Mike Bickle on the Harlot:
Revelation 17-18 is about the ominous figure of the harlot Babylon, which is the counterfeit of the Bride of Christ. We find the Bride of Christ in the chapters following Revelation 17-18.
Satan raises up a harlot and Jesus raises up a pure Bride. They are in conflict with one another.
A COMPELLING DECEPTION
The reason this subject is so important is that the people who are deceived by the claims of this world religion, will end up in the lake of fire if they do not repent of this deception. It is going to be a very compelling deception.
The second reason this is such an important topic is that the saints—the prophetic church—will be the only ones with a clear voice, exposing this false religion.
This religion will have a worldwide following. It will be very opulent, having a tremendous amount of wealth. The kings of the earth will back it up. The multitudes in the nations will back it up. It will also have a grassroots popular support, but the elite of the world and the merchants of the earth will back it up.
In the wake of this, through the impact of this religion, the nations will be brought to world peace for the first time in history. It will be a counterfeit peace which the Antichrist himself will be orchestrating. This world religion, this one-world harlot religion, will be very instrumental to the Antichrist in bringing world peace, but there will be one prophetic voice testifying that this religion is in fact corrupt and of the devil.
A GREAT REVIVAL AND A GREAT FALLING AWAY
The nations will say, “Why can’t you Christians ever be happy? Your own Bible says that unity is important and peace is important. For the first time we have unity of religion and peace among the nations, and you are calling it of the devil.”
One of the reasons the Lord is allowing history to come to a head in this way, is because the proclamation that the harlot Babylon religion is of the devil will lead to the greatest revival ever seen in history, and the Lord is going to back up the proclamation with signs and wonders.
The part I want to emphasize is that the main themes are really clear. Theme number one is the seductive power of this world religion. Beloved, do not underestimate this. It will be opulent, with tremendous wealth, and tremendous popular support. The numbers of people gathering with a happy heart around this religion will be record breaking and the kings of the earth, the merchants of the earth, and the elite of the earth will all participate in it.
It will have power. There will be demonstrations of power. It will be demonic power, but the majority will not recognize it. Many believers will leave the Church to join it, thinking that it is a superior presentation of true Christianity. In their mind, they will not be leaving Christianity.
They will be leaving religious Christianity for the modern, unified, updated version, the one— they will say—Jesus meant all along. In fact they will actually be leaving the faith.
THE THEMES OF REVELATION 17
The themes of Revelation 17 are the harlot Babylon’s seductive power, it’s money, it’s popular appeal, it’s rhetoric, and the way it presents itself with such dignity.
It will be a justice movement, just so you know. It will be a worship movement and it will be a justice movement. Its primary presentation will be, “We care for the needs of the poor and for the good of mankind.”
This might be shocking to some people, but the devil feeds the poor, because it is good for business. The devil feeds the poor. The devil has a justice movement, but for all the wrong reasons.
Some believers have so little foundation in the Word that if a movement is using the words justice, the poor, and unity, and even throw in some Jesus language, multitudes of believers—
At the same time, Jesus will be raising up the true justice movement, the true unity movement, the true hope and peace movement. And that is the one which is going to prevail.
A TWO STEP PROCESS
There are two stages in Satan’s end-time plan to be worshipped and to rule the nations. The plan has two stages.
Satan wants to be worshipped by all nations and he wants to rule all nations. He is not going to start off by making that agenda public. It is going to be far more subtle. Revelation 13 makes this clear.
He wants to be worshipped. I mean, when he went to Jesus to tempt Him in the garden in Matthew 4, what did he ask for? He said, “If You will worship me, I will give You leadership over the nations.” He wants to be worshipped. He wants from the nations what belongs to Jesus.
Jesus will lead the true worship movement. Satan and his prophets—the false prophet and the Antichrist—will lead the false worship movement.
Satan knows that it is too big of a step to take people from being compromising Christians or lukewarm Muslims or lukewarm Hindus—that it is too big of a step for people to leave their religious heritage and go straight into Satan worship. The masses of the earth will not do that. So he is very crafty. He is going to have a two step process, not a one step. He is going to get them to leave their religious heritage and in the process of leaving it, certain things will happen in their conscience. They will make a break in their conscience with the religion they grew up in. And they will make a break in the relationship with the people in those religions. They will say, “You know, it is time.” They are going to make this move, but this harlot religion will have no absolutes. Everybody will be right.
You can already see the forerunners of this harlot religion emerging in the nations of the earth.
There are increasing voices in the Body of Christ who are reducing the truths in the Word of God in the name of tolerance, to make a way for everybody to be unified. More and more people are saying this, but they are not just doing it in the arena of Christianity, they are doing it in all the world religions. They are having these global dialogues.
There are forerunners, counterfeit forerunners of this movement. Those forerunners are coaxing their people into more and more of a bland version of their religious heritage. For the Muslims, it will be a reduced version of Islam. For the Hindus, for the Buddhists, for the Christians, whatever, it will be a reduced version of what they grew up with and what their religious creeds have said for centuries.