The World's Final Religion

Revelation 17

This passage is without doubt one of the most controversial in the book of Revelation. Many writers identify the harlot with the Roman Church. This of course does not go to well with many today. Almost all the old non-Catholic commentators take that view. I think that we can come to a compromise on the issue but probably not one that will please everyone happy.

Chapters 17 and 18 cover the description of the final destruction of Babylon in both its ecclesiastical and political forms. We need to understand that chapter 17 is not speaking of the same organization as chapter 18. Most people identify 17 with the religious system that will be in existence during the tribulation. Chapter 18, on the other hand deals not with a religious system but a political and economic system.

To help us understand a little more about Babylon, I give you some information from Revelation by M.R. DeHaan pages 217-220; Zondervan Publishing, 1966

 

THE FIRST BABYLON

"To understand these passages relating the final doom of Babylon, we must turn again to the first mention of Babel in the Scriptures. In Genesis 10 and 11 we have a detailed record of the rise of that political religious system known to Bible students as Babylon. We are told that after the Flood the descendants of Noah, forgetting the lesson they should have learned, turned from God and moved to a region to the north of Palestine in the vicinity of the original Garden of Eden. It was called the land of Shinar and was in the region of the Euphrates River, one of the three principal rivers of the Garden of Eden.

"A certain man, Nimrod by name, seems to have been the leader of this great movement, and supported by a great company of followers, he began the building of a city which was to become one of the seven great wonders of the world. In this land of Shinar he built a city and called it Babel. In the midst of the city was a gigantic temple dedicated to Belus, later called Baal. At the same time he also built a tower, usually referred to as the Tower of Babel. From archaeological discoveries and secular history as well as the Bible record we learn something of the magnificence, the ideals and the purposes of this mighty project which was to become symbolic of Satan's program throughout the ages as opposed to the program of the Lord and His Church.

 

THE MAGNIFICENCE OF BABYLON

"Many available records tell us of the splendor of ancient Babylon. The city itself was fourteen miles square, embracing almost two hundred square miles. It was surrounded by a wide moat filled with water as protection against invasion. The wall around the city was eighty feet thick and two hundred feet high. The city had a hundred gates of iron and brass, and the River Euphrates ran through it. In the center of the city was the famous temple of Belus, the Babylonian god.

 

THE TOWER OF BABEL

"As the city represented the political national strength and ideals of Babylon, so also there was a tower which was the symbol and center of Babylon's religions program and worship. This tower rested upon a base of stone 300 feet square and 110 feet high. Upon this was built the second stage which was 260 feet square and 60 feet high. The third was slightly smaller and each decreased in size. The sixth stage was 110 feet square and 20 feet high, and on the top of this sixth platform, 300 feet in the air, was the sanctuary in which was the statue of the Babylonian god. The building of this tower was interrupted by the confusion of tongues but was resumed later under Nebuchadnezzar.

 

RULED BY TWO DESPOTS

"This first great city of Babel and kingdom of Babylon was ruled by two persons, a man and a woman. The man ruled politically and was the head of the Babylonian State; the woman ruled religiously and was the head of the pagan system of religion and idolatry. The city and the tower, politics and religion, merged into one great gigantic system of world-unity. Federation was the dream of the first Babylonians and has been the aim and the program since.

 

THE SPIRIT OF BABYLON

"Babylonianism, then, represents everything which is opposed to God both politically and religiously. God's program calls for a kingdom to be established upon the earth under the personal rule of the Christ. Satan proposes a kingdom of men in the earth under the rulership of the Antichrist of whom Nimrod, the builder of Babel, was the first clear type in the Scriptures. When we study Revelation which relates the last days of man's rule upon the earth, we see the scarlet beast mentioned in Revelation 18, and the mysterious woman who rides the beast as representing religious Babylon, dominating and dictating to political Babylon.

 

THE AIM OF BABYLON

"The program of Nimrod is clearly described in Genesis 10 and 11. We are told that the beginning of his kingdom was Babel. Then we are told that all the world was of one speech. Men sought a federation of power that would make them secure in the earth for they said:

'Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth'. (Gen. 11:4).

