The Whore of Babylon

THE IDENTITY OF THE WHORE OF BABYLON

A formal challenge to Anti-Catholics’ claim that the ‘’Whore of Babylon” is the Catholic church

Many non-Catholic sects such as the SDAs and JWs and some strains of Baptists, Pentecostals and others continue to persist in this wild-eyed and ridiculous claim that that whore/harlot of Babylon shown in John's Revelation (Chapters 17 & 18 in particular) refers to the Catholic church. The many assertions made to buttress this smear range from the slightly misguided to the downright loopy and absurd. They cover the gamut of every alleged belief Catholics are accused of holding and every transgression Catholics are accused of committing over history.

I cannot possibly confront every peripheral assertion an opponent is likely to bring to this debate although I would relish the opportunity to confront as many as feasible in the future.

This debate challenge is on the very particular claim that the whore or harlot seen in John's vision is, in fact, the Catholic church- as the accusation is so often made.

To win this debate, I have to do nothing more (or less) than prove that it isn't the Catholic Church. To win this debate, my opponents must prove that it is. Assertion, innuendo, implication, and Juxtaposition won't do. Prove it is or prove it isn't. Those are the stakes. I will now, meet my burden of proof. I will prove who she isn't by proving who she is and leave all the other arguments for another day.

I would suggest you follow along closely because my case will be made systematically from the start of Chapter 17 to the end of Chapter 18. When I am through, there will be no room for doubt as to the identity of either the harlot or the beast she rides on, and neither are the Catholic church. I expect you to confront my arguments.



Let's get started.


The logical start point is the context of the book of revelation itself. The protestant notion that the entire Book of Revelation points to the ‘’end times’’ as a sort of play-by-play is not supported in the text. This interpretation is basically an invention of the 1970s and crackpots like Hal Lindsay and Tim Lahaye who have been proven wrong more times than can be counted. No anti-catholic will even attempt to demonstrate that John’s Revelation all points to even his future, much less ours.


The Book of Revelation is a mural of the story of God’s salvation and weaves elements that were way before John’s time-


Revelation 12:

7 And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels:

8 And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven.


9 And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.


In John’s time-


Revelation 1: 4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you and peace from him that is, and that was, and that is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before his throne,


And those that were imminent.


Imminence is the clear message.


The urgency of John’s warnings cannot be missed. Nearly all of the things that he is warning of are to be seen soon and by the people still living at the time.


1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass: and signified, sending by his angel to his servant John,


7 Behold, he cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of him. Even so. Amen.


John is not talking about the return of Jesus at the end of time but about His coming in vengeance as foretold in the Gospels. Jesus makes a very clear distinction between those things which occur at the end times and those things that will be visited on the current generation living at that time. I will clearly show this as we go.


Suffice it to say (and I will show) that John’s Gospel is the only Gospel that does not include these short-term prophecies. There are 2 reasons.

1. John’s is the only Gospel of the 4 written after these events occurred.

2. He deals with them in this Book written as they were on the very doorstep.


Let’s start to progress through the passages about the Whore and I will bring all of this to light.


Chapter 17 :1 And there came one of the seven angels, who had the seven vials, and spoke with me, saying: Come, I will shew thee the condemnation of the great harlot, who sitteth upon many waters, 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication; and they who inhabit the earth, have been made drunk with the whine of her whoredom.


The first thing to note is that John is not just told by the Angel that he is simply about to show him the great harlot but that he will show him the condemnation of the great harlot. The Greek word is Krima and indicates a sentence that has already been handed down. The harlot has already been found guilty and John is present, not for the crimes, not even for the trial, but for the sentence. The harlot is being sentenced in 68 AD (I will demonstrate that that is when this is written).

This is the first proof that John's vision refers to an entity that existed in 68 AD when his vision occurred, and said entity had committed crimes before then.

The first premise of anti-catholic interpretation of these chapters is that this vision refers to something in the distant future, long beyond John's years. As you will see, that is a man-made construct that runs directly counter to the text.

