Understanding the Scriptures
|Whore (vv. 1, 15–16)||A person who accepts money to commit immoral acts; in this case it is symbolic of Babylon or the world|
|Fornication (vv. 2, 4)||Immoral acts; also the worship of idols|
|Blasphemy (v. 3)||Sayings and actions that insult or show disrespect for God and all He represents|
|Arrayed (v. 4)||Clothed|
|Abominations (vv. 4–5)||A foul or detestable thing, obscene and offensive|
|Harlots (v. 5)||A person who accepts money to commit immoral acts|
|Perdition (vv. 8, 11)||Destruction or ruin (see D&C 76:31–38)|
|Desolate (v. 16)||Destroyed|
Revelation 17:8—The Beast That “Was, and Is Not, and Yet Is”
This confusing phrase seems to refer to the devil, or someone who entirely turned himself over to the service of the devil, and sounds like the opposite of what John learned about Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:4, 8. Although the devil may live forever, he is inconsistent, unstable, and completely untrustworthy (see Alma 30:60). Jesus Christ, however, is God “yesterday, today, and forever” (Mormon 9:9) and is not only powerful, but is consistent and can always be trusted. Consequently, we can center our faith in Him.
|Habitation (v. 2)||House, place where people live|
|Abundance of her delicacies (v. 3)||Great number of her (Babylon’s) luxuries, or worldly things|
|Plagues (vv. 4, 8)||Troubles, miseries, bad things that happen|
|Deliciously (v. 7)||Wickedly, seeking worldly pleasures|
|Bewail her, and lament for her (v. 9)||Be very sad for her, mourn|
|Nought (v. 17)||Nothing|
|Cast dust on their heads (v. 19)||A sign of sadness and mourning in Bible times|
|Avenged (v. 20)||To take revenge, gave what they deserved for their wickedness against others|
|Sorceries (v. 23)||Magic|
Studying the Scriptures
Do the following activity as you study Revelation 17–18.
Finding the Meaning of the Scriptures
Sometimes, the interpretation of a symbol or confusing passage of scripture can be understood by searching for clues in verses before or after it.
On other occasions, you may need to turn to other books of scripture for help in understanding or for additional information. After you learn an interpretation (as you should in steps 1–5), you may want to mark your scriptures in a way that leads you to that interpretation the next time you study these chapters. For example, you may want to highlight the helpful reference in your footnotes or write the cross-reference in the margin next to the verse.
There are times when it is difficult to find additional help in the scriptures. The meaning has to come through the Spirit as you take time to ponder. A helpful way to ponder over symbolic language is to take time to picture in your mind the symbols, and then write down a description of them. Ask yourself questions like: What are the most significant features of the symbol? What feeling or message do those features create? What is the spiritual message? These simple ideas often encourage pondering that invites a spirit of insight and understanding. Try using them in completing steps 6–7.
What does the description of the woman in Revelation 17:4 teach you about what Babylon represents?
Considering what you have learned, why is a harlot an appropriate symbol for Babylon? (You may want to consider information given in the introduction and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section.)
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