An Unusual Introduction to This Week’s Article
Once before it was necessary to repost a prior Eye of Prophecy article, due to the sudden demise of my laptop hard drive. The time it took to start all over again that week with a brand new engine prevented writing of a new article. Still, the repost included pictures and captions not part of the original article.
Well, it has happened again. Not because my computer hard drive dropped dead, but because my left eye began flashing little bolts of light, surrounded by mysterious shadows. This is not metaphorical!
These were the opening lines of Eye of Prophecy article, To Be or Not to Be in Heaven (A Revisit), posted 5-6-17.
*(My eyesight has stabilized, and the articles have continued … thank you, Lord!)
The first repost referenced above was, Why the Rapture? (A Revisit), posted 11-5-16.
Of the 253 Eye of Prophecy articles to date (one each Saturday), those are the only two published a second time, albeit with some modifications.
Although there is no emergency reason, this week’s article plus the next two are reproductions of sorts. But with substantially revised form and content of the original six-series Eye of Prophecy entitled, The Woman and the Beast, posted 10-12-13 through 11-16-13.
Reasons for reopening this six-article set: Visitors during the first year or so of Eye of Prophecy were significantly fewer than those of subsequent articles (to be expected for any new website). However, readership was disproportionately low, for that very reason—six parts … too many! Nevertheless, there is some good stuff in those articles. But, then, I would say that as the author!
Sometimes in my articles, excerpts from previous Eye of Prophecy posts are included… in italics or quotations marks. However, because of the extensive makeover, there will be no excerpt quotes from the original six articles, as it would disrupt the continuity of this week’s post, as well as the next two. Rather, previous contents will be blended in with the new material. Technically, I think this is permissible (no plagiarism or failure to acknowledge), as I am the author of all Eye of Prophecy articles. Trust that meets with your approval!
So, let’s begin by restarting the engine of a six-cylinder vehicle originally produced as, The Woman and the Beast.
Enjoy the ride! But be sure to get out of the car before it plunges over a precipice that will spell the end of the woman part way through the Tribulation and final fate of the beast (who had returned from the Abyss) at the end of the Great Tribulation. You will escape this fatal destiny-altering crash if you have believed and received Messiah Jesus as personal Savior (John 3:16). He is the one who will, “…defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and faithful ones will be with him” (Revelation 17:14).
Revelation Chapter 17 … Where It All Began
A year or so after my first book—O Israel … the end is the beginning for those left behind—a novel published in 2007, I began a sequel. After writing just a few chapters, the Lord dramatically interrupted this project one night in November 2008. He did so with a dazzling disclosure (discernment) that the Antichrist beast of Revelation had already lived and died before John’s visions of the beast as recorded in Revelation 13 & 17.
The pivotal passage is: “…I will tell you (reveal to you) the mystery of this woman and of the beast… The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, parenthesis mine).
Immediately, I stopped writing the sequel and embarked on a stirring literary voyage, “…to the ancient Roman world, to the very origin and lair of the beast, to the first-century church, to the abyss and back again, to the pre-emptive death and eternal destruction of the Antichrist, to the mesmerizing visions of John, Daniel, and Zechariah.” To, “expose and declassify that which has been concealed and classified; the secret of the beast presumed to be confidential until the body of Christ is taken from the earth.”
The above quote is taken from the back cover of my second (non-fictional) book: Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved, 666? Published in February 2011. Followed by the inception of Eye of Prophecy website in July 2013.
To say that the Book of Revelation contains some of the most apocalyptic events known to man would be the proverbial understatement. One of the most captivating is John’s amazing vision of a woman sitting on a scarlet beast. Moreover, it is one of only two revelations in which an angel explicitly explains the mystery of what John had just witnessed. As said in a previous article or two: a mystery revealed is no longer a mystery.
In this current trilogy, we’re going to identify and examine the woman and the beast upon which she sits. Considerably more attention will be given to the woman, as several Eye of Prophecy articles have dealt extensively, even exclusively, with the Antichrist Beast.
“So the angel took me in the Spirit into the wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it. The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls. In her hand she held a gold goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality. A mysterious name was written on her forehead: ‘Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.’ I could see that she was drunk—drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus. I stared at her in complete amazement” (Revelation 17:3-6).
Who is the Beast?
My book, Out of the Abyss provides ample evidence to answer that question. As do parts or the whole of 50 Eye of Prophecy articles posted to date in the category of Antichrist. The beast is Nero!
If you find that conclusion to be incredible or inconceivable, then I encourage you to read the book and/or some of the articles. You will find Biblical documentation, historical evidence, and sound reasoning to support this astonishing identification: The early Christians knew and so, too, can we know. The number and name of Antichrist has been solved!
