The Time of the End
A Study About the Book of Revelation
Arlen L. Chitwood
Judgment of the Great Harlot (KJV: Whore)
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,
with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. . .
And the ten horns that you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the Words of God are fulfilled.
And the woman whom you saw is that great city that reigns over [lit., ‘that possesses kingly authority over’] the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:1-3, 16-18)
The main thrust of Scripture seen throughout Revelation chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter twenty has to do with God’s plans and purposes regarding the Jewish people, the Gentile nations, and the Church of God being brought to fruition, leading into the Messianic Era (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32).
In a larger sense, the working out of God’s plans and purposes for all three creations — Jew, Gentile, and Christian — has to do with ruined man and involves 6,000 years of restorative work, followed by the 1,000-year Messianic Era, a Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God. And this is patterned after God’s previous restorative work surrounding the ruined material creation — occurring over six days time, with God resting on the seventh day — in Genesis chapters one and two (Hebrews 4:4, 9; cf. Exodus 31:13-17; 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:3-8).
In a narrower sense, regarding Israel and the nations, the working out of God’s plans and purposes in this respect dates back 4,000 years (to the days of Abraham, about 2,000 B.C.) and 2,600 years (to the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles, about 605 B.C.).
And in a narrower sense yet, regarding Christians, the working out of God’s plans and purposes in this respect dates back 2,000 years to the inception of the Church on the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D.
The complete scope of God’s plans and purposes is dealt with in numerous places throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets — “line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:9, 10), with different facets of the matter being dealt with in different ways in different places. Each facet provides a different part of one complete overall word picture, with the complete picture presenting the matter exactly as God would have man view the whole of His plans and purposes regarding Israel, the nations, and the Church.
And, regardless of how or where these things are dealt with in the Old Testament, there is always a particular emphasis on concluding events — events that bring the whole of the matter to fruition, as seen in Revelation chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter twenty.
Thus, when one arrives at this closing part of the book of Revelation preceding the Messianic Era and begins reading extensively about a beast and a harlot woman, he is not left to his own imagination and interpretation concerning that which is in view.
Scripture will reveal and interpret the matter for him. By comparing that which is spiritual with that which is spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:9-13) — in this case, comparing numerous sections of the Old Testament with that which is seen beginning in Revelation chapter seventeen — the Old Testament will have already interpreted the matter for the reader.
(Two Anglicized Greek words are sometimes used to call attention to correct and incorrect methods of biblical study and interpretation — exegesis and eisegesis. The Greek prepositions ek [meaning, “out of”] and eis [meaning, “into”] are prefixed to the same word, which, without the prepositions, means “to guide” or “to lead.
Exegesis has to do with deriving out of a passage that which is within the passage. In Revelation 17-19a, exegesis allows Scripture to comment upon and identify the harlot woman. And, at every turn, Scripture [Old Testament or New Testament], reveals that “the great harlot” is a metaphor for Israel at the end of the Times of the Gentiles [ref. chapter 27 in this book].
Eisegesis, on the other hand, has to do with placing into a passage that which is not in the passage. Eisegesis, rather than allowing Scripture to identify the harlot woman in Revelation 17-19a, reads a foreign meaning into the passage, usually identifying “the great harlot” as a metaphor for a false religious system, often seen as the Roman Catholic Church.
And this type of mishandling of the passage is no small thing. Not only does such a teaching do away with the correct understanding of the passage, but such a teaching has the Times of the Gentiles ending in the New Testament after a fashion that is completely out of line with the way in which the Times of the Gentiles is seen being brought to a close throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.)
The Old Testament has already dealt extensively, in minute detail, with the whole of that which is seen beginning with Revelation chapter seventeen and continuing into the first part of chapter twenty. A complete word picture has already been presented, for all to see. And this section in the book of Revelation, dealing with the same thing as is previously seen in the Old Testament, places the emphasis exactly where Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets had previously placed the emphasis, which could only be expected.
The emphasis in chapter seventeen through chapter nineteen, preceding the Messianic Era in chapter twenty, is placed on Israel and the nations (17:1-19:6, 11-21). And, within this section, the Church of God, as well, is brought back into the picture from chapters one through three, though only taking up four verses throughout chapters seventeen through nineteen (19:7-10).
(To illustrate how the preceding is very much in line with the way matters are presented in the Old Testament, note material in five of the opening chapters of Genesis — chapters five through nine. The Church is foreshadowed in chapter five in the person of Enoch, who was removed from the earth alive before the Flood, typifying the Church being removed before the coming Tribulation [vv. 21-24]. Then, Noah and his family come into view in the latter part of chapter five [vv. 28-32]. And God’s dealings with Israel and the nations relative to the Tribulation and the succeeding Messianic Era are foreshadowed by events seen throughout the next four chapters.
