Does the Women of Rev 12. Become the Prostitute.

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Quatchu

Puritan Board Sophomore
Within Revelation we have two women The Women who gives birth in Rev 12 and the Prostitute of Rev 17. The women can be understood to be the church militant, the last we see of her she is being pursued by the dragon (Satan). In Rev 17 the prostitute appears riding the dragon, could the prostitute be the apostate church, who was the church militant. Who overtime is overcome by the dragon.

Does anyone else hold to a similar interpretation. Does anyone know of any commentators that hold this position?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Patrick Fairbairn does in his "The Interpretation of Prophecy" (Banner of Truth).

You'll learn a lot from Fairbairn. He is a postmillennialist and somewhat idealist rather than historicist.

I believe that taking Babylon as the apostate Church makes great sense in unifying the story of the Church throughout the Book of Revelation.

First you have the "Old Jerusalem" and God's judgements on her.

Then you have the Woman, the NT Church.

Pressure is put on the Woman by false teaching (Second Beast from the Earth/False Prophet) and by persecution (First Beast from the Sea).

The Woman -largely - becomes corrupt and becomes Babylon (The Whore).

By the end of the story the Woman has been cleansed of all sin and those who are not true Christians, and is the Lamb's Bride (The New Jerusalem).
 

Quatchu

Puritan Board Sophomore
Be sides Fairbairn I have found Matthew Henry as well as Jamieson, Fausset and Brown hold this view. Anyone aware of anyone else especially a modern commentator?
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Within Revelation we have two women The Women who gives birth in Rev 12 and the Prostitute of Rev 17. The women can be understood to be the church militant, the last we see of her she is being pursued by the dragon (Satan). In Rev 17 the prostitute appears riding the dragon, could the prostitute be the apostate church, who was the church militant. Who overtime is overcome by the dragon.

Does anyone else hold to a similar interpretation. Does anyone know of any commentators that hold this position?

Yes. I believe they are one and the same. They are both in the wilderness. The harlot holds the cup of (pseudo) sacramental blood. The same thing happened to Israel, both in the wilderness and in the land. She has succumbed to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.

There is always, in my opinion, an apostate section of the holy people, and a remnant who are holy inwardly.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965) believed harlot Babylon is the apostate church, in his commentary, Behold, He Cometh!

I do not think the question of the OP should be answered in the affirmative. If one were to say, Those who fall away and join themselves to apostate churches, yes, they have become part of Babylon the harlot.

Here is a study on that: Thoughts on Babylon the Great in Revelation.

John in his first epistle says of these, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (2:19).

Paul says the same: “I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Cor 11:18-19).

The woman of Revelation 12 flees into the wilderness – likely a figure of separation from the world – “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (12:17).

Those who are typified by the Rev 12 woman keep the commandments of God: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). This “commit sin” refers to one who as a course of life practices sin without repentance.

The woman of Revelation 12 would rather die than betray her Lord, which is not to say she does not stumble – only to rise again by His grace – but she never becomes the whore Babylon!

Now, before she was redeemed, that is a different story:



HIS BRIDE


a man…shall be joined to his wife,
and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak
concerning Christ and the church.
— Paul to the Ephesians​

She is the knock-out of the ages, His bride;
even the angels are astonished, wide-eyed
at a beauty beyond what they see in themselves
and seeing such mysteries desire to delve
into how it could be, this shining like deity
in one once consort with the dark prince, in infamy
before she was redeemed, and party to the deicide.

The price He paid to win her back was steep,
a horrid cost much wondered at in glory’s Keep,
but He got her, and led her through the wilderness
of hearts, through enemies and great distress;
He taught her to stay near to Him,
hold to His word and heart when the way grew dim,
to trust Him, her friend in trouble, her guard in sleep.

