The Woman who Rides the Beast Revealed

Chapter 14 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: The Woman who Rides the Beast Revealed [Part-1]

The woman who rides the Beast and the ancient idolatrous system behind her is an important link in understanding how Satan has been fighting God. We recall that Satan was in the Garden of Eden (Ezek 28:13), the place of pleasure, created for Adam and Eve. But he lusted for more (Isa 14:13) and staged a coup. As a result of the slanderous lies Satan told to Adam and Eve, they began to covet when they already possessed everything. Their coveting resulted in their expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:23). Man has been trying to get back to Eden (pleasure) ever since and Satan has gladly exploited this craving in humans. 

John saw “a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns” (Rev 17:3). The Beast represents the culmination of all that Satan has been working toward.  

And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement (Rev 17:5-6). 

Figure 41 Rain Goddess. Cylinder seal. Mesopotamia. Akkad period, c. 2334-2154 B.C. Shell. 33.5 X 19.5 mm. New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, Corpus 220. 

Somewhere in the Akkad period, around 2334-2154 BC, a small cylinder seal was fashioned, showcasing Satan’s basic strategy to keep mankind enslaved, and prone to welcome his hostile takeover. (See Figure 41). In their 1983 book, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, Diane Wolkstein and Samuel N. Kramer, explain the figures on the seal:  

Inanna / Ishtar may appear on this seal in her manifestation as Rain or Thunderstorm Goddess, as suggested by Elizabeth Douglas Van Buren. Nude except for her horned crown, she stands between the wings of a lion-bird or griffin, probably a manifestation of the embodiment of the thunder-bird, Anzu. Streams of rain are held by the goddess and vomited by the lion-bird as it draws the chariot of the Weather God, who snaps his lightning whip. The clatter of the wooden wheels may be accompanied by the roar of the lion-bird as thunder. This scene gives mythopoeic form to the visual phenomena of rain, lightning, and thunder — its aural accompaniment in nature.lxx 

Inanna, “queen of heaven”, also known as Ishtar, is the woman who rides the Beast in Revelation 17. The Beast she rides is the Anzu, a form of snake-dragon, associated with Ninurta, Pabilsag or Enlil. We recall F. Wiggermann’s study on Mesopotamian protective spirits, in which he argues for the original association of Anzû with Enlil, not Ninurta (a syncretization).lxxi This reveals that the hybrid creature first represented Enlil, and then later, stood-in for the syncretizations.  

The point Wiggermann is making is that Ningirsu (Ninurta) is typically associated with the Anzû, but in reality, the Anzû represents Enlil, master of them all. We might liken it to Lord of the Rings—“the one ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.” Satan has different faces and agents, but in the end, all roads lead back to him.  

Ninurta (or Ningirsu) is actually the biblical Nimrod, the great rebel, the one who became a gibbor. However, Ninurta was known as the son of Enlil and eventually syncretized with Enlil so that his qualities were the same as Enlil’s.  

Lastly, the one in the chariot is the storm god. As noted earlier by Wendy Doniger, a lot of syncretism was happening; “Bel”, meaning “lord”, who was a syncretization of Marduk, Enlil, and the dying god Dumuzid.”lxxii Therefore, the storm god Bel (Baal) is Enlil, who we also learned was Dagan, and went by the logogram BAD / BAT (BATios) and gave the command on Mt. Hermon. 

Thus, we have an icon in which Ishtar, queen of heaven, the great harlot, is riding Ninurta (Nimrod the rebel) and Satan is driving in a chariot on wheels with eight pointed stars. Stated another way: Lust is riding on the back of Rebellion, and they are driven by the Great Dragon. (See Figure 42, next page). 

Figure 42 Rain Goddess. Cylinder seal. Mesopotamia. Akkad period, c. 2334-2154 B.C. Shell. 33.5 X 19.5 mm. New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, Corpus 220. 

God revealed to John in Revelation what Satan has been doing. Only recently, with the discovery of the thousands of documents and cylinder seals from ancient Sumer, are we able to look in the ancient world and recognize the symbols that John was given. The woman riding a beast was not an allegorical fable, but a physical image that would have been a common sight in ancient Babylon.  

Even though we did not recognize the reference to a woman riding a beast in modern times, the ancients would have understood: “I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns” (Rev 17:7). John also discovered in his visions that the dragon with seven heads and ten horns (Rev 12:3), gave his power, throne, and authority to the Beast (Rev 13:2).  

The cylinder seal provides an excellent graphic representation of what is really happening: The trio of Satan and the Beast, also includes the harlot, with all the perversions the world craves. While the world worships the lustful goddess, the Beast establishes his kingdom; and Satan is the one behind the scenes, driving it forward.  

This beast symbol of a winged lion is on the very walls of the Ishtar gate, one of the eight gates of Babylon. The lion has wings just like in Figure 42―Ishtar is standing on a winged lion griffin, pulling the chariot, which is controlled by Enlil.  

