Chapters 17 and 18 introduce another actor in the endtime scenario that begins in chapter 12 and 13 – the Great Whore.
“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:” – Rev. 17:1-4
This woman is arrayed in purple and scarlet, which throughout the Bible and ancient times symbolically means royalty (Daniel 5:7,16, 29, Matthew 27:28, Mark 15:17, 20, John 19:2) or the he power to rule like a king (Revelation 17:4).
“Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.” – Daniel 5:29
It can also represent a person’s sins and sinfulness (Isaiah 1:18), prosperity (2 Samuel 1:14, Proverbs 31:21, Lamentations 4:5, Revelation 18:12, 16) or dedication to opposing God (Revelation 17:3).
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” – Isa. 1:18
It is interesting that this color, second only to purple, was a status symbol in the mighty Roman Empire. Officers in Rome’s army wore cloaks dyed in it as well as high-ranking non-military people. And since the late 13th century Roman Cardinals, who are high-level religious leaders in the Catholic Church, use scarlet for their ecclesiastical clothing. Here we see the Pope sitting in the place of God on the throne between the Cherubim.
“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” – Rev. 17:5
This woman is called Babylon the Great but, that does not necessarily mean she is represented by the historical, physical Babylon as some have surmised. I believe the meaning is rather derived from what the original Babylon tried to do – reach God on their own by building a tower. It is the epitome of man-made religion. This woman persecuted and killed true believers who didn’t bow to her self appropriated authority.
“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” – Rev. 17:6
While she portrays a religious persona, she is deeply political, setting up kings and bringing them down when they disagree with her. She uses her wealth to buy her influence. She is likened to a great city that sits on seven hills but the seven hills also represent seven kingdoms.
“And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” – Rev. 17:9, 10
The fact that the seven hills also represent seven kings, five of which have come and gone, one is (when John was writing Revelation), and one is to come and reign for a short time tells us that this whore has been riding the beast for a long time.
Now many will say this is the Catholic Church and the description certainly could fit but, I believe what is being described here is much broader. It is false religion. One doesn’t have to look far to find churches of every kind and religions that have dogma to reach God on their own terms. Here are just a few examples:
Commentary: Assembly of God (AOG) General Council to Vote on Resolution Against Israel
(They are moving to give Palestinians control of the Temple Mount thus putting themselves in God’s place.)
- The Pope’s Proxies Compare U.S. Christians To Terrorists
” In a stunning rebuke of U.S. conservative Christians, two close aides to Pope Francis have drawn comparisons between Islamic terrorists and American evangelicals”
- Apostate World Council Of Churches Endorses Palestinian Temple Mount Protests
A key to identifying this false church is to look at what stands it takes on the Word of God and on Israel. Remember, the Reformation began over Martin Luther’s challenge to the Catholic Church. Martin Luther was a German monk whose main beliefs were that the Bible is the only true source of religious authority and that salvation can only come through faith in Jesus Christ, not good deeds. Luther challenged the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Sadly, much of the Lutheran Church today has given up this stand and surrendered to the allurements of the Whore of Babylon.
There have been many movements within the Catholic Church that were begun by a genuine move of the Holy Spirit but were snuffed out by persecution or absorption and relegation into a place where they could not significantly change or damage the church.
Then there are the evangelical and charismatic churches that all began as genuine moves of the Holy Spirit but soon began to develop pet doctrines that when challenged by the Word of God, they chose their doctrines! This attitude opens the door to deception and the devil is quick to take advantage of it. So, a ‘feel good‘, ‘prosperity’ type of preaching soon takes over and ministry ‘success’ is defined by bigness or richness instead of obedience to the Word of God. Soon, it becomes easier to accept divorce, homosexuality, or transgender lifestyles within the church. This qualifies them for membership in the Great Whore of Babylon. I am not saying that every member of these churches are like this but, usually it is the leadership that are. That is why one of the last warnings given to Mystery Babylon is –
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” – Rev. 18:4
Now, before we close this article, I must write about Israel and the Church. First of all, the regathering of Israel is a move of God.
“I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.” – Micah 2:12
“When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;” – Ezekiel 39:27
When God gave the land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Palestinians did not even exist and God does not forsake His promises! So, for churches to deny Israel’s return to the
Land and prefer Palestinian control of any part of the Land is to put themselves against God! It is bad enough that our government is continuing to pay terrorist but so-called Christians will answer to God for their support of it!
Israel is under increasing pressure and many in their government are caving in to Palestinian terrorist
demands, not realizing that to feed a mad dog only emboldens him. Like sharks smelling blood in the water, even Jordanians are marching in the streets demanding an end to their peace treaty with Israel.
The issue is Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. While it has no great strategic importance and no great wealth, Jerusalem has indeed become as Zechariah prophesied – “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zec. 12:3). Why? It is because Jerusalem is where God has placed His Name and Satan wants it! All those protesting Israel’s existence and control of the Temple Mount are doing the devil’s work – and that includes churches! We must always remember that it is we Christians that are grafted into the Jewish Root and not the other way around!
The Whore of Babylon is alive and among us. She is false religion, substituting humanism instead of true Christianity for God and His Word. Her main goals and works will always be ‘man centered’ and she will accommodate the Beast that she rides.
Her days are numbered.