Revelation 17: Mystery Babylon - The Coming World Religion


Bible Study Series: Revealing Jesus in Revelation

Revelation 17: Mystery Babylon - The Coming World Religion


by I Gordon


Bible Study Lesson Mystery Babylon The Coming World ReligionWell, we've left the last plagues of God's wrath behind us to go back and survey another interesting theme in Revelation 17 that runs through the Tribulation period... and for that matter, the last few thousand years! This theme is Babylon, Mystery Babylon. Google Babylon and what will you see? You will see it has been a city, an empire, a popular Boney M song and even a Brad Pitt movie. We're interested in the first two today, but not so much the latter. Sorry Brad. When we come to the Bible we find that there are two 'great cities' spoken of that stand in opposition to one another. One is Jerusalem - the city of God, chosen and set apart by the Lord. The other is Babylon, the unholy city that opposes all that is true. And we shall see that in our chapter it is given a name - "Mystery Babylon the Great - the mother of harlots." So, that doesn't sound so great after all does it? But what is this alluding to? Why is it a mystery and how will this 'mystery' form of Babylon be prominent in the last days?

So here is what we we will look at today:

  • The background - where did Babylon begin in scripture and what does its first mention in the Bible teach us about its end?
  • Why is it called 'Mystery Babylon' in Revelation 17 and why is she portrayed as a woman riding a beast?
  • And what is the end of this woman? As she is riding the beast, will she be eventually thrown off? And if so what will the final form of religious worship be before the second coming of Jesus?

Ok... let's dive in!

Babel - The Background

Revelation chapters 17 and 18 explain and expand what we previously read in Rev 14:8 and 16:19 which foretold the downfall of Babylon. For those with a memory like mine, here they are again:

Rev 14:8 A second angel followed and said, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."
Rev 16:19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.

It is fair to say that Babylon is a massive theme in scripture being referenced 260 times. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah have entire prophetic chapters concerning Babylon and her fall (Isa 13, 14, 47, Jer 50, 51) . So what is the background to this destruction and how far back does Babylon go in the Bible? The origin of Babylon begins with a not so nice chap called Nimrod building this infamous city1

  • Babylon's first mention - Gen 10:8-11 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. (9) He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, "Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD." (10) The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar. (11) From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah
    Both Babylon (Babel) and Nineveh in Assyria were two notable cities and areas of wickedness and oppression of God's people throughout the ages.
  • Nimrod means 'to rebel'. And he was essentially the world's first dictator. As such, he is a type of the world's last dictator, the Antichrist. When it speaks of him being 'a mighty hunter before the Lord' it is not wild game he is hunting for but men's souls, turning them from God2. The Jerusalem Targum says: "He was powerful in hunting and in wickedness before the Lord, for he was a hunter of the sons of men, and he said to them, 'Depart from the judgment of the Lord, and adhere to the judgment of Nimrod!' Therefore it is said: 'As Nimrod the strong one, strong in hunting, and in wickedness before the Lord.' "
  • It was Nimrod who led the build of the infamous 'Tower of Babel' which was to unite the people, exalt themselves, and rebel against God's authority. This is the 'spirit' of Babylon. 

The spirit behind the Tower of Babel

Gen 11:1-9 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. (2) As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there... (4) Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." (5) But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. (6) The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. (7) Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." (8) So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. (9) That is why it was called Babel --because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Verse Babylonian 'Spirit'
Gen 11:1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. This is the spirit of Babylon. It is to join forces and come as one. This is the essence of Mystery Babylon that we shall see in Revelation 17 which will see a uniting of the world religions for control and power.
Gen 11:4 "Come, let us build for ourselves..." This is mankind coming together as one, but in opposition to God. Beware the call to 'come together' when it is not under God and based on truth. Not all unity is good unity. The Babylonian unity expressed here is to unify against God!  
Gen 11:4 "Come, let us build...  a tower whose top will reach into heaven" Babel is noted specifically for its tower whose purpose was religious in nature. This tower was a ziggurat where people gathered to worship the sun, moon and stars as well as other 'gods' - instead of the living God. Their intention was to reach into the heavens themselves just as their unseen leader, Satan, always had the goal of ascending into heaven (Isa 14:14)  
Gen 11:4 "... so that we may make a name for ourselves" The desire to come together is for self glory, to make a name for themselves. This is always man's goal after the fall, following on from Satan's desire. This is the opposite of the truth which is to glorify God alone. 

