"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Saturday, December 19, 2020

The TTUF STUDY on The REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST – Chapter SEVENTEEN

~ by James Fire

Introduction: The BIBLE can be seen as a “Tale of Two Cities” which thematically are polar opposites: Jerusalem and Babylon. Jerusalem is the city of GOD, literally “the city of peace (shalom)” and whose destiny is the glory of GOD through the Messiah, the PRINCE of PEACE, Who is destined to rule the world from this “city of David” as its capital, for a literal thousand year period.

Babylon from its origin, the city of Babel “gateway to the gods” (read that, ‘fallen angels’) has as its own destiny, the glory of man through the agency of Satan, who is seeking his own glory by bringing Babylon to the fore in these last days. He will use this abominable system as an instrument of his diabolical design, whereby he will receive worship from “the earth-dwellers”, the people of this fallen world for a brief time period (of just three and a half years – the latter half of the tribulation period of “Jacob’s Trouble” lasting a total of seven years).

Babylon, or specifically, the spirit of Babylon is fiercely opposed to the saints of GOD; no doubt at the Tower of Babel, their ungodly ways was an extreme offense to the saints of GOD (Noah and his family), and certainly the opposite was the case as well.
Throughout the length and breadth of Scripture, every false religious and pagan system was an enemy to GOD and His people (the type established even before the Tower of Babel was the martyrdom of Abel (by his brother) who offered by faith an acceptable sacrifice to the LORD as opposed to Cain, who offered a sacrifice wholly unacceptable to the LORD (GEN 4).

With the dispersal of the people of Babel, due to GOD’s confusion of their one world language into a multiplicity of such, the promotion of the false religious system originating there was spread across the globe, reinforced and established – and thus the way was prepared for the persecution of the saints who alone would be worshiping GOD “in Spirit and in truth” (JOHN 4:24) and defy the mysticism of this world-system.
Here in REVELATION 17 (and 18) we have the culmination of corruption with its ecumenical evils that promote man’s way of worship over GOD’s prescribed manner, and whose very anti-Christ spirit is being judged by GOD; the justification of her judgment is based upon her being drunk by “the blood of the saints”.

While this culminating judgment on Babylon is seen for her immediate offenses made against GOD in the last days prior to the coming of Christ, there is an inclusion of all of her offenses observed, from antiquity to the near future: from start to finish.

The judgment on Babylon as seen in ISAIAH 13 and 14 as well as JERE 50 and 51 can be seen from the time when Israel was decimated by that nation (as GOD used Babylon as the means of Israel’s chastening, yet nevertheless was judged for persecuting His people). 

What is seen in these two pairs of Old Testament chapters is a wholesale ruination of Babylon; yet history tells us that Cyrus the Persian took Babylon without a battle – but through cunning and subterfuge: the city wasn’t even aware that their government had fallen until sometime thereafter!

While lessened in important through the centuries, Alexander the Great during his own reign of the Greek Empire used it as his second capital. Thus, much if not all of the destruction (rather than a mere wasting away of a domain due to the long passage of time and neglect) we read about in ISAIAH and JEREMIAH must yet be future, as is of course REV 17 and 18.

There may well then be an immediate application for Babylon (an actual city in Iraq today that has some rather fascinating implications) in current events that will play out during the time of Tribulation.
REVELATION 17:1-2
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication
.

This “great whore” is “sitting upon many waters” (vs. 1) and also sits upon “a scarlet colored beast” (vs. 3) and also sits upon “seven mountains” (or “seven heads” (vs. 9)). The waters represent the tumultuous wicked, Gentile nations (ISAIAH 17:12; 57:20). This great whore has committed fornication with the rulers of this world, and the people of this world have been made drunk with “the wine of her fornication”. So this woman has obvious global impact, certainly not merely a localized influence. 

REVELATION 17:3
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns
.

This scarlet colored beast was seen previously, having these same seven heads and ten horns, only in REVELATION 12:3, he is referred to as “a great red dragon”, and whose tail drew a third of the starts of heaven and cast them to the earth, who desired to devour the child of the woman (Christ Jesus, the seed of the woman, Mary) and he is identified there as “the devil and Satan” (REV 12:9). So there is an association between the person of Satan, and these seven heads/mountains/kingdoms that are his own domain; and yet we see this woman, sitting upon this beast, that entails more than merely the seven heads (it has an entire body, naturally), but these seven are prominent and in control of the entire scarlet beast (as any head of any beast would be). 

