Part 033 – The Beast and the Woman

The Book of REVELATION

A Study

Part 033

The Beast and the Woman

The climatic events

All the judgments and various events brought to pass during the Tribulation seen in Revelation chapters six through sixteen, leads us into the climatic events detailed beginning in chapter seventeen and continuing into the first part of chapter twenty. Through these climatic events, God is bringing to fulfillment His plans and purposes for all three creations ― the Jews, the Gentiles and the Church of God (1Cor.10:32) ― leading into the Messianic Era. These climatic events have to do with:

1)      the realization of God’s purpose in driving out the Jewish people among the nations (Rev.17:1 – 19:6,

2)      the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev.19:7-10),

3)      the destruction of Gentile world power (Rev.19:11-21) and,

4)      the ushering in of the Millennial Era (Rev.20:1-6).

The woman, a mystery

In this climatic portion (Rev.17:1 – 20:6), we see the Beast and his kingdom, and the harlot woman occupying a central place in that kingdom. The Beast and the woman are used in metaphorical senses; and they should be understood by comparing Scripture with Scripture. Both the Beast and the woman are referred to by the word “mystery” (Rev.17:5, 7). “A mystery” refers to something made known already in the Old Testament Scriptures but not fully opened up and revealed earlier. Rather, the opening up and complete unveiling of that referred to as “a mystery” awaited additional revelation, seen in the New Testament. In this closing part of the Book of Revelation, the Beast and the harlot woman are fully revealed for all to see clearly.

The woman, seen always with the Beast

“The Beast” is the name used in the Book of Revelation for the man of sin, Antichrist (2Thess.2:3; Rev.13:1; 17:8-14). As discussed in Part 027 through Part 031 of this study, the Antichrist is seen all over the Scripture, from Nimrod to the Beast. And in all the previous occurrences, the Antichrist is seen in conjunction with Israel. Accordingly, when an individual arrives at Revelation chapter seventeen and sees the Beast and a harlot woman extensively dealt with together at the close of Man’s Day — knowing that both are referred to as “mystery,” and knowing that the Beast never appears in Old Testament Scripture apart from Israel — we can easily identify the woman as Israel. Moreover, there are some more, very clear indications to show without any doubt that the woman is Israel.

The woman, a harlot

In Rev.17:5, the woman is described as, “Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.” In the Old Testament, Israel, the wife of Jehovah, continued to disobey God by having forbidden relationships with the surrounding nations. Eventually, God divorced Israel (Isa.50:1; Jer.3:1-3, 8, 9; Hosea 2:2), uprooted His people from their land and drove them among the nations, to effect repentance through persecution at the hands of the harlot’s lovers. Israel’s harlotry is repeatedly indicated in a number of places in the Old Testament ― Isa.1:21; Jer.3:1, 3, 6-14; Ezek.16:2, 15-35; Ezek.23:17, 18, 35-37; Hosea 2:2-10. Finally, in Rev.17 – 19a, the harlotry is seen at its apex and brought to an end. Therefore, without doubt, this harlot woman is Israel.

The woman, that great city

The last verse of chapter seventeen provides, beyond any question whatsoever, the identity of the woman, “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over (which possesses kingly authority over) the kings of the earth” (Rev.17:18). The expression “that great city” is used nine times in chapters eleven through eighteen. The first usage in Rev.11:8, identifies the city as Jerusalem, and the identification of “the great city” must be understood the same way throughout all the subsequent occurrences. Note how Rev. 11:8 reads: “And their dead bodies [the two witnesses] shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Here Jerusalem is associated with Sodom (sexual perversion) and with Egypt (the world). And the next two appearances of “the great city” in Rev.14:8 & Rev.16:19, Jerusalem is associated with Babylon (Jer.22:8, 9, 25). By this time, the Beast, the last king of Babylon would have become the ruler over all the nations of the world. And this is exactly where “the woman” finds herself in Revelation chapters seventeen and eighteen — enmeshed in the kingdom of the last king of Babylon, out in the world (scattered among the nations), and viewed as a harlot. Jerusalem is used a number of times in the Scripture to refer to the Jewish people, their land and their capital city.

The woman, possessing kingly authority

Then Rev.17:18 also presents another means of identification. The verse continues, “…which reigns over the kings of the earth.” This literally means, “…which possesses kingly authority over the kings of the earth.” Thus the woman is identified as possessing regal authority over the Gentile nations. While the children of Israel were still slaves in Egypt, Moses was instructed by God to tell Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, Israel is my son, my firstborn” (Exo.4:22). The rights of the firstborn in a family included the right to rule over the whole household. Here the nation of Israel is seen as God’s firstborn son with the right to rule over all the Gentile nations. After delivering them from Egypt and establishing them as a theocracy in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they were to rule the nations as God’s firstborn son. Similarly, after the announcement in Rev.17:18 about their “kingly authority over the kings of the earth” their Messiah is going to appear, restore them to their land, dwell in their midst, and establish them as a nation above all other nations, rule over and also bless all the nations through them in final fulfillment of the promises in Gen.12:1-3; 22:16-18; Exo.19:5, 6.

The woman, guilty of blood

The harlot woman is said to be guilty of the, “the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev.17:6); “blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth” (Rev.18:24); “the blood of His servants shed by her” (Rev.19:2). In Luke 13:33, this fact is clearly stated by the Lord Jesus: “…it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.” And in the subsequent verse, Luke 13:34, He continued, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!” From this we know that He is referring to the entire nation of the Jewish people, who alone can be considered as “guilty of blood” in this respect. And in keeping with this thought, Christ died in the capital of Jewry at the hands of the Jews (Matt.16:21; Acts 2:23, 36; Rev. 11:8); and the Apostle Paul, as well, was prepared to die in Jerusalem at the hands of the Jews, “for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:11-13).

Harlot cleansed and the kingdom of the Beast destroyed

During the first half of the Tribulation, Israel is seen enmeshed within and committing harlotry with the most corrupt form of Gentile world power man will ever know. Israel, having left their spiritual heritage, found herself fully involved in the materialism and wealth of the nations (Rev.17:4; 18:7, 16, 22, 23). The nations as well, though deprived of all spiritual blessings, have held the scepter and enjoyed abundance of worldly wealth at the expense of Israel (Rev.17:2; 18:3, 9, 19). Then during the second half of Tribulation, Israel has been removed from her land, scattered among the nations, and suffered immeasurably at the hands of the Gentiles, led by the Beast (Rev. 17:16, 17; 18:8, 21; 19:2, 3; Ezek.39:23, 24). This resulted in Israel’s repentance, the nation being cleansed of her harlotry; where scarlet and crimson once existed, conditions will then be “as white as snow,” “as wool” (Isa. 1:18, 21-26) ― God’s purpose in driving out the Jewish people among the nations is realized. This is then followed by the destruction of Gentile world power, and the ushering in of the Messianic Kingdom. The Times of the Gentiles will end, the scepter will change hands, and the wealth of the Gentiles will be given to Israel (Isa. 60:5, 11, compare with Exo.12:35, 36). Gentile headship will be over, their wealth will be gone, but they will find that they will possess something far greater. Spiritual blessings/spiritual wealth which will be theirs through restored Israel will far exceed anything which they will have possessed throughout the Times of the Gentiles (Isa. 1:2, 3; 65:18, 19; Zech. 8:20-23).