Introduction: When we left Revelation 16 last week we closed with the
enemies of God assembling for the Battle of Armageddon. This week we
are introduced to a new character, the “great prostitute.” War and
sex, this is beginning to sound like a modern novel. Let’s plunge
into our study of the Bible and learn more about what God has in mind
for the future!

  1. The Great Prostitute

    1. Read Revelation 17:1-2 and Revelation 14:8. The great
      prostitute is obviously not a good woman. What do you
      think that she represents? (She sounds like Babylon the
      Great. This is obviously a power aligned against God’s

      1. What do you think the mention of her gender tells us?
        (We previously decided that the woman of Revelation
        12:1 was the group following Jesus. Thus, this
        prostitute likely represents a religious power that
        is opposed to God.)

      2. When the text says that she sits on many waters, what
        does that mean? (Read Revelation 17:15. Recall that
        we previously discussed this issue. “Waters” means
        people and “earth” means a relatively uninhabited
        place. This is a religious power that operates in a
        highly populated area.)

      3. What is the prostitute’s relationship to the secular
        powers of the earth? (She has won them over to her
        point of view. They have “committed adultery.” This
        means that they are unfaithful to God. The average
        “man on the street” is also taken with her because he
        is “intoxicated” with her “wine.” Thus, both secular
        leaders and the general population are in agreement
        with her anti-God point of view.)

    2. Read Revelation 17:3-4. Why would you travel to a desert
      (or wilderness) to find a woman who sits on waters?
      (Recall the Ten Horn sea beast and Earth beast of
      Revelation 13? This may refer to their relationship, or it
      may tell us that the woman is operating outside of her
      normal base.)

      1. This How does the Great Prostitute look? (Fancy!
        Rich! She wears clothes of royal colors. She has lots
        of expensive jewelry and she drinks from an expensive
        cup. She clearly has lots of money.)

      2. Does she have to walk to get places? (No, she rides
        on a scarlet beast.)

        1. Have we seen her ride before? Is this a taxi?
          (No! This sounds exactly like old “Ten Horn,”
          the Sea Beast of Revelation 13.)

        2. When we studied Ten Horn in Revelation 13, we
          decided that it represented Pagan and Papal
          Rome. I suggested to you that the Earth Beast
          of Revelation 13 represented the combined
          powers of Islam, pagans, and Christians (in the
          United States and elsewhere) who did not study
          their Bibles. They combine their power when
          Satan impersonates the Second Coming of Jesus.
          See 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Is the great
          prostitute the same as the Earth Beast? (That
          is likely – but it refers to a time when
          pagans, Muslims, and shallow Christians make
          their anti-God religious views paramount.)

        3. If the Great Prostitute is the Earth Beast, why
          would it ride on Ten Horn? (It shows an
          alliance of all religious powers coming
          together to oppose God’s saints.)

        4. Does the “ride” for the Great Prostitute simply
          mean she does not have to walk? (No. This means
          that she controls Ten Horn. She directs the use
          of its powers.)

    3. Read Revelation 17:5-6. Why does the name of the Great
      Prostitute start out with “Mystery?” (I think this is a
      clue that we might not have things exactly right.
      Understanding this is not obvious, it is difficult.)

      1. How does the Great Prostitute’s description as a
        “mother” aid us in understanding what she is? (She is
        the source, the “mother,” of all the powers that
        cause people to be unfaithful to God. She is the
        source of all abominations.)

      2. Think about that a minute. How does that aid us in
        understanding the Great Prostitute as a symbol? (This
        cannot be an organization or even an identified
        religion. This is a religious philosophy that
        undergirds all of the combined groups and
        organizations which are represented by the Great

        1. What is your suggestion about that religious
          philosophy? (Mine is this: a belief that life
          without God is not only possible, it is
          superior. This is a “spiritual,” or “ethical”
          view that is in opposition to the teachings of

      3. Is this religious philosophy something that we can
        ignore? (No. It will kill us if given the

  2. The Great Prostitute Explained

    1. Read Revelation 17:7. Did we go through all of this
      analysis for nothing? Is an angel now going to explain the
      “mystery” to us?

    2. Read Revelation 17:8-9. Did that solve the mystery for
      you? (This sounds like our prior discussion because we
      linked the Ten Horn to our prior discussion of Revelation
      13. The “seven hills” is also consistent with our prior
      discussion because Rome is built on seven hills.)

      1. Not so fast. This beast arises from the “abyss.”
        Didn’t Ten Horn arise from the sea in Revelation
        13:1? Is the Abyss something else?(When we looked at
        Revelation 9:11 we decided that the Angel of the
        Abyss was Satan. It seemed that the Abyss is hell. In
        Revelation 20 we will learn that Satan is bound in
        the Abyss. Perhaps arising from the abyss means that
        it arises from Satanic philosophy.)

      2. There is another serious problem. Although the NIV
        (and other versions) translate this as “hills,” it
        seems more appropriate to translate it as
        “mountains.” That makes the identification of Rome
        much more problematic. What do you think “seven
        mountains” could mean? (This goes back to a
        discussion we had when we first saw Ten Horn rise
        from the sea in Revelation 13. We had previously seen
        the dragon that represents Satan, and that dragon had
        seven heads. At the time, I suggested that it meant
        the dragon was smart. But, since then I’ve thought
        about the idea that a “mountain” refers to an area of
        influence in the world. For example mountains could
        be law, entertainment, business, and government, to
        name some. Thus, this might mean instead that its
        Satanic influence covers many important and
        influential areas of life.)

    3. Read Revelation 17:10-13. Does this further explain the
      mystery to you? (There are many explanations for these
      kings and kingdoms. However, to the extent that we have
      been discussing that the Ten Horn is a combined religious
      and secular power, this makes sense.)

  3. Victory

    1. Read Revelation 17:14. Who wins in the battle with the Ten
      Horn? (Our God! Our side!)

    2. Read Revelation 17:16-18. What other victory do we see?
      (There is conflict among the opponents of God. Ten Horn
      and the Great Prostitute have a falling out. Ten Horn and
      the beast attack the prostitute.)

      1. Let’s consider this. If the Great Prostitute is the
        combined forces involved in the fake Second Coming of
        Jesus, what does that reveal about the future? (When
        the whole world believes that the redeemer of all
        faiths and religions has come, and that combined
        religious power turns against the people of God,
        there comes a time when its true character becomes
        clear. At this point there is internal rebellion.)

      2. Notice that the Great Prostitute is also associated
        with a city. Should we understand that the Great
        Prostitute for a time has headquarters in one great
        city of the world? (Read Revelation 16:19. This is an
        earlier reference to the “great city” and it also
        refers to its destruction. We should understand that
        the Great Prostitute has a headquarters.)

    3. Friend, the time to be ready is now! Become a serious
      student of the Bible so that you will not be deceived by
      the Great Prostitute.

  4. Next week: I Make All Things New.