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   REVELATION'S BABYLON THE GREAT WHORE : PART 1



Copyright 1994 - 2011 Endtime Prophecy Net

Published On : February 28, 1998

Last Updated : January 3, 2009

True Worship, A Spiritual Temple, False Shepherds, The
Lord's Table, Dangers Of Organized Religion, Apostasy Of
Ancient Israel, Destruction Of The Temple, The Great
Liberator, Children Of Darkness, Nature Of The Early Church,
Persecution And Evangelization, Comprise And Apostasy Of The
Church, Spirit-led Interpretations, The Lord's Virgin Bride




Contrary to what the ancient Jews believed, and contrary to
what is even believed by many modern-day religionists, our
praise and worship is not bound by or attached to a physical
place or building. Furthermore, our worship is not limited
by time so that it must be performed on a certain day or
follow a pre-determined schedule. As Jesus told the
Samaritan woman at the well in the fourth chapter of the
Gospel of John, true worship of the Father is in Spirit and
in Truth. It is free from any shackles placed upon it by
human traditions:

"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh,
when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at
Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what:
we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But
the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father
seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that
worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
(John 4:21-24)

In his first Epistle, the Apostle Peter reiterated what he
had learned from the Lord concerning the spiritual nature of
our Temple when he wrote the following:

"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed
of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively
stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus
Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture,
Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious:
and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto
you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them
which be disobedient, the stone which the builders
disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner..."
(1 Peter 2:4-7)

As the above verses clearly demonstrate, collectively, we
the worldwide Body of Believers, form the Lord's Spiritual
Temple. Each one of us is a living stone cemented together
in Faith and in Love; and Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone, or
Foundation Stone, upon which our entire structure rests. You
will notice that Peter states that this Chief Cornerstone
was disallowed, or rejected by the builders. He is referring
to the fact that even though Jesus came to His own first,
that is, to the Jewish spiritual hierarchy of His day, they
didn't receive Him, and in fact deemed Him unworthy to be
the foundation of their faith. Thus, exactly as John wrote
at the beginning of his Gospel, Jesus took His message of
Love, Forgiveness and Salvation to those who would gladly
hear and receive it; that is, to the common people, and to
the Gentiles; to you and I:

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as
many as received him, to them gave he power to become the
sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
(John 1:11-12)

"...And the common people heard him gladly." (Mark 12:37b)

"And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." (Matthew 12:21)

While they may not realize it yet, those who place their
faith and trust in organized religion, and in the physical
structures associated with organized religion, are headed
for difficult times. Someday in the near future, the
physical religious system may no longer exist. Today there
are many forces in the world, both human and spiritual,
which are slowly and steadily working towards that end. It
may take them time, but they are gradually achieving their
goals. Even as I write this, many congregations have already
been taken over by false shepherds, priests and pastors who
are poisoning their flocks with secular humanist ideas. Such
churches are merely hollow shells; they are a facade without
the real Spirit of God dwelling within them. They pretend to
fulfill the spiritual needs of their congregation; while in
reality they only enrich themselves; and leave their flocks
hungry and naked. As Jesus said, these are not true
shepherds; they are only hirelings:

"But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own
the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the
sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and
scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an
hireling, and careth not for the sheep." (John 10:12-13)

It is important that the modern Christian learns to feed
himself spiritually; or better said, that he learns to be
fed directly by the Lord. As the young shepherd David wrote
in the twenty-third Psalm, the Lord will not only care for
us and provide for us, but He will also meet our spiritual
needs by preparing a spiritual banquet before us if we take
the time to dwell upon His Word. In the following verse, the
word 'want' is derived from the Hebrew word 'chacer' and
actually means to be lacking or to be without something:

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to
lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still
waters...Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup
runneth over." (Psalms 23:1-2, 5)

As I have pointed out in other articles, it is extremely
important that the foundation of the modern Christian's
faith be built directly upon the Word of God, and NOT solely
upon what he is hearing or being taught in his local church
building or Sunday School class. While this may come as a
surprise to some, not everything one hears within the four
walls of his church is true and accurate. In fact, some of
it is absolutely wrong and purposely meant to pervert his
perception of The Truth; or else to totally alienate him
from The Truth. Let us not forget the dire warning
concerning the Last Days and the Day of the Lord's Coming
issued by the Apostle Paul in his second Epistle to the
Thessalonians:

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not
come, except there come a falling away first, and that man
of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"
(2 Thessalonians 2:3)

