Mystery of the Woman
That Great City
Possessing Regal Authority Over the Kings of the Earth
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns…
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over [lit., ‘which possesses kingly authority over’] the kings of the earth (Rev. 17:1-3, 16-18).
Revelation chapters seventeen through the first part of chapter twenty provides a climactic sequence of events which bring about the only possible proper end to Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy — the conclusion seen in the prophecy itself, as laid out in a six-fold manner in the introductory verse of the prophecy, in Dan. 9:24:
“Seventy Weeks [lit., ‘Seventy sevens (contextually, sevens of years — 490 years)] are determined upon thy people [the Jewish people] and upon thy holy city [the City of Jerusalem]”:
1) “To finish the transgression.”
2) “To make an end of sins.”
3) “To make reconciliation for iniquity.”
4) “To bring in everlasting righteousness.”
5) “To seal up the vision and prophecy.”
6) “To anoint the most Holy.”
Four hundred and eighty-three years of Daniel’s prophecy have been fulfilled. They were fulfilled during the years preceding and leading into the time of Christ’s crucifixion (beginning with the decree referenced in the prophecy [issued in 444 B.C.] and ending with the crucifixion [in 33 A.D.], also referenced in the prophecy).
Time being fulfilled in the prophecy though stopped in 33 A.D. On the day that God’s Son was crucified (fulfilling that set forth in the type in Genesis chapter twenty-two [Abraham offering his son at a particular place which God had revealed to him]), God, so to speak, stopped the clock marking off time in the prophecy.
God then set Israel aside (fulfilling that set forth in the type in Genesis chapter twenty-three [the death of Sarah, Abraham’s wife]).
And, anticipating that set forth in the type in Genesis chapter twenty-four (Abraham’s eldest servant sent to another land to acquire a bride for Isaac), fifty-three days later, on the day of Pentecost, God brought into existence the one new man “in Christ.”
At this point in time, God began an entirely new dispensation, with the Spirit of God given the specific task of calling out a bride for God’s Son from among those comprising this new man (fulfilling that set forth in the type in Genesis chapter twenty-four).
But, seven years yet remain to be fulfilled in the prophecy, which MUST come to pass. Once the Spirit has acquired the bride, God will remove the one new man “in Christ” (all Christians, as seen in the latter part of Gen. 24), turn back to Israel, begin the clock marking off time once again in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, and complete the last seven years of the previous dispensation.
And once this time has been completed (the full seventy weeks, 490 years), the six things listed in the opening verse of the prophecy, pertaining to Israel, will be brought to pass (fulfilling that set forth in the type in Genesis chapter twenty-five [Abraham again taking a wife, Keturah, who was far more fruitful than Sarah]).
In short, Israel will be brought to the place of repentance, a nation will be born in a day, Israel’s sins — all types of disobedience, including harlotry, resulting in and climaxed by the crucifixion of the nation’s Messiah when He came the first time — will be done away with, everlasting righteousness will be brought in, the mystery of God will be finished through a full revelation of the Son (sealing up [nothing more to be added, a bringing to completion] of the vision and prophecy), and the Glory will be restored to Israel within a Temple which Messiah Himself will build (anointing the most Holy).
This is what Revelation chapters six through the first part of chapter twenty are about. They are about God completing His dealings with Israel during and immediately following the seven unfulfilled years of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, bringing the six things seen in Dan. 9:24 to pass, with all that will accompany the realization of these six things being brought to pass as well.
(For additional information on Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, refer to Chapter XII, “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks,” in the author’s book, THE TIME OF THE END.
For additional information on the typology of Gen. 22-25, refer to Chapter II, “Isaac and Rebekah,” in the author’s book, THE BRIDE IN GENESIS, or in the author’s book, SEARCH FOR THE BRIDE.)
And, as well, all the various facets of this same end (that seen occurring at the completion of the time in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy) are seen time after time in the Old Testament. A corresponding parallel, as illustrated in the preceding paragraphs (a sequence of events foreshadowed in Gen. 22-25), can only be expected, for the structure of later revelation must always be in complete keeping with the structure of earlier revelation.
