The Kings and the Great Harlot
There are three main players on earth during the last days – Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. Even though they appear on the scene near the end, the principles that they represent have always been with us. Satan has done his dastardly work since before the Garden of Eden and there has always been those who oppose and seek to take the place of Christ: “And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” (1John 4:3). Those who are forerunners and minor fulfillments of the final Antichrist are antichrist (Note lower and uppercase). There have also been numerous personalities that foreshadow the ultimate fulfillment of the Antichrist – Antiochus Epiphanes, Nero and Hitler (to name a few). The fact that they were not the ultimate fulfillment does not minimize their evil. They stand as warnings to us that the final fulfillment of Scripture in the form of a world ruler who will attempt to take the place of the Lord Jesus Christ as the King of kings will certainly be fulfilled.
While many Christians are somewhat informed about the Devil and the Antichrist, they are less informed about the third person of the Satanic trinity – the False Prophet. Just as the Antichrist has his forerunners, so the False Prophet has his forerunners and principles that underlie his essence. We read about the False Prophet in Revelation 13:11-18. He occupies a central position in the drama of the last days and is symbolized as the beast from the earth.
The False Prophet has characteristics that are the ultimate fulfillment of the same principles that were manifest in each of the forerunners:
- He appears to be religious (Jewish in the Old Testament, Christian in the New Testament). He has horns like a lamb – a counterfeit of the Lamb of God (Revelation 13:11). He performs miracles, as if He is a true prophet (Revelation 13:13,14).
- He is in alliance with, and supports, the political power of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:15-16).
- He persecutes the true believers (Revelation 17:6).
Just as the Antichrist seeks to replace Christ, so the False Prophet seeks to replace the prophets of God.
Thus, we have Satan seeking to usurp God, The Antichrist seeking to replace Christ and the False Prophet taking the place of true ministers of the Gospel. However, there is a fourth figure: The Great Harlot – supplanting the Bride – the Church.
She is called the “Mother of Harlots”. The Bible never accuses the world or the heathen of committing spiritual adultery, but in the Old Testament, Israel is accused of adultery when she forsakes the Lord and enters into an illicit relationship with idols. (Ezekiel 16, 23; Hosea 1:1- 14:9 etc.).
In the New Testament, the Church is the bride, betrothed to her Husband, the Lord Jesus. But, she is also warned of the potential of adultery: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4). Thus the spiritual harlots profess to be the Lord’s people, but have forsaken their true Bridegroom, Christ, and entered into an adulterous relationship with the Devil and the world and in the process made God their enemy.
Common to all the minor fulfillments of the False Prophet and false wife is an alliance with the political powers of the day. This alliance gives the political entity power over people that would not normally submit to an evil potentate. In exchange, the false prophets receive recognition, fame, money and influence. Here are a few of many examples:
- Balaam entered an illicit relationship with Balak the king of Moab and led Israel into physical and spiritual adultery for money. (It is also significant that the nation of Moab was born out an illicit / incestuous relationship).
- Israel rejected the Lord and His prophet (Samuel) and turned to a political system of kings for their answers, protection and help (1Samuel 8:7).
- Solomon married Gentile women who undermined his relationship with the Lord and seduced him to worship idols.
- Ahab, king of Israel, married Jezebel, a Gentile woman, thus entering into a forbidden relationship. Jezebel used this unholy alliance to lead the people of Israel into idolatry and, true to the spirit of the false prophet, persecuted and killed the true prophets.
- Many times Israel was seduced to enter into unholy alliances with Gentile nations in order to win military battles (Isaiah 30:1-7; 31:1; Ezekiel 17:15; Hosea 11:5 etc.). This is the same spirit of adultery in that they forsook the Lord and put their confidence in the arm of flesh, yet the Lord says “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.” (Jeremiah 17:5).
At the time of the Lord Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Sadducees had entered into an unholy alliance with Rome. They were given sovereignty in the practice of their religion and governance of the temple, money, and influence. In exchange they were to keep Israel subjugated to the Roman overlords. The High Priests and rulers of the Temple were all political appointees by Rome from the party of the Sadducees. It was this adulterous relationship and political expediency which led directly to the crucifixion of our Lord (John 11:49-50).
I trust by now you can see that the false prophets of the Old Testament always led God’s people away from the Lord and into an adulterous relationship with false gods and that whenever that happened, it incurred God’s wrath and ultimately led to their captivity: “The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.” (Ezekiel 39:23). The Lord is a jealous husband and requires that his bride be faithful to Him alone.
For the first three centuries of the church, she was persecuted by Rome and thus there was very little opportunity for the church to enter into a relationship apart from the Lord. However, in 300 AD that all changed: Constantine came to power and married church and state. Constantine himself presided over the council of Nicaea, which would establish the doctrine for the organized church for the next 2,000 years! Not only did the emperor preside over the council but he had a powerful influence over the final creed that Nicaea produced. The adulterous relationship between the church and the Roman government is arguably the worst thing that ever happened to the church and it, and its consequences, are still with us today. The relationship was often stormy and at times the state was the dominant party and at other times the church was. This was just as it is in any carnal marriage where there is a constant struggle between the two partners for dominance, control and power. However, in spite of these difficulties both partners have gained enormous political and financial power through the relationship and the marriage produced many illegitimate children in the form of many false churches, denominations and members. Just as in the Old Testament, the church had forsaken her Bridegroom in order to enter this adulterous relationship.
The Reformers were also not able to separate from their whoredom with the government and all of them sought to use secular rulers for protection, money, and judicial systems to persecute and martyr true believers. This was true throughout Europe and found its low point in Calvin’s Geneva where the marriage between church and state was taken to new extremes so that the church became the weapon of the state and the state the weapon of the church. This pattern was reproduced wherever the Reformation spread. For example in Arminius’ Amsterdam, all senior officers of the church were appointed by the government and in most European countries the government collected the tithes on behalf of the church. (A repetition of the temple tax levied by the Romans).
