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Revelation 17:18

ESV And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”
NIV The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.'
NASB The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.'
CSB And the woman you saw is the great city that has royal power over the kings of the earth."
NLT And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world.'
KJV And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

What does Revelation 17:18 mean?

In this verse the prostitute, religious Babylon, is described as "the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth." What John saw in his vision was a series of symbols (Revelation 17:1–6). Those are now being explained to John by one of the angels involved in delivering the bowl judgments (Revelation 17:1, 7).

The metaphorical woman, often referred to as the "Whore of Babylon," practices her false, satanic religion from Babylon, which some interpreters believe is the city of Rome. But it may be the literal city of Babylon in the middle east. Just as modern cities are used as symbols of certain nations or religions—such as Moscow, Mecca, or Rome—this might refer to the worldwide center of the ecumenical religious system.

Ancient Babylon was notorious for its idolatrous worship. When Daniel and his three friends were taken into captivity from Jerusalem, they found themselves surrounded by idolatrous customs in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon tried to indoctrinate them in the worship of Baal by feeding them unclean food, by inducting them into a three-year education program, and by changing their Hebrew names to pagan names. But every effort failed. The young men remained true to the Lord (Daniel 1). These three friends miraculously survived a blazing furnace after refusing to worship a statue of the king (Daniel 3). When King Darius took the Babylonian throne, he forbade prayer to anyone other than himself for thirty days. Standing true to God, Daniel continued daily prayers to the Lord. He was arrested and thrown to the lions, but God rescued him (Daniel 6).

Jeremiah 50:1–2 says, "The word that the LORD spoke concerning Babylon . . . 'Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, conceal it not, and say: "Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed. Her images are put to shame, her idols are dismayed."'" When God judges religious Babylon, her universal adoration (Revelation 17:4) will end.
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