It is the story of God the Son’s bride;
she is many, male and female, for whom He died;
she is rugged soldier, little child, woman fair,
all one they are, all dependent on His care.
Safe now in the Kingdom, His glory their reward,
she shines full back the glory of her Lord,
He who ever lives, and for her was crucified.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Most of the so-called Christian churches today are false churches because they do not have the three marks.
I assume a church is 'christian' if it holds to the apostles creed. For example, the united Pentecostal 'church' would not qualify, not holding a Trinitarian belief.

The true churches today would be the Jerusalem which is above.
The 'city' below is marked by crass mercantilism as exhibited by its penchant for peddling the gospel for profit.

So yes, they are the same woman but God has reserved to Himself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to the world.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Fairbairn points out how often apostate Israel is compared to a harlot in the OT, and how sexual unfaithfulness is often an image of spiritual unfaithfulness on the part of the professing Church.

The light of a candle and the voice of the bride and bridegroom are to be found in the apostate Church, until at some point they are silenced,
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello David,

You said, “yes, they are the same woman but God has reserved to Himself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to the world.”

In line with the principle Paul asserted in Romans 9:6,7 – “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children” – those 7,000 are the Rev 12 woman at that time in the history of God’s people, and not those who gave themselves over to Baal.

Those whom you call “false churches” – if they are in fact false – have nothing to do with the Rev 12 woman, save perhaps they came out of her because they were not of her. I do not like hearing that Christ’s true bride – comprised of the regenerated godly elect – and who is “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white” (Rev 19:8), that she is a whore! Such is a false statement.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello David,.....
Those whom you call “false churches” – if they are in fact false – have nothing to do with the Rev 12 woman, save perhaps they came out of her because they were not of her. I do not like hearing that Christ’s true bride – comprised of the regenerated godly elect – and who is “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white” (Rev 19:8), that she is a whore! Such is a false statement.

Hi JB,

I think the nature of the literary style in Revelation is the cause of much miscommunication (not to mention my own deficiency). Of course the spotless bride is not to be associated with the harlot, but there is an obvious connection. Revelation just doesn't make everyday sense, that is all.

You and I know the new testament church, immediately was set upon with error and heresy so it's no wonder that two thousand years later she is unrecognizable from the woman of chapter 12. So as it is with so many things in this wondrous awesome book, the two women are the same and yet the very opposite.

I think you summed it up very well: not all Israel is Israel.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
David, thanks for being a little more gracious than I! Revelation is the object of continual study and prayer with me (I preached through it for over a year a few years ago); and the subject of Babylon is of great interest as well.

Would you please unpack this contradiction a little: “the two women are the same and yet the very opposite”, if indeed “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”. Are you waxing oxymoronic?

I’d be interested in knowing what your eschatological view is.

You may note, the harlot herself is not in the wilderness, but John is taken into the wilderness in order to view her from a point of safety: “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness” (Rev 17:3).

This is the location of harlot Babylon: “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Rev 17:15); “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Rev 17:18). Harlot Babylon is not in the wilderness, but in the world – the antithesis of the wilderness – she actually is the world, world culture in opposition to God. Thus the harlot is located, not in a place of separation from the world – the wilderness – but is herself the essence of worldliness, while it is said of the church, “the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14).
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
David, thanks for being a little more gracious than I! Revelation is the object of continual study and prayer with me (I preached through it for over a year a few years ago); and the subject of Babylon is of great interest as well.

Would you please unpack this contradiction a little: “the two women are the same and yet the very opposite”, if indeed “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”. Are you waxing oxymoronic?

I’d be interested in knowing what your eschatological view is.

You may note, the harlot herself is not in the wilderness, but John is taken into the wilderness in order to view her from a point of safety: “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness” (Rev 17:3).

Hi JB,

'great chatting with you.

That is interesting I will look at that again. I'm a great fan of Beale and the Idealistic approach. ( amillennial)
In the first chapter, Christ is holding in His right hand the seven stars. Later He touched John with His right hand. Did He have to put down the seven stars first? No! This is a dream. It doesn't make sense as we know it.

