A understanding of the chapter 17th of Revelation – a key
to the mysteries of the entire Book
Charles Taze Russell, leader of the prophetic movement of Bible Students in USA (1874-1914) wrote six volumes of the Scripture Studies but of seventh did not. Why?
In 1916 he said: "There are certain things in Revelation which I do not understand, and for this reason I do not write the Seventh Volume. Therein I do not wish to give any guesses. Whenever I write the Seventh Volume on the Book of Revelation, I will have a satisfactory understanding of the teachings of that Book." Q645
A few days before death (1916), while asked, "What about the Seventh Volume", he answered: "Someone else can write that." Q646
While asked about opinion of possible fulfilment of prophecies of the seventeenth chapter of the Revelation "he stated that this Chapter was the key to all of the pictures, or prophecies, of Revelation, which are as yet wrapped in mystery." FM263
(1) And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven bowls, and spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters; (2) with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and they that dwell in the earth were made drunken with the wine of her fornication.
One of the seven angels ... This seventh angel represents the last prophetic movement of the Gospel age (1967-1981). One of result of it, there was the printing of the Seventh Volume of Studies in the Scripture.
Had the seven bowls ... Seventh volume (full bowl), published in 1974, was based on the teachings of all previous six volumes, but it was focused mainly on the pictures and prophecies relating to the time and the ways of the ending of the Gospel age.
It was small supplement being within of the "food in due season" given during second presence of our Lord, being showed in the Revelation as "a little book." (10:2)
The judgment of the great harlot ... "But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away its dominion, to consume, and to destroy it unto the end." (Dan. 7:26) HG21:1
Te kings of the earth committed fornication … The union of church and state. It is claimed that the kingdoms of Europe were transferred from Satan to Christ, and became "Christian nations." A270
The inhabitants of the earth were made drunk … With her erroneous doctrines, intimidating them by teaching that eternal torment awaited all who resisted their claims. A268
The drunken stupor of error which led us to think of the our Creator as a great devil, who from the beginning has plotted for the creation to spend an eternity in torture. SM551:1
But the nations are gradually sobering up. SM407:1
Te wine of her fornication ... Wine of false doctrines. The belief that the promised Millennial reign of Christ had come, and that Christ the King was represented by her popes, who reigned over the kings of the earth as his vicegerents. A268
The basis of the alliance of Papacy with civil power was the doctrine that the second coming of Christ as the Messiah to rule the world for a thousand years was thus fulfilled. PD79/91
(3) And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness: and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
Into the wilderness ... One must get out of Babylon into the separate or wilderness condition before they can get a good view of the harlot or her daughters. R307:3
The woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored beast ... The union of church and state – papacy in the final form. Roman Catholic church in close political co-operation with the communist powers. She is supported by and controlling the world.
Scarlet-colored ... The colour of the flag of the power, which in final times became the the main political partner of the Catholic church. The red flag became a symbol of communism. It honors the martyrs' blood of those who had been killed.
"The beast that cometh up out of the abyss" (Rev. 11:7).
Full of names of blasphemy ... The propaganda of "peace and safety" which used the powers both socialist and Roman church allegedly in God's name, it was ignoring in fact God's plan and tried to support devilish order of the world. Therefore, it had truly blasphemous character.
Having seven heads ... The seven governments, being the members of the Warsaw Pact. It was a political treaty of mutual defense.
And ten horns ... The ten states, which have associated into union the COMECON (The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance), that is the economically-political organization.
(4) And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication,
Having the golden cup ... The cup suggests that the unfaithful church had once been the receptacle of divine truth … "Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hands." (Jer. 51:7) R5092:1
In the type, the golden vessels of the Temple were carried away and profaned by literal Babylon. In the antitype, the precious, divine (golden) truths, pertaining to the service of the true Temple, the Church, were far removed from their proper places, perverted and misapplied by mystic Babylon. B208
She mingled in her "cup" a stupefying potion that has intoxicated the world; even the Lord's saints were bewildered. R5478:1
(5) and upon her forehead a name written, Mystery: Babylon the great, the mother of the harlots and of the abominations of the earth
The Scriptures is pointing out at Satan as the one who ‘deceived the whole world,' who is lying from the beginning, who is putting evil for good and good for evil; light for darkness and darkness for light. His masterpiece is present-day Babylon that is counterfeit system of Christendom, both adulterous mother – Roman Catholic church and adulterous daughters – protestant sects. They did not wait patiently for the second advent of their heavenly Bridegroom but they jointed themselves with the kings of this world.
