One of the Seven Angels who carried the seven bowls came and invited me, "Come, I'll show you the judgment of the great Whore who sits enthroned over many waters,
the Whore with whom the kings of the earth have gone whoring, show you the judgment on earth dwellers drunk on her whorish lust."
In the Spirit he carried me out in the desert. I saw a woman mounted on a Scarlet Beast. Stuffed with blasphemies, the Beast had seven heads and ten horns.
The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, festooned with gold and gems and pearls. She held a gold chalice in her hand, brimming with defiling obscenities, her foul fornications.
A riddle-name was branded on her forehead: great babylon, mother of whores and abominations of the earth.
I could see that the woman was drunk, drunk on the blood of God's holy people, drunk on the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
The Angel said, "Does this surprise you? Let me tell you the riddle of the woman and the Beast she rides, the Beast with seven heads and ten horns.
The Beast you saw once was, is no longer, and is about to ascend from the Abyss and head straight for Hell. Earth dwellers whose names weren't written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be dazzled when they see the Beast that once was, is no longer, and is to come.
"But don't drop your guard. Use your head. The seven heads are seven hills; they are where the woman sits.
They are also seven kings: five dead, one living, the other not yet here - and when he does come his time will be brief.
The Beast that once was and is no longer is both an eighth and one of the seven - and headed for Hell.
"The ten horns you saw are ten kings, but they're not yet in power. They will come to power with the Scarlet Beast, but won't last long - a very brief reign.
These kings will agree to turn over their power and authority to the Beast.
They will go to war against the Lamb but the Lamb will defeat them, proof that he is Lord over all lords, King over all kings, and those with him will be the called, chosen, and faithful."
The Angel continued, "The waters you saw on which the Whore was enthroned are peoples and crowds, nations and languages.
And the ten horns you saw, together with the Beast, will turn on the Whore - they'll hate her, violate her, strip her naked, rip her apart with their teeth, then set fire to her.
It was God who put the idea in their heads to turn over their rule to the Beast until the words of God are completed.
The woman you saw is the great city, tyrannizing the kings of the earth."
Following this I saw another Angel descend from Heaven. His authority was immense, his glory flooded earth with brightness,
his voice thunderous: Ruined, ruined, Great Babylon, ruined! A ghost town for demons is all that's left! A garrison of carrion spirits, garrison of loathsome, carrion birds.
All nations drank the wild wine of her whoring; kings of the earth went whoring with her; entrepreneurs made millions exploiting her.
Just then I heard another shout out of Heaven: Get out, my people, as fast as you can, so you don't get mixed up in her sins, so you don't get caught in her doom.
Her sins stink to high Heaven; God has remembered every evil she's done.
Give her back what she's given, double what she's doubled in her works, double the recipe in the cup she mixed;
Bring her flaunting and wild ways to torment and tears. Because she gloated, "I'm queen over all, and no widow, never a tear on my face,"
In one day, disasters will crush her - death, heartbreak, and famine - Then she'll be burned by fire, because God, the Strong God who judges her, has had enough.
"The kings of the earth will see the smoke of her burning, and they'll cry and carry on, the kings who went night after night to her brothel.
They'll keep their distance for fear they'll get burned, and they'll cry their lament: Doom, doom, the great city doomed! City of Babylon, strong city! In one hour it's over, your judgment come!
"The traders will cry and carry on because the bottom dropped out of business, no more market for their goods:
gold, silver, precious gems, pearls; fabrics of fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet; perfumed wood and vessels of ivory, precious woods, bronze, iron, and marble;
cinnamon and spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine and oil, flour and wheat; cattle, sheep, horses, and chariots. And slaves - their terrible traffic in human lives.
Everything you've lived for, gone! All delicate and delectable luxury, lost! Not a scrap, not a thread to be found!
"The traders who made millions off her kept their distance for fear of getting burned, and cried and carried on all the more:
Doom, doom, the great city doomed! Dressed in the latest fashions, adorned with the finest jewels,
in one hour such wealth wiped out!
and cried their lament when they saw the smoke from her burning: 'Oh, what a city! There was never a city like her!'
They threw dust on their heads and cried as if the world had come to an end: Doom, doom, the great city doomed! All who owned ships or did business by sea Got rich on her getting and spending. And now it's over - wiped out in one hour!
"O Heaven, celebrate! And join in, saints, apostles, and prophets! God has judged her; every wrong you suffered from her has been judged."
A strong Angel reached for a boulder - huge, like a millstone - and heaved it into the sea, saying, Heaved and sunk, the great city Babylon, sunk in the sea, not a sign of her ever again.
Silent the music of harpists and singers - you'll never hear flutes and trumpets again. Artisans of every kind - gone; you'll never see their likes again. The voice of a millstone grinding falls dumb; you'll never hear that sound again.
The light from lamps, never again; never again laughter of bride and groom. Her traders robbed the whole earth blind, and by black-magic arts deceived the nations.
The only thing left of Babylon is blood - the blood of saints and prophets, the murdered and the martyred.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)