The Great Harlot

Rev 17:1-3 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. (2) With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries. (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.

So coming back to Revelation, John is invited to come and see something. Or better, see someone. It is a woman who is a prostitute, a harlot. Now you might be thinking - 'Ok... there is a woman, got it. And she is a prostitute, ok not good but got it. She has committed adultery with the kings of the earth and intoxicated the inhabitants of the earth with her wine... ok, getting worse, but got it. And she is riding a scarlet beast... ok this is getting weirder by the moment. And the beast has seven heads and ten horns... ok, that's me done! I'm out. This is getting way too odd!' Yeah... there is a lot of symbolic language used in this chapter so let's work through it. 

When used symbolically in the Bible, the 'woman' can either speak of a true or false religious system. Being a harlot is a pointer to spiritual adultery and idolatry3 which places her firmly in the latter category! So straight off the bat, we should know that Revelation 17 is giving us a glimpse into the religious and spiritual form of Babylon that will be prevalent in the coming last days. She is sitting on many waters which is interpreted for us later in 17:15 where we read '"The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.' So this harlot is influencing all nations and peoples. There are none upon this earth that are not affected and enticed by her advances. It was secular humanist Karl Marx who famously said 'religion is.. the opium of the people'. We will see that in the last days. In fact the Bible says that the earth will be intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries. So there is something about this woman that is alluring the people out of their right minds. True faith in Christ is a relationship, not a religion, but false religion will be big in the Tribulation period. The Bible also says that the kings of the earth were seduced by this woman. This has been true through Church history where the Roman Catholic church has held great power over the ruling monarchy and so it will play out again in the last days. The Pope and the Catholic church will play a big part in this mystery religion of the last days but this 'woman riding the beast' will be more than just Catholicism. She includes all of apostate Christendom along with other religions. You may remember that when we examined the letters to the seven churches in Revelation we saw that three out of the last four churches will at least in part enter the Tribulation period. As a refresher:

We had Thyatira, a picture of the idolatrous church prophetically embodied in the Roman Catholic church, along with Sardis (dead Protestantism) and Laodicea (the worldly lukewarm church) all entering into the Tribulation. There, a super one-world religion will be formed combining all of these along with moderate Islam, the New Age and others. And this religious system will have tremendous power in the first half of the Tribulation period.

This woman is seen riding a scarlet beast. And this beast is covered with blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. We'll speak more about the seven heads and ten horns later where an angel gives their interpretation, but for now just note that as this mysterious woman is seen riding the beast, it shows that she has great influence and control in the coming days. The beast and the woman will work together, for a season at least. to control the masses. 

The rise of false religion
So expect to see more people actively working to bring the religions together. Expect to see false religion rise in power in the last days. This will be especially prevalent in the first half of the Tribulation period once the true Church, the true bride, has been removed. The false harlot will come to the fore. Currently, in the West at least, religion has been declining for several decades. The number of atheists and agnostics has been growing in the West but that is not the case worldwide. There are not many without one form of religion or another in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia especially. In fact, looking at the world as a whole, a Pew Research survey found that 84% of the world's population was affiliated with one religion or another. The Catholic church alone is said to have around 1.4 billion followers. If you combined this with Islam's 1.8 billion then you already have around 40% of the world's population. One thing is sure and that is there won't be many atheists in the tribulation period. There are no atheists in foxholes as the saying goes. The Tribulation will be a highly religious and spiritual time... but not in a good way. So as we approach that day and deception increases, stay close to Him who said that He alone is 'the way, the truth and the life.' (John 14:6)      

Mystery Babylon

Rev 17:4-6 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. (5) This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (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.