Some are falling away from The Truth of the Gospel without
even realizing it because it is a slow gradual process. I
have told the story before concerning the poor woman who
after many years of listening to her pastor tell her that a
certain group of Scriptures didn't mean what they said, or
that a certain passage no longer applied to our modern day,
was left with nothing but the front and back covers of her
Bible. The overall message is clear: We should all be very
cautious and not just blindly place our faith in organized
religion; especially in those priests, pastors, elders and
teachers who use very little Scriptures during the mass or
service, or in their Bible classes. We should also beware of
those who twist the meanings of the Scriptures in order to
support their own wayward doctrines. Two thousand years ago,
Jesus issued the same warning concerning the teachings of
the Scribes and the Pharisees when He said:

"...Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is
hypocrisy." (Luke 12:1b)

"Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of
the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees
and of the Sadducees." (Matthew 16:12)

Following that same line of thought, the Apostle Peter, in
referring to the writings of Paul, also wrote in his second
letter regarding those who distorted the meaning of some of
Paul's Epistles. In the following verses, the word 'wrest'
means to distort or divert to an unnatural or inappropriate
use or meaning, to pervert something. It is derived from the
Greek word 'strebloo':

"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is
salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according
to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also
in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in
which are some things hard to be understood, which they that
are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other
scriptures, unto their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:15-16)

This isn't the only danger of modern organized religion. It
is also extremely easy to be led astray by the materialistic
worldly spirit which has invaded many churches. In some
cases, attending church services is viewed as nothing more
than a bothersome necessity to maintain one's social status
in the local community. I have been to some churches in the
past which boast of an all-white membership comprised of the
successful business and political leaders of the community.
In some of these churches, it is easy for one to become
mesmerized by the pleasant decor which surrounds him. The
plush comfortable pews, the wall-to-wall carpet, the
colorful stained-glass windows, the elegant woodwork, the
expensive organ, the stereo sound system, etc., appeal to
one's physical senses. One is overtaken with a sense of
well-being, while his spiritual perception remains dull.
While some affluent Christians claim that 'the abundant
life' is a Scriptural principle, it is the furthest thing
from the truth. I am reminded of the prophecy against the
Church at Laodicea in the Book of Revelation:

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I
would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art
lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of
my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with
goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou
art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that
thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be
clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous
therefore, and repent." (Revelation 3:15-19)

Just like Christianity today in which some church leaders
seem to be more obsessed with building larger and grander
buildings to impress their members; and to outdo their
religious competitors on the next block, once she had
forsaken the one true God, ancient Israel also became
involved in building many temples. In fact, based on the
information I have presented in my article 'The Fruits Of
Disobedience', those temples were undoubtedly dedicated to
the false gods of the heathen nations which they had failed
to destroy. This failure was a result of direct disobedience
to the commandment the Lord had first given to Moses and
Joshua. In the eighth chapter of the Book of Hosea, we read
the following rebuke from the Lord which confirms this:

"They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made
princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold
have they made them idols, that they may be cut off. Thy
calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled
against them: how long will it be ere they attain to
innocency? For from Israel was it also: the workman made it;
therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be
broken in pieces...For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and
buildeth temples..." (Hosea 8:4-6, 14)

In the eighth chapter of the first Book of Samuel, we find
the story of how the Israelites hounded the Prophet Samuel
to anoint a king over them so they could be just like the
heathen nations around them. Even though it wasn't God's
perfect will, because of their stubborn insistence, the Lord
eventually let them have their way. Since they rejected Him
as their one true King, He gave them stubborn king Saul. I
discuss this topic in more detail in the article 'The
Children Of God And Politics'. Less than one hundred years
later, even though the Lord only wanted to dwell in the
temple of their hearts, He also conceded in the days of King
Solomon and let them build a Temple of stone and mortar. Of
course, the Lord was fully aware of what it would lead to:
total abandonment of the true God. Thus, not even four
hundred and eighty years had passed since the Egyptian
bondage before the Israelites had gone astray:

"And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year
after the children of Israel were come out of the land of
Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in
the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to
build the house of the LORD." (1 Kings 6:1)

From the moment Saul became king, things began to go wrong.
By the end of Solomon's reign, Israel had totally gone
astray worshipping many false gods, and building temples and
altars to them. It was for this reason that the Lord rent
the kingdom from Solomon's son, Rehoboam, and divided it in
two; leaving only Judah and Benjamin in the south, with the
remaining tribes becoming part of Israel, or Ephraim, to the
north. From that point on, even though there were a few good
kings, Israel and Judah were constantly at war with each
other; and both slid deeper and deeper into apostasy. This
is quite evident in the writings of the Old Testament
Prophet Isaiah, as well as in the second chapter of the Book
of Jeremiah, in the thirty-fourth chapter of the Book of
Ezekiel, and in others where the Lord rebukes the spiritual
elders of Israel for becoming fat and lazy; and for
neglecting the spiritual needs of their flocks. As an
example, consider the following verses:

