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Hounslow Christian Fellowship - Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord
REVELATION 17:1-5
   

The chapter opens with the vision of a woman called "Babylon the Great" riding on a scarlet beast which had 7 heads and 10 horns,"And he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness,and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast,full of blasphemous names,having seven heads and ten horns.And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet,and adorned with precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality,and upon her forehead a name was written,a mystery,"BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH".

The name on her forehead is a mystery.She represents Satan's counterfeit church which has deceived multitudes down through the centuries and damaged the testimony of Christ's true Church.

This woman,the false church,can be compared with the woman in chapter 12,clothed with the sun,the moon at her feet and with 12 stars around her head.Catholics believe this woman in Rev ch 12 is the Roman Catholic church and is most likely the reason why, at the Treaty of Rome,formed after the 2cd World War,the original six nations of the European Union(EU),chose 12 stars to be on their flag and with a blue background,the colour generally associated with the Virgin Mary.

When the Bible makes mention of "mysteries",it does not mean that they are unable to be understood,rather it means that to understand them requires spiritual insight.The Lord said to His disciples that they are expected to understand such mysteries.

The mystery of Babylon has moved in 2 parallel lines through history,starting at the Tower of Babel in Gen ch 11.The Tower of Babel was an act of rebellion against God.As Eric Sauer puts it,"In its madness,in collective strength and in vain self-glory,the human race had banded together to rob God of His glory".

In ch17 we see the final end days judgment of the religious side which is shown as a harlot and in ch 18 the final end days judgment of the secular side,seen as a city,which will be Antichrist's main centre.Earlier in the Book of Revelation ,we see both these same judgments mentioned:of the Harlot in Rev 14:8 and the City in Rev 16:19.

In the Old Testament we see how Satan put his centre in Babylon(just south of Baghdad) to be a rival to God's centre,Jerusalem.

The religious side of Babylon can be seen ,for example,in the Chaldean priesthood who were present in King Nebuchadnezzar's time(Dan2:10) and also in Pharaoh's court where they performed miracles before Pharaoh(Exo 7:11,12)

After the Babylonian Empire,came the Persian Empire(the silver arms and chest of Nebuchadnezzar0s dream in Dan ch 2).When the Persians took over Babylon ,they threw out the Chaldean priests who then shifted their centre to Pergamos in Asia Minor(Today's western Turkey) referred to in Rev 2:12,13 as the place where Satan's seat is and so the King of Pergamos, Attalus the First,  became the head of the Babylonian priesthood with the title,Pontifax Maximus.

Some time later,when the Roman Empire was in power, Attalus the Third passed the title to the Roman Emperors who from that time on were known as Pontifax Maximus, head of the Babylonian idolatrous worship system. And so this religion entered Rome.

Later, in New Testament times,the Apostle Paul,in response to the Macedonian Call, took the gospel into

Europe(Acts ch 16) and the centre of the church gradually moved from Jerusalem and Antioch to Rome.

For 300 years after Pentecost,believers were cruelly persecuted by the Romans until in about 317 ad the Roman Emperor Constantine declared the whole Roman world officially Christian with the result that persecution stopped and lukewarmness and idolatory spread into the church.

In 366ad,Damasus,by force, became Bishop of Rome and took the title Pontifax Maximus thus opening the door for the idolatory which we see in the Catholic church today.As the centre of world affairs moved from the East to the West,Satan also moved his centre from Babylon to Rome as a rival to the Lord's true Church and to confuse people as to what real Christianity is.But in the end days,as the focus of world attention moves back to the East,Satan will return to his original abode in Babylon as we shall see in our study of Rev ch 18.