This is one of the most discussed chapters in the entire Bible. It speaks of Babylon the great, the great whore. But who is she? What does the great whore in fact symbolise?
In the language of futurist view of Bible prophecy this chapter describes some future world kingdom and its leader, the AntiChrist. For much of my Christian life I was sold that interpretation, and I believed it for a long time. But the interpretation itself was developed and promoted by agents of the real great whore, the Papacy, and the beast, the Roman Catholic Church, which is the false church that has at all times opposed true believers. Do not be deceived and open your mind to the simple straightforward interpretation, which is that the book of the Revelation describes the history of the Church since Jesus Christ formed it and it ends with His second coming.
The preceding chapters have described a series of historical events that led to the overthrow of spiritual Babylon, which is described here as the great whore or harlot. Up to this point in history the interpretation of the revelation has been largely achieved by looking in history for events that have already happened.
With the sixth vial we saw opening of the way for missionary activities spreading the gospel, from the 18th century up to the present time. The following seventh vial brings on events that are yet in our future so we cannot be too dogmatic about them. But one thing we can be certain of is that the seventh vial brings on the final overthrow of the Anti-Christ power of spiritual Babylon. This is described in the last verses of chapter 16. Now in chapters 17, 18 and 19 her downfall, the overthrow of the apostate church, the triumph of the Word of God, and the victory of Armageddon, are described in great detail.
This chapter opens (v.1) declaring that it is about the judgment of the great whore. The word ‘whore’ symbolises the false church as a whore is not the true bride (of Christ), but an imposter.