"And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man,
prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say
unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe
be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves!
should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat,
and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed:
but ye feed not the flock...Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold,
I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at
their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock;
neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I
will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be
meat for them." (Ezekiel 34:1-3, 10)

At the time that King David petitioned the Lord to build a
Temple in His honour, he was living in a cedar home while
the Ark of the Covenant was still in a tabernacle, or tent.
Thus, while David's intentions were good in wanting to build
a Temple to house the Ark, as we read in the following
verses, this was not what the Lord wanted done. In fact, He
questioned David as to why he wanted to build a Temple when
the Lord had never required it of him:

"Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt
thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have
not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the
children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have
walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places
wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake
I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded
to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an
house of cedar?" (2 Samuel 7:5-7)

It is clear from the above verses that the Lord only wanted
to dwell in the midst of the people, that is, in the
Spiritual Temple of their hearts. He wanted to be a living
God to them; not a dead one bound by time and place in a
physical structure. Like other Prophets which had stood in
Jerusalem and warned Israel of her whoredoms in worshipping
false gods, the young Prophet Jeremiah declared in the
seventh chapter of his book:

"Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the
LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are
these." (Jeremiah 7:4)

About two hundred years earlier, the Lord had voiced a
similar warning through the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah when
He said:

"Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth
is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me?
and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath
mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the
LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor
and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."
(Isaiah 66:1-2)

As the previous verses make clear, God is more impressed by
those who honour and fear Him, and who obey His Word, than
by luxurious edifices built in His honour which house the
spiritually dead who walk not in the ways of the Lord. This
applies just as much today as it did thousands of years ago.
God is more interested in the condition of our hearts than
in the place we choose to worship. As King David wrote
during a time of great repentance after murdering Uriah the
Hittite and committing adultery with his beautiful wife
Bath-sheba:

"For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou
delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are
a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou
wilt not despise." (Psalms 51:16-17)

Soon after Solomon's Temple was built, its beauty and luxury
became a hindrance and a great distraction. The Temple
sacrifices and other rituals had already become hollow
traditions long before Jesus had even been born. The prayers
and supplications of the Temple priests had been reduced to
vain repetitions. In short, now that the Jews had their
earthly king and a physical Temple, they were content, and
became self-satisfied. Before long, they abandoned the one
true God and were just going through the motions, just like
some churches today. In short, they had become no better
than the heathen nations around them. The Scribes and the
Pharisees were simply following the letter of the Law,
rather than the Spirit. Several hundred years later, Jesus
would tell them that they had made the laws of God of none
effect by their many traditions:

"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied
of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth
me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit
in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of
God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots
and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said
unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that
ye may keep your own tradition. Making the word of God of
none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered:
and many such like things do ye." (Mark 7:6-13)

Following the Prophet Malachi, there was a period of several
hundred years during which time prophesying was shunned upon
by the Jewish spiritual hierarchy. They simply did not want
to be reminded of their waywardness from the Lord. This was
in the latter part of the Second Temple Period during the
reign of the Maccabees. As is evidenced by such apocryphal
works as the Book of Jubilees, written approximately in 100
B.C. by a Pharisee, during this time, greater emphasis was
placed upon the written Law and oral tradition which was
esteemed as eternal and unchangeable. It is because of this
that we have what appears to be a period of silence for
several centuries prior to Christ's arrival on Earth. Some
say that God was simply tired of speaking to a nation which
had hardened its ears and heart to the Truth. Others point
to the apocryphal Pseudonymous Writings claiming that, under
pressure and threat of persecution and excommunication from
the Temple, God's Prophets, while still prophesying, were
forced to write under assumed names.

It is a Biblical fact that Jesus was very much against the
spirit of commercialism which had corrupted religious
worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. I also discuss this in
such articles as 'Mondex And The Mark Of The Beast', and in
'Money-Making Bible Hucksters And Mammon'. The Lord was
quick to rebuke and expose those who had polluted the House
of God turning it into a house of merchandise. He is just as
upset about it today as He was two thousand years ago. The
following verses clearly reveal His displeasure with such
practices:

"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all
them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the
tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold
doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be
called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of
thieves." (Matthew 21:12-13)

Jesus was paraphrasing a rebuke He had first spoken by the
Spirit through the mouth of the young Prophet Jeremiah over
six hundred years before. Just as Jesus stood in the Temple
and rebuked the Jewish religious Elders and the merchants,
Jeremiah had done the same thing prior to the invasion of
Jerusalem by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, when he said:

"Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of
robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the
LORD." (Jeremiah 7:11)

