BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 22, Day 2: Revelation 17:1-2

Summary of passage:  An angle beckons John to come and see the prostitute who committed adultery with the kings of the earth and intoxicated the inhabitants of the earth as well.


3a)  “The punishment of the great prostitute”

b)  All of earth’s inhabitants including the kings of the earth

4)  Idolatry

5a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure what BSF is going for here.  The definition of the word “appeal” according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the power of arousing a sympathetic response; attraction.”  No one immediately comes to mind.  I like certain politicians and celebrities and heads of state etc because they are personable.  Does that mean I agree with them or support them 100%?  No.  But sympathy?  Yes.  A very basic human emotion.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Any attraction of the world.  Desire for material objects and a nice life I’d say.  It’s not even that I want more.  It’s more I’d like to be secure in my future and in the present. Not sure that is taking away from God however.

Conclusions:  Question 5 is out of place.  Big time.  I don’t think the prostitute was a public figure so why this analogy was chosen I’m not sure.  The question could have been more effective if it asked who in your life appeals to you.  I would say more people have those close to them or acquaintances they admire more so than public figures–basically unknowns.  Has no relevance to the passage whatsoever.

End Notes:  Revelation 17 & 18 will be about the fall of Babylon which represents the world system and its judgment which reaches its climax during the Great Tribulation.

In the Old Testament Babylon was associated with evil since it was the nation of Babylon that conquered the Jews and shipped them off.  In John’s day, Babylon is Rome and the Roman Empire.  In the End Times, it will be the entire world.

Babylon is the essence of all evil.  Since Genesis 11 when the Tower of Babel was built, Babylon is the great prostitute here.

Since its one of the angels from the bowl judgments we just witnessed in Revelation 16 we can conclude this takes place during the Great Tribulation as well.

Some scholars say Babylon represents 3 systems:  1)  Religious system (Revelation 17)  2)  World system (Revelation 18)  3)  A literal city (Revelation 18).

Some scholars say the woman is Rome and the beast is the Roman Empire.  I prefer the entire world view.

Punishment is rendered judgment in other Bible translations.  There is no doubt here:  the prostitute or Babylon or the world will face judgment and punishment.  She represents idolatry (Jeremiah 3:6-9; Ezekiel 16:30; Hosea 4:11-12).  The Old Testament refers to many wicked cities as prostitutes such as Ninevah (Nahum 3:4), Tyre (Isaiah 23:16-17), and Jerusalem (Ezekiel 16:15) due to their immoralities.

History of Babylonian Religion:  The religion of Babylon was founded by the wife of Nimrod, Noah’s great grandson according to legend.  She was a high priestess who claimed she gave birth to a son conceived by a miracle.  This son, named Baal, was considered a savior and he also was killed and brought back to life according to Babylonian belief.  All of this predates Christianity.

Revelation 17:15 tells us the waters the prostitute sits on are “peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages”.  False religion.

Revelation 14:8 mirrors Revelation 17:2:  “Fallen is Babylon gate Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”

The kings and inhabitants were drunk on idolatry.  Worshipping false gods instead of the One, True God.  This has nothing to do with marriage because the kings and the inhabitants are considered pagans since they are worshipping false gods and pagans don’t marry their gods.

In conclusion, the great prostitute leads people away from God as we’ve seen throughout history and will continue to see until the Second Coming.

Fun Fact:  Babylon is mentioned 287 times in Scripture, more than any other city except Jerusalem.

3 thoughts on “BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 22, Day 2: Revelation 17:1-2

  1. We didn’t discuss this lesson, as we had a snow day and the previous lesson took precedent. What was interesting about Question 5 (and I agree, it did not connect to the passage)-was 1st: it is contrary to traditional BSF guidelines (can see my years in BSF there!).. as it tiptoes into the political arena and opinions. 2nd: It was scheduled to be discussed the day after our presidential primary. So the gate would have been opened for some discussion.

    I actually did note a political figure in my answer who I have known personally and he attended an event I hosted as a guest speaker at my request. While not a church event, he spoke and used Scripture in his part. He has a great family, seems like a committed Christian, but recently his connections in politics have been very, very tainted with disregard for people and their health and seemingly greed. Now, he has not been connected with this, his *star* is rising, but his close political ties are looking very bad. Wonder what politics will do to his character.

    Love the work you put into this.


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