The Scarlet Woman of Revelation 17
By Elder Lawrence Nelson
Our subject is the scarlet woman of Revelation 17, number nine in this series. In this message we shall deal with God’s final warning to the inhabitants of this world as found in Revelation 14:8. “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” The rejection of this warning message will bring forth the wrath of God. Revelation 14:9-10 tells us, “The third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”
You have listened to eight of these studies, and now I ask you to pay close attention as we put these divine predictions together. Before we do this we must pray for heavenly guidance. Our loving Father, we are nearing the end of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Please open our understanding to these inspired prophecies so we may know what is expected of each of us to prepare for Christ’s Second Coming. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Today the entire world is captivated by the pope’s increasing political and religious dealings. This is exactly what God said would happen. Since 1929 the papal deadly wound has been healing. Revelation 13:3 tells us, “And his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” In this our day almost every nation on earth has its ambassador to the Vatican. Even the United States of America has circumvented its Constitution by appointing an ambassador to the Vatican on January 10, 1984.
For some 25 years the Catholic ecumenical movement, planned by Vatican’s two councils, has been accomplishing its deadly purpose. Today it is no wonder that it has become unpopular to preach God’s warning message which you have been hearing on these tapes. In a book The Keys of This Blood , by Malachi Martin (a Jesuit), the struggle of the papacy to regain control of this world is clearly outlined on p. 15. I quote, “It is about who will establish the first one-world system of government in the society of nations. It is about who will hold and wield the dual power of authority and control over each of us as individuals and over all of us together as a community; over the entire six billion people are expected by demographers to inhabit the earth early in the third millennium.” Then just listen to this, “Our way of life as individuals and as citizens of the nations; our families and our jobs; our trade and commerce and money; our educational system and our religions and our cultures; even the badges of our national identity, which most of us have taken for granted – all will have been powerfully and radically altered forever. No one can be exempted from its effects. No sector of our lives will remain untouched.” This is a picture of what the papacy is planning to do when it will gain control of this world.
So few people seem to realize that the pope will become the head of the New World Order and rule the world through the United Nations. For some time it has been common knowledge that the Vatican has been asked to be seated as its world power in the United Nations. On October 5, 2003 the National Catholic Register officially took this step with the headline, “The Vatican is Open to the Full Membership of the United Nations,” p. 4. There is no question that the papacy is planning to rule the world.
Now let us look at the last universal world power of prophetic prophecy. You will find this in your visual aid – beast #8. Notice carefully the divine description as found in Revelation 17:1 – 5, “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
Before we study this tremendous prophecy let us briefly review what God has already revealed in Daniel 2, in Daniel 7 and in Revelation 12, 13 and 14. This will prepare us to understand the prophecy of the scarlet woman. Now, why has God seen it necessary to reveal the dragon power in four different prophecies? Because God, the Creator of our minds, knows the learning process which is so necessary to education. Thus the Lord teaches the simple before presenting the complex. Like a child entering school, he must first learn to add and subtract before he can master algebra or geometry.
Let us quickly review the most simple prophecy of Daniel 2. God begins with the image of a man whose head of gold represented the empire of Babylon (compare beast #2), the chest of silver represented Medo-Persia (beast #3) and the belly and thighs of brass representing Greece (beast #4), the legs of iron stood for pagan Rome and the feet with ten toes a mixture of iron and clay – the division of pagan Rome into ten kingdoms (as you compare beast #5) – out of which papal Rome developed to rule the world (as you find in your visual aid #6). This prophecy of the world kingdoms comes to an amazing climax with a mighty stone destroying the entire image structure representing what will take place at the Second Coming of Christ. For the scripture states, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Daniel 2:44.
The second prophecy of world governments is found in Daniel 7 which gives the details of how each world kingdom developed and was overthrown by a succeeding power. For instance, the lion rose in 606 BC (beast #2) which is called Babylon, which had wings. Archeologists discovered this was the exact symbol of Babylon. Next came a bear in 538 BC (beast #3) which devoured the three ribs – or provinces – of Babylon and became lifted up on one side when the Persians overthrew the Medes. Then came the next, the leopard in 331 BC (beast #4) with wings revealing the swiftness in which Alexander the Great conquered the world. The four heads revealed that when Alexander died his four generals would rule in his stead. The next beast was known as pagan Rome in 168 BC (beast #5) which divided into ten kingdoms for it had ten horns. Three of these horns were then destroyed by a little horn, the papacy (beast #6) which spoke great words against the Most High God and wore out the saints of God with persecution and dared to change God’s eternal law by commanding all to keep Sunday sacred instead of the seventh-day Sabbath.
