“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 17:18)
“And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains [the word can be translated “hill” or “mount”], on which the woman sitteth.” (Revelation 17:9)
Prior to my conversion to true Christianity (I am a former Roman Catholic), as I was trying to discover the true interpretation of the symbolic prophecy of Revelation chapter 17, I visited different websites. One website, run by a Roman Catholic apologist, made the claim that the city on seven hills/mountains/mounts refers to Jerusalem. Even before coming to the knowledge of the true Gospel of free justification before the triune God of the Bible by grace (unmerited favor) through God-given faith in Jesus Christ (His Person, His sinless life, His death, His bodily resurrection and His perfect, once-for-all, completed work of atonement) I saw problems with the (false) idea that Jerusalem is the city intended by the prophecy of chapter 17. The last verse of the chapter gives us very important information: 1) the city is a great city and 2) it is THE city at the time of the writing of Revelation which reigned over the kings of the earth.
TRIVIA QUESTION : In the Apostle John’s day (in the first century AD), which city was dominant? Jerusalem or Rome (known as the city sitting on seven hills)?
Whether you date the writing of Revelation prior to 70 AD or after that date the answer to the question is still the same. If the question is giving you some difficulty may I suggest a pleasant and entertaining way to gather some clues? Go and rent the movie “Ben Hur” (1959), a story set in the first century AD.
While you’re watching the movie please pay close attention to the Romans and the Jews. Which one of those two groups in the movie is the most powerful? In the movie are the Jews oppressing the Romans or are the Romans oppressing the Jews? Are the Romans dominating Jerusalem or are the Jews dominating Rome? Which of the 2 cities, Jerusalem or Rome, is portrayed in that movie as being the most powerful city? I hope the movie will help you answer the question properly. Have a nice day!
Note : even some Roman Catholic apologists of the past (e.g. Bossuet, Baronius, Bellarmine) conceded that the city of Revelation chapter 17 refers to Rome (understood by them as either Rome past – preterism – or Rome future – futurism)