Verse 1 says the harlot sits on the many waters (peoples, nations et v15) It is a combination of the Greek word Kathemi- meaning to sit and a modifier that specifically denotes present tense. Present tense, folks. 68 AD. Verse 2 says The Kings of the earth have had intercourse. Have had intercourse. This is from the Greek word porneue and a modifier indicating active tense. These things are occurring even as John sees the vision in 68 AD.

To win this argument, my opponent literally must explain why John is using the wrong words here and this is actually a far-future event. The same is true with "they who inhabit the earth" Present tense. "Have been made drunk" Active tense. That the whore, the kings and the inhabitants of the earth all existed in the 1st century is unarguable from the standpoint of the etymology of the words.

Since the whore represents the religious world having spiritual intercourse with the pagan world, the allusion of Jerusalem and Pagan Rome, respectively, is impossible to escape and there are just pages and pages of Scripture to support this.

In Isaiah Chapter 1, the prophet heralds a warning that he specifies as pertaining to Jerusalem. In verse 21, He says:

21 How is the faithful city, that was full of judgment, become a harlot? justice dwelt in it, but now murderers.

Jeremiah 3:6 6 And the Lord said to me in the days of king Josias: Hast thou seen what rebellious Israel hast done? she hath gone out of herself upon every high mountain, and under every green tree, and hath played the harlot there.

There are many others I could cite but the point is clear. In God's Holy Word, Israel in general and Jerusalem were referred to as the harlot too many times to count.

3 And he took me away in spirit into the desert. And I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was clothed round about with purple and scarlet, and gilt with gold, and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of the abomination and filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: A mystery; Babylon the great, the mother of the fornications, and the abominations of the earth.


First, we must address the beast because this is a typology that cannot be missed. In Revelation 12, we first see the Seven-headed, ten horned beast that wages war against the Child of God and His Mother. That beast is specifically identified as Satan. Here again, we see the seven-headed, ten horned beast but as we will see, it is associated with "Kings of the earth". In other words, this beast is a Kingdom that the Whore (Jerusalem) was currently riding upon in a spiritual sense. Again, the woman is sitting- present tense. This kingdom, by comparison, represents the very evil and malice of Satan himself as it is portrayed as the same dragon. This kingdom can be none other than pagan Rome.


Detractors of the Catholic church like to seize on verse 4 and the golden cup- which they allude to the communion chalice, and the purple and scarlet- which they infer to be the official colors of the Catholic church. Let me deal with the last point first. The official colors of the Catholic church are Gold and White. True, Priestly vestments have been Red and Purple but they have also been Gold, White, Black, Green, Rose and multiple other colors. This allusion is very tenuous at best. They have a slightly stronger argument in the inference of the golden cup but it is still only an inference. Remember, this debate is based on proof.

You will notice that they do not even mention the precious stones and pearls? Did they forget about those or just couldn't make the allusion fit?

I'll tell you where you find all these things. In Exodus Chapter 25 in the materials for the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Purple and Scarlet yarn is found in many verses- verse 4 for example. The precious stones appear in verse 7. Look it up folks! The golden cups are right there in verse 29 and gold is throughout the chapter. The only clue missing is the pearls which seem to refer to the woman's vanity and certainly cannot be ascribed to the Catholic church. So, my opponent ascribes Gold, Golden cups, precious stones and Purple and Scarlet to the Catholic church by inference. The Bible, however, assigns these things-specifically to Jerusalem and the Temple.

What about her name? Babylon?

The term is used derisively, of course. It is not referring to the actual historical nation of Babylon. Our opponents obviously concede this point because they try to juxtapose it to Rome and, by consequence, the Catholic church that they posit as an offshoot of that Roman empire. That's where the anticatholic paradigm hits a brick wall. Foundational to their refutation of Peter as the first Pope is the blanket denial that Peter was ever in Rome. This contention on their part is historically untenable but it also presents them the Biblical problem.

