I have been studying the Revelation of John and all of the wondrous visions within it. After much discussion with my wife, along with the divine insight given to us both, by the Holy Spirit, mysteries that were once hidden are now being revealed to us in perfect clarity. What follows are notes about what the Holy Spirit has presented to me regarding John's Revelation.
As time goes on and more about this amazing book becomes clear, I will add to this document and share what the Holy Spirit has helped me to understand.
After reading what I'm about to present to you, I urge you to go a read the Revelation of John yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what He has shown to me.
Chapter 12: Who is the woman who gives birth?
In Chapter 12, John describes a vision of a woman, who gives birth to a man child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. John then describes a dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, waiting at the woman's feet to devour the child as soon as it was born.
Listen to John's description of what he sees:
The dragon in the vision represents Satan, as we know that Satan was expelled from Heaven and took one third of God's angles with him. John saw this as well, in his vision of the dragon. He also describes the dragon having seven heads and ten horns. Keep this in mind, as it becomes relevant later on.
But who is the woman? At first, you may think (as I did) that the woman must be the Virgin Mary, since she gave birth to Jesus, a man child who rules all nations. But she is not Mary and the man child is not Jesus, specifically. One way to confirm this is by referring to what is written in Chapter 19:11-13;
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does 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 clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
It is clear that the One with the rod of iron is the same One mentioned in Chapter 12:5;
“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up to God, and to his throne.”
No. Rather than representing the Virgin Mary, the woman represents the worshipping of the Lord our God; you can also think of her as the Judaeo-Christian religions, or the “the church”. It's the concept of the religious institutions that the woman represents in the vision. And the man child is more than Jesus, but is also the “Word of God”. The passage also says that Satan goes forth and makes war with all of her offspring; that being the many Christian based religions.
Listen to this chapter again. But this time, replace the dragon with Satan, replace the woman with the concept of organized religion, and replace the man child with “the Word of God”.
John's vision now describes a much clearer picture of what God is trying to show us. Satan wants to destroy the Word of God and believes he can do so if he attacks the church. For many people, the church is where they first hear the Word of God - a “birth place” of sorts.
The Word of God and Jesus is born unto the Earth and dwells for a while, but is later caught up again into heaven, as the vision explains. However, the woman (the institute of organized religions) is left on the Earth and is pursued by Satan. For the time being, she flees to the wilderness and is protected by God. This gives the church and God's followers a chance to grow and prosper for a time.
Chapter 17: Who is the prostitute on the beast?
Of the recent enlightenment that I've been granted during my study of Book of Revelation, this one has to be the most profound for me. After understanding what I had been shown regarding Chapter 12, when I began to read Chapter 17, many pieces started to fall into place.
Listen to Chapter 17 here.
The chapter begins with:
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgement of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk. 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. 5 And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations.” 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”
But who is the prostitute, the city of Babylon? But how can that be a name of mystery, if we take it a face value? No, she is not Babylon, the city. There's a very important clue in the third verse of the chapter.
“And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness …”
Do you see the connection yet? Who was the other woman who fled to the wilderness, in Chapter 12?
Yes, this prostitute, this woman, is the same woman spoken of in Chapter 12. She is unmistakably the organized religions of the Judaeo-Christian faith.
I know that this is a very unsettling conclusion, particularly to many of my fellow Christians. But it is what has been revealed to me, none-the-less. At first, it may seem like I'm trying to put the Christian faith and church in a negative light, but I'm not. In fact, this revelation bring great hope and promise to Christians and explains a lot of what we see going on in our churches (the institution) today.
Remember, that in Chapter 12, God said that he would protect the woman in the wilderness for a time. Revelation 17 is a leap forward in time. God's protection for the woman has ended and now Satan has caught her, corrupted her and is now waging war against her offspring by infiltrating the church and corrupting its doctrine.
Just look at what many Christian churches are teaching and condoning (either directly or indirectly) today: same-sex marriage, abortion, promiscuity, evolution, and even the belief in aliens. Not to mention their love of money and power. A millennium ago, these subjects would have been unthinkable and unacceptable to most Judaeo-Christian. Today, these subjects barely raise an eyebrow. Many of our spiritual leaders have lost their moral compass, as they believe that they have gained authority over the Word of God and can alter it for their own purposes. Unfortunately, their arrogance and self love is also leading many of their parishioners down the road to destruction. This, of course, is Satan's plan; to undo the good works that has been done by God's saints and devoted followers.
6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.
The logical conclusion is that Satan has found the woman in the wilderness and has, indeed, corrupted her into the prostitute described in Chapter 17
And what of the Beast?
But the woman is just one piece of this prophecy. She's also supported by the Beast, which will ultimately turn on her. John describes the Beast as such:
8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come. 9 This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.
Throughout the Bible there are many prophesies, and when ever nations (or kingdoms) are involved, they are sometimes represented as beasts of some sort. The Beast of Revelation can be interpreted the same way. This particular kingdom has seven heads, which represents, as the angel reveals to John, seven hills.
Because of the context of this vision, and the fact that this Beast is carrying organized religion (the woman who originally gave birth to the Word of God) on it's back, It's logical to conclude that the seven hills are the seven hills of Rome. The Beast is the Church of Rome - the origin of today's modern Christian faiths. Over time, it transformed into the Vatican (which is also a nation on to itself), the seat of power for the Church of Rome.
Listen to chapter 17 again, this time keeping in mind what the prostitute and beast represents. Are you gaining a “mind of wisdom” yet, as the angel calls for in verse nine?