The harlot is false religion. We see in the book of Revelation that there are two woman:
One loved and supported by God:
Revelation 12:1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
And one hated by God
Revelation 17:3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast [which was] full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name [was] written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
So there is a true faith, true followers of The Messiah Jesus and there are false faiths supported by the beast (worldly satanic powers) One that has kept the true faith and served God and was persecuted because of it. And the other who served satan deceiving the world and was showered with wealth and favors for it.
But in the end times when the Anti-christ comes the beast will have no further need for the harot:
Revelation 17:16 "And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 "For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
So the hornes will in the end hate the harlot and destroy her. Because in the end when the anti-christ comes she will have served her purpose and will no longer be needed.
Now who is the harlot?
Let everyone read the Words of Jesus and compare it to the faith they have.
Well the book of Daniel chapters 7 and 8 give a more detailed description of the beast empire. At the end of chapter 8 it actually describes what the symbols mean. beasts being empires horns being kingdoms and the kings that lead them.
As for the woman the body of Christ the true faithful is referred to symbolically as a caste/ virgin woman on more than one occasion.
2 Cor 11:2
For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
When Gods people mix their faith with other pagan faiths or does deals with worldly powers they are often referred to be as a woman acting like a harlot.
In Ezekiel chapter 23 (i will not post it) you can read how samaria (Capitol of Israel) and jerusalem(capitol of Judeah), Gods people, are likened to harlots. Actually Ezekial chapter 23 can be seen as a near perfect parallel with the end times harlotry carried out by balaam christians.
1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "
John 18:3636Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
Revelation 2:26 "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations
Revelation 18:3"For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury."
Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Revelation 11:15Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
1 John 2:15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
I've been doing some study lately that suggests the Great Harlot is Jerusalem (and by extension, the unfaithful Israel).
*Consider: She fills herself with the blood of the prophets and the saints: Rev. 16:6, 17:6, 18:20, 24. Cf. Matt. 23:37 and Acts 7:52.
She is the "Great City...where also the... Lord was crucified" (Rev. 11:8) The designation, "great city" is used both in Ch. 11 and Chs. 17-18 (17:18, 18:10, 16, 19, 21).
The image of the unfaithful wife, the harlot, was often used of Israel in the OT. Israel is repeatedly called the wife of God (Jer. 2:2, 3:14, Is. 54:5). But she was an unfaithful wife (Jer. 3:20, Hos. 1:2, Ez. 6:9, Ez. 16, Is. 50:1) behaving as a prostitute (Jer. 3:1-2). In the context of Jerusalem’s designation as a prostitute, Is. 1:21 is especially noteworthy: "See how the faithful city has become a harlot."
But in saying that Jerusalem may be or will be the center of Babylonian false religion in the end times does not mean it is the harlot in it's entirety. Remember she sits on many waters.
Therefore in the End (just before the return of our Messiah) Jerusalem might become the capitol of false religion. (If indeed it is not the capitol already)?
I think there is a danger. That people may restrict their view of the Harlot to one city or to one nation or to one race. I see danger in that thinking. Do you?
Another observation. Just because one may have the right city identified as the great city of the harlot it does not mean that the city is at the present time the great city. It may become the capitol of false faith at some future date? It may not be now.
I'm not speaking of the city, Adstar, but of the people. The city is sinless, inanimate. God never judged cities, but people. Jerusalem was the capital (the mother; Luke 13:34-35) of the nation of Israel, the former chosen people.
Babylon, why would God choose Babylon for reference in Revelation? I don't think the literal city has anything to do with it, but a symbol of Jerusalem, the apostate Israel.
Israel was the nation that spilled the blood of the prophets, killed the saints, and was cursed with the righteous blood spilled from the beginning of the establishment of the holy nation.
I don't where your finding the precedent in scripture to identify the Harlot as a general form evil across all the earth. Can you clarify for me? Also, why do you take Babylon to be a literal city?
One note about Babylon: God said it would be perpetually desolate. (Isaiah 13:19-22, 14:22-23; Jeremiah 50:13, 39, 51:37) Also, Babylon is used fugratively in 1 Peter, indicating that they were referring to a city of the time in which some first-century Christians were dwelling.
The record of Christ's life is pervaded with prophecies against Israel as a nation. Where is the precedent that suggests that the Harlot is an ambiguous reestablishment of a perpetually dead nation, rather than the very subject of New Testament prophetic doom?
(Examples of the prophecies to which I refer)
Matthew 23:29-36, 37-39
Luke 13:1-9, 34-35
Luke 19:11-27, 41-44
Posted by Adstar:
"I think there is a danger. That people may restrict their view of the Harlot to one city or to one nation or to one race. I see danger in that thinking. Do you?"
I don’t. Do the scriptures warn us against that? I do, with all due respect, see danger in your own thinking, however. You see danger in thinking that the Harlot is one nation or race. Doesn't this bias you against what may be a truthful contradiction of your interpretation of scripture, unless you can provide ample scriptural evidence that it is correct?
I see the object of scriptural study not to find what the scriptures do not refute, but what they actively support. What scriptural support is there that the Harlot is anything but what is described of Israel in the New Testament (including Revelation).
I don't see from where this theory comes except by taking Revelation to be autonomous from the rest of the New Testament (for which there is no sound argument).
These always come out longer than I intend. I hope I don't bore you.