What does Revelation 17:2 mean?
ESV: 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.”
NIV: With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.'
NASB: with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of sexual immorality, and those who live on the earth became drunk with the wine of her sexual immorality.'
CSB: The kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and those who live on the earth became drunk on the wine of her sexual immorality."
NLT: The kings of the world have committed adultery with her, and the people who belong to this world have been made drunk by the wine of her immorality.'
KJV: 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.
NKJV: with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
Verse Commentary:
John has been told to view a highly symbolic vision: a prostitute symbolizing a false and ungodly form of religion. This system is given the name Babylon (Revelation 17:5), frequently discussed as the "Whore of Babylon."

This verse emphasizes the extent of spiritual corruption religious Babylon exerts over international leaders. "Sexual immorality" is a literal sin, but it's often used figuratively in the Bible to represent spiritual apostasy and idolatry. This imagery is meant to link the temptation to seek other gods, and the shameful acts which follow, to a person who is tempted with sexual immorality, with degrading and unhealthy behavior following as a result. Both are associated with betrayal of a person to whom the immoral person ought to have been loyal.

For example, 2 Chronicles 21 says King Jehoram did evil in the sight of the Lord and had forsaken the Lord, the God of his fathers. Verse 11 charges that "he made high places in the hill country of Judah and led the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom and made Judah go astray." Isaiah also carried God's indictment to the people of Jerusalem. He stated that the city that was once faithful to the Lord had become immoral and unjust and had become a whore (Isaiah 1:21). Ezekiel 16:16, too, charged the people of Israel with sexual immorality—idolatry. The verse states: "You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore."

The reference here to sexual immorality might include some aspects of physical sexual sin, but it primarily points to the idolatrous worship of the beast by the world leaders and their citizens (Revelation 13:11–12).
Verse Context:
Revelation 17:1–7 depicts a system of corrupt religion from which God calls upon His people to withdraw (Revelation 18:4; 2 Corinthians 6:14–18). This religious system is referred to using the name Babylon; the following chapter will use similar names and symbols to describe a ''political Babylon.'' This religion is state-sponsored, like the Baal worship imported from Phoenicia by Jezebel, King Ahab's wife (1 Kings 16:29–33). Just as Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord (1 Kings 18:4), so religious Babylon will murder many tribulation believers. In a literal sense, this suggests the one-world religion of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, but it also has implications for worldly and false religious teachings of our present time.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation 17 zeroes in on God's judgment of Babylon as the center of religious corruption in the tribulation. The target of this wrath seems to be an eclectic form of all apostate religions. This might be a concrete, single religion. Or, it might be a near-religious blending or equalizing of all spiritual beliefs. God views religious Babylon as ''the great prostitute'' that has support from heads of state. This system is both extremely rich and murderous, guilty of martyring saints. It has a past and a renewed existence as a religious-political system. Together, the political heads of state and religious Babylon battle Jesus, the Lamb, but He defeats them. The end of religious Babylon comes when the ten kings turn against her and ruin her. They destroy religious Babylon because God puts it in the hearts to do so.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 16 resumed explaining God's pattern of end times wrath, this time describing the seven bowl judgments. As the last bowl is poured out, John is called to see a vision, which seems to incorporate events occurring throughout the tribulation. This chapter focuses on the fall of religious Babylon. Revelation 14:8 and 16:19 mention Babylon's collapse under the wrath of God in the tribulation. Babylon's ultimate fall may actually occur before the bowl judgments, anytime during the second half of the tribulation. Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50 and 51 predict the fall of Babylon. Revelation 18 also speaks of the ruin of Babylon, but from a political and economic perspective.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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