I find it remarkable that this fierce global empire is so closely identified to “the ruler of this age” (2 COR 4:4), that it looks identical to him! The people and nations incorporated into this ‘beast’ will have the same heart as Satan whose hatred for and rebellion against GOD is aptly captured in PSALM 2: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed [the Christ], saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

REVELATION 17:4
4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication
:

There is the cup of GOD’s indignation spoken of in REV 14:9-11 against all who worship the Beast and his image and who receive his mark; and no doubt this wrath will be poured out and consume this ‘golden cup’ of abominations and filthy fornication in the white-hot fury of His Holy Judgment. This woman took those emblems of offense that were found in Laodicea and promoted them, flaunted them so that they became an even greater offense to the LORD: This is the LORD’s estimation of the Laodicean church:
REVELATION 3:17
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
:
REVELATION 17:5-7
5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON The GREAT, The MOTHER Of HARLOTS And ABOMINATIONS Of The EARTH. 6 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. 7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns
.

There are those 144,000 servants of YHWH of the twelve tribes of Israel who have the seal of GOD upon their foreheads (REV 7); mention was just made of those who receive the mark of the Beast (REV 13), also on their foreheads – and here we have this woman with markings on her forehead as well. As well as a means of identification, these marks on these various people are a means of declaring allegiance. Those 144,000 express their allegiance to YHWH; those subjects of the Beast declare their allegiance to him by taking his mark.

This woman has declared her allegiance to the mysteries, to the founding of such – namely Babylon the Great – also known as the Mother of Harlots. 

Prostitution in this sense is a spiritual one – namely the false religions of the world, whose origin is Babylon herself. She is a genuine harlot, whereas Israel in her backslidden state had “played the harlot” by worshiping false gods instead of the LORD GOD (JER 3:6-8; EZEK 16:15-16,28; HOS 2). Other cities were referred to as ‘harlots’: Jerusalem was called a harlot (ISAIAH 1:21); Tyre was a harlot (ISAIAH 23:16-17); as was Nineveh (NAH 3:4).

In a recent TTUF article COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM – A CALL for SANCTIFIED WAR, I had made the following observations: 
"This woman holds the title “Mystery” (musterion in the Greek, meaning (among other things): “a mystery, secret, of which initiation is necessary; a hidden thing, is not something unknowable. Rather, it is what can only be known through revelation; religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to be communicated by them to ordinary mortals; from the base word ‘muo’ meaning “to shut the mouth, through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites.”
It has long been the modus operandi of esoteric societies and secret orders to induct novices into their ranks by rituals and sworn oaths, and to impose strict conduct of silence upon them (interestingly enough, they are masked as an emblem of their promised silence; is that coincidental in our covid-phobia world today?).
This woman is named Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots – and if a harlot is a false religious system, what would the mother of such systems be but the very heart, the origin of these false religious systems? Such harlots keep their secretive mysteries well; in fact, the occult (meaning “hidden”) knowledge down from antiquity is often referred to as “the mysteries”.
Such occult interactions with demons, expressing their spiritual interaction and influence with humanity by such things as necromancy (communicating with the dead) and witchcraft (the utilization of spells, incantations, divination, and nature worship) are considered by GOD to be abomination, of which Babylon is the root source or ‘mother”.
“Abomination” is not a trivial word in the Bible – it speaks of the highest offense that GOD could express His greatest displeasure, indeed, His greatest wrath against! This is most evident in “the abomination that makes desolate” (DAN 9:27; MATT 24:15; 2 THESS 2:4; REV 13:14-18). 

The entire judgment of this great tribulation is a response to a world that rejects Christ wholesale, and instead is enraptured by and extols as worshipful the very anti-Christ spirit embodied by both the Beast, and this woman who rides the beast that likewise revels in these abominations!

John the apostle is witnessing all of this and is awestruck by the vision; had this woman been representative of the Roman Empire, he would not have been so, for Christians were routinely slaughtered by the Romans. Yet he is stunned because he sees this woman, with the trappings of religious garb, who on some level seems to resemble the church, but only superficially – and what shocks him is that she isn’t merely drinking the blood of the saints but is entirely inebriated – drunk on the blood of the martyrs!

