The Great Harlot of Revelation 17
Issue No. 211
Revelation 17:1 says,
1 And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I shall show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters.”
John does not tell us which one of the seven angels gave him this description of the great harlot and her fall from power. However, if I may briefly go beyond pure Bible study, I believe that this angel is the first of the seven angels, that is, the Redemption Angel. In FFI #192 I listed these angels as follows:
The Redemption Angel
The Cleansing Angel
The Appearing of Sons Angel
All Consuming Breath Angel
Overcoming Flesh Angel
Angel of Pure Influence
Angel of the Approaching Fullness of God
Interestingly enough, I noticed only recently that there was a direct correlation between these seven angels and the seven thunders of Rev. 10:4, which I set forth in FFI #178 as follows:
The Way into the Holiest. The decree to begin to break the power of the corrupted Church system, because the way into the Holiest was delayed as long as that system held sway (Heb. 9:8).
The Image of the Beast. The religious, political, and economic governments of man based on the mortal image of Adam coming under judgment in order to set the people free.
The Manifested Sons. The coming of Christ in His people, who, like Moses, come off the mount with the new tables of the law on their hearts.
Transfiguration. Like Jesus in Matt. 17, the Sons of God will house His glory in immortal bodies. This is the purpose of the feast of Tabernacles.
Authority of the Sons. God specifically gave me John 14:14, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
The Law taught to all nations. Micah 4:1-4. The overcoming Sons of God are the administrators of the Kingdom on the earth, the teachers and final interpreters of the law by the mind of God. Deut. 33:2, 3 says “From His right hand went a fiery law” and “all His saints are in Thy hand.” The law is the lake of fire and also represents His character (Deut. 4:24). The fire is in the hand of God, and His saints are also in His hand. That is, they will manifest His character and actually administer the corrective judgments of God, called “the lake of fire.”
Division: Disobedient from Obedient. This is a reference to the final age after the Great White Throne in Rev. 20. New Jerusalem fully manifests, but there are still many who must be subdued to Christ (Rev. 22:11). Hence, a division between them until the Creation Jubilee, when all men are set free at the end of time.
John was told not to write down these seven thunders, because it was not to be revealed at that time. But I believe that it is now time, and this is what was revealed to me. The seven angels and the seven trumpets were separate revelations, with no thought of correlating them at first. Yet when I recently looked at them, I found them to fit together very well.
The Redemption Angel shows us “The Way into the Holiest.”
The Cleansing Angel is needed to cleanse us of the influence of the image of the beast.
The Appearing of Sons Angel reveals “The Manifested Sons.”
The All Consuming Breath Angel prepares us for “Transfiguration.”
The Overcoming Flesh Angel works in us before we can be given the “Authority of the Sons.”
The Angel of Pure Influence brings “The Law Taught to All Nations,” and replaces the current gospel of lawlessness that we have exported.
The Angel of the Approaching Fullness of God must first make a “division” between the obedient and the disobedient before sending the Fullness.
Obviously, much more could be said about each of these, but I do not want to stray too much further from our exposition of Revelation 17.
In Part One we wrote about the “Mystery” side of this Babylonian Empire that arose in the past century. We showed how the Federal Reserve Act was written in secret. It was passed on Dec. 23, 1913 with only five senators present, because the rest had gone home for the Christmas holiday. President Wilson signed it in February 1914 without even reading it and later said it was the greatest mistake of his life. But few protested; no one repealed it.
Even so, this only presents the economic side of this new Babylonian Empire. Money is its life blood, to be sure, but it also has a religious and political side to it. In order to understand these sides, we must focus on the fact that this empire is a harlot.
Harlotry: Selling One’s Self for Money
First, a harlot is one who sells herself for money or power. Many religions have done this. The Roman Catholic Church has done it for many centuries, as we showed in previous issues in our series on Revelation. Perhaps their final act came in 1929 when the Roman Church finally quietly set aside their laws forbidding usury and set up the Vatican Bank. In FFI #199 we quoted Paul Williams’ book, The Vatican Exposed, page 37,
“Prior to this dramatic departure from the rigid dictates of canon law, the Church held that its teachings were semper eadem—teachings that were changeless and immutable—teachings that bound its adherents to a certain way of life and bestowed upon them a clearly defined Catholic character. But with the creation of the Special Administration of the Holy See, something remarkable happened. The changeless changed. A practice that had been condemned as the ‘most grievous manifestation of wanton greed’ was now being sanctioned by Holy Mother Church—not for the good of the faithful, but for the cause of its own gain.”
