believe, of the
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:
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. 17:1–2].
As usual, I’ll give my own literal
translation of the Greek text throughout the chapter.
And there came one of the (7) seven angels
that had the (7) seven bowls, and spake with me, saying, Come
hither, I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot that
sitteth upon many waters; with whom the kings of the earth
committed fornication, and they that dwell in the earth were
made drunken with the wine of her fornication.
“The great harlot” is that part of the church
that will remain after the true church has been raptured. It
will be composed of those who have never trusted Christ as
Savior; they have never been in the body of Christ. This is the
group that enters the Great Tribulation.
We are told certain things about her. She
“sitteth upon many waters.” According to verse 15, which we will
see later, the “waters” refer to great masses of people and
nations. The harlot will pretty much control the world.
“The kings of the earth committed
fornication,” show that there is an unholy alliance between
church and state during that period.
My friend, the movement in our day of
bringing all religions together certainly falls into the pattern
of this false church which is to appear—and Scripture doesn’t
even dignify it by the name of church, although I am sure it
will call itself that. I believe that this movement is more
dangerous to our own country than is any foreign political
system and that it is more dangerous than the so-called new
morality. I believe that it is more dangerous than any other
movement. It will become a powerbloc that will dazzle the
unthinking mob. It will bring the world under the influence of
the wild Beast out of the sea and the wild Beast out of the
earth. They will use the apostate church to control the masses,
and the church will yield to this arrangement for political
preferment and power.
You see, when you reject the genuine, you are
wide open for the spurious. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that
when someone rejects the love of the truth that they might be
saved, they will believe the big lie.
“The judgment of the great harlot.” God’s cup
of judgment will be pressed to the lips of the harlot. And who
is going to destroy her? The Beast himself will destroy her. You
see, the Antichrist and the False Prophet will not want her
around after she has served their purpose. Antichrist wants to
be worshiped, and he doesn’t want any competition from the
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].
And he carried me away in the Spirit into a
wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored
wild beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and
“He carried me away in the Spirit into a
wilderness.” Remember that John was on the Isle of Patmos in the
Spirit for the vision of the glorified Christ and His message to
the churches. At that time John was caught up to heaven. From
then on the scene shifts from heaven to earth. However, here we
are told again that John was in the Spirit. Did he need a fresh
anointing of the Spirit for this vision? I rather think so. Is
the wilderness literal? Remember that this chapter is a vision
where symbols are used. Around both Babylon and Rome there is a
literal wilderness. This is a matter of recorded history.
Babylon was to become a wilderness, and in this connection read
Isaiah 47–48 and Jeremiah 50–51. Outside of Rome the wilderness
is called the
I believe that the wilderness mentioned in this verse is literal
but also that it is a sign of the chaotic condition of the world
brought about by the religious confusion of Babylon.
John saw a woman “sitting upon a
scarlet-colored wild beast.” This is a frightful and frightening
scene. The wild Beast has previously been identified as the
Antichrist ruling over the restored Roman Empire. The woman is
identified for us in verse 18: “And the woman which thou sawest
is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”
The woman is a city, and the city is Rome, the religious capital
of the world. She is religious Rome, which at that time will
have inherited all the religions of the world. You see, all true
believers will have left the world scene at the time of the
Rapture. This includes all
true believers, and I have discovered that there are many true
believers in Romanism and in liberal churches and even in some
very weird religious systems. All genuine believers, regardless
of where they have gone to church, will be raptured. This will
leave a church on earth that is totally apostate. Rather than
being “the bride of Christ,” God calls it a harlot.
The city is further identified in verse 9:
“And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are
seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.” Rome was the city
set on seven hills and was known as such to both pagan and
Christian writers. Horace wrote, “The gods, who look with favour
on the seven hills….” Ovid added, “But Rome looks around on the
whole globe from her seven mountains, the seat of empire and
abode of the gods.” Augustine wrote, “Babylon is a former Rome,
and Rome is a later Babylon.” In these verses the city of Rome
is assuredly in view. The woman, the harlot represents a
religious system that will be revealed during the first part of
the Great Tribulation Period after the true church has been
removed from the earth. And this religious system, as the symbol
given to us indicates, dominates and rides the Roman Empire at
the beginning of the Great Tribulation Period.