"The man of the sin, the son of the destruction." (2 Thess. 2:3)
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"Secret thing already works of the lawlessness." (2 Thess. 2:7)
She was not only an abomination, but "the abomination that makes desolate," and when the woman took her seat "on the beast," the abomination was "set up." (Dan. 12:11) HG64:4
The Divine limit of time for her reign: 539 – 18.04.1981 (Passover).
(6) 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 a great wonder.
Drunken with the blood of the saints … The great organized false church persecuted the dissenters, who protested against her errors, until she was intoxicated with her success, and deceived all nations, and gained their support. R984:3
Intoxicated with its phenomenal success and continuing to intoxicate and deceive the nations. C104
Thousands, yes, millions were put to death by Papacy. R307:2
(7) And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and the ten horns.
I will tell you the mystery ... Till the time of appearance of the Seventh Volume in April 1974, the majority of the symbols of 17th chapter of the Revelation were remaining a mystery.
(8) The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go into perdition. And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, [they] whose name hath not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast, how that he was, and is not, and shall come.
Opinion of pastor Ch.T. Russell suggesting the way of fulfilling of this prophecy: "'The beast that thou sawest was…' we understand to be the Holy Roman Empire – Church and State, united in power from 799 to 1799. The term 'Thou sawest' refers to the thousand-year reign of the Pope, and the term 'And is not' refers to the present non-existence of the Empire in power, and the term ‘And shall ascend from the bottomless pit and again go into perdition' refers to the re-establishment of the Holy Roman Empire in power and its subsequent destruction." FM263
Was, and is not … First of all, the papacy was struck with the sword of Truth during Great Reformation. Next it was humiliated extremely by Napoleon and at last by king of Italy.
At the time of king Victor Emanuel II the political role of papacy had been quite diminished. According to Jasper Ridley, at the 1867 Congress of Peace in Geneva, Italian hero Giuseppe Garibaldi referred to "that pestilential institution which is called the Papacy" and proposed giving "the final blow to the monster." (Wikipedia). In 1870, the Papal States, which at its height was comprising territory of 40,000 square kilometres, it was reduced to small part of Rome, less than half of the square kilometre, where there is the Apostolic Palace and adjacent buildings. Pius IX announced the encyclical, in which he described himself a prisoner in the Vatican, he excommunicated the king and all perpetrators of his humiliation as well as he forbade the Catholics to participate in the political life of Italy. According to symbolic vision of the Revelation, the papal beast has received a "death-blow by the sword" and has been thrown into "abyss", or into the political nonentity. (Rev. 13:3, 14; 11:7)
While disgraceful rules of the papal beast was absent, Satan placed on duty in political life his another representative – dragon, or civil powers.
Is about to come up out of the abyss ... Briefly after throwing papal beast into abyss it turned out, that secular powers without help of the religion are not able already to control in the society the once awaken spirit of freedom.
"Feeling their own incompetency to cope with the mighty power of the awakening world, the civil authorities, in sheer desperation, call to mind the former power of Papacy, the tyrant, which once held all Christendom in its grasp; and though they hate the tyrant, they are willing to make large concessions, if by this means they may succeed in holding in check the discontented peoples. [written in 1897]". D-131
Leader of Fascist Italy, Benito Mussolini had signed a pact with so-called Holy See in February, 1929, which was foreshadowing Hitler's deal with papacy in 1933. The accord ended the antagonisms that had existed between the pope and Italy since 1870.
Ten-horned papal beast however "came to the surface” finally not in the West (symbolic earth) but in the East (symbolic sea). In the East, a teaching of atheism and revolutionary propaganda changed the people into a frenzied state of revolt against the present social order. As a result, socialist powers terrified of what might happen called Roman Catholic church to help. The exact co-operation was established in 1977. The beast came up from the abyss and from the sea.
(9) Here is the mind that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. (10) And there are seven kings: the five are fallen, the one is, the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a little while.
Seven mountains … Rome was seated on seven hills. Her common name with the classic writers of St. John's age is "the seven-hilled city. The medals and coins of the day represent Rome as a woman sitting on seven hills. R472:4
The woman sitteth … The woman is in some way identified with Rome. She must represent a church – the church of Rome. R472:5
Biblical picture of the great harlot mounting scarlet-coloured beast shows historical breakthrough, in which the socialistic power of the eastern block ceased revolutionary propaganda and they handed over entire political initiative to the pope. "The dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority." (Rev. 13:2).
