Book of Revelation 17.1-2
Rome was famous as the city of seven hills, and several times in chapters 13 and 17 it's talked about as ruling all the peoples of the earth. And there was only one possibility in John's time, and that has to be Rome.
Judgment Of The Great City
And there came out of the seven angels, which had the seven vials, and talked to me saying unto me,"Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgement of the great City, that sitteth upon 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."
Book of Revelation 17:1-2
The Book of Revelation, from chapter 17 onwards, presents a series of historical events that lead to the overthrow of the great City of great infamy. The interpretation of Revelation 1-16 has been for the most part determined by facts of history which have already transpired.
And there came out of the seven angels, which had the seven vials, and talked to me saying unto me, "Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgement of the great City, that sitteth upon many waters:
Book of Revelation 17:1
The sixth vial brings to the present date. The apostle is shown a vision of what is a City that is supported by many nations, water being a symbol used to express this meaning. It is well known that by crafty and political maneuvering, with all kinds of sin, deceit and unrighteousness, papal Rome obtained and kept her rule over kings and nations.
The judgment and the spiritual fornication, though finding their culmination in papal Rome, are not restricted to it. Instead they comprise the apostate Church, Roman, Greek, Protestant, Methodist, Anglican and other sects, so far as it has been seduced, and given its affections to worldly pomps and idols. The Catholic Church is the Mother of the Harlots, her daughters being the breakaway Christian sects now spread over many nations and waters.
So how exactly did Babylon become equated with Rome? According to Adela Yarbro Collins (PBS Frontline):
Vatican, the Great Whore
"In the prophetic books and the historical books of the Old Testament, Babylon is described primarily as the one who destroyed Jerusalem. And for John, writing after 70, Babylon then becomes a code name for Rome, because it was the second city to destroy the Temple. ... "Babylon" is the most common phrase that John uses to refer to Rome, and at first he introduces that term very briefly and indirectly. And the place where it's elaborated is Chapter 17, the vision of the Great Harlot. Babylon is a city with overtones of imperial might and destructiveness, conqueror of other cities. Then you have the harlot with her golden cup, her purple, or scarlet clothing, her jewels sitting on seven hills. He hints that it's Rome in several ways. One, that she sits on seven hills, and Rome was famous as the city of seven hills, and several times in chapters 13 and 17 it's talked about as ruling all the peoples of the earth. And there was only one possibility in John's time, and that has to be Rome."
However, Adela Yarbro Collins and PBS Frontline are just beating around the bush and have no desire to implicate the Vatican directly, just as John.
But John had to camouflage both Rome and the Vatican for any direct accusation would have seen the Book of Revelation edited out of the Bible. Moreover, he had to enforce its survival by warning that "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." (Revelation 22:19)
"In these verses from the Revelation, our sovereign Lord has given His Church important clues as to the identity of the false church, Mystery Babylon the Great. It is upon her the wrath of God is destined to be displayed before the unbelieving world. This ministry wishes to expose the identity of this great whore. The Lord wills the true Church know upon whom His righteous judgment must fall. Once her identity is known, we are certain true believers will separate from her, warning others. The Elect who reside in her will awaken and flee. To that end, we have collected data damning to the Church of Rome, her Papacy and priesthood. It is damning because of its scope in time and place, its depth of depravity, and its fulfillment of prophecy foretold the Apostle John. Our research spans centuries and culminates in modern day current events. Every fact is documented so that the reader may ascertain for himself its veracity. If what we present to the reader is unbiased historical fact and not biased fiction, then the reader has but two choices: either (1) ignore the preponderance of damning evidence and testimony; or (2) believe the overwhelming evidence and testimony pointing to the Church of Rome as that doomed, soon to be damned false church depicted as 'Mother' in Revelation 17 & 18.
Furthermore, if this is so, then her head, the Vicar of Christ, can be none other that the very Antichrist, that Man of Sin, the son of perdition, marked out in Scripture as the head of that false Christian body, who usurps the authority and honor due Christ."1
Thus Babylon is the city of Rome but the Great Harlot is none other than the Vatican, undisputed in power and might over all Europe to grant favors and riches, or instill fear and death.
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.
Book of Revelation 17:2
There has been an unholy relationship between this false church and the rulers and kingdoms of the earth. She have been a prostitute to the kings of the earth, both ancient and modern. The Vatican has obtained and kept her influence by allurements and delusions, and seduced others to join her abominations — allurements of worldly honor and riches, pomp and pride, suited to sensual and worldly minds. The nations have received her spirit and partaken of her sins. Prosperity, power, pomp and splendor now feed the pride and lusts of Christians, whom she had intoxicated with the wine of her fornication.
Over the centuries the Catholic Church fornicated so many countless times with forbidden pleasures that it became a whorehouse of sin, sacrilege and darkness. As time passed it grew obscenely rich through lust for wealth and power, which were obtained by offering all types of favors with wanton abandonment to kings and subjects, rulers and the ruled, the priestly elite and their faithful followers. She is named, from her infamous practices, a mother of harlots; training them up to idolatry and all sorts of wickedness.
The Catholic Church and her daughters are presently spread across the seven seas with whom Christian kings, princes, prime ministers, politicians and faithful followers, past and present, have had intimate intercourse: sale of indulgences, titles, simony, corruption, bribery, decadence, Inquisition, prosecution, property acquisition, Mafia dealings, share trading, currency speculation, corporate ownership, wealth hoarding, diplomatic establishments and the like. Centuries of Church spiritual decay and religious rape has made Christendom become immoral (drunk) with the sins (wine) of papal intercourse with the Evil One (the Dragon.)
We shudder in fear and shake our heads in utter disbelieve that the most vilest empire on Earth is still standing today, a towering testimony to the Prince of Darkness' power and ingenuity that led them to commit the most blasphemous, the most barbaric, the most vilest acts in the name of God. We can only offer historical evidence of popes (the entire clergy will need vast volumes) taken from impeccable sources to prick the conscious of hundreds of millions of its victims. May the Almighty Creator have mercy on all the souls devoured by the Vicars of the Devil, the false prophets who gave them false hope of salvation since the Dark Ages.
Catholic Christianity begun with the satanic alliance between the barbaric, concubine-sired Constantine and Pope Sylvester (Bishop of Rome.) Constantine had by then already murdered Crispus (his son by his first wife) in 326, drowned his second wife in the bath, killed his eleven-year-old nephew, and then his brother-in-law. Both benefited enormously from this unholy alliance between Altar and Throne, the power of the Pulpit aligning with the terror of the Sword, a formidable foe that crushed all opposition.
- The Prince of Carnal Life His Holiness (Sanctitas) Benedict XII throbbed for the sister of the great scholar, Petrarch, who rejected his offer of a cardinal's hat. This lusty pope still managed to bed this pretty lass by bribing her brother, Gerardo." Petrarch described — anonymously, since he did not want to be burned — the papal court as 'the shame of mankind, a sink of vice, a sewer where is gathered all the filth of the world. There God is held in contempt, money alone is worshipped and the laws of God and men are trampled under foot. Everything there breathes a lie: the air, the earth, the houses and above all the bedrooms.'"
- His Holiness Benedict IX was eleven years old in October 103