Revelation 17 - The Harlot on a Beast
When we come to Revelation 17, we find a later development in the Roman world and the apostate Church. The Catholic Church is represented as a harlot sitting upon a beast which has seven heads and ten horns (vs.l-3). The fulfillment of this prophecy is to be found in our own day, when the territory of the Roman Empire (the beast) is dominated by the Catholic Church (the mother harlot). The false Church is clothed in purple and scarlet, and decorated with all gold jewels and pearls (v.4) showing an outward form of godliness, but missing the "hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious'' (1 Peter 3:4). The woman's title of "Babylon the great" (v.5) further identifies her, because in verse 18 John was told at the time he was given the Revelation, "the woman that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth.'' At that time there was only one city that had "dominion over the kings of the earth", and that city was ROME, which soon became the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.