Burning Questions answered
by Rev Colin Le Noury.
Q15. Who is the Scarlet Woman of Revelation 17?
REVELATION 17 is one of the most interesting and graphic of all the visions given to John on Patmos. In v.3-6 he gives a very clear description of an obviously corrupted woman, clothed in purple and scarlet riding a scarlet coloured beast.
The beast itself is unmistakably satanic since v.8 tells us it ascended from the bottomless pit and is destined for perdition. The beast is clearly the kingdom of antichrist with his personage at the head.
The scarlet woman is seen 'to ride' the beast, suggesting a harmonious working relationship with antichrist's kingdom. Although further reading of the passage reveals that there will be a breakdown in that relationship.
The question is: who is this scarlet woman? It is my firm belief that it will be a one world church - a global ecumenical religious system. This religious system will probably be led and dominated by the Roman Catholic church, but will also include liberal protestants, along with all the major faiths and religions of the world.
There are several clues in Revelation 17 which would support this conclusion. For example, v.18 says, 'The woman that thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth'.
The identification with a city is important since the Roman Catholic system has its world headquarters in the Vatican City. This verse 18 suggests that the city will have a political influence the world over. It is a known fact that in all strongly Roman Catholic countries the church has a great influence on government and political life. More than 700 million people live in such countries and the Vatican, like any other state, has its ambassadors scattered across the world.
The beast on which the woman rides is said to have seven heads, v.3. In v.9 we are clearly told, 'The seven heads are seven are seven mountains on which the woman sits'. It is not insignificant that the Vatican City is centred in Rome which is actually built on seven hills!
But to identify the woman solely with the Roman Catholic church would be both unfair and incorrect. Other clues of identity are found in Revelation 17 - not least in the names attributed to the woman.
The fact that she is called, 'Mystery Babylon the Great' points to her religious nature since Babylon was at the origin of all false religion.
This was based on the cult of the queen of heaven and her manchild. It had developed a priesthood and sacred virgins and also included occult practices. Its influence later spread to other religions in Canaan, Egypt and eventually Europe.
The remainder of the woman's name, "Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth' are also suggestive of a false religious system. In the Old Testament, whenever Israel fell into a backslidden state and incorporated heathen religions, the Lord would accuse them of 'playing the harlot' - thus harlotry is seen to be spiritual corruption. Similarly, the false religious practices of Israel's heathen neighbours are often referred to as 'abominations unto the Lord'.
All of this helps us to identify the religious nature of the woman. The fact that this religious system will be antichristian is further spelt out in v.6 which tells us that she will be drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
Anyone with discernment will see that this apostate global religious system is fast coming together. In 1948 we saw the formation of the World Council of Churches (WCC) with delegates from 147 different denominations - its aim being to unify all non-catholic churches. Since its inception the WCC has embraced many dubious practices and beliefs; including communism, social revolution, liberation theology, green theology and New ageism. It has become increasingly synthetistic and has also pursued a dialogue with Rome.
In addition to the WCC we have seen an emergence of multi-faith activity, together with the Second World Parliament of Religions in 1993. This included more than 7000 delegates representing over 100 religions and faiths; and even included Satanists and witches. The aim of the WPR being to form a global religion in time for the new millennium. Clearly there is a coming together of the Mother of Harlots - the scarlet woman is on the horizon.
However her reign will be shortlived since the beast on which she rides is destined to turn and devour her. How different from the true church, the bride of Christ, who will live and reign with Him eternally.
Colin Le Noury