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The Judgment of Mystery Babylon

  1. THE VISION OF THE GREAT WHORE (Revelation 17:1-6)
    1. The Revelation of the Great Whore (Revelation 17:1)
      1. Shown by one of the seven angels
      2. The revelation of her judgment
      3. Found sitting on many waters; NOTE: the many waters are interpreted as the peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues of the earth (Revelation 17:15)
    2. The Fornication of the Great Whore (Revelation 17:2)
      1. A spiritual fornication (Exodus 34:15-16; Jeremiah 3:6-7; Ezekiel 6:9; Hosea 4:12)
      2. Committed with the kings of the earth
      3. Making drunk the inhabitants of the earth with her wine (cp. Revelation 14:8)
    3. The Appearance of the Great Whore (Revelation 17:3-4)
      1. She sat on the scarlet colored beast (Revelation 17:3)
        1. This is the antichrist (Revelation 13:1)
        2. She is connected with the one-world government, but she is not identical to that government
      2. She is arrayed in costly clothes and jewels (Revelation 17:4)
        1. In purple and scarlet; the colors of wealth and royalty
        2. With gold and precious stones and pearls
        3. That is, she is exceedingly rich
      3. She has a golden cup full of the abominations of her filthiness; that is, she spreads her filthiness around to those in the world (cp. Jeremiah 51:7)
    4. The Name of the Great Whore (Revelation 17:5)
        1. This connects her with the Babylonian religion going all the way back to Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10; 11:1-9; Isaiah 21:9; Zechariah 5:5-11)
        2. This connects her with the Babylonian mystery religions
        1. She has daughters who are also harlots
        2. These daughters are the churches that come out of Roman Catholicism, like the Eastern Orthodox and the Protestant denominations.
        1. She is the worst of the abominations of the earth
        2. She is the source of other abominations in the earth
    5. NOTE: The Mystery Religions of Babylon
      1. The Eastern Religions
        1. From Persia and Asia
        2. Centered around Babylon
        3. Offered man a spiritual release from death
        4. Promised eternal happiness
        5. Required initiations
        6. Provided a mediator between God and man
        7. The Babylonian Mystery Religions has a direct influence on Roman Catholicism (Easter, the sacraments, etc.)
      2. Babylonian Mystery Religions
        1. Orphic Cult
          1. Taught dualism between good and evil. (Although this may sound proper at first, eastern dualism tried to make a complete distinction between good and evil.  If the flesh was evil, then it had to be punished, etc.)
          2. Taught celibacy and abstention from meat and wine for priests
        2. Magna Mater
          1. Means the Great Mother
          2. Baptism required for membership: required to forgive sins; was in blood
          3. Their priests were eunuchs who wore female garb, who kept their hair long and perfumed with ointment, and who celebrated the goddess rites with wild music and dancing until their frenzied excitement found its culmination in self-scourging, self-laceration, or exhaustion. Encyclopedia Britannica in the article on Mystery Religions
        3. Mythraism
          1. Taught triumph of light over darkness
          2. Taught baptismal regeneration
          3. Had sacramental meal
        4. Isis Mysteries
          1. Originated in Egypt
          2. Related to Ishtar, Ashtaroth and Astarte
          3. Centered around mother (Isis) and her son
          4. The Christian representations of the Madonna and child are clearly the continuation of the representations of Isis and her son suckling the breast. Encyclopedia Britannica
      3. Feasts
        1. Easter
          1. Term is of pagan origin
          2. Was first observed as a celebration of the resurrection of Christ at the time of the Jewish Passover
          3. Later observance was changed to match the pagan celebration of Easter
          4. Pagan traditions were brought over into the celebration (eggs, rabbits, etc.)
          5. Celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs either on or after the vernal equinox of March 21st.  This formula was first developed in Egypt.  It means that Easter can occur anywhere from March 22 to April 25.
        2. Christmas
          1. The development of the feast celebrating the birth of Jesus is directly connected to fading expectations of the imminent return of Christ
          2. The Christian celebration of Christmas replaced the Roman festival of Dies Invicti Solis (the Day of the Invincible Sun) which was introduced by the Emperor Aurelian in the 3rd century and was celebrated on December 25th
          3. December 25th was also the birthday of Mithra, the Persian god of light; the day was devoted to the invincible sun
          4. Festivities of the pagan holiday included:
            1. All work and business suspended
            2. The giving of gifts
            3. Many celebrations and parties
            4. Easing of certain moral restrictions
          5. Many Christian writers (including Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Epiphanius) opposed the celebration of Christmas in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.  In like manner, the Puritans of the 16th and 17th centuries opposed the celebration of Christmas.
          6. The celebration of holidays is a personal decision according to the scriptures.  No one should be forced to keep a holiday or refused a chance to celebrateas long as the acts of celebration themselves are scriptural.  See Romans 14:4-10 and Colossians 2:16-17.
      4. Deified Mother
        1. During this period of time, Mary began to be exalted above what is stated in scripture.  However, many of the teachings concerning Mary did not develop for many centuries and will be considered later.
        2. Pagan cultures had a long tradition of goddesses of fertility
          1. Ashtaroth (Canaanite)
          2. Astarte (Phoenician)
          3. Ishtar (Babylonian and Assyrian)
          4. Isis, the mother of Horus (Egyptian).  Isis is often shown as a mother with her infant son.
          5. Aphrodite (Greek)
          6. Venus (Roman)
        3. The Mary of the Bible was slowly being transformed into the queen of heaven (Jeremiah 44:17-19, 25)
    6. The Drunkenness of the Great Whore (Revelation 17:6)
      1. She was drunk with the blood of the saints
      2. She was drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus
      3. Her drunkenness was a cause of great wonder to John
        1. John would not have been amazed if the great whore had been the Roman Empire. He had seen and was presently experiencing persecution from Rome.
