Does Revelation 17 identify the Papacy as Babylon?


By BibleAsk Team

The Papacy as Babylon – Revelation 17

In Bible prophecy, a woman symbolizes a church. A pure woman represents God’s true church (Revelation 12) and an unfaithful woman represents a church that doesn’t follow God’s biblical truths. We can identify who this unfaithful woman is, because Revelation 17:18 says she was ruling when the book of Revelation was written. History tells us it was pagan Rome (Luke 2:1) that eventually turned over its authority, capital city, and power to papal Rome (Papacy).

Revelation 17 points the following about Babylon:

A. She is guilty of blasphemy (verse 3).
B. She is dressed in purple and scarlet (verse 4).
C. She is called the Mother (verse 5).
D. She has harlot daughters who also are fallen (verse 5).
E. She persecuted and martyred the saints (verse 6).
F. She sits upon “seven mountains” (verse 9).
G. She ruled over the “kings of the earth” (verse 18).

Let’s review the facts:

A. She is guilty of blasphemy (verse 3).

The Bible defines blasphemy as man claiming to:

First- Forgive sins (Luke 5:21). The papacy claims the power to forgive sins. Here is a section from a Catholic catechism: “Does the Priest truly forgive the sins, or does he only declare that they are remitted? The Priest does really and truly forgive the sins in virtue of the power given to him by Christ.” Joseph Deharbe, S.J., A Complete Catechism of the Catholic Religion (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin & Fauss, 1924), p. 279.

Second- Claiming to be God (John 10:33). The papacy also claims that the pope is equal with God. Pope Leo XIII said, “We [the popes] hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” Christopher Marcellus, Oration in the Fifth Lateran Council, Session IV (1512), manuscript SC, Vol. 32, col. 761 (Latin).

Here is another statement about the pope: “Thou art another God on earth.” Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter “The Reunion of Christendom,” dated June 20, 1894, trans. in The Great Encyclical letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: Benziger, 1903), p. 30.

B. She is dressed in purple and scarlet (verse 4).
Scarlet is the color of cardinals’ robes and the pope often wears the royal color of purple.

C. She is called Babylon the great the Mother (verse 5) &

D. She has harlot daughters who also are fallen (verse 5).

The Catholic Church is the mother church whose daughters protested and thus began to be called “Protestants” but later followed her. Notice this quote from Father James A. O’Brien: “That observance [of Sunday instead of Saturday] remains as a reminder of the Mother Church from which the non-Catholic sects broke away.” The Faith of Millions (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1974), p. 401.

E. The Papacy persecuted and martyred the saints (verse 6).

The Roman Catholic Church admits that during the Dark Ages, she persecuted the saints and killed them. Historians estimate that, in the Middle Ages and Early Reformation Era, more than 50,000,000 Martyrs perished for their faith (Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965 edition, page 726).

F. She sits upon “seven mountains” (verse 9).

Geographically Rome sits over seven hills. “The original city of Romulus was built upon Palatine Hill (Latin: Mons Palatinus). The other hills are the Capitoline,Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, and Aventine” – Encyclopedia Britannica.

G. Rome ruled over the “kings of the earth” (verse 18).

History shows that During the Dark Ages, the Roman Catholic Church was a world Empire.

The Papacy fits every description of “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS” (Revelation 17: 5).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


The contents of this article and website are not intended to be against any individual. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their knowledge and are seen by God as His children. The information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system which has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. This system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that directly go against the Bible.

It is our purpose to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, to decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. If you find anything here contrary to the Bible, do not accept it. But if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality and feel that the Holy Spirit is revealing Truth to you, please make all haste to accept it.

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