Words of Warning / Also of Hope
Listen to Messiah Jesus as he summarily describes the terrible devastation of the Great Tribulation, which the signs of our generation show to be so very near:
“For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:21-22).
Then Jesus declares what will happen to bring an end to this horrendous period of destruction and judgment: “…And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Verse 30).
Mainly from the Book of Revelation, but also from the books of Daniel, II Thessalonians, I John, Zechariah, and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke this unparalleled time of trouble—immediately after the Rapture of believers to heaven—includes but is not limited to:
Reappearance of the Antichrist beast from the abyss; an unheard of 7-year treaty orchestrated by Antichrist Nero between Israel and other nations; a brief semblance of global peace; devastating wars, famines, and diseases; the disastrous Gog/Magog invasion of Israel headed by Russia, Iran, and Turkey (disastrous for those nations, not for Israel); Antichrist’s breach of the treaty after 3 ½ years; twenty-one cataclysmic judgments from God through natural and supernatural disasters; global defiance and cursing of God himself; two mighty prophets (Moses and Elijah) who will, “strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish”; Antichrist’s coalition of ten nations joining forces with the Kings of the East to arrogantly do battle with the King of all kings; the crushing defeat of Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and their armies at Armageddon.
(Valley of Megiddo in Israel, Site of the Final Battle of the Ages)
(Many Eye of Prophecy articles have been written about these events and others. I’ll cite just three: Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, posted 6-6-15; End of the World Events … In Chronological Order, posted 2-25-17; Stunning Catastrophes of the Tribulation / Their Timing and Purpose, 11-4-17)
And one other incredible occurrence portrayed by John in Revelation as the woman sitting on the beast. In keeping with the theme of this week’s final article of the trilogy that began two weeks ago: Shameful Saga of the Great City (Revelation 17) and last week’s Cunning Makeover of the Great City (Revelation 17), we’re going to examine the fateful finale (justifiably deserved) of this woman.
An Unholy Union
One of the most intriguing expressions in the English language is one of several two-part English words; a phrase that conveys both a literal and metaphorical meaning: Bed-fellow.
Webster’s Dictionary defines this thought-provoking term as, “one who shares a bed with another.” (Hello … of course). Yet this term also bears a meaning that is, by far, the most contemporary application which Webster defines as, “a close associate: Ally (political).” The idea of bed-fellows has come to mean two or more political, national, social, or religious entities that are at odds with each other, but who are willing to “share the same bed” to accomplish their respective agendas.
Scripture uses a similar analogy to convey the decadent relationship between “the great prostitute” and “the kings of the world.” But the Bible uses more explicit and harsher words than bed-fellows to paint a politically and religiously sordid picture of the Woman who sits on the Beast. Said the angel to John:
“…Come with me … and I will show you the judgment that is going to come on the great prostitute, who rules over many waters. The kings of the world have committed adultery with her, and the people who belong to this world have been made drunk by the wine of her immorality” (Revelation 17:1-2).
Prostitute, kings, adultery, drunk, immorality; stronger words to illustrate the same kind of image created by bed-fellows. That’s exactly what you will find when comparing the interactive political chronicles of the kings/queens of Europe, Great Britain, and Asia Minor alongside the religious history of the Roman Catholic Church, including popes and high-ranking officials of The Holy See.
The Holy See
Simply stated, The Holy See is the episcopal (governance by bishops) dominion of the Roman Catholic Church in and from Rome. The Bishop of Rome is the Pope—the universal leader of the Catholic Church—also held to be the infallible representative (Vicar) of Christ on the earth. Although the Vatican or Vatican State is not technically the same entity as the Holy See, for all practical purposes they are inseparable. Think of the Holy See as the organism of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican as the location where the brain and heart of the body reside and from which they function.
(The Vatican, No Coincidence That It’s Called Vatican City … that “great city”)
The designation of See is derived from the Latin term “sedes” meaning seat, which embodies the Episcopal throne or the “Diocese of Rome.” The Vatican State was created from the Lateran Treaty in 1929 (June 7th, day before yesterday 89 years ago) to: “ensure the absolute and visible independence of the Holy See.”
As stated, the main purpose of creating the Vatican was for the Holy See to continue in Rome as a recognizable autonomous sovereignty and member-state in the global community. In fact, the Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with at least 180 individual nation states, with the European Union, and even with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Vatican City is also a member of or observer in multiple international organizations such as: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), World Trade Organization (WTO), UNESCO, United Nations General Assembly, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In short, the Vatican City-State interacts dynamically with many governments and NGOs of the world.