This is the location of harlot Babylon: “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Rev 17:15); “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Rev 17:18). Harlot Babylon is not in the wilderness, but in the world – the antithesis of the wilderness – she actually is the world, world culture in opposition to God. Thus the harlot is located, not in a place of separation from the world – the wilderness – but is herself the essence of worldliness, while it is said of the church, “the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14).

I see a blurring of identities between the beast, false prophet, and harlot. They are each distinct of course but seem to take on each other's attributes. The harlot is in my opinion the world's religious institute. A worship of materialism perhaps, and oneself and the super State. It is fascinating. Would you recommend a book?

Dr. Godfrey makes a good observation. There are twos. Two women, two cities, two peoples, etc. This helps me to get my mind around it. May I meditate on your observations and come back later?
Thanks.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
David, these are some of your statements (though I appreciate you may in your taking time to meditate on these things change your views a bit):

“the two women are the same and yet the very opposite”

“Of course the spotless bride is not to be associated with the harlot, but there is an obvious connection.”

“Revelation just doesn't make everyday sense, that is all. . . . This is a dream. It doesn't make sense as we know it.”

“I see a blurring of identities between the beast, false prophet, and harlot. They are each distinct of course but seem to take on each other's attributes.”


To comment briefly: I will address “the two women” issue further below.

Revelation is not a dream, but a letter to be circulated, a vision to be communicated, and – literarily – an apocalyptic genre. It can make sense, but only if we enter into the symbolic world John depicts, and rightly interpret the images.

I agree with what you say about the “blurring of identities”. There is an overlap with regard to their activities and their natures (they are all demonic, and work the works of Satan according to their respective roles).

Like yourself, I think highly of G.K. Beale and his writings on Revelation, and also his views of the O.T. being a key to understanding much of the symbolism and apocalyptic style in Revelation.

Here are some of his thoughts on harlot Babylon from his work, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text:

“Though closely associated with the beast, the woman is not to be equated with the beast. That she rides the beast connotes her alliance with the state. The woman must represent that part of the ungodly world that works together with the state, such as the social, cultural, economic, and religious aspects of the world. In this context the work that they agree to do together is that of persecuting the saints...” p. 853

“The followers of the beast are guilty primarily not of immorality, but of idolatry....

“Babylon was the ungodly world power under which Israel had to live in captivity. While Israelite saints did not go along with Babylon’s religious practices, they were nevertheless tempted to compromise. When they remained loyal to their God, they underwent trial by their oppressors (see Daniel 1-6). The ungodly social, political, and economic system dominated by the Roman Empire placed believers in the same position as Israel was in under Babylon... Therefore, here in the Apocalypse Rome and all wicked world systems take on the name ‘Babylon the Great’... [emphasis added]

“The nations cooperation with Babylon ensures their material security. Without this cooperation, security would be removed. Such security is a temptation too great to resist. Therefore... ‘she made to drink’ means that the nations were forced to ‘drink’, to comply with Rome’s and society’s idolatrous demands, if they wanted to maintain economic security.

“Babylon’s promise of prosperous earthly welfare for its willing subjects is an intoxication that the majority of the world’s inhabitants also want to imbibe. Once one imbibes, the intoxicating influence removes all desire to resist Babylon’s destructive influence, blinds one to Babylon’s own ultimate insecurity and to God as the source of real security, and numbs one against any fear of a coming judgment”. pp 741, 755-756​

More briefly, here is what he says of John’s vision of the woman in Rev 12:

“He first sees ‘a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars.’ Vv 2-6 reveal that this woman is a picture of the faithful community, which existed both before and after the coming of Christ. . . .

“The woman flees from the dragon after the deliverance of her son. She flees so the dragon will not annihilate her [physically or spiritually]. . . As in vv 1 and 2, the woman represents the community of faith, though now it is not that of the OT epoch, but the messianic community after Christ’s resurrection. The woman is now on earth and not in heaven because she now represents the true people of God on earth. She escapes into the wilderness for protection because ‘there she has a place prepared by God’. . . She has not only protection but also ‘nourishment,’ which enables her to continue to exist.

