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17 One of the seven angels who had carried the seven bowls came and talked to me. He said, `Come, and I will show you the woman who has given herself over to wrong ways of using sex. She is sitting over many waters. I will show you how she will be punished.

The kings on earth have been with her and copied her. And the people on earth gladly copy her wrong ways.'

Then the angel took me away in the Spirit to a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a red beast that had names against God written all over it. It had seven heads and ten horns.

The woman was wearing blue and red clothes. She was shining with gold, fine stones, and pearls. In her hand she held a gold cup. It was full of the wrong things she did and of her dirty ways of using sex.

A name was written on her forehead. It has a secret meaning. The name is Great Babylon, the mother of all people who give their bodies for wrong ways of using sex. The mother of all things done on earth too bad to talk about.

And I saw the woman was drunk because of the blood she drank. It was the blood of God's people, and the blood of people who had been killed because they belonged to Jesus. When I saw her, I was very much surprised.

The angel asked me, `Why are you surprised? I will tell you the secret meaning of the woman and the beast with seven heads and horns that carries her.

`The beast that you saw was alive at one time, then it was dead. It will come up from the big hole that has no bottom and it will be killed. The people on earth will be surprised when they see the beast, because it was alive and then it was dead, and it comes alive again. These are the people who do not have their names written in the book of life from the time the world was made.

`To understand this, one must be wise. The seven heads are the seven hills on which the woman is sitting.

10 They are also seven kings. Five have already lost their power. One is ruling now, and the other one has not yet come. When he comes he will rule for a short time.

11 The beast that was alive at the one time, and then was dead, is the eighth king. He is really one of the seven. He will be killed.

12 The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet ruled. They will have power for one hour to rule with the animal.

13 These ten all think the same way, and they give to the beast their power and right to rule.

14 They will fight against the Lamb, but the Lamb will win the fight against them. He will win because he is Lord of lords and King of kings. `Those who are with the Lamb will also win. God has called them and chosen them, and they believe in him.'

15 And the angel said to me, `You saw the water on which the bad woman is sitting. The water is the many nations, many people, many countries, and many languages.

16 You saw the ten horns and the animal. They will hate the bad woman. They will take away everything she has and her fine clothes. They will eat her body and burn her up in a fire.

17 God has put it into their hearts to do what he wants done to her. They will all agree. They will give to the beast their power to rule until what God has said comes true.

18 `The woman whom you saw is the big city that rules over the kings on earth.'