Later revelation must always be completely in line with and rest on the foundation set forth in earlier revelation.
This climax, seen in both Testaments — stated in a broad but succinct manner — has to do with:
1) The realization of God’s purpose for driving the Jewish people out among the nations over 2,600 years ago (bringing all six things seen in Dan. 9:24 to pass).
2) The corresponding destruction of Gentile world power.
3) The corresponding ushering in of the long-awaited Messianic Era.
Through the judgments and different events brought to pass during the Tribulation, seen in Revelation chapters six through sixteen, everything is set in place for these climactic events to be revealed and occur.
Then, beginning in chapter seventeen and continuing into the first part of chapter twenty, numerous details are given concerning these climactic events, with three individuals occupying center-stage:
1) Israel’s true Messiah — the Lord Jesus Christ — Whom the nation rejected and crucified, though will one day receive (Rev. 19:11ff; cf. Zech. 12:10-14; Acts 2:23, 36; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30).
2) Israel’s false messiah — the Beast — whom the nation, as a result of their rejection of the true Messiah, is prophesied to receive during the interim (Rev. 17:1ff; cf. John 5:43).
3) Israel, the nation itself, around which everything revolves — seen as the harlot woman — brought to repentance, cleansed, never to be defiled again (Rev. 17:1ff).
Most of this closing section of the Book of Revelation, leading into Christ’s return (19:11ff), the destruction of Gentile world power (19:17-21), and the Messianic Era which follows (20:1-6), is taken up with detailed information pertaining to the Beast, his kingdom, and a harlot woman occupying a central place in this kingdom (chs. 17-19a).
This is the subject matter seen in this climactic part of the book immediately preceding Christ’s return, climactic dealings with Israel and the nations, the restoration of Israel, the destruction of Gentile world power, and the ushering in of the Messianic Era.
“The Beast” and “the woman” are both referenced in metaphorical respects. And that being referenced through the use of both metaphors is made clear in the numerous Old Testament passages dealing with the subject, in earlier parts of the Book of Revelation, and in chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen as well.
Then, through the use of the word “mystery,” any teaching surrounding that being dealt with can only be seen as inseparably connected with the Old Testament Scriptures, drawing from these Scriptures. And both the Beast and the woman are referred to by this word (17:5, 7).
(As previously seen in Chapter I of this book [pp. 8, 9], “a mystery” in the New Testament refers to something made known in the Old Testament which has yet to be fully opened up and revealed. And the opening up and complete unveiling of that referred to as “a mystery” in the New Testament, referring back to something in the Old Testament, awaited the additional revelation seen in the New Testament.
Dealing with events foreshadowed in Gen. 22-25 in connection with Israel and Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, previously seen in this chapter, would present a case in point. Along with things related to the mystery of Israel’s blindness in these chapters in Genesis [chs. 22, 23, 25 (cf. Rom. 11:25, 26)], there are also things related to the mystery revealed to Paul [ch. 24 (cf. Eph. 3:1-6)].
And, as seen in Romans chapter eleven [vv. 1-26], one mystery is inseparably linked to the other mystery. Israel’s blindness [one mystery] allows for and makes room for those things revealed to Paul [another mystery].
And placing both mysteries within the scope of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, one mystery [Israel’s blindness] fits within the scope of the prophecy itself [while time in the prophecy is being fulfilled]; and the other mystery [that revealed to Paul] lies outside the scope of the prophecy [between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks, while time in the prophecy is not being fulfilled].
There are numerous other places in the Old Testament which deal with things having to do with the mystery of Israel’s blindness and the mystery revealed to Paul, with the Old Testament Scriptures in this respect complete in and of themselves. But, a full opening up and revealing, explaining, these things awaited New Testament revelation.
In the preceding respect, note the folly of individuals having one Testament without the other, particularly the New without the Old [which would be somewhat akin to viewing a house without its foundation]. One Testament is to be understood in the light of the other — the Old in the light of the New, and the New in the light of the Old.)
