A COMMENTARY ON REVELATION CHAPTER 17
INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION CHAPTER 17
Come with me and I will introduce you to the harlot. She is drunk (not with intoxicants, but with the blood of saints). She is on a scarlet colored beast. No one can take a picture of her hierarchy without seeing this color. The Catholic church has blasphemed and held out a cup luring people into sin by her indulgences. The ten kingdoms of Europe helped the Catholic church who opposed God’s people. Many people were bamboozled and hoodwinked by this religion of whom God declares does not have eternal life. It was such a riddle and mystery that even the apostle wondered with great admiration. John tells us that the beast he saw was the ten kingdoms of Europe and that they would give the Catholic church their power for a period of time and then hate her. She would make war with the Lamb and his followers but in the final analysis the ten kingdoms of Europe would finally bring her down. God’s word was and is being fulfilled. Alleluia. Daniel the Prophet declared, “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of times” Dan 7:25. She claims the power to make and unmake kings. She changed the laws respecting the Lord’s Supper. She set up images. In l075 Pope Gregory VII declared all clerical marriages invalid. This was the greatest mass divorce in history. She changed times and laws. She changed our calendar. In 1518 Pope Gregory changed our calendar ten days. She changed the l0 commandments. In general she claims absolute control of all religion. The last verse of the chapter tells us that the “Woman” is a “City” which rules over the earth. If this isn’t ROME, then please tell me what city he had in mind.
EXPOSITION ON REVELATION CHAPTER 17
1 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters.
What a word picture. The scripture represents her under the image of a corrupt, idolatrous, and abandon woman. This city reigns over the kings of the earth. Scholars are universally agreed that the city is ROME. Those familiar with Old Testament prophecy will know how often the term “fornication” and “adultery” are used to describe unfaithfulness of a city.
See how the faithful city has become a harlot! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her– but now murderers! ISA 1:21
Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, ‘I will not serve you!’ Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute. JER 2:20
‘If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers–would you now return to me?’ declares the Lord. JER 3:1
During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there.” JER 3:6
I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. JER 3:8
At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king’s life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: Take up a harp, walk through the city, O prostitute forgotten; play the harp well, sing many a song, so that you will be remembered. At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire as a prostitute and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. ISA 23:15-17
all because of the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft. NAH 3:4
Verse 15 explains that “many waters” are “peoples and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,” over which she rules.
2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”
The Kings of the earth aligned themselves with the Roman Catholic Church and became partners with her. Nations were so intoxicated with her power that they could not see the truth. She is still deceiving millions today. Chapter eighteen,verse 23 declares that, “by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” Could anything be more plain?
3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.
Lets look at some of the claims of the Pope’s and see if they are blasphemous.
(1) He claims to be head of the church. How can this be in the light of Scripture. “And he (Christ) is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Col 1:18 What blasphemy it is for any mortal man to claim what belongs only to God.
(2) The Pope claims that he is the Judge of the Living and the Dead. (Cath. Ency. XV. page 126). This is some more of his blasphemy. The Scriptures teach just the opposite. “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:” 2 Tim. 4:1
(3) Authority above all and subject to none. (Pius VI Ency. 65.) Some more of their great swelling words. Doesn’t sound like the teachings of the Bible. “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1
(4) We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty. (Leo. XIII Ency, 304). You can’t find a more blasphemous statement than that. No wonder God calls her “MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Rev. 17:5
(5) The Vicar of Christ. (Cath. Dic. 258). The Pope has this inscription on his crown VICARIVS FILII DEI. Translated this means Vicar of Son of God. It is interesting to learn that when we add up the Roman numerical values of this inscription we have 2 V =10 + 6 I =6 + 1 L =50 + 1 C = 100 + 1 D = 500, Totaling 666
(6) He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.
