[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Three Warnings About the Harlot in Revelation 17: Where Is She Today?
The Bible is a fascinating book. It’s filled with inspiration and encouragement. It gives strength to the weary and hope to the hopeless. But many are surprised to find out just how blunt the Bible is. Maybe even shocking.
Take the book of Revelation. It’s amazingly candid in talking about some delicate subjects. Have you read the book of Revelation, lately? We’re going to dive into a portion of it today, and glean what we can about a subject which has surprising connection to our life today. In today’s world of political correctness, the Bible is refreshingly honest and genuine. It tells it like it is. It doesn’t pull any punches. When you want the truth, the Bible is where you should turn.
So, join me in this edition of Tomorrow’s World. And take a moment to get a pen and paper now, because you’ll have the opportunity a little later on to request a free publication. It’s called, Who or What is the Antichrist? It’s a fascinating glimpse into a mysterious but vital subject. And one that will take on more and more relevance, as we get closer to Christ’s return. So get ready, because in a moment we’re going to launch into our topic and discover, Who is the Great Harlot of Revelation?
Symbols of Revelation 17
Welcome to Tomorrow’s World. A lot of people know about the Bible, but few really read it. And fewer still understand it. One vital key to understanding the Bible, especially when it comes to prophecy, is to understand symbolism. Much prophecy is written in symbolism. Now, by symbolism, I don’t mean that all meaning is just wiped away. I just mean that certain symbols represent other things. And if we let the Bible itself define those symbols, the meaning is unlocked, like the turning of a key. Take, for example, the book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation is full of symbols. Stars, we find, can represent angels. Floods are symbolic of people. Horns represent governments. And a woman—this is the key for our discussion today—a woman, represents a church.
One of the places where we find that occur is in Revelation 19. Jesus Christ gave this message to the Apostle John. John was inspired to see, in vision, a glimpse of the glorified saints entering the Kingdom of God, and marrying Jesus Christ, as His Bride. Let’s read it together: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). The Lamb is Christ—slain for the world. His wife is His Church. We find that in other places, as we’ll see a little bit later. And the woman who marries Christ is a virtuous, honorable, respectable, upstanding woman. What it means is that the saints who enter glory will be virtuous, clean, obedient, and forgiven of their sins, under the precious blood of Christ. Going on, it says, “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8). That’s how Jesus sees His precious church. That’s how He sees people who are sincere and faithful and obedient to Him: As a woman of integrity and character preparing to marry her husband.
But then there’s a description of a totally different woman. A woman of dubious character. That’s found in Revelation 17:1. “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Revelation 17:1–2).
So, we see two different women. Two different churches. Polar opposites. Which one do you want to be a part of? It’s not a difficult choice, is it?
But John didn’t stop there. He continued, with more description of this adulterous woman. He said: “…And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication” (Revelation 17:3–4).
This woman not only was causing spiritual fornication, drunkenness, and blasphemy, but she was pulling the strings in worldly politics. Quite an unusually blunt and even shocking description.
Now, why is this important that we even talk about it? What does it matter? Is it only an academic exercise? Not at all. It has everything to do with the last generation before Christ’s return. If we can see the writing on the wall, that’s us. Notice what John said, further, in Revelation 18:1:
“After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven… saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and [it] has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!”… (4) And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues… (8) Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her” (Revelation 18:1–2, 4, 8).
Why is this important? Because whatever this was—and the Bible itself reveals that this was to be a church, a religious system—it would be around at Christ’s return. And it would be judged for its corruption and abominations. And Christ warned us, don’t be a part of her, don’t get mixed up with her. Or you’ll be tarnished and influenced by her, and you’ll be punished, too.
So again, let’s stop and think. Who would voluntarily be part of an adulterous, political, blasphemous, demonic system of worship? Nobody in their right mind, right? And yet, there’s the warning. To be wary of something that’s coming. To not be deceived. Because being deceived by a coming wave of religious deception is possible, even among the very elect. Christ said that in Matthew 24:24. And that’s why John was given the warning.
Let’s pause just for a moment, so you can order today’s offer. It’s a helpful and straightforward explanation of this subject. It’s entitled, Who or What is the Antichrist? Is it a person? Is it a system? Are there more than one? There are so many confusing ideas about this subject. And we can’t possibly explain it all in this short program. So, contact us right now—go online, write to us, or pick up the phone and call us. You’ll be fascinated by this hard-hitting booklet. Order yours now.
Religious Harlotry and Political Domination
Welcome back. In the last segment, we learned that the book of Revelation speaks of a church as a woman, symbolically. It describes a virtuous woman—made up of cleansed, forgiven, and Spirit-filled saints—marrying Christ at His return. But it also speaks of an adulterous woman—filled with blasphemy, fornication, selfishness, and even demonic activity—being punished by plagues from God at the end. Clearly, we don’t want any part of that woman. So, what are some things that we should watch out for? What are some signs of this woman to be wary of? So we can avoid getting entangled in her web? In the remaining portions of this program let’s identify several things to watch out for, as we identify the Great Harlot of Revelation.
