In chapters 17-19 of Revelation John sees a vision of Babylon the great personified as a prostitute and the punishment that befalls her.
Chapter 17 verses 1-6 describe her.
“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.” 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
When I saw her, I marveled greatly.
She is sitting on the beast. She rides his power and is just as evil as he is. She is not a victim, she is a cohort. Her opulent clothes imply she is rich and corrupt in her wealth. She holds a golden cup full of abominations and impurities of her sexual immorality. She is full of sin, she is proud of her sin, and she leads others in sin as the mother of prostitutes and the earth’s abominations. But it is her sexual immorality that she is most proud of and she is most marked by. Remember John is not describing one woman here, he is describing a city, a people united in abominations, iniquity, and sensuality. The name on her forehead, the place where people are sealed with the mark of the beast is “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations.” She is not drunk on wine, she is drunk on the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. The pleasure she receives from torturing and killing the saints is so much she is drunk on it.
Does that city describe any nations today? I believe it does. I believe it describes many of the people in the world today. It could easily describe America, who becomes more and more hedonistic day by day. America celebrates sexual immorality, sensuality, and money to the point that men are given awards for their sexual perversion. If we call transgenderism, homosexuality, polygamy, adultery, or fetishes perverted, we are called haters and we are marginalized. It will soon come to a point when we are not only called racists and discriminated against but where we will be beaten and even killed for speaking out against sin, Babylon, or the beast.
Citizen of Babylon are described in Philippians 3:18-19.
“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”
Believer, do you seek to satiate your flesh or do you seek to be the image of Christ? Philippians 3:20-21 describes the citizens of Heaven.
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
In verses 7-18 the angel explains the vision of the prostitute to John. He tells us if we have wisdom, we will be able to discern the meaning. In other words, when the time is right we who have the Holy Spirit will be able to recognize the prostitute, the beast, and her relationship to him.
“But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. 9 This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
15 And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, 17 for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”
The beast is once again described in terms similar to Jesus. The beast was and is not and is about to rise. The Kings, Babylon and the world following her lead will see the beast as savior and god. They will worship him as such. But the beast and his kings will hate Babylon his prostitute, unlike Jesus who loves His bride. They will make the once rich prostitute desolate. They will strip her bare and devour her flesh. They will use her up. But her decadence, her selfish sensuality will have dominion over them. That is the way it is with people and prostitutes. There is no love between them just self-indulgent sin. The man uses the prostitute and the prostitute lets him. He is addicted to the sex and passion and she is addicted to the domination over him.
This too reminds me of America. The entire world hates America and yet longs for the selfish sensuality and opulence she is known for. Americans are considered arrogant lazy oafs but how many people across the world long to be as free, bold, and wealthy as Americans?
In this case it is not only the beast and the kings who are led by Babylon the Great and her great sin, but the whole world. The kings will willingly hand over all their power to the beast and his one great use of that power is hatred of and war on the saints.
We get to know this now, so that we can be aware, so that we can be prepared with full oil and trimmed wicks when it happens. We also get to be aware of how we are living now. Are we deceived by the false riches of the world? Do we eek the pleasure of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit? Are we drunk with hatred? The love we think we experience in a sex act outside of the way God gave this beautiful gift to us, is not love, it is hate. A relationship of using one another and power over one another is not love and it does not mirror Jesus’ love for us. Believer, Beware. Are you a citizen of Babylon or a citizen of Heaven?