The Harlot, part 2
Jul 16, 2016
As we have already shown, harlotry takes more than one form. Idolatry is harlotry when viewed in the light of being unfaithful in one’s marriage to God (Christ). On a national scale, ancient Israel often condoned spiritual adultery or harlotry whenever the kings condoned idolatry as part of the national religion. Harlotry, then, is an accurate description, whether we apply it to one’s personal life or to national life. The difference is that when the nation becomes a harlot, some individuals remain true to God, even if the majority are unfaithful.
On the deepest individual level, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), and therefore all are guilty of harlotry. In other words, all have violated their Old Covenant oath to be obedient to God’s laws. Since the Old Covenant was a marriage covenant, in which Israel took “marriage vows,” any violation of the law is an act of harlotry and spiritual adultery.
Since no one could be justified by their own will—their own vow of obedience—God instituted a second covenant that was guaranteed to succeed. The New Covenant was God’s vow to work in our hearts to change our very nature. We would become law compliant, not because we made vows with good intentions, but because God vowed to make it happen. Hence, the New Covenant is based on “the promises of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
It is only when we see the promises of God in contrast to the promises of men that we can begin to understand the difference between the Old and New Covenants. Only the New Covenant can release us from personal harlotry.
The Old Covenant is a vow which the “old man” (Adamic nature) makes with God. The New Covenant is entirely different, though many think it is God’s promise to help the old man fulfill his vows and thereby become perfected. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Under the New Covenant a “new man” is begotten by the Spirit within our hearts, creating an entirely new identity that has a heavenly Father and an earthly mother. Although the “mother” is still Adamic, the seed that begets is not. Inheritance is passed down through one’s father, and so Adam’s liability for the first sin is passed down through the natural sperm of our Adamic identity—that is, the fleshly “old man.” The death penalty is the only thing that Adam’s seed can inherit by its identification with the first sinner.
However, the “new man” (KJV) or "new self" (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) is begotten by spiritual seed from the Spirit of God. Having God as his Father, “he cannot sin” (1 John 3:9), for it is not in his nature to do so. Therefore, each “new man” as well as the corporate New Creation Man are fully compliant with the laws of God, not out of compulsion, but because they “joyfully concur with the law of God” (Romans 7:22). In other words, the new man is incapable of acting as a harlot.
The High Priest Must Marry a Virgin
In Leviticus 21:14, 15 the high priest is commanded to “marry a virgin of his own people, that he may not profane his offspring among the people.” When we apply this law to our own great High Priest of the Melchizedek Order, we see that it would be unlawful for Him to marry anyone other than a virgin—no harlots, no widows, no divorced women. But Israel in the flesh became disqualified on every count to marry Christ. Hosea says Israel was a harlot, Isaiah says she was a widow, and Jeremiah says she was divorced. Yet Israel was given the promises of God, and Isaiah 62:4, 5 says to them,
4 It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; but you will be called “My delight is in her,” and your land, “Married”; for the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. 5 For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.
Many other prophets, including Hosea, affirm this. But how can God remarry Israel and yet be true to Himself—that is, to His own law, which comes out of His righteous nature? Once Israel in the flesh became a harlot, a widow, and a divorced woman, she was forever disqualified as the bride of Christ. She in her Adamic flesh could never reverse course and become a virgin again. The New Covenant, however, offers a change of identity, an opportunity to become a New Creation, having a different Father, and thus avoiding the death inheritance from Adam.
How to be a Virgin
Those who place their faith in Christ—that is, in the promises of God, rather than in the promises of men—are begotten of God. This new man is not the outer man of flesh that walks this earth. Paul calls him “the inner man” (Romans 7:22). He says also in 1 Corinthians 15:50 that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Those who hold up their flesh as the basis of their claim to an inheritance in the Kingdom have a misplaced faith. Faith in flesh is not the kind of faith that can justify anyone. Faith in flesh only bestows the death penalty as part of Adam’s body.
The great harlot of Revelation 17 is primarily an oppressive world system based on fallen man that ultimately traces back to the sin of Adam. It is the corporate manifestation of Adam in all of its worst attributes, the harvest-ready fruit of corruptible seed. Yet we should never lose sight of the fact that this political-economic-social-judicial-religious harlot was made possible only by many individual flesh-creatures each playing their role as little harlots.
In other words, no one can escape the fact that the great harlot of Revelation 17 is closer than we care to admit, for we all have two natures: fleshly and spiritual. In our lack of understanding, we all tend to identify with the flesh, saying, “I am of Adam,” or “I am of Israel” or “I am of Abraham” or “I am of this or that denomination.” We think that if we can just identify with great men or organizations of the past, we can somehow escape the sentence of death (mortality) that comes with such fleshly genealogy. That is the great illusion, the blindness, the veil that is spread out over the whole earth (Isaiah 25:7, 8).
Because the flesh man, tainted by Adam’s sin, has lost its virginity, our only hope is to become a new creation. The path of the Old Covenant cannot undo the loss of virginity. Only the New Covenant provides us a way to do this, and that holy seed which is begotten of God cannot lose its virginity to anyone other than its Husband, the great High Priest of the Order of Melchizedek. In this way the law is fulfilled, and the offspring of Christ and His bride are not profaned (i.e., they are not illegitimate).
And so, as we have already noted, the overcomers in Revelation 14:4 are “virgins” (KJV) and thus are eligible to marry the High Priest as the bride of Christ.
This is part 136 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Revelation." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones