The Woman Riding the Scarlet Beast

Last Updated: 11/15/2023 17:50    | Print This Page | |

There are two symbolic women seen in Revelation. The first woman of Revelation 12 symbolizes those of natural Israel who are written in the book of life. These are the historically faithful of the natural lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Out of that lineage came the Messiah, who died and conquered death to pay the penalty for our sins. These are also the end time Israelis who do not yet believe Yeshua is the Messiah, still blinded, yet will come to accept Him and will be saved out of unparalleled great tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble. Jeremiah 30:4-7 | Daniel 12:1 | Matthew 24:15-22

There is another woman, the woman who rides a scarlet beast seen in Revelation 17 & 18. She is unfaithful, a harlot. She is dressed well, but full of corruption and impurity. This is a study of the fantastical, and often confusing, symbolic depictions of John that relate to this woman and paints a picture of the end time kingdom of the man of sin. There is actually a lot to unpack here, but this page will focus primarily on the woman and her identity. For a more detailed look at the background of the beast upon which she rides, check out the study on The Fourth Kingdom.

Revelation 17:1-2
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

It should be noted in the visions of John, this is following the completion of the seven bowls of the wrath of God. I don’t believe all of Revelation is necessarily sequential, although much of it is. It makes sense that this would be the case here because, as we will see, this woman riding the scarlet beast represents the kingdom of the man of sin, proxy of the dragon. This time after the wrath of God is finished is just before Christ returns in glory to cast the beast and false prophet into the lake of fire, Revelation 19:11-21, and lock the dragon for 1,000 years. Revelation 20:1-3

Just as marriage is a covenant between a man and wife, so God has used this in representing His relationship with His creation. First at Mount Sinai God made a covenant with His people Israel, whom He brought out of Egypt. The Mosaic Covenant was an agreement for YHWH to be their only God and Israel to be His people. The first commandment was to have no other gods before Him. Throughout the Old Testament, God uses this symbology to represent their marriage between He and His wife. He was always faithful to her, but she is often committing adultery and going after other gods. Jeremiah 3:1-10; 20

What God brings together let no man annul. This is resolved in the death of the husband on the cross, making Israel a widow and free to marry another. Romans 7:1-4 | Isaiah 54:1-10 It just so happens that Yeshua made a new Covenant, better than the old, to which all mankind can agree to, including the widowed Israel.

Here is the difference between the woman of Revelation 12 and the woman of Revelation 17 & 18. The woman of Revelation 12 is both historic and future Israel who are faithful. The woman riding the beast is a whore, the kings of the earth fornicating with her. This idea of being an adultress from the Old Testament is applicable here because this woman riding the beast represents the kingdom of the man of sin and as we see elsehwere in scripture, all the world worships the beast and the dragon who gives him his power and great authority.

Wine made through the crushing of grapes and is referred to prophetically as the result of wrath. Isaiah 63:3 | Revelation 14:19-20 | Revelation 19:15 So the inhabitants of the world being drunk with the wine of her fornication symbolizes the complicity in worshipping the dragon and the beast and participating in their wrath on God’s people during the time of great tribulation lasting 42 months or 3½ years. It starts with the time of Jacob’s trouble, and its second phase globally. Revelation 12:17 So we can see in the beginning of her description that this is representing the kingdom of the antichrist, man of sin, beast, and the little horn.

Revelation 17:3-6
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, 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. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

The woman we see is arrayed in regal clothes and finely bejeweled. As Chris White points out in his book Mystery-Babylon, purple and scarlet occurs 29 times in the Old Testament, all in the book of Exodus. It was also mentioned with blue and used many times for the curtains of the temple, the veil, clothes of service, girdle of the high priest, etc. The term "decked" regarding the gold, precious stones, and pearls is also interesting when seen in the lens of the Old Testament as it was used in terms of Israel and ornamenting them. God does it in her youth and it goes to her head and she plays the harlot. Ezekiel 16:11-15 When she becomes a prostitute she decks herself in preparation for those she called from afar to commit whoredom. Ezekiel 23:40-45 Many times this decking for ornamentation to please those Israel played the harlot to is seen. Hosea 2:13 | Jeremiah 4:30 From the perspective of scripture interpreting scripture, it would seem that this unfaithful harlot is those of Israel who go after other gods, rejecting the one true God of their fathers.

