When considering the woman of Revelation 17, she is most commonly spoken of as ‘the woman riding the beast.’ And she is often pictured as sitting on the beast as a rider in charge of directing the beast. However, as riveting as this prophetic picture is, she is first spoken of as sitting on many waters:
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. Rev. 17:1.
When we acknowledge, that the waters upon which the woman sits, are people (see Rev. 17:15), the enormity of the woman’s world-wide influence becomes readily apparent. This is because she does not just sit on the waters, she sits on many waters. This means she sits on at least, many nations of the earth, and more likely all the nations of the earth.
Once again, we encounter another reason why John ‘wondered’ when he saw the woman on the beast. He saw the extant of her control over the people of the world. We do not know how much he saw, but it was enough to leave him completely astonished. The same will apply to the people in the last days when the final stages of the modern-day Tower of Babel are completed. We are told that after the deadly wound is healed that:
…all the world wondered after the beast.
…saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him… Rev. 13:3, 4, 8.
Perhaps John also saw, how the ‘waters’ of the world would be foolish enough to comply with the demands made of them. Perhaps he saw the huge systems put in place in order to control the people of the earth. Perhaps he saw the ‘prison planet’ – a concentration camp without walls – that the woman built in order to ‘sit’ on everything and ‘sit’ on everything everywhere.
The Prison Planet
When the kings of the earth and the great merchants of the earth weep and wail over the fall of Babylon, the prophesy provides us with a long list of the things they are mourning over:
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning… Rev. 18:9, And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her…And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more… The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. Rev. 18:9, 12, 13.
What does it mean that Babylon controls, deals and trades, in slaves and souls of men? It means that, Babylon is the jailor and we are living on a planet shaped like a prison without walls. This is yet another reason why John ‘wondered with great admiration’ when he saw the plight of humanity, under the heel of the woman riding the beast.
The prophet Isaiah asks the question: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” (Isa. 49:24). There is such a thing as ‘the lawful captive’ in Scripture. This means that the people of the world are ‘lawfully’ in prison. We are placed in ‘lawful’ prison by whom we choose to serve. Jesus said we have a choice of two masters (see Matt. 6:24; cf. 12:30; Joshua 24:15). Jesus also said if we refuse to choose Him, by default we choose to become the slaves and servants of Satan – and so do the disciples and apostles whom Jesus taught:
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. Matt. 8:32-34. NKJV.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Rom. 6:16.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2 Pet. 2:19. cf. Acts 8:23; 2 Tim. 2:26.
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. Jn. 8:44.
All who sin, become the slaves of Satan. They become his ‘lawful’ captives. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he showed Jesus a vision of the world and then he said, all this is “delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Lu. 4:6). The justification for Satan’s claim of propriety rights over the world and its people, rests entirely on the premise that the people of the world have chosen him as their ruler or king. And the proof that they have chosen him, is self-evident – they have all sinned. Jesus never disputed with Satan over his claims. He never disputed the claims because one of the foundational principles of God’s kingdom is free will. Therefore, God recognises the lawful captivity of the human race. God respects the choices that people make. And since all have sinned (see Rom. 3:10-12, 23), all have become the slaves of Satan. This is why Isaiah cries out “will the lawful captive be delivered”? Will the lawful captive escape? Is there a way out of the prison planet that Satan is the jailer of? Fortunately for humanity, the question Isaiah asks is a rhetorical question, therefore he also answers it, and he prophesies:
But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. Isa. 49:25.
Elsewhere, Isaiah continues to inform us about the deliverance from the prison house that Satan is the jailor of. He says specifically that a Redeemer will come (see Isa. 59:20). Biblically, a redeemer is one who pays whatever ransom is demanded to set a prisoner or a slave free. And this is precisely what the Redeemer will do when He comes to Zion:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Isa. 61:1.
When Mary asked Jesus to help with the lack of wine at the wedding, He said to her. “My time has not yet come.” He meant that it was not the prophesied time for Him to begin His ministry and to declare who he was. After His baptism and His temptations in the wilderness, He returned to Galilee and said, “the time is fulfilled” (Mk. 1:15). Meaning that the prophesied time for Him to begin His ministry had begun. One of the very first things Jesus did, was to go home to Nazareth, where he stood up in the synagogue and read the prophesy from Isaiah, about the Redeemer coming to set the slaves free, and then he concluded by saying, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (see Lu. 4:16-21).
Jesus made the same point in His discussion with the Jews when they claimed they were not slaves. Jesus told them, that they were in fact, captives of the devil (see v. 44). But he told them they need not be, the Redeemer had come to set them free:
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Jn. 8:31-36.
God’s Kingdom and Satan’s Kingdom grow up together. Both kingdoms are progressive. They are both moving from inception to maturity. As God’s Kingdom progressively becomes more Christlike, Satan’s Kingdom becomes progressively more dragonlike. As Satan’s Kingdom, binds its adherents into a prison planet called the great city of Babylon, it is the duty of the adherents of God’s Kingdom to call the enslaved out of Babylon (see Rev. 18:1-4).
The people (the waters) of the world, are enslaved in Babylon, because Babylon presents itself as the solution to slavery. It is an odious counterfeit of the true. The true solution begins with faith in Jesus Christ. The false begins with works. The woman riding the beast represents paganism, and the pagan plan of salvation begins with works. It matters not if the works are for Jesus or God, or some pagan entity – the principle throughout the whole Babylonian system is the same – we work our way to heaven. It is this principle of ‘works’ that holds the waters of the world in thraldom and slavery. The waters of the world ‘love’ their slavery because they love the concept of being ‘saved’ in their sin. Babylon promises them an ‘easy’ entry into heaven without ‘picking up their cross and following Jesus.’ It is a fatal delusion and Paul said it would envelope the world in the last days (see 2 Thess. 2:1-12).
The prophesies reveal the methodology of the woman and the beast, that is employed, in the first instance to deceive, and in the second instance to compel the many waters into compliance with the woman’s agenda. The first method of
The Wine of her Fornication
We are told that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). And all the composite parts of Babylon and all the individuals in Babylon loved money. One of the great weaknesses everyone in Babylon, loves money. God does not condemn the wealthy (see Deut. 8:17, 18), but He does hold the wealthy of the world, accountable for what they do with their wealth. And if those who hold the wealth of the world in their hands are not morally upright and if they are not seeking the will of God and if they are not being led by the Holy Spirit, then their love of money becomes “the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10).
Jesus has told us that we will hear of wars and rumours of wars. In other words, there will always be wars – continual war would be one of the constants throughout the history of the world. But what is the main cause of war. A British historian, A.J. P. Taylor, wrote: “Whatever reason they give for war, the real reason is always economic.” But wars are extremely expensive to finance. Therefore, if one is to wage continual war, one needs to control the finances of the world. And this is precisely, what Babylon does – it controls the finances of the world. And with this control it finances all the evil in the world. Revelation draws aside the curtain and exposes the evil within:
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Rev. 18:1, 2.
And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Rev. 18:24.
God is holding the woman accountable and responsible for not just shedding the blood of His people, but for all the people who have been slain upon the earth. This is a monumental revelation. It means that Babylon is much greater than we have supposed. All the slain upon the earth goes back minimally to the Tower of Babel.