In Chapter 5 of his first epistle, Peter says

13 The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you: and so doth my son Mark.

This puts our anti-catholic friends in quite a pickle. They either have to admit that Babylon refers to Jerusalem (the elected church) or admit that Peter was in Rome. That's their only 2 options. However, since pagan Rome, having never been God's people, could thus not be guilty of spiritual adultery, the conclusion is inescapable.

The Whore is Jerusalem, mother of all whores and abominations.

6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And I wondered, when I had seen her, with great admiration.

This is another verse for anticatholics to latch on by inference. They will bring up the inquisitions and the crusades and all the killing done by crooked kings on all sides, multiply it by 10,000 and juxtapose it all on the woman as an indictment of the Catholic church.


They are once again hoisted by their own petard and the plain entomology of the words, for they would clearly argue that the Catholic church did not even exist in 68 AD. That the greek term portrays the woman's drunken state as present tense- 68 AD is inescapable. They can infer that this points forward centuries but the greek verbiage doesn't support that. However, a similar verse that comes later, really slams the door on their arguments.

For now, though they can argue that this verse can be applied to the Catholic church, there is no arguing that it can be applied to Jerusalem who had killed many Christians by this point, Stephen being just one.

7 And the angel said to me: Why dost thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast which carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall come up out of the bottomless pit, and go into destruction: and the inhabitants on the earth (whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world) shall wonder, seeing the beast that was, and is not. 9 And here is the understanding that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, upon which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings: 10 Five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come: and when he is come, he must remain a short time. 11 And the beast which was, and is not: the same also is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into destruction.


First, with respect to the Beast, John is again alluding it with the Devil. While He calls Jesus "He who was and is and is to come", the devil is he who was and is not. This is the demonic character of the beast in general, again reflecting back to chapter 12. Later, you will see him draw the lens in closer by looking at the heads of the beast.

Verse 9 is very important and the anti-catholics always get it wrong. I'm using an accurate translation that gets it right. The woman sits on 7 mountains (the Greek word Oros) not on 7 hills (the Greek word Boonos). This is not Rome. It certainly isn't the Vatican which sits on it's own hill on the other side of the Tiber river.

For people of John's day, it would have been automatic for them to recognize what was widely known as the city on 7 mountains- Jerusalem. They are the Mount of Olives, Mount Scopus, Mount of Corruption, Mount Ophel, the Original Mount Zion, the New Mount Zion and the Mount on which the Antonia Fortress was built.

Once again, the harlot is proven to be Jerusalem.

The Kings, on the other hand, belong to the beast, not the harlot. 5 have fallen, one is, one to come.

The first 5 Roman emperors were Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. All 5 were dead by 68 AD. Nero is the beast whose name adds up to 666, the number announced in chapter 13. The sixth king, who was emperor when this book was written was Galba. The 7th was Otho. This proves that John wrote this book in 68 AD during the reign of Galba and the "Fall of Babylon" he was warning so urgently about was the destruction of Jerusalem by Vespasian who John allegorically calls an 8th king and a reincarnation of the fallen beast- Nero.

and, skipping ahead a few verses, here is the proof...

15 And he said to me: The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples, and nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which thou sawest in the beast: these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her with fire. 17 For God hath given into their hearts to do that which pleaseth him: that they give their kingdom to the beast, till the words of God be fulfilled. 18 And the woman which thou sawest, is the great city, which hath kingdom over the kings of the earth.

In verse 16, we see that the Roman Beast turns on the whore and burns her with fire. This happens in 70 AD. I am often amused when zealous anti-catholics call the church both the beast and the whore as if the church could wage war on herself!

The woman herself is identified as "The Great city" and that great city is identified in Revelation 11:8 as a spiritual Sodom and Egypt to go along with her derisive title of Babylon. The verse also clearly tells us that it is the city where Our lord was crucified, and we all know that that city was Jerusalem. By virtue of this one verse, I could declare victory in this debate but there is more.