"Here is the picture. Satan, in seeking to oppose the plan of God for a Kingdom and a Church, attempted to establish a kingdom and a church of his own. Nimrod was the first who attempted such a program on a grand scale. The name Nimrod means "rebel." He sought a world-federation of religions centered at the Tower of Babel. He sought to establish a world in which one language was spoken, and he called the center of this Babylonian Empire, "Babel." The word "Babel" means literally "the gate to God," That is what man called it. It was a denial of God's way to heaven. The Lord had clearly revealed His way in Genesis 3:21 when He slew an animal, shed its blood and used the skins to clothe the first sinners.

"God thus indicated the way of salvation. Man must be saved through the shedding of the blood of an innocent substitute and by the death of another, but the Babylonians denied this and added their own works and built a tower that was to be a way to heaven and God, not by blood and death, but by the work of man's hands. That was the spirit of Babylon. It was a denial of God's way of grace. The dream of man, separated from God, is a man-made way of salvation by works, a universal federation of nations under one dictatorial leader, a universal church which denies the blood, a universal language dominated by a superstate, which will formulate the policies of both government and religion." (1)

But we need to understand that the events of chapter 17 precede by a considerable time the events of the seven bowl judgements. John Walvoord claims the events of Revelation 17 will occur at the beginning of the tribulation period. The interpretation that we find later in the chapter will most probably take place around the middle of the tribulation period.

What John sees is the place of this religious system in the last times and its destruction. We find out something about its character and attributes but not a great deal.

God uses the term harlot for this false religious system because that is what is used for all systems that make a claim of worshipping the true God while prostituting themselves to others. Walvoord says, "The concept of spiritual adultery is frequently used in describing the apostasy of Israel (cf. Ezek. 16 and 23; all of Hosea). Characteristically, the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the husband of Israel (cf. Isa. 54:1-8; Jer. 3:14; 31:32). In the New Testament the church is viewed as a virgin destined to be joined to her husband in the future (2 Cor. 11:2), but she is warned against spiritual adultery (James 4:4)."(2) Therefore when this apostate church of the last age has more in common with the world than with Jesus Christ and is more concerned with the kingdoms of this world than the kingdom of God and is more concerned with political power than the power of the Holy Spirit, it will be a harlot and not a fit wife for a God who demands chastity.

False religion is the most difficult thing to overcome. It is like getting the flu shot. It gives you just enough of the flu virus so that you are immune to the real thing. We as Baptists stand for religious freedom of everyone. We should never attempt to force by power, our beliefs on others. But we too must realize that that tolerance of others is not a indication of their truthfulness. There is but one standard by which all creeds are to be examined and that is the Word of God. So we then proclaim that Word and make no apologies to those who see it different than ourselves.

 

THE VISION OF THE WOMAN ON THE BEAST 17:1-4

[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, {2} "with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." {3} So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. {4} 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.

 

I think that it is interesting that the three women we find in these chapters all identify a religious system. The woman of Rev. 12 is Israel, the true Jewish people of God. Rev. 17 has to do with the false religion of the tribulation times. And Rev. 19 talks about that bride of Christ who in purity and chasteness is married to the Lamb. It is also interesting that the only form of a world church recognized in the Bible is that of the apostate church of the end times. I believe that Christians should all get along, but we will never be able to get together without the surrender of our individual conscience. When the true Christians are taken out of this world, then and only then will the denominations unite. They will be totally composed of lost people who have never given their lives over to Jesus Christ. Satan will work in their unbelieving minds to form together and worship him.

The scarlet beast is the same one described in Rev 13:1. There we said the beast was the kingdom of the revived Roman Empire of the last days. We need to also see that the events of this chapter precede those of chapter 13, for there we find that the beast is himself worshipped and will not share that worship with anyone else. Since the beast will be worshipped during the last of the tribulation period, the events of 17 take place during the first half of the tribulation period, after the rapture of true Christianity from the world.

We notice that this beast with its seven heads and ten horns is the same as in chapter 13. In 13 we are not told much more about the heads or horns except that one of the heads is wounded and then healed. Later in this chapter we will find out more about the heads and horns. That does not mean that we understand everything we know but we can know some things. Walvoord says, "The seven heads apparently referring to forms of government which are successive, and the ten horns to kings who reign simultaneously in the end time." (3)

We notice also the great wealth that is spoken of in these verses. On this Walvoord again says, "The description of the woman as arrayed in purple and scarlet and decked with gold, precious stones, and pearls is all too familiar to one acquainted with the trappings of ecclesiastical pomp today and especially of high officials in the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches." (4) But these are not the only ones interested in the wealth of this world. Many of the newer churches are into satellite broadcasts, TV studios, theme parks, several homes for their leaders, and a host of other things. But we need to remember the older organizations as well. Many of them own vast holdings in corporations, investment brokers, land and other things. Many have enough money that if no one in their denomination contributed a dime they could continue for some time. We must be separate from the world although we cannot be isolated from the world. The church must be in the world but we need to do the best we can to keep the world out of the church. Therefore as we come to this chapter we see a church which is more concerned with substance than souls, with treasures more than truth. They like Balaam are prophets for hire and for the right price they will say what the buyer wants to hear.

