Then one of the seven angels who were carrying the seven bowls came and spoke to me. 'Come with me,' he said, 'and I will show you the doom of the great Harlot who sits upon many waters.
The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.'
So he carried me away in the Spirit into a desert, and there I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-colored Wild Beast which was covered with names of blasphemy and had seven heads and ten horns.
The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and was brilliantly attired with gold and jewels and pearls. She held in her hand a cup of gold, full of abominations, and she gave filthy indications of her fornication.
And on her forehead was a name written: 'I am a symbol of great Babylon, the mother of the harlots and of the abominations of the earth.'
And I saw the woman drinking herself drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And when I saw her I was filled with utter astonishment.
Then the angel said to me, 'Why are you so astonished? I will explain to you the secret meaning of the woman and of the seven-headed, ten-horned Wild Beast which carries her.
'The Wild Beast which you have seen was, and is not, and yet is destined to re-ascend, before long, out of the bottomless pit and go his way into perdition. And the inhabitants of the earth will be filled with amazement--all whose names are not in the Book of Life, having been recorded there ever since the creation of the world--when they see the Wild Beast: because he was, and is not, and yet is to come.
Here is scope for the exercise of a mind that has wisdom! The seven heads are the seven hills on which the woman sits.
And they are seven kings: five of them have fallen, and the one is still reigning. The seventh has not yet come, but when he comes he must continue for a short time.
And the Wild Beast which once existed but does not now exist--he is an eighth king and yet is one of the seven and he goes his way into perdition.
'And the ten horns which you have seen are ten kings who have not yet come to the throne, but for a single hour they are to receive authority as kings along with the Wild Beast.
They have one common policy, and they are to give their power and authority to the Wild Beast.
They will make war upon the Lamb, and the Lamb will triumph over them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings. And those who accompany Him--called, as they are, and chosen, and faithful--shall share in the victory.'
He also said to me, 'The waters which you have seen, on which the Harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes, nations and languages.
And the ten horns that you have seen--and the Wild Beast--these will hate the Harlot, and they will cause her to be laid waste and will strip her bare. They will eat her flesh, and burn her up with fire.
For God has put it into their hearts to carry out His purpose, and to carry out a common purpose and to give their kingdom to the Wild Beast until God's words have come to pass.
And the woman whom you have seen is the great city which has kingly power over the kings of the earth.'