        2. John wondered because he saw Christians being killed in great numbers by others who called themselves Christians.
    7. NOTE: The Donatists of the Early Fourth Century
      1. Arose in North Africa following the Diocletian Persecution (284-303AD).  Resulted from the total willingness of the catholic churches to receive back into the churches those who had denied the faith
      2. The split came in 311 with the election of Caecilian as biship of Carthage.
      3. The Donatists unwisely appealed the decision to Constantine who turned the decision over to the bishop of Rome who at the Council of Arles in 314 condemned the Donatists.
      4. Constantine therefore declared the Donatists heretics and persecution of the 400 Donatist churches began.  The Donatists were the first Christians to be persecuted and have their blood shed by other Christians.
      5. The movement was, to a great extent, an opposition to the worldliness of the catholic churches. They maintained that the churches should be made up only of visibly true believers.
      6. They seem to have rejected infant baptism but many of them did believe in baptismal regeneration (which was the common doctrine of the catholic church of this time).
      7. However, they rejected the authority of the catholic church to baptize and thus rebaptized those who came to them from those churches.  As such, they were called Re-baptizers or Anabaptists.
      8. After their initial run-in with Constantine, they came to believe in the separation of the church and state.
      9. They opposed many of the superstitions which were becoming common in the catholic churches, such as the worship of relics.
      10. They continued in North Africa until somewhere in the seventh century.
  2. THE INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION (Revelation 17:7-15)
    1. The Announcement of the Interpretation (Revelation 17:7)
      1. The mystery of the woman
      2. The mystery of the beast
    2. The Beast on which the Woman Sits (Revelation 17:8)
      1. The beast that was and is not and yet is (see Revelation 13:3, 12, 14)
      2. The beast that shall ascend out of the bottom less pit (cp. Revelation 9:1-2, 11; 11:7)
      3. The beast that shall go into perdition (Revelation 19:20)
    3. The Key to Identifying the Woman (Revelation 17:9)
      1. For the mind that has wisdom
      2. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits
      3. Rome is known as the city of seven hills or seven mountains. It is named such after the first seven hills which made up the heart of the city and is known historically by this designation.
      4. John would have automatically known to whom this referred
    4. The Identity of the Seven Heads (Revelation 17:10)
      1. And there are seven kings obviously, the kings are distinct from the seven hills which identify the woman
      2. They refer to seven historical kingdoms on the earth; probably, seven great kingdoms on the earth.
      3. Five are fallen; that is, five of these kingdoms have already come and gone. Although there is disagreement, the five kingdoms very likely are:
        1. Egypt, the kingdom of Pharaoh
        2. Assyria, the kingdom of Sennacherib
        3. Babylon, the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar (earlier, the kingdom of Nimrod)
        4. Persia, the kingdom of Cyrus
        5. Greece, the kingdom of Alexander
      4. One is: this must be Rome, the kingdom of Caesar
      5. The other is not yet come
        1. Evidently, some form of revived Roman Empire
          1. The iron mixed with clay in the ten toes of Daniels beast (Daniel 2:40-44)
          2. The ten horns of the fourth beast in Daniel (7:7-8, 19-23)
          3. The ten horns of Revelation (Revelation 13:1-2)
        2. Only continues for a short space
    5. The Identity of the Revived Beast (Revelation 17:11-13)
      1. He is the eighth king
      2. However, he is of the seventh kingdom
      3. He is distinguished because of his destruction and resurrection (Revelation 17:8; 13:3, 12, 14)
      4. He is the Antichrist
      5. He will go into perdition (Revelation 19:20)
      6. He rules for one hour with the ten kings (Revelation 17:12; Daniel 7:7-8)
      7. He receives full allegiance from the ten kings (Revelation 17:13, 17)
    6. The War They Make with the Lamb (Revelation 17:14)
      1. These shall make war with the Lamb and the saints (Revelation 11:7; Daniel 7:21-22, 25)
      2. The Lamb shall overcome them (Daniel 2:44; 7:26-27)
      3. The power of the Lamb: Lord of lords and King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15)
      4. The testimony of the saints
        1. Called
        2. Chosen
        3. Faithful
    7. The Identity of the Waters (Revelation 17:15)
      1. The waters on which the whore sits (Revelation 17:1)
      2. The waters are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues
  3. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE GREAT WHORE (Revelation 17:16-18)
    1. She is Destroyed by the Ten Horns (Revelation 17:16)
      1. The ten horns hate the whore
      2. The ten horns make her desolate and naked; that is, they turn on her and persecute the persecutor
      3. The ten horns eat her flesh and burn her with fire; that is, they destroy her entirely
    2. Her Kingdom is Given to the Beast (Revelation 17:17)
      1. God put it in the hearts of the ten kings to fulfill His will (Psalm 76:10)
      2. The ten kings give her kingdom to the beast until Gods word is fulfilled
    3. The Identity of the Woman Verified (Revelation 17:18)
      1. She is that great city Rome
      2. She reigns over the kings of the earth
      3. Again, this points back to the Roman Catholic marriage of church in state resulting in a religious political power. It will be used to gain power by the ten kings and the antichrist. Then, they will turn on her and destroy her entirely in a fulfillment of the judgment of God.