Revelation 17:5 goes on to say, “And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Who is this “whore of Babylon” and what is “mystery Babylon”?
Revelation 17:3 gives this description: “Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.” The beast mentioned in this verse is the same beast as in Revelation chapter 13:1, “And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.” The beast in Revelation chapter 13 is understood to refer to the Antichrist, the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Daniel 9:27). So, the whore of Babylon, whoever it is, is closely affiliated with the end-times Antichrist.
The fact that the whore of Babylon is referred to as a mystery means that we cannot be completely certain as to her identity. The passage does give us some clues, however. Revelation 17:9explains, “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.” Many commentators link this passage with the Roman Catholic Church because in ancient times, the city of Rome was known as “the city on seven hills” because there are seven prominent hills that surround the city. However, verse 10 goes on to explain that the seven hills represent 7 kings or kingdoms, five of which have fallen, one that is and one that is to come. Therefore, the "whore of Babylon" cannot refer exclusively to Rome.
Babylon is a great city, not a country. Then there is the issue of America's military strength. It is the Beast, not the Harlot, with whom no one is able to make war. In fact, the Beast will hate the Harlot and facilitate her destruction.
They cannot be one and the same.
The whore of Babylon is an evil world system, controlled by the Antichrist, during the last days before Jesus’ return. The whore of Babylon also has religious connotations – spiritual adultery with the beast being the focus of an ungodly, end-times religious system.