THE MYSTERY RELIGION of Babylon has been symbolically described in the last book of the Bible as a woman "arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Rev. 17:1-6).
When the Bible uses symbolic language, a "woman" can symbolize a church. The true church, for example, is likened to a bride, a chaste virgin, a woman without spot or blemish (Eph. 5:27: Rev. 19:7,8). But here, in striking contrast, an unclean woman, a defiled woman, a harlot, is pictured. If it is here correct to apply this symbolism to a church system, it is clear that only a defiled and Fallen church could be meant! In big capital letters, the Bible calls her "MYSTERY BABYLON".
When John wrote the book of Revelation, Babylon--as a city and empire--had already been destroyed and left in ruins, as the Old Testament prophets had foretold (Isaiah 13: 19-22; Jer.51-52). But the religious concepts and customs that originated in Babylon continued on and were well represented in many nations of the world.
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