Harlot Babylon: A Coming One-World Religion (Rev. 17-18)

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS PROPHECY

Rev. 17-18 is one of the most significant End-Time prophecies because it gives us insight into Satan’s strategy to deceive the nations while causing many Christians to fall away from the faith. Those who are deceived by the Harlot will end up in the Lake of Fire and some saints who resist the Harlot will be killed (Rev. 17:6). This prophecy deserves much careful study and dialogue.

The main message of Rev. 17 is easy to understand. The main themes are the seductive power, and cruel persecution along with the inevitable destruction of this Harlot system. The Harlot is the counterfeit of the Bride that the Holy Spirit is raising up.

Rev. 17 is the most symbolic passage in Revelation with many intricate details. These intricacies make it the most difficult chapter in Revelation to understand. Since the angel gave John the meaning of the symbols, we have a solid foundation for understanding this passage. Why is this most important prophecy veiled in such cryptic language? One reason I think it is veiled is because it causes us to pour over every line and discuss it often to understand its every nuance.

Rev. 17:1-6, gives us details about the emergence of the Harlot Babylon as a one-world religion, describing her evil seductions and cruel persecutions. She will be a counterfeit justice movement that unifies multitudes from the largest religions on earth. The rest of Rev. 17-18 describes her relationship with the Antichrist and how she is finally destroyed.

The five chronological sections in the Book of Revelation tell us the main storyline of judgment events that are released on the earth by the Praying Church in the order they occur. After each of the chronological sections, an angel explains to John why the events just described are necessary. These explanations function as a parenthesis that puts the story line on “pause” as they answer questions such as Why is God’s wrath is so severe? and What will happen to the saints?

In the angelic explanation in Rev. 17-18, we are told why the bowls of wrath are necessary and we are assured of the defeat of Babylon. The angel explains why billions of people will be killed in the bowl judgments and why the infrastructure of the nations will be dashed into pieces by Jesus. It is because the seduction of Babylon’s religion of evil will permeate so many of these structures.

8 I will give You (Jesus) the nations for Your inheritance…9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel. (Ps. 2:8-9)

26 The nations…27 shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels (Rev. 2:26-27)

The 7th Trumpet focus is on replacing evil leaders and the bowls focus on replacing the social infrastructures (tax codes, education or business policies, etc.).

OVERVIEW OF REV. 17:1-19:10

The Harlot Babylon: will be established in the rebuilt city of Babylon in Iraq (50 miles south of Baghdad). Babylon will be restored and used as one of the headquarters for the Antichrist.

It will function as the center of worldwide demonic religious and economic networks (Rev. 17-18; Isa. 13-14; 21; Jer. 50-51).

Just as Jerusalem suddenly came out of the ashes and was rebuilt, so Babylon (in Iraq) will be suddenly rebuilt. The judgments prophesied in Jer. 50-51 that suddenly destroy Babylon forever have not yet happened.

Rev. 17:1-19:10 is the longest prophecy in the NT (42 verses). The longest prophecy in the OT is Jer. 50-51 (110 verses) and it also focuses on Babylon in the End-Times as does Isa. 13-14 (54 verses). This prophecy is so long because God wants us to understand its significance and danger. The second longest prophecy in the NT is focused on the New Jerusalem (33 verses in Rev. 21:1-22:5) which pictures the Bride of Christ in her glory. The Harlot is the counterfeit of the Bride of Christ.

God’s wrath on Babylon will come in two stages. Rev. 17-18 describes the two falls of Babylon.

Focus of Rev. 17: the first phase of the fall of Babylon (Rev. 17) relates to a worldwide religious system of toleration and syncretism. This occurs in the beginning of the Great Tribulation at the hands of the ten kings (Rev. 17:16) who burn the Harlot to replace it with Antichrist worship.

Focus of Rev. 18: the second phase of her fall will be at the end of the Great Tribulation. It focuses on the collapse of the Antichrist’s global economic system at God’s hands (Rev. 18:8).

Focus of Rev. 19:1-10: the Marriage supper of the Lamb and the rewards for each believer will occur in context to the Second Coming and the Rapture (Rev. 19:7-10).

THERE ARE TWO STAGES IN SATAN’S END-TIME PLAN

There are two stages in Satan’s End-Time plan to be worshipped by all nations and to rule them.

4 They worshiped the Dragon (Satan)…and the Beast, saying, “Who is like the Beast? Who is able to make war with him?”…8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him… (Rev. 13:4-8)

Satan knows that it is too big of a step for a compromising Christian, Muslim or Hindu, etc. to suddenly become a devoted Satan worshipper. Therefore, he will first call all to join a one-world religion of tolerance that will declare that all paths lead to God and salvation. As multitudes are seduced into joining this Harlot Babylon religion it will weaken their conscience concerning their religious heritage. Next, Satan will demand that they all become Satan worshippers.

