Let me state this as emphatically, as clearly and soundly as I can. The Roman Catholic Church is NOT, I REPEAT NOT what is pictured in Revelation!
I know, I know, that flies directly in the face of everything you have been taught, but it is the biblical truth. The entire content of the book is about Jerusalem. The only reason people see the Catholic Church in it is because the Reformers (men and women who left the Catholic Church during the great Protestant Revolution from the very early 1500's to 1700) read it into scripture based on certain details in a few verses.
First of all, the Catholic Church did not even exist when Revelation was written in 69 AD.
Newspaper Eschatology has been a big thorn in the Bible's side for years. This is the practice of reading newspaper headlines into prophetic scripture verses and in the long run does NO justice to the Bible. When you read passages like Matthew 24 (popularly known as the Olivet Discourse) which is also found in Mark 13 and Luke 21, you have to have a literal and allegorical or apocalyptic hat (if you will). When Jesus described in Matthew 24 the things that would happen to the city, the sacrificial system and surrounding regions in 70 AD, he went in and out of literal and apocalyptic or metaphorical speech. One verse could be literal and the very next verse could be metaphorical.
NOT everything single thing in the Bible is literal!
This article will feature verses to show you that John was writing about Jerusalem:
"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."
--Not only is Jerusalem referred to (spiritually) as Sodom and Egypt, but also as Babylon by John and Peter, who used it as a code word in 1 Peter 5:13. The end of that verse should really sell it too. If you have read any of the gospels, you would remember these words spoken by Jesus:
"Nevertheless I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem." (Luke 13:33)
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee." (Matthew 23:37)
"And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."
--Jesus himself said that there was NO other place in the world where the blood of the prophets and saints had been shed but in Jerusalem. The word "harlot" is used a number of times in the New Testament and prominently in Revelation to reveal the state of Jerusalem. But Jesus also does it in the Old Testament, calling the city a harlot, whore and so on. Just look at these verses:
"The Lord said also unto me (Jeremiah) in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? She is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the HARLOT. And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah (where Jerusalem is located) saw it. And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the HARLOT also."
Now, here is where John drew his likeness for Jerusalem as the spiritual Sodom from the Old Testament:
"For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory. The shew (show) of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin AS SODOM, they hide it NOT. Woe unto their soul! For they have rewarded evil unto themselves."
God viewed Jerusalem as a wife gone astray in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, especially after committing the worst sin by killing her Messiah Jesus the Christ! I would recommend that you look at Ezekiel 16 and pay attention from verse 9 to see the language God used to describe Jerusalem, taking into consideration that events in Ezekiel are past tense and fulfilled, but I just want you to see the similarities. Revelation also is the expounding of the prophesied destruction of the city, sacrificing and the Temple found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21; all of which was fulfilled in 70 AD.
Our physical bodies have permanently replaced the stone building Temple that was laid to waste by the Romans as the temple of God, the temple of the Holy Ghost as revealed by Paul in his letters. There are several verses in chapter 18 of Revelation that talks about clothes of fine linen, purple and scarlet with gold and precious stones and pearls. This is how the priests dressed, especially the ones that offered the sacrifices that can easily be traced back to the Old Testament. Verses 12 and 13 testify to the level of trade and merchandising the city did with the world (as they knew it in their time) and can easily be traced back to the Old Testament. I mentioned this because people view chapters 17 and 18 as a description of the Roman Catholic Church and it just is NOT so!
Don't get me wrong, I am not being any kind of advocate for the Catholic Church or anything. I think anyone who has read my articles 'til now should know how I feel that the Roman Catholic Church (that is the high ranking officials, from the priests to the Pope-not the ordinary laymen-'cause they don't know any better) is deceitful, evil and full of heresies!
Again, consider Revelation 17:6, which says, "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus."
There are also keywords to consider like: "I come quickly," "is come," "shortly come to pass," and "IS at hand" found in these verses:
Take from this what you will, but I would just encourage everyone to do more research into the teachings of Revelation, rather than just gobbling up the old teachings we have! Check out these sites for helpful information if you wish:
*Look through their articles in the Eschatology/Prophecy section.