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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 17 - Verse 4

Verse 4. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour. On the nature of the scarlet colour, see Barnes on "Re 17:3".

The purple colour—porfura—was obtained from a species of shell-fish found on the coasts of the Mediterranean, which yielded a reddish-purple dye, much prized by the ancients. Robes dyed in that colour were commonly worn by persons of rank and wealth, Mr 15:17,20; Lu 16:19.

The purple colour contains more blue than the crimson, though the limits are not very accurately defined, and the words are sometimes interchanged. Thus the mock robe put on the Saviour is called in Mr 15:17,20, porfuranpurple, and in Mt 27:28, kokkinhncrimson. On the applicability of this to the Papacy, see Barnes on "Re 17:3".

 

And decked with gold. After the manner of an harlot, with rich jewelry.

And precious stones. Sparkling diamonds, etc.

And pearls. Also a much-valued female ornament. Compare Barnes on "Mt 7:6; Mt 13:46 ".

 

Having a golden cup in her hand. As if to entice lovers. See Barnes on "Re 14:8".

 

Full of abominations. Of abominable things; of things fitted to excite abhorrence and disgust; things unlawful and forbidden. The word, in the Scriptures, is commonly used to denote the impurities and abominations of idolatry. See Barnes on "Da 9:27".

The meaning here is, that it seemed to be a cup filled with wine, but it was in fact a cup full of all abominable drugs, leading to all kinds of corruption. How much in accordance this is with the fascinations of the Papacy, it is not necessary now to say, after the ample illustrations of the same thing already furnished in these Notes.

And filthiness of her fornication, The image here is that of Papal Rome, represented as an abandoned woman in gorgeous attire, alluring by her arts the nations of the earth, and seducing them into all kinds of pollution and abomination. It is a most remarkable fact that the Papacy, as if designing to furnish a fulfilment of this prophecy, has chosen to represent itself almost precisely in this manner—as a female extending an alluring cup to passers by. Apostate churches, and guilty nations, often furnish the very proofs necessary to confirm the truth of the Scriptures.

{a} "Mystery Babylon" 2 Th 2:7 {1} "HARLOTS" "fornications"

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