Formation of the Vatican State was also a desperate measure to revive and then actively reinstate the Holy See to international prominence; to restore and maintain diplomatic influence that had greatly diminished for the preceding 200 years or so. There were several reasons for this demise, such as the Protestant Reformation (beginning with Martin Luther and his 95 Theses in 1517), rise of democratic and parliamentary governments, and scientific discoveries that began to undermine Catholic dogma with a more secular view of the world. Hence, the Roman Catholic Church wanted to return to the glory days in which she and her predecessor (ancient Rome) “…rules over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:18).
Continuation of this rulership before, during, and after the fall of the Roman Empire was achieved by a cunning makeover (form and substance) of the woman … the great city.
This period of “bed-fellow” relationships with European governments lasted off and on for hundreds of years. One that continues in the 21st century but in a more limited capacity, yet also in a more global context. Those limitations will be largely lifted when Roman Catholicism (along side of Islam) soars once again to preeminence led by “his eminence” the Pope shortly after the Rapture of true believers in Messiah Jesus.
So, what about the Holy part of the Holy See? Or the Holy Roman Empire? Or the Holy Roman Church?
The word holy in Hebrew (kadosh) and its counterpart in Greek (hageeadzo) primarily means: set apart or consecrated for a special purpose. It does not mean perfect or flawlessly pure, unless the term applies to God, himself. When the Lord said to the Hebrews, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45), he was referring to his deliverance of the Jews from Egypt for the express purpose of making them a distinct, unique people separated from the pagan nations of the earth; destined to serve God and be a light to the Gentiles, as eventually accomplished through Jesus, the Messiah.
Yet, when examining the history of the Roman Catholic Church, applied to both the concept and implication contained in the term Holy See, there is one unmistakable connotation: Divine excellence that purportedly qualifies the Holy See to exercise God-like authority and influence in all things pertaining to religion and state. It is the supposed sovereign right of rule allegedly based on divinely granted holiness that supersedes heads of state and all religious groups. It is usurping that definitive component of Holy that belongs only to God, not to sinful man and certainly not to any organization no matter how holy it claims to be.
Thus, the Pope is essentially considered to be infallible. When the Pope issues a decree, even if it’s plainly unbiblical such as granting indulgences or infant baptism or the doctrine of papal infallibility, the edict is, for all practical purposes, also flawless. In turn, all those who disseminate and defend papal decrees are not to be questioned, even if the proclamation is a blatant contradiction of or a doctrinally false addition to Scripture itself.
Biblical Salvation vs. the Holy See (or any other religious order)
God’s righteousness is imputed to every person who personally believes and receives Jesus Christ as Savior (II Corinthians 5:21). This accreditation (justification) applies exclusively to each believer in Christ as individuals. Believers are then set apart (sanctification) to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and to live for him (I Corinthians 1:2; II Peter 3:18). Our final purification (glorification) won’t take place until the Rapture, when believers are given new immortal bodies (I Corinthians 15). Then, the true Church (body of Christ) will be presented spotless and blameless before God (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Justification, sanctification, and glorification—all beginning with and part of true redemption by the grace of God through faith in Christ alone.
Said Jesus: “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life” (John 5:24, italics to emphasize the immediate present tense possession of eternal life the moment we accept Messiah Jesus as personal Savior).
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, italics with the same emphasis).
The Holy See & Monarchs Divine Right of Rule … Historical Examples
Inherent in this “divine right of rule” was belief that the Pope—based on apostolic succession that retroactively began with the first Pope designated by the Catholic Church (the apostle Peter)—possessed divine authority over both church and state. It took some time for nation states to fill the power vacuum left by the fall of Rome, but by the 9th century several states or regions saw the rise of monarchs who began to challenge the sometimes subtle, but nonetheless pervasive influence of the Roman Catholic Church in the “affairs of state.”
For several hundred years there was a cyclical waxing and waning of Catholic dominance over governments, kings, and of course the church (as defined by Catholicism) itself. Sometimes kings would prevail; other times the Pope would come out on top. Sometimes there was direct confrontation; other times geopolitical negotiations, diplomatic maneuvers, reluctant compromises, and outright concessions ruled the day. There were unscrupulous tactics including but not limited to: false accusations, imprisonment, torture, and murder. There were scandalous escapades that would lend literal meaning to the Bible’s spiritual analogy of adultery, prostitution and obscenities between the kings of the world and the woman on the beast.
