In the last blog I said I would shed light on the identity of the Harlot, the Scarlet Woman of Revelation, who is identified as the great city. Her identity has been wrapped up in a mystery, hence the name: “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the earth” (Rev. 17:5). She isn’t a mother in the sense of producing offspring. This is simply a figurative way of saying she is the ultimate harlot.
There is a mystery about this great city, which is why scholars cannot agree on which city she represents. Her story is primarily told in Revelation 17, but the story really spans the entire Book, God’s Word. To identify the Harlot, we have to understand the mystery. We can’t tell it all in one blog or one video, so be sure to stay tuned to hear the whole truthful tale.
I’m going to break the rules concerning a mystery by telling you up front the city’s identity. In doing so, I hope you stay with us on this mystifying mystery so you get all the scriptural back-up and the full revelation. Her identity may surprise you, because it isn’t what is commonly taught. As always, we’re going to use the Spirit-inspired terminology throughout the whole Bible to make the connections.
So here goes. The mystery is that we’re dealing with three cities that all share the same name, yet are not the same. You could say that each element of the mystery shares a different aspect of the named city. But actually, they are three very different cities that exist independently, even though they share a common lineage. The name of the city: Jerusalem.
The first of the three cities is the physical or natural city of Jerusalem that existed in the Old Testament, into the New Testament, and even into our own time once the nation of Israel was recognized in 1948. The primary aspect or trait of this natural city is its apostate nature. We know from Luke 19:44 that the nation missed its time of visitation from God when it rejected Jesus as the Messiah. We also know from Romans 11 that God is not done with the Jewish nation. They still have a part to play in the restoration of all things.
Israel and its major city of Jerusalem missed its calling of being a light to the world and a praise in all the earth (Is 49:6 and 62:7). That is, as the city stands now. In fact, when the temple is rebuilt shortly, it will be an abomination to God according to Heb. 10:29. “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”
As further confirmation of this, we offer 1 John 2:22-23 (emphasis added). It defines the spirit of Antichrist that has come and gone throughout history, is running rampant in our own time, and still characterizes modern-day Jerusalem. “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”
This is not the end of the story for Jerusalem. The rebuilding of the apostate temple will actually set in motion the end of the vicious cycle of apostasy: a time of peace, complacency, compromising with the nations around them, seeking to establish their own righteousness, being judged accordingly such that God uses the nations as His weapon of indignation, sometimes allowing them to go into captivity. Then repentance comes, He extends His mercy, and brings them back to Him.
That is what we will see unfolding one last time in Revelation. More on that in the rest of the series. For now, we need to briefly identify the other two cities, with details to come. The second is the Heavenly Jerusalem, the City of God. It’s population will soon sky-rocket at Christ’s second coming at the rapture. He will return to the earth, along with the dead in Christ, gather the believers who are still alive then, and take all of His completed Body back to God’s throne as the immortal, glorified government of Heaven.
We will rule from the heavenly Jerusalem throughout the millennial reign. When God creates the new heavens and new earth, the City—described as the Bride of Christ—will descend to the new earth.
Which brings us to the third city. Scripture tells us that the current city of Jerusalem will be destroyed due to the 3½-year war and the 7 trumpet and bowl judgments. The many earthquakes that occur will literally change the physical landscape. Jerusalem will be rebuilt as prophesied by Zechariah and Isaiah. This is when the temple described by Ezekiel will be built, for it could not fit on the site of the current location.
This overview may shock some, but we will bring the scriptural connections and confirmations in the days ahead.
If you’ve been following these blogs, you know by now that no one prophetic passage gives us the total picture of an end-time event. We have to consider the whole counsel of the Word of God and make the necessary connections using the Spirit-inspired phrases and analogies. Otherwise, we can read way more into a single verse than is actually there.
Our featured passage is a good example. Rev. 13:1-3 describes the Dragon (Satan) giving the Beast his power, throne, and authority. One of the 7 heads of the beast has a fatal would and it is healed. We learned this refers to one of the empires (the 7th) being revived. When it reasserts itself, “the whole world” will be filled with wonder and follow the beast.
Does this mean that the Beast—Gog of Magog—will literally rule the whole earth? Or is this another example of figurative language meant to convey something else? This particular figure of speech is called a hyperbole, an intentional exaggeration. So how do we interpret it? There are two question we need to ask. (1) Is the exaggeration being suggested even possible? (2) Is there any contradictory evidence in Scripture to prove otherwise? Here are some passages to consider.
