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Mystery: Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots - Revelation 17:5

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

This is a follow-up article to “The Cup of Jealousy”. If you have not already done so please refer to that article before continuing on with this one as they compliment one another. This article may be accessed on the website, under the search area, or at the hashtag below.

In the article “The Cup of Jealousy” I addressed the issue of who the harlot was in Revelation. I came to the conclusion that the great whore was “the great city” which is “Jerusalem”. I will continue on in this article with additional insights which clearly identify this harlot.

In Revelation 17:5 we read:


If we can identify who the mother of harlots was and why she was guilty of all the abominations on the earth, then we will be able to more clearly see this “secret” (mystery). This woman has been a “mystery”. Her true identity has not been seen or revealed to all. The diligent must search it out.

Remembering that John the Apostle was most probably the author of the book of Revelation we need to remember that he was a Jew. The book is clearly Jewish in nature and resembles many of the other prophetic books: especially Daniel and Ezekiel.

The prophet Ezekiel gives up the details of this secret harlot. I apologize that I must post here the entire chapter of Ezekiel 23 but you must read the entire thing to see the clear picture of the harlot and who she is. Afterwards, I will discuss these scriptures. I have chosen the KJV but any version says the same. I have highlighted some key points in bold lettering and put my comments in parenthesis beside it for explanation.

Eze 23:1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,

Eze 23:2 Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother: (a mother of harlot daughters)

Eze 23:3 And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.

Eze 23:4 And the names of them were Aholah the elder, (meaning in Hebrew - her own tabernacle/because they had their own temple in the northern kingdom) and Aholibah her sister: (meaning in Hebrew - my tabernacle is in her) and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria (the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel) is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah (Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom and the LORD's Tabernacle was there on Mt. Moriah).

Eze 23:5 And Aholah (Samaria the northern kingdom) played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyriansher neighbours,

Eze 23:6 Which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses.

Eze 23:7 Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself.

Eze 23:8 Neither left she her whoredoms brought from Egypt: for in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her.

Eze 23:9 Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted (that is Samaria – the northern kingdom was delivered over to the Assyrians).

Eze 23:10 These discovered her nakedness: they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the sword: and she became famous among women; for they had executed judgment upon her (upon Samaria).

Eze 23:11 And when her sister Aholibah (Jerusalem – the southern kingdom) saw this, she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her sister in her whoredoms.

Eze 23:12 She doted upon the Assyrians her neighbours, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men.

Eze 23:13 Then I saw that she was defiled, that they took both one way,

Eze 23:14 And that she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed with vermilion,

Eze 23:15 Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity:

Eze 23:16 And as soon as she saw them with her eyes, she doted upon them, and sent messengers unto them into Chaldea.

Eze 23:17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them (Jerusalem/ the southern kingdom/Aholibah).

Eze 23:18 So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister.

Eze 23:19 Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

Eze 23:20 For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses (she acted like an animal in heat).

Eze 23:21 Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the Egyptians for the paps of thy youth.

Eze 23:22 Therefore, O Aholibah, (Jerusalem) thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side;

Eze 23:23 The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses.

Eze 23:24 And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments.

Eze 23:25 And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.

Eze 23:26 They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes, and take away thy fair jewels.

Eze 23:27 Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more.

Eze 23:28 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will deliver thee into the hand of them whom thou hatest, into the hand of them from whom thy mind is alienated:

Eze 23:29 And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.

Eze 23:30 I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols.

Eze 23:31 Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore will I give her cup into thine hand (here is that cup of jealousy – the LORD said in verse 25 that He would set his jealousy against her – notice the sister Aholah drank of the cup first then gave it to Aholibah/Jerusalem).

Eze 23:32 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much.

Eze 23:33 Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria.

Eze 23:34 Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

Eze 23:35 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast forgotten me, and cast me behind thy back, therefore bear thou also thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.

Eze 23:36 The LORD said moreover unto me; Son of man, wilt thou judge Aholah and Aholibah? yea, declare unto them their abominations; (they both committed abominations – like Revelation says).

Eze 23:37 That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them.

Eze 23:38 Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths.

Eze 23:39 For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house (the Temple).

Eze 23:40 And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments,

Eze 23:41 And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil.

Eze 23:42 And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads.

Eze 23:43 Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them?

Eze 23:44 Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot: so went they in unto Aholah and unto Aholibah, the lewd women (two harlots/two daughters/the two kingdoms of the divided kingdom of Israel – hence, Israel, is the MOTHER OF HARLOTS).

Eze 23:45 And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands (just like Revelation says).

Eze 23:46 For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will bring up a company upon them, and will give them to be removed and spoiled.

Eze 23:47 And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire.

Eze 23:48 Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.

Eze 23:49 And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall bear the sins of your idols: and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD (they committed whoredoms with many nations).

Wow, I pray you are seeing all of this more clearly? You see, Israel was called to be a light to the gentiles (nations). She failed in her assignment. Instead, she became more abominable than all the nations around her. She spread her abominations around the world. The whole Bible is about her!

Now, Israel, as in the descendants of Jacob – is the harlot? NO – I AM NOT

ANTI-SEMETIC!!!!! Not by any stretch of the imagination!! Please understand that ancient Israel was not just made up of Jews. The term “Jews” or “Jewish” literally denotes that they came from the tribe of Judah: which denotes the southern kingdom, of which Judah was the largest tribe. The southern kingdom was called Judah. The northern kingdom was called Ephraim. There are 11 more tribes besides Judah: technically 12 more considering Joseph had two sons who each got a portion.

