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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 68

The Great Whore

Picture 1 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Let’s pray before beginning this lesson:
Our Father in heaven,

The book of Revelation presents another prophetic character which we haven’t studied yet: the great whore.

Who is this woman? Will her deeds have any impact upon our lives?

May Your Word give us clear and precise answers, just as it has done until now.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.
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Picture 2 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 12:1 Comments
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. In our lesson entitled «The Pure Woman», we studied a first woman.

In the prophetic word, a woman symbolizes a Church.

Being pure, this first woman therefore designates the Church which is faithful to God and His Word.
2 Corinthians 11:2
I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
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Picture 3 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Jeremiah 3:6,20 Comments
«Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? She is gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there has played the harlot. (...)

Surely as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,» said the Lord.
On the other hand, when the Church turns away from God and disobeys Him, it is then symbolized by a woman who is unfaithful to her husband, a whore.

The book of Revelation describes such a woman, which is the subject of this lesson.
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Revelation 17:1-6 : Description of a second woman, who is impure.
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me,

«Come here; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore that sits on many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.»

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit on a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.

And on her forehead was a name written, «Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.»

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
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Picture 5 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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The contrast between the pure woman and the impure woman is striking
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Picture 6 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:1,15 Comments
Come here; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore that sits on many waters. (...)

The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
In order to identify the impure woman, let’s take a look at her prophetic description.

First, she is portrayed as a «whore that sits on many waters»: this woman thus represents a Church that is unfaithful to God, and holds dominion over a great number of people.
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Picture 7 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:2,18 Comments
The great whore (...) with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication. (...)

The woman which you saw is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.
This unfaithful Church, symbolized by the great whore, prostitutes herself with the kings of the earth.

The prophecy thus indicates that this Church concludes alliances with political powers, and then holds dominion over them.

This political immersion leads this Church to «commit fornication», that is, to be unfaithful to God and His teachings.
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Picture 8 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:2 Comments
The great whore (...) with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. This Church made all the nations drunk with the wine of its fornication.

What does that mean?
Jeremiah 51:7
Babylon has been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken.

The nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.
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Isaiah 28:7 Comments
They also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way.

The priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink.

They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
Just like wine, which causes the drinkers’ judgment to reel, the unfaithful Church’s teachings intoxicate the nations, deceiving them with false doctrines which will ultimately lead them to death and loss.
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Revelation 17:1,3 Comments
«Come here; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore that sits on many waters.» (...)

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness.
The vision of the great whore takes place in the wilderness.

This «Wilderness of the Sea» (since the woman is sitting on many waters) indicates that we will now witness her work of oppression and persecution.
Isaiah 21:1,2,9 [NKJV]
The burden against the Wilderness of the Sea. As whirlwinds in the South pass through, so it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.

A distressing vision is declared to me; the treacherous dealer deals treacherously, and the plunderer plunders. (...).

Babylon is fallen, is fallen!
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Picture 11 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:3 Comments
And I saw a woman sit on a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. Then the prophecy indicates that the great whore is sitting on a beast whose description exactly corresponds to the beast rising from the sea.

As we recently studied in the lesson «The Beast Rising From the Sea», this beast symbolizes the papal system.
Revelation 13:1
And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
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Picture 12 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Jeremiah 3:6 Comments
Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? She is gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there has played the harlot. On one hand, a whore symbolizes an unfaithful Church.

On the other hand, a beast symbolizes a kingdom, a political power.

So the whore sitting on the beast symbolizes an apostate religio-political system.
Daniel 7:17,23
These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. (...)

The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth.
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Picture 13 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:4 Comments
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. In addition to her scarlet garments, scarlet being the color of royalty, the whore is adorned with gold and jewels, showing her pride and arrogance.
Matthew 27:28,29
They stripped [Jesus], and put on Him a scarlet robe. (...)

And they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, «Hail, King of the Jews!»
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Picture 14 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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1 Peter 3:3,4 Comments
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
The ostentation of the impure woman sitting on the beast contrasts with the sober appearance which God asks of His Church.

Now, exactly as foretold by prophecy, popes have indeed always surrounded themselves with majestic pomp in all their actions and travels.
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Picture 15 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:5 Comments
And on her forehead was a name written,

«Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.»
The unfaithful Church gave birth to daughters, that is, other churches which do not obey the teachings of God’s Word, but rather the traditions of their «Mother Church».

The group joining together the Papacy and those churches which support its doctrines makes up a religio-political system that prophecy calls «Babylon».

This name recalls the city of «Babel», whose inhabitants were rebellious to God, and were struck with confusion.
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Picture 16 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Matthew 22:21 Comments
[Jesus] said to them,

«Render therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.»
As we have seen in our last lesson, Jesus always disapproved of the association between Church (the woman) and State (the beast), and commanded that they be kept separate.

