Summary of passage: John was then carried away into the desert where he saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast with 7 heads and 10 horns. The woman was dressed as royalty, dripping in jewels. She held a golden cup filled with her adulteries. She had written on her forehead “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Prostitutes, and of the Abominations of the Earth.” She was drunk with the blood of the saints who bore testimony to Jesus.
6) The woman was riding on the beast. She was “dressed in purple and scarlet and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls.” The beast was “covered with blasphemous names and had 7 heads and 10 horns.” The woman held a golden cup full of her adulteries and had written on her forehead “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Prostitutes, and of the Abominations of the Earth.” She was drunk with the blood of the saints who bore testimony to Jesus.
7a) She’s the corrupter of men and she’s drunk with the blood of the saints, those who bore testimony to Jesus. She persecutes God’s people and revels in it.
b) 2 Chronicles and Jeremiah tells us how God uses Babylon as punishment for His disobedient people. Daniel 5 tells how the King of Babylon did not honor God and instead insulted God by drinking from His sacred objects from the temple and praising false gods instead of God. Same here. The woman is false religion personified and she’s riding the Antichrist. Babylon is a country known for its false gods and the one God chose to judge His people. It’s appropriate then since she’ here to bring punishment for disobedience to Him.
8 ) Part personal question. My answer: God’s “things” is Him and the actions we do for Him. Material, glittering goods are just that–things of the earth we enjoy here but not in heaven and which often we spend too much time acquiring. Our focus should be on God and His “things” which is loving others and being like Jesus. The glittering things are meant to seduce us away from Him. I’m more drawn to God’s things for they are everlasting. All else falls away.
Conclusions: Question 8 highlighted the seduction of man by Satan and how it’s all a just a farce and a show. None of it is real. Satan is out for blood as this passage clearly shows and if we’d remember that visual of him drinking our blood, we’d probably sin less.
End Notes: John now is carried from heaven to earth in his vision.
This is the same beast we saw in Revelation 13:1. The Antichrist. The fact she’s sitting on the beast suggests she is supported by him and she is in some way dominating him and controlling him. To earth she appears religious. God clearly sees otherwise.
She is richly adorned. As you may recall, only Roman Emperors can wear purple togas and only the rich were allowed to wear a purple outline on their togas. Scarlet also was a costly cloth.
Roman prostitutes frequently wore a headband with their name on it. Despite her appearance, she is nothing but a prostitute.
This woman is NOT the woman from Revelation 12 who represented God’s people, Israel. Here, she is false religion and idolatry. The two women are meant as contrasts–God versus Satan.
She is the literal city of Babylon but the mystery of the other Godless cultures. She is the mother of what Satan devised against God. The beast will rebel against her and bring about her ruin (Revelation 17:16). Revelation 16:6 describes the prostitute in the same way.
Jeremiah describes prostitutes (Jeremiah 4:30) and Babylon (Jeremiah 51:7-8) in the same manner.
John was amazed because of the ferventness of the religious persecution.