Chapter 17 verse 1. The Harlot refers to the apostate Roman Catholic Church. A harlot does not have a husband. This indicates that God never admitted having any relationship with the apostate Roman Church. Revelation 17 concerns religious Babylon. Revelation 18 concerns material Babylon, the actual city of Rome.
The verse shows the sentence or condemnation of the Roman Catholic Church - "Come here; I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits upon many waters ..."
Elsewhere she is refered to as "the mother of harlots" (v.5)[/b] which should indicate that other entities like her have been spawned off from her. The daughters of the harlot should indicate the thousands of divisions among Christians which have come out of the Catholic Church. The Harlot and the daughters together should represent then the entire degraded Christiandom.
Heretical groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses might be more accurately discribed as one group in the catagory of the tares sown among the wheat in the parable of Matthew 13:24-30,36-43.
The tares in that parable represent false believers sown among true believers "in the world" who in appearance look the same. But they rob the true wheat of vital nourishment through their heretical doctrines like denying that Jesus is God incarnate.
Eventually, only the angels of God can successfully separate the false believers in Christ from the real ones in that parable. The tares are thrown into a furnace of fire (verse 50). And the wheat is gathered into God's "barn" (v.30).
The disciples are warned not to go out into the world and try to rid the world of heretics. They are to leave it to the angels at the second coming of Christ.
The difference between Babylon and the tares is probably that some of the people of God are actually carried away into Babylon. The indication of this is probably the voice from heaven telling God's people to come out of Babylon in chapter 18 verse 4:
"And I head another voice out of heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that you do not participate in her sins and that you do not receive her plagues; For her sins have accumulated up to heaven, and God has rememberted her unrighteousnesses." (sic)
Clearly then, some of the redeemed and saved people are inadvertantly stuck in Babylon and need to remover themselves to stay clear of God's judgment. I think chapter 18 relates more to the physical city of Rome.
However the tares in Matthew 13 are false Christian disciples who are judged after the angels collect them out from the kingdom of God established in the world at the second coming. Notice -
"The Son of Man will sed His angels, and they will collect out of His kingdom all the stumbling blocks and those who practice lawlwssness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. In that place there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom oftheir Father. He who has earts to hear, let him hear." (Matt. 13:41-43)
This above passage is the interpretation Christ gave to this part of His parable:
" ... Sir did you not sow good seed in your field? Where then did the tares come from? And he said to them, An enemy has done this.
And the slaves said to him, Do you want us then to go and collect them? But he said, No, lest while collecting the tares, you uproot the wheat along with them. Let both grw together until the harvest, and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Collect first the tares and bind them into bundles to burn them up, but the wheat gather into my barn." (Matt. 13:27b-30)
Summarizing some points here:
1.) The tares among the wheat are false disciples of Jesus among true disciples of Jesus in the world.
2.) The true disciples of Jesus are taught by Jesus that they should not try to separate false believers from true believers (not in the church) but "in the world". The field in which the wheat and tares grow together is not the church but the world (v.38) -
"And the field IS THE WORLD; and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom, and the tares are the sons of the evil one." [/b]
3.) It appears that the tares, "sons of the evil one" need to be born again to be sons of the kingdom. This could explain why many heretical groups claiming to be the disciples of Jesus either do not understand or teach the born again experience. They are prone to fight against it.
4.) Some supposed servants of Jesus did not listen to the teaching of Jesus and did try to go through the world and stamp out heretics by persecution. For example the Spanish Inquisition. As a result, according to Christ's prediction, they did KILL some real Christians in the process.
5.) The word "Come out of her My people" strongly indicates that while God is judging city of Rome and the Roman Cathlolic system He commands those of His genuine people to come out of her.
And part of her sins would definitely be the Catholic disobedience to Christ's command not to try to remove false Christians from the world and in so doing persecute real Christians. What should have been left to the angels at the second coming was done by some "servants" of Christ.
That is enough for this post.
Jesus is Lord.