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Revelation 17:5 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— and upon her forehead a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— and on her forehead a name [was] written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— and upon her forehead a name written, Mystery, great Babylon, the mother of the harlots, and of the abominations of the earth.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— and, upon her forehead, a name written, a secret: Babylon the great, the Mother of the Harlots and of the Abominations of the earth.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— and upon her forehead was a name written: 'Secret, Babylon the Great, the Mother of the Whores, and the Abominations of the earth.'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And on her forehead a name was written: A mystery: Babylon the great, the mother of the fornications and the abominations of the earth.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And vpon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— And upon her forehead the name was written, Mystery: Babel the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— And upon her forehead was the name written: Mystery: Babylon the great; the Mother of Harlots, and of the contaminations of the Earth.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
upon 1909
{1909} Prime
ἐπί
epi
{ep-ee'}
A primary preposition properly meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], that is, over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dative case) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.
her y846
[0846] Standard
αὐτός
autos
{ow-tos'}
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
x848
(0848) Complement
αὑτοῦ
hautou
{how-too'}
Contraction for G1438; self (in some oblique case or reflexive relation).
forehead 3359
{3359} Prime
μέτωπον
metopon
{met'-o-pon}
From G3326 and ὤψ [[ops]] (the face); the forehead (as opposite the countenance).
[was] a name 3686
{3686} Prime
ὄνομα
onoma
{on'-om-ah}
From a presumed derivative of the base of G1097 (compare G3685); a 'name' (literally or figuratively), (authority, character).
written, 1125
{1125} Prime
γράφω
grapho
{graf'-o}
A primary verb; to 'grave', especially to write; figuratively to describe.
z5772
<5772> Grammar
Tense - Perfect (See G5778)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 463
MYSTERY, 3466
{3466} Prime
μυστήριον
musterion
{moos-tay'-ree-on}
From a derivative of μύω [[muo]] (to shut the mouth); a secret or 'mystery' (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites).
BABYLON 897
{0897} Prime
Βαβυλών
Babulon
{bab-oo-lone'}
Of Hebrew origin [H0894]; Babylon, the capital of Chaldaea (literally or figuratively as a type of tyranny).
THE x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
GREAT, 3173
{3173} Prime
μέγας
megas
{meg'-as}
Including the prolonged forms, feminine μεγάλη [[megale]], plural μέγάλοι [[megaloi]], etc.; compare also G3176, G3187], big (literally or figuratively, in a very wide application).
THE x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
MOTHER 3384
{3384} Prime
μήτηρ
meter
{may'-tare}
Apparently a primary word; a 'mother' (literally or figuratively, immediate or remote).
OF HARLOTS 4204
{4204} Prime
πόρνη
porne
{por'-nay}
Feminine of G4205; a strumpet; figuratively an idolater.
AND 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
ABOMINATIONS 946
{0946} Prime
βδέλυγμα
bdelugma
{bdel'-oog-mah}
From G0948; a detestation, that is, (specifically) idolatry.
OF THE x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
EARTH. 1093
{1093} Prime
γῆ
ge
{ghay}
Contracted from a primary word; soil; by extension a region, or the solid part or the whole of the terrene globe (including the occupants in each application).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Revelation 17:5

_ _ upon ... forehead ... name — as harlots usually had. What a contrast to “HOLINESS TO THE LORD,” inscribed on the miter on the high priest’s forehead!

_ _ mystery — implying a spiritual fact heretofore hidden, and incapable of discovery by mere reason, but now revealed. As the union of Christ and the Church is a “great mystery” (a spiritual truth of momentous interest, once hidden, now revealed, Ephesians 5:31, Ephesians 5:32), so the Church conforming to the world and thereby becoming a harlot is a counter “mystery” (or spiritual truth, symbolically now revealed). As iniquity in the harlot is a leaven working in “mystery,” and therefore called “the mystery of iniquity,” so when she is destroyed, the iniquity heretofore working (comparatively) latently in her, shall be revealed in the man of iniquity, the open embodiment of all previous evil. Contrast the “mystery of God” and “godliness,” Revelation 10:7; 1 Timothy 3:16. It was Rome that crucified Christ; that destroyed Jerusalem and scattered the Jews; that persecuted the early Christians in pagan times, and Protestant Christians in papal times; and probably shall be again restored to its pristine grandeur, such as it had under the Caesars, just before the burning of the harlot and of itself with her. So Hippolytus [On Antichrist] (who lived in the second century), thought. Popery cannot be at one and the same time the “mystery of iniquity,” and the manifested or revealed Antichrist. Probably it will compromise for political power (Revelation 17:3) the portion of Christianity still in its creed, and thus shall prepare the way for Antichrist’s manifestation. The name Babylon, which in the image, Daniel 2:32, Daniel 2:38, is given to the head, is here given to the harlot, which marks her as being connected with the fourth kingdom, Rome, the last part of the image. Benedict XIII, in his indiction for a jubilee, a.d. 1725, called Rome “the mother of all believers, and the mistress of all churches” (harlots like herself). The correspondence of syllables and accents in Greek is striking; “He porne kai to therion; He numphe kai to arnion.” “The whore and the beast; the Bride and the Lamb.”

