17 One of the seven angels came and spoke to me. This was one of the angels that had the seven bowls. He said, “Come, and I will show you the punishment that will be given to the famous prostitute. She is the one sitting over many waters. 2 The kings of the earth sinned sexually with her. And the people of the earth became drunk from the wine of her sexual immorality.”
3 Then the angel carried me away by the Spirit to the desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a red beast. He was covered with names against God written on him. He had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and red. She was shining with the gold, jewels, and pearls she was wearing. She had a golden cup in her hand. This cup was filled with evil things and the uncleanness of her sexual immorality. 5 She had a title written on her forehead. This title has a hidden meaning. This is what was written:
THE GREAT BABYLON
MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES
AND THE EVIL THINGS OF THE EARTH.
6 I saw that the woman was drunk. She was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people. She was drunk with the blood of those who were killed because of their faith in Jesus.
When I saw the woman, I was fully amazed. 7 Then the angel said to me, “Why are you amazed? I will tell you the hidden meaning of this woman and the beast she rides—the one with seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast that you saw was once alive. He is not alive now. But he will be alive and come up out of the bottomless pit and go away to be destroyed. The people who live on earth will be amazed when they see the beast. They will be amazed because he was once alive, is not alive now, but will come again. These are the people whose names have never been written in the book of life since the beginning of the world.
9 “You need a wise mind to understand this. The seven heads on the beast are the seven hills where the woman sits. They are also seven kings. 10 Five of the kings have already died. One of the kings lives now. And the last king is coming. When he comes, he will stay only a short time. 11 The beast that was once alive but is not alive now is an eighth king. This eighth king also belongs to the first seven kings. And he will go away to be destroyed.
12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings. These ten kings have not yet begun to rule. But they will receive power to rule with the beast for one hour. 13 All ten of these kings have the same purpose. And they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war against the Lamb. But the Lamb will defeat them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings. He will defeat them with his chosen and faithful followers—the people that he has called.”
15 Then the angel said to me, “You saw the water where the prostitute sits. These waters are the many peoples, the different races, nations, and languages. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will take everything she has and leave her naked. They will eat her body and burn her with fire. 17 God made the ten horns want to carry out his purpose: They agreed to give the beast their power to rule. They will rule until what God has said is completed. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”
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