Friday, March 16, 2012
Rev 17: A Fallen Church?
Submitted By: Hugo Mendez
The parade argument for Adventists dictates that the terms "whore," "harlot," or "prostitute" (depending on your translation) must refer to a covenant people, a people in a relationship to God. Adventists cite several passages in which unfaithfulness to the covenant cast Israel and Judah as "harlots," polluting themselves with the nations of the earth (e.g., Ez. 23; Hosea 5:3). From this thread of logic, they conclude that only a "fallen church" can be in view in prophesies addressing the Christian period.
However, Isaiah 47:1ff. (the chapter on which Rev. 17-18 models its imagery) calls the Neo-Babylonian Empire a "harlot." Isaiah 23:17-18 applies the same term to the city of Tyre. That is, the terms can be applied to any nation or city on the earth. Lest we forget, the thrust of the word "whore" is pejorative; it is an insult, apparently worthy of any nation incurring the prophet's disgust. In Revelation, it could as easily apply to any (so-called "secular") entity like the Roman Empire, the natural referent of Rev. 17:18: "the woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
I hope to examine the chapter in greater detail in coming weeks. In the meantime, my PhD work continues.