Thus, not only must material in these chapters in the Book of Revelation (chs. 17-19) be in complete keeping with the manner in which matters are set forth in the Old Testament but this material must also be seen as a climactic opening up and unveiling of that previously presented in the Old Testament.
These chapters in the closing part of the Book of Revelation, leading into the Messianic Era, remove any remaining wrappings and present the Beast and the Harlot in full exposure for all to behold.
In Both Testaments
Again, the two central individuals seen throughout Revelation chapter seventeen and continuing through the first six verses of chapter nineteen are the Beast and the Harlot. And both of these individuals are dealt with extensively in these chapters immediately prior to a third individual appearing, coming through an opened heaven on a white charger to take care of matters as they will exist on the earth at this time.
And conditions on the earth when this third individual appears — Israel’s Messiah, the Deliverer, the One Whom the nation rejected and crucified 2,000 years ago — are quite vividly described in Scripture.
Resulting from famine, various plagues and diseases, and the sword, one-fourth of the earth’s population will have died, or will shortly die (over one and one-half billion, by today’s count), which will include two-thirds of the earth’s Jewish population (some nine million, by today’s count). And conditions in general at this time will be of such a nature that “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matt. 24:22).
This is where things are headed for our so-called enlightened society of today, with all of its changing mores, political correctness, etc. And that fast-approaching Day cannot be far removed from the present day.
(For more information in this realm, refer to the author’s books, WE ARE ALMOST THERE, DISTANT HOOFBEATS, and ISRAEL — FROM DEATH TO LIFE.)
1) The Beast, Seen in Both Testaments
The Beast — the name used in the Book of Revelation for the man of sin, the Antichrist (Rev. 13:1ff; 17:8-14) — is presented a number of different ways throughout a large section of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. Revelation concerning this man (first mentioned in Gen. 3:15) begins with Nimrod, the first king of Babylon, in Genesis chapter ten; and it concludes with the last king of Babylon in the chapters under discussion in the Book of Revelation, chapters seventeen through twenty.
However, throughout Scripture, revelation concerning the Beast is NEVER solely about this man alone. Revelation concerning “the Beast” is ALWAYS seen in conjunction with revelation concerning Abraham and his lineage through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, — the nation of Israel and Israel’s Messiah.
This is the manner in which revelation about the Beast begins in Genesis, continues throughout the Old Testament, continues into the New Testament, and concludes in the Book of Revelation. When the Beast appears in Scripture, Israel and Israel’s Messiah appear someplace in the text or context as well (e.g., Gen. 9-11 [Shem in ch. 9, Nimrod in ch. 10, and Abraham and his lineage in ch. 11ff]; the Books of Exodus, Esther, and Daniel).
The preceding is an axiom in Biblical studies surrounding the Beast — unchangeably set in Gen. 3:15 — which cannot be ignored.
Thus, when an individual arrives at Revelation chapter seventeen and sees the Beast and a harlot woman ( both spoken of in the same metaphorical fashion) extensively dealt with together at the close of Man’s Day, at the close of that part of the Book of Revelation having to do with Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy — knowing that both are referred to as a “mystery,” and knowing that the Beast never appears in Old Testament Scripture apart from Israel and Israel’s Messiah — only one thing concerning the identity of the woman could possibly be uppermost in one’s mind.
2) The Harlot, Seen in Both Testaments
In Old Testament history, because of the Jewish people’s continued disobedience over centuries of time, God uprooted His people from their land and drove them out among the nations. And the major part of this disobedience was harlotry, which caused God to divorce Israel (Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3:8; Hosea 2:2).
Israel, the wife of Jehovah, was having illicit relations — forbidden national relationships — with the surrounding Gentile nations. And when Israel’s cup of iniquity became full (cf. Gen. 15:16), God divorced Israel, uprooted His people from their land, and drove them out among the nations in order to effect repentance through persecution at the hands of the harlot’s lovers.
