The Woman on the Red Beast
1 One of the seven angels came and spoke to me. This was one of the angels that had the seven bowls. The angel 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 rulers of the earth sinned sexually with her. The people of the earth became drunk from the wine of her sexual sin.”
3 Then the angel carried me away by the Spirit to the desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a red beast. The beast was covered with evil names. It had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and red. She was shining with the gold, jewels, and pearls that she was wearing. She had a golden cup in her hand. This cup was filled with terribly evil things and the filth of her sexual sin. 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 told about 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 beast with seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast you saw was once alive, but now it is not. However, it will come up out of the bottomless pit and go away to be destroyed. The people who live on the earth will be amazed when they see the beast, because it was once alive, is no longer living, 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 wisdom to understand this. The seven heads on the beast are the seven hills where the woman sits. They are also seven rulers. 10 Five of the rulers have already died. One of the rulers lives now, and the last ruler is coming. When he comes, he will stay only a short time. 11 The beast that was once alive but is no longer living is an eighth ruler. This eighth ruler also belongs to the first seven rulers. And he will go away to be destroyed.
12 “The ten horns you saw are ten rulers. These ten rulers have not yet received their kingdom, but they will receive power to rule with the beast for one hour. 13 All ten of these rulers 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. And with him will be his chosen and faithful followers—the people he has called to be his.”
15 Then the angel said to me, “You saw the waters where the prostitute sits. These waters are the many peoples, the different races, nations, and languages in the world. 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 flesh and destroy her with fire. 17 God put the idea in their minds to do what would complete his purpose. They agreed to give the beast their power to 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.”