Number one: Beware the woman engaged in religious harlotry
God commands us to be morally and spiritually pure. But if we go back, again, into church history, we find a time when the visible, dominant church was watering down the truth of the Bible and teaching men to do so. Author William Manchester describes what this church was like during the Middle Ages, in his book A World Lit Only By Fire. He says, “As mass baptisms swelled its congregations, the Church further indulged the converts by condoning ancient rites, or attempting to transform them, in the hope—never realized—that they would die out” (A World Lit Only By Fire, William Manchester, p. 13).
This is in total contrast to the Bible and what God intended. God instructed His people to not learn the ways of the heathen—that’s in Jeremiah 10:2. He said, don’t compromise His laws, to the right hand or to the left (Joshua 1:7). He exhorted them, Don’t do like the nations around you, or be ensnared by their practices (Deuteronomy 12:30). Was this policy back in the Middle Ages pleasing to God? The mixing of blasphemous practices with the name of Christ? Of course not.
Going on, Manchester continues his description of the church in the Middle Ages. He said on page 13: “Statues of Horus, the Egyptian sky god, and Isis, the goddess of royalty, were rechristened Jesus and Mary. Craftsmen turned out other images and pictures to meet the demands of Christians who kissed them, prostrated themselves before them, and adorned them with flowers” (A World Lit Only By Fire, William Manchester, pp. 13–14).
God forbade idolatry—it’s that simple. And yet it was allowed and even encouraged in this large and influential church. Remember, we’re talking about two women in Revelation, two churches. One that was pleasing to God, and pure and virtuous. And another that was both spiritually compromising and politically active.
So number two: Beware the woman bent on political domination.
Let’s go back about 1,500 years, to the end of the Roman Empire. The western leg of the Roman empire fell in 476AD. In the 6th century, the Eastern emperor, named Justinian, dreamed of reuniting East and West. And he did it. But how did he do it? British author and speaker, Adrian Hilton, explains it in his book, Principality and Power of Europe: “He [that is, Justinian,] saw himself as God’s agent, destroying barbarian heretics, winning back the lost provinces of the West, and healing the divisions inflicted on Rome by barbarian invaders in 476. He acknowledged the supremacy of the Pope in the West, and effectively restored both ‘legs’ of the Empire—East and West. This became known as the ‘Imperial Restoration’” (The Principality and Power of Europe, Adrian Hilton, p. 27).
Justinian very cleverly gained the loyalty of the bishops and the pope, in order to reconquer Rome. And with that alliance, a new sort of political reality began in Europe. The union of temporal kings and religious leaders. And that became the story of Europe for a thousand years, and more.
Remember that at the beginning of this program, we read that the woman of Revelation 17 sits on a beast that has seven heads. Those seven heads represent successive governments. Justinian was the first. The second was Charlemagne—crowned by the Pope, in the year 800AD. Others followed. Otto the Great was crowned in 962AD. Charles the V in 1530AD. The French ruler, Napoleon, was about to be crowned by the pope in 1804, when, as the story goes, he grabbed the crown himself and laid it on his own head. We also can identify the Axis alliance of Italy and Germany of the late 1800s and early 1900s as the sixth head.
So, what does that mean? There are seven heads, and only six have occurred already. That means there’s one more coming, a seventh head. One more coming resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire—the unification between a military dictator and a religious leader.
What about the 10 crowns on the scarlet beast? Where do they come in? Revelation 17 shows that during the time of the last revival, the final head, there will be 10 kings in league with the Beast. “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast” (Revelation 17:12–13).
We are in for some interesting times. Europe will rise again, as a world superpower. And crucial to her ascent will be the support of a religious entity that is centuries old. We need to be ready, so we’re not taken by surprise.
In this light, listen to what the Apostle Paul said, even in his time. Even back then, in the 1st century, he was greatly concerned that the little flock he’d been entrusted with could fall into licentiousness and the errors of the world! Notice in verse 1: “Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. 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!” (2 Corinthians 11:1–4).
Paul said, “Don’t ever let anyone influence you to compromise on the truth!” Even if they say nice things and profess to know Jesus. Do they uphold God’s word and keep God’s law? That’s what matters.
We want you to understand. We don’t want you to be misled and deceived and confused. God will allow these events to unfold, for His purpose. We all just need to make sure we’re not caught on the wrong side. Be sure to order your free copy of “Who or What is the Antichrist?” It’s a powerful booklet, and will open your eyes to this vital truth. You can order it online, by mail, or on the phone. Be sure to order yours right now…
Mother of Harlot Daughters
In this program so far, we’ve learned some pretty shocking things. That a church, which has outwardly carried the name of Christ, has not lived by the word of Christ at all. It’s been a church involved in politics at the highest level, and engaged in the deepest depths of spiritual harlotry. But there’s one more vital truth we have to uncover. And perhaps this is the most surprising truth of all. Let’s read again in Revelation 17 about this woman: “And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5).
