The first thing we are told about the woman is that she is a "whore" (Revelation 17:1), that earthly kings "have committed fornication" with her (verse 2), and that "all the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication" (verse 3). Why would a city be called a whore and be accused of having committed fornication with kings? Such an indictment would never be made of London or Moscow or Paris-or any other ordinary city. It wouldn't make sense.
This is obviously his thesis statement, let's see where he goes with this.
Fornication and adultery are used in the Bible in both the physical and the spiritual sense. Of Jerusalem God said, "How is the faithful city become a harlot!" (Isaiah 1:21). Israel, whom God had set apart from all other peoples to be holy for His purposes, had entered into unholy, adulterous alliances with the idol-worshiping nations about her. She had "committed adultery with stones and with stocks [idols]" (Jeremiah 3:9); "and with their idols have they committed adultery" (Ezekiel 23:37). The entire chapter of Ezekiel 16 explains lsrael's spiritual adultery in detail, both with heathen nations and with their false gods, as do many other passages.
Ok, so far so good.
There is no way that a city could engage in literal, fleshly fornication. Thus we can only conclude that John, like the prophets in the Old Testament, is using the term in its spiritual sense. The city, therefore, must claim a spiritual relationship with God. Otherwise such an allegation would be meaningless.
Ok, a city must claim a spiritual relationship with God, ok.
Though it is built on seven hills, there would be no reason to accuse Rio de Janeiro of spiritual fornication. It makes no claim of having a special relationship with God. And though Jerusalem has that relationship, it cannot be the woman riding on the beast, for it is not built on seven hills. Nor does it meet the other criteria by which this woman is to be identified.
And here's the build-up....
Against only one other city in history could a charge of fornication be leveled. That city is Rome, and more specifically Vatican City. She claims to have been the worldwide headquarters of Christianity since its beginning and maintains that claim to this day. Her pope enthroned in Rome claims to be the exclusive representative of God, the vicar of Christ. Rome is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, and in that too she is unique.
Correct (almost) on Rome, wrong on Vatican City. Two different cities. They cannot be used interchangeably. Yes, Vatican City is where the Pope resides. The Vatican is located inside the City of Rome (now, but not in Johns time). Rome itself is NOT the headquarters of the RCC, just like the City of New York is NOT the UN.
Numerous churches, of course, are headquartered in cities, but only one city is the headquarters of a church. The Mormon Church, for example, is headquartered in Salt Lake City, but there is much more to Salt Lake City than the Mormon Church. Not so with Vatican City. It is the heartbeat of the Roman Catholic Church and nothing else. She is a spiritual entity that could very well be accused of spiritual fornication if she did not remain true to Christ.
And, there is much more to Rome than the Vatican. Literally thousands of different companies are based there and operate there, it is the seat of the Italian Government as well. The fact is, by itself, the Vatican City, meets some, but not all of your critera, specifically it only sits on ONE hill, not seven.
Now, Imperial Rome which was in existence at the time John wrote, fits all of Mr. Hunts criteria exactly. Each hill had a significance in the Government. Imperial Rome had committed massive fornication with the then Kings of the Earth (see Antony and Cleopatra) and Ruling was Romes sole function.