In a moment, we’ll examine just three of dozens of historical highlights (lowlights) that reveal the Roman Catholic Church’s embedded association in and collusive or confrontational relationship with the kingdoms of the world. Which is the exact opposite of what Christ intended for his church. While on trial, what did Jesus say when Pontius Pilate asked him if he was the King of the Jews?
“Jesus answered, ‘My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world’” (John 18:36).
How ironic that the term ecclesiastical is mostly identified with the Catholic Church; when, in fact, the word ecclesia means “called out” (from the world and worldly systems). Again, listen to the words of Jesus: “…And the world hates them (his true followers) because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world … They do not belong to this world any more than I do” (John 17:14-16, parenthesis mine). Jesus was specifically referring to his disciples and generally to all believers, then and now.
If Peter was, in fact, the apostolic rock on which the Catholic church would be built, why didn’t he assume that role and assert himself as the first Vicar on earth? If Peter had chased such an ambition, you can rest assured that Paul and John and other apostles would have confronted Peter and reminded him that Christ was the only Head of the Church, both in Heaven and on the earth. All believers are said to be ambassadors for Jesus; but nowhere in Scripture does Jesus (or the Apostles) command that his (a) substitute (and an infallible one at that) be appointed to wield ultimate control over the body of Christ—the true Church. And most assuredly not to form alliances with earthly kings and kingdoms, nor to exert “ecclesiastical” authority over them.
Yet, the Roman Catholic Church has not only pursued alliances with heads of state but also created and imposed its own divine government with the misguided, non-Scriptural notion of establishing a tangible Kingdom of God on the earth. Rather than acknowledging that (until Christ himself returns to set up the Kingdom of God), the Kingdom of Heaven lies within the hearts of born-again believers on this earth.
First Example: Collusion & Cooperation / Between the Pope and King
In 800 AD, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne (Charles the Great) who was already King of the Franks (Germanic tribes) as “Roman Emperor” which provided the papacy with a foothold in asserting sovereign rights over subsequent Holy Roman Emperors. This demonstrated conclusively that there was a movement to restore the ideal and fabric of the fallen Roman Empire. Both the Holy See and monarchs had the same basic objective; it’s just that they often disagreed on who should oversee this devious design.
(Portrait of Charlemagne)
(Extent of Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire During His Reign)
Second Example: Confrontation … Pope/Church Prevailing over the King/State
Pope Gregory VII had ex-communicated King Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire, because Henry would not yield to Gregory’s insistence that only the Church had the right to appoint local church officials, particularly bishops. In 1077 this conflict came to a head when Henry began to fear local rebellion of his subjects. He travelled a long distance only to wait outside in bitter cold for three days before Pope Gregory finally agreed to see the King. Henry begged for mercy and the pope repealed Henry’s excommunication.
Third Example: Confrontation … Monarchy Triumphing Over the Papacy
In 1534, Henry VIII, King of England, revolted against The Holy See and Pope Clement VII by making himself the Supreme Head of the “Church of England.” Ironically, Henry VIII still followed Roman Catholic doctrine, but would not accept the Pope’s refusal to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine. Henry didn’t wait for ex-communication; he struck first by establishing a completely different church. This took place not long after Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517, proclaiming justification (salvation) by faith in Christ alone. Not by being a member of the Catholic Church; which blindly adhered to non-Scriptural (or misinterpreted) sacraments and extra-biblical catechism such as the purchasing of indulgences to reduce or eliminate time in Purgatory, a place that doesn’t exist (try finding it in Scripture).
This conflict of the ages (at that time) precipitated a gradual decline of the Holy See’s influence regarding its supremacy over heads of state
In case anyone thinks that I am isolating the Roman Catholic Church as the only religious system that has perverted the Gospel of Jesus Christ by changing and channeling the truth of this Good News into a man-made, governmental-type Kingdom of Heaven on earth, I am not. For example, the Church of England that broke away from Roman Catholic domination and later morphed into the Anglican Church wielded a great deal of influence over both the religious and political affairs of England, as well as individual groups of Christians. It was for this reason that the Puritans sailed to America and founded the first real colony in the New Land. Following the same principles of freedom from religious and state monopoly, the colonies rebelled against England which led to the Revolutionary War.
What I am saying is that the Roman Catholic Church for all the reasons presented in this article and the previous two, precisely matches the characteristics ascribed to the woman of Revelation Chapter 17.
