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Revelation 17:9

Revelation 17:9

It seems odd that the seven hills should be equated with the well-known topography of Rome because Revelation Rev. 17:1+: indicates that the identification of the hills calls for special wisdom. Why should such a well-known geographical locale to John’s first century audience require special theological and symbolic insight for proper identification?1

This symbolic understanding of the seven mountains seems buttressed by the fact that the harlot sits on or beside seven mountains (Rev. Rev. 17:9+) just as she sits on or beside the many waters (Rev. Rev. 17:1+). Since the waters are symbolic of peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues (Rev. Rev. 17:15+), consistency seems to dictate that the seven mountains are symbolic as well.2

The reference to the seven mountains (Rev. Rev. 17:9+) which are seven heads (Rev. Rev. 17:8+) actually belong to the beast (Rev. Rev. 17:3+, Rev. 17:7+; Rev. 13:1+) and not the woman named Babylon. Thus, these seven heads or mountains really have nothing to do with the entity Babylon at all. It is possible to argue that the woman is still associated with the seven hills because she is sitting on them. However, it is better to see this as referring to the woman’s control rather than her location. The other references to the woman sitting also refer to her control. Revelation Rev. 17:1+ portrays the woman sitting on many waters. Revelation Rev. 17:15+ explains that the waters represent peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. Thus, Revelation Rev. 17:1+, Rev. 17:15+ show the harlot’s control over the entire world. Furthermore, Revelation Rev. 17:3+ depicts the woman as sitting on the beast, which again indicates control rather than location. Thus, if the harlot’s sitting indicates control rather than location twice in Revelation Rev. 17:1+, then consistency would seem to dictate that the harlot sitting on the seven hills in Revelation Rev. 17:9+ would also indicate control rather than location.3


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