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Saturday, February 16, 2019


  "Matthew Henry (written by William Tong) on Rev. 17.9:

    Here we have the mystery of this vision explained. The apostle wonders at the sight of this woman: the angel undertakes to open this vision to him, it being the key of the former visions; and he tells the apostle what was meant by the beast on which the woman sat; but it is so explained as still to need further explanation. 1. This beast was, and is not, and yet is; that is, it was a seat of idolatry and persecution; and is not, that is, not in the ancient form, which was pagan; and yet it is, it is truly the seat of idolatry and tyranny, though of another sort and form. It ascends out of the bottomless pit (idolatry and cruelty are the issue and product of hell), and it shall return thither and go into perdition. 2. This beast has seven heads, which have a double signification. (1.) Seven mountains--the seven hills on which Rome stands; and (2.) Seven kings--seven sorts of government. Rome was governed by kings, consuls, tribunes, decemviri, dictators, emperors who were pagan, and emperors who were Christian. Five of these were extinct when this prophecy was written; one was then in being, that is, the pagan emperor; and the other, that is, the Christian emperor, was yet to come, v. 10. This beast, the papacy, makes an eighth governor, and sets up idolatry again. 3. This beast had ten horns; which are said to be ten kings which have as yet received no kingdoms; as yet, that is, as some, shall not rise up till the Roman empire be broken in pieces; or, as others, shall not rise up till near the end of antichrist's reign, and so shall reign but as it were one hour with her, but shall for that time be very unanimous and very zealous in that interest, and entirely devoted to it, divesting themselves of their prerogatives and revenues (things so dear to princes), out of an unaccountable fondness for the papacy.

Matthew Poole (written by another):

    Rev 17:9. And here is the mind which hath wisdom; that is, here is that which requireth a mind endued with spiritual wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth; the seven heads which he saw the beast with, signified seven mountains or hills upon which Rome is situated; they were named before: see the notes on Rev 17:3. They tell us now Rome is situated in Campo Martio. Resp. Whatever it now is, certain it is, that in St. John's time it was situated upon them, and they are now within the compass of Rome.

Matthew Poole (written by another who cites his Synopsis) on Rev. 17.3:

    Rev 17:3. So he carried me away in the spirit; that is, being in an ecstasy; see Rev 4:2; whether in the body or out of the body he could not tell, as Paul expresseth it, 2 Cor 12:2. Into the wilderness; a place not, or not much, inhabited, either as fittest for contemplation, or to signify that this great whore, which had driven the spouse of Christ into the wilderness, should shortly herself come into her state, according to the fate of old Babylon, Jer 1:13. And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast; the great whore, mentioned Rev 17:1, upheld by the Roman emperors. Full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns; the same which is mentioned Rev 13:1: see the notes there. Here a great question ariseth, who this woman is, or, (which is the same, as appeareth by Rev 17:5,) what city is meant by Babylon, mentioned Rev 17:5; a question (as Mr. Pool noteth) of high concernment; for whoever this woman is, or whatsoever this Babylon signifieth, the people of God are upon pain of damnation admonished to avoid any communion with her, and to come out of her, Rev 14:9-10. Mr. Pool hath diligently collected into his Latin Synopsis all opinions about it, and showed what is to be said for or against them; I will give my reader the sum of what he saith.
    1. Some would have it to be the whole world of wicked men. Against this it is said: (1.) That John speaks here of a certain great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth, Rev 17:18: this cannot be meant of the wicked world. (2.) The world of wicked men are those inhabitants of the earth, whom this woman made drunk with the wine of her fornication: now she that made them drunk, and those that were made drunk, cannot be the same. (3.) This woman sitteth on seven mountains, Rev 17:9, and so do not all the wicked of the world. (4.) We are commanded to come out of this Babylon, but we are not obliged to go out of the world.
    2. Others would have this woman, or this Babylon, to be the old Chaldean Babylon. But, (1.) Where then is the mystery, mentioned Rev 17:5? (2.) The Babylon here mentioned, is by all agreed to be the seat of antichrist; so was that never.
    3. The generality agree it to be Rome. Amongst the ancients, Tertullian, Jerome, Ambrose, ~cumenius, Augustine, Eusebius: of later writers, Beda, Aquinas, Salmeron, Pererius, Bellarmine, Lapide, Ribera, (all papists,) besides a multitude of protestant writers. (1.) That city is also like old Babylon for power and greatness, for oppression and tyranny of and over God's Israel; besides, the city here mentioned is described by two characters, agreeing to none but Rome, Rev 17:9, dwelling upon seven hills. (2.) Reigning over the kings of the earth: for the first Rome is the only city in the world founded upon seven hills, and famed for it by its old poets, Ovid, Virgil, Horace, Propertius, etc. It is attested to be so founded by Plutarch, Pliny, Dionysius, Halicarnass�us. The names of these hills are known: Palatinus, Quirinalis, Aventinus, Celius, Veminalis, Esquilinus, Capitolinus. Both papist and protestant writers agree that here by Babylon Rome is meant; but they are divided, whether it be to be understood of Rome in its old pagan state, or in its present state, or in a state yet to come.
    4. Some would have it to be Rome in its pagan state; of this mind are Grotius, and Dr. Hammond, and some others. But against this many things are said: (1.) It is manifest that God here describes Rome not as under its sixth head, viz. the pagan emperors, but as it was under its last head, the eighth king, Rev 17:11, as it should ascend out of the bottomless pit, Rev 17:8. (2.) What John saw herein mentioned as a secret about the blood of the saints, which he wondered at; now the pagan emperors' spilling the blood of saints was a thing long since done. (3.) The desolation of the Babylon here mentioned was to be final, never to be repaired, as appears by Rev 18:21-23; but pagan Rome was never made so desolate. (4.) If Rome pagan be here meant, then, after its fall, Rome Christian was the habitation of devils, Rev 18:2. (5.) Rome pagan fell upon our saints with downright blows, not with allurements, making them drunk with the wine of her fornication, as Rev 17:2.
    5. The papists, who grant that by Babylon Rome is meant, would have it to be Rome toward the end of the world, when, they say, Rome shall apostatize from the pope to paganism again; but for this opinion there is no foundation in Scripture, nor the judgment of the ancients, and some of the papists themselves reject it as improbable and detestable.
    6. The generality and best of protestant writers understand by Babylon, and by this woman, Rome, as it is at this day under the conduct of the pope, for which they give these reasons. (1.) Because it cannot be understood of Rome in either of the other notions, as hath been proved. (2.) Because antichrist is to sit in the temple of God, 2 Thess 2:4, as God, therefore not in any pagan city. The mystery of iniquity was working in the apostle's time, but, Rev 17:7, the Roman empire hindered the appearance of antichrist till the popes had wrung Rome out of their hands, and were the sole rulers there; then antichrist showed himself. (3.) Because there is nothing said of this great whore, or this Babylon, but admirably agreeth to Rome in its present state.