Revelation chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen presents, in detail, the end of the matter. Israel, in these chapters, is seen at the height of her degeneracy — enmeshed in and having illicit relations with the most corrupt form of Gentile world power that has ever been or will ever be known by man throughout his 6,000-year history. And it is within this setting, as Gentile persecution of Israel reaches heights heretofore unknown, that Israel is brought to the place of repentance and is cleansed of her harlotry (cf. Judges 19:23-30).
The preceding though, as will be shown, is far from the only means of identifying the harlot woman. Attention has been called to this means of identification first in order to show the unity of all Scripture surrounding revelation concerning the Beast and Israel, from an introduction in Genesis to a conclusion in the Book of Revelation.
In this respect, note a number of Old Testament references having to do with Israel’s harlotry:
“How is the faithful city become an harlot!” (Isa. 1:21a).
“Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers…
Thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed” (Jer. 3:1b, 3b; cf. vv. 6-14).
“Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations.
Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians…
Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan…” (Ezek. 16:2, 28a, 29a).
“And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom.
So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness…” (Ezek. 23:17a, 18a; cf. vv. 35-37).
“And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand” (Hosea 2:10; cf. vv. 2ff).
Then, viewing the end of the matter in the Book of Revelation, chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen has to do with Israel’s harlotry seen at its apex and then brought to an end. And this is the ONLY PLACE in the book where this is dealt with.
If “the great whore” in these chapters is other than Israel, then a major subject of Old Testament prophecy relating to Israel is not even dealt with in the Book of Revelation.
Apart from understanding that the “woman” represents Israel, the final seven years of the Jewish dispensation is brought to a close in the Book of Revelation without this book even dealing with the main purpose for these seven years.
Apart from seeing Israel with the Beast in these chapters, that which could only be uppermost in God’s mind concerning Israel during the Tribulation — bringing His people, who have played the harlot over centuries of time, to the place of repentance — is not even mentioned in the book.
But, as previously stated, the preceding is just one way in which the woman can be identified. As will be shown, this chapter goes on to state, in so many words, that “the woman” is Israel. Then, other internal proofs are provided in the chapter concerning the same thing (along with the preceding and next chapters [Chs. I, III]).
The Woman Which Thou Sawest Is…
In that part of the Book of Revelation covering events on the earth occurring during and immediately following the last seven years in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy (chs. 6-19), a woman is used in a metaphorical respect in two different places — in chapter twelve, and in chapters seventeen and eighteen, continuing into the first six verses of chapter nineteen. And, in either instance, as previously seen in the latter section, one is not left to his own imagination to identify the woman. In both instances the woman is clearly identified.
The woman in chapter twelve is easily identified through that stated in the first verse — “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars,” along with events dealt with in subsequent verses.
Metaphors are used extensively in this “great wonder [‘sign’],” with the entire matter seen as regal. The “sun,” “moon,” and “stars” have to do with governmental powers, from the greater (the sun) to the lesser (the stars), with the woman seen as crowned.
In short, the woman is seen in possession of all power, though not yet exercising this power (the latter — yet to exercise this power — is seen in the type crown which the woman has on her head (something discussed later in this chapter).
“The woman” in the chapter is clearly seen to be Israel, with Satan throughout later verses in the chapter seeking to destroy the woman, to destroy Israel. And the statement about the sun, moon, and stars, with regality in view, is an allusion back to the second of Joseph’s two dreams in Genesis chapter thirty-seven (v. 9).
In the type in Genesis, the reference to the sun, moon, and stars making “obeisance” to Joseph had to do with Joseph and his immediate family (v. 10). And that being foreshadowed by this type has to do with Christ and His immediate family — Israel.
But in Revelation chapter twelve, material drawn from this type has to do with Israel and the nations (in like fashion to how the statement in Hosea 11:1 is used of both “Christ” and “Israel”).
