The Whore of Babylon or “Babylon the Great” is a Christian allegorical figure of evil mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. Her full title is given as “Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth.”
The Whore is associated with the Antichrist and the Beast of Revelation by connection with an equally evil kingdom. (The word “Whore” can also be translated as “Idolatress”.) The Whore’s apocalyptic downfall is prophesied to take place in the hands of the beast with seven heads and ten horns. There is much speculation within Christian eschatology on what the Whore and Beast symbolize as well as the possible implications for contemporary interpretations.
17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. [“Fornication” is interpreted/translated as “idolatry” in the Amplified Bible (AMP), the New American Bible mentions “harlotry”]
17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written a mystery: Babylon The Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the Earth. [King James Version; the New International Version uses “prostitutes” instead of “harlots”].
17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sat. [King James Version; the New International Version Bible and the New American Bible use “hills” instead of “mountains”].
17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space.
17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition.
17:12 And the ten horns which thou saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
17:15 And he said unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sat, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.