“Full of names of blasphemy” reveals how far
religion will have departed from the living Christ.
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:
And upon her forehead was a name written,
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE
GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH
And the woman was clothed in purple and
scarlet, and gilded with gold, and precious stone and pearls,
having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the
unclean things of her fornication, and upon her forehead a name
BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE
ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
“Clothed in purple and scarlet.” Purple was
the predominant color of Roman imperialism. Every senator and
consul wore a purple stripe as a badge of his position, and the
emperor’s robes were purple. Scarlet is the color adopted by
“Gilded with gold” shows the beauty of the
outward display, but, like the Pharisees, it is within “full of
dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness.”
“Precious stone and pearls!” are pretty cold,
though they may be genuine, and are a sordid imitation of
genuine heartfelt religion. The Lord Jesus said, “Woe unto you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for ye make clean the outside
of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of
extortion and excess” (Matt. 23:25).
“A golden cup full of abominations!” is the
religious intoxication of the anti-church (not Antichrist) and a
pseudoreligion, counterfeit Christianity, a fake and false
gospel, and a sham and spurious system. This is the cup which
makes the world drunk. “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the
Lord’s hand, that
made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her
wine; therefore the nations are mad” (Jer. 51:7).
“Upon her forehead a name written” is a
startling revelation of the character of this woman. She does
not wear a crown but rather the mark of her profession. It is of
interest to see that Seneca, in addressing a wanton priestess,
said, “Thy name hung from thy forehead.” “MYSTERY,
BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE
ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” is the disgraceful title for
the “church” which should belong to Christ as a bride.
Now I know that we live in a day of changing
morality, but I am a little old-fashioned, and I still think
that the Word of God is right, in its values. I think that the
finest thing in the world is a woman and that God has made her
that way. When she marries, she is brought into a relationship
in which she can give to a man that which puts him in orbit. It
is my firm conviction that the thing our civilization has done
for a woman has not been to liberate her but to enslave her so
that she has become more of a sex symbol than ever before.
Instead of taking her rightful place where she can lift a man to
the heights, she is characterized as the one who pulls him down
to the depths. And the lowest picture you can have is that of a
harlot. You may not like it, but that is how the Word of God
BABYLON.” The true church is a mystery in that it was not
revealed in the Old Testament (see Eph. 3:1–9). The anti-church,
designated here as a harlot, is a mystery in that it was not
revealed until John wrote Revelation 17. Let me say again that
when the true church left the earth at the time of the Rapture,
the phonies, those who were only church members, entered the
Great Tribulation Period, and the system continued—not now a
church, but a harlot. Paul had written of the mystery of
iniquity: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only
he who now hinders will hinder until he be taken out of the way”
(2 Thess. 2:7). The anti-church is the antithesis of the true
church, which is the virgin bride of Christ, and it is the
consummation of the working of “the mystery of iniquity.” It is
because it is given this designation just as Jerusalem is called
Babylon is the fountainhead for all false
religion; therefore she is “THE
MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
This is, by far, Scripture’s more expressive and vivid picture
of awful and abominable sin. Sex and false religions are
related, you may be sure of that. I believe that many young
people are really missing it in marriage when they do not stand
at the marriage altar in the presence of God presenting
themselves to each other, having kept their bodies for the
marriage. That was God’s ideal and still is.
Have you noticed that this “MYSTERY
BABYLON” is called the “MOTHER
OF THE HARLOTS”? The mother of harlots—not singular but
plural. In our day the ecumenical church has faced a lot of
problems. It seems that they have recognized psychological
differences in people and that it is impossible to water down
theologies and practices to suit everyone. So each group will
come into this great world ecumenical system but retain some of
its peculiarities. For example, those who want to immerse will
immerse. Those who want to sprinkle will sprinkle. Those who
want elaborate ritual will have it, and those who want no ritual
will have that. You see, there is going to be more than the
mother harlot—there will be a whole lot of harlots, a regular
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.