“Christ” is presently King, for He was born King (Matt. 2:2); but He has yet to exercise His kingly office. That awaits the Messianic Era, when Christ exercises the rights of the firstborn.
“Israel” is presently the rightful possessor of the regality seen in Rev. 12:1. Israel is presently God’s firstborn son (Ex. 4:22, 23); but the exercise of the rights of the firstborn awaits the Messianic Era.
And Israel cannot exercise these rights until one thing has been brought to pass — that seen in subsequent chapters in both the Book of Genesis (chs. 37ff) and the Book of Revelation (chs. 12ff). Israel MUST first be cleansed of her harlotry.
In the Genesis account, the complete story extending from Israel’s rejection of her Messiah to the nation’s acceptance of her Messiah is told in nine chapters (chs. 37-45). And at the very first, following Joseph’s rejection by his brethren (foreshadowing Christ’s rejection by His brethren, the Jewish people [ch. 37]), an entire chapter dealing with harlotry immediately follows (having to do centrally with Judah in the account [ch. 38]).
Then chapter thirty-nine picks up at the exact place where chapter thirty-seven left off, leaving the chapter on harlotry to seemingly be out of place. But not so! This chapter is exactly where it should be, the subject is correct, and the right brother among the eleven, Judah, is the one seen involved in the harlotry.
The reason why Judah is singled out in chapter thirty-eight in this respect is seen in chapter forty-four, immediately before Joseph reveals himself to his brethren in chapter forty-five.
In chapter forty-four, Joseph’s brothers, though not knowing Joseph’s identity, were brought to the place where they had no choice but to acknowledge to Joseph, in his presence, that which they had done years before — their rejection of him, followed by their selling him to the Ishmaelites.
And Judah is seen as the spokesman for his brothers at this time, exactly as he was the one seen in connection with harlotry back in chapter thirty-eight. “Judah,” in both chapters, is seen acting in the place of or on behalf of all his brothers, typifying Israel:
1) The one involved in harlotry between the two times in the type (between the time of the nation’s rejection [ch. 37] and the time of the nation’s acceptance [ch. 45]).
2) And the one driven to the place where there was no choice left other than to confess that which had been done years before to the very one to whom it was done (rejection, crucifixion).
And the preceding is exactly what is seen beginning in Revelation chapter twelve and continuing through the first six verses of chapter nineteen. The woman in chapter twelve is the same woman seen in chapters seventeen through the first part of nineteen.
Regality is seen in connection with the woman in both sections. This has already been shown in connection with the woman in chapter twelve, and it will be shown later in this chapter in connection with the woman in chapters seventeen through the first part of nineteen.
As well, these chapters in the Book of Revelation are in exact accord with teachings pertaining to Israel’s harlotry as seen in Genesis chapters thirty-seven through forty-five, along with numerous other places in the Old Testament.
With all of this information staring a Bible student in the face, one often wonders how so many people can go astray when it comes to a correct interpretation of the harlot woman beginning in Revelation chapter seventeen. Possibly thoughts from what Andrew Jukes had to say over one hundred years ago about the neglect of the study of types by Bible students in his day might apply:
“The real secret of the neglect of the types, I cannot but think may, in part, be traced to this — that they require more spiritual intelligence than many Christians can bring to them.”
1) The Woman Is That Great City
As the Beast is identified in chapter seventeen (vv. 8-14), the woman is identified in this chapter as well. The woman is identified in a direct and clear statement after a manner which, contextually, no one could possibly question. The last verse in chapter seventeen provides, beyond any question whatsoever, in so many words, the identity of the woman:
“And ‘the woman’ which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over [lit., ‘which possesses kingly authority over’] the kings of the earth” (v. 18).
The expression “the [or ‘that’] great city” is used nine times in chapters eleven through eighteen, with six of these usages seen in chapters seventeen and eighteen. The first usage in 11:8 identifies the city as Jerusalem, and the identification of “the great city” in this first usage must be understood the same way throughout the subsequent chapters where this expression appears.