There are seven kings ... This vision of seven kings is a peculiar picture portraying the circumstances of the papal's grasping of power in Poland. The people of that quite great country in its huge majority are the most fervent servants of the papacy (Antichrist). That is why, because of such exceptional attitude among the other countries of the Eastern Block, Poland became in the final times that street of Babylon, in which it was to occur last exaltation of the Man Sin and its final fall. Eight Congresses of the Polish United Workers' Party (PUWP – pol. PZPR) were the stages, which marked the process of getting smaller socialists power and of growing in strength Roman catholic party. Congresses PUWP were convened in years: 1948, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1968, 1971, 1975 and 1980.
"The active politics of our state in the relation to The Holy See, is dating mainly from the period after December 1970. The position of both party powers [PUWP] and the state powers in the face of denominational problems was defined publicly more overtly, to a larger extent than ever..." "Socjalizm i Katolicyzm" (Socialism and Catholicism) KAW, Warsaw 1978, page 22
The one is ... The Sixth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Party, convened in 1971. In the period of the government's politics outlined by this congress came into being the prophetic movement of Seventh Angel. (Rev. 17:1)
October 1971. Participation of the representatives of Polish government in the ceremonies of Maximilian Kolbe beatification.
June 1972. Pope Paul VI makes a decision about the final regulation of a dioceses status on the Polish lands western and northern.
November 1973. The Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Olszowski paid pope a visit. This is first official meeting of the representative of the Polish state and the superior of the whole Catholic church.
The other is not yet come ... The Seventh Congress PUWP in 1975.
In the book “Biblical Chronology” (“a little book”; Rev. 10:2), page 219, published in 1974, there is a such prophetic expression: "position of the reached 'the sea shore' (1977) will be an observation point (...) John class will see various finally formed 'beasts'."
"Against a background of the evolution of bilateral relations, the visit of First Secretary PUWP in Vatican [autumn 1977] is crowning the unusually important stage in their development." ”Socjalizm i Katolicyzm” (Socialism and Catholicism), page 25
(11) And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition.
The beast is an eighth ... Eighth Congress PUWP, which was held in February 1980.
"Till 1980 no Catholic formation was admitted to performing any duty in the organs of the state administration – in the government. The previous management of the state's life was not interested in participation of secular Catholics in the process of the governing, a managing the society. In the current composition of the government the representatives of secular Catholics movement sit down on responsible state positions." The monthly of the Department Ideological CC PUWP "Ideologia i Polityka" (Ideology and Politics) No 9, page 139 (September 1982)
It goes into perdition ... Anarchy. R2062:6
It was "42 months" (Rev. 13:5) of present-day short magnificence of papal beast, which elapsed since Edward Gierek decisive visit in Vatican (autumn 1977) till the spring 1981. The socialist governments, which gave the Roman Catholic church the full power, they found out about that, that they had been betrayed by their partner.
On 13 May 1981, unexpectedly, in Saint Peter's Square at Rome reverberated the pistol shots of Turkish assassin, which was shooting to the pope. They informed the world about the abrupt breaking off the political contract of the socialistic powers and Roman Catholic church. The papacy being deprived of support of powerful secular power began to head towards its destruction.
Was the coincidence this event? The attempt on the life of the pope has been made exactly 1260 days after Eduard Gierek's decisive visit at Vatican of 1 December, 1977. Let's count: from 1.12 to 31.12.1977 – 31 days, year 1978 – 365 days, year 1979 – 365 days, year 1980 – 366 days, 1.01 to 13.05.1981 – 133 days. In total – 1260 days.
(12) And the ten horns that thou sawest are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet; but they receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour.
The number "ten" … Natural symbol of human perfection, wholeness, the total form. Topical Index
The horn ... Biblical symbol of the power.
The ten-horned beast represents fourth universal empire – first pagan Rome and later papal Rome. The history of that beast has two particular periods: (1) 1260 years of mediaeval supremacy and (2) 1260 days of the present success. Between both these periods there is a staying of the beast in the abyss.
History of dark ages, described by the prophet Daniel mainly, it speaks about changing various powers showed by the horns on the beast head. They are appearing simultaneously in the number ten (when they represent all kings under the supremacy of Rome) or in turn (when it shows the papacy coming to a power). Since secular-religious reigns of dark ages were thrown aside and given up – the beast found itself in the abyss. Then the secular powers (dragon) held the power in Europe.