The Pope is as it were God on earth, sole sovereign of the faithful of Christ, chief of kings, having plenitude of power, to whom has been entrusted by the omnipotent God direction not only of the earthly but also of the heavenly kingdom. The Pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even divine laws. [Luclus Ferraris, Vol 6, p.26]
I offer the following quotes from official Catholic books to prove that she fulfills that which was spoken by Paul in II Thess. 2:4, “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”
He is the keeper of the keys, the judge of the living and the dead, and sits on the throne of justice, with power to extirpate all iniquity, He is the head of the church, which is one and stainless, and not a many-headed monster, and has full divine authority to pluck out and tear down, to build up and plant. Let not the king imagine that he has no superior, is not subject to the highest authority in the church.” [Catholic Ency. II, p 666]
Now, therefore, we declare, say, determine and pronounce that for every human creature it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman Pontiff.” [Cath. Ency. XV, p 126]
The Roman Pontiff has from on high an authority which is supreme, above all others and subject to none. [Pope Pius XI said in his Encyclical, Light of Truth, page 5]
We (the pope) hold upon this earth the place of God almighty. [Pope Leo XIII, Great Encyclical Letters, 304]
But the supreme teacher in the church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the church and to the Roman Pontiff as to God Himself.” [Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII, p. 193]
“Wherefore resting on plain testimonies of the Sacred Writings, and adhering to the plain and express decrees, both of our predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs, and of the General Councils, we renew the definition of the Ecumenical Council of Florence (1439 A.D.), in virtue of which all the faithful of Christ must believe that the Holy Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff possesses the primacy over the whole world, and that the Roman Pontiff is the successor of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and is true Vicar of Christ, and the head of the whole church, and the Father and teacher of all Christians; and that full power was given to him in Blessed Peter to rule, feed, and govern the Universal Church by Jesus Christ Our Lord, as is contained in the Acts of the General Councils, and in the Sacred Canons.
Hence we teach and declare that by the appointment of Our Lord, the Roman Pontiff possesses a superiority of ordinary power over all other churches, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly Episcopal, is immediate; to which all, of whatever rite of dignity, both pastors and faithful, both individually and collectively, are bound by their duty of hierarchical subordination, and true obedience, to submit not only in matters which belong to faith and morals, but also in those that pertain to the discipline and government throughout the world, so that the Church of Christ may be one flock, under the one supreme pastor, through the preservation of unity both of communion and profession of the same faith with the Roman Pontiff. This is the teaching of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate without loss of faith and of salvation. [Dogmatic Decrees of the Council of Trent, p.159,160; Also in Teachings of the Catholic Church, p. 143,144]
There is nothing strange in attributing to the Roman Pontiff, as the Vicar of Him whose is the earth and the fullness thereof, the world and all that dwell therein, the fullest authority to lay bare, a just cause moving him, not only the spiritual but also the material sword, and so to transfer sovereignties, break scepters and remove crowns. [Catholic Dictionary, p 258]
How much more blasphemy do you need to hear? I believe this is enough to convince any honest, Bible believing Christian.
4 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 Catholic church has untold wealth. Nino Lo Bello says, “on the question, How rich is the Pope?, suffice it to say that it has become increasingly clear he doesn’t even know himself.” Again he says it is “one of the greatest fiscal powers in the world.” [The Vatican Empire, p.8]
She owns water companies, telephone companies, gas companies, breweries. “One could also mention the Church’s invaluable collections of antiquities–gold and silver crosses, Byzantine jewelry, altar pieces, furniture, chalices and other vessels. The five hundred thousand aged volumes and sixty thousand old manuscripts in the Vatican Library are also part of the Church patrimony. Because none of the treasures will ever be put on the market, it is folly even to hazard a guess as to the cumulative worth of these items. But, conceivably, they could bring a billion dollars under an auctioneers gavel.” [p. 13] Mr. Lo Bello describes in fascinating detail Vatican investment in real estate–one third of Rome is owned by the Holy See–electronics, plastics, airlines, and chemical and engineering firms. He also gives evidence that the Vatican is heavily involved in Italian banking and that it has huge deposits in foreign banks. Some of these accounts are in America; many are in Switzerland. The Vatican financiers prefer numbered Swiss accounts because they allow them to maintain anonymity when gaining control of foreign corporations. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. She makes large offers and absolutions, and positively lures men into sin. Abominable things and adulteries are her stock in trade. According to her a priest does not break vow of “Chastity” by adultery!