In doing this, the Vatican put its blessing on the sin of usury, which it had rightfully condemned from the start, though history shows that it had always borrowed money at interest from bankers throughout its history. In fact, it had often condoned robbing Jewish bankers of their money on the grounds that they had gotten it through sin—usury.
Jesus’ statement in Matt. 7:2 makes us wonder if perhaps God will judge the Vatican by the same standard of measure that the Vatican judged those Jewish bankers.
2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
The primary difference between the Jewish bankers and the Vatican Bank is that in past centuries the Jews were limited by law to only a few professions. Thus, in many ways they were forced or channeled into banking to make a living—and then the Church punished them for doing it.
The Law of Usury
Deut. 23:19, 20 says,
19 You shall not charge interest to your countrymen; interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. 20 You may charge interest to a foreigner [nokri], but to your countryman you shall not charge interest. . .
The permission to charge interest to foreigners needs some further explanation, since most people have allowed the Jewish Talmud to have the authoritative word on it. Jewish teaching holds that they can charge interest to non-Jews, and so Christians often apply the same interpretation to themselves, allowing them to rob those not of their particular denomination.
Smith’s Bible Dictionary, under “Stranger,” says that nokri refers to a foreigner that was “merely visiting the land as a traveler,” as opposed to the foreigners living in the land of Israel. In other words, such a foreigner had to abide by the laws of God while he was in the land, but he did not enjoy equal rights with the Israelites and aliens who resided in Israel. An Israelite was allowed to charge him interest on money, because this presumably would treat him according to his own law in his home country.
However, the law did not allow Israelites to charge interest to a non-Israelite who was living in Israel in accordance with God’s law. These resident aliens were called ger in Hebrew.
The law and prophets do not teach that Israel was a privileged people with a different set of laws. When Solomon dedicated the temple, he prayed 1 Kings 8:41-43,
41 Also concerning the foreigner [nokri] who is not of Thy people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Thy name’s sake 42 . . . when he comes and prays toward this house, 43 hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner [nokri] calls to Thee, in order that all the people of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as do Thy people Israel…
Isaiah 56:7 says that it was “a house of prayer for ALL people.” Isaiah clarifies the principle of equality in the law. Isaiah 56:6 and 7 says,
6 Also the foreigners [nekar, related to nokri] who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant, 7 Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer.
These nekar, or nokri, are non-Israelites from afar, as Solomon clearly says. But Lev. 24:22 speaks of the ger, the resident aliens in Israel, saying,
22There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger [ger] as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.
The Hebrew word ger literally means “a guest,” not a slave, and he was to be treated kindly. Ex. 12:49 says,
49 The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger [ger] who sojourns among you.
Again, we read in Numbers 15:15, 16,
15 As for the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien [ger] who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien [ger] be before the Lord. 16 There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien [ger] who sojourns with you.
In other words, God established the principle of equality of justice throughout the land. The only inequality was to be between residents and nonresidents. All aliens (non-Israelites) residing in the land were bound to follow the law, and thus also received equal protection by the law. Exodus 22:21 tells us,
21 And you shall not wrong a stranger [ger] or oppress him, for you were strangers [ger] in the land of Egypt.
In other words, in the same way that Israelites were aliens in Egypt, so also are these aliens in Israel. God says, “You ought to know how it feels to be oppressed as resident aliens in Egypt—so do not do this to the aliens among you. Num. 9:14 makes this clear in another way:
14 And if an alien [ger] sojourns among you and observes the Passover to the Lord [is justified by faith]. . . you shall have one statute both for the alien [ger] and for the native of the land.
Those who are justified by faith are granted equal protection by the law. Justification brings citizenship in God’s Kingdom.
The point of all this is to show that most banks in the world today (with the exception of Arab banks) are guilty of the sin of usury. The Jewish banking practice was based upon the Talmud, which allowed Jews to charge interest to any non-Jew, unless he converted to Judaism. Today, most Jews disregard even this prohibition in the name of money and “good business.”
The Vatican Bank was set up in 1929 to charge interest on money, and most of their lending was to fellow Catholics. Like the Jews before them, the Vatican discarded the idea of giving no-interest loans to fellow Catholics in the name of business and money. A number of Evangelical and Pentecostal evangelists today own banks, and they have likewise bought into the usury system.
Jesus’ Parable about Usury
In Jesus’ parable in Matt. 25:14-29 (and Luke 19:12-27), He seemed to be condoning usury at first glance. This is why so many Christians today think that Jesus put away the law on usury. But actually, Jesus taught the opposite.