And He was absolutely right, since history reports that the union between religion and politics has always resulted in horrible persecutions.

And the continuation of the prophecy of the great whore once again confirms this fact...
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Picture 17 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:6 [NKJV] Comments
And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
Just like the little horn (Daniel chapters 7 and 8), the king of the North (Daniel chapter 11), and the beast rising from the sea (Revelation chapter 13), the great whore persecutes the people of God.

While introducing itself as the Church of God, the papal system killed millions of Christians who were faithful to God.

So we can understand why the apostle John, faced with such a contradiction, «marveled with great amazement».
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Picture 18 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:7 Comments
And the angel said to me,

«Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns.»
The apostle John then receives additional details about the great whore and the beast with seven heads and ten horns.

These details particularly concern last-day events: so they are especially significant for us.

Let’s look at these details.
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Picture 19 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:8 Comments
The beast that you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition. In our lesson «The Beast Rising from the Sea», based on Revelation 13, we have seen how the beast was mortally wounded, and then was healed. Here, Revelation 17 takes up the same events again:
  • the Papacy reigned from A.D. 538 to 1798 («the beast was»);
     
  • then it lost its political power in 1798 («and is not»);
     
  • and it regained this power in 1929 («and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit»).
Now, let’s see what happens from 1929 to the end, leading the beast «into perdition».
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Revelation 17:8 Comments
And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. The prophecy once again confirms that, after 1929, the whole world will be filled with admiration for the Papacy.

We can see this happening nowadays.
Revelation 13:3
I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed.

And all the world wondered after the beast.
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Revelation 17:9 Comments
And here is the mind which has wisdom.

The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits.
Then, the prophecy disgresses for a moment to explain the meaning of the beast’s seven heads and ten horns.

First, «the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits.»

The city of Rome is indeed also called «the City of Seven Hills», whose names are Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal.

But the seven heads symbolize a lot more than that...
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Revelation 17:10 Comments
And there are seven kings.

Five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space.
The seven heads also represent seven kings. Who are they?

Let’s remember that the beast, by its composition, calls to mind the beasts of Daniel 7, symbolizing the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.
Revelation 13:2
And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion.
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Picture 23 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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The beast rising from the sea is made up of the four kingdoms of Daniel 7
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Picture 24 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Beginning with Babylon, the seven heads confirm the fate of the beast
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Picture 25 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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The 7 heads’ sequence corresponds accurately with the fate of the beast
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Picture 26 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:11 Comments
And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition. The prophecy announces that the beast symbolizing the Papacy, while being «of the seven» kings, «even he is the eighth», and «goes into perdition».

So the Papacy, which has returned to power since 1929, being the seventh king, will soon enter into a new stage of its reign, thus becoming «the eighth» king shortly before the return of Jesus.

The end of the prophecy of Revelation 17 focuses on this last stage of the Papacy’s reign.
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Revelation 17:12,13,18 Comments
The ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast. (...)

The woman which you saw is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.
Shortly before the return of Jesus, a coalition of the nations of this world will arise, giving to Babylon (the Papacy and the churches following its doctrine) a worldwide and undisputed authority.
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Revelation 17:13 Comments
These [kings] have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast. The coalition of nations will join forces with the United States, symbolized by the beast rising from the earth, to cause all the inhabitants of the earth to worship the Papacy.

And who will be their common enemy?
Revelation 13:12
[The beast coming up out of the earth] causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
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Revelation 17:14 Comments
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings.

And they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
The coalition of political and religious powers will turn against God’s people, in order to destroy them, in circumstances which will be the subject of future lessons.

But victory is already assured for the «called, chosen, and faithful,» who fight on the side of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Lord of lords and King of kings.
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Picture 30 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Who are the «called, chosen, and faithful» of Revelation 17:14?
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Picture 31 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 68
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Revelation 17:16 Comments
And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. When the coalition of political powers realizes that it has been deceived by Babylon the whore, that is, the system grouping together the Papacy and the churches following its doctrine, all these nations will turn against Babylon to bring about its fall.

We will study these events in detail in a future lesson.
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Revelation 17:10 Comments
When [the seventh king] comes, he must continue a short space. With the words «a short space» and «one hour», the prophecy clearly indicates that the last stage of the Papacy’s reign, from the formation of the coalition of nations until the fall of Babylon, will be very short.
Revelation 17:12
[The kings] receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
Revelation 18:10
Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is your judgment come.
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Revelation 17:17 Comments
For God has put in [the ten kings’] hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. The fall of Babylon is «the judgment of the great whore» which was announced at the beginning of Revelation 17.

