The Great Harlot is specifically here an empire made up of many nations in the end times that will be very secular, atheistic, and materialistic. She is symbolically called Babylon since Babylon means ‘confusion’ and she causes mankind spiritual confusion. The spirit of the Great Harlot has been in the world throughout history within all the great empires and kingdoms that have been non religious and persecutors of God’s people, and John specifically mentions seven of the kings of those empires as seven heads, and he mentions only seven because there are seven who stand out above the rest because of their extreme persecutions of the Church. The beast here is the Antichrist, who will be the final king, and he will demand everyone to worship him. And the False Prophet will lead ten kings, whom John called ten horns, to unite with the Antichrist. John says that the Antichrist and the ten kings will hate the Great Harlot and devour her, and the reason is because the Great Harlot is made up of not only Christians scattered abroad but also non religious secularists and every other kind of religion, and the Antichrist demands pious worship of him and will despise anyone who does not do so zealously. The Antichrist only unites with the Great Harlot for the power, and the fact that she shares a common interest to persecute the Church, but then he turns against her once he has gained enough support from other kings and nations. The affliction of the Antichrist upon the Harlot is a means of judgment from God.

Andrew of Caesarea:

1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who is seated upon many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; 5 and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth’s abominations.” 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her I marveled greatly. 7 But the angel said to me, “Why marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her.

8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition; and the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will marvel to behold the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. 

9 This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain only a little while.

11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to perdition. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are of one mind and give over their power and authority to the beast; 14 they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” 15 And he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the harlot is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the harlot; they will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, 17 for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and giving over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18 And the woman that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth.”


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