The reason John was shown the vision, is made clear by the words of the angel: "Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters." The angel's interpretation of the "waters" is given in Rev. 17:15: "Peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." The woman sitting on them denotes that the inhabitants (waters) had fallen into her trap of deception (sitting on them).
"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." (Rev. 17:4.) The woman is a symbol of a counterfeit religious system. From her cup she hands out false doctrines. Being golden, it has an appearance of splendor -- inviting. Her costly garments of loud colors and precious ornaments vividly portray the magnificence of this most vile woman and her kingly pomp, and vain glory. By the power of her attraction, so irresistible to the human eye, she has conquered men of the strongest intellect -- "With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication." Millions with strong mental faculties, men who appear as giants among the inhabitants of the earth, have fallen helpless victims in her trap. The
Shepherd's Rod book, Vol. 2 121
kings of the earth are guilty of spiritual adultery with the "woman" (drunk with false doctrines), thereby becoming entangled in her seductive snares.
Any so called Christian organization handing out false doctrines under an appearance of virtue, evidently is governed by the power of the "woman." The origin of all such fallacious teachings can be traced back into the golden cup. Said the angel: "The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth." It has been previously explained that the heads are symbols of so-called Christians denominations, and as she sits on them all, it denotes a union of churches under one head -- "the woman." The Biblical number "seven" apprehends all such organizations.
If all the churches at this present time were led by the Holy Spirit, there would be no confusion among the so-called Christian sects. As it would be impossible for all to be right while no two believe alike, it is warrantable to say that those who are drinking the wine from the "cup of her fornication," are not few, for Inspiration says: "And the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." (Rev. 17:2, last part.)
Note that the "woman" sits on the "waters," also on the "heads," and on the beast." (See Rev. 17:1, 3, 9.) As it would be impossible for one person to sit on all three objects at one time, the prophetic symbols reveal a spiritual fraud in three different periods. Thus John declares: "I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast." Not upon the "waters", nor upon the "heads." Before he saw her, the angel said, The woman "sitteth upon many waters." It was the angel also who added, "The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth." (See Rev. 17:1, 9.) Thus, John saw her last exploit only (sit upon the beast). Consequently, the symbol, sitting on the "waters" is her first act, according to the vision.
Therefore, her first achievement ("sitting on the waters"), must have been in the past from the time the prophetic symbol is revealed. Hence, the sitting on the heads becomes her second accomplishment, and the sitting on the Beast is the last; at which time she is judged.
As the Protestant churches are represented by the heads, she could not have sat on them before the reformation, for they were not as yet in existence. As the heads upon which the "woman sits" are unharmed, it is evident that the prophetic symbol is to meet its fulfillment some time after the deadly wound of the leopard-like beast of Revelation 13:3, is healed. The
Shepherd's Rod book, Vol. 2 122
symbol, sitting on the heads, denotes union of churches, for she sits on them.
Therefore, when Catholicism, Protestantism, and Spiritualism clasp each other's hand by the medium of a league, then it could be said, "the woman sitteth on the heads."
The symbol of the "woman sitting on the beast," will meet its fulfillment when that religious federation shall make an alliance with the powers of the world. Such an act would give the woman full control of the entire beast, horns and heads -- the world. At that time the following Scripture will meet its perfect fulfillment: "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast." (Rev. 13:16, 17.)
Thus the symbol of the "woman" sitting on the "waters," represents the period before the reformation. This was true during the period of papal supremacy, for at that time the papacy ruled the Roman world -- "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Thus the "woman" sat on the "waters" during the 1260 prophetic years of Daniel 7:25, but she is yet to sit on the "heads," and on the "beast." Had she sat on the non-descript beast instead of on the "waters," it would have been wrongly symbolized, for, the "woman," by the tool of Catholicism, did not reign over all the world (beast), but over many "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (many waters). Therefore, the symbol, "sitting upon the scarlet colored beast," denotes an international religio-political system.