Jerusalem - The Great Harlot
Issue No. 214
At the end of Revelation 18, after all has been said about the collapse of that great city, after all the wailing and weeping from those who profited by her power, John identifies the great harlot.
Yet take note that the “mystery” or “secret” side of Babylon is not revealed or exposed until after her fall from power. The key is found in Rev. 18:20 and 24,
20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her… 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.
John certainly knew who this was, for he had heard Jesus say the same things many years earlier. This harlot-city called “Babylon” is held liable for the blood of “all who have been slain on the earth.” This harlot-city is also liable for “the blood of prophets and of saints.” Jesus said in Luke 13:33 and 34,
33 … for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem. 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her!
Jerusalem is the only city that is said to have killed the prophets and those “sent” to her. The word “sent” is from the Greek word apostelo, which is the word for “apostle,” one who is sent. Thus, in Revelation 18 we see Jerusalem held liable for the blood of both prophets and apostles—those that God sent to her.
Listen, then, to Jesus’ words in Matt. 23:29-39,
29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, “If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.” 31 Conse-quently, you bear witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up then the measure of the guilt of your fathers.
Jesus is saying that Jerusalem has “murdered the prophets,” and that she was to continue doing so until she had filled up her cup of iniquity with guilt.
33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell [gehenna]. 34 Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things shall upon this generation [genea, “offspring or race”].
It is clear from Jesus’ statement that He considered Jerusalem to be guilty of all the blood shed on earth from Abel to His own day—or at least to Zechariah. But John extends this to the end of the age when great “Babylon” falls from power and is cast into the sea like a great millstone (Rev. 18:21).
Jerusalem is Babylon—and Sodom and Egypt
Mystery Babylon, then, is somehow synonymous with the old Jerusalem insofar as the law is concerned. John alludes to this earlier in Revelation 11:8, in the context of the two witnesses:
8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
Here we find Jerusalem identified with both Sodom and Egypt. So it is not merely Babylon. Sodom is a symbol of immorality and is remembered for being destroyed by fire and brimstone. Egypt is a symbol of bondage and is remembered for its destruction by the ten plagues. And finally, Babylon is a symbol of commerce built upon usury, rather than upon the divine law, and of pride in its own wealth and greatness. Babylon is remembered for its sudden fall at the hand of Cyrus, called “His anointed,” or literally, a “messiah” (Is. 45:1). He is a type of Christ.
Likewise, the old Jerusalem is Sodom in that its lawlessness caused it to kill the prophets. Jerusalem is Egypt in that it is identified with Hagar, the Egyptian (Gal. 4:25) and is in bondage with her children, the followers of Judaism who rejected Jesus. Finally, Jerusalem is also Babylon, in that its “children” have gained control over the world-system through their financial and banking empires.
Old Babylon was not liable for the blood of prophets. It incurred this liability when Babylon and Jerusalem had a corporate merger. Liability for immoral lawlessness and bondage was incurred when they also merged with Sodom and Egypt. While this did not occur on a physical or national level, it did occur “mystically,” (NASB) or “spiritually” (KJV).
In other words, Jerusalem is spiritual Babylon, spiritual Sodom, and spiritual Egypt. Those who work to establish Jerusalem as the Kingdom of God are working for the opposition party. Christian Zionists have been tricked into supporting the opposition, much like people today join Freemasonry without knowing who their leaders are at the top of the ladder. Nor do they know the real agenda. They are just the “workers” who provide the cash to support their own enslavement.
The harlot of Babylon looks really beautiful. The ancient city was probably the most beautiful city in the world, and it could dazzle the eyes of any carnally-minded man. Nonetheless, at its heart, it was a man-centered city, and in the heart of man was death.
Jesus said that Jerusalem was like a white-washed tomb that was beautiful on the outside, but full of death inside. That conveys the same idea using a different metaphor. Luke tells us in Luke 11:53 that after Jesus charged Jerusalem with all the blood of the earth from Abel to Zechariah, “the Pharisees began to be very hostile” to Him, “plotting against Him, to catch Him in something He might say.”
The priests and leaders did the same with Jeremiah when he spoke against Jerusalem and the temple, saying that God would forsake it like He forsook Shiloh. In fact, they would have killed Jeremiah, had not the people prevented it (Jer. 26:24).
Being Chosen Brings Liability
Israel was “chosen” by God to be the executors of His will—which was to be a blessing to all families of the earth. To use a different biblical metaphor, Israel was God’s “vineyard” that was called to bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom (Isaiah 5:7).
Some years after God planted this vineyard in Canaan, the time came for God to reap some benefits of His labor. But the people refused to give Him the fruit of the Kingdom that He desired. Instead, they killed God’s servants, the prophets, whom He sent to obtain those fruits (Matt. 21:35, 36). Finally, He sent His Son, but when they saw Him, they said, “This is the Heir; come, let us kill Him and seize His inheritance” (Matt. 21:38).
