Many Christians are unaware of what the symbols used in the Revelation represent. It is not until you are given the keys to unlocking the prophecies that any sense can be made of them. The biblical principles for interpreting prophecy are quite simple 1) Use scripture to interpret scripture and 2) Understand that the method of repeat and enhance is utilised.
How do you use scripture to interpret scripture?
When reading the prophecies in Revelation it needs to be noted that over two thirds of this book is either quoting directly or alluding to other scriptures from the Old Testament or from Revelation itself. When you go and study the scriptures that are being referenced, they fill in the details needed to interpret the prophecies.
What is Repeat and Enhance?
Prophecies in the Bible are not given completely in any one spot. The method of repeat and enhance is used, where the same prophecy is given over and over, with each one written differently, or using other symbols, but building on the previous one. Revelation is not written as a contiguous book, the same prophecies are given from different viewpoints eg: The seven churches looks at things from a religious point of view, the seven trumpets look from a military point etc.
Who is Mystery Babylon?
Who is the Harlot Woman in Revelation with Mystery Babylon written on her forehead? Revelation 17:3-6 I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 This title was written on her forehead: mystery babylon the great the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth. 6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.
In the Bible a WOMAN symbolizes a CHURCH. Christ is represented as the Bridegroom of the true church. Revelation speaks of a woman in white, which is the pure church and then the woman in scarlet, also called a whore, who represents a corrupt church. This corrupt church is named Mystery Babylon. It is a fallen church teaching false doctrines.
Revelation says that the woman in scarlet sits on many WATERS, explained in Revelation 17:1 & 15 as meaning worldwide with many peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
Revelation 17:9 says Mystery Babylon is a church built on SEVEN HILLS or MOUNTAINS. This identifies it as a church that came out of Rome, for Rome is proverbial as the city built on seven hills. Revelation 17:4 says she is decked with GOLD and PRECIOUS STONES and PEARLS, having a GOLDEN cup in her hand. This means that she will be a church with great wealth.
Mystery Babylon is shown to be a RELIGIOUS power that also has political control, as it says the harlot church is riding, or in other words, directing the beast. A beast or animal is symbolic of a ruling king, kingdom or political power.
During the dark ages there was an alliance between church and state, which saw the papal power being given political dominion with an army at her disposal to seek out and kill all those who would not bow down to all of the religious doctrines and prerogatives of the church.
Today we no longer have any such religious-political powers ruling in the world, but Revelation prophecies that this scenario will be replayed at the end of time, with an apostate church, one that overrides the Bible and follows man-made traditions and pagan doctrines. It is describes as blasphemous, meaning that it will claim the power to forgive sins and take the place of Jesus on earth. Mystery Babylon will revive BABYLONS pagan teachings such as idol worship and sun worship.
Revelation makes a clear distinction between the people of the true church, which it says keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus and the people in the apostate church of Mystery Babylon. There are so many Christian churches today teaching that we no longer have to keep the commandments and many others that favour the sun-worship day of the pagans, instead of the Biblical Sabbath day of God for worship, who are even now laying the foundations that threaten to keep people from joining the true remnant church.
We can rest assured though, that God will not stand by idle and let this happen, for Revelation tells us that at the end of time God will begin to call His people out of Babylon and the apostate Christian churches. Revelation 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;