In his bid to win the favor of the Jews, Herod the Great had
greatly enhanced the Temple at Jerusalem. When His Disciples
became awed by the beauty of this symbol of man's pride and
vanity, Jesus was quick to point out their error by telling
them what would be its fate:

"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his
disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the
temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these
things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here
one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
(Matthew 24:1-2)

Just as the First Temple had been destroyed after the Old
Testament Prophets had warned Israel for years to repent of
her idolatry and whoredoms, Jesus' words were also fulfilled
some forty years later when Titus, the son of Vespasian and
a future emperor of Rome, invaded Jerusalem and totally
destroyed the Temple. According to the historical record,
many Jews were burned alive when they fled into the Temple
for refuge. To retrieve all of the gold which had melted, it
is said that the Romans tore the Temple down stone by stone
to scrape off the gold which had seeped down between the
blocks. With this event, the Lord emphasized in a very
graphical way, His rejection of ancient legalistic Judaism;
just as they had rejected Him as being the True Foundation
Stone of God's Eternal Spiritual Temple. Thus the Second
Temple Period came to an abrupt end by the hand of the Roman
armies, just as the First Temple Period had met its end by
the invading forces of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Considering all of the above, is it any wonder that the
Jewish Elders hated Jesus and sought to kill Him when He
came preaching spiritual freedom from the Law, and from the
oppressive system of the Temple priests? When He first began
His public ministry, this is exactly what the Lord said He
had come to do, in fulfillment of the words of the Prophet
Isaiah:

"And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet
Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place
where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the
poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach
deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the
blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach
the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:17-19)

As John the Baptist had said, Jesus was like a bright Light
shining upon the sins of the world. Some accepted that
Light, while others rejected it; preferring instead to walk
in spiritual darkness; thus condemning themselves. Speaking
of John the Baptist's ministry to prepare the way for Jesus,
John the Beloved wrote in his Gospel:

"The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light,
that all men through him might believe. He was not that
Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was
the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into
the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by
Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and
His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to
them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them
that believe on His name:" (John 1:7-12)

Later on in the very same Gospel, the Lord is recorded as
having said the following regarding those who reject the
Truth, Light and Freedom which He offers:

"And this is the condemnation, that Light is come into the
world, and men loved darkness rather than Light, because
their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth
the Light, neither cometh to the Light, lest his deeds
should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the
Light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are
wrought in God." (John 3:19-21)

From the Old Testament clear through the New Testament, the
False Church has always persecuted the True Church. The
legalistic children of Satan have hounded and killed the
true Children of Light. In one of His final denouncements of
the false spiritual hierarchy at Jerusalem, the Lord ended
his fiery discourse by saying the following to the
hard-hearted Scribes and Pharisees:

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and
stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I
have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth
her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your
house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye
shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is
he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 23:37-39)

As I said earlier, this is exactly what happened some forty
years later when their 'glorious' Temple was destroyed. As
sad as it is, to this very day, the majority of the flesh
Jews continue to reject their one true Saviour. Thank God
that some are beginning to see the Light, and are coming to
the knowledge of the Truth, due in part to the work of such
organizations as the Messianic Jews and the Jews For Jesus.
Unfortunately, it may be too little too late; as according
to Bible prophecy, Israel is going to have to experience
some very difficult times before the majority of the Jews
will finally be willing to admit their error, and cry out to
the Lord for His mercy and forgiveness for their unbelief.
Following Jesus's Death on the Cross, the jealous leaders of
the false religious system continued to persecute the true
Children of God. Consider the final words of the martyr
Stephen as the angry Jewish mob stoned him to death in the
seventh chapter of the Book of Acts:

"But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High
dwelleth NOT in temples made with hands; as saith the
prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool:
what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the
place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye
stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do
always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And
they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of
the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and
murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of
angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things,
they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with
their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up
stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus
standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see
the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right
hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and
stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And
cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses
laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name
was Saul." (Acts 7:47-58)

Stephen's words continue to ring true today just as they did
two thousand years ago when he first spoke them. As Jesus so
clearly pointed out in the twenty-third chapter of the
Gospel of Matthew, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders
of the spiritual leaders of Israel; for they are the ones
who preach the false doctrines which lead men astray. Jesus
had absolutely nothing good to say about the Temple Elders
of His day. Time and time again He referred to them as
hypocrites, serpents, vipers, blind leaders of the blind,
children of Hell, children of the Devil, the spiritually
dead and more. Perhaps His strongest rebuke is found in the
following words from the Gospel of John:

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your
father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and
abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a
liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44)

In the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, the
Lord again exposes the lies and hypocrisy of the false
religious system of the Jews. In his letters to the seven
churches which were in Asia Minor, John was moved by the
Spirit of the Lord to write the following concerning the
Body of Believers which was in Smyrna:

"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou
art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they
are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
(Revelation 2:9)

In the very next chapter, in his letter to the church which
was at Philadelphia, John again was led of the Lord to
expose the subtle deception behind Judaism:

"Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which
say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will
make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know
that I have loved thee." (Revelation 3:9)

As I point out in my two-part article, 'Is God A Racist?',
the Apostle Paul, as well as other writers of the Epistles,
also shed light on this issue. In his letter to the
Disciples at Rome, Paul wrote very clearly concerning the
nature of the true Jews:

"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is
that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is
a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of
the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose
praise is not of men, but of God."