“This divine protection and assistance lasts for ‘twelve hundred and sixty days.’ This is the same period as in 11:2-3, where for that length of time God protects the church as his invisible, inviolate temple and gives it power to witness despite ongoing persecution (see on 11:1-6).” pp 625, 642​

Here Beale rightly identifies the Rev 12 woman with the two witnesses of Rev 11. These two witnesses symbolize the testifying church throughout the millennial period, and they not only suffer persecution and martyrdom during that period, for “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit” (Rev 11:7) wars against them throughout it, and at the end of the age will appear to have utterly destroyed them (but they are not destroyed, for they conquer through death).

This faithful and suffering church should never be likened to the whore, which is the larger community of the cowardly, unbelieving, and world-loving persecutors of the church. As you put it, “Two women, two cities, two peoples”. When one likens the faithful, suffering church to the whore this is a rank and shocking insult to those who courageously hold fast the faith no matter the cost – and even in the world today (it hasn’t reached the West yet) our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and little children are drenching the earth with their blood and their tears.

These should never be said they are the same as those who wickedly and callously molest and slay them. One of the troubles with us in the West is that we stop our ears to hearing about them, so we may chill upon our couches, with our wine and music and entertainments, but “are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph” (Amos 6:4-6) – Amos’ allusion to Joseph’s brothers eating lunch while their little brother was wailing his heart out in the ditch. That figure just suits us. The afflictions of the Rev 12 woman should cause us to honor her, and be like her, for we are her, if so be we are Christ’s in spirit and truth.

While we theorize on how many magistrates can dance on the head of a pin, the blood of our brothers and sisters pours out while their cries rise to heaven.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
......This faithful and suffering church should never be likened to the whore, which is the larger community of the cowardly, unbelieving, and world-loving persecutors of the church. As you put it, “Two women, two cities, two peoples”. When one likens the faithful, suffering church to the whore this is a rank and shocking insult to those who courageously hold fast the faith no matter the cost – and even in the world today (it hasn’t reached the West yet) our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and little children are drenching the earth with their blood and their tears.

These should never be said they are the same as those who wickedly and callously molest and slay them. One of the troubles with us in the West is that we stop our ears to hearing about them, so we may chill upon our couches, with our wine and music and entertainments, but “are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph” (Amos 6:4-6) – Amos’ allusion to Joseph’s brothers eating lunch while their little brother was wailing his heart out in the ditch. That figure just suits us. The afflictions of the Rev 12 woman should cause us to honor her, and be like her, for we are her, if so be we are Christ’s in spirit and truth.

While we theorize on how many magistrates can dance on the head of a pin, the blood of our brothers and sisters pours out while their cries rise to heaven.

Amen, brother.
We, in the U.S. are the those described in Amos as living in luxury. And the church here is fat, dumb and happy.
I think of the brethren in China, Syria, or Saudi Arabia, actually living in the ancient Rome paradigm.

But the vision of Revelation doesn't make 'wake a day' sense. Dreams have value and meaning. They are not worthless, but they don't correspond to reality as we know it.

I agree John's Revelation is a letter, but it is describing a supernatural experience that culminates the canon. Jezebel in chapter two might not even be female, but who ever they are, they function in the same way she did in OT history.

I am leery of falling into the rut of the dispensational literalists.

I made the point about the seven stars in His right hand. How did he touch John with His right hand? While holding the stars? Putting them down? What? This is the wrong way to go about it, I think. Don't put it in our world.

The woman in chapter 12 evolves into the woman of chapter 17. The symbol evolves, not the saints. The symbol is wholly given over to idolatry, as you said, and we see that today. Churches have fashioned a savior that really looks just like THem.

What passes as a Christian today is nothing more than a 'Jesus enthusiast.'
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Good talking with you, too, David! On the matter of the identities of the two women we shall just have to agree to disagree agreeably!
 
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