1. Is Catholicism the Harlot?
Revelation 17:8 unlocks the identity of the woman:
And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Most people take a quick look at the last part of the verse, "reigneth over the kings of the earth", and immediately conclude the "great city" must be Rome, the city that ruled the world. Adventists take a twist on that, and interpret the city as papal Rome. However, Strong's notes that the Greek word for "reigneth" is basileia, which can be used to refer to a "dominion" that is "not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom."
Under the Old Covenant, Jerusalem was the seat of God's government and His power upon this earth:
The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem... (Joel 3:16)
Blessed be the LORD out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. (Ps. 135.21)
...they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem... (Jer. 3:17)
...thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain... (Dan. 9:16)
...The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem... (Amos 1:2)
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD...for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Mic. 4:2)
Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain. (Zec. 8:3)
Jesus warned people not to swear "by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King." (Matt. 5:35)
Cyrus was ruler of the largest empire on the earth, and could have built a temple in any city, but notice what he says:
Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem.
Thus, even pagan kings recognized Jerusalem as the center of God's spiritual kingdom upon this earth.
In the Old Testament, Jerusalem was recognized as a "great" city:
Now the city [was] large and great... (Neh. 7:4)
In Revelation, John specifically says the "great city" was the location where Jesus was crucified:
Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city? (Jer. 22:8)
How doth the city sit solitary, [that was] full of people! [how] is she become as a widow! she [that was] great among the nations... (Lam. 1:1)
And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (Rev. 11:8)
Here John gives us a not-so-subtle hint about the identity of the "great city". Was Jesus cruficied in Rome? No. In Babylon? No. In Jerusalem? YES!
John even refers to the New Jerusalem as the "great city":
...and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God... (Rev. 21:10)
The Bible evidence is simply overwhelming that the "great city" is a reference to Jerusalem, the seat of God's power, authority and dominion upon this earth.
Notice how John's description of Babylon is strikingly similar to Jesus' denunciation of the Jews:
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus... (Rev. 17:6)
And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (Rev. 18:24)
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
To conclude, the weight of Biblical evidence points to Jerusalem, not Rome, as the whore of Revelation 17.
2. Are Protestant churches also harlots?
If Catholicism is the "mother" harlot, and Protestant churches--being the children of the Catholic Church--are also harlots, then what does that make Seventh-day Adventits? The grand-children of the harlots?
As we have seen above, Jerusalem is the "harlot" of Revelation 17. The term "mother of harlots" does not mean that Jerusalem spawned a bunch of religions. Hosea referred to Israel as a "harlot" and a "mother" (Hos. 2:4,5) Similar language is found in Ezek. 16:44-48. To be a "mother" and a "harlot" is a double shame. It is bad enough to be single and a harlot, but to have a husband and children and still be a harlot is most reprehensible indeed! Not only is this harlotry perverse, but it goes beyond mere harlotry, showing utter contempt for the sacred institution of the family. The fact that this "harlot" is also a "mother" is a statement about the utterly repulsive nature of this woman.
3. Is God calling Christians out of Catholic and Protestant churches to join the SDA Church?
It is convenient for Seventh-day Adventists to label all other churches as "Babylon" so that they can fulfill a supposedly divinely ordained mission to call members out of those churches to join their own church. However, as seen from the last two points, Adventists have misapplied the symbols of Bible prophecy in order to construct a scenario that conveniently identifies them as the good guys and everyone else as the bad guys. Such a warping of Bible prophecy to suit one's own needs is a travesty.
4. Is the scarlet beast of Revelation 17 the Papacy?
Adventists rightly assume the beast of Revelation 17 is the same beast as that of Revelation 13. The problem is, they have misconstrued the beast of Revelation 13 to be the papacy (see study on the beast of Revelation 13) The beast of Revelation 13 is easily identified as Pagan Rome, and so is the beast of Revelation 17.
Revelation 17:9 states:
And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
In this image the woman is riding upon the beast and is seen sitting upon "seven mountains". The city of Rome is notorious for being nestled among seven hills. The first century readers of Revelation could not fail to see the connection between the beast having "seven mountains" just as Rome has seven hills. The fact that the woman is sitting upon the seat of Rome's power indicates the country has committed spiritual adultery against God and has joined with the Roman Empire, as is evidenced by the pronouncement of the chief priests of the Jewish nation: "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15).
5. Do the "seven mountains" represent seven world powers throughout history?
The SDA scenario of world powers existing over many long centuries of history is refuted in the first chapter of Revelation, which says the events written therein must "shortly" come to pass. Furthermore, the seven mountains are said to represent "seven kings" not "seven empires" (Rev. 17:10). These "kings" are easily identifiable. Knowing that Revelation was written around 65 AD, we can identify the seven kings according to Rev. 17:10:
"Five are fallen". These Caesars had passed away prior to the writing of Revelation:
"One is", the sixth Caesar, was reigning when John wrote Revelation:
"The other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space"
7. Galba, the seventh Caesar, reigned for less than seven months
6. Do the "ten horns" represent Europe?
This interpretation of the ten horns is based on a flawed understanding of the ten horns on the beast of Daniel 7. In Bible prophecy, horns upon a beast always represent the kings or human leaders of that empire. The ten horns do not represent other empires. They represent the kings that ruled over the Roman Empire. The ten horns represent the ten Caesars that ruled up until the final termination of the Old Covenant and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. To study the identity of the ten horns further, click here to read our study on Daniel 7.