As should be abundantly clear by now, there is a marked
distinction between the true Body of Believers, and those
who claim to be the church, temple or religion of God. Let
me again remind the reader that while I have emphasized the
sharp contrast between ancient Judaism and Jesus' own
Teachings, the inadequacies of organized religion with its
man-made buildings and dry spiritless ceremonies, is not
limited to Judaism alone. The primary criteria for belonging
to God's true spiritual Church, is that one has accepted
Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. Any religion
which does not embrace this belief, cannot possibly claim to
be the true religion of God. Likewise, any person who does
not embrace belief in Jesus Christ, cannot possibly claim to
be a Child of God. Contrary to the false belief in the world
today, as Jesus made abundantly clear, not everyone is a
Child of God. If we were all already Children of God, then
obviously there would be no need for us 'to become the sons
of God' as is stated in John 1:12 quoted twice earlier.

In like manner, dedicating millions of dollars to the
construction of beautiful temples, churches, cathedrals,
etc., for the glory and praise of man is not what true
religion is about in the least. This is nothing more than a
religion of dead works. It is the worship of the creations
of man. It is the worship of mammon, or material wealth, as
Jesus pointed out in the Gospel of Matthew:

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the
one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one,
and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
(Matthew 6:24)

In his first Epistle, the Apostle John also wrote concerning
the dangers of being seduced by the pleasures of the world
when he said:

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the
world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is
not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the
flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is
not of the Father, but is of the world."
(1 John 2:15-16)

As I explain in my article 'Where Are The First Century
Churches?', we can conclude then that the first Churches
established by the original Apostles in the Book of Acts
were not physical buildings as we see today; but rather the
Bodies of Believers who had accepted the Salvation which
Jesus Christ alone can give. The Apostles and their early
followers were not involved in, and had no interest in
building church buildings or temples to house their new
converts. The Scriptures make clear that they met privately
in small groups in people's homes, as well as in public
places; just as Jesus had preached in people's homes, in the
streets, and on the hills and mountains of Israel. Please
refer to the aforementioned article for more Scriptures
concerning this topic.

While it is true that Jesus did preach in the Temple and in
the synagogues of His native land, as did His Disciples in
the early days of Christianity, this was in order to fulfill
a purpose; and that was to first offer Salvation to the
spiritual leadership of Israel. In Acts chapter six, we are
told that the testimony of the Early Disciples was so
powerful, that even many of the Temple priests had joined
their ranks:

"And the word of God increased; and the number of the
disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great
company of the priests were obedient to the faith."
(Acts 6:7)

The fact that even some of the Temple priests joined the
Disciples so outraged the pharisaical keepers of the Law,
that a great persecution arose against the Early Church; and
they were finally forced to flee from Jerusalem in obedience
to Jesus' own commandment issued in the first chapter of the
Book of Acts:

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is
come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in
Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

As I explain in such articles as 'Biblical Cafeteria Or The
Whole Course?: Part One', this persecution was spearheaded
in part by Saul of Tarsus who later became the Apostle Paul.
You can read all about his conversion to the young new
Christian faith beginning at the end of Acts chapter seven,
and continuing through Acts chapter nine. Both the Biblical
and the historical record verify that, with this persecution
which began at Jerusalem, the Early Disciples eventually
travelled as far as Africa, India, Russia, Europe and
beyond. Just as the order was given in Acts 1:8 to take the
Gospel to all the known world of their day, we find the
beginning of its fulfillment by simply reversing the verse
reference, and going to Acts 8:1 where we read:

"And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time
there was a great persecution against the church which was
at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout
the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
(Acts 8:1)

While the actual Twelve Apostles remained in Jerusalem, they
realized that the only way that they could continue their
work there of reaching the thousands of pilgrims who came
annually to fulfill their obligations at the Temple, would
be by appearing as less of a threat to the Jewish Elders.
One way they accomplished this was by reducing their numbers
and sending out road teams to evangelize the rest of Israel.
One point which is worthy of note, is that when the writers
of the Epistles spoke of Deacons and Bishops, they were not
referring to an established system of church buildings as is
espoused by modern Christianity. These men were Spiritual
Elders over the Bodies of Believers established in the towns
visited by Paul, Luke, Philip, Peter, Thomas, Barnabas,
Silas and others. These Early Believers lived in their homes
and congregated in their homes. This is where these Deacons
and Bishops ministered to them. Allow me to again refer you
to my companion article 'Where Are The First Century
Churches?'.