(Regarding both Christian and secular Roman views about Nero particularly prevalent in the first four centuries (A.D.), see Eye of Prophecy article, The Legendary Return of Nero, posted 4-4-15. Also, Reappearance of the Beast, posted 9-21-13).
Who, Then, is the Woman?
Let’s get right to the answer. In the angel’s explanation of the woman and the beast to John—with a qualification that understanding and wisdom were needed to fully grasp this clarification (Revelation 13:18 & 17:9)—he discloses the identity of the woman: “And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:18, italics for emphasis).
Which begs another question: Which city is the great city. It’s not as hard as you might think, because there are only two viable choices: Babylon and Rome. Although it’s conceivable that Antichrist Nero upon his return will maintain an office in Brussels, Belgium (headquarters of the European Union), his command center will be in and his loyalty to “the great city.”
A common if not prevailing view—held, for example, by the authors of the Left Behind anthology, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins—is that the ancient (supposedly restored in the last days) city of Babylon is the proper choice. With the following rationale:
- The wording in Revelation 17:5: “A mysterious name was written on her forehead: ‘Babylon the Great…’”
- The entire 18th Chapter of Revelation that describes in graphic detail the utter destruction of Babylon, beginning with verse 2: “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen!”
- Some Old Testament prophecies announcing the destruction of Babylon, particularly Isaiah 21:9 which also reads, “…Babylon is fallen, fallen!”
- The attempt of Saddam Hussein to rebuild Babylon during his dictatorship in Iraq. Which came to a screeching halt with the capture, trial, conviction, and execution of this evil tyrant.
(Hussein fancied himself as the reincarnated Nebuchadnezzar)
Let’s test the validity of Babylon as the choice.
First, the mysterious name of Babylon the Great does not tell us that the woman (the great city) is, in fact, Babylon. Rather, it states that Babylon the Great was written (symbolically of course) on the woman’s forehead. So, what or who is Babylon the Great? Revelation 17 also answers that question: “Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” In other words, Babylon the Great is not actually a city at all in the context of the woman being the “great city that rules over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:18).
Rather, Babylon the Great is the mother that would bear children who would seek to “prostitute” the eternal existence and imperishable Word of the true and living God and of his Messiah. This corruption and distortion of God’s everlasting truth is the core foundation of all non-Christian world religions, religious organizations that are Christian in name only including cults, and anti-religious systems such as the occult New Age movement or communism or even globalism.
Through graphic description and by contextual implication, the great city of Revelation 17 would be the dwelling place of the worst of her children, as also vividly depicted in Revelation Chapter 18. Thus, when the great city is crushed (during the tribulation), Mother Babylon which birthed the woman sitting on the beast is also destroyed.
Another passage in Isaiah refutes the idea that a renovated modern-day Babylon is the great city symbolized by the woman:
“Babylon, the most glorious of kingdoms, the flower of Chaldean pride, will be devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah when God destroyed them. Babylon will never be inhabited again. It will remain empty for generation after generation…” (Isaiah 13:19-20). Then the last verse of that chapter tells us, “Babylon’s days are numbered; its time of destruction will soon arrive.”
About 170 years later Babylon was annihilated by the Medes-Persians … beyond recognition.
Today’s Babylon is a virtual wasteland compared to the glory of ancient Babylon. In fact, just two verses earlier in Isaiah 13, we read: “Look, I will stir up the Medes against Babylon…” (Verse 17). This emphatically places Isaiah’s prophecy of Babylon’s destruction (once for all time) in the context of what is now historical fact that the Mede-Persian empire destroyed Babylon.
Both Isaiah and the angel of Revelation foretold the obliteration of Babylon; with, as indicated, Isaiah’s prophecy coming to pass (in 539 B.C. to be exact). However, neither Isaiah nor the angel of Revelation are saying that Babylon will twice be destroyed. They repeat the stunning prediction for dramatic emphasis, but the angel of Revelation repeats it for another reason.
Consequently, when the angel announces that, “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen!” (Revelation 18:2), the fall (that takes place during the Tribulation) includes both the great city itself—symbolized by the woman, not by the ancient city of Babylon—AND Satanic systems that seek to replace the everlasting truth of the true and living God. Systems such as occult astrology, pantheism, or polytheism that were promoted by and flourished in the ancient Babylonian kingdom. Then continued by Rome during the glory days of the Roman Empire. And continuing to this very day, but in vastly different way and form … as we shall see in this trilogy of articles.
