What does Revelation 17:3 mean?
ESV: And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns.
NIV: Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.
NASB: And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.
CSB: Then he carried me away in the Spirit to a wilderness.I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.
NLT: So the angel took me in the Spirit into the wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it.
KJV: So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
NKJV: So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
Verse Commentary:
John has been ordered to observe a vision of a "great prostitute," a figure commonly referred to as the "Whore of Babylon" (Revelation 17:5). This figure represents an ungodly approach to religion and spirituality, as Scripture often uses the concept of sexual sin as a parallel to spiritual infidelity. The imagery here is meant to be seen just that way: as symbols, explained later in this chapter by the same angel (Revelation 17:8–18).

This verse reports that John's vision involved being carried to a desert. There he saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast. The beast is the head of the system that incorporates all antichrist (1 John 4:3) corrupt religions, and is supported by a vast political alliance. The beast is described as "scarlet," which is a popular color of the religious trappings of so many false religions. The woman was full of blasphemous names, indicating the religious system's utter disdain for God and her vicious opposition to God and His people. Verses 9, 10, and 12 identify the beast's seven heads as seven mountains and seven political rulers, and its ten horns as ten kings. This corrupt religious system receives support from a confederacy of world leaders that support the head of the Revived Roman Empire, also known as the Antichrist.

Based on these verses, many interpreters believe the end times will produce a fusion of state-supported religion which is corrupt, blasphemous, and powerful.
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.''
Accessed 5/30/2024 5:39:21 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com