Now this woman sure knows how to deck herself out. She has the purple, the scarlet... she's got the glittering gold and precious stones. She might look a million dollars but beware for it is all a deadly mirage and she is filled with abominable things! The gold and stones speak of her great wealth which will be the focus on Revelation 18. Her colors are also telling. It is interesting that "Purple was the color worn by Roman magistrates; it became the imperial color worn by the rulers of the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, and later by Roman Catholic bishops."4 Scarlet was also adopted by Roman Catholicism and worn by Cardinals as a symbol of Christ's sacrifice.5 Now incase you were being deceived by this woman, it is worth noticing the name written on her forehead, because it is a bit of a giveaway! It says 'MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH'. This tells us that she is the 'mystery' form of Babylon. That is, she speaks not just of a city or empire but the spirit that it represents and is all wrapped in a spiritual seductive form. The 'mother of prostitutes' tells us that false spiritual adultery has its origin in Babylon. David Guzik writes concerning the origin of this mystery religious counterfeit: 

'As a religious system, Babylon came into being long before Christianity, but in Satanic imitation it anticipated the coming true Messiah. According to religious history and legend, the Babylonian religion was founded by the wife of Nimrod (a great-grandson of Noah), named Semiramis. She was a high priestess of idol worship, and she gave birth to a son who she claimed was conceived miraculously. The son, named Tammuz, was considered a savior. Many ancient artifacts remain with the familiar motif of the mother Semiramis holding the savior-infant Tammuz, which predate Christianity. It was also said that Tammuz was killed by a wild beast and then miraculously brought back to life. Baal was the local, Canaanite name for the Babylonian Tammuz.'
David Guzik

So this prominent imagery of the mother and child goes right back and helps explain why Jesus is often seen as a baby held by Mary in Roman Catholicism. Now this woman riding the beast is also said to be drunk - drunk with the blood of saints. Lovely. Again both the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church have martyred saints. The Roman Empire threw them to the lions while the Roman Catholic church burned them as heretics on the stake. And we know that the saints in the tribulation period will again be martyred for their faith. 

"The saints" probably refers to Old Testament saints, and "the martyrs of Jesus" refers 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."
J. Vernon McGee

Now when John saw this woman he was greatly astonished. So if you are struggling to understand, you are not alone! Another version says he marveled with great amazement. He literally couldn't believe what he was seeing. Needless to say there is something astonishing about what is to come. If it was just left to us to interpret this vision, we would struggle with this image. But thankfully God knew that and sent His angel to give the interpretation. Let's look at what the angel reveals now.

The Interpretation

Rev 17:7-11 And the angel said to me, "Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. (8) "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. (9) "Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, (10) and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. (11) "The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.

The angel starts by giving further information about the beast with its seven heads and ten horns. 

The beast

Earlier in the Bible, in Revelation 13:3, it says the inhabitants of the earth will be astonished at this beast because of his resurrection from his mortal wound. While some have seen this as a revived Roman Empire, that is not something that would astonish the world. This, combined with the fact that the beast is said to be a 'he' points to an individual, the Antichrist, who is in view. There are four phases seen in this passage concerning his rise, fall, rise and fall again. 

The rise, fall, rise and fall of the Antichrist
  1. Rise 1: 'The beast that you saw was' - This points to his initial rise amongst the 10 kings (Daniel 7:8,24,25)
  2. Fall 1: 'And is not' - This speaks of his 'fatal wound' by the sword (Rev 13:3, Zech 11:17)
  3. Rise 2: 'And is about to come out of the abyss' - This is his apparent resurrection back to life and ascension from the underworld, that will leave the world in total awe and worship (Rev 13:3)
  4. Fall 2: 'And go to destruction' - This is the Antichrist's ultimate defeat by Jesus at the 2nd coming and entry into the lake of fire for eternity (Rev 19:10-20)

The seven heads

The seven heads are said to be both seven mountains on which the woman sits and also seven kings. The seven mountains have traditionally been seen as a reference to Rome which is known historically as the city on seven hills. Others see that symbolically the Bible uses 'mountains' as a metaphor for kingdoms. For example, in Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the great statue we read that 'the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.' (Dan 2:35) In Daniel's interpretation, this mountain that filled the whole earth is said to be a Kingdom - the Messianic Kingdom: Dan 2:44 "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

