Written by Lee Stevenson. Sorry I am not the best editor.
There is a lot of confusion on who the beast and the harlot are in revelations. Hopefully this will help to clarify it. Keep in mind the beast would be trying to build a one world order or government. The harlot would exert influence over the beast so they cannot be one and the same. One thing you will notice the harlot can also be a part of the beast that is trying to form a one world order.
Beast in the bible represented nations and in some instances subordinate nations are represented by horns you can see this in the book of Daniel.
(Daniel 7:4-6) 4 “The first one was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I kept on beholding until its wings were plucked out, and it was lifted up from the earth and was made to stand up on two feet just like a man, and there was given to it the heart of a man. 5 “And, see there! another beast, a second one, it being like a bear. And on one side it was raised up, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and this is what they were saying to it, ‘Get up, eat much flesh.’ 6 “After this I kept on beholding, and, see there! another [beast], one like a leopard, but it had four wings of a flying creature on its back. And the beast had four heads, and there was given to it rulership indeed.
(Daniel 7:11, 12) 11 “I kept on beholding at that time because of the sound of the grandiose words that the horn was speaking; I kept on beholding until the beast was killed and its body was destroyed and it was given to the burning fire. 12 But as for the rest of the beasts, their rulerships were taken away, and there was a lengthening in life given to them for a time and a season. . .
We know this prophecy in Daniel was fulfilled many years ago.
(Daniel 8:20-22) 20 “The ram that you saw possessing the two horns [stands for] the kings of Me′di·a and Persia. 21 And the hairy he-goat [stands for] the king of Greece; and as for the great horn that was between its eyes, it [stands for] the first king. 22 And that one having been broken, so that there were four that finally stood up instead of it, there are four kingdoms from [his] nation that will stand up, but not with his power.
Many confuse the harlot in Revelation with the beast. But the harlot will sit on the back of the beast. In other words the harlot would exert influence over the beast.
(Revelation 17:3-5) 3 And he carried me away in [the power of the] spirit into a wilderness. And I caught sight of a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored wild beast that was full of blasphemous names and that had seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and was adorned with gold and precious stone and pearls and had in her hand a golden cup that was full of disgusting things and the unclean things of her fornication. 5 And upon her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.. . .
The harlot would oppose true worship.
(Revelation 19:2) . . .For he has executed judgment upon the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged the blood of his slaves at her hand. . .
(Jeremiah 50:2) “Tell [it] among the nations and publish [it]. And lift up a signal; publish [it]. Hide nothing, O men. Say, ‘Babylon has been captured. Bel has been put to shame. Mer′o·dach has become terrified. Her images have been put to shame. Her dungy idols have become terrified.’
Many believe much of the prophecies in Daniel were fulfilled but it says it is in the time of the end. So it will be in the last days that much of the prophecies in Daniel are fulfilled.
(Daniel 8:19) 19 And he went on to say: “Here I am causing you to know what will occur in the final part of the denunciation, because it is for the appointed time of [the] end.
In exposing false religion a death blow to the great harlot was given. Her sins were exposed, it would become obvious who she is and who she is committing political prostitution with. In other words the woman would heavily influence governments instead of putting faith in God. Also the sins kept secret the harlot has committed would be exposed.
(Revelation 18:1-8) 18 After these things I saw another angel descending from heaven, with great authority; and the earth was lighted up from his glory. 2 And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: “She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen, and she has become a dwelling place of demons and a lurking place of every unclean exhalation and a lurking place of every unclean and hated bird! 3 For because of the wine of the anger of her fornication all the nations have fallen [victim], and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the traveling merchants of the earth became rich due to the power of her shameless luxury.” 4 And I heard another voice out of heaven say: “Get out of her, my people, if YOU do not want to share with her in her sins, and if YOU do not want to receive part of her plagues. 5 For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind. 6 Render to her even as she herself rendered, and do to her twice as much, yes, twice the number of the things she did; in the cup in which she put a mixture put twice as much of the mixture for her. 7 To the extent that she glorified herself and lived in shameless luxury, to that extent give her torment and mourning. For in her heart she keeps saying, ‘I sit a queen, and I am no widow, and I shall never see mourning.’ 8 That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.
We are in the final part of the days. Many prophecies had minor fulfillments but had not yet happened on a world wide scale. Things have gotten much worse and are now happening on a world wide scale and much more often.
(Matthew 24:3-8) 3 While he was sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” 4 And in answer Jesus said to them: “Look out that nobody misleads YOU; 5 for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 YOU are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that YOU are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. 8 All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.
The bible said that many would claim to be following Jesus but be misleading many. They would not obey God’s laws.
(Mark 13:4-6) 4 “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are destined to come to a conclusion?” 5 So Jesus started to say to them: “Look out that nobody misleads YOU. 6 Many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and will mislead many. . .
When the one who is promoting false worship was revealed it would be a sign Jesus has returned. In other words apostasy would exist for a certain amount of time and then Jesus would return and restore true worship and would expose false worship. So for a time false worship would dominate things.
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) 2 However, brothers, respecting the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we request of YOU 2 not to be quickly shaken from YOUR reason nor to be excited either through an inspired expression or through a verbal message or through a letter as though from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. 3 Let no one seduce YOU in any manner, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction. . .
(Matthew 7:21-23) 21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness. . .
