The symbolic nature of Revelation hits a crescendo in chapter 17. There are several numbers and images packed into this passage. But first, a new character emerges. Who is the Great Prostitute? She represents the corrupt system of power introduced in Revelation 13. Look at how the end of this passage describes her. “And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the
world.” Revelation 17:18 (NLT)
At the end of Revelation 12, the dragon stands at the sea and waits for the beast to rise. This dragon is Satan waiting for the right person to emerge from the nations. Two beasts emerge, one from the sea and one from the earth. Who are they? The beast from the sea is a political leader known as the Antichrist. The beast from the earth is a religious leader known as the false prophet. Together, they merge the political, religious, and economic powers into an evil one- world system. By controlling the economy, they force the people to submit and worship them.
In Revelation 17, the Great Prostitute represents the evil convergence of economic, political, and religious power in a system controlled by Satan.
Two women are prominent in Revelation.
1. The woman who courageously gives birth to the Savior in Revelation 12.
2. The prostitute who seduces the world with evil in Revelation 17.
One woman represents God’s salvation. The other represents sin’s destruction.
Two cities are also prominent in Revelation.
1. New Jerusalem: The city of God and the center of His Kingdom.
2. Babylon: The man-made and sinful systems that will ultimately fail.
These two women and two cities continue a common pattern throughout Revelation: judgment and salvation. Judgment is a divine response to human activity. Every human act is either approved by God or disapproved by God. Salvation is a divine response to human sin. God rescues us from eternal suffering through the sacrifice of Jesus. Revelation is the story of how God ultimately ends the evil caused by sin and brings His children into His eternal kingdom.
Will you live in Babylon or New Jerusalem? We will discuss much more about this passage on
Sunday. Onward church!