17:3 in the spirit. John had been carried “in the Spirit” forward in time and upward in space to the heavenly throne as it will be set after the future rapture of believers (Revelation 1:10; 4:2). Now once again, he is translated “in the Spirit” far backward in time to the immediate post-Flood world, when the whole world was still a barren “wilderness,” devastated by the flood waters. He is also translated in space to a region where the first post-Flood city, Babel, was being erected in the wilderness, under the direction of Nimrod, the “mighty hunter [in the face of] the LORD” (Genesis 10:8-10). The wilderness itself had emerged literally out of many waters, but these soon became nations, of whom Babel was the “mother,” for she had founded all the earliest nations (Accad, Nineveh, Sumer, etc.), which eventually became the mighty Assyro-Babylonian empire.
17:3 scarlet colored beast. The “scarlet colored beast” on which the great whore is riding seems, as John watches, to become merged with the beast of Revelation 13:1, who will become the great world ruler of the last days, culminating the succession of the seven great kingdoms of history and embodying the ten kingdoms of the end times (see Revelation 12:3; 13:1-3).