Chapter 18 1 And after these things, I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power: and the earth was enlightened with his glory. 2 And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen; and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every unclean spirit, and the hold of every unclean and hateful bird: 3 Because all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; and the merchants of the earth have been made rich by the power of her delicacies.

Verses 1 and 2 hearken to Isaiah chapter 21

7 And he saw a chariot with two horsemen, a rider upon an ass, and a rider upon a camel: and he beheld them diligently with much heed. 8 And a lion cried out: I am upon the watchtower of the Lord, standing continually by day: and I am upon my ward, standing whole nights. 9 Behold this man cometh, the rider upon the chariot with two horsemen, and he answered, and said: Babylon is fallen, she is fallen, and all the graven gods thereof are broken unto the ground.


Pretty tough not to see the imagery of the Lion crying out and the rider upon an ass as pointing towards Jesus. As you know, He rode an ass on His entry into Jerusalem. This is very important because it directly links the warning of the fall of Babylon with Jesus. Jesus' warnings about Jerusalem's demise were stark.

In Matthew's Gospel, chapter 24, verses 1 and 2, Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, exclaiming that not one stone (Lithos meaning little pebble) will be left upon another. In verse 34, He predicts correctly that it will happen within one generation (40 years).

In verses 15-22, He gives His famous warning that those in Judea should flee to the mountains. This dire warning is echoed in Mark's and Luke's Gospels.

Luke 21

20 And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army; then know that the desolation thereof is at hand. 21 Then let those who are in Judea, flee to the mountains; and those who are in the midst thereof, depart out: and those who are in the countries, not enter into it. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things may be fulfilled, that are written. 23 But woe to them that are with child, and give suck in those days; for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led away captives into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled. 25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves; 26 Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved;


The imminence of these warnings and their urgency cannot be overstated and John repeats them even more urgently in verses 4-8 of Chapter 18 of Revelation.

4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying: Go out from her, my people; that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and the Lord hath remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her as she also hath rendered to you; and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup wherein she hath mingled, mingle ye double unto her. 7 As much as she hath glorified herself, and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give ye to her; because she saith in her heart: I sit a queen, and am no widow; and sorrow I shall not see. 8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall be burnt with the fire; because God is strong, who shall judge her.

These are yet more verses that anticatholics use falsely against us. Once again, every sentence proves the sins are past, the judgement is current and the wrath is imminent. John is literally conveying the angel's message to get out now! This is not a warning for centuries down the road.

Finally, we close our case by skipping ahead to verse 24 which as the absolute checkmate of verses in this case.

24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

I alluded to this earlier. Though anti-catholics can falsely claim that the Roman Catholic church has the blood of saints inside her, even they cannot argue that it can be said the Catholic church is guilty of the blood of the prophets nor of the blood of all who have been slain upon the earth, up to at least the time of John. Remember, anticatholics claim the Roman Catholic church did not even exist at that point.

So, what city can be held to account for the blood of the prophets? What city can be held to account for all those slain on earth? I will let Jesus answer for you in His own words.

Luke 13

33 Nevertheless I must walk to day and to morrow, and the day following, because it cannot be that a prophet perish, out of Jerusalem. 34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent to thee, how often would I have gathered thy children as the bird doth her brood under her wings, and thou wouldest not? 35 Behold your house shall be left to you desolate. And I say to you, that you shall not see me till the time come, when you shall say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Matthew 23

31 Wherefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the sons of them that killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell? 34 Therefore behold I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you will put to death and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city:

Verse 35 exactly parallels Revelation 18:24 and proves that all of this occurs to Jerusalem in 70 AD

35 That upon you may come all the just blood that hath been shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel the just, even unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom you killed between the temple and the altar. 36 Amen I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation.

Revelation 18: 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

The case I just made is impenetrable. You now know the truth. God will not hold you blameless if you continue to persist in this slander. The whore of Babylon is Jerusalem. Period. Full stop.


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