Revelation 17:4 Index
"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:"
Research Material

" . . . the woman was arrayed . . . " (Revelation 17:3)

  • WOMEN: Still another term, sometimes causing perplexity, needs explanation -- that of a symbolic "woman" which occurs frequently in the Revelation. It is used by the prophet to symbolize a church, true or false. The intent is obvious -- a chaste woman, arrayed in pure white (Revelation 12), indicating a pure church; and a fallen women, garbed in suggestive scarlet (Revelation 17), portraying a fallen or apostate church. In logical harmony with the figure the impure woman is called a "harlot" (Revelation 17:5), or a "whore" (Revelation 17:1). Her illicit, compromising relations with paganism and with the nations of the earth are denominated spiritual "adultery" or "whoredom," after the similar Old Testament reference to the lapses of Israel and Judah into idolatry and national sins. (Jeremiah 3; Ezekiel 16). These opprobrious terms refer to spiritual adultery, or an unholy mingling of the sacred and the secular, churchly apostasy and illicit union with the world. They therefore refer not to personal impurity but rather to departure from God. (Froom 33)

" . . . arrayed in purple and scarlet colour . . ." (Ezekiel 27:7; Revelation 18:7; Revelation 18:12; Revelation 18:16; Revelation 18:17; Revelation 18:19).

  • These were the colors of royalty (Matthew 27:28), to which this "woman" laid claim (Revelation 18:7). Scarlet may also be considered the color of sin and of a prostitute (Revelation 17:3). This prostitute, this apostate religious organization, depicted in all her seductiveness, is gaudily dressed and vulgarly bedecked. She stands forth in striking contrast with the "bride" of the Lamb, whom John saw arrayed in fine linen, clean and white (Revelation 19:7; Revelation 19:8; Luke 16:19) (7BC 851)
  • The woman (Babylon) of (Revelation 17) is described as “arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness (Revelation 17:4):...and upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots” (Revelation 17:5) Says the prophet: “I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6). Babylon is further declared to be “that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18). The power that for so many centuries maintained despotic sway over the monarchs of Christendom is Rome. The purple and scarlet color, the gold and precious stones and pearls, vividly picture the magnificence and more than kingly pomp affected by the haughty see of Rome. And no other power could be so truly declared “drunken with the blood of the saints” (Revelation 17:6) as that church which has so cruelly persecuted the followers of Christ. Babylon is also charged with the sin of unlawful connection with “the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18). It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot; and Rome, corrupting herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers, receives a like condemnation. (GC 382)
  • I saw that the outside appearance is an index to the heart. When the exterior is hung with ribbons, collars, and needless things, it plainly shows that the love for all this is in the heart; unless such persons are cleansed from their corruption, they can never see God, for only the pure in heart will see Him. (1T 136)

" . . . abominations and filthiness of her fornications:"

  • Or, "unclean acts, even the filthiness which is her fornication."
  • The gold of the cup deceives men with respect ot the nature of the contents (Revelation 17:2). (7BC 851)