The Woman Identified by Her Clothing
I never cease to be amazed by the meticulous historical and prophetic detail found in so much of the Bible. Most of three full chapters (Revelation 17, 18, & 19) talk about the Beast who reappears from the Abyss at the outset of the Great Tribulation and the Woman who sits on the Beast. As we’ve seen in this trilogy of Eye of Prophecy articles (and prior articles in the category of Antichrist), the Beast is Nero and the Woman is both ancient Rome and the subsequent Holy See.
One of these astonishing features conveys the actual clothing worn by the woman in John’s vision. Let’s see how this apparel corresponds to the attire of the Roman Catholic Church … figuratively and literally.
“The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls….” (Revelation 17:4a).
Why would the vision given to John include a description of the woman’s attire? Answer: For the same reason that most of the visions in Revelation provide precise portrayals of people, places, and things (past, present, and mostly future)—to explain what to look for and what will happen during the unfolding of the last days, including the Great Tribulation.
For example: “The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses” (Revelation 19:14).
The “him” of this verse is Messiah Jesus; the “armies” are all believers in heaven who will accompany Jesus during the final battle of Armageddon. White linen represents purity and the good deeds of believers (Revelation 19:8)—cleansed by the blood of Christ that results in doing good things for our Lord—but the color white is also literal in Revelation 19 and other passages in the Bible. Same thing with the woman on the beast: The colors purple and scarlet literally adorn the woman; also, they represent royalty and power respectively.
Notice the sequence of the colors in Revelation 17:4: purple first, then scarlet. That’s not just a random order. Only the Roman Emperors were permitted to wear the “trabea” which was a deep purple toga, because purple was the color of both royalty and divinity in the Roman Empire and later with other nations/monarchs. Purple was considered an enhancement over blue; which also was a royal color in the ancient world—one that began with God’s people, the Jews, as found in the Torah. In fact, to eliminate competition on who and what was considered divine, the Romans outlawed Jews (and Jewish Christians) from extracting the blue dye (from snails) that was used in consecrated Jewish clothing, including the tzitzit (tassels of the Jewish tallit—prayer shawl).
Subsequently, scarlet would be the predominate religious royal color of choice by the Roman Catholic Church.
(Israel’s Flag … Hebrew word for blue is “tekhelet”, found 49 times in the Torah–Old Testament)
The preeminent color of the Roman Catholic Church is still red or scarlet; even though there are four main hues used in Catholicism—white, purple, red, and green—depending on the specific celebration, occasion, or rank of papal officials.
The Roman Empire was recognized for its vast wealth. So was and still is (less overt display in our times) the Roman Catholic Church known for its opulence and lavish display of precious metals in/on clothing, edifices, artifacts, and instruments involved in the sacraments. “The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls…” (Revelation 17:4a).
Not until the Roman Catholic Church began to consolidate authority over individual churches did purple and scarlet begin to replace white as the prevailing liturgical colors.
The Woman Identified by Her Coat of Arms
For those not familiar with Coat of Arms, it’s an insignia normally in the shape of a shield worn (as clothing) or carried on flags or banners by kings/queens, nobility, and soldiers to herald the sovereign identity of a nation or kingdom.
Webster’s Dictionary defines heraldry as, “the practice of devising, blazoning, and granting armorial insignia…”
Not long after kings and kingdoms began using (more frequently) emblems in the middle Ages, the Holy See followed with its Coat of Arms. For the last 800 years or so, each Pope has designed his own coat of arms in addition to the traditional symbols found on the Apostolic See’s Coat of Arms, such as two crossed keys … one gold and the other silver. Again, this demonstrates a pattern throughout Roman Catholic Church history to rival and exceed the authority of kings, whether these kings endorsed Catholic dogma or not.
The current Pontiff is Pope Francis who in 2013 succeeded Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger), who inexplicably and suddenly resigned. In keeping with previous popes, Benedict chose a coat of arms displaying symbols that represented what was important to him—traditionally, theologically, and personally. The three emblems on the front of Benedict’s shield (Moor’s head, bear, and a scallop shell) have a strange, enigmatic history. The dominant color of the shield is red/scarlet, with gold as a strong second color.