Note how Rev. 11:8 reads:
“And their dead bodies [the two witnesses] shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”
Jerusalem, in this verse, is associated with Sodom (sexual perversion) and Egypt (the world); and the next two appearances of the expression, “the great city” (14:8; 16:19), associates “Jerusalem” with Babylon.
Babylon was the place where the southern two tribes were taken captive, beginning about 605 B.C., beginning the Times of the Gentiles. Over one hundred years earlier (about 722 B.C.), the northern ten tribes had been taken captive by the Assyrians (the world power of that previous day). But between these two times, the Babylonians had conquered the Assyrian kingdom, shifting the center of world power from Assyria to Babylon and, after about 605 B.C., placed all twelve tribes within a Babylonian kingdom.
Babylon is out in the world, typified by Egypt; and God allowed the Jewish people to be uprooted from their land and taken captive to Babylon because of their numerous transgressions occurring over centuries of time, with sexual perversion, associated with Sodom, among sins heading the list (cf. Jer. 22:8, 9, 25).
And this is exactly where “the woman” finds herself in Revelation chapters seventeen through the opening verses of nineteen — enmeshed in the kingdom of the last king of Babylon, out in the world (scattered among the nations), and viewed as a harlot — exactly as portrayed in previous verses (11:8; 14:8; 16:19).
Thus, according to Rev. 17:18, the harlot, seen throughout these chapters, is identified as “Jerusalem.” And there is no getting around this clearly stated fact.
(“Jerusalem” is used a number of times in Scripture as simply another way of referring to the Jewish people. Even “the land of Israel” is used this same way in Scripture [cf. Isa. 1:21, 26; Lam. 1:7, 8; Ezek. 14:11-13; 16:2; Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:33; 19:41].
The Jewish people, their land, and their capital city are looked upon and referred to in an inseparable sense in Scripture. Thus, in an interpretative respect, Rev. 17:18 would have to read, “And ‘the woman’ which thou sawest is Israel…”)
2) The Woman Possessing Regal Authority
Then, Rev. 17:18 also presents another means of identification. This verse doesn’t stop with the identification of the woman as “that great city.” Rather, the verse goes on to provide a second means of identification, which is in complete keeping with the first part of the verse.
The verse continues by adding the words, “which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” A better translation of these words from the Greek text would be, “which possesses kingly authority over the kings of the earth” (ref. Wuest’s Expanded Translation — “which possesses [imperial] power over…”), limiting matters in the light of Ex. 4:22, 23 to Israel and/or Jerusalem alone.
Thus, the woman is identified as possessing regal authority over the Gentile nations (17:18b).
This identifying statement reflects back upon and draws from a similar statement about the woman earlier in the book:
“…and upon her head [the woman’s head, Israel’s head] a crown of twelve stars” (12:1b).
“Twelve” is the number of governmental perfection; and this verse from chapter twelve forms part of the contextual foundational material in the book upon which the identity of the woman in 17:18 rests.
The word used for “crown” in the Greek text of Rev. 12:1 is stephanos, not diadema, indicating that the woman, though possessing regal power and authority, was not exercising that power and authority at the time seen in the text (which is a time yet future, near the middle of the Tribulation, with the woman wearing a diadem and exercising regal power and authority following the Tribulation).
An individual presently exercising regal power and authority would wear a crown depicted by the word diadema, not a crown depicted by the word stephanos. This is seen two verses later (v. 3), where the Greek word diadema is used — showing an exercise of regal power and authority in the kingdom of Antichrist by the one to whom Satan will one day give “his power, and his seat [‘his throne’], and great authority” (Rev. 13:2).
(Regarding Israel in possession of regal power and authority over the Gentile nations, note that which Moses was instructed to make known to the Egyptian Pharaoh when God sent him to deliver the Israelites [an Assyrian ruler in Egypt, typifying the coming Assyrian who will rule the world (cf. Isa. 52:4; Micah 5:5)]. Moses was instructed to say unto Pharaoh, “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn…” [Ex. 4:22, 23].