There are also different opinions on the identity of the seven kings. Some believe it speaks of seven different Roman Emperors. Others believe it points to seven world empires that have and will dominate this world. I side with the latter. We are given important information about these kings/kingdoms:

  • 'five have fallen': In John's day there were five kingdoms that have dominated this world that had already fallen or passed: 1. Egypt 2. Assyria 3. Babylon 4: Medo-Persia 5: Greece
  • 'one is': In John's day one was still ruling - the Roman empire.
  • 'the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while': This points to the revived Roman Empire in the form of 10 kings from which the Antichrist shall arise. They are said to only rule for a short time which points to the last 7 year period on earth before Jesus returns.
  • 'The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.': This is the final world dictatorship of the Antichrist. He is part of the 7th empire as he arises amongst the 10 kings (Dan 7:8,24) but will gain full power following his resurrection and have total dominance in the last 3 1/2 years of the tribulation. But thankfully he will 'go to destruction'!

The ten horns

Rev 17:12-14 "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. (13) "These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. (14) "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful."

The ten horns of this vision correspond with the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel chapter 2 and the ten horns of Daniel 7. Some see these as 10 countries coming out of Europe though passages such as Daniel 7 indicate that these 10 kings have global control. The world could be divided into 10 regions each with its leader. We also know from Daniel that these 10 kings will arise first and the Antichrist will follow them. Daniel 7:24 also tells us that the Antichrist will subdue three kings. That is, he will force them under his authority in his rise to full power. Eventually, as we see here in Revelation 17:13, all 10 will give their power and authority to the Antichrist and will do his bidding. And that bidding is to oppose God, oppose the Lamb, and oppose His followers. But the Bible is clear that the Lamb will overcome them all. We, as His saints. will come with Jesus when He returns but we won't need to fight... He has got this all in hand, all by Himself!

The Harlot's End

Rev 17:15-17 Then the angel said to me, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. (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. (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. 

Now notice how things end between this harlot and the beast / 10 kings because things definitely go south in this relationship! Though they initially worked together, they will eventually hate her and bring her to ruin. It even says that they will eat her flesh which is alluding to the fate of the wicked Jezebel in the Old Testament who introduced false religion into Israel, was ultimately overthrown by Jehu the King and the dogs ate her flesh6 (2 Kings 9:30–36). So while she is initially seen riding the beast she will be well and truly thrown off! This is likely at the mid-point of the tribulation because at that point the final phase of world religion comes into play. And that is worship of the dragon and the beast alone!

Rev 13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"

Yep! Before the Lord returns, the final phase of world religion for planet earth is Satan worship. It is what Lucifer wanted right from his initial rebellion against God and for 3 1/2 years he will finally achieve this goal.   

God is in control
Now with the coming Satanically controlled world, it is good to remember these words given in Revelation 17:17 concerning the 10 kings:
'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.'

In other words, God is well and truly in control even in the midst of earth's chaos. His word will be fulfilled and He directs even the hearts of those that oppose Him to ultimately do His will! This should give us encouragement for today as well. What is it that brings you fear or confusion? What are you currently worried about? As an old song we used to sing says:

"God is in control. We believe that His children will not be forsaken God is in control. We will choose to remember and never be shaken There is no power above or beside Him, we know Oh, God is in control,
Oh, God is in control"

The woman is also a city

Rev 17:18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth."

