Revelation 17:1

The Great Prostitute and the Beast

1 Then 1one of the seven angels who had 2the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of 3the great prostitute 4who is seated on many waters,

Revelation 17:1 Meaning and Commentary

Revelation 17:1

And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven
It may be the first of them, since one of the four beasts designs the first of them, in ( Revelation 6:1 Revelation 6:3 ) though Brightman thinks the fifth angel is meant, because he poured out his vial on the seat of the beast, who is by this angel described; but rather this is the seventh and last angel, concerned in the utter destruction of antichrist: and therefore proposes to John to show him the judgment of the great whore:

and talked with me, saying unto me, come hither:
he conversed with him in a friendly manner, see ( Zechariah 1:9 ) and desires him to come nearer to him, and go along with him, adding,

I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore;
that noted and famous one, known before to John by the names of Jezabel and Babylon, who taught and caused many to commit fornication, ( Revelation 2:20 ) ( Revelation 14:8 ) and is no other than Rome Papal; for that a city or state is meant is clear from ( Revelation 17:18 ) and it is usual for idolatrous or apostate cities to be called whores or harlots, see ( Isaiah 1:21 ) ( Ezekiel 23:2-4 ) ( Nahum 3:4 ) and she is called a "great" one, because of the largeness of the Papal see; and because of the multitude of persons, the kings of the earth, and the inhabitants of it, with whom the Romish antichrist has committed spiritual fornication, or idolatry: her "judgment" signifies either her sin and wickedness; in which sense the word is used in ( Romans 5:16 ) and which is exposed, ( Revelation 17:5 Revelation 17:6 ) namely, her idolatry and cruelty; or else her condemnation, and the execution of it, suggested in ( Revelation 17:8 Revelation 17:16 ) and more largely described in the following chapter:

that sitteth upon many waters;
which in ( Revelation 17:15 ) are interpreted of people, multitudes, nations, and tongues, subject to the jurisdiction of Rome; and so several antichristian states are in the preceding chapter signified by the sea, and by rivers and fountains of water: and this is said in reference to Babylon, an emblem of the Romish harlot, which was situated upon the river Euphrates, and is therefore said to dwell upon many waters, ( Jeremiah 51:13 ) her sitting here may be in allusion to the posture of harlots plying of men; or may denote her ease, rest, and grandeur, sitting as a queen; and is chiefly expressive of her power and dominion over the kings and nations of the earth, ( Revelation 17:18 ) .

Revelation 17:1 In-Context

1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment 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."

Cross References 4

  • 1. Revelation 21:9
  • 2. Revelation 15:7
  • 3. Revelation 19:2; Nahum 3:4; [Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20]
  • 4. ver. 15; [Jeremiah 51:13]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.