All celibates are not chaste: celibacy is not necessarily chastity; by a large majority. Unless something other than selfishness suggests this choice of life, the word is apt to be a misnomer for profligacy. And one who takes the vow of Celibacy does not break it by sinning against the sixth commandment, he is true to it until he weds. [Explanation of Catholic Morals p. 149]
5 This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Her doctrine of purgatory, transubstantion, relics, miracles, signs, sacraments, etc. are all mysterious and unfathomable. It is mysterious how anyone could be so zealous and profess to be Christian and practice these sins.
6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.
Consider: Persecutions and death of Waldenses, Popes war against the Albigenses (Bohemian Brethren), Massacre of St. Bartholomew, Martyrdom of John Calas, the Inquisition (150,000 in 30 years), John Wycliff, John Huss, Jerome of Prague, Tyndale, Luther, Persecutions in Germany, France, Scotland, England, Ireland, persecution of Quakers. From the order of the Jesuits of 1540 it is supposed that 900,000 persons have perished through papal cruelty. Dear reader do you think she is drunk on the blood of Saints? Is there any other institution on the face of the earth that more likely fits the above description?
7 Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns.
When you first read the history of Roman Catholicism you will wonder with great admiration, you will be amazed beyond measure. Her acts will astound and perplex you beyond measure. I have her own books, and encyclopedias written by her own priests. God has made her confess her own sins.
8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.
The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. The dragon (Pagan Rome) gave him (Papal Rome) his seat (Rome) and his power (absolute ruler-ship) and great authority. THE VATICAN OCCUPIES THE ORIGINAL GARDENS OF NERO! God said, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.” Rev. 18:4,5
9 This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.
Rome sits on seven hills, thus the seven-hilled city is a representation of the seven forms of government that she has passed through.
10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while.
The remaining part of the book will talk extensively about this red dragon. It is therefore necessary that we identify who or what he is. The Dragon was the standard of Pagan Rome in the third century. The best way to explain the meaning of the Dragon with seven heads and ten horns is to let the Prophet Daniel tell us the meaning. Here is what Daniel has to say about it.
After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast–terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. Dan. 7:7
Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws–the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. Dan 7:19
Dear reader, are you anxious to know the true meaning of the fourth beast with 7 heads and 10 horns? If so, then lets have Daniel tell us who it is:
He gave me this explanation: “The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.” Dan. 7:23
Now that should forever settle whom the beast is. In Daniel chapter two he speaks of four Kingdoms and identifies them as Babylon, Media Persia, Greece and the fourth as the Roman Empire. It is stated in both Daniel and the Revelation that this Empire would have seven heads. As we examine the Empire we notice that it passed through seven Heads:
1. It was ruled over by seven kings for about 200 years.
6. 65 Emperors ruled in Rome for 5 centuries.
7. Exarchs of Ravenna ruled for more than a century.
This 7 headed beast has 10 horns, or ten Kings (kingdoms) over which she ruled for 1260 years. We identify them as the ten kingdoms of Europe:
1. German empire 6. Spain
2. Austrian Empire 7. Italy
3. Belgium 8. Switzerland
4. Holland 9. Portugal
5. France 10. Great Britain
11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.
· The Beast was when Rome was in power.
· The Beast was not when Rome fell.
· The Beast “yet is” when it reappeared in Roman Catholicism.
Out of the seventh head of the Roman Empire (the Exarchs of Ravenna) who ruled for a short time (about a century) came the eighth king (the Pope) who is going into perdition.
12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.”
At the time that this book was written none of these ten kings or kingdoms had received power. We identified them above as the ten kingdoms of Europe. This verse affirms that when John was here that Europe was not divided into ten kingdoms.
13 They have purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.
These powers aided the false church in her religious wars. During the dark ages she used these Kings and their armies to destroy heretics (Christians).
14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings–and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.