In the book of Revelation, we see that the dragon gave the Beast his power, his throne and his authority. Everything―he gave to the Beast. We know that according to Revelation 17, the ten (horns) kings upon the Beast are going to hate the woman and destroy her―this idol that so many individuals, kings, priests, pastors and everyday people bow down to worship. I am not only talking about pornography and perversions; Her worship also involves the idolatry of pursuing illicit pleasures and abominations. The world bows down willingly to these things, and Satan allows us to worship these counterfeit pleasures because they serve his purpose—for now.  


The counterfeits, however, are designed to enslave us; and once enslaved, the façade will come off. The Great Harlot, Babylon the Great, will be unnecessary at that point, and Satan will destroy it.lxxiii  

Has God also vowed to destroy her? ―Yes, because she is a counterfeit. She is the epitome of idolatry, established at the gate of the gods in the land of Shinar, where Nimrod the rebel began his kingdom of rebellion against the Most High God.  

There is a very curious passage in Zechariah 5; and it has everything to do with Revelation 17, where we see the woman who rides the Beast and this Mystery Babylon, this mother of harlots. An angel speaks with Zechariah the prophet, in a vision about a woman sitting inside a lead basket, about whom he says: “This is Wickedness! [harisha הָרִשְׁעָ֔ה fs] And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth” (Zech 5:8). Zechariah asks where the women, who look like storks, are taking the basket and the angel responds: “To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base” (Zech 5:11).  

Wickedness, with its “resemblance throughout the earth,” is personified in the vision as a woman in a basket going to Shinar, which is Sumer, Mesopotamia—the capital of Enlil’s kingdom. The place where Nimrod became a gibbor, and where the Tower of Babel was established, along with the false religious system that came with it.  

The woman that rides the Beast is known as Mystery Babylon. “Babylon throughout the Bible symbolizes the focus of anti-God sentiment and activity”lxxiv The Greek word for “wickedness” is ανομία (anomia / lawlessness). The apostle Paul speaks of “the mystery of lawlessness [ανομία],” and reveals that it “is already at work” (2 Thess 2:7). Paul tells us that the return of Christ will not happen until the lawless one (ανομος anomos, same root) appears first. Thus, Zechariah’s vision shows us a picture of lawlessness or wickedness, contained in a basket, but trying to get out. For some reason, it is in the land of Israel and it is going to be taken to the land of Shinar (Babylon / Mesopotamia), where it will have an entire temple with much more room than a small bushel basket. We see, amazingly, that Paul says: “The mystery of lawlessness [ανομία] is already at work” (2 Thess 2:7), meaning Mystery Babylon is at work; She is the harlot riding on the back of the Beast, the personification of lawless wickedness.  


The scene on the cylinder seal in Figure 41 is precisely what was revealed to John. It also gives us insight into what is happening in the spiritual realm: 

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot [porne] who sits on many waters with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Rev 17:2).  

The features of the great harlot that John saw and that God has vowed to destroy include:  

  1. Sits on many waters 
  1. Fornicated with kings of the earth 
  1. Whole planet involved in her fornication 
  1. Sits on a beast 
  1. Sumptuously dressed 
  1. Holds a cup of abominations 
  1. Babylon the great 
  1. Mother of harlots 
  1. Drunk with the blood of saints 
  1. Rides a beast with seven heads, ten horns that was, is not, and will ascend 
  1. The horns hate and burn the woman 
  1. The woman is the great city 

The word for harlot is the Greek word porne. As we trace this back in the literature in the Scripture, we see that porne is the same as k’desha. In Genesis 38, Judah went to his daughter-in-law, and “thought she was a harlot [zona זונה πόρνη]” (Gen 38:15). When he later tried to locate her, he asked the men of the city, “Where is the harlot [kedesha קדשה πόρνη]?“(Gen 38:21)  

The word zona, which means prostitute, was interpreted by Judah and the people of that village as kedesha. What is a kedesha? God says in Deuteronomy 23: “There shall be no ritual harlot [porne קדשה πόρνης] of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one [kadesh קָדֵ֖שׁ] of the sons of Israel (Deut 23:17). What’s astounding is that the word “kadosh”, which means “holy”, as in “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts,” is the word used to describe this woman.  


Figure 43 The Egyptian goddess Qedeshet and Min. Stele of Houy-C 86 14th Cent BC on display Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre. 

The word does not mean the person is pure and morally unblemished; but rather that the person is set-apart for a particular purpose, whether good or bad. The word qedesha and qadesh (or kadesh) means female and male prostitutes. They were holy; they were wholly set-apart, completely set-apart for a purpose, but not a good purpose. 