“Sonship” implies rulership. Only sons can rule in God’s kingdom [past, present, or future], and in the human realm, only firstborn sons can rule [only firstborn sons find themselves in a position to exercise the rights of primogeniture within a family, with regality being one of these rights]. In short, Moses, announcing to Pharaoh that Israel was God’s son, even His firstborn, was God’s way of making it known to the ruler over Egypt that He recognized Israel in the regal capacity implied by sonship, not Egypt.
And this recognition was made known while Israel was still in Egypt. Israel, following the observance of the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread in Exodus chapters twelve and thirteen, was to be led out of Egypt under Moses.
Then, following certain events occurring while enroute to Kadesh-Barnea — the old covenant given through Moses at Mt. Sinai, the Magna Charta for the kingdom, containing all of the rules and regulations governing the people of God within the kingdom, along with the construction of the Tabernacle, the dwelling place of God among His people within the theocracy — Israel was to enter into and occupy the land previously covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and once the Jewish people had become established in this land, they were to rule the nations as God’s firstborn son, within a theocracy.
Again, note the latter part of Rev. 17:18. There is only one nation on the face of the earth that this can be referencing — the nation which is not to be “reckoned among the nations” [Num. 23:9].
Only one nation on the face of the earth possesses a position of regal authority over the kings of the earth [over all the Gentile nations]. This nation was identified in Ex. 4:22, 23, immediately prior to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt; and this nation is identified in Rev. 17:18, after exactly the same fashion [previously introduced after this fashion in Rev. 12:1], immediately prior to Jesus leading the Israelites out from a worldwide dispersion yet future.
Dating from Moses’ day, Israel has never lost the nation’s standing as God’s firstborn son. Israel has been God’s firstborn son since the announcement was made in Ex. 4:22, 23, remains God’s firstborn son today [though a disobedient son, scattered among the nations], and will one day exercise the rights of the firstborn [following repentance].
This is why, for the past 3,500 years, since the time this announcement was made, that the one who has held the sceptre since prior to the creation of Adam [Satan] has done everything within his power to destroy Israel.
Also, note that Israel is spoken of in both masculine and feminine respects in Scripture — as a son, and as a woman [cf. Hosea 2:2; 11:1], with both having regal implications. Only sons can rule, and man cannot rule alone. A man must rule in conjunction with a woman, or a woman in conjunction with a man — the man as king and the woman as consort queen. This is a principle established in the opening chapter of Genesis, which can never change [Gen. 1:26-28].
And exactly the same thing, for exactly the same reasons, is seen relative to the bride of Christ. The one who will rule as consort queen with the Son is spoken of in Scripture in both masculine and feminine respects, with both having regal implications [cf. Rom. 8:14, 15, 19; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 5:23-32; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 19:7-10].)
3) The Woman Guilty of Blood
Further, if Scripture is compared with Scripture, Jerusalem alone — referring to the Jewish people — is guilty of the blood of the prophets and of all slain upon the earth (Matt. 23:34-37), which is said of the harlot in Rev. 17:6; 18:24; 19:2. The Jewish people alone carry this guilt. It is not possible for any other city, nation, or segment of society to be looked upon in this manner. This fact is clearly stated in Luke 13:33:
“…it cannot be [lit., ‘…it is not possible’] that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.”
And it is clear from the subsequent verse (v. 34) that “Jerusalem” is used in verse thirty-three referring to the entire nation — the Jewish people — exactly as it is used in Rev. 17:18.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee…”
Thus, according to Scripture, Israel alone can be considered guilty of blood in this respect. And in keeping with this thought, Christ died in the capital of Jewry at the hands of the Jews (Matt. 16:21; Acts 2:23, 36; Rev. 11:8); and the Apostle Paul, as well, was prepared to die in Jerusalem at the hands of the Jews, “for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:11-13).Thus, Scripture is quite clear on the identity of the harlot in Rev. 17:1-19:6, and the next chapter in this book will deal with the future cleansing of the nation, as seen i