The Whore is associated with the Antichrist and the Beast of Revelation by connection with an equally evil kingdom. (The word “Whore” can also be translated metaphorically as “Idolatress”).The Whore’s apocalyptic downfall is prophesied to take place in the hands of the image of the beast with seven heads and ten horns. There is much speculation within Christian eschatology on what the Whore and beast symbolize as well as the possible implications for contemporary interpretations.
Many Biblical scholars believe that “Babylon” is a metaphor for the pagan Roman Empire at the time it persecuted Christians, before the Edict of Milan in 313: perhaps specifically referencing some aspect of Rome’s rule (brutality, greed, paganism). Some exegetes interpret the passage as a scathing critique of a servant people of Rome who do the Empire’s bidding, interpreting that the author of Revelation was speaking of the Herodians—a party of Jews friendly to Rome and open to its influence, like the Hellenizers of centuries past—and later, corrupt Hasmoneans, where the ruler of Jerusalem or Roman Judea exercised his power at the pleasure of the Emperor, and was dependent on Roman influence, like Herod the Great in the Gospel of Luke.
In 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch] and the Sibylline Oracles, “Babylon” is a cryptic name for Rome. Reinhard Feldmeier speculates that “Babylon” is used to refer to Rome in 1 Peter 5:13. In Revelation 17:9 it is said that she sits on “seven mountains”,typically understood as the seven hills of Rome. A Roman coin minted under the Emperor Vespasian (ca. 70 AD) depicts Rome as a woman sitting on seven hills.
According to Eusebius of Caesarea Babylon would be Rome or the Roman Empire:
“And Peter makes mention of Mark in his first epistle which they say that he wrote in Rome itself, as is indicated by him, when he calls the city, by a figure, Babylon, as he does in the following words: «The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, salutes you; and so does Marcus my son.»(1 Peter 5:13)”
…it is difficult to deal with such terms in a literal exegesis… but many have taken a stab at it.
…what I’ve gathered throughout the years is that Protestants (beginning with Luther) have inferred that the whore is the Catholic Church… this anti-Catholic belief has been adopted by many (not to state all) Protestants… some groups have either included it in their tenets (which may have been removed in the latter decades or so) while others have taught it in their “oral traditions” (yeah, those same “sola Scriptura” people hold oral and other traditions which they claim not to be traditions or credos or tenets of faith…); since it is a Protestant propaganda, I doubt that they would include themselves as the “children.”
…one particular group that put it into their pamphlet is the Jehovah Witnesses… these are bent on “saving” Catholics and others by immersing them in their anti-Christ religious beliefs.
Most of the anti-Catholic propaganda has its origins in the British-Spaniard world conquest race… at the time when Spain was one (or the) world power and Protestants could not raze the Church out of existence the idea of (pen mightier than the sword) a soft war took flight and, aided by the newly invented printing press, the assailment began.
Notably, the Catholic Church and the Catholic monarchs did not slider along with the anti-Catholics… they took the Higher Road, allowing the Holy Spirit to Convict man of the Truth!
…now my take:
…since the Roman empire was dismantled hundreds of years ago, it is fair to say that if it was the Roman empire–done and done!
…however, my take is that, as with the Seven Churches, it is a fluid prophecy… it depicts the fight/battle/war against Christ as the anti-Christ takes over man through greed and power mongering–the ancient serpent takes control of world governments and convicts them of their “purpose” and “place” in the universe: SUPREMACY!
…now, please understand, I might be the most pro-US person in the world, when we breakdown the passage we find that the woman is not only immersed in power but also in all sorts of gaudiness and opulence… she makes herself the center of the universe, so to speak, and she not only consumes everything but also engages other nations in her compulsions… basically it describes nations at various stages in the historical chart… the US is right on top of much of what is going on in the world… both consuming and forging alliances with those nations that emulate her… in her feverish bent she has stooped to forcing into her fold, through economic warfare, those nations that refuse to capitulate: ‘uphold my decrees or succumb!’
…again, since it is a fluid prophecy… I also see Russia, China, the Arab nations, Canada, France, and others… who, not content with their “place” in the world, seek to reach others and, forcefully, bring them to their understanding…
The war on God is not fought by one single means only, as Scriptures demonstrate; there’s a spiritual battle taking place that is greatly misunderstood and ignored:
[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.
13 And I saw from the mouth of the dragon, and from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. 14 For they are the spirits of devils working signs, and they go forth unto the kings of the whole earth, to gather them to battle against the great day of the Almighty God. (Apocalypse 16:13-14)
And the Jesus describes further in matt23:34 to 24:2 which is seen in mark13:9(acts22:19-20)
not sure about official, but from memory I think jimmy akin and Scott Hahn consider pagan Rome/ apostate Jerusalem (would need to be confirmed though)
The key to understanding this metaphor is to look at the context. We need to look at how a first century Jewish Convert to Christianity would understand it. The Old Testament is the Key.
Dr. Scott Hahn in his tapes THE END on the book of Revelation argues for the position, that the Whore of Babylon is not Rome, which persecuted the Catholic Church, but instead is the apostate, worldly Jerusalem which rejected the Messiah and persecuted the early Christians. He concedes that this is the minority position but the Biblical evidence that he gives is overwhelming.
One hallmark of Jewish history, the Old Testament, is its honesty in dealing with the sins of Jewish leaders. Whether it be King David or whoever their sins are not covered up. When Jewish leaders sinned that sin was denounced in the strongest of terms. That is how we know Jewish history is correct. They do not whitewash anything.