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. Chapter 17.

The Great Harlot and the Beast

1 THEN ONE OF THE SEVEN ANGELS that held the seven bowls came and spoke to me and said, 'Come, and I will show you the judgement on the great whore, enthroned above the ocean. 2 The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and on the wine of her fornication men all over the world have made themselves drunk.' 3 In the Spirit he carried me away into the wilds, and there I saw a woman mounted on a scarlet beast which was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet and bedizened with gold and jewels and pearls. In her hand she held a gold cup, full of obscenities and the foulness of her fornication; 5 and written on her forehead was a name with a secret meaning: 'Babylon the great, the mother of whores and of every obscenity on earth.' 6 The woman, I saw, was drunk with the blood of God's people and with the blood of those who had borne their testimony to Jesus.

As I looked at her I was greatly astonished. 7 But the angel said to me, 'Why are you so astonished? I will tell you the secret of the woman and of the beast she rides, with the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast you have seen is he who once was alive, and is alive no longer, but has yet to ascend out of the abyss before going to perdition. Those on earth whose names have not been inscribed in the roll of the living ever since the world was made will all be astonished to see the beast; for he once was alive, and is alive no longer, and has still to appear.

9 'But here is the clue for those who can interpret it. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They represent also seven kings, [Or: emperors.] of whom five have already fallen, one is now reigning, and the other has yet to come; and when he does come he is only to last for a little while. 11 As for the beast that once was alive and is alive no longer, he is an eighth-and yet he is one of the seven, and he is going to perdition. 12 The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet begun to reign, but who for one hour are to share with the beast the exercise of royal authority; 13 for they have but a single purpose among them and will confer their power and authority upon the beast. 14 They will wage war upon the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and his victory will be shared by his followers, called and chosen and faithful.' [Or: ... kings, and his followers are faithful men, called and elected for service.]

15 Then he said to me, 'The ocean you saw, where the great whore sat, is an ocean of peoples and populations, nations and languages. 16 As for the ten horns you saw, they together with the beast will come to hate the whore; they will strip her naked and leave her desolate, they will batten on her flesh and burn her to ashes. 17 For God has put it into their heads to carry out his purpose, by making common cause and conferring their sovereignty upon the beast until all that God has spoken is fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that holds sway over the kings of the earth.'

<< | Revelation: 17 | >>

NEBNew English Bible: © The Delegates of the Oxford University Press & the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 1961. This Webpage layout © Paul Ingram 2009. Any mismatches, truncated verses, other mistakes? Please e-mail me.