The harlot and the rapture
from “Deeper Truth Blog”
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 (revised on same date)
One of the most frequently used tactics of rabid anti-catholics is to try and identify the Catholic Church with the Whore of Babylon found in the 17th and 18th chapters of John’s Revelation.
From Chapter 17:
1 And there came one of the seven angels, who had the seven vials, and spoke with me, saying: Come, I will shew thee the condemnation of the great harlot, who sitteth upon many waters, 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication; and they who inhabit the earth, have been made drunk with the wine of her whoredom. 3 And he took me away in spirit into the desert. And I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was clothed round about with purple and scarlet, and gilt with gold, and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of the abomination and filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: A mystery; Babylon the great, the mother of the fornications, and the abominations of the earth.
6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And I wondered, when I had seen her, with great admiration. 7 And the angel said to me: Why dost thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast which carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall come up out of the bottomless pit, and go into destruction: and the inhabitants on the earth (whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world) shall wonder, seeing the beast that was, and is not. 9 And here is the understanding that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, upon which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings: 10 Five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come: and when he is come, he must remain a short time.
11 And the beast which was, and is not: the same also is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into destruction. 12 And the ten horns which thou sawest, are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but shall receive power as kings one hour after the beast. 13 These have one design: and their strength and power they shall deliver to the beast. 14 These shall fight with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, because he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and they that are with him are called, and elect, and faithful. 15 And he said to me: The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples, and nations, and tongues.
Dave Hunt and other such fanatics point to certain clues they say identify the woman. In verse 4, the colors Purple and Scarlet as well as the golden cup could be taken as alluding to the Priestly vestments and the communion chalice of the Catholic Church but the precious stones and pearls are most decidedly out of place.
The verse taken in whole simply does not fit the Roman Catholic Church.
It does, however, fit another entity: The Temple in Jerusalem.
In the book of Exodus we see the vestments and adornments for the Jewish Temple.
From Chapter 28:
28:4 These are the vestments they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a brocaded tunic, a miter and a sash. In making these sacred vestments which your brother Aaron and his sons are to wear in serving as my priests,
28:5 they shall use gold, violet, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen.
28:6 * “The ephod they shall make of gold thread and of violet, purple and scarlet yarn, embroidered on cloth of fine linen twined.
28:7 It shall have a pair of shoulder straps joined to its two upper ends.
28:8 The embroidered belt of the ephod shall extend out from it and, like it, be made of gold thread, of violet, purple and scarlet yarn, and of fine linen twined.
28:9 “Get two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel:
28:10 six of their names on one stone, and the other six on the other stone, in the order of their birth.
28:11 As a gem-cutter engraves a seal, so shall you have the two stones engraved with the names of the sons of Israel and then mounted in gold filigree work.
28:12 Set these two stones on the shoulder straps of the ephod as memorial stones of the sons of Israel. Thus Aaron shall bear their names on his shoulders as a reminder before the LORD.
28:13 Make filigree rosettes of gold,
28:14 as well as two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords, and fasten the cordlike chains to the filigree rosettes.
28:15 * “The breastpiece of decision you shall also have made, embroidered like the ephod with gold thread and violet, purple and scarlet yarn on cloth of fine linen twined.
28:16 It is to be square when folded double, a span high and a span wide.
28:17 * On it you shall mount four rows of precious stones: in the first row, a carnelian, a topaz and an emerald;
What about the Golden cup? Surely that must be the Catholics, right?
Exodus 25:29 Of pure gold you shall make its plates and cups, as well as its pitchers and bowls for pouring libations.
From his work Antiquities, the Jewish prophet Josephus writes about the Temple in Jerusalem;
The holiest part of the Temple:
“Its front was covered with gold all over… But that gate which was at this end of the first part of the house was, as we have already observed, all over covered with gold, as was its whole wall about it; it had also golden vines above it, from which clusters of grapes hung as tall as a man’s height. But then this house… had golden doors of fifty-five cubits altitude, and sixteen in breadth; but before these doors there was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a contexture that was truly wonderful.”
The exterior of the Temple:
“…the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men’s minds or their eyes; for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays.”
The priests’ vestments:
“But that girdle that tied the garment to the breast was embroidered with five rows of various colors, of gold, and purple, and scarlet, as also of fine linen and blue, with which colors we told you before the veils of the temple were embroidered also. The like embroidery was upon the ephod; but the quantity of gold therein was greater. Its figure was that of a stomacher for the breast. There were upon it two golden buttons like small shields, which buttoned the ephod to the garment; in these buttons were enclosed two very large and very excellent sardonyxes, having the names of the tribes of that nation engraved upon them: on the other part there hung twelve stones, three in a row one way, and four in the other; a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; a carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire; an agate, an amethyst, and a ligure; an onyx, a beryl, and a chrysolite; upon every one of which was again engraved one of the forementioned names of the tribes.”