The emergence of this false worship movement will lead to a falling away in the Church. The two signs that Paul gave to indicate the time of Jesus’ Coming are a falling away from the faith combined with the revealing of the Antichrist on the world stage to establish peace (1 Thes. 5:3).

3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (Jesus’ Second Coming) will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin (Antichrist) is revealed… (2 Thes. 2:3)

The nations will rejoice in the unity it brings and that it will help to establish world peace.

3 When they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them. (1 Thes. 5:3)

People will defile their consciences and break relationships related to their religious heritage by renouncing their former beliefs in absolutes and the people who hold to those absolutes. Once people leave their religious ideals, whether Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc., there will be no absolute truth to keep them from worshipping Satan as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

The Harlot religion will prepare the nations to receive the Antichrist. It will be a religion of affirmation and toleration without absolutes. It will be a counterfeit justice movement that will feed the poor and be deeply involved in humanitarian projects. He will inspire acts of compassion but for all the wrong reasons. The goal will be the dignity and happiness of man.
Humanism is man seeking to make God in man’s image.

The voluntary Harlot Babylon religion will be replaced by a mandatory Antichrist religion. First, people will voluntarily join the Harlot Babylon one-world religion of tolerance (Rev. 17). Second, all will be forced to be Satan worshippers in the Antichrist religion (Rev. 13:4, 8, 15).

Many believers will fall away in the seductions and deceptions of the Harlot’s religion. There will be a falling away from the faith at the end of the age (Mt. 24:9-13; 2 Thes. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1-2;

2 Tim. 3:1-7; 4:3-5; 2 Pet. 2:1-3). A doctrine of a demon is a teaching inspired by demons.

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry… (1 Tim. 4:1-3)

Sound doctrine teaches obedience to Jesus and His plans. It requires endurance. To turn the ear away means that the people will no longer hear what God intended in various Bible passages. They will heap up teachers or zealously follow many teachers who support their desires.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables… (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

Love of the truth is more than adherence to it. This love takes a firm stand for truth regardless of the cost. Loving truth requires that we commit to accept any new ideas as long as they are substantiated in the Scripture regardless of how different they are from our religious background.

9 The coming of the lawless one (Antichrist) is…with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and unrighteous deception…because they did not receive the love of the truth (2 Thes. 2:9-10)

THE GREAT HARLOT: HER SEDUCTIONS AND PERSECUTION

1 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 I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet Beast (Antichrist)… 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. 5 On her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, the mother of Harlots and of the abominations of the earth. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints…15 He said to me, “The waters…where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. (Rev. 17:1-6, 15)

Before the angel shows John the wealth and counterfeit beauty of the Harlot religion, he shows him her inevitable judgment and sure defeat (v. 1). This system will fail and be utterly destroyed.

The Harlot will sit on many nations (v. 1) or will have authority over the nations by seducing and controlling the world’s most powerful leaders (kings and merchants) through global networks. It is a religious network (Rev. 17) and an economic network based in Babylon (Rev. 18).

The Harlot’s system will cause the nations to be drunk with her seductions that offer great benefits, including humanitarian aid, a unified religion (that minimizes wars) and a prosperous world economy. The nations will rejoice and get drunk or intoxicated with her promises of goodness, prosperity and compassion and theology of tolerance based in deception.

2 The inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. (Rev. 17:2)

The Harlot religion will have great prominence. It will be arrayed in purple (royal status) and will be respected by the elite financial leaders of the earth who will give their allegiance to her.

4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet (royalty), and adorned with gold…having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. (Rev. 17:4)

The Harlot will be adorned with gold. It will be the wealthiest religious network in all history. The Harlot will have a golden cup in which she “serves” the nations. It will appear golden (valuable and good). She will offer the nations unprecedented humanitarian service in helping the poor. As the Harlot emerges with religious unity, war will disappear and for first time in
modern history there will be world peace (1 Thes. 5:3).

She will have an evil cup of abomination and filth. Abomination refers to being filled with demonic activity. In the OT, abominations refer to idolatrous (demonic) activity. Filthiness points to being filled with moral perversions.

The Harlot will deceive the nations by sorcery which is a combination of drugs and demonic power (witchcraft). Her dark supernatural power will fascinate people and appear to be good. Her worship music will be powerful in that it will have a supernatural demonic element to it.

23 For by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. (Rev. 18:23)

Sin will be allowed to reach its fullness in the End-Times. The Harlot Babylon is the context in which the nations will reach the heights of sin and their experience of the demonic realm.