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 [Rev. 17:6–7].
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 a great wonder. And the angel said
unto me, Wherefore didst thou wonder? I will tell thee the
mystery of the woman, and of the wild beast that is carrying
her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
“Drunken with the blood of the saints.” The
harlot not only makes others drunk, but she is intoxicated by
her acts of persecution. While it is true that the church will
not go through the Great Tribulation, as we near the end of this
age of grace, believers can expect some tribulation. It is my
experience and that of other Christian leaders that today it is
becoming increasingly difficult to stand for the Word of God and
for the things of Christ.
“The saints” probably refer to Old Testament
saints, and “the martyrs of Jesus” refer to New Testament
saints. This indicates that “BABYLON”
is more than just Romanism. Rather, it is an amalgam of all
religions. All true believers were caught up at the Rapture, and
Babylon is the residue of what is left.
Babylon is a composite religious system which
includes Protestantism, Romanism, cults—the whole lot which was
not raptured, you see. It is confusion compounded and is the
fountainhead of all religious error and idolatry. Babylon in the
Old Testament persecuted God’s people and was the enemy of God.
It was Babylon that put the three Hebrew boys in the fiery
furnace because they would not worship an image.
When John saw the vision of the woman, he
says that he “wondered with a great wonder.” This is the first
time that John has had his mind boggled. We have had our minds
boggled before, but this really throws John. The angel asks why
he should wonder when he (the angel) was present to explain the
mystery of the woman.
The emphasis here is on the Roman Empire
aspect of the wild Beast rather than on the Antichrist aspect.
We should note that.
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.
And here is the mind which hath wisdom.
The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
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 [Rev. 17:8–10].
The wild beast which thou sawest was and is
not; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go (goeth)
into perdition. And those dwelling on the earth shall wonder,
whose names are not written upon the book of life from the
foundation of the world (cosmos), when they behold the wild
beast because it was, and is not, and shall come (be present).
Here is the mind having wisdom. The seven heads are seven
mountains on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings;
the five have fallen (fell), the one is, the other is not yet
come; and when he cometh, he must continue a little while.
The wild Beast “was” speaks of the past
history of the Roman Empire. “Is not” refers to the present
condition of the fragmented Empire. The Roman Empire is not
dead. It has fallen apart into the nations of Europe today. “Is
about to come up out of the abyss” speaks of the reactivation of
the Roman Empire by Satan.
As I have indicated before, many have
attempted to put the Roman Empire back together again but have
never been successful. Charlemagne tried it, Napoleon tried it,
Hitler tried it, Mussolini tried it, and at the time I am
writing this, the United Nations is trying it, but they, too,
are failing. The wild Beast, who is the Antichrist, will be the
one who puts the Roman Empire back together again.
“Shall … go into perdition” speaks of the
destruction of the Roman Empire by the coming of Christ. The
reappearance of the Roman Empire in its great power will win the
admiration of the peoples of the world who are not redeemed.
They will respect and worship the Antichrist for his brilliant
God’s saints will have the mind of the Spirit and will
understand and not be spiritually stupid: “But ye have an
unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things…. But the
anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye
need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing
teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and
even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (1 John 2:20,
“And there are seven kings” is taken by some
(including Newell and Govett, who are excellent commentators on
Revelation) to mean individual rulers. Govett gives the
“The one is” refers to Domitian who was
living in John’s day, who was also assassinated.
“The other is not yet come” refers to the
Antichrist. Other expositors (as Scofield and Walter Scott)
consider these seven as the different forms of government
through which Rome passed. These are listed as kings, consuls,
dictators, decemvirs, and military tribunes. “The one is” refers
to the sixth or imperial form of government set up by Julius
Caesar and under which John was banished by Domitian. The
seventh and last, though it has not yet appeared, will be
satanic in form
Regardless of the interpretation adopted, the
end in view is the same—the Antichrist rules over the
reactivated Roman Empire.
