Whore of Babylon
Bible scholars have various theories concerning what the whore represents. In ancient times, Tertullian suggested that Babylon was a stand-in for pagan Rome. Like Babylon of Revelation, Rome ruled over the kings of the earth, sat on seven mountains, was the center of the world's merchandise, corrupted nations, and was a persecutor of saints. If Babylon does represent Rome, it follows that the beast represents Emperor Nero and that the whore represents the Jews, who John accuses of collaborating with the Roman authorities against Christians.
Historically, Protestant commentators emphasized parallels between the Whore and the papacy. The Geneva Bible (1540) connects the papacy to the Whore by portraying it as a continuation of imperial Rome: "A scarlet color, that is, with a red and purple garment: and surely it was not without cause that the Romish clergy were so much delighted with this color." There is also, "That harlot, the spiritual Babylon, which is Rome." In his 1706 Bible commentary, Matthew Henry identified those who followed the whore with those that "have been bewitched and enslaved by the papacy." This view has waned in recent years due to increased cooperation between Protestants and Catholics (though the cooperation is mainly on social issues such as abortion); however, it is still the prevalent view within fundamentalism especially within Independent Baptist churches.
- Revelation 17:5
- "Babylon in the New Testament," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. See also "Revelation— Note on 17: 9– 11," ESV Study Bible. "Rome, which then had “dominion over the kings of the earth” (v. 18), rests on seven mountains (or seven hills)."
- Revelation 17:18.
- Revelation 17:9.
- Revelation 18:3 and Revelation 18:11-13.
- Revelation 17:2, Revelation 18:3, and Revelation 19:2.
- Revelation 17:6.
- "Who is the Whore of Babylon?," Catholic Apologetics.
- Geneva Bible (1560), Commentary for Revelation 17:3.
- Geneva Bible (1560), Commentary for Revelation 17:4.
- Matthew, Henry, Complete Commentary on Revelation 17.