What we need to focus on is the shape of the shield itself, which is the most universal motif in Roman Catholic heraldry: a chalice. Synonyms for chalice are: cup, vessel, and goblet. Many know about the Holy Grail, from King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The legend of this grail (the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper) began some 1500 years ago; though the actual cup used by Jesus has no literal or symbolic importance in Scripture whatsoever. It’s the wine in the cup that bears profound significance.
“After supper he (Jesus) took another cup of wine and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood (represented by the wine) which is poured out as a sacrifice for you’” (Luke 22:20, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).
The Catholic Church attaches great importance to this relic (cup) itself; thus, the composite chalice shape of the Coat of Arms is not a coincidence. There is an unmistakable connection between the chalice imagery of Roman Catholicism and the golden goblet held in the hand of the woman on the beast. It’s one of several identifying features of the woman of Revelation 17&18 that can be seen explicitly throughout Roman Catholic history and in the modern-day world.
(“Scarlet” Priest and “Golden” Cup … Goblet)
The Woman Identified by Her (lack of) Morality
“…In her hand she held a gold goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality” (Revelation 17:4b).
The Greek word for obscenities (abominations as found in other Bible translations) is: bdelgma, pronounced bdel-oog-mah. It means foul or detestable. Since we’ve already touched on this subject, and because the primary purpose of these articles is to disclose and document the two-part (ancient Rome + religious makeover to the Holy See) identity of the woman who sits on the beast, there is no purpose in elaborating on some very questionable (understatement) episodes throughout the history of the Roman Catholic Church.
Except to say that several past and contemporary incidents involving the Catholic Church can only be construed as abhorrent and immoral, not the least of which is the ongoing world-wide scandal of Catholic priests and the abuse of children. Both social and religious leaders attribute this abuse primarily to the vow of celibacy required for all Catholic priests. Nowhere in the New Testament does it command that church leaders take a vow of celibacy for any purpose whatsoever, other than personal preference … which doesn’t require a vow. Even the so-called (first) Pope of the Catholic Church, Peter, had a wife!
Regrettably, there also have been some distasteful dishonors involving Protestant and even Evangelical church leaders, but nothing approaching the enormity of disgraceful incidents throughout Catholic Church history. This is not just a comparison based on the number of offenses; rather, it’s a matter of matching the historical development and record of the Catholic Church to prophetic passages found in the book of Revelation.
The Woman Identified by Her Persecution of Jews and Believers (Jewish or Gentile)
“I could see that she was drunk—drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus. I stared at her in complete amazement” (Revelation 17:6).
The legacy of the Catholic Church is repulsively replete with periods of repression, deprivation, torture, and killing of those classified as heretics, dissident, unorthodox, or even non-conforming trouble-makers. Who hasn’t heard or read something about the Crusades, Joan of Arc, or the Spanish Inquisition; just to mention a few major incidents of oppression against anyone who would dare defy the Supreme Pontiff and Roman Catholic divine right of rule. Wars (both cold and hot) were fought between Catholics and Protestants, between the Papacy and Monarchs, between the Roman Catholic Church and Islam, and within the Catholic Church itself.
Nowhere in Scripture do we find that the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth (currently in the hearts of individual believers) is to be established, defended, or extended by force, i.e. overt or covert persecution, suppression, or by warfare. Only when Christ returns will there be the need to conquer the enemies of Christ, of Israel, and of tribulation saints.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war” (Revelation 19:11).
As Scripture states: this will be a just and righteous campaign … contrary to the unjust and unrighteous subjugation of dissenters to the Catholic Church (or to Islam).
The Inglorious Future of the Woman
Although the comprehensive influence of the Catholic Church has somewhat declined in the last 200 years or so—more so in the political and economic arenas—she will once again rise to power during the Great Tribulation. After all, the Catholic Church claims around 1.3 billion members in today’s world, an imposing force by sheer numbers. And, we have seen a resurgence of interest in and world attention to recent popes, particularly the previous two (Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI) and certainly the current Pope Francis. Not long after ascending to the pinnacle of the Vatican, Pope Francis reached the number one position in a poll of the most “talked-about” person in the world.
Soon after the Rapture followed by reappearance of the beast (Nero), the woman will sit on the beast for both support and control. However, what so often happens to incompatible bedfellows, especially with unholy alliances, will also happen to the woman as graphically depicted in Revelation.
“The scarlet beast and his ten horns all hate the prostitute. They will strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her remains with fire” (Revelation 17:16).
