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Question and Answer

Is the Roman Catholic Church the mother of prostitutes in Revelation 17?

I see no convincing reason to identify the Roman Catholic Church with the mother of harlots in Revelation 17, certainly not as we know it today. In my judgment, Revelation 17 is about the development of a universal, world church—called a prostitute—that will be opposed to the government of the Beast. Verse 16 says that the Beast (who represents government) will hate the woman and will bring her to ruin and make her naked and desolate, and will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. The “mother of prostitutes,” i.e. the world-church, will be short-lived and ultimately destroyed.

In all likelihood, elements of apostate Protestantism and the Roman Catholic Church and perhaps other religious traditions will comprise the future religious organization designated as the mother of prostitutes.

BY C. Donald Cole

C. DONALD COLE hosted Moody Radio’s Open Line for 26 years before retiring in 2008. Before joining the team at the Moody Bible Institute in 1971, Pastor Cole and his wife, Naomi, served the Lord as missionaries in Angola from 1948 until 1966. Pastor Cole then served as a faculty member of Emmaus Bible College of Dubuque and as editor of Interest magazine.

Pastor Cole authored several books, and was married to his wife Naomi for 65 years before he went home to the Lord in 2012.

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