Thus, the angel’s repetition of Babylon’s fall applies: (1) Tangibly to “the great city” destroyed during the Tribulation. (2) Intangibly to “Babylon the Great, Mother of all Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World” (Revelation 17:5).
Why is Rome the only feasible choice as the great city of Revelation Chapter 17? Let’s begin the answer with a few more questions.
What realm had conquered most of the known world when the book of Revelation was written? Easy answer: The Roman Empire. What city was the political, cultural, economic, and military center of this great empire? An even easier answer: Rome. And what would happen to Christians if a newly written scroll that contained some of the most astounding revelations ever witnessed and recorded had mentioned Rome as the “Mother of All Prostitutes, holding a goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality, drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus…” (Revelation 17:4-6)?
Or conversely, a city “hated by the scarlet beast and the ten horns (kings) who would strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her remains with fire” (Revelation 17:16)? For Roman citizens, Roman Generals and Roman Legions, but especially to Caesar: had Rome been identified by name, these would have been defamatory words of disrespect and even treason. In short order, many more Christians would have been rounded up and executed. Thus, it was necessary to disguise the great city of Rome as the woman and Babylon. The Christians were also protected in Revelation Chapter 13 when the angel and John encoded the identity of the Beast (Nero, the Antichrist) within the number six hundred sixty-six; then encouraged believers to solve the mystery of this number (Revelation 13:18).
Returning to Revelation 17:18: “And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world” (italics for emphasis).
The word (rules) is obviously a present tense verb. With the clear connotation that this great city was ruling over other kings and their nations, as Rome did, when Revelation was written. As discussed in several prior articles, the beast (Nero Caesar) had already died, but the woman who sits on the beast was still thriving—Rome. At the beginning of the tribulation period, the beast will reappear from the Abyss and, with the allegiance given to him by ten kings who will have risen to power (Revelation 17:12), the beast would eventually turn on the woman and annihilate her.
Babylon (the ancient city, itself) could not possibly be the woman of Revelation 17, for at least two reasons: (1) it had already been destroyed and, according to Isaiah, would never return to any form of greatness, whatsoever. (2) When Revelation was written, Rome was the only city “that rules over the kings of the world.” This present tense verb “rules” would extend to the end times, as the woman (great city) would be alive and well during the onset of the Great Tribulation and will be, at first, in collaboration with the beast.
However, the Roman Empire was destroyed in the 5th century AD.
How, then, could Rome (the heart of the Roman Empire) qualify as the great city, with an ongoing relevance through the Dark Ages, through the political and military prominence of European kings/queens, during the Protestant movement and ensuing Renaissance, right up to the present time? How can the present tense “rules” be extended to the Great Tribulation? The answer to that question resides in the answer to another question: Since the fall of the Roman Empire, What did and also what will the woman (the great city) look like, signify, represent, or characterize during the end-times?
I’m not suggesting a Revived Roman Empire, because I firmly believe there is no such thing in Scripture. In my book Out of the Abyss (Chapters 15 & 16) and several Eye of Prophecy articles such as, Exposing Antichrist’s Identity … More Compelling Evidence Part I & II (Posted 3-18 & 3-25, 2017), significant evidence is presented to demonstrate that the seven heads of the beast are kings, not kingdoms (Revelation 17:9-11). Instead, there will be a Revived Roman Emperor. A man (Nero) who had already lived and died even before John first saw visions of him as the Antichrist beast; who would suddenly reappear from the Abyss at the outset of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 17:7-8).
Concerning the woman, you will see that it’s the same woman, but she has taken on a new appearance after the fall of the Roman Empire. At the beginning of the Tribulation, the woman will be in alliance with and gain support from the beast-king but will also attempt to influence him. Just like this same woman’s adultery (spiritual and political) with the kings of the earth to manipulate them and control the people of their kingdoms since the fall of Rome (Revelation 17:2).
Can you find another verse in Revelation Chapter 17 that also conveys the rule of the woman in the (ongoing) present tense? If you can locate this verse, you will find more evidence that the woman (both the ancient version and the modern version—because “rules” is present tense throughout) is Rome. A strong hint: What city was built on how many hills?
The Rise & Fall of the Mighty Roman Empire
Invincible! Such was the mindset of the Caesars, the Roman Legions, the Roman Senate, and most Roman citizens during the zenith of the Roman Empire. Moreover, nearly all the peoples and nations conquered by Rome felt the same way. Who could stand against such a powerful empire? Who could consistently defeat the Romans in battle? Who would dare oppose such a massive domain that, by the end of the 1st century dominated much of the civilized world and civilized, by ruthless force if necessary, parts of the uncivilized world? How could Rome ever fall from glory?