These are exceptionally strong words/images that declare the demise of the Woman. But there’s more:
“How terrible, how terrible for that great city! She was clothed in finest purple and scarlet linens, decked out with gold and precious stones and pearls! In a single moment all the wealth of the city is gone! And all the captains of the merchant ships and their passengers and sailors and crews will stand at a distance. They will cry out as they watch the smoke ascend, and they will say, ‘Where is another city as great as this?’ And they will weep and throw dust on their heads to show their grief…” (Revelation 18:16-19).
Although Rome is inland from the Mediterranean Sea, if even a portion of the city went up in flames, the smoke could be seen by those on ships near the Mediterranean coast. Not so with Babylon (Iraq). Just another passage to validate that the woman (the great city) is Rome and all that Rome contains, including the Vatican.
(Rome is only 16 miles from the Mediterranean, and is significantly elevated in places … the seven hills of Rome)
Note: There are two main visions of the beast given to John as recorded in Revelation. In Chapter 13, the image is of a beast but in Chapter 17 it is that of a scarlet beast. The reason is clearly evident: the bedfellow relationship between the Antichrist beast and the woman who wears scarlet and purple clothing.
The liaison between the woman on the beast and the kings of the earth will reach its climatic zenith during the Great Tribulation. The Roman Catholic Church (and other ecclesiastical systems with false creeds including Islam) will seek an alliance with the Beast (Nero) who reappears from the Abyss, and his ten-kingdom coalition. (See Eye of Prophecy article, The Vatican and Islam … A Perfect Match for Antichrist. Posted 6-4-16)
For a short time, this unholy union will succeed; but with great indignation and fury the Beast will turn on the woman and destroy her. God himself will orchestrate first the destruction of Babylon the Great (Rome), then total victory over the Beast and all nations who would dare oppose Messiah Jesus. “For God has put a plan into their minds, a plan that will carry out his purposes. They will agree to give their authority to the scarlet beast, and so the words of God will be fulfilled. And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:17-18).
Many left behind at the Rapture will yield their allegiance and even worship of the beast who (miraculously) reappears from the Abyss, which means that the woman on the beast will have no alternative but to go along with the ride.
It will be Antichrist (Nero) and his ten-nation confederation who will annihilate the (modern-day) woman characterized as the prostitute, as we read earlier in Revelation 17:16. This is a direct reference to the Holy See or the Vatican—the city within the great city of Rome. This will most likely take place at or just past the mid-point of the Tribulation, when Nero breaks the treaty with Israel. Near the end of the Tribulation the Lord himself will destroy the rest of Rome as dramatically detailed in Revelation 18, which takes place during the last and most awesome of God’s judgments of the earth.
“…And a great earthquake struck—the worst since people were placed on the earth. The great city of Babylon (Rome) split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble. So God remembered all of Babylon’s sins, and he made her drink the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath” (Revelation 16:18-19).
Note: I trust the word “cup” didn’t escape your attention!
With both events summarized as follows:
“…Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just. He has punished the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality. He has avenged the murder of his servants … Praise the Lord! The smoke from that city ascends forever and ever!” (Revelation 19:1-3).
After the Vatican and then the rest of Rome is demolished, Messiah Jesus returns to do battle with Antichrist and his armies who have joined forces with the kings of the east.
“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet … Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur” (Revelation 19:19-20).
(See Eye of Prophecy article: Armageddon & Messiah’s Return … An Amazing Sequence of Events. Posted 2-3-18)
Thus, Satan’s two-front war consisting of hostile elimination of believers in Christ through kings and governments along with Satan’s subtle strategy of infiltration through a religious system that distorts the truth of the Gospel and seeks to capture and destroy the very souls of men and woman, will be utterly defeated by the King of all kings (empires) and the Lord of all lords (ecclesiastical).
Things to Ponder
Unfortunately, many who hold membership in the Catholic Church and other organizations like it will miss the Rapture and suffer through The Great Tribulation. Unless, that is, they call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Joel 2:32)—by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone! Nothing else is needed, certainly not a baptismal entrance to and membership in any formal religious system. Baptism is like the wedding ring. The ring doesn’t marry us, it only shows that we are married.
The Holy See (the woman … the city within the great city) will be ignobly humiliated and decisively crushed during the Tribulation. As will all the religious and secular “isms” that exert powerful influence and control over much of the world’s population. In fact, when Messiah Jesus gloriously returns (just in time) at the end of this global conflagration, all religions and world philosophies will cease to exist.
“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshipped” (Zechariah 14:9).
Hallelujah and Amen!