And the beast that was, and is not, even
he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
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.
These have one mind, and shall give their
power and strength unto the beast.
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 [Rev. 17:11–14].
And the beast that was, and is not, is
himself also an eighth, and is of the seven, and is going into
perdition. And the ten horns that thou sawest are ten kings, who
(of the kind which) have received no kingdom as yet; but they
receive authority as kings, with the wild beast, for one hour.
These have one mind, and they give (over) their power and
authority unto the beast. These shall war with the Lamb, and the
Lamb shall overcome them, for He is Lord of lords, and King of
kings; and those with Him (shall overcome), called and chosen
At times the wild Beast signifies, generally,
the Roman Empire, but also it signifies the last or eighth head;
that is, the individual emperor who is Antichrist. Now here the
Anti-christ is designated. He is the “little horn” in the vision
that God gave to the prophet Daniel. The “little horn” puts down
three other horns—that is, three kings—when he comes to power.
“I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them
another little horn, before whom there were three of the first
horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were
eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things….
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall
arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be
diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings” (Dan.
7:8, 24). In my book, Delving
Through Daniel, I go into detail
on this “little horn.”
“The beast that was” refers to the past
history of the Roman Empire under the emperors.
“And is not” refers to the end of Imperial
Rome with its global empire, which came to an end sometime
between the third and fifth centuries.
“Is himself also an eighth, and is of the
seven” identifies the Antichrist with the return to the imperial
form of the restored Roman Empire. He is the “little horn” of
Daniel, chapter 7. He is not one of the ten horns, but he is
separate from them. He is an eighth head in this seven, yet he
is one of the seven since he restores the last form of
government to Rome. Now that will confuse you, I know, but that
is exactly what is being said here in Revelation.
“The ten horns” are the same as the ten horns
of Daniel 7:7. These ten kings will reign with the Antichrist
but will be subservient to him. They willingly or unwillingly
give over their authority to the Antichrist and become his
And he saith unto me, The waters which
thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and
multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
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
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.
And the woman which thou sawest is that
great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth [Rev.
And he saith to me, The waters which thou
sawest where the harlot sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes
(mobs), and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou
sawest, and the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall
make her desolated and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall
burn her (down) with fire. For God did put into their hearts to
do His mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom
unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And
the woman whom thou sawest is the great city, which hath a
kingdom over the kings of the earth.
“The waters” are explained to be the many
ethnological groups as well as the nations of the world. This
figure is in harmony with that used in the Old Testament. You
can check that out with Isaiah 8:7 and Psalm 18. The position of
the harlot reveals that she is ruling over them for only a brief
“The ten horns” are ten kings (as told us in
verse 12) who rule over the different divisions of the Roman
Empire. They in turn give over to the Beast their kingdoms. This
solidifies the Roman Empire and enables the Beast to lift
himself up as a world dictator.
For a time the Beast (Antichrist) is willing
to share his place of exaltation with the harlot, since she has
also sought to advance his cause while dividing his glory. This
he hates, and the ten kings are one with him in this. The
Antichrist not only breaks his covenant with Israel, but he also
breaks his relationship with the apostate church. This hatred
against the apostate church is so violent that the reaction is
described as the cannibalistic picking of her bones, then
burning them with fire! This great hatred destroys the false
church. This is what happens to the false church. It has no
victory. It never comes into the presence of Christ. It is not
raptured. Finally it is destroyed by the Antichrist.
In doing this the Antichrist and his ten
allies are fulfilling the Word of God and carrying out His will
as did the Assyrian (as predicted in Isaiah 10:5–19) and just as
surely as Caesar Augustus did when he signed the tax bill that
moved Mary and Joseph down to Bethlehem so Scripture could be
By eliminating the apostate church, the way
is cleared for the worship of Antichrist, as advocated by the
“The woman” is a religious system, as we have
seen. Also, I believe she is further identified as a city, the
city of Rome.
