What does Revelation 17:1-2 really mean?

Revelation 17:1-2 is about the symbolic portrayal of a great prostitute representing spiritual corruption and immorality, seducing many with her deceiving allurements and leading them astray from God.

1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters,
2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.”


Setting the Scene for Revelation 17:1-2

In Revelation chapter 17, the scene opens with the apostle John being carried away in the Spirit to a desert. As he arrives, he sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast covered in blasphemous names. The woman is dressed in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls, holding a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. This woman represents the great prostitute, symbolizing a corrupt and idolatrous system that deceives many.

Surrounding the woman and the beast are seven heads and ten horns, which symbolize political powers and kingdoms that align themselves with this deceptive system. The atmosphere is tense and foreboding, with an air of seduction and manipulation emanating from the woman. John is witnessing a vivid portrayal of the spiritual battle between good and evil, truth and deception, as the woman seeks to lead people astray with her allure and false promises.

As John takes in the scene before him, he is filled with awe and dread at the sight of this powerful and seductive entity. The imagery is rich with symbolism, drawing a stark contrast between the purity of the faithful and the corruption of those who are swayed by the temptations of the world. The desert setting adds to the sense of desolation and spiritual barrenness that comes from following the ways of the great prostitute.

What is Revelation 17:1-2 about?

A great prostitute seduces the nations with her immoral ways in Revelation 17:1-2. This passage symbolizes the seductive nature of sin and temptation that can lead people away from God’s truth and righteousness. The figure of the prostitute represents the allure of worldly pleasures and distractions that can hinder our spiritual growth and relationship with God. As we delve deeper into this verse, we are reminded of the importance of staying faithful to God amidst the various temptations and deceptions of the world. It challenges us to be vigilant and steadfast in our faith, resisting the allures of sin that may lead us astray. It serves as a warning against the dangers of succumbing to worldly desires and urges us to stay true to our beliefs and principles. Through this passage, we are encouraged to remain steadfast in our faith and avoid the pitfalls of temptation that may jeopardize our spiritual well-being. We can reflect on the message of Revelation 17:1-2 and contemplate how to guard ourselves against the seductive influences of the world. How can we strengthen our faith and resist the temptations that seek to lead us astray? We should hold fast to our beliefs and values, seeking guidance and strength from God to navigate the challenges and temptations that come our way.

Understanding what Revelation 17:1-2 really means

In the Book of Revelation, a profound and symbolic vision is unveiled to John, revealing the ultimate judgment of the great prostitute. This vision, found in Revelation 17:1-2, paints a vivid picture of spiritual corruption and the consequences of straying from righteousness. The imagery used in this passage is rich in symbolism, inviting us to delve deeper into its meanings and implications.

The “great prostitute” mentioned in Revelation symbolizes spiritual unfaithfulness and seduction away from true worship. Her presence by “many waters” signifies her influence over numerous nations and peoples, highlighting the extent of her reach and impact. This imagery serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of succumbing to worldly temptations and straying from the path of righteousness.

The invitation extended to John by one of the seven angels to witness the punishment of the great prostitute underscores the gravity of the situation. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the consequences of spiritual adultery and the corrupting influence it can have on both individuals and societies. The reference to the kings of the earth committing adultery with her speaks to the intertwining of political power and spiritual corruption, a theme that resonates throughout history.

Drawing parallels to other biblical passages such as Jeremiah 51:13 and Isaiah 1:21 further illuminates the gravity of spiritual unfaithfulness and the inevitable judgment that follows. These passages serve as poignant reminders of the consequences of turning away from God and embracing worldly desires. Similarly, 1 John 2:15-17 cautions against loving the world and emphasizes the importance of prioritizing spiritual values over temporal pleasures.

The relevance of these themes to contemporary society is undeniable. In a world rife with moral decay and corruption, the call to spiritual vigilance and integrity remains as crucial as ever. It is a reminder to resist the allure of worldly temptations and to stay steadfast in our faith, even in the face of adversity. Stories of individuals or communities who have stood firm in their beliefs despite challenges serve as inspiring examples of the strength that comes from unwavering faith.

As we reflect on the message of Revelation 17:1-2, let us consider the influences that shape our spiritual journey. May we be vigilant against the intoxicating allure of worldly temptations and strive to uphold the values of righteousness and integrity in all aspects of our lives. Let us seek strength and discernment in facing the challenges of today, knowing that our faith and commitment to God will guide us through the darkest of times.

What spiritual influences are affecting me?

The spiritual influences that may be affecting you could be those that are deceiving or leading you astray. These influences may appear alluring and impressive on the outside, like a great and majestic opulent woman, but they may actually be leading you away from truth and into spiritual corruption. It’s important to be discerning and aware of such influences that might be tempting you to engage in things that are not in alignment with your spiritual beliefs or values.

These spiritual influences could be characterized by their manipulation and control over you, drawing you away from your true essence and purpose. They may lead you to engage in behaviors or beliefs that go against your spiritual well-being and inner truth. It’s essential to be vigilant and alert to these influences in order to protect your spiritual path and maintain your connection to what is genuinely good and righteous.

Some spiritual influences may try to seduce you into following a path that may seem appealing on the surface but ultimately leads to spiritual emptiness and separation from your true Source. These influences can create confusion and distortion within your spiritual journey, making it essential to stay grounded in your faith and truth to avoid falling prey to their deceitful nature. You can navigate through these influences with clarity and resolve by staying connected to your spiritual principles and guidance.


In the busy hustle of life, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters. Take a moment to reflect on your journey and identify any distractions diverting you from your faith. Embrace a stronger connection with God, shielding yourself from the chaos of the world. Are you ready to rise above the noise and walk the righteous path?