17th chapter of the Revelation shows the last period of power and life of the papal beast nowadays, when it already went out from the abyss. This viewpoint is particular one, because it presents the avant-garde role of socialist powers in restoring at the Europe of secular-religious governments. One can always look on Europe, with her rulers being subordinated to Rome, as the ten-horned beast. This is the general picture so to say. In the latter part of 70th of the last century however, against a background of that picture, was formed particular picture when ten socialist countries and the Roman Catholic church were shaping the peace politics of the whole continent and even the world. The spirit of the co-operation with papacy has became general soon. Because of such important role played by socialism in this process, the beast which went out of the "sea" is scarlet-colored, it possesses both ten own horns (ten countries of the COMECON) and seven own heads (the Warsaw Pact).
They receive authority as kings for one hour ... Period of the three years and a half, which elapsed from the autumn 1977 till the spring 1981.
The beginning of this hour – Autumn 1977. It is the time of the end of the High Calling showed through the Sarah's death (3960 – 1983 = 1977).
The same period, lasting the 3,5 years, is showed also as:
"Forty and two months." (Rev. 13:5).
The prophesying of "two witnesses" through "twelve hundred and sixty days." (Rev. 11:3)
Symbolic "hour", in which has occurred "a earthquake" being caused by collapsing of "a tenth part of city." (Rev. 11:13)
The time and circumstances of that symbolic "hour" were the secret to the very end. The vision of the chapter suggested a such unknown future situation in which some "ten kings" would be to lead for a time the politics quite separate from the papacy. Opinion of pastor Ch.T. Russell on this subject, being expressed in form of conjecture, was put in the book "The Finished Mystery," published in 1917:
"This seems to set forth the Papal view respecting the various kings of Europe which at the present time have not received the official anointing by the Pope, and consequently have not as yet received their kingdom. If this is correct, it would then also mean that if the Pope should anoint these kings and declare them to be ruling by Divine right, they thereby would officially receive power as kings, and would rule with the Pope and together with the Pope would constitute the beast again in power." FM264
It was leaders of ten countries of COMECON these kings, who were kept aloof from rest of the world. Because of ideological causes they were isolated and to a large extent also ignored by both the pope himself and the governments of the capitalistic countries of the West.
When socialist powers perceived that the moods of ruled by them society became more and more rebellious and threatened their position, they quickly resigned from the ideological program and called for help the Roman Catholic church that is, the tried in Dark Ages the ally of the secular power.
The visit of secretary of the PUWP (Polish United Workers' Party), Eduard Gierek, in Vatican on the 1th of December, 1977, was widely recognized by political commentators as the breakthrough in mutual relations between the 'Holy See' and entire socialist camp. Title, 'His Holiness,' with which the Polish leader addressed the pope during the visit in Rome was the acknowledgement of his claim of supremacy over Christianity. The pope, in turn, using the highest dignitaries title, 'His Excellency' in reference to Eduard Gierek recognized represented by him socialist powers as 'reigning of divine favour.' Thus, the mediaeval custom of popes crowning of every king as the way of legalizing his power was renewed in the present-day style regarding socialist powers, recognized by the papacy illegal so far.
In this way has been formed the secular-ecclesiastic reign of Rome in their final shape, predicted through the prophetic vision: The harlot (Roman Catholic church) mounted the scarlet-colored beast (socialist powers making use of their peace propaganda).
This "hour" in biblical illustrations:
"And having come a day convenient, when Herod to the birthday of himself a feast he made to the nobles of himself, and to the commanders, and to the chiefs of the Galilee." (Mar. 6:21)
The spiritual meaning of the above picture:
Herod the Tetrarch Antipas ... This name signifies of someone who rules over fourth part (in result World War II socialism mastered third part of mankind and fourth part of the territory of the earth);
Herodias ... The Roman Catholic church;
Daughter of Herodias ... The Federation of Protestant churches;
John the Baptist ... God's people showing the blameworthy policy of the co-operation of secular power and Roman Catholic church. Because of this testimony "John the Baptist" was "beheaded";
The birthday of Herod ... prophetic period of the close relations of state and nominal church (1977-1981).