He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. Rev. 13:7
I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Rev. 17:6
Rome’s long history was marked with the shedding of the blood of saints. Can anyone doubt that this belongs to the Popes. In 1208 Pope Innocent III warred against the Waldines and Albigines, in which one million perished. From the beginning of the Jesuits 1540-1580 nine hundred thousand were destroyed. One hundred fifty thousand perished by the inquisition in thirty years. In the low lands fifty thousand persons were hanged, beheaded, burned alive or buried alive for the crime of heresy (Christianity). Within 38 years from the edict of Charles V, eighteen thousand were executed. The Popes tried to put down the reformation in Germany and Switzerland. The slightest acquaintance of the history of the Popes will convince us that this verse refers to them. The historian W.E. H. Lecky says, “The church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a complete knowledge of history.” Some historians have estimated that the persecuting hands of Rome have been reddened by the blood of fifty million saints. I doubt that anyone can come close to the exact number. In Revelation, she is known as Babylon the Great, or better known to us as Union of Church and State. The church was driven into the wilderness for 1260 long years. During this long dark period of history she dealt with a high hand. During this time she made and unmade kings. She changed the laws respecting the Lord’s supper, set up images, enacted celibacy of the clergy. In 1075 Gregory VII declared all clerical marriages invalid. This was the greatest mass divorce in history. She changed the l0 commandments. In general she claims absolute control of all religion.
15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.”
John wanted to make sure that we had the proper key to interpret these verses. The pope is an international figure and millions adore and worship him. He rules over a large population of the earth.
16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
All of the ten kingdoms of Europe finally turned against the Pope and withdrew their power. Consider the following: France was considered the “eldest son of the church,” she turned against the church and invaded Italy and locked the Pope up in Prison. Read the history of the French Revolution and see how they hated the Catholic church for its sins.
17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.
Our God is Sovereign and is Omnipotent, Omnific, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. Consider how God put into the heart of Cyrus King of Persia to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem:
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. EZR 1:1,2
While the ten kingdoms of Europe gave their power to the pope and allowed him to rule through them over the “Holy Roman Empire,” all that took place was “until God’s words are fulfilled.”
18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.
No King was made or unmade in all the ten kingdoms of Europe without the will of the pope of Rome. He claimed the right to transfer sovereignties, break scepters, and remove crowns:
There is nothing strange in attributing to the Roman Pontiff, as the Vicar of Him whose is the earth and the fullness thereof, the world and all that dwell therein, the fullest authority to lay bare, a just cause moving him, not only the spiritual but also the material sword, and to transfer sovereignties, break scepters, and remove crowns. The canonists produce numerous instances where this has been actually done, as when Gregory VII deposed of Byzantine, emperor Leo III; Gregory VII deposed the emperor Henry IV; Innocent IV in the Council of Lyons, deposed the emperor Frederick II. [Cath. Dic. 258]
Sometimes the Popes declared rulers unfit to reign:
Emperors and kings had to profess the true faith, and be in communion with the Pope, as essential conditions of their reigning lawfully; if these conditions were broken, of which the Pope was the judge, then, at the demand of the subjects, he could relieve them of their allegiance and declare their ruler unfit to reign. [Cath Dic, 257]
Did they claim the right to depose Kings and Queens? Pius V (Cath. Ency., V,449), Gregory XIII (Cath. Ency., VII,3) and Sixtus V (Cath. Ency., I,729), Excommunicate Protestant Queen Elizabeth, and Sixtus promised the Spanish King a subsidy for the Armada, with which England was to be subjugated. Sixtus V excommunicated Protestant Henry of Navarre, and sent an army to unseat him, but he died before this was accomplished (Cath. Ency., VII,4) Lets take a look at how Pope Gregory compels King Henry to freeze three days before he would received him:
Striped of his royal robes, and clad as a penitent, Henry had to come barefooted mid ice and snow, and crave for admission to the presence of the pope. All day he remained at the door of the citadel, fasting and exposed to the inclemency of the wintry weather, but was refused admission. A second and third day he thus humiliated and disciplined himself, and finally on 28 January, l077, he was received by the pontiff and absolved from censure, but on condition that he would appear at the proposed council and submit himself to its decision. Cath. Ency. VI, 794
All of this shows how arrogant the Catholic Church was during the dark ages and how she ruled over the ten kingdoms of Europe. This power that once ruled the world has now been broken, Alleluia. Dear reader is it still ringing in your ears, “until God’s words are fulfilled?”