Jesus’ parable in Matthew 21 is too short and concise to bring in the details of Israel’s captivities. But we know from biblical history that God sold Israel into the hands of six different nations during the time of the book of Judges. By law, this removed the burden from Israel and put it upon the shoulders of other nations for short periods of time. In effect, those other nations redeemed Israel’s debt note and took upon themselves the liability to pay her debt. In exchange, they were given authority over Israel as if they were the “chosen” people.
When those nations proved to be unable to produce the fruits of the Kingdom, God overthrew them as well. The effect of this was to give mercy to Israel and allow them time to repent, to resolve to follow God’s law, and to try again to bring forth the fruit that God desires. Those grace periods were called “captivities,” because the people did not quite understand the mercy of God in this.
As for Jerusalem, the great captivity finally arrived when God gave Jerusalem and all other nations into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (Jer. 27:5-8). In effect, God was “choosing” Babylon by giving that city authority over Jerusalem and all nations. He was treating Babylon as if they were the chosen people. In fact, legally speaking, Babylon became “chosen.”
That means Babylon became liable to bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 gives us further revelation that this captivity was to extend beyond Babylon itself. It was to extend to a long succession of empires. Thus, the debt note passed from Babylon to Media-Persia, and then to Greece, and then to Rome. Each earthly empire in turn had opportunity to be “chosen,” so that none could say they could have done better, if they had just been given the chance.
In the big picture, the time of captivities to Babylon per se extended for 8 periods of 414 years, from the first captivity to the King of Mesopotamia (Babylon) in Judges 3:8 all the way to 1948. I explained this in more detail in the FFI for March 2006.
The year 1948 had a potential for being the end of the Babylonian system—except that there was one more loose end that needed to be addressed. It was Esau’s old claim to the birthright, which had been promised by Isaac in Genesis 27:40, when he would break Jacob’s yoke from off his neck.
We are now in that final appendage of time that has been granted to Esau to see what he would do with the birthright. Like with all the other nations that were given such an opportunity, modern Esau has squandered its inheritance to fulfill its own carnal lusts for power and money. Esau was given the birthright according to the law of the hated son (Mal. 1:3; Deut. 21:15-21). But Esau will also be disinherited according to the law of the rebellious son (Deut. 21:18-21), once he has proven himself by his violence and bloodthirstiness (Ezekiel 35:6).
Esau Kills Nimrod
In the book of Jasher we read that Esau was the one who killed Nimrod, the king of Babylon. After running for his life, Esau returned home very tired and hungry, and this was how he came to sell his birthright to Jacob, who took advantage of his condition.
Jasher also tells us that he took Nimrod’s garments, by which he ruled. This was the coat of skin that God had given to Adam, and it had become a symbol of the divine right to rule. The garments had been passed down to Noah, but Ham and Canaan stole them from him after Noah had had too much wine. Thus, they “saw his nakedness.”
These garments were eventually given to Cush, who gave them to his son, Nimrod. When Nimrod finally came into the open, clothed with those garments, men recognized him as the king ruling by divine right. Perhaps they did not realize that the garments had been stolen and the throne usurped by Babylon.
At any rate, Esau ended up with those garments. He had more faith in those garments than in his father’s ability to pass on the true birthright. So he despised his birthright and sold it to Jacob—who did value it, even though his character still needed considerable alteration before he would qualify to rule.
This story is really an end-time prophecy of what occurred in 1948. At that time, Esau succeeded Nimrod as king of Babylon. Esau became “chosen.” But he was still clothed with the garments of Adam, which was the mortal clothing given to mankind as a substitute for the immortal clothing of the glorified body. That garment represented a mortal, death-ridden body that cannot bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom. It cannot bring forth Sons in the Image of God; it can only bring forth sons in the fallen image of man. Like begets like.
The Transfer of Authority and Liability
Babylon was not built until long after the time of the flood. In other words, Nimrod’s kingdom appeared long after the time of Adam. And yet it is based upon the first Adam, rather than the Last Adam. When Nimrod put on the garments of Adam, he took upon himself the liability for sin that goes all the way back to Adam. That includes the murder of Abel.
This important prophetic type shows us that Babylon’s rule is based upon the rule of sin. Nimrod usurped the divine right to rule from Noah and Shem. Shem then left Mesopotamia and built the City of Salem, that is Yeru-Shalayim. He was the original Melchizedek, the title of all the kings of Jerusalem. It means “King of Righteousness.”