As you can see, Josephus describes the Jewish Temple with almost exactly the same words as John describes the Harlot. The likeness is inescapable.
In verses 8 and 9, we gain critical clues as to the identity of both the beast and the woman. We see that the seven heads of the beast have a dual interpretation of being both 7 mountains upon which the woman sits and 7 kings.
First, let’s tackle the clue of the mountains.
Mountains, not hills. From the Greek word Horos / Oros. This is a very important distinction.
For if John is talking about hills (The greek word Bounos), Rome would be a candidate, as would Edinburgh, Constantinople, Cincinatti and San Fransisco.
However, since the word Horos- mountain- is used, there is only one candidate- Jerusalem. That’s right, Jerusalem is the city that was known in antiquity as the city on Seven mountains because it is the only city in the world built on seven mountains. In fact, Jerusalem was actually called “The city on seven mountains” in John’s time and his contemporaries would have certainly understood the allusion. For the record, they are: Mt. Goath, Mt. Gareb, Mt. Acra, Mt. Bezetha, Mt. Zion, Mt. Ophel, and Mt. Moriah.
Rome, on the other hand is built on seven hills; Palatine, Aventine, Capitoline, Quarinal, Viminal, Esquiline and Caelian. Identifying these seven hills with the Catholic Church is even more problematic for Anti-Catholics. For Vatican City sits on the opposite side of the Tiber river on it’s own hill; Vatican Hill.
Indeed, we believe Revelation does talk prophetically of this city.
2 And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people; and God himself with them shall be their God.
The contrast is clear. The OLD Jerusalem lost her birthright by playing the harlot. In fact, Jerusalem is condemned in such terms countless times in scripture. I will list several further into this article.
Now, moving on to the seven kings.
John tells us that 5 of the kings have fallen. That is, as of the writing of Revelation, 5 of the kings had died prior to his writing of this sacred letter. If the Kings are Roman Emperors- and I believe they were- John would be writing this during the reign of the Emperor Galba, the sixth.
The five fallen would then be Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Cladius and Nero.
The 7th King would be Othos and, exactly as Revelation prescribes, he reigned only a very short time- 3 months- before taking his own life. John then alludes that an eighth king would arise that would be a figurative reincarnation of one of the first seven, which John’s Revelation describes as the beast.
It is pretty difficult not to assign the label to Nero who, in addition to murdering his parents and brother, burned Christians to provide light for his outdoor parties. Nero also fits because he murdered Paul and Peter and, some writings say, eventually John.
Finally, Nero’s name in Greek has the required numerical value of 666.
The puzzle fits together almost perfectly. Almost.
If you follow John’s chronology, It is hard to doubt Nero as the beast and Galba as the 6th and Othos as the 7th kings. The problem comes in identifying Vittelius as the 8th. Like Othos before him- and Galba before him- Vittelius lasted only a few months. This led the way for Vespasian to become the 4th emperor in the year 69 AD. It is Vespasian who is the symbolically reincarnated beast. We can only interpret John as describing the beast as an eighth king in this list and not necessarily the eighth king in succession. Vespassian certainly fulfills the prophecy in verses 16-18
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest in the beast: these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her with fire. 17 For God hath given into their hearts to do that which pleaseth him: that they give their kingdom to the beast, till the words of God be fulfilled. 18 And the woman which thou sawest, is the great city, which hath kingdom over the kings of the earth.
This is an unmistakable allusion to the sacking of Jerusalem ordered by Vespasian and carried out by his son Titus. The verses even tell us that this is the ‘’great city’’.
All you have to do is read Revelation 11:8;
8 And their bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city, which is called spiritually, Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord also was crucified.
Christ was crucified in Rome? In Vatican city? No… He was crucified in Jerusalem.
Sodom and Egypt were both judged and received plagues of God’s wrath. John is assuring us that Jerusalem awaits the same fate. Revelation tells us that the whore has been judged guilty of the blood of both the prophets and martyrs (11:18, 16:6, 18:20 and 18:24)
Once again, there is only one city that qualifies;
LK 13:33 Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’
Here, the Savior, HIMSELF is telling you that the one and only candidate for the harlot is Jerusalem. Would you dare to dispute Him on this?
The following verses from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekial all point to the identity of Jerusalem as the harlot.
How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.”
“For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.”
“They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.”
“But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so. Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them, And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them.”
Jesus judgment on Jerusalem is as clear as crystal…
” John Benko is the founder of, and principal contributor to, Deeper Truth. Deeper Truth is intended to become a comprehensive approach to a deeper, more -in-depth approach to Catholic Apologetics, using all forms of the new media. If you are interested, you can follow them on the web at DeeperTruthBlog or on Twitter: @deepertruthblog