Enter the Great Prostitute
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore, go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18).
Now that the seventh bowl has revealed the certain destruction of the end of time, one of the seven angels comes to John to further reveal just what the seventh bowl will soon destroy: “The Great Prostitute who is seated on many waters.” This is she whom the angel describes as the one whom “the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality” and “the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” She rides a scarlet beast full of blasphemous names, with seven heads and ten horns, just like the beast of chapter thirteen. The Whore herself is magnificently clothed and holds a golden cup full of the abominations and impurities of her whoredom. In ancient Rome prostitutes wore headbands with their names. We should think the same of her as the name written on her forehead reads: “Babylon the Great, mother of prostitutes and earth’s abominations.”
If the beast is the world system that coerces men to idolatry and murders those who refuse to submit, the “Great Prostitute” is the more seductive side. She is the great city (certainly Rome of John’s day) which induces men to vanity, gluttony, sensuality, perversity, luxury, wantonness, greed, selfishness, ostentation, drunkenness, and excess in all things sinful. She makes such things looks pleasant and even glamorous. She entices with wealth, pleasure, and power. What more could a pagan want? Where the Whore succeeds, the beast need not waste time coercing. And where she does not succeed, the beast must intervene through persecution and slaughter. And the Harlot is just as happy for this as she herself is “drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”
This is Rome, Athens, Susa, and Babylon of ancient times. There have been other cities which played such a role, and many would accuse Washington, D.C., of such today with her power to coerce for such abominations as abortion, sodomy, and all the things listed above. But Christians must remember the word of the Lord quoted at the top. We cannot be witnesses until we separate ourselves from sin, and sometimes, sinners. They will accuse us of being “haters.” They did so in ancient Rome—and do so now.