One of the central features of the last days will be the union of the Harlot with the Beast of Revelation. Before beginning I need to define some terms: the Harlot is the false church and the beast is called the ‘prince’ by Daniel, the ‘man of sin’ by Paul, and is generally known as the Antichrist (In a later post I will say more about this).
The Harlot has been around since the beginning of mankind in various forms. Her spirit was manifested in Cain who tried to worship God by his own means instead of God’s prescribed plan. God showed from the very beginning that it took the blood of an innocent lamb to satisfy the penalty of sin –
Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. – Genesis 3:21
They were covered by the skin of the sacrifice as they left the garden of Eden. It was evident that innocent blood had been shed for their sin. This knowledge was passed on to Cain and Abel and when they came to worship the Lord, Abel brought a firstborn of the lambs for an offering but, Cain brought the fruit of the ground for his. God accepted Abel’s offering but, rejected Cain’s offering. When Cain grew angry, God replied –
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” – Genesis 4:7
Rather than humble himself in repentance, Cain rose up in anger and slew Abel. Thus begins the history of the true Church, which Abel represents, and the false church, which Cain represents. Both try to worship God; one does it in obedience to God, but the other tries to worship according to the dictates of their own heart. It is the difference between theism and humanism. One promotes the glory of God, the other promotes the glory of man. The false church has a long history of persecuting and killing those in the true Church.
Remember, it was the devil that was behind Cain’s failing and he is always a deceiver. It is not always easy to tell the difference between the true and the false Church; both want to worship God and both use the same terms to describe that worship. When the Hebrews, who were delivered from slavery in Egypt, made the golden calf in the wilderness they called it Elohim and when they held a feast for it they called it a feast to Jehovah (Exodus 32:4,5). Even Aaron, who was high priest, took part in the worship to please the people. “PLEASING THE PEOPLE” is always one characteristic of the false church. Today, we call it humanism.
During New Testament times the difference was pointed out by Jesus many times as He confronted those Pharisees who would not believe in Him –
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” – John 8:44
Another characteristic of the false church is – THEY DO NOT OBEY THE TRUTH OR WALK IN IT. They will always try to twist it or give it a new meaning. For example they deny the powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit saying they were only for New Testament days. They often use such verses as 1 Corinthians 13:8 –
“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease;”
to show that prophesy and tongues will pass away but, they forget the rest of the verse which states –
“whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”
Paul goes on to write –
“But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” – 1 Corinthians 13:10
They argue that the word of God is the “”perfect” that has come so, we no longer need these other things. However, if that is the case then why have Bible schools or seminaries which are meant to teach knowledge, since it too will pass away when the perfect has come? No, it is obvious that the perfect referred to here is the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. Until then, we need all the help the Holy Spirit can give us.
This is a another difference between the true Church and the false church: the true Church depends on all the work of the Holy Spirit to display the glory of God, whereas the false church is left with rituals and human intellect to use God for their own benefit. Emotional singing and lifting of hands alone does not mean you have surrendered to God. Jesus taught, “If you love me, obey My word.” As Paul warned Timothy about the false church –
They “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” – 2 Timothy 3:5
All the false church has is an empty form of religion. They cannot stand against the wiles of the devil because they have denied the only power that can defeat him – the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Instead of the doctrines of truth found only in God’s word they have accepted the doctrines of political correctness. They cannot call evil what is evil, or wicked what is wicked, because they have allowed them in their church. So, we have abortion (the tearing apart of babies that are meant to be the reward of the Lord) allowed and they do not preach against it because it may disturb their members. They do not preach against divorce (even though God Himself declares He hates it!) because half their church may be offended. They do not preach against homosexuality (even though God calls it an abomination) because it may bring them a lawsuit. They have allowed Jezebels in their pulpits (even though the word of God forbids it). Do you believe Jezebel is too strong a name for women who usurp the authority given by God to chosen men to preach and teach His word? It is not! Because Jezebel represents rebellion, and those who deny God’s standards of authority are in rebellion. Does this mean that men are better than women? In no way. It simply means God put men in this position of authority and it not our place to reverse it.
But, perhaps the greatest harm the false church does is aid in destroying the family. In what ways do they do this you ask? By encouraging children’s church instead of family church; they separate the children forbidding them the experience of watching their parents worship God. By this they plant the idea that it is the church’s responsibility to teach the children rather than the parents. Verses like the following place this responsibility on the fathers, not the church.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4
They further encourage public school education even though in our day the schools are the main avenue of training the children to deny God – simply by giving the impression that knowledge can be had without God! Don’t you realize that this is exactly the deception Satan used to cause Eve to fall in the first place! Every true Church aught to be encouraging their members to home school and if that is not possible to actively train their children at home in the ways of God; countering every falsehood the world is indoctrinating their children with. If you never hear a sermon on this in your church, perhaps it is not part of the true Church of God.
The love of God is growing cold in our churches because of lawlessness. This lawlessness is a reference to not keeping God’s laws, not man’s! Jesus taught it would be one of the signs of the end of the age –
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” – Matthew 24:12
If you are disturbed by inroads the devil is making in the world, remember God has given us the power to overcome the world, but not on our own terms. We must obey God and allow Him to lead. This the difference between the true Church and the false.