Jonathan Edwards:

    Yea it is prophesied, that the seat of this pretended vicar of God, and head of the church, should be the city of Rome itself. It is said expressly, that the spiritual whore, or false church, should have her seat on seven mountains or hills; Rev 17:9, "The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth:" and (Rev 17:18) "The woman which thou sawest, is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth;" which it is certain was at that time the city of Rome. This prophecy also has come to pass.

    It is true, some regard is had in the prophecies to the city of Rome, the city built on seven hills: which being the fountain of all rule and authority in the Roman monarchy, and the capital city of the empire, from whence the whole empire was denominated, and the place where the head of the empire usually resided, was properly used by the angel, (Rev 17:9,18) to show what empire antichrist should rule over, and what city he should usually reside in. And this is all that can be meant by the words of the angel; and not that those streets and walls were such main and essential things in what the prophecy intended by the beast; that when antichrist's dominion ceases in that place, then the beast ceases. For, if so, then it will follow, that the beast had his head wounded to death a second time, and ceased to be, when the popes resided at Avignon in France, for the best part of a century; when not only the popes did not reside in Rome, nor any part of St. Peter's patrimony, nor any part of Italy; but some of them were neither Romans, nor Italians. Though the angel says of the great whore, Rev 17:18, "The woman which thou sawest, is the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth:" yet by the city, in this case, is not meant so much what was contained within those Roman walls, as the Roman empire; as is evident by Rev 11:8, "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt." Here, by that great city, neither Mr. Lowman himself, nor I suppose any other protestant interpreter, understands the city of Rome, strictly speaking, but the Roman monarchy.

Thomas Manton:

    Now this impediment showeth both the time and place of Antichrist; and time and place, next to the nature and state of things, are the best circumstances to discover him. (1.) The place: Antichrist's seat and throne was to be there, where the seat of the Roman empire was; and St. John telleth us it was situated on the city that had seven hills: Rev 17:9, "The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth;" and that is Rome, which is famously taken notice of to be seated on seven hills or mountains. Now Antichrist had not room as long as the seat was filled with the Roman emperor, for this seat could not be filled with two imperial powers at once, especially with such a tyrannical power as that of Antichrist is, exalting itself not only above kings and kingdoms, but {GK}, the august state of the emperors themselves; there was no exalting this chair, till there was a removal of the throne; while the Roman emperor possessed Rome, the seat was full, and till it was void it could not be the seat of Antichrist.