23 In the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king (Antichrist) shall arise…who understands sinister schemes. (Dan. 8:23)

We evaluate a ministry by the lifestyle it produces in others and not by how fast it grows or how much money it has. Because serving the poor and walking in unity is foundational to preaching the gospel, many will think that all who proclaim this represent the truth. This statement by Jesus will reach its greatest fulfillment in the End-Times.

15 For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Lk. 16:15)

The influence of the Harlot will cause multitudes to be drunk or intoxicated with the blood of the saints who expose her (v. 6). The more she kills, the bolder she will become in killing the saints. The one great enemy of the Harlot religion will be the saints of Jesus in the prophetic Church.

6 I saw the woman (Harlot Babylon), drunk with the blood of the saints… (Rev. 17:6)

The Praying Church must expose the Harlot for who she really is. The Church will be hated by all nations for this. We declare the seductive nature of her perversion and her judgment.

9 They will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 Then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. (Mt. 24:9-11)

The kings (political leaders) will understand some of the lies that empower the Harlot system. However, they will support her agenda to gain her wealth. In this way, they will knowingly prostitute themselves or commit fornication with her in knowingly supporting her lies for money.

2 The kings of the earth committed fornication…the inhabitants were made drunk… (Rev. 17:2)

The Harlot will depend on the Antichrist who will carry her (provide resource and protection).

3 I saw a woman sitting on a Beast (Antichrist) which was full of names of blasphemy…7 I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the Beast that carries her… (Rev. 17:3, 7)

Surprisingly, the Harlot worldwide religion will be hated and destroyed by the jealousy of the ten primary kings who serve the Antichrist (Dan. 7:7, 20, 24). They will burn the Harlot at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Satan’s kingdom is filled with hatred, not unity. We prophesy that after a short season of prominence, she will be burned by leaders of the Antichrist’s empire.

12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings… 16 The ten horns…on the Beast will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. (Rev. 17:12, 16)

In the middle of the final 7 years of this age, the Antichrist’s plan is to replace the Harlot religion of tolerance with Antichrist worship. This new worldwide religion will be strict and without any toleration. All who refuse to worship the Antichrist will be killed (Rev. 13:4-18). Satan’s purpose for the Harlot religion is as a “forerunner” to prepare the nations for Antichrist worship.

THE END-TIME CONFLICT OVER THE TRUTH OF WHO JESUS IS

In the End-Times there will be a battle for the truth about Jesus. Some believers will give heed to doctrines that lie about Jesus. The conflict will center on defining who Jesus is and how we love Him. We must love God on His terms. It is expressed with allegiance to the Jesus of the Bible.

Allegiance to Jesus is our main issue along with being lovers of His truth (2 Thes. 2:10). Tolerance is the main issue in the counterfeit forerunner movements to the Harlot Babylon. We greatly value the people in different religions. They possess great dignity before God. We are not willing to let them perish in hell by refusing to tell them the truth about Jesus and His salvation.

Three truths about Jesus that offend humanists include; first, His deity and thus His right to establish absolute standards for which the nations are accountable to Him. Jesus does NOT accept humanistic views of righteousness and love. Second, the only way of salvation is through Jesus. Third, He possesses the wisdom and love to judge sin for all time and eternity.

Anyone who confesses the name of Jesus must stand for His deity and for His way of salvation. If they do not, then they are operating under the spirit of a false prophet. This is true of famous people who work in the White House, host talk shows, fill stadiums with concerts for the poor or lead mega-churches. We must apologize to Jesus for so much man-pleasing preaching with lies.

There are counterfeit forerunners who are preparing the nations to embrace the Harlot Babylon. These false forerunners tell lies about Jesus. Some are not yet false prophets but they operate in the same spirit as one. Some of them are still in the balance. The issue is not about being positive or negative but it is about being faithful witnesses to the truth. We are not running for office; however we are His messengers who will give an account at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

The End-Time Praying Church is to steward the greatest hope and justice movement in history. We have a far superior hope than any humanistic movements. Forerunners are the greatest hope-bringers in history. They will be filled with love (purity and humility), do deeds of compassion while giving a clear witness of the truth. They will magnify Jesus’ love, wisdom and tenderness.

We are called to judge people to win them to righteousness so they may be saved. If one confesses to being a follower of Jesus, then one is accountable to the standards of God’s Word.

1 It is reported that there is sexual immorality among you…3 I have already judged him who has so done this deed…5 Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus…11 I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–not even to eat with such a person. (1 Cor. 5:1-11)

We are to only to judge in the way we want to be judged (accurately, patiently, tenderly).

1 Judge not (with false measures), that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (Mt. 7:1-2)




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