This power ruled the world for 1260 years. Here again God revealed the climax, for God holds a judgment session in heaven and sends Christ back to this earth to punish such wickedness as we read in Daniel 7:26, 27, “But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
Now this brings us to the third prophetic prophecy found in Revelation 12: 13, 14 which describes in detail the beginning of this dragon power controlling this world. It reveals how this war began in heaven and now continued on this earth (see beast #1). Revelation 12:3, 7- 9 reads, “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. .. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
This is an inspired description of the war that began in heaven and is continuing here on earth between the dragon’s church of pagan tradition and God’s true church which the Bible pictures as a pure woman. The scriptures give us the detail of how it began on earth when the old serpent (that’s Satan) beguiled Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden. The war that started in heaven continues on this earth. God said in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity (that’s war) between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Revelation 12 describes how the dragon used King Herod of pagan Rome (beast #5) to try to kill Baby Jesus. After some 33 years of harassing Christ finally he succeeded in deceiving the Jews to crucify their Messiah. However Christ arose victorious from His grave and returned to His Father in heaven after He had begun His New Testament church which replaced the Jewish Church. God’s true church is now represented by the woman and was continually persecuted for 1260 years during the papal reign as described in Revelation 13:1, 2. “I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” And it was given unto him to make war with the saints.
You will notice that these verses trace the devil’s kingdom back to the very beginning by naming each beast in reverse order (see beasts #5 – 1) such as the ten-horned beast of pagan Rome (beast #5). Next it takes us back to the leopard beast of Greece (beast #4), and then back to the beast of Medo-Persia (beast #3), then back to the lion of Babylon (beast #2), and finally to the dragon who is Satan (beast #1). Here God is tracing back through each kingdom revealing how Satan was able to give his great authority of paganism to the papacy.
Then inspiration adds the verse of Revelation 13:3, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” This deadly wound took place in 1798 – the same date the United States of America was recognized as a new world power (beast #7). The papal deadly wound began to heal in 1929 when his temple kingdom was restored to the Vatican. Today the whole world wonders after the beast and the Bible predicts that the United States will enforce the papal mark of the beast. To make sure that no one could possible misunderstand who this beast is God has give us his number – 666 – that is found in his name.
These astounding facts are God’s final warning of Revelation 14:9-11. We read, “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
Here again the climax of this prophecy is revealed in the Second Coming of Christ who comes with a sharp sickle. I am reading in Revelation 14:14-16, “I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” This scripture plainly states those who will be saved in this final harvest. I am reading verse 12, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
Now with this background of three major Bible prophesies all related to the ending of the world, let us now study the fourth prophecy of the scarlet woman of Revelation 17. I am reading verses 1-5, “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (This is beast #8 on your visual aid).
Here is brought to view the final and complete destruction of papal power. We will list these divine predictions one by one.
You will notice that inspiration declares this evil woman sits on the beast. She is in absolute control. Her deadly wound has been healed. She has control of the whole world for the waters under the beast represent the peoples of the entire world as you read in Revelation 17:15, “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”
The beast upon which the harlot sits is the same papal beast as described in Revelation 13 (beast #6). However, since this prophecy is specifically dealing with its condition at the end of the world God now declares it a scarlet beast, the Biblical description used to designate her sins. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Though your sins be as scarlet,” … “For her sins have reached unto heaven,” Revelation 18:5.
Furthermore this papal power is given the name “Mystery, Babylon.” This terminology takes us back to the beginning of pagan doctrines. It was Nimrod who built the Tower of Babel on the plains of Shinar in defiance of God. He boasted that he could build a tower so high that it would reach unto heaven. Genesis 11:4. But now God declares her sins – those of modern Babylon – have indeed reached unto heaven. Revelation 18:5. When Nimrod died, this pagan religion of Satan taught that he went straight to the sun and became the sun-god to be worshiped by keeping Sunday as a holy day. His evil wife, Samiramus, who was also worshiped because she bore an illegitimate son whom she claimed was by a virgin birth, had a child who was born on December 25 and named Tammuz. He was killed in a wild boar hunt. Since he was supposed to be a holy child they declared forty days of a weeping vigil to be held each year. This was the beginning of pagan Sunday-keeping and worship of the Virgin Mary, and Christmas on the twenty-fifth of December, and the Catholic forty days of Lent. All this is paganism.
Inspiration declares this harlot woman to be a great city in Revelation 17:18, “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” This is a religious and a political power ruling the world and commanding obedience to her spiritual doctrines of tradition.
Revelation 16:19 declares, “And the great city was divided into three parts.” This is explained in verse 13, “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” The dragon is the author of paganism which is spiritualistic in doctrines as visualized in beast #1. The beast here mentioned is the papal power (beast #6) and the false prophet is apostate Protestantism (beast #7) which has made an image to the beast by obeying and enforcing the commands of the beast to keep Sunday instead of the Lord’s Day, the seventh-day Sabbath.
Let us now consider the words, “Drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” Revelation 17:6. History verifies that this scarlet woman, the papacy, killed millions of Christians who would not obey the pope, and again in the very end time it will be a persecuting power.
Keep in mind the words of Revelation 17:5, “The mother of harlots.” This reveals that the ecumenical movement has accomplished its goal. Protestant churches no longer protest against the beast for they have accepted the papal invitation as “separated brethren” and have joined the papacy to enforce her doctrines.
As Christ revealed these mysteries John marveled. “And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.” Revelation 17:7. If John wondered, no wonder that all the world wonders after the beast!
