Babylon is no longer the literal Babylon, but the power which has taken her place of pride and empire. That power was Rome.~ Ellicott’s Commentary on Revelation 17
By crafty and politic management, with all kinds of deceit of unrighteousness, papal Rome has obtained and kept her rule over kings and nations.~ Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Revelation 17
A whore properly signifies one that is married, and is false to her husband’s bed; and so very well suits the Church of Rome.~ Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary on Revelation 17
The purpose of this blog is to expand upon Reading the Symbols of the Apocalypse According to Isaac Newton. Specifically, I’m focusing on Newton’s interpretation of fourth beast being Rome; moreover, the power of Rome in its current state of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Of primary interest is Revelation 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”. To decipher these words, let’s look at the preceding verses.
Revelation 17 begins with an angel telling John that they will tell him the meaning of the symbolism of “the great whore that sitteth upon many waters” (Re 17:1) to “whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Re 17:2)
To understand what is being revealed in the above quotes, the basic keys to the symbolism are as follows:
- Water is explained as being “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Revelations 17:15).
The “whore” who is sitting “upon many waters” indicates the religious group the angel is referring to will span around the globe, within many countries, and across languages, just as the Catholic Church does today.
- Women in the Bible (Old and New Testaments) frequently refer to churches, synagogues, or otherwise religious groups
For example, Justin Martyr explains “Leah” represents the Jewish synagogue and “Rachel” represents the Christian church. Likewise, the Virgin Mary represents the Catholic Church.
For more details see Theology of Early Christianity as described by Justin Martyr: Was he deliberately harmonising Jewish and Ancient Greek philosophy? And Exploring Occult Symbolism From a History and Herstory Perspective of Education: Part 8 – Dante Alighieri and the Virgin Mother)
- Kings refers to leaders of Kingdoms
The prophecies of the Revelations were written before Christianity had become Romanised. Therefore, it was written “the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast”.
Newton describes the "horns" of Rome as changing over time; as one kingdom fell, another replaced it.
For more details see Reading the Symbols of the Apocalypse According to Isaac Newton.
- Fornication refers to the interaction or connection, not sex.
Just as electrical components are defined by their connective nature of being “male” or “female”, ancient expression also used this crass symbolism to represent two components that connected with each other. Hence the Kings/Kingdoms under control of the beast are connected to the Catholic Church (the whore).
For a further explanation, see The Big Bang Theory in Egyptian Mythology
- Wine is symbolic of life force energies.
In Christianity, wine is symbolic of blood, hence it has positive attributes. To be “drunk” on wine may be viewed as life force energy taken to excess, thus tainted love.
For more details see Exploring Occult Symbolism From a History and Herstory Perspective of Education: Part 10 – Personal Declaration of Faith.
Moving onto other symbolism …
The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.Book of Revelation 17:4
The uniform of Roman Catholic leaders has not changed since ancient times. Eerily, Catholic priests’ garments are an adaptation of clothes worn by Roman military and royalty.
Artworks throughout the ages, like the painting below by Jan van Eyck, The Ghent Altarpiece, 1432, demonstrate the colours of purple and scarlet have always been worn by Bishops and Cardinals, thus distinguishing from other clergy. This tradition is an extension of the ancient Roman military protocol in which soldiers wore scarlet, and purple was reserved to show high status. Some high ranking generals had a purple sash, however, due to the expense associated with purple dye, it was beyond the average person’s capacity to obtain purple cloth. Purple thus became a sign of wealth and status. During Imperial Rome (27 BCE – 476 CE) it was illegal for anyone except the Emperor to wear purple.
Also notable in van Eyck’s painting is the tradition of Catholic bishops and cardinals being decked with head pieces of gold, precious stones, and pearls. The sceptres are a symbolic of authority, as per their use throughout the ancient worlds; Hebrew (Moses’ staff), Etruscan, Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, and Greek.