After one complete period of time [at the end of the seventh generation], Enoch is removed from the earth. This foreshadows the Church being removed from the earth at the end of the present dispensation. Then, within another complete period of time [within the tenth generation], Noah and his family, under divine protection, pass through the Flood. Noah and his family being divinely protected through the Flood foreshadows Israel being divinely protected during the coming Tribulation, the final seven years of the Jewish dispensation. The nations destroyed in the Flood foreshadows the nations suffering the same fate during the Tribulation. And the new beginning following the Flood foreshadows the new beginning — the Messianic Era — following the Tribulation.
For more information pertaining to the overall type seen in Genesis chapters five through nine, refer to the author’s book, Seven, Ten Generations.)
The Purpose for the
Times of the Gentiles Realized
The Times of the Gentiles exists because of the Jewish people’s disobedience, extending over centuries of time. And, at the apex of this disobedience was harlotry. Israel, a nation separate and distinct from all the other nations (Numbers 23:9), was having forbidden relationships with these nations.
Because of their continued disobedience, God eventually uprooted His people from their land and drove them out among the nations (using the Assyrians in about 722 B.C. to remove the northern ten tribes and then the Babylonians in about 605 B.C. to remove the remaining southern two tribes). And, with the removal of the southern two tribes (Judah and Benjamin), a theocracy that had existed in the camp of Israel for some eight hundred years came to an end. Following the complete removal of the Jewish people in 586 B.C., the Glory of God departed ending the theocracy that God had previously brought into existence during the days of Moses at Sinai (Ezekiel 10:4, 18; 11:22, 23; cf. Exodus 40:33-38).
And, though two remnants of Jews have returned to the land since 605 B.C. (one beginning seventy years following the Babylonian captivity, and the other occurring in modern times), the Times of the Gentiles has continued throughout. The Gentiles have held the scepter throughout this time, lasting about 2,600 years to date. And the Gentiles will continue to hold the scepter until God’s purpose for driving His people out among the nations has been realized.
The Jewish people, by and through Gentile persecution, must be brought to the place of repentance before the Times of the Gentiles can end.
Both remnants returning during the Times of the Gentiles eventually formed a Jewish nation in the Middle East. And both returned under similar circumstances — apart from national repentance, which could only have been prior to the time for the nation to return.
The first remnant was driven back out among the nations in 70 A.D., and the second remnant will be driven back out among the nations yet future, in the middle of the Tribulation. God has decreed that He will deal with His people relative to their sins, with a view to repentance, out among the nations, not in the land. And, if for no other reason, the remnant presently in the land forming a modern-day nation of Israel will have to be uprooted and driven back out among the nations.
Just as surely as God dealt with Jonah relative to repentance in the sea (which has to do with the Gentile nations in Scripture) rather than on the ship (which would be out of the sea and, thus, could only have to do with the land), God will deal with His people relative to repentance out among the nations rather than in the land of Israel.
And in the final analysis, after 2,600 years of Gentile dominance and Gentile persecution, the Jewish people are pictured in Scripture as a harlot out in the sea, a harlot removed from her land and residing in the worldwide kingdom of the beast (Revelation 17:1, 15). The kings of the earth will have committed fornication with the harlot woman (by forbidden national relationships), having been made drunk “with the wine of her fornication” (Revelation 17:2). They will, as well, have become wealthy by the woman’s condition and position; and the woman will have become wealthy as well — all having to do with worldly wealth, void of spiritual wealth (Revelation 18:3-19).
But, all of the preceding is about to change. God is going to use the final and most corrupt form of Gentile power the world has ever known or ever will know to bring Israel to the place of repentance. By and through Gentile persecution under the man seated on Satan’s throne and empowered by Satan — as this man seeks to do away with the Jewish people, making individuals such as Hitler, Eichmann, Nassar, Ahmadinejad, et al. pale by comparison — Israel will, after centuries of time, be brought to the place of repentance.
Note Revelation 17:16, 17:
And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose [KJV: will], to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
Those forming the ten-kingdom federation of the beast will hate Israel, and do everything within their power to destroy the nation, not realizing at all that the Gentile nations hold the scepter and are wealthy only because of Israel’s condition and position among them. And they also will not know that God will use their genocidal efforts to bring Israel to the place of repentance, which will result in an end to Gentile rule and Gentile wealth, both wrought at Israel’s expense. God will take the scepter from the Gentiles, take their wealth, and give it all to Israel, as He restores the theocracy to the nation (Isaiah 60:5, 11 [“forces,” KJV, should be translated “wealth”]; Ezekiel 37:21-28; 39:21-29; 43:2ff).