The parable speaks of a man giving his servants some money (“talents”) to invest while he was on a far journey. Some of the servants invested it and doubled their money. They were rewarded accordingly. But one servant buried his money for fear that he might lose it. His excuse is given in Matt. 25:24,
24 . . . Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 And I was afraid and went away and hid your talent [money] in the ground. . .
The man really did not know Jesus at all, but thought that He was “a hard man” and a thief, “reaping where you did not sow.” His fear was unjustified, because Jesus is NOT a thief, nor is He so hard-hearted as to punish a person for innocently making a bad investment. So Jesus tells him in verses 26, 27,
26 . . . You wicked, lazy slave, you “knew” [claim to know and believe] that I reap where I did not sow; and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 [If that is the case] Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
In other words, “If you really believed that I was such a hard-hearted thief, then why did you not put my money in the bank so that I could steal money by charging interest?” Jesus was not condoning usury. He was telling us that it was thievery! Jesus did not put away the law against usury. It is still a sin today as it was then.
Does this mean it is a sin to have a savings account and make a little interest? No. A bank is a foreign system from Babylon. It is a corporation, which our government calls a “person.” You can charge interest to a foreigner, even if it is in the land, because it does not subject itself to the divine law. You are under no lawful obligation to give the bank an interest-free loan so that it can turn around and loan your money to others at a higher interest rate.
So let us now return to our study on the Great Harlot.
The Harlot is a Counterfeit Bride
The Bible speaks of the Bride of Christ. The Great Harlot of Revelation 17 is the counterfeit bride. As such, she pretends to be the bride, and she fools many people by her wealth and beauty—but her lawlessness betrays her in the end.
This chapter shows the cosmic struggle between the two cites: Babylon and Jerusalem. One was founded by Nimrod, the other by Shem (under the title, Melchisedec). Later, Jerusalem became lawless (Jer. 7:1-11) and even worshiped the gods of Babylon. So God gave Jerusalem into the hands of Babylon, because in God’s eyes, it had become Babylonian territory.
God then said to the people of Jerusalem (Jer. 7:11-16) that He was going to forsake Jerusalem even as He had forsaken Shiloh a few centuries earlier. And because they had made the temple a “den of robbers” (Jer. 7:11), He would forsake that temple and that place “as Shiloh.”
Ezekiel saw the glory depart (“Ichabod”) in Ez. 10, 11. Thus, even though they rebuilt a temple a century later as God instructed, the glory never filled that house. The Most Holy Place remained a dark, empty room, except for a stone slab sitting where the ark should have rested.
If God ever intended to return to that site, He would have done so in the days of Haggai, who instructed the people to finish building the second temple. But this did not happen, because God’s word to Jeremiah could not be broken. He intended instead to inhabit a new temple made of living stones. And that temple is us (1 Cor. 3:16).
In the last century or so, a new theology has arisen, saying that Jesus Christ will return to Jerusalem and live in a rebuilt temple there, contrary to prophecy. They say that the New Jerusalem is the old Jerusalem rebuilt. They say that the New Covenant is the “renewed” Covenant with Moses—as if there is no New Covenant distinct from the first one given through Moses.
They even say that God is going to establish a Levitical system of priests again, complete with blood sacrifices. They say that the Age of Grace will end, and that God will go back to the kind of temple worship prescribed under Moses.
This teaching is from the Great Harlot. It is a counterfeit that calls itself the Kingdom of God. It calls itself Israel, but is betrayed by its violent behavior against the strangers in the land (Palestinians) as well as its rejection of the New Covenant with its Mediator.
The book of Hebrews tells us that we have a better covenant, a better Mediator, a better priesthood, better sacrifices, a heavenly Jerusalem, and a new Mount Zion. Are we destined, then, to leave that which is better and revert to the system that is WORSE?
Or must we adhere to a dual kingdom of God—one for Jews and one for Christians? Will Christians inherit New Jerusalem, while the Jews inherit the old Jerusalem? I don’t think Paul and Peter would like that.
There have been many contenders for the throne of the earth over the centuries. Among these was the Roman Church System. All of them were and are counterfeit brides. But in the past century we have seen the rise of the final counterfeit. It is the Zionist state called “Israel.”
In my book, The Struggle for the Birthright, I trace its history from the beginning. The Bible tells the same story in many ways. It is the struggle between Jacob and Esau, between Ishmael and Isaac, between Absalom and David, and between the chief priests and Jesus. They all have one thing in common—trying to establish their kingdom by violence and force, instead of by the Prince of Peace.