So, even during the darkest period of history, let’s remember that God has the situation under control.
Revelation 17:1
Come here; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore.
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Let’s pray together:
Lord,

The coalition of nations, giving power and authority to the beast and the great whore, announces difficult times ahead for Your people.

We thank You for warning us of this, and we ask You to help us to seriously prepare ourselves for those dark days, so that we may be not only «called» and «chosen», but also «faithful» until the end.

In Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord we pray.

Amen.
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Lesson 68 - Test The test of Lesson 68 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Screen 1: ALLARD, William. «Dirt Track towards the Sun». In: «National Geographic Photo Gallery», National Geographic Interactive, 1997. Screen 2: BISHOP, Tom. «Woman and dragon of Revelation 12». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #40. Screen 3: Image from SuperStock. In: «Who’s Who in the Bible», Publications International Ltd., 1995, p.182. Screen 4: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM246.BMP. Screen 5: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (May 15, 1990), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, pp.8,9. Composite picture by Cyberspace Ministry. Table of Screen 5: First picture: HARLAN, Russel. In: «Revelation 12-13: The Church and its Foes», G.C. Ministerial Association, 1976, p.1. Second picture: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.241. Screen 6: «The Whore of Babylon» (Bruges, Belgium, 15th century), The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. In: «Revelations - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.72. Screen 7: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.242. Screen 8: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM258.BMP. Screen 9: HOGARTH, William. «A Midnight Modern Conversation». Image ID: HT003225. From the Web site: http://corbis.com. Screen 10: ROBERT, Robert. «The Whore of Babylon Riding on a Beast with Seven Heads» (c.1991). In: «Revelations - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.75. Screen 11: BONDOL, Jean and DE BATAILLE, Nicolas. «The Great Whore Riding on a Seven-Headed Beast» (c.1373-81). Musée des Tapisseries, Angers, France. In: «Revelations - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.73. Screen 12: BISHOP, Tom. «Woman and scarlet beast of Revelation 17». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #45. Screen 13: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.239. Screen 14: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (August 1, 1985), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 15: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (June 1, 1991), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.24. Screen 16: In: «The Bible Story, volume 8» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.89. Used by permission. Copyright ©1956, 1984 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 17: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.245. Composite picture by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 18: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.241. Screen 19: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.190. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 20: Photo by Reuters/Bettmann, New York. In: «John Paul II» (EDWARDS, Patrick), Bison Books, London, 1995, p.73. Screen 21: «Rome cityscape». In: «The Attica Interactive World Atlas», Compton’s Select, Softkey, 1997. Screen 22: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (February 1, 1986), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 23: BISHOP, Tom. «Lion and bear of Daniel 7» and «Leopard and fourth beast of Daniel 7». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, charts #20 and #21. Composite picture by Cyberspace Ministry. Table of Screen 23: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.189. Screen 24: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (October 1, 1986), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Table of Screen 24: BLAYNEY, William A. «7-headed lion-beast with 10 horns coming ashore» (1960), Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York. In: «Revelations - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.59. Screen 25: In: «Awake» magazine (February 8, 1989), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Table of Screen 25: BLAKE, William. «The whore of Babylon» (1809), The British Museum, London. In: «Revelation» (LORIE, Peter), Simon & Schuster, Labyrinth Publishing Ltd, 1994, p.142. Screen 26: In: «Vous pouvez vivre éternellement sur une terre qui deviendra un paradis», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1982, p.29. Screen 27: «The Whore of Babylon» from «Luther Bible» (c.1530), Bible Society, London. In: «Revelations - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.74. Screen 28: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.255. Screen 29: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (May 15, 1990), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.7. Screen 30: ZINGARO, Charles. In: «The Bible Story, volume 10» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.153. Used by permission. Copyright ©1957, 1985 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Table of Screen 30: In: WHITE, Ellen G. «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 2», Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, p.580. Screen 31: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.256. Screen 32: PROVONSHA, Clyde. In: «Daniel 10-12: Palestine and Probation’s Close», G.C. Ministerial Association, 1976, p.1. Screen 33: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (April 1, 1990), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.8. Screen 34: MOBLEY, George F. «Daybreak near Lake Two-Jack». In: «National Geographic Photo Gallery», National Geographic Interactive, 1997.
Any copyrighted images not bearing a statement of permission, are used for the purpose of non-commercial scholarly commentary or criticism in accordance with section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law, and with article 29 of Canada Copyright Act (Chapter C-42), which by law can be without the consent or endorsement of the copyright holder. Images lacking attribution are either known or assumed to be in the public domain, or have an as yet undetermined status. Anyone having knowledge of proper attribution for an image is requested to contact us via email below so that it can be correctly noted. It is our intent to comply fully with applicable laws regarding intellectual property rights.

Lesson 68 - Test The test of Lesson 68 is waiting for you!