17:18"And the woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth."

"And the WOMAN whom you saw is THE GREAT CITY,

Several times Babylon (the name of the WOMAN), is referred to as GREAT (Revelation 17:5, Revelation 14:8, Revelation 16:19, and Revelation 18:10). A person senses that THE GREAT CITY is not a specific city but rather refers to a large collection of people (that really is what cities are). In particular, these are people whose names are NOT written in the book of life (verse 8). They have openly and angrily directed their hatred at believers (names written in the book of life) to the point of spilling the believer's blood (verse 6).

Most often in the past, scholars have placed the GREAT CITY as Rome with its papacy or Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8). If we consider that since the bowl judgments, most of the Revelation is spiritual in nature, then Jerusalem makes good sense. Both Jews and Arabs, religously, uphold Jerusalem as one of their most sacred cities.

which reigns over the KINGS of the EARTH."

Since the 10 kings/horns are not mentioned here specifically, this has a broader meaning. It means all the world's leadership at this time of the tribulation. Most likely there will only be one worldwide government which will have expunged organized religion (see verse 16). With the Beast (AntiChrist) now the only one left to worship, the only things remaining to be purged from the earth are the evils of idolatry and its friend, greed. As we will see in the next chapter, verses 8 and 11-19, this economic structure too will be gone.

The difficulty we have in interpreting this verse is that we have a hard time imagining what will be left of this earth after the seals, trumpets, and bowls judgments. Certainly the population will have been severely reduced (Revelation 6:8 and Revelation 9:15), geography mostly rearranged and flattened (Revelation 16:20), and the World Health Organization will be backlogged trying to catalog and understand all the new medical plagues being experienced by the people (Revelation 16:2). All organized religion will be wiped out in favor of only worshipping the AntiChrist/Devil. We have to ask, what are the KINGS of the EARTH really controlling.........and what is the WOMAN controlling when she/they are reigning over the KINGS of the EARTH?