Then the angel carried me by his power into the wilderness. I saw a woman sitting on a bright red beast covered with insulting names. It had seven heads and ten horns.
The woman wore purple clothes, bright red clothes, gold jewelry, gems, and pearls. In her hand she was holding a gold cup filled with detestable and evil things from her sexual sins.
A name was written on her forehead. The name was Mystery: Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Detestable Things of the Earth.
I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God's holy people and of those who testify about Jesus. I was very surprised when I saw her.
The angel asked me, "Why are you surprised? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns that carries her.
"You saw the beast which once was, is no longer, and will come from the bottomless pit and go to its destruction. Those living on earth, whose names were not written in the Book of Life when the world was created, will be surprised when they see the beast because it was, is no longer, and will come again.
"In this situation a wise mind is needed. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is sitting.
They are also seven kings. Five of them have fallen, one is ruling now, and the other has not yet come. When he comes, he must remain for a little while.
The beast that was and is no longer is the eighth king. It belongs with the seven kings and goes to its destruction.
"The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet started to rule. They will receive authority to rule as kings with the beast for one hour.
They have one purpose--to give their power and authority to the beast.