The fact that the harlot of Revelation has the name or title written on her forehead denotes that she is openly proclaiming her rebellion and sin against her God/her husband. She refuses to be ashamed. We see the same description in Jeremiah 3:3 about Israel, because this is Israel.

In Ezekiel chapter 16 you may go and read about Israel when God found her at her birth: a virgin, still in her birth blood. He washed her, clothed her, and took her for His own when no one else wanted her. He loved her and gave her the most precious of gifts. He took her as His bride at Mt. Sinai. Then He describes how she, Israel, committed adultery: an unfaithful wife! And she did not just commit adultery once but over and over, with idolatry; and with many nations.

What happened to this woman which grew into a kingdom? She quarreled from within and saw her kingdom break apart and divide into two kingdoms of which you just read about. Furthermore, as the scripture states – the northern kingdom (Aholah/Samaria/Ephraim/House of Israel) was completely judged for her whoredom. Adonai divorced her and allowed her to be taken by the Assyrians where she was scattered all over the world and lost her identity as Israel. Although small numbers rallied around Jerusalem and/or returned to the land, the vast majority will not return until Messiah returns. The Rabbi's actually know this. They know that although there is a nation of Israel at this time that the land can never have a true Jubilee until all 12 tribes are back in the land. They also know that this will never happen until Messiah comes. The 10 tribes of the northern kingdom are said to be lost and “far off”. Their bones are said to be “dry”. Who do you think Ezekiel was referring to in chapter 37 when he wrote about the “dry bones”? God asked him, 'Can these bones live'? It tells you clearly he was speaking about the dry bones of the northern kingdom. Messiah will bring them back. Two points here: the northern kingdom has already been completely judged. They are now awaiting restoration at Messiah Yeshua's second coming where He will re-gather them to the land. Second point: who is the northern kingdom and where are they today? Please see my article “The Two Witnesses” for more on this topic.

Here it is: the southern kingdom, although she played the harlot worse than her sister, has not been divorced or fully judged yet. She (the southern kingdom/Judah/Jerusalem/Aholibah) was not divorced because of God's promise to King David. However, she still has a final punishment coming. This final judgment of Aholibah/Jerusalem will happen just before the return of Messiah Yeshua. It will appear that Jerusalem and her inhabitants will be completely annihilated but Messiah will come and rescue and save the tents of Judah first:

Zechariah 12:7 The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. (NKJV)

Please go and read the 12th chapter of Zechariah (and then to the end of that book).

When will Messiah return?

As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, “The Cup of Jealousy”, the TaNaKh (Older Testament) must be studied in order to understand the book of Revelation. Another good book to study is Daniel. Many of the things that John saw had also been seen by Daniel. In Daniel chapter 9 we hear this prophet crying out in repentance for his sins as well as the sins of his people. Listen to some of his words:

(vs.7) O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, (far off denotes the northern kingdom-whereas “near” denotes the southern kingdom/Judah) through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.

(vs. 11) Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law (Torah), even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice, therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law (Torah) of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.

He goes on to cry out on behalf of the great city Jerusalem. Jerusalem is equated with the people. In verse 2 Daniel speaks about the desolation's of Jerusalem. In fact, in most of the book of Daniel he sees visions and has heavenly visitations which are revealing to him how long the desolation of Jerusalem and his people will last and when she will be restored.

Daniel saw from the prophet Jeremiah that for 70 years his people would be in captivity to Babylon. He also knew that those 70 years were coming to an end. He then wanted to know: what now? When will you bring my people out of Babylon? Who were Daniel's people? Judah/ southern kingdom. Daniel was of the lineage of David/Judah.

The angel showed Daniel that not only would his people be overrun by Babylon but also by 3 other kingdoms. I won't get into who these kingdoms are in this article, but, God assures Daniel that Jerusalem will be trampled until the times of these nations are over. Yeshua (Jesus) says the same thing in the gospels.

Daniel is told when Messiah will come to rescue and restore his people. He says it will be “when the power/strength of the holy people has been crushed/shattered” (Daniel 12:7). In other words, when the harlot grows weary, tired, and realizes she HAS BEEN left a widow (Lamentations 1:1, Rev. 18:7) and that all her lovers have turned on her. She will be left desolate and alone and she will have no one to help her. All hope will be lost. She will cry out for her husband to come. The one who left her a widow (now realizing that to be a widow means that your husband died – well, HE DID!). Yeshua her Messiah and Sovereign LORD died on the cross to redeem her. He, according to Torah, could not have taken back a harlot, but the marriage covenant is broken with death (Jeremiah 3:1-5). Now, He arose from death and is free to take back His bride who will make herself ready. It is recorded in the gospels that Yeshua told them that they would not see Him until they cried out, “Baruch haba b'shem Adonai”.

So, this same harlot will have her sins forgiven and she will once again be washed clean. Adonai will not be taking a new bride. He will be taking back the same bride He had before: Israel ! Both houses will be joined together again as one united kingdom (the two sticks of Ezekiel). Jerusalem will be holy and the King of kings and the Lord of lords will rule and reign in her. Her people will be holy and that is why John saw the holy city “New Jerusalem” coming down as a bride adorned for her husband.

To add another scripture here to show that Jerusalem (Israel) is the harlot you can read Isaiah chapter one about the sins of Judah and Jerusalem. In Isaiah 1:10 Jerusalem is called Sodom and Gomorrah and in verse 21 we read:

“How the faithful city has become a harlot…”

I could go on and on with so many scriptures but I will stop here.




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Adelia Esperanza
Adelia Esperanza
May 19, 2021

Got to read it again

Adelia Esperanza
Adelia Esperanza
May 26, 2021
Replying to

I surely will @

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