An example is the goddess, Qadesh, found in the New Kingdom ca. 14th century BC in Egypt, but imported from Canaan. (See adjacent Figure 43). The inscription says: “Qedesh[et], lady of heaven, mistress of all the gods, eye of Ra, without her equal.”lxxv She is standing on a lion to the right of the Egyptian gods Min, who has an erect phallus.lxxvi In Isaiah 47, God speaks directly against Qadesh, which we will look at later.  

A marriage is holy, not because the man is perfect or the woman is perfect, nor because they never have unfortunate thoughts or say mean things. The reason that a marriage is holy is that it is designed for only two people, because it is exclusive. Those two people are what make it a holy matrimony. If you bring in a lover from the outside, it is no longer a holy matrimony. If you leave your socks on the floor, it is still the holy matrimony. If you leave the toilet seat up, it is still a holy matrimony. If you burn dinner, it is still a holy matrimony. But if you bring in another woman or another man, it is no longer holy. That is the difference. Thus, Babylon the Great is described as a great zona, a great kedesha, porne, harlot, the one in the crosshairs of God—she is the other woman in what is supposed to be an exclusive relationship between God and mankind.  

A harlot sells the pleasure of her body for payment to many lovers. God is not against sexual union; He created it. However, pursuing illicit, perverted and warped pleasure outside of the instructions He has given us for living, is what God is against, because it is harmful. The man involved with a harlot believes that sexual union with her will bring him satisfaction, though as the Rolling Stones lead singer, Mick Jagger, put it, “I can’t get no satisfaction … but I try, and I try, and I try.” The sexual relationship outside of marriage is a grave perversion of the joy, peace and prosperity God desires to freely give us and, incidentally, is an exploitation and objectification of the lover, as well.  

The harlot, in a word, is the embodiment of violating the tenth commandment: coveting, lusting for something that you should not have. All things are permissible, Paul says, but not all things are beneficial. (See Appendix 7 Leaven). For example, Adam and Eve were physically capable of eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but it was not beneficial. Lust and coveting seek gratification outside of God’s commandments and right order. God has vowed retribution against the harlot because she exacts a terrible price on mankind; her lie separates us from Him. The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible notes the price the goddess Inanna exacts:  

Even as the dead goddess is brought back to life, it is at the price of another’s death as her substitute … lshtar spends most of her life without a husband or children, for her husbands change their nature almost immediately after consummation or die before their time. Everything is premature. Aborted.lxxvii  

It is the same lie Satan posed in the Garden: “Did God really say you can’t …?” It separated Adam and Eve from God; They coveted something that was outside of God’s purview.  


The Sumerian goddess, Inanna (Akkadian, Ishtar), is the patron-goddess of whores and temple prostitutes.lxxviii Her name likely comes from nin-an-ak, meaning “Lady of Heaven.”lxxix J. Black and A. Green in Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, speak of Inanna, who is the epitome of the woman-who-rides-the-beast:  

One aspect of Inanna’s personality is that of a goddess of love and sexual behavior, but especially connected with extra-marital relationships with prostitution. Inanna is not a goddess of marriage, nor is she a mother goddess. The so-called Sacred Marriage in which she participates carries no overtones of moral implication for human marriages. Inanna is always depicted as a young woman, never as mother or faithful wife, who is fully aware of her feminine power and confronts life boldly without fear of how she will be perceived by others, especially by menlxxx (Emphasis mine). 

Most people hope to keep their youthful appearance; however, this goddess is forever young, always budding, but never with child. This is the myth, the lie that has confronted humanity, but this is just part of it. This theme of eternal youth is brought out in the “Burney Relief.” lxxxi The goddess standing on the beasts in Figure 44 (next page) is believed to represent either Ishtar or her older sister Ereshkigal (c. 19th or 18th century BC). Her body is blended with the features of an owl. She is also flanked by owls, nocturnal creatures, which is fitting for a lady of the night. John’s vision of a woman riding a beast is all over the Ancient Near East in the iconography and character of the goddess Ishtar. We have seen it already in Egypt, and now, in the Burney Relief. (See Appendix 4 Easter). 


Figure 44 The “Burney Relief,” Either Ishtar or her older sister Ereshkigal (c. 19th or 18th century BC) By Babel Stone (Own work), /w/index.php?curid=10862243 

Figure 45 The Ancient Akkadian cylinder seal depicting the goddess Inanna resting her foot on the back of a lion c. 2334-2154 BC ANEP #526 (Akkad). Courtesy of The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 

We further see it in the “Ancient Akkadian cylinder seal depicting the goddess Inanna resting her foot on the back of a lion, c. 2334-2154 BC” lxxxii in Figure 45. The dominating restless spirit of “Ishtar reminds us of Gilgamesh, a powerful individual with great energy who always remains dissatisfied with the allotted role or portion and is constantly driven to go beyond. They seem to be male and female counterparts.”lxxxiii