Mystery of the Woman
By Arlen L. Chitwood
FOREWORD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1. MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH
2. THAT GREAT CITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
POSSESSING REGAL AUTHORITY OVER THE KINGS OF THE EARTH
3. THAT MIGHT CITY, BURNING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
THROWN DOWN, FOUND NO MORE AT ALL
4. BURNED IN FIRE, GROUND TO POWDER …………………………..
SCATTERED IN THE WATERS, THE PEOPLE MADE TO DRINK
5. AN ANGEL STANDING IN THE SUN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ANNOUNCING THE GREAT SUPPER OF GOD
This book has to do with the Harlot Woman seen in the midst of the kingdom of the Beast (Rev. 17:1-19:6) during that future time covered by Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week, “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:24-27).
The key to properly understanding all the various things revealed about the woman in Rev. 17:1-19:6 could be succinctly stated in a very simple, two-part manner; and, as well, this is the necessary two-fold key to properly understanding any passage of Scripture:
1) Find out, pay attention to, exactly what the passage states.
2) Then, let Scripture interpret the passage for you, referencing both the immediate context and related Scripture elsewhere.
On the first part of the preceding, the text singles out one thing about the woman which MUST be understood. If this one thing is understood, the remainder of that stated about the woman will more naturally fall into place. However, if this one thing is not understood, an individual will likely find himself/herself lost in a sea of misinterpretation in which so many seem to find themselves today when it comes to this section of Scripture.
And this one thing which MUST be understood at the outset is the word “mystery.” The woman is referred to twice through the use of this word, both times in the introductory part of chapter seventeen:
“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH…
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carried her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns” (vv. 5, 7).
The word “mystery” is used in connection with the woman, not as a part of her name or title, but to associate the woman with that dealt with through the meaning of and the way this word is used in the New Testament.
The word “mystery” is used twenty-seven times in the New Testament.
It is used one time in each of the three synoptic gospels, for the same event — the mysteries of the kingdom (Matt. 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10).
It is used twenty times in the Pauline epistles.
Paul used the word numerous times to reference the gospel which he had been called to proclaim throughout the Gentile world (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3, 4, 9; 6:19; Col. 1:26, 27).
He used the word to reference Israel’s blindness, awaiting the fullness of the Gentiles, to be followed by Israel’s salvation (Rom. 11:25, 26).
And, among several other usages, Paul used the word to reference the coming resurrection of Christians and the corresponding removal of the living at the end of the present dispensation (I Cor. 15:51ff).
The word is not used in Hebrews or the general epistles, but it is used four times in the Book of Revelation. It is used of the seven stars (1:20), of God (10:7), and of the Woman and the Beast (17:5, 7).
The word “mystery” is an Anglicized form of the Greek word musterion. The word has to do with something hidden, a secret. It has to do with something beyond human comprehension, something which cannot be explained by human endeavors, human ingenuity.
In the light of the exact meaning of this word, note R.C.H. Lenski’s comments in his New Testament Greek word studies on the use of musterion in Matt. 13:11:
“These are ‘mysteries’ [the mysteries of the kingdom] because men by nature and by their own abilities are unable to discover and to know them. It must ‘be given’ to a man ‘to know’ them. This divine giving is done by means of revelation…”
In this respect, remaining within the first part of the two-fold key to proper Scriptural interpretation — first, finding out exactly what the text states — understand that the word “mystery” is used of the woman. Then, understanding the meaning of this word and how it is used in the New Testament, one can proceed from that point and know that matters concerning things dealt with through the use of this word cannot be explained through human comprehension. Divine intervention must be involved.
God must make things pertaining to a mystery known to an individual; and God makes things known today through one means alone — through His Word.
Thus, understanding what is involved in the use of the word “mystery” and that this word is used to reference the woman, one can know that the only possible way to identify the woman is through Divine revelation, i.e., through the Word of God, through comparing Scripture with Scripture.
And, this is where the second part of the two-fold key to proper Scriptural interpretation comes into the picture. After an individual has found out exactly what the text has to say, then the only proper way to proceed is to compare Scripture with Scripture, both in the light of that stated in the immediate context and related Scripture elsewhere.
Allow Scripture to interpret the passage for you. Allow Scripture to deal with that designated as “a mystery” for you.
And, doing it this way, you won’t go wrong, for you will have a base upon which to work; doing it any other way, you probably will go wrong, for you will have no base upon which to work.
“A mystery” in the New Testament relies wholly upon other Scripture to explain the mystery.
And the “other Scripture” necessary to help explain the mystery could be other New Testament Scripture, though, of necessity, it would have to extend into Old Testament Scripture as well.
There is nothing in the New Testament that is not seen after some fashion in the Old Testament, necessitating that anything dealt with through the use of the word “mystery” in the New Testament have an Old Testament connection.
To illustrate the preceding, note the mystery of Israel’s blindness and ensuing events in Rom. 11:25, 26. Different facets of this are dealt with throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets (e.g., Gen. 11-19; 22-25; 37-45; the entire panorama of events extending from Exodus through Joshua; or the panorama of events seen throughout Judges or Esther, among numerous other places which could be referenced, concluding with the closing verses of Malachi.
And Old Testament revelation pertaining to the mystery of the woman in Rev. 17:1-19:6, as well, is seen throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.
Then, different Old Testament passages could be referenced relative to the manner in which the word “mystery” is used other places in the New Testament.
And that is what this book is about. It is about interpreting and understanding the mystery of the woman through the only means possible to understand “a mystery,” or anything else in Scripture — through Divine revelation, through comparing Scripture with Scripture.