Note that Adoni-zedek, “Lord of Righteousness” was king of Jerusalem in Joshua 10:1. It is interchangeable with Melchizedek. This Adoni-zedek was another usurper in Jerusalem, for the birthright of Shem had gone to Isaac and then to Jacob; but when Shem died, someone else became king, who was not the rightful heir to the throne. Years later, Joshua killed Adoni-Zedek (Joshua 10:23-27). A few centuries later, David took the city itself, and thus it passed back to the rightful heir.
Later, we are given another example of usurpation in the story of David and Absalom. I have written about this many times and how it prophesied of Jesus’ throne being usurped by the religious leaders with the help of Judas.
All of these usurpers prophesy of the great usurpation in Jesus’ day, when the religious leaders said, “This is the Heir; come, let us kill Him and seize His inheritance.” In doing so, they became Spiritual Babylon. They usurped the throne from the Heir.
In so doing, they took upon themselves the liability for the Debt Note, along with their own personal liability for murdering the King (Acts 7:52).
There are multiple levels of liability, depending upon which biblical theme one wishes to pursue. The most important fact to see here is that Nimrod usurped the throne from Noah and Shem, and Esau usurped it in turn from Nimrod. Nimrod’s kingdom is Babylon, which prophetically extends beyond the old city to the succession of empires seen in Daniel 2. This brings us to 1948, when, prophetically speaking, Esau took the garments from Nimrod and laid claim to the throne of the world—and the birthright from Adam.
Esau thus became ruler of Babylon and incurred the liability for the Debt Note that Babylon was responsible to pay off. The Note came due in 1948, but was deferred long enough to give time for Esau to fulfill its terms.
Meanwhile, Babylon, that great city, that great harlot, became a great financial and commercial empire that has brought prosperity through debt, freedom through slavery, and power through lawlessness. It looks beautiful on the outside, but is full of dead men’s bones. Its face is painted like that of Jezebel, but it is a harlot and a usurper. It has been enough of a counterfeit to deceive much of the Church and world leaders to commit fornication with her.
The Overcomers Given the Kingdom
In Jer. 7:11 the prophet said,
11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, declares the Lord.
This was the condition by which the prophet told them that God was going to forsake Jerusalem as He did with Shiloh. Jesus quoted from this in Matt. 21:13,
13 And He said to them, It is written, My House shall be called a house of prayer; but you are making it a robbers’ den.
In other words, Jesus was warning them that the glory of God was going to depart forever, as it had departed from Shiloh. Jesus was the embodiment of that glory. When He at last ascended from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12), the removal of glory that had begun in Ezekiel 10, 11 was completed.
Later in Matt. 21:33-43 Jesus told the parable showing the reasons why the Kingdom was to be transferred to others. After allowing them to judge themselves, Jesus gave the final verdict in verse 43,
43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.
But in Jesus’ day, Rome was still at its height of power. Rome held the debt note. Jesus was actually referring to a future time, after the fall of Rome, when those fruit-bearers would receive the kingdom and the birthright in 1948. Only after 1948 did they have something to be taken. We are now fast approaching that time. We have seen the signs, and so we know that it is close at hand.
The End of Babylon
So Rev. 18:21, quoted earlier, says that this Babylon will be “thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.” With it will go its counterfeit Manchild, the Israeli state. Meanwhile, the Jews and Palestinians will fight over it, but in the end, neither will have it.
The prophecy of Isaiah 29:1-8 will be fulfilled. God will bring other nations to Jerusalem to fight against her and to lay siege against her. They will hunger and thirst to possess that land. But when the dust settles, they will find that it has been like a dream, Isaiah says, where they dream of eating or drinking, but when they awaken, they find themselves still hungry and thirsty.
In other words, NO ONE WILL POSSESS IT. To me, that describes a situation after a nuclear attack, as Isaiah describes in verses 5 and 6. No one will be able to live there, at least for the foreseeable future.
Likewise, Jeremiah’s prophecy in Jeremiah 19 will be fulfilled at the same time. The prophet was led to smash an earthen bottle in the city dump (“gehenna”), saying in verse 11,
11 … Thus says the Lord of hosts, Just so shall I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot again be repaired; and they will bury in Topheth [“burning”] because there is no other place for burial. 12 This is how I shall treat this place and its inhabitants, declares the Lord, so as to make this city like Topheth.
Recall that Jesus said in Matt. 23:13,
33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell [gehenna].
No doubt he was referring to Jeremiah’s prophecy, which had been given in the place called in the Greek, gehenna, and in the Hebrew, the valley of Ben-Hinnom. The fact that Jesus used the word gehenna, rather than hades, shows that it is a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem—not to the last Judgment of the dead. I wrote about this distinction in my book, The Judgments of the Divine Law.
So when we put all of this together, we conclude that the old Jerusalem is today’s great harlot of Babylon, which is soon to be thrown into the sea as a great millstone, as John puts it, or (in Jesus words) be thrown into gehenna.