Friday, 11 June 2021
In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Revelation 18:7
Instead of exalting the Lord, the pomp and pageantry of this harlot brought honor and accolades to herself. A more fitting description of the Vatican could not be found, but an equally fitting description is next given, saying, “and lived luxuriously.”
The word translated as “lived luxuriously” is stréniaó. It is a new word in Scripture and will only be seen again in verse 18:9. It is the verb form of the unique word found in verse 18:3 that spoke of wantonness and self-indulgent luxury. The idea is that this city sought its own glory and lived like a pampered queen.
She possessed much wealth and many articles of value, and her beds are certainly soft and comfortable. Again, the word exactingly described the imagery of the Vatican, surrounded by jewels, gold, finery, great wealth, large real estate holdings, and so on. But all of this will come to its end. As it next says, “in the same measure give her torment and sorrow.”
As much as she has enriched herself, as much as she has been pampered and glorified, and as much attention has been devoted to her – at the expense of sharing the gospel of Christ – so is this vile harlot to be given torment and sorrow. The blood of the countless martyrs who have fallen because of her will come back and testify against her. The city will be brought to utter desolation.
But even though the book is written, and even though it should be fully understood by her that she is what the ancient prophecies have spoken of, she will sit there, clueless till the end, thinking that she cannot be the target of God’s wrath. She is a delusional harlot that cannot see her own sins piled up right in front of her. Instead, she “says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’”
The ideology of the pope today is one of communism mixed with earth worship. He is like the long succession of popes before him. They have each had their own agenda, be it leaning heavily toward the worship of Mary, or be it the conquest of people groups. Their agendas have not been the proper presentation of the word of God or of the gospel of Jesus. And yet, because of her wealth and status, she thinks that she is married to the nations and above any chance of losing her status.
The words here come from the description of Babylon given by Isaiah –
“Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures,
Who dwell securely,
Who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow,
Nor shall I know the loss of children’;
9 But these two things shall come to you
In a moment, in one day:
The loss of children, and widowhood.
They shall come upon you in their fullness
Because of the multitude of your sorceries,
For the great abundance of your enchantments. Isaiah 47:8, 9
What is notable, however, is that this is the same way Jerusalem was described at the time of her destruction –
“How lonely sits the city
That was full of people!
How like a widow is she,
Who was great among the nations!
The princess among the provinces
Has become a slave!” Lamentations 1:1
Jerusalem thought it would endure, but she had violated the covenant, had brought dishonor to the name of the Lord, and it was ripe for judgment. However, Israel was given a covenant by God. Despite their destruction and exile, they were brought back and reestablished. For this harlot of the end times, such will not be the case. The Lord has made no covenant with Rome, only with the people who are His.
For those who heed the warning of verse 18:4 (Come out of her, my people), the Lord will be their God. For those who remain, only destruction lies ahead.
Life application: The woman riding atop the beast and who sits on many waters is Babylon the great. She is the mother of harlots according to the previous chapter. In Babylon the great, there is a political and a religious connection as was noted. The harlot, who is the religious aspect of the alliance, has “glorified herself and lived luxuriously,” and she had done it along with the politicians and rulers.
This religious entity has been so involved in the non-religious aspects of the beast’s dealings that she considers herself a queen.
The Vatican became its own nation-state in 1929 and has intermingled its religious influence with the political dealings of nations around the world. It holds great sway and influence through owning immense tracts of land and through the political voice of its adherents.
The pomp and luxurious living of the pope and those in the hierarchy is something that was never intended by Jesus as He hung naked and torn on the cross. The Vatican claims to be the bride of Christ, the King, and supposes therefore that she sits as a queen. And it is obvious that through the great power she exhibits, she feels she will not see sorrow, but rather, will continue on in her regal living forever.
Through this entity, there have arisen many unbiblical and anti-biblical doctrines. Marian worship, the servicing of idols, faith plus deeds (rather than faith alone) being required for salvation, sexual perversion within the priesthood, etc. These are all indications of the apostate nature of the church. Within the church, however, are found faithful followers of Jesus who are working to ensure the truth of the gospel is maintained – lone voices calling out amid the torrent of false teachings and unholy doctrines.
Now stand back and look at other denominations and see that this is not unique to Roman Catholicism. A departing from the truth of the gospel is to be found permeating through almost every major denomination as well as through independent churches. As the end times come closer, there will be a uniting of these organizations through the ecumenical and pluralistic movements until they are united completely as one giant apostate religion.
False Christianity mingled with the other world religions will think that they have attained the royal status of being united as a queen which will never see sorrow. But her luxurious living will have its end, and she will be paid in the same measure with torment and sorrow. What seems like a position of power and royalty will actually be a position of destruction and condemnation. What seems like the throne of permanence will actually be the chair of execution.
The great harlot who uses religion to align herself with the power brokers of the world will meet her end and receive her just due. There is one gospel and one path to restoration with God. Only that which is based on what is stated in God’s word is acceptable, and in His word, we find that both are found only in JESUS.
Lord Jesus, You alone are the head of the church and to You alone is our allegiance due. Yes, we participate in our governments as citizens of the nation in which we live, but we are first and foremost Your soldiers in a spiritual war and our highest allegiance is to You. Help us to be aware of the false doctrines in our churches and to work to change them back to right religion which is honoring to You. Amen.