To confirm this view, we need only consult the Old Testament prophets who foretold the specific nations that will be involved in the actual conflict. Ezek. 38:1-6 lists Magog, Meshek, and Tubal (areas in Asia Minor, now Turkey), Persia (Iran), Cush (Sudan), Put (Libya), Gomer (near the Black Sea), and Togarmah (Armenia). Daniel 11:42-43 adds Egypt and Libya. Micah 5:6 includes Assyria (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon).
This is why the Beast in Revelation is described as having 7 heads (kingdoms or “mountains”), the same 7 nations that oppressed Israel through the ages as seen in the visions recorded in Daniel. That is, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire. The Beast also always has 10 horns—the modern day nations that occupy those regions now. In short, the main conflict covers the area of the Middle East generally known as the Fertile Crescent, the hostile Gentile nations that seek to destroy Israel.
This makes even more sense when we consider that the various visions John saw and recorded in Rev. 11-19 all deal with the events of the first 3½ years of the Day of the Lord. That is, the trumpet and bowl judgments, which consume and destroy the Antichrist and his coalition of Middle Eastern armies, that eventually leads to the restoration of kingdom to the newly revived Jewish believers.
The Jews missed their time of visitation when they rejected Christ at His first coming. Now as Christ’s second coming draws so near, we need to not only discern the signs but also know the times so that the Church can understand what we need to be doing. It’s not that we’ll miss the rapture, but we can get caught up in doing things that are not needed. Instead, we need to be offering a merciful warning to this generation, as in Noah’s time. People need to receive Jesus as their Savior because time is running out.
In Rev. 13:1-2 John reveals the true nature of the Beast. “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.”
By now you know that the Beast is a title used to describe the final 8th Gentile kingdom that comes against Israel. The seven heads represent the previous historical kingdoms that oppressed Israel: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Islamic empire that culminated in the Ottoman Empire. The ten horns are leaders from the modern day Middle Eastern nations that want to destroy Israel.
The leader of this coalition is also called the Beast, along with his cohort known as the False Prophet. John, in his letters, called that leader the Antichrist because he denies the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22). Surprisingly, that title is never used in Revelation, but the Spirit-inspired connections confirm his identity. Paul called him the son of perdition, the lawless one, and the man of sin. Daniel called him the little horn.
John goes on to explain the power behind the Beast. He just so happens to be the serpent of old, the devil, the dragon—Satan himself. This unholy trinity is the mystery behind Gog of the land of Magog that Ezekiel describes. We learned from the prophet that Satan dwells in that area of Turkey, for his throne is in Pergamos (Rev. 2:13). He is the chief over the princes, the rulers of the darkness of this age, powers, principalities, and spiritual hosts of wickedness (Eph. 6:12).
Yes, Satan is the god of this world, but he is not on par with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is not omnipresent (present everywhere), he is not omnipotent (all-powerful), and he is not omniscient (knowing all). He is the prince of darkness, but he is no match for the Light of the world.
Paul tells us in 2 Thess. 2:9-10 that “the coming of the lawless one [the beastly man] will be according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
Yet in verse 8 Paul reveals the outcome of this final war: “the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” Sound familiar? The purpose of the rapture is to gather Christ’s heirs together with Him as the heavenly court that is seated to execute the righteous judgments that consume and destroy the beastly armies.
In Revelation 19:20 we learn that the beastly Antichrist and the beastly False Prophet are captured and thrown into the Lake of Fire. The armies of the Beast are devoured at the Supper of the Great God. As for the power behind the throne, Satan is temporarily bound in the Pit of Hades for the rest of the 1,000-year reign of Christ. He is released at the end one last time to give the inhabitants of the earth one final choice—Christ the way, the truth, and the life, or Satan the father of lies, the murderer from the beginning.
Given where Satan dwells, it should not surprise us that he goes out “to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle.” He gathers another army that goes up against Jerusalem. “And fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the Lake of Fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet [already are]. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
When we make the Spirit-inspired connections, we see clearly what lies ahead. There is a war on the horizon. It begins with the revival of what was the Islamic Empire of old. It’s the most significant war that will ever take place with humanity.
