What does Revelation 17:6 mean?
ESV: And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.
NIV: I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God's holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.
NASB: And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly.
CSB: Then I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.
NLT: I could see that she was drunk — drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus. I stared at her in complete amazement.
KJV: And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
John reports that the woman, religious Babylon, was drunk with the blood of the saints, who died as Jesus' martyrs. Wine is frequently used as a metaphor for blood in Scripture (Revelation 14:19–20), and the reverse can also be true. Those who engage in a great deal of bloodshed are said to be "drunk with blood," as if they'd consumed a large quantity of wine (Deuteronomy 32:42; Ezekiel 39:19). False religion through the ages has been guilty of the sin of persecuting and even killing God's people. Even Jesus was put to death because apostate religious leaders clamored for His crucifixion. This kind of religious hatred will flourish in the tribulation period, as religious Babylon slays those whose faith is in Jesus.
Two groups of people will be on earth in the tribulation: those who worship the beast and those who worship the Lord (Revelation 13:16–18; Revelation 20:4). Those who worship the Lord are described as "saints." The word "saints" is from the Greek hagiōn, which simply means "holy ones." This is not a title given to specially-righteous people, but to anyone who has been saved by Christ (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:1). Such people are holy because God saved them and separated them from the evil world system to serve Him. Today, also, the world is divided into two groups: those who belong to the evil world system and those who belong to the Lord (John 10:1–9). Jesus counseled those who belong to him: "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19).
A glimpse of the woman astonished John—this surprise and bewilderment will be addressed in the following passage, as the angel explains the meaning of these visions.
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.
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 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.
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 11/30/2023 5:23:54 AM
© Copyright 2002-2023 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.