"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
THE REVELATION OF CHRIST
Lesson Number 31
THE HARLOT IS JUDGED
By Given O. Blakely
I WILL SHOW YOU
"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me . . . " The singularity of having a heavenly personality speak with John is worthy of noting. Such creatures are not at ease speaking with everyone! The fact that he spoke with John confirms the Apostle was in the realm where such communication was possible. Too, this is something John desired, and was qualified, to know. God has revealed He is disposed to share things with those close to Him, that could not otherwise be known. As it is written, "The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant" (Psa 25:14). Solomon also said, "His secret counsel is with the upright" (Prov 3:32). This is an aspect of the Divine nature that is most comforting to the heart of the believer.
An Involved Angel
In the heavenly Kingdom, messengers are generally themselves involved in the working of the Lord. They are not outsiders commenting on things occurring outside the perimeter of their involvement. So it is with this angel. He is "one of seven angels who had the seven bowls." He has been brought within the circumference of the Lord's working, and thus can provide valuable insight concerning that operation.
The language of this text reveals the closeness of the redeemed with heavenly personalities. Realizing we must not probe into this fellowship too far, some observations are in order. The angel is said to have "talked with" John. This is not the language of casualness, but of ordained familiarity. It substantiates the statement made in Hebrews 12:22: "But you have come to . . . an innumerable company of angels." These lofty personalities are at home in the presence of the redeemed!
The versatility of this angel may also be seen. Even though he had charge of one of the bowls of judgment, he was able to communicate some understanding to John. Such awesome judgments as those in which this angel was involved did not cause him to become unaware of John.
Think also how heavenly personalities not only long to understand the working of the Lord themselves, but are eager for men to know them also. There is a discontent with ignorance in the heavenly realms. Angels long to "look into" this glorious Gospel we have heard (1 Pet 1:12). The martyrs "under the altar" yearned to know when their blood would be vindicated (Rev 6:10). The closer we come to those sacred environs, the more we will participate in this quality.
Wherever there is contentment with spiritual ignorance, a most dire circumstance exists. Such a frame of spirit is completely out of harmony with heaven. It builds an impenetrable wall about the soul, robbing it of Divine resources, blessing, and advantage. Yet, this is a spirit that is fostered by spiritual Babylon. The number of professed believers that are content to remain unlearned in Kingdom matters is staggering.
The Great Harlot
"Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot . . . " This is the Divine commentary on the judgment we are beholding. Early, the wrath of God is said to have been poured out upon "the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image" (16:2). It is also said to have been emptied upon "the throne of the beast, and his kingdom" (16:10). Then reference is made to "the great city," and "great Babylon" (16:19). Now, we read of "the great harlot," or "whore."
All of these references are to the same spiritual entity-the false church. This devilish corruption has many different facets, and not a one of them is good.
First, this fabrication of the devil solicits the worship and service of men. It usurps the Lord of glory, demanding the allegiance that belongs to the Him alone. Thus we read of "the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image".
Second, this is a spiritual dominion-a government in which both power and influence are maintained by the devil. We therefore read of "the throne of the beast, and his kingdom."
Third, this is a great aggregation of humanity-a sort of confederation of people. They have been gathered together by the devil to oppose Jesus, even though some of them are not aware of that circumstance. We therefore read of "the great city," and "great Babylon."
Fourth, this is a representation of unfaithfulness to the Lord. In order to embrace what Satan has offered, the Lord Jesus must be forsaken. For this reason, we read of "the great harlot," or "whore." She is the epitome, or embodiment of all corruption.%%detect_both%%
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).