Saturday, 22 May 2021
And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH. Revelation 17:5
This is referring to the great harlot John has been describing. Of her, he says, “And on her forehead a name was written.”
Scholars of the past have noted that prostitutes of the past actually had their names tied in a circlet which was then displayed on their foreheads as a label. This would be similar to how people at a store will wear a name badge today. The forehead is the most prominent and visual place where anyone can see the identification plainly and immediately.
In other words, nothing is hidden about this. It is obvious and clearly exposed. The forehead is also the place of acknowledgment, such as in vows.
The High Priest of Israel wore a turban as he performed his duties and the passage from Exodus 28 notes the adornment of it –
“You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet:
HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
37 And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. 38 So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.” Exodus 28:36-38
There is a marked difference between the forehead of the high priest and that of the great harlot. Holiness and true worship are replaced with what is abominable and false. Where the High Priest (a picture of Jesus as our Mediator) bears the sins of God’s people, the great whore bears her own sins and leads others into her abominations.
As noted earlier, the forehead is also the spot where the mental assertion of something is made. For this reason, Moses gave this instruction to the people of Israel concerning the laws they had received –
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-8
Rather than mentally asserting that God is the Creator and worthy of holy reverence, the only mental assertion in the mind of this whore is fornication, idolatry, lust, and abominable practices. She identifies with the name next to be stated and acknowledges its position openly. And that name is:
MYSTERY – This is either a part of the name, or it is a way of saying, “This is a harlot, but it is unknown except to whom it is revealed,” or it means that the name is to be understood in a spiritual sense. One (or both) of the latter two options seems more likely. In other words, this is a city and a body that is a harlot, but those who have not had the mystery revealed to them do not know it is so. Further, this is not a literal female woman who is a harlot, but she is being used as a metaphor to describe the city. This harlot has been working out her practices in a way that people don’t even realize that they are following the wrong path. What they think is right is not, and yet it is hidden from them.
BABYLON THE GREAT – The name itself signifies complete confusion. Babylon comes from the Hebrew babel, meaning confusion. The deception of the whore is complete. What she proclaims as truth is actually a confused and twisted substitute. Following the word babel back to its origin, one scholar notes that its plural form means “gate of the gods.” The term was therefore used to denote all supposed avenues which led to the gods – sorcery, astrology, occult practices, humanism, idolatry, etc.
Babylon was later an empire composed of a government, a religious identification, and that warred against Israel (the people of God) through both spiritual (Ezekiel 23:11-21) and actual (innumerable references) means. This harlot will emulate ancient Babylon and will be considered a superlative example of it, the last and greatest example of the ideal of it.
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS – Of all of the harlotry that occurs, this harlot is the preeminent one. Her name signifies that from her stems all false religion which is opposed to the truth of God. It is the one that is the beginning, or source of the others, and one which rears up all the others to act in her manner. She sets the examples for all the others in her doings. Remembering that harlotry in this sense is a turning away from God and to false religion, idolatry, and so on, this entity counterfeits right faith, but then turns its congregants away through subtlety, guiding them into apostasy.
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH – Matthew Poole says of this title, “And abominations of the earth; a place in which not only idolatry reigneth, but all abominable things committed in the world; carnal whoredom tolerated by them, and sodomy, &c.” It is a place where there is vile wickedness of the heart, perversion, lusts for power, control, and (as Poole notes) sodomy. These “abominations” are unclean, perverse, filled with wickedness, and the doctrines of demons. The practices she promotes cover all “of the earth,” and people from every shore are involved in her wickedness.
Looking at the description above, one can clearly identify a place that exists on earth, right now, that fits this description. It may or may not be all that is inclusive of what MYSTERY BABYLON is comprised during the tribulation, but this place, this city, is the head of it. Look at the world around you and the identification of her should be clear.
Life application: In the Bible, we are told to think on Jesus and to look to Him. Anything that takes our attention off of Him, or which falsely portrays His gospel message, is to be completely rejected.
We can ask ourselves, “Is there such an entity on earth that resembles Christianity and yet has departed from the truth of the gospel?” “Has this entity taken people’s eyes off Jesus and directed them towards other things?” “Are practices of this entity filled with idolatry, demonology, sorcery, and occult practices?” “Has such an entity arisen which fulfills a role unintended by the Lord when He established this church?”
If one reasonably and in an unbiased manner evaluates these questions, the answer is “Yes.” And as the days progress, Mystery Babylon will be seen for what she truly is – apostasy and wickedness.
It is our obligation as believers to turn from anything that is not focused on Jesus Christ. He alone is to be our hope and our highest joy. God has appointed Him to be our one and only path to salvation. Let us rejoice in Him. Yes! Let us rejoice in JESUS!
Lord Jesus, You alone are due my reverence and my worship. No other being is worthy of any praise or prayer directed to them. Help me to be a light to others who may be caught up in the untruth of the lies of the great whore who steals men’s souls away from coming to a saving knowledge of Your glorious majesty. Amen.