John 5:42-47
But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that [cometh] from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

She has a golden cup of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. The fornication is going after other gods, and if it is wine as suggested she is drunk with, this connects the wrath of the dragon, the worship of him, and the murder of the saints with this abomination and filthiness.

Luke 13:32-35
And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third [day] I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the [day] following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen [doth gather] her brood under [her] wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until [the time] come when ye shall say, Blessed [is] he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Luke 11:47-51
Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and [some] of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.


Now we see her title, emblazened on her forehead. What is mystery Babylon?

Revelation 17:7-18
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: [Revelation 19:11-21] for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Here we have the seven headed and 10 horned beast upon which she is riding. I will not go into detail here about the 7-headed and 10-horned beast, there is a lot more background to go into interpreting what this fully means from scripture that is covered in the Fourth Kingdom study. In short, the 7 heads are interpreted as several things later.

  1. 7 mountains on which the woman sits (spacial)
  2. 7 kings, 5 fallen, 1 is, 1 yet to come for short time then 8th [of the 7th] (temporal)

That these are both mountains and kings through history implies that these mountains the woman is sitting on are kings through history that have controlled a mountain. She is sitting on many waters, interpreted as peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. This would imply global control. We are further told that the woman is that great city that rules over the kings of the earth. This concept has been used several times in Revelation with a clear correlation.

Revelation 14:8
And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Revelation 16:17-19
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, [and] so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Revelation 11:7-8
And when they [two witnesses] shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

There are no chapter breaks and so chapter 18 continues the description and judgment of mystery Babylon.

Revelation 18:1-6
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

An angel declares the judgment of Babylon that rules the whole world. Recall in Daniel 2 when Daniel interpreted Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great statue. He was that head of gold and ruled the world. Now it would seem at the feet of the statue at the end, that the association with Babylon and a powerful leader comes full circle.

At this point in the end time scenario, the time of great tribulation has been happening for almost 3 1/2 years during which the wrath of God has been poured out. If there’s any, there probably aren’t many who have not capitulated and worshipped the beast in Judea, but spiritually Babylon is participation in the persecution of the saints. This is a call for separation during the hour of temptation to remember your eternal reward and not give up your birthright for temporal things.

Revelation 18:7-24
How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.

And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

I didn’t mention it earlier, but recall the 10 horns in verses 16-17. This makes more sense when putting all the visions of Daniel and John together, but these 10 horns are a group of 10 kings that govern over 1/4 of the earth and give their power to beast.

Revelation 17:16-17
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

God puts it into their hearts to give their power to the beast’s kingdom. However, once the wrath of God is poured out they will no longer have it in their hearts to give their power to the beast and in one hour they will destroy Jerusalem, the seat of the kingdom of the antichrist from which he ruled the world for the past 3 1/2 years.

So the woman riding the beast is Jerusalem, God’s holy mountain, and through the 7 heads we see the dragon’s influence through history over Jerusalem ultimately leading to the kingdom of the antichrist and his dragon ruling over the earth with unmatched power compared to the world. This last kingdom is represented by the adulterous harlot who rejects yet again the God of gods and goes after another who declares himself to be god in Jerusalem, the little horn, the beast, the antichrist, the man of sin.

In light of the Jewish antichrist theory, this is all translated to mean that modern Israel will rebuild the third temple against all odds. How I think this will play out exactly is detailed on the coming times page. But what I think many in Israel will actually be doing out of a desire to turn back to God will be hijacked by a great deception, a false christ, who appears to be checking all the boxes the Jews are looking for in the Messiah. And God will send a strong delusion during this time of temptation, that those whose hearts are not toward Him will believe a lie because they loved not the truth.

I believe the dividing line may be those Jews who are looking for a conquering king on the earth vs. those Jews whose eyes are opened and hearts of flesh replacing their hard hearts bring them to understand that this great deception is not their Messiah. Those believers in Judea and likely the two witnesses, will recognize the signs of the times and warn, but the woman that rides the beast will be filled with the blood of the saints who do not heed the warning of Yeshua when they see the abomination of desolation and run for the mountains.