For comparison, any quick Google image search of Clergyman demonstrates their clothing has changed little over the years. Moreover, many orders still follow Roman protocols of colour codes and adornments to signify status. Below are a few samples.
Sources: (Top left) Wikimedia Commons, (Top right) Wikimedia Commons, (Bottom left) Wikimedia Commons, (Bottom right) Wikimedia Commons.
The name written on her forehead was a mystery: BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.Book of Revelation 17:5
Albert Barnes (1798-1870), a Roman born American, and Presbyterian minister, is one of many theologians who identify the “Great Mother of Prostitutes” as being the leader of the Vatican.
Of the great whore – It is not uncommon in the Scriptures to represent a city under the image of a woman – a pure and holy city under the image of a virgin or chaste female; a corrupt, idolatrous, and wicked city under the image of an abandoned or lewd woman […] – that is, as I suppose, papal Rome; and the design here is to represent it as resembling an abandoned female – fit representative of an apostate, corrupt, unfaithful church.~ Barnes’ Notes
Despite the numerous amount of people who have said similar to Barnes, the significance of women being used by biblical writers as a symbolic representation of cities, nations, and other groups of people has not been disseminated to the masses. Personally, I blame psychology industries for this failure. More specifically, I blame Sigmund Freud and his ridiculous theory of the Madonna-whore complex. Thanks to the popularity of psychoanalysis over the past hundred odd years, misinformation about the symbolism of women in biblical writings has been circulated, thus has effectively been a double-edged sword that has caused harm to how women are perceived as real human beings, and distorting proper history …
Moving on …
I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.Book of Revelation 17:6
The above verse points towards the Roman Catholic Church being a state of disgrace (drunk) in relation to the true message of Jesus. According to my research, the blood of Jesus is symbolic of Love.
The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.Revelation 17:9-11
The above section of the prophecy is potentially the most confusing. To decode the above quote, it helps to recognise the term “hills” is linked to the concept of a “higher place”. In Biblical tradition people would go up to the tops of hills to pray and perform ceremonies, hence, hilltops represent groups of people united by ritualistic practices. Therefore, the “woman” sitting upon seven groups is symbolic of Christian denominations that are somehow linked to the Papal role. Who are these Christian groups of significance? When I first attempted to decide this part of the riddle, I wondered if the “seven” may be representative of church groups as follows: the Eastern Churches (1), the Oriental Churches (2), the Protestant Church (3), the Lutheran Church (4), the Anglican Church (5), the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches (6), and the Roman Catholic Church (7). Thus some have “fallen” from Papal rule; further, the “one is” the actual church the apostle Peter formed while alive, and “the other not yet come” is a foreshadowing of the Catholic Church created in Peter’s name. When Emperor Constantine chose Peter to be the head of Christianity (instead of Paul or another apostle) he blended an authentic impulse of the blood of Christ with Roman culture, thus turning the legacy of Peter into Christianity that can be defined as “The beast who once was, and now is not”. This pattern could be accurate, however, a flaw can be found in that the prophecy says there are “also” seven kings (kingdoms), meaning there are seven “hills” and seven “kings”. My pondering continued …
Perhaps the various broad groups of Christianity only represent the seven heads, and the kings are a reference to something else, like actual kingdoms that the Pope has ruled within: the Roman Empire (1; c.30-400), the Western Roman Empire (2; c.285-480), the Kingdom of Italy, also known Odoacer and Ostrogothic Kingdoms (3; c.476–553), Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire and the Duchy of Rome (4; c.395–1453), Papal States (5; c.756–1870), the Holy Roman Empire (6; c.800/962–1806), and the Kingdom of Italy (7; c.1861–1946). It is more accurate to say some of these kingdoms have fallen (1, 2, 4, 5, & 6), than to try to fit that description to various liturgical rites. Further, all seven kingdoms can be identified as being linked by the practicality of their territories including the city of Rome. On one hand, the historical kingdoms of Italy have also fallen (3 & 7), however, by namesake it continues today. However, current Papal rule is not Italian per se, the only “kingdom” the Popes now have complete jurisdiction over is the Kingdom of the Vatican City which became a nation in its own right in 1929. Perhaps the Vatican is the eighth kingdom that belongs to seven, that is, it belongs to the territory of Rome, but it is separate? …
The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.Revelation 27:12
These ten “horns” of kingdoms are different to the kingdoms of the “seven kings”. As previously mentioned, Newton recognised the horns as consisting of nations, some of whom still exist today, and others, once having completed their hour, and passed authority onto the beast via their predecessors. Newton’s first listing of the ten kingdoms is as follows:
1. The kingdom of the Vandals and Alans in Spain and Africa.
2. The kingdom of the Suevians in Spain.
3. The kingdom of the Visigoths.
4. The kingdom of the Alans in Gallia.
5. The kingdom of the Burgundians.
6. The kingdom of the Franks.
7. The kingdom of the Britains.
8. The kingdom of the Hunns.
9. The kingdom of the Lombards.
10. The kingdom of Ravenna.
For Newton’s full account of the cycling of power amongst Christian kingdoms, see Of the ten Kingdoms represented by the ten horns of the fourth Beast.
Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled. The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”Revelation 17:15-18
I am by no means the first person to recognise the Pope’s authority can defined as “whore-like”, moreover, the role of Pope as a leader of the Catholic Church is a conjugate for the continuation of Roman culture and values that echo the abominations of ancient Babylon. However, unlike so many others who have deciphered the symbolism of the apocalyptic beast (e.g., Newton), I consider myself fortunate to be living in a time in which it is possible for “the woman” ceasing to rule the “kings of the earth”.
The suggestion that the end time of the royal authority of Papal rule has come, is supported by another prophecy. In 1139, a priest called Malachi had a vision of future Popes. Using cryptic phrases he described 112 men, the final entry read:
In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The EndFrom ABC News
For many years there have been speculations that, if the prophecy is true, then the current Pope Francis, will be the last. One of the standard reasonings is that Francis’ parents were Italian before immigrating to Argentina. Personally, I perceive the prophecy may be true due to alternative reasoning, that is, it shall be globally recognised that whomever is Pope, is a Roman, regardless of personal family heritage. Further, the seven-hilled city, whether they be defined by liturgical rites or kingdoms, will be destroyed simply because the masses have access to education, therefore will not accept false reports of history. Moreover, Christian legacy’s of abominable behaviour that includes bloodshed, racism, sexism, and other tyrannical control methods, will be seen as originating from the Throne of Peter. (See blog series Exploring Occult Symbolism From a History and Herstory Perspective of Education.)
As a final reflection on the ultimate fall of Rome, Malachi’s comment about Peter the Roman feeding his flock amid many tribulations, is a timely reminder that the harlot on the beast is not an individual, nor is it any one specific Pope, rather it is culture that has endured through Papal reigns, through Christian communities, and through any other group of people who behave “abominably”; just as it previously endured through Greek, Persian, and Babylon civilisations. Throughout the ages, many Pope’s and Christian’s alike have worked tirelessly to give charity to the sick, poor, down-hearted, and otherwise in need of support and nourishment (see here for some of my personal observations). History is complex, and the good deeds of many men, women, and others, need not be forgotten or ignored because of the title of Christianity. The Harlot is an attitude, a grandiose sense of self, that anyone can display. To look down upon Roman culture as being “other” is a failure to recognise Roman culture can be in “us”.
If/when the Holy Roman Catholic Church comes to an end, the Judge who judges needs to be ourselves. Letting go of an earthly father figure, means accepting adult responsibilities and recognising that the role of defining love and healing (aspects of what I believe to be authentic Christian intentions) needs to come from within the hearts of each individual. The end of the beast’s reign can only manifest if all humans freely decide to make it so.
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