This is the frightful but just end of the
apostate church. However, it does not improve the situation.
Rather it introduces the darkest period for religion in the
history of the world. The reign and religion of Antichrist is
the darkest hour earth will know, and yet it is the inevitable
end of the distrust which began in the Garden of Eden when man
failed to believe God. It was given new impetus at the Tower of
Babel, which was a rallying place for those against God. And
finally it climaxed in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ when man
rejected the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Having
rejected the truth, the only alternative left for man is to
believe the big lie, the strong delusion. History will culminate
in the catastrophic coming of Christ to this earth, as we shall
see in chapter 19. This is the just retribution of error and
My friend, you as a Christian should have
thankfulness in your heart, knowing you will be spared from the
Great Tribulation, but also you should have a real concern for
your loved ones who may be facing this frightful period that
Political and commercial Babylon judged
the chapter before us we see the judgment of commercial Babylon
and the reaction of both earth and heaven to it.
In chapters 17–18 two Babylons are brought
before us. The Babylon of chapter 17 is ecclesiastical. The
Babylon of chapter 18 is economic. The first is religious—the
apostate church which entered the Great Tribulation Period. The
second is political and commercial. The commercial center is
by the kings of the earth; and the apostate church is
hated by the
kings of the earth, as we saw in chapter 17. The apostate church
is destroyed by the kings of the earth. When Christ returns,
political Babylon will be destroyed by the judgment of God.
Obviously, mystery Babylon, the apostate church, is destroyed
first in the midst of the Great Tribulation, while commercial
Babylon will be destroyed at the second coming of Christ. These
two Babylons are not one and the same city. I personally believe
that mystery Babylon is Rome and that, when it goes down in the
midst of the Great Tribulation, the religious center shifts to
Jerusalem because it is at Jerusalem that the False Prophet will
put up his image of the Antichrist to be worshiped. Commercial
Babylon is ancient Babylon, rebuilt as the commercial capital of
the world. This city is the final capital of the political power
of the Beast.
A few years ago it seemed rather farfetched
that the power could reach back into the Mideast, but since then
we have experienced a shortage of energy, and when they cut off
the oil supply, the whole world feels it. They wield tremendous
power. The wealth of the world is moving into that particular
area because of the price of oil. It could well become the great
commercial capital of the world. And this great commercial
center, which will be Babylon rebuilt, will be destroyed at the
second coming of Christ.
Sometime ago a Jew challenged the Israeli
minister of tourism by saying, “How does it come about that all
the countries surrounding Israel have oil, but Israel doesn’t?”
His reply was this: “God gave the Arabs oil and the Jews the
Bible. Do you want to exchange with them? God forbid. The oil
will run out quick enough, but the Bible will last forever.”
There had been some disagreement among
conservative expositors about whether or not ancient Babylon
will be rebuilt. Candidly, for many years I took the position
that it would not be rebuilt. However, I believe now that it
will be rebuilt. Isaiah 13:19–22 speaks of the fact that ancient
Babylon is to be rebuilt and destroyed, and this destruction is
what is mentioned in chapter 18 of Revelation, which is before
us. Actually, I don’t think it could be rebuilt on the same spot
because the Euphrates River has moved about fourteen miles from
the ancient city.
There are views of the destruction of Babylon
which are diametrically opposed to each other. The viewpoint and
perspective are highly important. (1) The reaction of men of
business and politics is one of great anguish. To them it is the
depth of tragedy. It means the total bankruptcy of big business.
(2) The second reaction is that of heaven. It is one of joy that
the holiness and justice of God is vindicated. It means the end
of man’s sinful career on earth. This will bring to an end the
Great Tribulation Period.
ANNOUNCEMENT AND FALL OF COMMERCIAL AND POLITICAL BABYLON
18 begins with “another angel” who comes down from heaven with a
And after these things I saw another angel
come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was
lightened with his glory [Rev. 18:1].