We know when it will begin—just before God turns out the lights as this 6th Day ends and the Day of the Lord dawns. We know that during the war the beastly kingdom will turn on the Harlot of false religion that rides it. It will turn against all religion. We know it will eventually become World War III, as news from the north and east trouble the Antichrist. We know the heavenly court of Christ and His raptured Bride will unleash the trumpet and bowl judgments that consume and destroy the beastly aggressors. We know it will only last 3½ years and ends with the Supper of the Great God. This is the future history of the world. It’s already in the Book!
If you read the last two blogs and took the time to read through Ezekiel 38 and 39, then you have a pretty good idea of what the final world war looks like. Unlike the previous two world wars, this one truly is the war that ends all wars.
We continue to rule as the heavenly court during the rest of the last 1,000 years from above, with Israel being the natural government on the earth. It is a time of relative rest on the earth. The end of the first 3½ years of the Day of the Lord brings the end of the times of the Gentiles. The statue of the empires that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream is destroyed.
“You watched while a Stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the Stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” Daniel 2:34-35.
In case you’re wondering, the seated heavenly court is the Stone that crushes the image. The Stone is the rule of Christ that fills the whole earth. We are the living stones, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:20-21).
The so-called one-world order, the counterfeit kingdom of the lawless one, is brought down at the end of the 3½-year war at the start of the Day of the Lord. It wasn’t done politically by invading seven mountains that men have determined, by believers whose spirits have been made new, yet still see only in part and are not yet perfected.
It shall be done literally by the perfected Body of Christ finally united as One New Man with Christ the Head. It will be fought simply by speaking the predetermined will of the Father, God Almighty, the Most High God. Only He, and He alone, determines the times and the seasons, and raises up and brings down the kings.
Ezekiel 38 and 39 also tell us the state of the world after this war for Jerusalem. To make sure we get the point, there are 8 verses. Eight is the number of new beginnings and regeneration in the Bible.
In short, the nations see how God delivered Israel against all odds and raised them up to be the head and not the tail. There is no God like our Father God!
In the last blog we confirmed that the war that is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is the final war against the Antichrist—aka Gog of the land of Magog. We saw how this war begins just before the end of this age, just before Christ comes again. The invasion of Israel begins rapidly and comes to a screeching halt when God turns out the global lights. It is the final sign of this age.
So the next thing we should expect to see is the coming of Christ at the rapture. It happens as the Day of the Lord dawns. That Day begins with the wrath of that Day—God’s vengeance against evil. “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord God, “that My fury will show in My face” Ezekiel 38:18. The next thing we see in verses 19 and 20 is the Lord’s coming.
“For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’ ”
Compare this to Rev. 12:15-17. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring [the remnant of Israel who have finally accepted Jesus], who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
We’re looking at the same 3½-year war for Jerusalem as prophesied in the Old and New Testaments. We’re seeing the same beast [Antichrist] who comes against Israel for 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6) or 42 months (Rev. 13:5) or for a time, times, and half a time (Rev. 12:14; Daniel 7:25).
So how does this war go down? It begins with the rapture of the Church (Daniel 7:9-10). The heavenly court is seated—Christ the Head and His Body, His Bride, as joint-heirs. The new song is sung and the heavenly declarations are made. Scripture describes these as the two-edged sword coming out of our mouths.
The next thing that happens is recorded in Rev. 12:7-9. “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” The evil spiritual forces influencing the earth are brought down first.
Then comes Operation Consume and Destroy. The ruling judgments of the court gradually consume the beastly armies via the first six trumpet and bowl judgments. “And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone” Ezek. 38:22.
Then suddenly the 7th trumpet sounds. “Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured” (Ezek. 39:3-4).
Rev. 19:17-21 describes this same event as the Supper of the Great God. “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” That’s how the war ends. The rest of Ezekiel 39 describes the mop-up operation.
Ignoring these obvious Spirit-inspired connections has left the Church with a confusing mash-up of competing views. We can’t even agree whether or not we go to Father’s House as Jesus promised, go up into the sky for a moment and then come back down to earth, or we never get to go up and see our mansions.
These views rob us of our true destiny. When we follow the scriptural connections, we see that we go back to God’s throne room with our Beloved Jesus and are seated in the position of all power and authority with Him. We execute the wrath of that Day that brings down the Antichrist and restores the kingdom to Israel as the natural head of the earthly nations. It doesn’t get better than that, folks. Why would you settle for an inferior, unbiblical account?