At almost the same time, an even lower point would be reached when the serial adulterer Henry VIII appointed himself as “Supreme Head of the Church of England”. He did this because the Pope would not annul his first marriage. It is interesting how his physical adultery mirrored what the church had been doing for 1200 years (do you see a pattern here?). 800 years later, the Monarch of the United Kingdom remains the head of the Anglican Church worldwide, including the Episcopal Church in the USA. As such, The “Supreme Governor” formally appoints high-ranking members of the church on the advice of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Notice that Christ has no say in the leadership of the church. He is no longer the Bridegroom nor the Head – the government is. And just as with Constantine, the Roman Church and Geneva, the church and government empower and authenticate each other and false prophets facilitate the harlotry.
In all these examples the central truth is that instead of the false church looking to her true Husband for help, support, protection, and blessing, she looks to her illicit lover – the government. In exchange, she supports, affirms and empowers the state. She thus forsakes her Husband and enters into an adulterous relationship with the world. (Just as in the Old Testament this adultery was facilitated, encouraged and promoted by the false leaders who would persecute and kill true prophets who warn against this infidelity.)
No wonder that He, the Lord Jesus, describes her as: “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Revelation 17:5). Notice that she is not alone but is the mother of harlots. Traditionally, Protestants have said that this is Roman Catholicism, and while Catholicism is the ultimate incarnation (and mother) of this evil, all churches and denominations that have forsaken their true Head to enter into an alliance with secular rulers are likewise her daughters and harlots in their own right (Revelation 17:5). Remember that the contract between a harlot and her client is that he gives her money and protection while she renders him services – this reflects the relationship between church and state.
Notice how the Harlot of Revelation does exactly what the false church of the past 2,000 years has done:
- The kings of the earth commit fornication with her (Revelation 17:2).
- She sits on the Antichrist and is carried by him (Revelation 17:3, 7).
- She is wealthy and lives luxuriously (Revelation 17:4).
- She martyrs the true saints of Jesus (Revelation 17:6).
- She controls many peoples (Revelation17:1, 15).
This brings us to the USA in 2017: Many Christians and churches are again establishing a relationship between the state and the church. The government needs the votes of the church and the church needs the protections, “legitimacy” and esteem that comes from such a relationship. However, these are things that only the true Head of the true Church can provide. Only Christ can protect, legitimize and bring honor to His bride. But, because He is delaying His coming (Luke 12:45), she is turning from Him to another. The moment the believer and the church look to the government to provide what Christ alone can provide, they have committed adultery and forsaken the only true Head of the Church. (True to the pattern, the church is being encouraged to commit this adultery by false prophets who masquerade as true leaders of the church).
We have been deceived into believing that the government will help us, protect us, police morality in society and create an environment in which the church can grow and flourish. That is exactly the relationship that has been in existence in the USA for 250 years and for 450 years in the UK and Europe, and what has it produced? The church is declining spiritually and numerically at an unprecedented rate and is at an all-time low while immorality in society (and the church) is at an all-time high. 250 years of adultery has produced nothing except illegitimate children and false churches and cults. Yet many believe that the current American government is the savior of the church and that it will save the church and America (and even the world). It has not happened in the past and it will not happen in the future. When will we learn that endlessly repeating the same mistakes will not produce different results and that there is only One who can save, protect, keep and give legitimate offspring?
Almost without exception, the only times and places where the true church has prospered has been, and is, where the government is hostile to the church! This is not because there is some direct blessing in living in an unfriendly environment, but because it is in such an environment that the Church learns to look to her Bridegroom alone for all her needs and He in turn blesses her with true children and spiritual gifts.
Please note that I am not advocating civil disobedience. We are to obey the government as far as its laws do not contradict God’s commands (Romans 13; 1Peter 2:17; Acts 5:29 etc.). As such, we must fulfill our civic duties (Matthew 5;41; 1Peter 2:13-17), including voting (unless your conscience forbids it). We must pray for the government (1Timothy 2:1-2; Jeremiah 27:7 etc.) and pay our taxes (Luke 12:24,25; Matthew 17:27).
The many “prophecies”, public prayers and speeches by church leaders in support of Trump, or any other government – no matter which party, has led countless Christians to trust in man and the state, rather than the Lord. They have done exactly what the False Prophet will do in the end: “… and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast…” (Revelation 13:12). Each prophet in the Old Testament who put a stumbling block before the people of Israel and led them into adultery was severely judged and likewise the False Prophet and all who follow his example will be cursed.
By the way, whether a politician is “pro-Israel” seems to have become a litmus test to divide the good from the bad. In the process we have forgotten that the Antichrist will also (initially) be pro-Israel and will sign a peace accord with her!
It is noteworthy that the same spirit of the Old Testament Jezebel reappears in Revelation 2:18 and that “Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols” (Revelation 2:20). Just as the Old Testament type dies a terribly and ignominious death with her lover, the king, so too will the New Testament antitype die a terrible (eternal death) with her lovers. Even more significant is the warning that the Lord will also kill those who have been born out of this illicit relationship (Revelation 2:23).
Even though Nebuchadnezzar had been raised up by God for a specific purpose, the three young Israelites would not bow before his image. May there be others today who will confess: “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Dear friend, if you have posted on Facebook, tweeted or preached in support of Trump (or any other politician) and hoped in them for the protection of the church and its values, you have committed adultery against your Bridegroom and you will be judged with the Mother of Harlots unless you repent!
The voice from heaven is already calling: “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4).
“Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly… For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted – you may well put up with it!” (2Corinthians 11:1-4).