The ‘Mother of Harlots’ is described in the Bible as the predominant influence on gentile world kingdoms of the past and particularly on the final 10 nation confederation which will be led by the future anti-Christ.
“And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” Revelation 17:3
The final gentile kingdom will, however, turn on the great harlot, according to God’s sovereign will, and destroy her.
“And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot…and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose… to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.” Revelation 17:16-17
The mighty angel then further describes the harlot and the influence she has over the nations’ leaders.
“And the woman whom you saw ‘is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.’” Revelation 17:18
At this point many attempt to separate chapters 17 and 18 of the Revelation by referring to the woman in chapter 17 as false religion and the focus of chapter 18 being the future worlds’ political, economic, or commercial, system.
However, the text indicates that chapter 18 describes the activities of the woman in chapter 17, i.e. they are one in the same. In other words the woman in chapter 17 is called ‘Mother of Harlots’ because of what she does in chapter 18. Note the focal point in chapter 18 is also called ‘that great city’ as is the great harlot in Revelation 17:18 above.
“The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning…saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon…For in one hour your judgment has come.’” Revelation 18:9-10
A logical question then arises, i.e. why would commerce or materialism be considered harlotry, or spiritual adultery? An early indication of such a relationship is found in the Old Testament with reference to the ancient city of Nineveh.
“Woe to the bloody city! It is full of lies and robbery…Because of the multitude of harlotries (spiritual unfaithfulness) of the seductive harlot…who sells nations through her harlotries…you have multiplied your merchants more than the stars of heaven…” Nahum 3:1-16
A much lengthier and more detailed discussion on commerce and materialism is found in the writings of the prophet Ezekiel. The city cited was Tyre which was known for its international trade associations.
The king of Tyre was energized by Satan himself as was the king of Babylon. The following passages begin with describing Tyre as perfectly situated to be the center of international trade.
“…take up a lamentation for Tyre, and say… ‘You are situated at the entrance of the sea, merchant of the peoples on many coastlands’, thus says the Lord God: O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty…’” Ezekiel 27:2-3
Next Tyres’ trading success is noted and the resulting pride it brings.
“With your wisdom and your understanding you have gained riches for yourself, and gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches.” Ezekiel 28:4-5
Then Ezekiel notes the king of Tyre was energized by Satan.
“…Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God…You were perfect in your ways…till iniquity was found in you.’” Ezekiel 28:12-13, 15
The king of Tyre then suffers humiliating destruction from God Himself because of his pride and self serving agenda.
“Your heart was lifted up (proud) because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.” Ezekiel 28:17
Now with that abbreviated introduction relative to commerce and materialism, how does that relate to the future judgment of that great ‘city’ Babylon, and more specifically America?
To be concluded next week.