James Durham on Rev. 17.9:

    By woman we [understand] Rome, it is called a city, Verse ult. and it must be such a city as may serve to discover these mountains from other mountains, they are such, saith he, as the chief city of the world sitteth on.

[Edited on 11-30-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]" - extracted from


 "The description of the woman and the beast upon which she sits in 17:7–14 is one of the most difficult passages in the book of Revelation. As John marvels at the vision, an angel says, “I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her” (v. 7).  The angel tells John that the beast he saw “was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction” (v. 8a).  The angel then says to John, “This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while.  As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction” (vv. 9–11).

This text is important not only in the context of John’s vision, but also because it is potentially relevant to the question of the date of the book.[i]  We will put off discussion of verse 8a until we get to verse 11.  In verse 9, the angel says that the seven heads “are seven mountains on which the woman is seated.”  The reference to Rome as the city built on seven hills was widely used during the first century.[ii]  It would have been familiar to John’s audience.  There is no reason, then, to suppose that John meant anything other than Rome by the use of this description.[iii]

In verse 10, the angel tells John that the seven heads also symbolize seven kings, “five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while.”  The identity of these “kings” has been the source of endless debate.  Part of the difficulty is due to the unwillingness of some commentators to even consider the possibility that the book was written prior to A.D. 70.  Some grant that the solution would be much simpler had John written the book earlier, but they do not consider an early date to be plausible.[iv]  If an early date for the book is not ruled out automatically, it is possible to make much more sense out of this obscure text.
The “seven heads” of the beast are seven kings.  If the beast is the Roman Empire, then it would seem clear that the seven kings are seven emperors of Rome.  The difficulty arises when we attempt to figure out which seven emperors John has in mind.  Part of the problem concerns the starting point.  The Roman author Suetonius began his list of emperors with Julius Caesar.  Tacitus, on the other hand, appears to have considered Augustus the first Roman emperor.[v]  If we begin with Julius and count consecutively, then the five kings who have fallen would be Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius Caligula, and Claudius.  The sixth king, the one who is, would then be Nero.  This interpretation is quite possible, and it would place the date of the writing of Revelation sometime in the latter part of Nero’s reign (i.e., A.D. 64–68).[vi] "

 "In the first chapter (vv16,17) Christ is holding in his right hand the seven stars, then He touches John with his right hand. Did he put down the stars in order to do so? No.

1. God's people are commanded to separate themselves from the whore, not wait until the whore becomes the bride.
Yes, I agree. We are to separate from false churches but it is not as though there are two literal churches, one good and one bad. To say we must come out of the Roman Catholic church into the Protestant church is too simplistic. Today we see the Protestant Church in ruins! "Come out of her" is the call to be semper reformanda -always reforming. I'm sure you agree. The remnant will always continue to separate and be separatist.

2. The whore persecuted God's people, showing that there is some distinction between the two, despite the fact that some of them are within the whore.
Yes, I agree there is a distinction. The visible church is all the people who name the name of Christ. Christians have persecuted the elect 'with the best of them' thoughout history. "There are many sheep without and many wolves within." I assume every congregation has unsaved people in it who refuse to abandon their own righteousness.

3. The whore will be justly punished by God. This is not a persecution by the nations which Christians receive (since it is the whore who is getting this, which according to your supposition is still the church prior to conversion; it would have to be the bride to be "persecution"). Verse 8 is entirely too clear on the matter.
Jehovah's witnesses are persecuted. Mormons are persecuted. They would be counted as part of the whore along with those of us who are hypocrites not trusting in the work of Christ alone. The heathen see all who name the name of Christ as Christians but the true body of Christ is within the visible church. By the way, I'm not saying the church is converted en masse. I'm saying the true believers are separated out at the general resurrection to ascend into heaven.
To verse 8: Judgment begins in the house of the Lord. He will try our doctrine by fire. (1Cor 3) How much MORE will God judge those who take His name in vain?

4. The body of Christ IS one -- one pure, virgin bride, not a bride together with a whore. There is no indication from the Apocalypse itself that the whore becomes the bride; especially given the fact that the whore gets wiped out for persecuting the true church.
I agree but the error lies in being overly logical in seeing two women. The pure virgin is composed of the remnant subset inside the larger visible church. There is one body of Christ, one woman transformed. She is transformed by removing the dross of unbelievers on the last day. There were 5 wise virgins and 5 foolish virgins; but they were all virgins.
The whore would be the 10 virgins.
The bride would be the wise 5.
Did Christ have two right hands? Rev 1:16,17"  
- Extracted fromThe Woman on Seven Hills

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