Insofar as governmental power and material wealth are concerned, those in the kingdom of the beast, as they seek to destroy Israel, will, at the same time, unknowingly be committing national suicide. God will use their efforts, fulfilling His will, “until the words of God shall be fulfilled” (Revelation 17:17). Then, once Israel has been brought to the place of repentance by Gentile persecution, God will hear from heaven, remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and act in complete accordance with His promise to Israel (cf. Exodus 2:23-3:12; Leviticus 26:27-42; 2 Chronicles 6:24-27; 7:12-14).
Once the reason for the Times of the Gentiles has been realized, Gentile world power, existing in the kingdom of the beast in that day, will be destroyed. This is seen in Old Testament typology in places such as the books of Exodus and Esther — the Assyrian Pharaoh and his armies in Egypt destroyed in the Red Sea as they pursued Israel, or Haman and his ten sons impaled on the gallows that Haman had prepared for Mordecai, the Jew. And this is seen in the book of Revelation in chapter nineteen, following Israel’s repentance and the Father sending His Son back to the Jewish people, to deliver them (vv. 11-21).
(Note the sharp contrast in the government of the earth as it has existed during the last 2,600 years and as it will exist yet future once God’s purpose for the Times of the Gentiles has been realized. Conditions in the government of the earth are quite different when the Gentiles hold the scepter [present], as opposed to Israel holding the scepter [past and future].
The descendants of Shem through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, comprising the nation of Israel, form the only nation on the face of the earth with a God [Genesis 9:26; Psalm 33:12]. And for the Gentile nations, without a God, to acquire spiritual wealth and blessings, they must go to the one nation with a God [Genesis 9:26, 27]. They must go to the nation of Israel [something really not possible today because of Israel’s condition and position among the nations].
The Gentile nations though do possess gods, but not the one true and living God. The gods of the nations are said to be “nothing” compared to the one true and living God [1 Chronicles 16:26; Psalm 96:5]. The gods of the nations could be anything separate from God Himself — materialism, demons in Satan’s kingdom, etc.
All of the Gentile nations find themselves in the same position, in the natural realm. And they simply cannot move from that realm into the spiritual realm [except, of course, that spiritual realm where Satan and his angels operate, which is aligned with the natural]. The man of flesh simply cannot function in the realm where the man of spirit exists.
Many individuals out of the nations, over centuries of time, have moved from the natural into the spiritual realm by a Savior that came from the one nation with a God. But it is not possible for the nations themselves to do this. Again, nations simply cannot function in this realm.
In this respect, there is no such thing as a Gentile nation with a God, or a Gentile nation that can be referred to as a Christian nation [the Church, taken mainly from the Gentiles, is referred to as a “nation” and has a God, though the Church is neither Jew nor Gentile but one new man, a new creation “in Christ,” with a heavenly citizenship (Matthew 21:43; 1 Peter 2:9, 10; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-15; Philippians 3:20)].
Gentile nations, in their governmental structure today, rule within a form of a theocracy, though a corrupted form connected with Satan and his angels. “Satan” is the god of this present age [2 Corinthians 4:4], and he and his angels rule through/by the Gentile nations from their place in a heavenly sphere [Daniel 10:13-20].
God rules the entire universe, and He rules over all parts of His kingdom by and through angels whom He has placed in regal positions throughout the universe. The earth, one province in the universe, is ruled in this manner, though presently by a rebel ruler. God presently rules the earth through/by Satan, the god of this age. God has delegated power to Satan, and Satan, in turn, has delegated power to subordinate angels ruling with him. It is this delegated power and regal position [his throne] that Satan will give to the beast during the coming Tribulation [Revelation 13:2; cf. Ezekiel 28:14; Luke 4:5, 6]. Then the beast will rule in this same manner under God, as a rebel ruler in a corrupted form of the theocracy.
It is immaterial whether a nation’s government is like that of the United States [where there is a separation of religious and civil powers] or like that of a Moslem country [where religious and civil powers are inseparably connected], in the final analysis all Gentile governments have a common connection. All occupy their positions directly under Satan and his angels, who rule in a rebel respect under God.
