One of the reasons why John marvels at the sight of the woman and the beast, is because he has insight into the magnitude of the structure. The woman ‘sits’ on the water, which represents the people of the earth (see Rev. 17:15). She ‘sits’ on the Roman Catholic Church and the seven empires, and he also sees her ‘sitting’ on all the ‘kings’ of the earth. In other words, this is a hegemon and the scale of it and the breadth of it, is virtually incalculable. The kings of the earth are a part of the composite and the woman has a special relationship with them. The relationship she has with water is that she rules over the people of the earth. The relationship she has with the beast is that she rides it. The relationship that she has with the kings of the earth, is one of ‘fornication.’
The relationship that God has always wanted with His people, is a covenantal relationship. A covenant is an agreement, or a contract between two or more parties. The different parties make vows, or they exchange promises – these vows or promises are the terms of the covenant, and all parties commit themselves to the keeping of these vows or promises. In earthy terms, a covenant is similar to the marriage ceremony/contract. In the marriage, two parties agree to live together according to the terms of their vows and promises. This covenant/contract has the potential to produce great happiness and joy, or great pain and sorrow. This is why God, has chosen to use the marriage covenant/contract, to illustrate His heavenly contract with the inhabitants of the earth. The marriage, along with all its associated sexual references, such as adultery and fornication, enter the biblical lexicon as symbols of the keeping of the covenant and the breaking of the covenant. For example:
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. Rev. 19:7.
Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord. Jer. 3:20.
Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied.
Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied therewith. How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman; In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire; But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband! Eze. 16:28-32.
Therefore, because the Old Testament, uses the imagery of a wayward woman committing adultery and fornication, for those who ‘marry’ themselves to the enemy and work for his cause, it should not be surprising, to find that the fornication and adultery type in the Old Testament serves as an antitype in Revelation:
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. Rev. 17:2.
The woman riding the beast is specifically depicted as committing fornication with the kings of the earth. This is because, she is in an illegal union with the kings.
One of heaven’s principles is, “Be ye separate… and touch not the unclean thing” (2 Cor. 6:17; cf. Isa. 52:11). This principle is expanded upon by Jesus when He said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21) – and – “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). In other words, God’s people are supposed to be in the world but not part of the world. This is because we are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Heb. 11:13), and our covenant/union with God, is not to be sullied by union with the world.
This illegal union with the world, is emphasized at the ABC level of the prophecies. In the very first prophecy (Dan. 2), we have an ‘illegal union’ in the form of the fifth empire made up of iron and clay. Iron and clay do not naturally mingle together in nature, it is an un-natural union. It is expressing the same thing, as the woman in illegal union with the kings of the earth. In Daniel 2, the iron represents Rome, and the clay represents God’s people – in other words, the union of church and state. The woman in illegal union with the kings is expressing the same – the union of church and state.
The Wine of her Fornication
This union of church and state, this union with the kings of the earth, this union of fornication produces ‘wine’ which the people of the world ‘drink’ and they are made drunk by it:
Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. Rev. 17:1, 2.
In Scripture, wine is used as a symbol for teaching or doctrine (see Lu. 5:36-39). Wine also makes people drunk, so that they cannot think or act reasonably, logically or soberly. Therefore, the ‘wine’ of her illegal union is false teaching, false doctrine, false news, false narrative, misinformation, disinformation, mal-information and propaganda. The Bible is full of warnings about deception, especially in the last days (see Jer. 17:9; Nahum 3:1; Matt. 24:4, 5, 24; Rom. 3:13; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:13, 4:3, 4; Rev. 3:15-17). Satan is the father of lies and modern technology has enabled the enemy to perpetrate his lying, deception and delusion on a scale never achieved before in human history. Satan’s lies and deceptions, will reach a crescendo in the last days. Millions will be deceived by miracles, supported and ‘authenticated’ by the ‘wine.’ These miracles will culminate with Satan himself impersonating the second coming of Christ (see 2 Cor. 11:13, 14). All of this is accomplished because the woman sitting on the waters riding the beast and in union with the kings, has the ability, through her ‘wine’ to keep the people of the earth in perpetual thraldom. It is a form of modern-day sorcery (see Rev. 18:23), so that the people of the earth are spiritually drunk, they cannot think ‘straight’ and if they cannot think ‘straight’ they cannot act ‘straight.’ [More details of the wine and its effect is dealt with in the first postscript at the end of ‘Unraveling Revelation’].
The prophetic picture of the woman riding the beast, tells us that there are many moving parts that make up the whole. The beast itself, is a composite of all the major empires of the past. The water represents the people of the world. The people of the world are held in thraldom to the woman, because she sits on them and feeds them with her ‘wine.’ Plus, she was a supporting cast of kings, that she is in union with. The kings are the political leaders of the world. These kings are controlling and directing the political affairs of the earth, on behalf of the beast and the woman. Is it any wonder, that John marvelled when he saw her? At some point in Paul’s life Jesus showed him the same thing. Paul described the woman riding the beast, and in union with the kings of the earth, this way:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph. 6:10-12.