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"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits , and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon." (Dan. 3:1)
The spiritual meaning of the above picture:
Today's Nebuchadnezzar that is, the powers of socialist block, in 60th anniversary of the October Revolution (1977) put out in public their achievements, as the idea able to assure the peace in the world. In those appeals, these powers were supported not only through the Roman Catholic church, but also by Protestant denominations – "the image of the beast." "Three young men" who did not want to fall down and to worship the golden image were "thrown into the fiery furnace."
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"Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand." (Dan. 5:1)
The spiritual meaning of the above picture:
Babylonian king Belshazzar profaned the golden vessels of the Jerusalem temple at the special feast, during which he and his dignitaries, wives and concubines were drinking wine from them. This feast represents the special politics of the compromise which the socialist leaders initiated in the last years of their reigns. In years 1977-1981 they established the close co-operation with the Roman Catholic church and Protestant denominations. With the full approval of these churches, the atheistic leaders of socialism announced overbearing theories about the improving of the world with help of their own gods.
All these desperate efforts of saving themselves through propaganda and help of various allies have proved futile. The progressing events announced the nearing collapse of socialist system. God sent his prophet beforehand to inform participants of feast that the impending fall is not accidental. Prophet announced Divine judgement: "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Ufarsin." Period of 2520 years, coded in the inscription (1000 + 1000 + 20 + 500 = 2520 gera), when counted from the ancient feast (538 B.C.), it points at the year 1982, the very middle of years 1980-1984, within which the communism practically fell. Mikhail Gorbachev, which came to power in spring 1985, entirely changed the political direction of the state. Prophetic activity of pastor C.T. Russell (1874-1914) is in the parallel to the prophesying Jeremiah (646-606 B.C.). "Jeremiah's" announced the beginning of destruction of Christianity from 1914, whereas it was "Daniel's" prophetic movement, which announced before 1981, where there is the beginning and where there is the end of the today's "70 years of desolation." (Dan. 9:2)
(13) These have one mind, and they give their power and authority unto the beast.
These have one mind … "The kings" of COMECON, namely the socialist community reigning simultaneously, ideologically unanimous, they established unanimously close co-operation with the Roman Catholic church.
They give their power and authority unto the beast ... They recognized a supremacy over themselves of great harlot from Rome.
(14) These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they [also shall overcome] that are with him, called and chosen and faithful.
These shall war against the Lamb ... Christian people feel bound to champion the present falling kingdoms of so-called Christendom. Thus their sympathies are often forced to the side of oppression, rather than to the side of right and freedom. A270
Socialism will never become king of mystic "Babylon." Babylon will be on the side of the chief captains and mighty men. R4144:2 (1908)
How long the socialism was waging war on behalf of the down-trodden people so long it was recognized by the Lord as his army (Isa. 13:3-5). Lord supported it like He supported of Samson in the liberation of the Israeli nation from under the power of the Philistines. When the same socialism betrayed its ideals and when socialist powers began in co-operation with churches to strengthen the old devilish order of the world, they found themselves in the opposition to God's Lamb purposes.
The Lamb shall overcome them ... The unfortunate kings who unwittingly tried to block the way of triumphal march of Lamb establishing his kingdom, they fell so as the Babylonian king, Belshazzar. Their ultimate defeat will take place together with defeat of biblical Gog during invasion of Israel.
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Called and chosen and faithful ... "[Those] that come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name..." (Rev. 15:2)
(15) And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
The waters … The masses of nominal believers supporting Babylon (Rev. 17:15)
(16) And the ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her utterly with fire. (17) For God did put in their hearts to do his mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished.
Ten horns and the beast shall hate the harlot ... The Scripture foretold that that not only cheated leaders of the socialist camp (horns) but also the entire state (beast) which surrendered itself in vain to the retrograde influences of false religion, they will make on the Roman Catholic church the furious vengeance for their humiliation. The church by her claims to cleanness and the highest virtues dressed herself up in symbolic royal robe and gems, trying to make herself the most enchanting in eyes of secular wooers. They however, betrayed, will tear off with the hateful brutality this deceitful masquerade, baring before the world her vile character.
Shall make her desolate and naked ... They not only torn down the mutual co-operation, but they also are now more and more actively destructing this system. They are intensifying in the mass media the criticism baring the moral depravity and all transgressions of clergy.
Shall eat her flesh ... They will to rip and to enfeeble the ecclesiastical body of the great harlot by arousing discontent and mutual prejudices.
And shall burn her utterly with fire ... They will destroy her in anarchy completely.
(18) And the woman whom thou sawest is the great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth."
The great city ... City is biblical symbol of government
Added by: Andrzej