Unfortunately, by the middle of the Book of Acts, we
discover that a spirit of compromise had already begun to
creep into the ranks of the Disciples at Jerusalem. A close
reading of the Epistles will reveal that the Elders of the
New Faith had already begun to issue warnings concerning the
false brethren who had crept in unawares to try to make the
new Disciples conform with the laws of Judaism. The Apostle
Paul was particularly aware of the evil which was brewing in
Jerusalem as is apparent in such verses as the following
where he warns his young new converts to beware of the false
brethren who were arriving from Jerusalem:

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve
through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from
the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh
preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye
receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or
another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well
bear with him...For such are false apostles, deceitful
workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of
Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into
an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-14)

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called
you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:"
(Galatians 1:6)

"But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was
compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false
brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out
our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might
bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection,
no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might
continue with you." (Galatians 2:3-5)

"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the
concision." (Philippians 3:2)

Despite the best efforts of Paul and others, only several
centuries after the initial explosive events at Jerusalem,
the Christian Church had already cooled off spiritually. She
went from being a Spiritual Kingdom with an interest in
men's souls, to being a physical Earthly kingdom drunk on
wealth and power with a misguided preoccupation for
constructing church buildings. While it may be difficult for
some to understand how this could possibly happen, consider
what has happened in our current times with modern-day
America. Barely two hundred years have gone by since her
founding, and already she has gone astray; and has for the
most part abandoned the Christian heritage she received from
the Founding Fathers; many of whom were God-fearing men.
Thus, the Early Church went from storing up rewards in
Heaven, to laying up for themselves treasures upon Earth in
direct disobedience to Jesus' own commandment:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth
and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and
steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not
break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there
will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

While ancient Israel compromised with the pagan nations and
peoples around and within her, the Early Christians lost the
fire and compromised with the pagan Roman Empire; the very
ones who had previously persecuted and slaughtered them in
their sports coliseums. This ultimately resulted in the
spiritual marriage and whoredom of the Church. Just as
Israel had abandoned her true spiritual Husband and King,
and prostituted herself with pagan gods and lovers, the
Early Church did the same. It was a common practice for the
Romans to adopt the gods and customs of the heathen nations
they conquered. This is what perverted the Early Church when
she compromised with Rome. In truth then, we must honestly
ask ourselves: Has modern Christianity become any better
than the corrupt religious system of the Jews which first
rejected Christ and His Twelve Disciples? While they claim
to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, have they too become lost
in legalities, meaningless rituals and materialistic worship
without the Spirit of God?

If we turn again to the Book of Revelation, we discover
that the false religious system of the Endtime is referred
to by John as Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and
Abominations of the Earth:

"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON
THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE
EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the
saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when
I saw her, I wondered with great admiration."
(Revelation 17:5-6)

John was quite amazed by this mysterious woman. The idea of
Babylon being drunk with the blood of the Saints is again
repeated in the final verse of the next chapter where we
read:

"And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints,
and of all that were slain upon the earth."
(Revelation 18:24)

Exactly who is this Babylon the Great Whore of Revelation?
Over the years I have heard a variety of answers to this
intriguing question. Within Christian eschatological
circles, that is, those who study Endtime prophetic events,
there are different schools of thought. These range from
those who interpret prophecy in a purely spiritual manner,
to those who apply a more physical interpretation. In the
middle we have those who understand some prophecies as being
spiritual in nature, while others are to be understood and
fulfilled in a very literal manner. I would include myself
in this middle ground. Having said that, allow me to briefly
share with you the four main points of view I have heard
since becoming involved in Bible prophecy many years ago:

1. Babylon the Great Whore refers to the ancient city of
Babylon which was the capital of the Babylonian Empire.
Today, Babylonia is a part of Iraq. As I have discussed in
my series 'The Seven Heads', Saddam Hussein is currently
excavating and rebuilding this ancient metropolis. In fact,
following the custom of the ancient Babylonian kings, he is
having his name and the date imprinted on every stone used
in the reconstruction of this once great city. As I also
mention in that series, Hussein considers himself to be a
direct descendant of King Nebuchadnezzar; thus he views
himself as Nebuchadnezzar III.