 

THE NAME OF THE WOMAN 17:5

{5} And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

This name, Mystery Babylon The Great does not refer to the ancient city of Babylon. or to Babylon as a nation but to what Babylon represented religiously. Walvoord says, "From these various passages, it becomes clear that Babylon in Scripture is the name for the great system of religious error. Babylon is actually a counterfeit or pseudo religion which plagued Israel in the Old Testament as well as the church in the New Testament, and which, subsequent to apostolic days, has had a tremendous influence in moving the church from biblical simplicity to apostate confusion." (5)

To find the beginnings of this religion of error we must go back to Genesis 10 and 11. It is here that we find Nimrod and the building of the tower of Babel, which was monument to human pride and an express act of rebellion against the true God. In order to bring out the significance of this I want to give an extended quote from Walvoord with the understanding that he is not stepping out on a limb with these statements but rather that they are supported by many excellent authors. He says, "Of primary importance in the study of Babylon is its relation to religion as unfolded in Revelation 17. In addition to materials given in the Bible itself, ancient accounts indicate that the wife of Nimrod, who founded the city of Babylon became the head of the so-called Babylonian mysteries which consisted of secret religious rites which were developed as a part of the worship of idols in Babylon. She was known by the name Semiramis and was a high priestess of the idol worship. According to extrabiblical records which have been preserved, Semiramis gave birth to a son who she claimed was conceived miraculously. This son, given the name of Tammuz, was considered a savior of his people and was in effect, a false messiah, purported to be the fulfillment of the promise given to Eve. The legend of the mother and child was incorporated into the religious rites and is repeated in various pagan religions. Idols picturing the mother as the queen of heaven with the babe in her arms are found throughout the ancient world. and countless religious rites were introduced supposedly promising cleansing from sin. Though the rites which were observed in the Babylonian false religion differed greatly in various localities, there usually was a priestly order which furthered the worship of the mother child, practiced the sprinkling of holy water, and established an order of virgins dedicated to religious prostitution. Tammuz, the son, was said to have been killed by a wild beast and afterward brought back to life, obviously a satanic anticipation of the resurrection of Christ." (6)

"In Scriptures themselves, though many of these facts are not mentioned, there are a number of allusions to the conflict of the true faith with this pseudo religion. Ezekiel protests against the ceremony of weeping for Tammuz in Ezekiel 8:14. Jeremiah mentions the heathen practices of making cakes for the queen of heaven (Jer. 7:18) and offering incense to the queen of heaven (Jer. 44:17-19, 25). The worship of Baal, characteristic of pagan religion in Canaan, was another form of this same mystery religion originating in Babylon. Baal is considered identical to Tammuz. The doctrines of the mystery religions of Babylon seem to have permeated the ancient world, giving rise to the countless mystery religions, each with its cult and individual reliefs offering a counterfeit religion and a counterfeit god in opposition to the true God revealed in the Scriptures. Babylon as a evil woman is portrayed in the prophecy of Zechariah 5:1-11 where the woman of verse 7 is described as personifying wickedness in verse 8." (7)

"The Babylonian cult eventually made its way to other cities including Pergamos, the site of one of the seven churches of Asia. The chief priests of the Babylonian cult wore crowns in the form of the head of a fish, in recognition of Dagon, the fish god, with the title 'Keeper of the Bridge,' that is the 'bridge' between man and Satan, imprinted on the crowns. The Roman equivalent of the title, Pontifex Maximus, was used by the Casars and later Roman emperors, and was also adopted as the title for the bishop of Rome. In the early centuries of the church in Rome, incredible confusion arose; and attempts were made to combine some of the features of the mystery religion of Babylon with the Christian faith, a confusion which has continued down to the present day. In this chapter in Revelation, the last stage of counterfeit religion is revealed as it will be in existence in the period before the return of the Lord to the earth." (8)

"It is a sad commentary on contemporary Christendom that it shows an overweening desire to return to Rome in spite of Rome's evident apostasy from true biblical Christianity. In fact, modern liberalism has far outdone Rome in its departure from the theology of the early church, thus has little to lose by a return to Romanism. Apostasy, which is seen in its latent form today, will flower in its ultimate form in this future superchurch which will apparently engulf all Christendom in the period after the rapture of the church." (9) Please excuse such a long quote but I think it is worth quoting.

I think we need to be careful about putting all the emphasis on the Roman Church. "Even though the Roman Church may be the basis for the ecclesiastical Babylon, however, there are certainly Protestant churches, Moslem temples, Jewish synagogues and other forms of religions involved here. This false system of worship described as the great harlot will include many groups as well as the mother church. This is the ecumenical movement at its height. Here we see one world church, based in Rome (religious Babylon) and practicing a system of worship which began back in ancient Babylon. The one-world church movement is part of the program of Antichrist. Ecclesiastical Babylon symbolizes apostate religion, religion without the power or presence of the Holy Spirit. This composite, apostate church will make political alliances with the nations in order to gain power. The fact that she rules over peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues is proof positive that this will indeed be a politically minded ecumenical church. But what will be the future of this ecclesiastical Babylon?" (10)

 

THE WOMAN DRUNKEN WITH THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 17:6-7

{6} 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. {7} But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.

Persecution has been something that God's people have had to endure from the day Cain slew Abel his brother even till the end of time. Millions upon millions have been tortured and put to death simply because they would not relinquish their faith in God. This is such a terrible sight that John is astonished by the sight of it all.

Just recently the Catholic Church has officially admitted the persecution of those who did not agree with them. Some historians tell us that during the dark ages, over fifty million Anabaptist were put to death because they refused to practice infant baptism. Even the reformers put their hands to the flames as they continued the pattern of the past by persecuting those who did not accept their interpretation of the Scriptures. But we must not forget that during the times of Mohamad expansionism that all of northern Africa was cleared of Christians by torture or sword. There is no greater persecution of the followers of the Lamb than by those who ride the beast of political power and use the sword to convert others.

 

THE ORIGIN OF THE BEAST 17:8

{8} "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

It is at this point that the angel begins to explain to John what he is seeing and to explain the different aspects of the vision.

He tells John that the beast comes from the bottomless pit. This simply signifies that he is a product of Satan and controlled by him. Some connect the idea of 'was and is not and will' as meaning the resurrection of a previous world leader. Walvoord on the other hand takes this to mean the resurrection of a government system, imperialism. What ever is meant we can conclude that it is something that once was and will be again.

 

THE SEVEN HEADS OF THE BEAST 17:9-11

{9} "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. {10} "There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. {11} "And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.

We first notice that wisdom is needed to understand what is said. That would indicate that it is something that is not readily apparent, that there is some difficulty in understanding the meaning. By the seven mountains, many expositors think that Rome is referred to. This goes well with those who identify the harlot exclusively with the Roman Church. Without doubt Rome sits on seven hills (not really mountains, although even the Catholic Bible refers this passage to be Rome). But if we look back at chapter 13 we notice that one of the heads is wounded with a deadly wound. I have not found how this can be understood of a hill or mountain. I would rather agree that these mountains are kingdoms. This would match with the seven kings of verse 10. Walvoord quotes quite extensively from Seiss in support of this idea. The position stated briefly is that the mountains are kingdoms (as is used in Psa. 30:7; Jer. 51:25 and Dan. 2:35 where the kingdom of Christ is referred to as a mountain). These kingdoms are represented by their principle kings, there also being seven. These kingdoms would then be Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Revised-Rome, with the eighth being the rule of the Anti-christ himself.

 

THE TEN HORNS OF THE BEAST 17:12-14

{12} "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. {13} "These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. {14} "These 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."

 

These ten horns coincide with the ten toes of Daniel 2 and the ten horns of the beast of Daniel 7. In each case they represent kings and kingdoms. We find that this is the revived Roman Empire. This will be controlled at the beginning by the harlot who helps bring it to power. Once these nations have used the harlot they will destroy her. Later the Anti-christ will subdue these kings and will reign supreme over all ten nations. Therefore these are not successive kings but simultaneous.

