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Chapter 17

1Then one of the seven angels with the seven bowls came and spoke to me.

“Come,” he said, “I will show you the doom of the great idolatress who is seated on many waters, 2in whose idolatry the kings of the earth have joined, and with the wine of whose idolatry the inhabitants of the earth have been intoxicated.”

3So he carried me away in a trance to a desert, and I saw a woman seated on a scarlet animal all covered with blasphemous titles; it had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and glittered with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She had in her hand a gold cup full of accursed things, and the impurities of her immorality. 5On her forehead there was written a name that was symbolic: “Mighty Babylon, mother of idolatresses and of earth’s abominations.” 6I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s people, and the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her I was perfectly amazed, 7but the angel said to me,

“Why are you amazed? I will explain to you what the woman and the animal with seven heads and ten horns that carries her symbolize. 8The animal that you saw was, and is no more; it is going to come up out of the abyss, but it is to go to destruction. The inhabitants of the earth, whose names from the foundation of the world have not been written in the book of life, will be amazed when they see that the animal was, and is no more, and yet is to come. 9Here is a problem for a profound mind! The seven heads are seven hills, on which the woman is seated. 10They are also seven kings; five have fallen, one is reigning, the other has not yet come, and when he does his stay must be brief. 11So must it be with the animal that was, and is no more. It is also an eighth king, although it is one of the seven, and it is to go to destruction. 12The ten horns that you saw are also ten kings, who have not yet begun to reign, but for a single hour they receive authority as kings along with the animal. 13They have one purpose, they give their power and authority to the animal. 14They will make war upon the Lamb, and the Lamb with his elect, chosen, and faithful followers with him will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings.

15“The waters that you saw,” he said to me, “on which the idolatrous woman was seated, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. 16The ten horns that you saw and the animal will hate the idolatrous woman and make her desolate and naked, and eat her flesh and burn her up with fire. 17For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by having a common purpose and giving up their authority to the animal until God’s decrees are carried out. 18And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”

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