Isn’t it fascinating that these two ancient cities of antiquity should reemerge in these last days? Just as they were prominent at the beginning, so are they now also at the end of all things!

REVELATION 17:8
8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is
.

As mentioned in prior studies, whether one is talking about a king/leader or their kingdom/gov’t in both the Hebrew and Greek, it’s essentially the same word (In Hebrew for example, the word is melek). What determines whether the king or kingdom is addressed depends on the context of the passage. In this case, both seem to have an application, but in vs. 8, I favor leaning towards a personage rather than a principality, but not to the exclusion of the latter.

This beast (upon which the woman sits) “was and is not” (concurrent to the time that John the apostle is writing this). He shall ascend out of the bottomless pit – which means of course he has to be there now, so that he can at some future date ascend out of it. 

The bottomless pit: abussos in the Greek is perceived as a kind of shaft that penetrates the depths of the Earth; if this shaft in fact were to actually run through the entire course of the planet (through its center) it would indeed be ‘bottomless’ – a possibility at least.
This is not only where this ‘beast’ ascends from, it was also where Apollyon and his hordes came from (REV 9:11) and this is also the future prison house for Satan when Christ returns (REV 20:1).

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

These seven heads are mountains – to be taken both literally and figuratively in my estimation; Rome was the center of power in John’s day, and if prophecy unfolds as I believe it will, Rome (inundated with “the spirit of Babylon” – see Dave Hunt’s book, A Woman Rides The Beast; also Alexander Hyslop’s The Two Babylons) will be the centroid of power once again; the city does in fact, rest on seven hills.

Historically speaking, the woman can be seen dominating “seven kingdoms” as well – and again, this woman is an entity far beyond local regions and times, representing “the spirit of Babylon” that has endured from the beginning when that abominable Tower was erected in defiance of GOD.

These seven kingdoms could be listed historically as follows: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, then the re-emergence of Rome (Phase II as it were) in the last days. One comes to this conclusion of these two phases of Rome when you combine the prophetic visions given to Nebuchadnezzar in DANIEL 2 (the iron legs being the Roman Empire (each leg representing the western empire in the city of Rome and eastern empire in Constantinople) and then the iron mixed with miry clay (the same iron material, but mixed)) with DANIEL 7 where four beasts appear; the last beast being “a great and terrible beast” that would seem to combine the iron and the iron mixed with clay in the previous vision.

What I find intriguing is that all of these nations are represented today in the 21st century, except one. Egypt is still among us as is Babylon (Iraq) and Persia (Iran), Greece and Rome (Italy). Absent is Assyria that has no modern counterpart – and perhaps this “eighth” that is of the seven will come out of that area that was then known as Assyria, and himself be an “Assyrian” and the viable candidate and host for this (demonic) “beast” (ISAIAH 10:24; 14:25; 23:13; 30:30-31) that shall ascend out of the bottomless pit?

REVELATION 17:10-11
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition
.

Here again, both “king” and “kingdom” may be in play; five kingdoms have faded away into history; one remained during John’s day, and the other (the 7th) is not yet come (in my view, this is the reformed Roman Empire).
Then if you consider these as seven kings instead of kingdoms, it gets even more bizarre – conceivably one could see the re-mergence of a kingdom or nation – Israel is just such an example. But the re-emergence of a king? 

And that king having once reigned as one of the seven, then “is not” but considered an eighth who “is not yet come” and must continue a short while. During the time of Israel, being under the oppression of Rome, there were seven emperors that reigned over this domain (obviously more came to power, but these arrived after the diaspora of Israel in 70 AD).

It seems that the one who “is not yet come” is one of these seven who “must continue a short space” – this can be said of this reformed Roman Empire that will endure for the time of Daniel’s 70th week (just seven years) as well as for the leader, the anti-Christ, “the son of perdition”, this “man of sin” (2 THESS 2:3).

There is evidence that Caesar Nero was actually one of the more equitable rulers of Rome, until a certain point, which coincides with the time that the apostle Paul was heard by him, when his case was finally presented (ACTS 25:10-12; 27:23-24; PHIL 4:22). 

I would find it extremely hard to believe that this apostle would refrain from presenting the Gospel to the leader of the civilized world of that time. When he did, it was along this time that Nero became unhinged, began to persecute the church as none before or since, and would race naked in his chariot around a track lined with Christians tied to poles, dipped in tar, and lit to light the way as this demonically influenced Caesar cried and raced around and around.