It also appears that the reason why the Harlot is destroyed by Anti-christ is that he wishes to be worshipped himself. Paul tells us that, "the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. II Th 2:3-4 (NKJ)

This is one of the reasons he persecutes God's people, the Jews and Christians during this time. He is opposed to God and all that are His.

 

EXPLANATION OF THE WATERS 17:15

{15} Then he said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.

Walvoord comments, "The situation described here is one of great political power on the part of the beast but a sharing of rule with the woman who controls the multitudes of the world."

 

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WOMAN 17:16-18

{16} "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. {17} "For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. {18} "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth."

What we find here is one religion being replace by another. These ten kings will no longer have a use for this religious system that brought them to power. So they will destroy her. As matter of fact we find that in doing so they are fulfilling God's plan and purpose. From chapter 13 we found that the beast will require all to worship him and him alone. Thus the conflict between him and the even apostate church will be too great to bear.


The World's Final Religion

Revelation 17

1Then 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, 2with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication."

3So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4The 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. 5And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

6I 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.

7But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

9"Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. 11The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.

12"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. 13These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14These 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."

15Then he said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16And 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. 17For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth."

 

We have come to a very sobering part of the book. We have spent much time laying the ground work for this passage. It is hard for us to imagine a organization as evil and wicked as the one displayed in this chapter.

Yet it is more difficult for us to understand how this can be the offspring of the world's religions and even the offspring of Christianity.

What we have before us in none other that the final ecumenical world religion. Finally the world planners will be able to do what they have so longed for. Most if not all of the major world religions combining together in one great and grand church.

Now everyone needs to understand that I believe that Christians ought to be able to get along together and to work together to accomplish common goals. But I do not think that there will be such a consolidating as we see in this chapter before the rapture of the true believers.

I prefer to see the church more in its fundamental parts, local churches rather than a large conglomerate. In the New Testament, it is churches, not the church that spread the gospel and sent out missionaries. It was churches, not the denomination that ordained preachers and evangelized the world. I think denominations are alright as long as they never out grow their usefulness, as servant to the churches. Besides, Baptist are notoriously independent. And I do not apologize for that.

In this chapter we find that the final end of world religion will be an abomination in the sight of God. We see in this chapter God's mighty judgment upon the church that is called a harlot, a prostitute, the mother of prostitutes.

In the New Testament the church is likened to a chaste virgin who has kept herself unpotted from the world. One who has been consistently faithful to Jesus Christ. One to whom it is granted to be arrayed in fine linen which is the righteous deeds of the saints. What a contrast from church who will ultimately be the bride of Jesus Christ and with the final ecumenical world religion with all her filthiness and haughtiness. Such a contrast is not simply metaphorical but is essentially, spiritually true.

When the church becomes so much like the world that there is no longer an real identifiable difference, then the church is no longer the Church of Jesus Christ but is become the synagogue of Satan.

But how does this Babylon the Great come into existence?

What is her real nature?

What is her goal and purpose?

What is her destiny?

Let us consider these questions today.

