“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’” (Revelation 17:1). The seven angels showed John the bowl judgments; now this angel tells John about the destruction of the false religious system—only God knows exactly how this will happen. The final judgment on Babylon ends with a great earthquake that brings down every mountain and every island disappears, and with hundred pound hailstones crushing everything they hit, and great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath (Revelation 16:17-21). Revelation chapters 17-18 are a description of the false religious system and the corrupt commercial, financial, and economic systems that will exist during the Tribulation, and their destruction. The city of Babylon was built on the banks of the Euphrates River, and had many canals running through it. More on “the many waters” in verse 15.
“With whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Revelation 17:2). This worldwide false religion is closely allied with the kings, presidents, emperors, dictators, prime ministers, and whatever else they are called during the tribulation. The English word pornographic comes from the Greek word “porneuo” that’s translated into the English word “fornication.” In this verse it’s used for people who commit spiritual adultery with false gods—idol worship. The nations of this world will never come together on a political or economic basis, but someday they will come together into a one world religious system. Satan is the instigator of all false religions; he used Nimrod at Babel, and he will use the false prophet and the Antichrist to set up this worldwide false religion. The term “Those who dwell on the earth” is used several times in Revelation and always refers to unbelievers.
“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” (Revelation 17:3). The woman is the worldwide false religion that is supported by the Antichrist. But the Antichrist will destroy this worldwide false religion and demand to be worshiped. “He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods” (Daniel 11:36). “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…The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast…and they worshiped the beast” (Revelation 13:1-4). The Antichrist will use the worldwide false religion to bring the world under his control, and then he will destroy it (Revelation 17:16-17).
“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” (Revelation 17:4). Religious organizations are some of the wealthiest organizations in the world. This false and idolatrous religious system will be worth billions, if not trillions of dollars, and the false prophet and the Antichrist will have the best of everything this world has to offer. The golden cup of the harlot looks inviting to worldly minded religious people, but the harlot’s cup is filled with wickedness, abominations, and immoralities that have a mind-altering effect on people who are enticed into committing idol worship with her. Speaking of Babylon, Jeremiah wrote, “The nations have drunken of her wine, therefore the nations are deranged” (Jeremiah 51:7). There are hundreds of religions in the world that worship earthly idols. John says do not love the things of this world, and James says people who are friends with this world are enemies of God (1 John 2:15, James 4:4).
“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. And on her forehead a name was written: Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Of The Abominations Of The Earth” (Revelation 17:4-5). This worldwide false religion is very seductive, and promises great things to her followers—but the end is spiritual death. This false religious system will be extremely wealthy, with the royalty and power that is given to her by the Antichrist, who is controlled by Satan. The leaders of this false religious system and the Antichrist are living the life of luxury while bringing the world under the control of Satan. This false religious system is totally aligned with all the rulers of the world and most of the people of the world will be under its power. Worldly thinking people will willingly drink the cup of abominations and filthiness of this false religion.
“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” (Revelation 17:6). The killing of believers in the true and living God by unbelieving idol worshipers began when Cain killed Abel. Satan has used false religious leaders and idol worshiping people to persecute and kill anyone who is a true believer in God. Haman the Agagite, did everything within his power to destroy the Jewish people (Read the book of Esther). The persecution and killing of the early Christians was a common occurrence by the Roman government until the Roman Emperors Constantine and Licinius legalized Christianity in 313 AD. Millions of Christians have been killed by false religions throughout church history; but the slaughter of followers of Jesus Christ during the time of the tribulation will be the worst in history. Believers in Jesus Christ will become the victims of the satanic one-world religious, commercial, and financial systems because they refuse to take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:15-17).