It’s been an observation that a person possessed of demons will ‘meld’ together so that the character traits of the one, begins to reflect in the other’s entity. For example, traits of Caesar Nero being imprinted on the demon, and this demon’s characteristics being manifest in Nero.

There are some who believe that Nero will be reincarnated into what will become the One World Leader, this “man of sin” (another candidate that’s mentioned is Judas Iscariot). While I concede the possibility (at least where Nero is concerned), it could simply be a matter of the demon, carrying the traits of the man, that when released from “the bottomless pit” (REV 17:8), indwells this one that Israel will receive (JOHN 5:43); this “eighth” that “is of the seven”. 

Admittedly, there is a lot of conjecture in these musings! Whatever may be the case, we recognize that the One World Religion will ‘ride’ this beast and rein this man in as the controlling factor, until having had enough of her control, seeks through these ten kings that give their power to him (vs. 13), to destroy her.

Now we’ll consider these ten horns which are distinct from these seven kings and simply because these seven kings had their day of power (and one of them will again) and these ten kings “have received no kingdom as yet”. Trying to peg these rulers as some existing governmental body in today’s world is fruitless because of the fact that they’ve not even been established yet.

REVELATION 17:12-14
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful
.

These shall “receive power as kings one hour”, that is, for a certain duration of time (In the Greek ora may mean sixty minutes, but it also may represent a specific duration of time; see for example LUKE 23:44).

I do find it interesting that the World Constitution and Parliament Association, an NGO of the United Nations, has created a World Federation Constitution in which they’ve divided the entire globe into 20 regions, then coupled these together in pairs or magna-regions, and assigned a leader to govern over each of these 10 magna-regions. Such authority is on paper only – these leaders (most likely not even appointed at this time) have received no power “as yet”.

While it may be that these ten kings acquire their position in relatively short time prior to the rise of the Beast, they could conceivably be in power for some time, in order to further develop the one world system, so that everything is in place by the time this One World Leader makes his debut.

Think about when the prophet Daniel saw his vision of the four beasts (DAN 7), he considered the ten horns, and only after that point did the little horn arise.
I don’t believe that the church, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 COR 6:19-20), can be present here when the Beast reveals himself because of Him that indwells us; when He is taken out of the way (2 THESS 2:6-8) then so will we also (otherwise the Spirit of GOD would depart from the church – an impossibility as the Spirit is granted to the church as our “earnest” (2 COR 1:22; EPH 1:13-14)).

Yet there would be nothing to prevent these ten kings from rising to power, establishing a one world government and religion, while the church is still terra firma

On the other hand, there could be substantial time between the rapture of the church, and the rise of these ten kings. It could be the rapture itself that excites the need for such a world government (which could pawn off this global event as an ‘alien invasion’ that committed a mass abduction of those members of the world that were holding back the evolutionary leap forward that will transform mankind from Homosapien to Homonoeticus that entails the Human race achieving ‘Christ-consciousness.’

For an excellent article that explores this and related matters, check out Evolution of CONscience by Joshua Toupos as presented on AMOS37 ministries. 

REVELATION 17:15-18
15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth
.

Here again, the waters are the Gentile nations of all sorts – of “peoples, multitudes, and nations, and tongues” on which this woman, this whore sits, again, showing the global influence she has over the globe.

When the time comes, GOD will use even the evil agencies of these ten kings who are sworn in their devotion and allegiance to the son of perdition, this man of sin, to fulfill His purposes and destroy this whore – albeit for purely selfish motives on their part; but we perceive the sovereignty of GOD in all of this!
And as far as the Beast and those kings that have pledged their allegiance to him, their day is coming as well!
REVELATION 19:20-21
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh
.
We will continue in this study as a Part Two of sorts to this one, as REVELATION 17 and 18 both deal with the same subject matter.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Outstanding article written with knowledge and insight. Dave Hunt wrote A Woman Rides the Beast. I read it 20 years ago and can't remember specifics, but I read it with the mindset to confirm my already held belief that the Vatican is the whore and the city of 7 hills is Rome.
This is the narrative that I want to believe. I am not as certain any longer.

James J. Fire said...

Hello 'Unknown' - a question: what is it that has created this uncertainty? I'm very interested.

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