The beast springs from other nations or rulers that have fallen. Again we see the scarlet woman exerting influence over the beast. Mountains represent those in positions of power. So you can see the harlot is a religious entity and not a nation and that the beast is a political power.
(Revelation 17:9-14) 9 “Here is where the intelligence that has wisdom comes in: The seven heads mean seven mountains, where the woman sits on top. 10 And there are seven kings: five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet arrived, but when he does arrive he must remain a short while. 11 And the wild beast that was but is not, it is also itself an eighth [king], but springs from the seven, and it goes off into destruction. 12 “And the ten horns that you saw mean ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they do receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast. 13 These have one thought, and so they give their power and authority to the wild beast. 14 These will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him [will do so].. . .
If you notice the second wild beast will come from the first wild beast who took a death blow but healed. This would be the ultimate rebellion against God. Just as in the Garden of Eden they chose to rule the earth without God this is they try replacing God’s rule over the earth with a human entity. The first beast the League of Nations took a death blow. Years later the United Nations sprung from the League of Nations. As you can see the beast is even going to replace religion. This is the one world order they are trying to form in rebellion against God. Just as Adam and Eve decided they do not need Gods guidance and wisdom man will do a finale act of rebellion by instituting what Adam and Eve did on a world wide scale.
(Revelation 13:11-18) 11 And I saw another wild beast ascending out of the earth, and it had two horns like a lamb, but it began speaking as a dragon. 12 And it exercises all the authority of the first wild beast in its sight. And it makes the earth and those who dwell in it worship the first wild beast, whose death-stroke got healed. 13 And it performs great signs, so that it should even make fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the sight of mankind. 14 And it misleads those who dwell on the earth, because of the signs that were granted it to perform in the sight of the wild beast, while it tells those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the wild beast that had the sword-stroke and yet revived. 15 And there was granted it to give breath to the image of the wild beast, so that the image of the wild beast should both speak and cause to be killed all those who would not in any way worship the image of the wild beast. 16 And it puts under compulsion all persons, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves, that they should give these a mark in their right hand or upon their forehead, 17 and that nobody might be able to buy or sell except a person having the mark, the name of the wild beast or the number of its name. 18 Here is where wisdom comes in: Let the one that has intelligence calculate the number of the wild beast, for it is a man’s number; and . . .
The harlot that helped the beast gain power will be brought down along with other false worship.
(Revelation 17:15-18) 15 And he says to me: “The waters that you saw, where the harlot is sitting, mean peoples and crowds and nations and tongues. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire. 17 For God put [it] into their hearts to carry out his thought, even to carry out [their] one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished. 18 And the woman whom you saw means the great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth.. . .
(Revelation 18:4-10) 4 And I heard another voice out of heaven say: “Get out of her, my people, if YOU do not want to share with her in her sins, and if YOU do not want to receive part of her plagues. 5 For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind. 6 Render to her even as she herself rendered, and do to her twice as much, yes, twice the number of the things she did; in the cup in which she put a mixture put twice as much of the mixture for her. 7 To the extent that she glorified herself and lived in shameless luxury, to that extent give her torment and mourning. For in her heart she keeps saying, ‘I sit a queen, and I am no widow, and I shall never see mourning.’ 8 That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong. 9 “And the kings of the earth who committed fornication with her and lived in shameless luxury will weep and beat themselves in grief over her, when they look at the smoke from the burning of her, 10 while they stand at a distance because of their fear of her torment and say, ‘Too bad, too bad, you great city, Babylon you strong city, because in one hour your judgment has arrived!. . .
A sign that this is about to occur is when the world starts declaring there is peace at last.
(1 Thessalonians 5:1-3) 5 Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, YOU need nothing to be written to YOU. 2 For YOU yourselves know quite well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. 3 Whenever it is that they are saying: “Peace and security!” then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape. . .
Then they will turn on true worship and when this happens then Jehovah will put and end to this system of things.
(Ezekiel 38:15, 16) 15 And you will certainly come from your place, from the remotest parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great congregation, even a numerous military force. 16 And you will be bound to come up against my people Israel, like clouds to cover the land. In the final part of the days it will occur, and I shall certainly bring you against my land, for the purpose that the nations may know me when I sanctify myself in you before their eyes, O Gog.. . .
When this occurs then God will take action against those attacking his people.
(Revelation 19:19-21) 19 And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage the war with the one seated on the horse and with his army. 20 And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who render worship to its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulphur. 21 But the rest were killed off with the long sword of the one seated on the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth. And all the birds were filled from the fleshy parts of them. . .
So as you can see there will be a one world order or as some call it a new world order which will dominate the whole earth and have a lot of authority over commerce. The beast and it’s allies will exert authority over the whole earth. If someone does not submit to this new world order then they will not be able to buy sell or trade. But submitting to this ultimate rebellion against God would be rejecting God who is the giver of life. When this occurs and they turn on true worship God will give Jesus the command to destroy the beast and all those who have allied with the beast. This is the ultimate act of rebellion. Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the garden believing they did not need God to teach and guide them. They chose to take God out of their lives. This will be the ultimate rebellion by doing this on a world wide scale they will try to completely remove God from peoples lives on a world wide scale. Only those who refuse to submit to the beast will survive.
More information about the beast and the mark of the beast can be found at this link.