Please take note: God emphasizes that this scarlet-colored beast is indeed the same beast of Revelation 13:3 (beast #6) for the wound has been healed. Revelation 17:8 clarifies this so there can be no doubt. “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” The words “the beast that was,” refers to the time period when the papal church ruled the world for 1260 years from 538 AD to 1798 AD at which time she received a deadly wound when the pope was taken prisoner and died in exile. The words “and is not” is the period of time from 1798 to 1929 when the papacy was no longer in control of the world because of its wound. The words “yet is” reveals that the wound that began to heal in 1929 when Mussolini returned the Vatican state to the pope is once again controlling the world affairs. Thus inspiration declare, “All the world wondered after the beast.” Revelation 13:3.
Revelation 17:12, 13 reveals that the United Nations would divide the world into ten sections, which it has already done. “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” This is verified by the enclosed visual aid chart of the ten kingdoms proposed by the club of Rome. The words “having one mind” reveal the entire world has united with the papacy, but only for a short time of one hour. The Bible prophecy tells us that a year stands for a day as found in Ezekiel 4:6. Therefore one hour is about 15 days. It is at this time that Christ will pour out the seven last plagues.
As we consider Revelation 17:10,11 keep in mind the time in which this is written by the apostle John some 66 years after the resurrection of Jesus. For this scripture states, “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” Paul who lived during this time wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” So consider the words “five are fallen.” Now look at your chart of beasts and count them.
#1 The dragon
#3 Media Persia
#5 Pagan Rome
Thus five empires are fallen. Then Inspiration continues, “one is,” (which is papal Rome #6). Next the scripture states, “the other is not yet come,” (that’s beast #7 referring to the United States which did not exist when this verse was written). But the scripture says, “when he cometh he must continue a short space,” (which means a little while).
Now this brings us to Revelation 17:11. “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” The word “the beast that was” is the papal power (beast #6). The words “is not” speaks of the time when the wound was inflicted by Berthier who took the pope prisoner in 1798 to die in exile. The words, “even he is the eighth,” reveals that this is the same power which had emerged after the healing of the wound in 1929. The words, “of the seven,” reveal that the dragon power which was manifested in the past world empires (beasts #1-7) is now again existing in the scarlet woman – but God declares not for long because this time it goeth into perdition. She will be destroyed by the very nations which she has deceived.
So it is no wonder that we have come to a time when the pope boasts that soon the world will demand that he rule over them in the New World Order. This is what God said the papacy would do. I am reading Revelation 18:7. “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.”
What made this possible? The papacy has succeeded in making all churches drink from its cup of false doctrines. Revelation 17:4 states, “Having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations … of her fornication.” Let us examine some of these lies found in her cup as time permits.
1) The papacy teaches that the soul never dies, but God says in Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
2) The papal church says that hell is burning now, but God says in 2 Peter 3:7, 12, “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
3) The papal church says tradition, not the scripture, is the rock on which the church of Jesus Christ is built. But God says in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
4) The papal church teaches that we should pray to Mary, but God says in Matthew 6:6, “ But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
5) The papal church teaches (and this is found in Development of Christian Doctrine p. 272, 273 by Cardinal Newman), “The use of temples and these dedicated to particular saints and ornamented on occasion with branches of trees, incense, lamps, candles, votive offerings on recovering from illness, holy water, asylums, holy days and seasons, the use of vestments, to tonsure (the shaving of the head), the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant (and notice these words) all are of pagan origin and sanctified by their adoption into the church.” Friend, this is why God says in Matthew 15:3, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?”
6) The papal church commands, “Keep the first day of the week and lo the whole entire civilized world bows reverent obedience to the commands of the Holy Catholic Church. It is the mark of our authority to overrule God’s law.” Father Enright, History of the Sabbath p. 802. But God says in Exodus 20: 8-10, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God.” “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Revelation 14: 9,10.
We could present many more but time would not permit. Like the three major preceding prophecies of this dragon power this fourth prophecy of the scarlet woman ends with the battle in which Christ will be victorious by completely destroying the papal power with its United Nations. I am reading Revelation 17:14, “These shall make war with the Lamb.” But Revelation 19 describes the outcome, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS….And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
Beloved, on what side will you fight in this final battle soon to take place here on this earth? Will you be numbered with the dragon by accepting his traditions and receiving the mark of the beast or when Christ comes will He find you keeping His commandments and receive His seal of approval? How you answer will determine the difference between eternal life or eternal death. May God help you to obey Christ. Be aware, God has revealed how you can gain the victory with Him as found in Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him (that’s the dragon) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death.”
Let us pray. Our loving Father, we must each make a decision now. Please help us to so live that we may be worthy of Thy great love by obeying Thy commandments to live eternally with Jesus. Open our eyes that we may see beneath the tinsel of temporal prosperity and realize that by obeying Satan, we can only gain in this life a life that ends in death, but by saying yes to Jesus, we will live eternally. Thank thee, dear God, for Thy precious gift of eternal life given to those who obey Him. Amen.
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