But fall she did, exactly like the Prophet Daniel predicted one thousand years earlier: “I continued to watch because I could hear the little horn’s boastful speech. I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire” (Daniel 7:11).
The little horn was Daniel’s description of the ruler who would later be called the man of lawlessness by Paul, the beast of Revelation, and the Antichrist in I John 4. The Roman Empire would become the “beast” of Daniel’s prophecy, the fourth and final Gentile kingdom (directly pertaining to God’s plan for Israel and the Messiah). Though it was the mightiest and most terrible of the four kingdoms, it would one day cease to exist.
For nearly six hundred years, the woman (the great city) that John saw in his vision would “…rule over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:18). For most of those six centuries Rome was the largest city in the world. Historians place the demise of the centralized Roman Empire at 476 A.D. However, the eastern portion of the empire continued for hundreds of years with its capital of Constantinople (now called Istanbul). No other nation on the face of the earth, including the United States of America, has ever attained the pinnacle of supremacy like the Roman Empire. But one by one the Roman emperors fell; piece by piece the colossus crumbled from within, until European barbarians dismantled her beyond recognition.
The woman continues to rule but in a far different way. Before we explore the transformation of the woman from a ruler “over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:18) to “the great prostitute, who rules over many waters” and with whom, “the kings of the world have committed adultery” and by whom, “the people who belong to this world have been made drunk by the wine of her immorality (Revelation 17:1-2), let’s examine the strategy of the one who is behind the formation of Godless empires and ungodly world systems. Whose degenerate plan is to depose and displace the true God and His Messiah.
Because Satan cannot see into the future, he is forced to react to human events the same way we do … in the linear unfolding of time, from day-to-day. But throughout Biblical and secular history we see two distinct patterns of Satan’s designs and operations. (1) An immediate attempt to destroy by external power whoever or whatever stands in his way and interferes with his evil schemes for mankind. (2) When sheer force doesn’t work, he resorts to attacking from within. He does so through a sinister agenda of perverting God’s truth—by deceit, distortion, lies, counterfeit imitation, compromise, immorality, apathy—with the predictable result of rebellion against God and substitution of God’s eternal Word with false man-made beliefs and ideas.
The historical and contemporary evidence is incontrovertible: The evil that men do—including unjust wars or atrocities initiated by one nation against another, one ethnic group against another, or one race against another—begins with a belief system. Thus, the Third Reich sought to annihilate the entire Jewish race, because Hitler harbored the depraved idea of Aryan supremacy which led to a shocking view that Jews were sub-human. This ungodly, immoral, racial hatred comes straight from hell.
Conquest by Force
The following is an excerpt from my second book, Out of the Abyss. It provides an overview of Satan’s plots to eliminate all those who would dare oppose him and his ultimate plan for world domination by vainly trying to usurp God’s universal authority; his warped and unattainable goal of being like the Most High God. In italics:
Satan wanted to crush Christianity as soon as he could…. If you examine Scripture, you will find this preemptive strategy and pattern of Satan in every situation that involves the promised Messiah or Israel as the racial ancestry of the Messiah. You only need to look at the historical proximity between the prophesied event or person and the timing of Satan’s preemptive attack.
It began with Cain’s murder of Abel, who Satan thought was the direct progenitor (seed) of the Messiah … He acts on what he thinks is going to happen next, meaning soon. He tried to preempt Moses from his role as deliver of Israel; thereby, holding Israel under Egyptian bondage and keeping them from the Promised Land. He tried to exterminate Israel through the powerful, but wicked Persian official Haman. In the same pattern as Moses, Satan stirred Herod to kill all the newborn children in Bethlehem. He tried to get Jesus to sin in the wilderness, thereby, discrediting Christ from being a perfect sacrifice. He was instrumental in killing Jesus by crucifixion, hoping that Jesus could not arise from the dead. And now, he was diabolically obsessed with the destruction of the early Christian Church by means of killing all the Christians.
This blueprint continued throughout history, culminating with the Holocaust—a depraved attempt to exterminate all Jews, which would prevent them from returning to Israel, which in turn would prevent Yeshua from returning to Jerusalem to establish Messiah’s kingdom. Satan knows the signs of the end times. He knew that Palestine had been declared a two-state region by Lord Balfour; it would be just a matter of time before the Jews would, in great numbers, fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophecies that the Jewish exiles would return home. On and on we could go in demonstrating that Satan launches his attack as soon as he realizes that there is yet another event that could destroy his plan for the human race.
And don’t forget what happened right after Israel miraculously became a state in 1948. Not in a year, or a month, or even a week—the very next day Arab nations attacked the Jews with the express intent of destroying Israel. That is as now as it gets!