The final verse of the chapter tells us that the woman is the great city. This is an introduction to the next chapter where a different aspect of mystery Babylon will be explored. But in the last days the woman will have an end times headquarters from which her dictates go forth. Many believe this to be Rome. There is no doubt that this was the political, commercial and religious capital in the days when John wrote Revelation and throughout Church history. And certainly she is, at the very least, a 'daughter of Babylon' as indicated by the prophets (Isa 47:1-3, Zech 2:7). Others believe this city will be a rebuilt Babylon in its original location in modern day Iraq. While good arguments can be made for both, I lean towards this wickedness going back and becoming a prominent city in its original location, where it all began in the days of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel. Time will tell, but this is not without Biblical support. There is an interesting key prophetic scripture in Zechariah which says this very thing:

Zec 5:5-11 Then the angel who was speaking with me went out and said to me, "Lift up now your eyes and see what this is going forth." (6) I said, "What is it?" And he said, "This is the ephah going forth." Again he said, "This is their appearance in all the land (7) (and behold, a lead cover was lifted up); and this is a woman sitting inside the ephah." (8) Then he said, "This is Wickedness!" And he threw her down into the middle of the ephah and cast the lead weight on its opening. (9) Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there two women were coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens. (10) I said to the angel who was speaking with me, "Where are they taking the ephah?" (11) Then he said to me, "To build a temple for her in the land of Shinar; and when it is prepared, she will be set there on her own pedestal."

In this prophetic passage, a woman, who is said to be 'wickedness', is thrown inside an ephah and carried back to the land of Shinar, Babylon. And why? What are they doing for her there? They are building a religious temple where she can be seated. While there are some uncertainties in how this will all be fulfilled, it will be fulfilled in the last days and involves the original land of Shinar - Babylon. One thing is clear and that is that Babylon, with both her false religious and commercial elements, will be overthrown. And to that the saints rejoice!

Conclusion 

So there is a lot happening in this chapter. I hope you survived and followed it all! To sum up, there will be a false world-wide religious system that will be very prominent in the first 1/2 of the Tribulation period. This system will incorporate all current religious systems after the rapture of the true Church. This is called Mystery Babylon the Great and is symbolically seen as a woman. This woman is very very old, and very very seductive. Normally those two things don't go together but here they do! She goes back as far as the Tower of Babel and the founding of Babylon. She will lure and entice the inhabitants of the world into her way of thinking and acting. Now true unity in Christ is important as Jesus prayed in John 17:23 but true unity is based on the essential truth of the gospel, not by setting it aside and that is what we have with this woman. That is why Jesus also prayed that we would be 'sanctified in the truth' (John 17:17)

Yet she will come to an end. And she is not the last religious system that will dominate this planet. While initially she is seen riding the beast, she will be thrown off and trampled upon. She will come to an end so Satan's long held desire to be worshipped can be achieved. Worship of the beast (Antichrist) and the dragon (Satan) will be the final religion before the coming of Jesus.  

But the woman's downfall is not the complete end of Babylon. While this chapter portrayed the fall of the religious side of Babylon, the fall of the commercial worldly side is still to come. This will be portrayed in the next message on Revelation 18.   

So take a deep breath... we haven't quite seen the end of Babylon yet!



FOOTNOTES

  1. I have spoken about this in another study so we'll keep it brief here, but if interested there is more here:
    https://jesusplusnothing.com/series/post/counterfeit-and-counterpart-part-1-babel-harlot

  2. "It was he who attempted to bring together the human race after the Flood in an effort to get them united into a nation of which he could become the great world ruler. He was the rebel, the founder of Babel, the hunter of the souls of men. He was the lawless one, and he is a shadow or a type of the last world ruler, the Antichrist who is yet to appear."
    J. Vernon McGee

    The Jewish historian Josephus wrote:
    "Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to reach. And that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers. Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water. When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them diverse languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another. The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion..."
    Josephus, Flavius. "Antiquities of the Jews — Book IV

  3. Prostitution frequently symbolizes idolatry or religious apostasy (cf. Jer 3:6-9; Eze 16:30 ff.; Rev 20:30; Hos 4:15; Hos 5:3; Hos 6:10; Hos 9:1). Nineveh (Nah 3:1, Nah 3:4), Tyre (Isa_23:17), and even Jerusalem (Isa_1:21) are also depicted as harlot cities."
    John MacArthur

  4. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple

  5. "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 Roman Catholicism."
    J.Vernon McGee

  6. See the note on Jezebel in this study for more information:
    https://jesusplusnothing.com/series/post/revelation-2-thyatira-church-corrupted