The Way It Happened

Revelation 17:3, The Woman Riding the Scarlet Beast

Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 

//Here is an image that captivates! John of Patmos sees a vision of a woman riding a scarlet beast. Most Revelation interpreters recognize the beast to be the City of Rome, and I agree. Not today’s Rome, of course, but the Rome of the first century. Yet who is the woman?

Revelation calls this mysterious woman “the great prostitute,” and I think it’s safe to conclude she’s also the “whore of Babylon,” another Revelation theme. The majority of scholars here identify the woman again with Rome, equating Babylon with Rome.

But this woman isn’t the beast. She rides the beast. The question becomes, who rides atop Rome?

The answer, I’m convinced, is Jerusalem. But the reason can’t be satisfactorily explained in a few words, providing me with a great opportunity to shamelessly plug my book about Revelation.

Pick up Revelation: The Way it Happened if you want an in depth peek into first-century Christian thinking, and why God turned His back on Jerusalem.


  1. An excellent book, but you’ve reminded me I should be reading and reviewing that backlog so I can get to John’s Gospel, which I’m really looking forward to.

  2. Thanks, Sheila! Publishing is exciting, isn’t it?

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