Do you see this? Satan never waited before. Why would he wait for an unknown, unspecified, interminable length of time for the Christian church to flourish and usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth? Revelation hadn’t been written yet, so Satan didn’t know the rest of the story. His arrogant ambition and pernicious pattern is always now. That’s why he selected Nero to be the king prophesied by Daniel.
Alas, the rebellion abruptly ended; rudely interrupted when Satan’s superman (Nero) left the scene before all the terrible things Satan wanted to do could be completed! Satan must have been furious a Nero, at the Roman Empire, at the Church, and at Christ. Satan never learns or doesn’t care that evil feeds on itself and ultimately self-destructs. In fact, except for the intervention of Messiah, the world would self-destruct during the Great Tribulation. (Pages 225-226).
Not until the Lord revived Nero and imprisoned him in the Abyss, then the book of Revelation was written, did Satan realize that he would be given one last chance during the end times to establish his kingdom of pure evil on the earth. Though he knows that God always wins, he’s wickedly vain enough to still try; to take as many people with him to their fate in the Lake of Fire as he can. This last desperate attempt will itself bring about his end. As God will for the second time in human history respond by judging the entire world because of the global defiance of God and Messiah Jesus—instigated by Satan, Antichrist Nero, and the False Prophet.
Internal Conquest by Infiltration and Subversion
When force doesn’t work, when Satan’s best laid plans are foiled by God, then Satan reverts to his Plan B to defeat God and God’s people, whether the people are Jews of the Old Covenant of Law or the new man (Jew and Gentile … one in Messiah Jesus) under the New Covenant of Grace.
An early Biblical and well-known example of this strategy is the idolatrous golden calf made by the Israelites who grew impatient for Moses to return from Mt. Sinai. Many of these same people who had witnessed God’s powerful and persuasive miracles of the Egyptian plagues, yielded to the voice of a rebellious few within the Israelite camp … wanting a god they could see and worship visibly.
This happened just a few weeks after their miraculous deliverance from Egypt and the stunning rescue of the Jews from annihilation when their backs were to the Red Sea. You remember: God parted the waters and his people walked across the sea on dry land! And what happened to the Egyptians? They had the audacity and arrogance to ignore this stupendous miracle and pursued the Jews. As a result, the Egyptians drowned when God caused the walls of water to collapse on them. Did Pharaoh and his army seriously think that God would deliver the Israelites by supernaturally parting the waters, only to allow them to be massacred on the other side? If he had carefully contemplated the whole thing, Pharaoh would have stayed on his side of the sea!
Satan couldn’t destroy God’s people by force, so he reverted to discord and disgrace from within the ranks. Hence, the golden calf and subsequent apathy, complaints, and rebellions from a discontented few.
So, stop trusting in God to get you to the Promised Land. Devise and implement a plan, an idea … someone, something (money, power, prestige, flattery) to get you where you want to go or be. But whatever it takes or whatever you do, be sure to leave God and His message to humanity (the Bible) out of it. In the proverbial nutshell that’s Satan’s lie to the world and even to the people of God.
“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God” (II Corinthians 4:4).
“For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:24).
Satan’s switch to Plan B doesn’t mean that he abandons his diabolical determination to literally destroy Jews and Christians whenever possible. He does this oblivious to the historical reality that the harsher the persecution of Jews or Christians, the greater the good that came out of even the most horrendous hate and vicious brutality. Hence, the exponential growth of believers during their persecution by the Roman Empire. Or the unthinkable horror of the Holocaust precipitating the prophetic rebirth of the state of Israel and the massive return of Jews from the four corners of the earth.
In today’s world, there is increasing oppression of true believers in Christ Jesus, including atrocities committed by Muslims in several African nations, as well as some Arab countries. As well as a reprehensible return (rise) of Anti-Semitism.
As developed in next week’s article, we’ll see that it was internal subversion of the true Gospel of Messiah Jesus through an ecclesiastical hierarchy that caused far more damage than external persecution by those who hated the (true) Christians.
Things to Ponder
As seen, the woman (great city … Rome) was ruling over the kings of the world when Revelation was written. This same woman would also be in existence during the Tribulation as clearly shown in Revelation 17:12-17, which says, for example:
This transformation from ancient Rome with its Caesars that ruled over kings and kingdoms to the subsequent form and substance of the woman beginning in the 4th to 5th centuries and continuing to this very day will be developed in more detail in the next two articles.
The only other thing to ponder is to not miss those articles!
That and the infinitely more important near-future reality: “Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His (Messiah Jesus) kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27, parenthesis mine).