This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. – Revelation 17:9 NIV
The Book of Revelation is different from all other books of the Bible and is arguably the most debated and least talked about in many of today’s churches and religio-social circles. Full of allegories and symbolism, it’s not an easy mission to figure out what is an allegory and what is reality. It is easy enough to find many different opinions though, even among scholars.
In the scripture quoted above, John the Apostle was imprisoned on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece. This is the same John that walked the dusty roads of Jerusalem with Jesus some sixty years earlier. This is the same John who was the only survivor of the original twelve Apostles, as the other eleven had been killed for telling others about the man called Jesus. This was the same John who was the only Apostle with the nerve to attend Jesus’ torture and crucifixion, not running scared like the others.
During John’s confinement to Patmos, he had a series of visions that Jesus gave him, pertaining mostly to the last days and the events that were to come.
John’s visions include a large multi-headed beast coming up out of the sea and a “harlot” known as the Whore of Babylon and Babylon the Great. Her actual title is “Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth.”
At one point, this harlot in the vision is riding on the back of the beast. It is believed that the beast is the antichrist and the woman riding the beast has been interpreted over the years as the Catholic Church, which of course didn’t exist at the time of the visions. On first impression, this would appear to have some staying power, since Rome was known as “The City of Seven Hills” and is where the Vatican is located, Vatican City.
Here is the same scripture with a little more context:
“The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.
This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.” Revelation 17: 8-11 NIV
To set the record straight, the Bible never says the last days or end times is the end of the world. When we see from time-to-time people carrying signs stating “The End is Near” there is no evidence that the end refers to the destruction of the planet and all things connected. The Bible is merely referring to the end of “this age” and the beginning of another.
During my decades of study about end-times prophecies, I always had difficulty with the Catholic connection. I went to Catholic school for a year and loved all the nuns and priests, though we sure did a lot of ritual praying. Over the years I have watched Catholic relief agencies and charities do great things for those in dire need all over the world. This hardly looked, at least to me, like the bed of the antichrist who is to fool the world with miraculous wonders. So one day I decided to see if there were any other ancient cities with seven hills that could possibly be the home of the antichrist predicted to come.
In conducting the research, some of the cities so designated have great significance in the last days scenario, including ancient Babylon.
Another such city is Jerusalem. There are three hills associated with the Mount of Olives: The north summit called Scopus, the middle summit called Nob and the south summit known as the Mount of Corruption. Further south was Mount Zion and the Ophel Mount. To the north was the Rock where Fort Antonia was built and finally, hill seven became known as the new Mount Zion. There are some who believe that Jerusalem is the city with seven hills that will play such a large part in the last days predictions. Jerusalem certainly does have a war-torn history, a history of continuing turmoil and is the city where Jesus was killed.
Now it becomes interesting, because there is a “religion” depicted in Revelation that will require all the world to adhere to its philosophies or be beheaded. It seemed odd to John, I am sure, since neither Judaism nor Christianity had such a philosophy and beheading was not the capital punishment of the day. As a matter of fact, Jesus instructed his followers to take the message of the gospel to other lands; but if the people in the lands weren’t interested, just leave and go elsewhere. Nothing about converting or killing or enslaving anyone.
By 632 AD a man named Muhammad founded the religion of Islam which, after a slow start, spread like wildfire throughout the world of the Middle East and eventually rivaled the Roman Empire. The rapid and almost complete takeover of the world by Islam seems almost supernatural, and it remains a goal.
Islam seems to always be depicted as a religion of peace in the media and from the mouths of many Muslim clerics. After 9/11 of 2001, President Bush went out of his way to define Islam as a religion of peace, hoping to avert a backlash against Muslims located in the United States. The president and the media have apparently never read the book.
There are plenty of peaceful Muslims, but the Quran is hardly what I would consider a book of peace. There is flagrant discrimination against women, Jews and Christians and calls for conversion to Islam or face enslavement or death. Jews and Christians are “allowed” to live in Islamic countries; but they have to pay a heavy tax, the jizya. Then there is the bit about no driving, no voting and no telling others about Judaism or Christianity, or anything not Muslim; often under penalty of death.
One only needs to pick up a newspaper or turn on CNN or FOX any day to find breaking news about Christians being beheaded or shot in the Middle East, at the hands of Islamic extremists.
Mecca, Saudi Arabia was the birthplace of Muhammad and is the home of the Islamic religion. At least once in the lifetime of every Muslim, it is required that they go to Mecca for the hajj and circle the Ka’aba, a building located within the grounds of The Grand Mosque that houses a rock called the Black Stone. The Black Stone is a relic and cornerstone of the Ka’aba, believed to date back to Adam. Muslims throughout the world say prayers five times each day and always bow down toward Mecca.
There is only one Abrahamic religion (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) today that teaches beheading or conversion, and that is Islam. Does that sound peaceful? If one reads the New Testament and then the Quran, one would be hard-pressed to find a more anti-Jewish/anti-Christian book than the Holy Book of Islam.
According to John’s visions 2,000 years ago, there is going to be lots of beheading going on in the last days, beheadings bestowed on those who refuse to accept the religion of the antichrist ruler.
Here’s something else to think about.
Mecca is also a city of seven hills: Jabal abu Siba’, Jabal Safa, Jabal Marwah, Jabal abu Milhah, Jabal abu Ma’aya, Jabal abu Hulayah and Jabal abu Ghuzlan.