There is only one nation on the face of the earth with a government that rules after any other fashion than the preceding, and that’s the one nation with a God, the nation that is not to be “reckoned among the nations” [Numbers 23:9], the nation of Israel. The angelic princes of the Gentile nations [each nation has a prince, with other princes under him], who rule through/by the nations from a heavenly sphere, are demons [Daniel 10:13-20]. But Israel’s angelic prince, ruling through/by the Jewish nation in the same manner, is Michael [Daniel 10:21], and Michael exercises power under God separate from Satan and his angels.
This is why God could establish a theocracy and rule in the midst of Israel during Old Testament days. As well, this is also why God will be able to establish a theocracy in the world yet future.
“Israel” is the key. Since Abraham’s day, the separate creation during Jacob’s day, and the subsequent inception of the nation during Moses’ day, God has looked upon and dealt with the Gentile nations through one nation alone [cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 4:22, 23; 12:2; 19:5, 6; Isaiah 43:1-11; Zechariah 2:8]. And God’s dealings with the nations through Israel in this respect will never change [Romans 11:29].
Israel’s position relative to the nations is why Israel must be brought to the place of repentance, Gentile world power destroyed, Satan and his angels removed from power, and God’s three firstborn Sons [Christ, Israel, and the Church (following the adoption)] placed in power [cf. Genesis 1:26-28; Hebrews 2:5].
Satan knows this, and over millennia of time he has done everything within his power to thwart God’s plans and purposes by launching his attack at the fountainhead, seeking to destroy Israel. And this is why Satan will give his power, his throne, and great authority to the earth’s last ruler during the Times of the Gentiles [Revelation 13:2b]. Satan will use this man in a final, climactic attempt to do away with the nation of Israel.
But God, in His sovereign control of all things, will use this man’s efforts to achieve a completely opposite end — to bring about His own predetermined plans and purposes for Israel. Matters in that day will be as in the words of Haman’s wife, Zeresh, relative to Haman attempting to slay Mordecai:
If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him. [Esther 6:13b]
For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, The Most High Ruleth. Also, refer to “The Intractable Middle East Problem,” Appendix 1 in this book.)
The “great harlot” in Revelation chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen is seen being burned with fire (17:16; 18:8, 9, 17-21; 19:2, 3). This is the picture that Scripture provides of Israel’s harlotry being done away with. God is seen using the beast and his kingdom to do away with Israel’s harlotry by and through a persecution of such an intense nature that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (cf. Matthew 24:22). And this will occur after 2,600 years of Gentile dominance and control.
Israel will be brought to the place where the nation will have nowhere to turn other than to the God of their fathers. (Revelation 17:16, 17). Repentance and cleansing will then occur (Isaiah 1:16-21), Israel’s harlotry will be a thing of the past (Revelation 18:8-10), and it will never again be an issue (Revelation 19:3).
Then God can complete His dealing with Israel, deal with the nations, deal with Satan and his angels, and usher in the Messianic Kingdom.
The Complete Purpose for Israel’s Existence Realized
God called Israel into existence to be the channel through which He would deal with mankind at large. The Word of God would be given through Israel, a Redeemer for fallen man would arise out of Israel, Israel would be God’s witness to the nations, and Israel would rule the nations within a theocracy, with the nations being blessed through Israel.
Israel has given mankind the Word of God, and a Redeemer has arisen out of Israel. But the remainder of God’s purpose surrounding Israel’s existence awaits a future fulfillment.
The past theocracy under the old covenant never approached the heights surrounding the reason for Israel’s existence, but the future theocracy under the new covenant will. In that day, God will “cleanse” the nation, give the nation “a new heart,” and place “a new spirit” within the Jewish people. In that day, God will cause them to walk in His “statutes” and keep His “judgments” (Ezekiel 36:25-27). In that day, God will put His law “in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” And in that day, the one true and living God will be Israel’s God, and the Jewish people will be His people (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
The 144,000 Jewish evangels (Revelation chapters 7, 12, 14) will form a first fruit of the nation during the Tribulation and will carry God’s message to the Gentiles worldwide during this time. This will result in the conversion of “a great multitude,” which no man will be able to number, “of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9).
Then, following the conversion of the entire nation when Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation, the main harvest will appear. And the entire nation will then go forth with God’s message to the Gentile nations throughout the earth.
As well, the theocracy will be restored to Israel. And a restored nation will hold the scepter, ruling the Gentile nations, with the Gentile nations, in turn, being blessed through/by Israel (cf. Zechariah 8:20-23).
This is what awaits Israel and the nations of the earth following the horrors that will befall those upon the earth during the Tribulation. And this will occur by and through the “Sun of righteousness” arising “with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:1, 2).
(For additional information concerning the beast and the harlot woman in Revelation chapters 17-19a, refer to the author’s book, The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.)