As usual, I’ll give my literal translation of
the Greek text throughout this chapter.
After these things I saw another angel coming
down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was
lightened with his glory.
Again we have this very interesting
statement, “after these things” (Gr.:
After what things? After the series of sevens and after the
judgment of religious Babylon come these things. Progress has
definitely been made—through the seven seals, the seven
trumpets, the seven personages, and the seven bowls of wrath—and
we are advancing to the end of the Great Tribulation. In fact,
this brings us to the end of the Great Tribulation.
John says, “I saw.” He is still a spectator.
He saw “another angel,” which takes us back to chapter 14 where
a series of six angels is mentioned, each with the sole
identification of “another angel.” This angel is a divine,
supernatural messenger of God, but faceless and nameless. He has
(power), which indicates that he has a superior rank to the
other “another angel,” and he is bringing an important message.
“The earth was lightened with his glory”
seems to further signify the prestige of this angel (cf. Ezek.
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 [Rev. 18:2].
And he shouted with a mighty voice, saying,
Fell, fell is Babylon the great, and became a habitation of
demons, and a prison (hold, cage) of every unclean spirit, and a
prison (hold, cage) of every unclean and hated bird.
The preliminary announcement of the fall of
Babylon was made in Revelation 14:8: “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.” The angel here is greater in authority than
the one who made that first announcement.
In the words, “Fell, fell is Babylon … and
became,” the tense in the Greek is prophetic aorist which speaks
of coming events as if they have already transpired. When God
says something is going to happen, you can speak about it as
though it had already happened, because it is going to happen.
It is just that sure. In God’s plan and program it is just as
though it had already taken place because He knows the end from
the beginning. Babylon, this great commercial center of the
world, is going to be destroyed.
“A habitation of demons, and a cage of every
unclean spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hated bird.”
This indicates that Babylon is where demons of the spirit world
and unclean birds of the physical world will be incarcerated
during the Millennium. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah confirm
this (see Isa. 13:19–22; Jer. 50:38–40). These prophecies find a
final fulfillment in the destruction of literal Babylon here in
Revelation 18. If this is true, there is no prophecy which
forbids Babylon from being rebuilt. Babylon is the headquarters
of demons and has been the place of rebellion down through the
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.
For by the wine of the wrath of her
fornication all the nations have drunk (or are fallen); and the
kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the
merchants of the earth waxed rich by the power of her
“Have drunk” (or are fallen) are the two
permitted renderings—both have good manuscript authority. Both
are true. The normal rendering is “have drunk.” This is God’s
judgment on big business which denies God’s authority. This is
the unholy alliance of government and business. We have seen
some of this in our day and, frankly, it smells to high heaven.
The word for merchants means “those who
travel.” It is not those who produce goods or manufacture goods,
but those who are brokers, engaging in business for a big
profit. Business is a sacred cow that nothing must harm or
hinder. This is true today, of course. Man uses business as the
biggest excuse for having no time for God, yet these same men
must finally stand before God. God will judge godless
commercialism. Big business is in for it, I can assure you of
that. In fact, it has had a rough time in our day.
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].
And I heard another voice out of heaven,
saying, Come forth out of her, my people, that ye have no
fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
This verse reveals that God’s people are
going to be in the world to the very end (it is not speaking of
the church which has already been removed before the Great
Tribulation began), but God will have His people on earth during
the Tribulation. The question has always been: Will they be able
to make it through? That is, will they remain faithful to
Christ? Yes, they do make it through. Remember that God started
with 144,000, and the number that will make it through the
Tribulation is 144,000. This is like the parable the Lord Jesus
told about the shepherd who started out with one hundred sheep
and one of them got away. But he didn’t end up with ninety-nine;
he ended up with one hundred, because he went out and got that
little sheep that was lost.
McGee, J. Vernon: Thru
the Bible Commentary. electronic ed. Nashville :
Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1981, S. 5:1036-1038