Jesus Overcomes Babylon

John saw a vision of a female figure identified as “Babylon, the Great Harlot.” She was carried by the “Beast with Ten Horns and Seven Heads.” She deceived the “Kings of the Earth” along with its “Inhabitants” with her “fornications,” and she was “drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” She was (and remains) the “Mother of the Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.” Her powers of seduction were so great that even John found himself momentarily “marveling” after her.

The interpreting angel explained that the woman represents the “Great City” which holds sway over the political powers of the Earth. Her persecution of the “saints” is the manifestation of the Dragon’s “war” against the “Lamb.”

Ruins - Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash
[Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash]

However, Jesus is about to overcome this seductress who so arrogantly rides on top of the whole beastly system - (Revelation 17:14-18).

In describing the Lamb’s victory, the passage alludes to Daniel 7:21-27 but applies its language in a reverse fashion (“The little horn made war with the saints and overcame them…”). It is now the “Lamb” who will wage war against the “Beast” and its “Ten Kings,” and he will “overcome them”!

The Beast’s “Seven Heads and Ten Horns” identifies it as the “Beast from the Sea” in Chapter 13 and associates it with the “Dragon” in Chapter 12. The point is not whether the number “ten” is literal, but the connection between the “Dragon,” the “Beast,” and its “Ten Horns.” Its “horns” are inseparable parts of the “Beast” - (Revelation 12:3, 13:1).

The “Ten Horns” represent “Ten Kings,” the “great men of the Earth” who “make war with the Lamb.” They are distinct from the “Kings of the Earth,” though Babylon “holds dominion” over the latter.

The Kings of the Earth are her subjects, not her allies. She has deceived them, unlike the “Ten Kings” who exercise “sovereignty” received from the “Beast,” and therefore, they are empowered by the “Dragon.” Unlike the “Kings of the Earth,” they operate with full knowledge of who they are and what their beastly task is – (Revelation 17:18).

However, the “Lamb” will employ the “Ten Kings” to destroy the “Great Harlot.” After all, he is “the Lord of lords and King of kings.” His sovereignty is absolute, even over “Death and Hades” – (Revelation 1:4-7, 1:18, 12:12:5, 17:14).

In Revelation, the “Kings of the Earth” are often a mixed group. Jesus is their sovereign, the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth,” yet they also fall under the dominion of the “Beast from the Sea” and the spell of the “Great Harlot.”

Nevertheless, the “nations” and the “Kings of the Earth” are found later in “New Jerusalem” worshipping the “Lamb” – (Revelation 21:24).

In contrast, neither the “Inhabitants of the Earth whose names are not written in the Book of Life” nor the “Ten Kings” are found in the “Holy City.” They are beyond redemption.


The passage does not by itself explain how the “Ten Kings” wage “war” against the “Lamb.” However, the Greek word translated as “war” (polemos) was employed previously for the “war,” SINGULAR, waged by the allies of the “Dragon” against the “Two Witnesses,” the “Seed of the Woman, those who have the testimony of Jesus,” and the “saints” who have the “faith of Jesus.” They conduct their war by persecuting the “saints” on behalf of the “Dragon” - (Daniel 7:21, Revelation 11:7, 12:17, 13:7, 14:12).

The “waters” on which “Babylon” sits represent “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.” Her sitting position indicates her dominion over them. The image of the “Great City sitting on many waters” is derived from a prophetic dirge against Ancient Babylon by the prophet, Jeremiah - (Jeremiah 51:13).

Babylon was located on a broad alluvial plain, and the city straddled the Euphrates River on which it conducted commerce with the nations as ships arrived from the sea. It was overthrown when the army of the “Medes and Persians” dammed the river, thereby creating an entryway to the city along the dried riverbed.

This is the historical background behind the “Sixth Bowl of Wrath” when the waters of the Euphrates were “dried up, that the way might be made ready for the Kings from the East” who then were gathered to the “war of the Great Day of God the Almighty” to be destroyed.

As with old Babylon’s destruction by the Medes and Persians, so End-Time “Babylon” will be destroyed by the “Kings of the East.” This group is identical to the “Ten Kings” represented by the Beast’s “horns” – (Revelation 16:12). 

The “Ten Kings” will learn to hate “Babylon,” and they will render her “desolate and naked, and her flesh shall they eat, and herself, shall they burn up with fire. God will “put it in their hearts to do his mind.”

In this way, they receive their “sovereignty,” but they will exercise it ironically as they destroy the “Great City.” Jesus uses them to destroy their economic benefactor and the persecutor of the saints.

The “Ten Kings” possess sovereignty only “until the words of God are completed,” a verbal link to the “Seven Bowls of Wrath” that “completed the wrath of God,” especially the “Seventh Bowl which caused the destruction of “Babylon.” Afterward, a voice declared, “It is finished!” - (Revelation 15:1, 15:8, 16:17-21).

Washington in Winter - Photo by Yohan Marion on Unsplash
[Photo by Yohan Marion on Unsplash]


The “Great Harlot” is identical to the “Great City” that allowed the bodies of the “Two Witnesses” to lie in her streets after they were killed by the “Beast from the Abyss.” She is the same city “which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” - (Revelation 11:7-8).

Her evil knows no bounds. All the sins and atrocities of past empires reach their collective climax in her, crimes that included the execution of Jesus. Her “abominations” are worse than any committed by Sodom, Egypt, Assyria, or even Rome (“Her sins were joined together as far as heaven, and God has remembered her unrighteous deeds”).

The actual destruction of “Babylon” is detailed in Chapter 18 with an emphasis on the annihilation of her commercial empire, and Chapter 19 describes the judgment of her allies. Her downfall will mean the end of the “Beast” on which she rides, along with the “False Prophet” and the “Dragon” himself.

There is great irony in the label “King of kings” applied to Jesus since he is both the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth” who will “shepherd” peoples, nations, and kings to “New Jerusalem,” and the king and judge who will destroy the rulers and political powers that are irredeemably hostile to his reign, people, and Kingdom.




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