_ _ of harlotsGreek, “of the harlots and of the abominations.” Not merely Rome, but Christendom as a whole, even as formerly Israel as a whole, has become a harlot. The invisible Church of true believers is hidden and dispersed in the visible Church. The boundary lines which separate harlot and woman are not denominational nor drawn externally, but can only be spiritually discerned. If Rome were the only seat of Babylon, much of the spiritual profit of Revelation would be lost to us; but the harlot “sitteth upon many waters” (Revelation 17:1), and “ALL nations have drunk of the wine of her fornication” (Revelation 17:2; Revelation 18:3; “the earth,” Revelation 19:2). External extensiveness over the whole world and internal conformity to the world — worldliness in extent and contents — is symbolized by the name of the world city, “Babylon.” As the sun shines on all the earth, thus the woman clothed with the sun is to let her light penetrate to the uttermost parts of the earth. But she, in externally Christianizing the world, permits herself to be seduced by the world; thus her universality or catholicity is not that of the Jerusalem which we look for (“the MOTHER of us all,” Revelation 21:2; Isaiah 2:2-4; Galatians 4:26), but that of Babylon, the world-wide but harlot city! (As Babylon was destroyed, and the Jews restored to Jerusalem by Cyrus, so our Cyrus — a Persian name meaning the sun — the Sun of righteousness, shall bring Israel, literal and spiritual, to the holy Jerusalem at His coming. Babylon and Jerusalem are the two opposite poles of the spiritual world). Still, the Romish Church is not only accidentally and as a matter of fact, but in virtue of its very PRINCIPLE, a harlot, the metropolis of whoredom, “the mother of harlots”; whereas the evangelical Protestant Church is, according to her principle and fundamental creed, a chaste woman; the Reformation was a protest of the woman against the harlot. The spirit of the heathen world kingdom Rome had, before the Reformation, changed the Church in the West into a Church-State, Rome; and in the East, into a State-Church, fettered by the world power, having its center in Byzantium; the Roman and Greek churches have thus fallen from the invisible spiritual essence of the Gospel into the elements of the world [Auberlen]. Compare with the “woman” called “Babylon” here, the woman named “wickedness,” or “lawlessness,” “iniquity” (Zechariah 5:7, Zechariah 5:8, Zechariah 5:11), carried to Babylon: compare “the mystery of iniquity” and “the man of sin,” “that wicked one,” literally, “the lawless one” (2 Thessalonians 2:7, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; also Matthew 24:12).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on Revelation 17:1-6.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Revelation 17:5

And on her forehead a name written — Whereas the saints have the name of God and the Lamb on their foreheads. Mystery — This very word was inscribed on the front of the Pope's mitre, till some of the Reformers took public notice of it. Babylon the great — Benedict XIII., in his proclamation of the jubilee, A.D. 1725, explains this sufficiently. His words are, "To this holy city, famous for the memory of so many holy martyrs, run with religious alacrity. Hasten to the place which the Lord hath chose. Ascend to this new Jerusalem, whence the law of the Lord and the light of evangelical truth hath flowed forth into all nations, from the very first beginning of the church: the city most rightfully called 'The Palace,' placed for the pride of all ages, the city of the Lord, the Sion of the Holy One of Israel. This catholic and apostolical Roman church is the head of the world, the mother of all believers, the faithful interpreter of God and mistress of all churches." But God somewhat varies the style. The mother of harlots — The parent, ringleader, patroness, and nourisher of many daughters, that losely copy after her. And abominations — Of every kind, spiritual and fleshly. Of the earth — In all lands. In this respect she is indeed catholic or universal.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Revelation 17:5

(7) And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, (8) BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

(7) Deceiving with the title of religion, and public inscription of mystery: which the beast in times past did not bear. (8) An exposition: in which John declares what manner of woman this is.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
upon:

Revelation 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Isaiah 3:9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide [it] not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.
Philippians 3:19 Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

mystery:

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. ... Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Babylon:

Revelation 11:8 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.
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 16:19 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 18:2 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.
Revelation 18:10 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.
Revelation 18:21 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.
Jeremiah 51:47-48 Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her. ... Then the heaven and the earth, and all that [is] therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD.

the Mother:

Revelation 18:9 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,
Revelation 19:2 For true and righteous [are] his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

harlots:
or, fornications
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Is 3:9. Jr 51:47. Php 3:19. 2Th 2:7. 2Ti 3:1. Rv 7:3; 11:8; 14:8; 16:19; 18:2, 9, 10, 21; 19:2.

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