As with other subjects in the Bible, picking a single scripture and using it as a foundation for formulating a belief can be and usually is misleading and naïve at best. I’ve even had a reader of this blog charge me with such an accusation. However, in that particular case it wasn’t that I couldn’t support it with numerous other scriptures, it was that I was making a passing comment, connecting other thoughts together. It wasn’t the crux of my argument.
So before even getting into Babylon the Great (BtG), I thought it worthwhile to consider puzzle pieces throughout the Hebrew scriptures. Specifically: How does the use of figurative prostitution in the Hebrew scriptures help a Bible reader identify BtG in its real form? To answer that, I am going to examine three ways the disobedient Israelites (in one case divided into the southern and northern kingdoms) acted as a prostitute. Those three ways were literally, politically/militarily, and religiously.
LITERALLY: 1 Kings 14:24. This passage mentions male prostitutes being employed in the land of Judah. Female prostitutes were also there. What made this even more disgusting was that they were part of temple worship. Sex perversion was done under the guise of worship.
POLITICALLY: Exodus 23:31-33; Deuteronomy 7:3; Ezra 9:1,2. The foregoing three scriptures demonstrate the prohibition against intermarriage and, In Ezra, how miserably the nation failed to obey. In case you have any doubt that God considered this as adulterous prostitution, consider the symbols God used in portraying the northern and southern kingdoms to two prostitutes named Oholah and Oholibah. (Although these instances mention specifically intermarriage as the issue, back in those times, and even today, marriage between nations is seen as a means of forging political alliances, thus protecting each other’s sovereignties.)
RELIGIOUSLY: 1 Chron.5:25; Deut.7:4; Ezekiel 16:26,28. Besides seeking political and military assistance from foreign nations, the nation of Israel also took up the worship of foreign gods. Sadly, even wise King Solomon sinned very greatly in this regard.
With the above as a consistently demonstrable backdrop, we learn that God’s people can act in ways that God considers to be more than mere unfaithfulness. How about Christianity? On point here, is probably James 4:4. However, so that I’m not charged with finding a needle of thought in a haystack of scripture, look at all these references. (See also this subheading, “How could one become guilty of spiritual adultery?”)
Now, finally, we get into the book of Revelation. (Some I meet still wrongly call this the book of Revelations. It is one revelation containing many visions.) In Jesus’ opening remarks to various congregations, he cited two instances of spiritual adultery. For the most part, the congregations were keeping themselves clean, but there were individuals that were corrupting clean and pure worship.
Babylon The Great
Drunken sexual trysts with the Beast. Sits on many waters and has a kingdom that is worldwide, even over “all the kings of the earth.” Obscene wealth. Seen drinking the blood of “holy ones” and those who witnessed about Jesus.
A wiki article I read indicated that both the Mormons (LDS) and the Seventh Day Adventists identify the Catholic Church as BtG. Although extremely reprehensible, the Catholic Church is a mere component of a much larger religious entity. In short, just as the wiki article mentioned, Jehovah’s Witnesses consider BtG to be “the world empire of false religion.” Let me explain.
Rev.17:10 is pivotal to our understanding. It mentions the succession of kings. These were not concurrent rulerships. They were successive. It is our understanding that these kings date back way before Christ was on earth and hence way before the Catholic Church or any claimed Christian organization. (See these three references: Reference 1, Reference 2, Reference 3)
Indeed, down through time, not only false Christianity, not only wayward Israel, but all forms of pagan worship have persecuted those who wanted to remain loyal to God. However, seeing as BtG is seen as specifically drinking the “blood of the witnesses of Jesus,” indeed the Jews that persecuted converts to Christianity in the first century, along with (since the middle ages) the aggressively cruel treatment of anyone standing up to the Catholic Church’s compromised pagan influences, and indeed in our modern times “mainstream religion” persecuting Jehovah’s Witnesses, clearly identifies false Christianity as holding a prominent place in fulfilling the prophecy of Babylon the Great. This doesn’t reduce the guilt that other non-Christian belief systems hold. Truly, as scripture proves, we are all descendants from one man. And even after the flood, the survivors of Noah and his three sons were united in serving the one true God. Their ancestors unfortunately did not hold to that.
CONCLUSION:Jesus is quoted as saying: “That is why I speak to them by the use of illustrations; for looking, they look in vain, and hearing, they hear in vain, nor do they get the sense of it.” (Matthew 13:13) I have personally noticed the use of illustrations throughout the Bible, so just as Jesus mentioned, he imitates his Father in this regard too. Why didn’t God just come out and say “this means that”? Again, just as Jesus said, these “truths” are something reserved for those who truly demonstrate appreciation for what God has to say. Those not respecting even the rules and principles shown in scripture, are not going to show any interest in the finer things God’s Word has to offer.