That brings us to our final point on today’s program:
Number three: Beware the mother of harlot daughters
What does this mean? Simply put, this church is not only a woman, she is a mother. There are other churches—harlot daughters—that have sprung from her. They may not look exactly like the mother, but they have the same basic DNA. What exactly does that mean, and why is it important to us?
To answer that question, we really need to go to another part of Revelation, this time in chapter 13. It’s another passage that describes this woman, from a different perspective. Verse 11 speaks of a beast coming up out of the earth, with two horns like a lamb, but speaking like a dragon. Meaning, it has the name of Christ, but is talking like Satan the Devil. Then John describes a great miracle-working false prophet that even causes fire to come down from heaven to deceive men. That’s Revelation 13:12–14.
Can you imagine the fervor and excitement this would create? A man calling fire down from heaven? We’re talking about prophesied events that are going to happen in our lifetimes. God is going to allow our generation to be tested like we’ve never been tested before. To know if we really love God, and will really submit to Him, above all else. Or if we’ll be swayed by lying wonders and deceitful signs.
What will this false prophet do next? Notice carefully: “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16–17).
What is that mark? A lot of different ideas abound. But most likely it is referring to people swearing allegiance to doctrines that are in direct contradiction to God’s laws. By their hand and by their head—what they do and what they believe and profess. Most likely what we’re talking about is something that’s causing people to disobey the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath, and instead keeping Sunday as a worship day.
Which makes us stop and think. It’s not only the rich and powerful church in that great city of Rome that keeps Sunday as a day of worship. Others who don’t identify themselves as Catholic at all, keep Sunday as well. All over the world. But why? Sunday was never observed by Jesus Christ. We challenge you to find a place where He did. And aren’t we supposed to walk in His footsteps? Sunday was never observed by His apostles. Even the Apostle Paul, who supposedly did away with the law, never kept Sunday, or taught his brethren to keep Sunday as a day of worship. In fact, Acts 13:42–44 shows definitively that He taught even the Gentiles to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.
So, who changed the Sabbath? Do your own research. Find out for yourself. Read about the “little horn” of Daniel 7 that “shall intend to change times and law” (Daniel 7:25). Who is the mother church? Who are the daughters? Millions of professing Christians are essentially following counterfeit doctrines—like Sunday worship—without really knowing it. Most of them are good people, sincere people, doing the best they can. But your Bible shows that a mark is coming, which will test hundreds of millions of people on this earth.
And believe it or not, when we really understand it, God’s Bible shows that one of the marks of His people is none other than the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath. That’s found in Ezekiel 20, verses 12 and 20.
Again, we are in for some serious times just ahead of us. We need to be ready. The mother church will influence the beast to enforce this mark of disobedience against God. And she will have true saints of God persecuted. Back in Revelation 17:6, John says, “I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement” (Revelation 17:6).
In the coming days, we will need God’s protection, like never before, when this woman begins her last ride. We will need to know where we stand. Frankly, we need to take that stand now. To be wholly and firmly obedient to the God Who made the heavens and the earth, and who gives us every breath we take. And who teaches us how He wants and doesn’t want us to worship Him. He decides—not us. Not tradition. Not what our friends do. Not what we’ve always done.
We in this Work are dedicated to conveying this wonderful truth to you with all of our might. We want to get this booklet in your hands today that we’re offering. It’s entitled, Who or What is the Antichrist? It’s free, we’re not going to ask you for money. We just don’t do that at Tomorrow’s World. You can’t pay enough for this truth—and that’s why we’re giving it away. Call or write today, don’t forget!
The Harlot Church Will Be Destroyed
So what will happen to this harlot woman of Revelation 17? Well, we read the conclusion of the story at the end of the chapter. In verse 14, it reads: “[The ten kings] will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful. Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire” (Revelation 17:14–16).
This religious system will end. It will be destroyed, forever. And the resurrected saints will even have a part in bringing it to an end, forever. They will be with the returning Christ, to restore order and peace to this earth. And restore the true worship of God. For all humanity. What a fantastic future and a wonderful hope. What an opportunity to be with Him, a part of His Church, that virtuous woman, if we align our lives and thoughts and will with His. That’s our challenge. That’s our opportunity. Don’t let it slip through your fingers!
And once again, thank you for joining us on Tomorrow’s World. It’s our absolute privilege to bring God’s Truth to you out of His inspired word, each and every week. Be sure to come back next time. Gerald Weston, Richard Ames, Wallace Smith and I will continue to share with you the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, and make the prophecies of the Bible come alive. We’ll see you next time!