  1. The Origin of the Harlot
    1. She does not exist today.
      1. There have been many attempts to associate the Roman Catholic Church with the woman in Rev. 17
      2. Many of the commentators form generations ago did just that.
      3. We will later see from her nature why the Catholic Church has been associated with her in the past.
    2. She will develop quickly after the rapture of the true Christians.
      1. As we saw in Jude, false elements have been among true believers since the days of the apostles.
      2. Even today in every denomination of Christians, there are those who are not true believers.
      3. These will be left behind when the rapture occurs.
      4. Some will later be converted but for the most part they will continue to function in their respective churches.
    3. Their union will be a combination of necessity and lack of conviction.
      1. Since those who left will be the least faithful it will necessitate the combining of churches into one church on a local level.
      2. There will be no convictions of what is right or wrong, so there will be no reason for them to stay separated.
      3. Since they will be lost, the requirements for membership will be dropped so that anyone can become a part, without the New Birth.
      4. Conviction of sin will be a thing long ago forgotten.
      5. Personal relationships with Jesus or God will not be spoken of.
      6. The Bible will fall into disuse so as to become a rarity even in the church meetings.
    4. On a national and world wide level things will be in full swing to unite all religions into one.
      1. Even today, among the ecumenical Christian groups there is a desire to break down the barrier between Jews and Christians.
      2. There is a desire to bring the Moslems into the Christian church without conversion or acceptance of Jesus as Savior and Lord.
      3. We read about the Baptist church in Chicago that opens the communion table to unconverted Jews and Moslems alike.
      4. For them the kingdom of God is big and inclusive, not rejecting anyone simply because they do not believe the Bible or because they reject Jesus Christ as Lord.
      5. The time will be a heyday for those who know nothing of the power of God but only have a semblance of religion.
    5. She, the ecumenical church, the harlot, will grow unbelievably fast and large.
      1. The Holy Spirt will no longer be here to hinder Satan's advance.
      2. There will be no Christian's to hold back the overwhelming flood of wickedness.
      3. No more Christian radio stations.
      4. No more Christian magazines.
      5. No more Christian influence, in a Christless society.
  2. The Nature of the Harlot
    1. She is a harlot (spiritually)
      1. She is by claim and name supposed to be dedicated to God, but she has prostituted herself to the world.
      2. In the OT it was Israel who was accused of playing the harlot.
      3. She had gone away from worshiping the true God and was in fact worshiping demons and Satan.
      4. This harlot is brazen in her harlotry as is seen with her disgusting name displayed on her forehead so all will know what she is.
      5. She is shameless in her abominations.
    2. She is a political power to be reckoned with.
      1. Jesus made it very plain that His kingdom was not of this world.
      2. Whenever the church, by whatever name, has seized the reign of government and taken to establish power by corporal force, she has gotten out of the will of God.
      3. The power of this ecumenical church is seen in that she has influenced the kings of the earth to join in her spiritual fornication.
      4. She has such political power that no one will come to power without her blessing.
      5. She will attempt to control all the world by her power and will gladly shed the blood of those who would oppose her.
      6. The extent of her power is seen in her final days as she sits astride the beast which represents the most powerful world dominion mankind has ever known.
      7. That she rides the beast represents control and domination.
    3. She is a ruthless persecutor of true believers.
      1. She is seen as drunk with the blood of the saints.
      2. There is no persecution like religious persecution.
        1. During the dark ages the Roman church martyred millions of Christians who would not accept her authority.
        2. The Moslems literally wiped out an entire Christian generation across northern Africa in the middle ages.
        3. Both of these above groups continue to persecute true believers.
        4. Moslems are murdering Christians in over a dozen countries of the world today, simply because they are Christians.
        5. The Baptists were even persecuted by the various Protestant churches of the reformation period.
      3. Persecution is something that Jesus promised we would have.
        1. Jesus said that if the world hated Him, it would hate us also.
        2. If they nailed our Lord to a tree what would they do with us.
        3. And during the tribulation period millions upon millions will give their lives for Jesus and seal their testimony with their own blood.
    4. We notice also that she is rich.
      1. She is decked with gold and precious gems.
      2. She has come a long way from when Peter had to say to the cripple out side of the temple, "Silver and gold have I none."
      3. Remember the church of Laodicea.
      4. She was rich and increased with goods and had need of nothing.
      5. A golden cup in her hand but it is full of abominations, those things that God abhors.
  3. The Demise of the Harlot
    1. The anti-christ will use the woman to obtain his end.
      1. Like politicians today, he will court the woman and string her along until he is in a position of power.
      2. He will then dispose of her.
      3. The beast and his fellow world leaders will, devour her and all her wealth.
      4. The things she delighted in will be her downfall.
    2. She out grew her need for God.
    3. She rebelled against all that she knew of God and His ways.
    4. She would enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
    5. She never realized that Jesus said, those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
    6. God will repay her for her rebellion.
    7. God will repay her for the blood of millions of martyrs.
    8. She lived extravagantly.
    9. She counted on God's mercy but not His holiness.

God will not allow spiritual adultery to go by. God is a jealous God.

When the rapture takes place, where will you be. Will you be a part of God's people taken to be with Him, or will you be still here. Maybe someone will be left who has a key, but there will be few here.

What about you, will you be left behind.

1. Revelation; M.R. DeHaan; Zondervan Publishing, 1966; pages 217-220;

2. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord ; Moody Press; 1966, page 244

3. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord ; Moody Press; 1966, page 245

4. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord ; Moody Press; 1966, page 245

5. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord ; Moody Press; 1966, page 246

6. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord ; Moody Press; 1966, page 247

7. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord ; Moody Press; 1966, pages 247-248

8. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord ; Moody Press; 1966, page 248

9. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord ; Moody Press; 1966, page 248

10. Liberty Commentary on the New Testament; Liberty Press 1978; pages 784-785

 

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com