2. Babylon the Great Whore corresponds to Rome and the Roman
Catholic Church. Needless-to-say, while quite offensive to
Roman Catholics, this view is quite popular with some
Protestant and Baptist denominations. My understanding is
that the Jehovah's Witnesses also hold to this view. As I
have mentioned in other articles, according to certain
interpretations of the Quatrains of French physician and
astrologer Nostradamus, there are only to be two more popes
in Vatican City. It is said that the final one will betray
Catholic believers by compromising with the Beast of the
Book of Revelation. Some go as far as to suggest that this
final pope will actually be the False Prophet of Revelation
chapter thirteen. One verse used by the supporters of this
interpretation is the following:

"And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are
seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth."
(Revelation 17:9)

The proponents of this interpretation say that the whore
sitting on seven mountains represents the city of Rome which
is said to sit on seven hills. As you will see from my 'The
Seven Heads' series, I hold very different views regarding
the proper interpretation of the above verse.

3. Babylon the Great Whore represents the worldwide
financial/political system of our day. This is epitomized by
the United States of America; and by New York City in
particular, which holds the economic reins of the world.
This is a view which was quite popular with the Children of
God, also known as the Family of Love; an evangelical
Christian group which repeatedly made the headlines during
the late sixties, and into the seventies and eighties as
well. I am not sure if they still exist or not. For those of
you old enough to remember, several decades ago, they passed
out a tract explicitly called 'America The Whore'. According
to the Children of God/Family of Love, America will same day
be destroyed by nuclear fire as retribution for the many
wars and violent acts she has committed to sustain her
lavish lifestyle. While I have no doubt that the Lord will
someday judge America for her many sins, I do not agree with
all of the doctrines of the Children of God.

4. Babylon the Great Whore is Israel herself, and the city
of Jerusalem in particular, which not only persecuted all of
the Prophets ever sent to her, but which also murdered the
very Son of God when He came to offer the Jews spiritual
Salvation. In this sense, all Christ-rejecting Jews can be
considered part of Babylon the Great Whore.

It is important to realize that understanding nebulous
Biblical prophecies is no easy matter; even for those of us
who have been doing it for a number of years. Without the
Spirit of God, a good working knowledge of the Scriptures,
at least a basic understanding of ancient history, and the
proper resources to cross-reference one verse with another,
it is basically an impossible task. Perhaps this is why we
have so many different interpretations of these Endtime
events. To the hurt of the Christian body, some people tend
to write books or articles concerning these topics without
really meeting all of these necessary requirements; and thus
they end up with an interpretation which is sometimes quite
distorted and nowhere near the Truth. As serious students of
the Bible, we all need to follow the advice which Paul
offered to Timothy:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

I discuss this topic in more detail in my article entitled
'Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth'. While I see nothing
wrong with theorizing and speculating as to what certain
verses might mean, the real danger is when we lean to our
own understanding instead of trusting in the Lord's Spirit,
and end up with shakey interpretations which we then try to
promulgate as the absolute Word of Truth. In our quest to
decipher these Endtime prophecies, it is wise to take heed
to the following counsel found in the Book of Proverbs:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto
thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

If there is one thing of which I am sure, it is that the
Lord knows His Word; after all, He gave it, and He inspired
it. If there is anyone who can lead us down the right path
in our understanding of the Scriptures, He is definitely the
One to do it; and He will, if we are yielded to Him, and are
able to receive what He shows us. To wrecklessly put
together an interpretation and then proclaim it as absolute
truth above all others is the epitome of self-righteous
pride. For this reason, I am very prayerful about how I
express my views in my articles. If you are an avid reader
of my writings, then you will notice that I am quite liberal
in my usage of such words as may, perhaps, maybe, possibly,
according to my understanding, it seems to me, in my view,
etc. This shows the reader that while I have a lot of faith
in what I say, it does not necessarily mean that I am right.
After all, I am only human, and thus prone to error. I
simply do not believe that anyone has a monopoly on the
Truth except for the Lord Himself.

There were times in the past when I wasn't so cautious with
my words. I was a bit wreckless due to people and beliefs I
was associated with at the time. As a young evangelist, I
thought I knew quite a bit, and I was proud of it. I am
reminded of a verse from the Book of Proverbs:

"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he
that refraineth his lips is wise." (Proverbs 10:19)

As I have gotten older, and have dedicated myself to a
closer and more personal study of the Scriptures, I have
learned how little I really know. I have also learned that
to say something is of the Lord when it might not be, is
indeed a grave matter. I take this ministry very seriously,
and it is important to me that I am propagating the Truth to
the best of my knowledge. It is for this reason that I am
constantly updating my articles as the Lord reveals more to
me. If He shows me that my previous interpretation wasn't
exactly on the mark, I will change it. Unlike some rigid
writers who believe their words are written in stone, I do
my best to remain flexible and sensitive to the leading of
the Lord's Spirit. I don't want to be guilty of leading
anyone astray, or causing anyone to stumble or fall away
from the Truth. That is the true meaning of the word
'offend' in the following verse. It is from the Greek word
'skandalizo' meaning to put a stumbling block or impediment
in someone's way:

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which
believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were
hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth
of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)

To understand the mystery of Babylon the Great Whore, you
must first realize that throughout the Scriptures, the Lord
refers to the true Body of Believers, spiritual Israel,
those who have accepted His Salvation, His Church, as the
wife or Bride of Christ. The Bible is literally full of
verses from beginning to end which serve to clarify this
point. Consider the following words of the prophet Isaiah:

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful
in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of
salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of
righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with
ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels."
(Isaiah 61:10)

For those of you familiar with the New Testament teachings
of Jesus, the above verse describing a bridgroom and his
bride should ring a bell. Jesus was quite familiar with the
Old Testament Scriptures, so it should come as no surprise
that He would incorporate them in His own parables as in the
following example:

"Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but
they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into
the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the
marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and
gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and
good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when
the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which
had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend,
how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And
he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind
him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into
outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of
teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen."
(Matthew 22:8-14)

As can be seen from the above parable, those who are the
True Bride of Christ, are they who have received the gift of
Eternal Life which Jesus alone freely offers to all men. The
robe or garment His Bride wears is the righteousness we
receive when we are washed in the Blood of the Lamb. This
righteous does not come through our own good works, but only
through the Sacrifice at Calvary. The following verses help
to clarify all of these points:

"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the
marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself
ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in
fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the
righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write,
Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper
of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true
sayings of God." (Revelation 19:7-9)

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5)

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have
fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ
his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins in the twenty-fifth
chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus likewise compared
His True Church to a multiple virgin bride:

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten
virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the
bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were
foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took
no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels
with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all
slumbered and slept, And at midnight there was a cry made,
Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then
all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the
foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our
lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so;
lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to
them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went
to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went
in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord,
open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you,
I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day
nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
(Matthew 25:1-13)

The Book of Revelation follows this same pattern and also
describes the one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed
servants of God as being spiritual virgins:

"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they
are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb
whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men,
being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
(Revelation 14:4)

The above verse will be discussed in more detail later on to
make another interesting point concerning the evil influence
of Babylon the Great Whore. Even John the Baptist was aware
of the spiritual parallel between Christ and His Church, and
the role of the bride and the bridegroom. In the third
chapter of the Gospel of John, we find the Baptist saying:

"He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of
the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth
greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy
therefore is fulfilled." (John 3:29)

Following are a few more verses from the Book of Revelation
which discuss the Saints being clothed in white robes of
righteousness:

"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the
altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God,
and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a
loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost
thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on
the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of
them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet
for a little season, until their fellowservants also and
their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should
be fulfilled." (Revelation 6:9-11)

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no
man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people,
and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb,
clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"
(Revelation 7:9)

Another example of feminine symbolism being used in the
Scriptures can be found in the twelvth chapter of the Book
of Revelation where we find a woman who is being persecuted
by a great Red Dragon. We are told that this vile beast
represents Satan himself. As to the identity of the woman,
there are various schools of thought concerning her. Some
suggest that she represents Mary who bore the child Jesus
who was later caught up to Heaven to sit at the Right Hand,
of His Father. Others suggest that she symbolizes Israel, or
possibly the Early Christian church which was persecuted by
both the Jews and the Romans. Finally, there are those who
believe she may be a symbol of the Endtime Church which will
persecuted by the forces of the Beast prior to the return of
Christ. I will discuss this topic in more detail in a
separate article. As I stated earlier, there are many verses
throughout the Bible which support this symbolism of God's
virgin Bride. For the sake of brevity, I have only shared a
few.

With these thoughts in mind, I am going to bring part one of
this article to a close. In the second half, I am going to
sharpen our focus and further explore the possible identity
of Babylon the Great Whore. In addition, I will also be
discussing the Seal of God and the Mark of Satan, the
Household of God and the Name of God, the persecution of the
Lord's children, the unholy marriage, the pagan origins of
Israel, the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the Scriptural
connections between Jerusalem and Babylon, the significance
of the term Mother of Harlots, the Diaspora, Babylon's evil
spawn, spiritual virgins, other possible interpretations of
Babylon the Great Whore, and the Heavenly City of God. As
you can see, we still have a lot of territory to cover; so I
hope you will join me in part two. As always, I trust that
this article has been a blessing and an inspiration to many.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

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