by Mike Ratliff
1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” (Revelation 17:1-2 ESV)
John the Baptist was the one who was sent to make the way straight, to prepare the way for the one was to come. Of course the one who was to come is our Lord Jesus Christ the long awaited Messiah of the Jews. Gabriel told Zechariah, the father of John, “he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb, and will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Of course he did that very thing and our Lord was born of a virgin soon after John.
John the Baptist called the Jews to repentance and obedience. His major focus was to call them out of the works based religion which the scribes and Pharisees had created. Their religion, while based within the Law of God, had not the spirit of the Law, but only the letter of it. The focus was not on knowing God through the Law, but on attempting to become acceptable to God via keeping the Law plus the thousands of other rules and regulations the scribes and Pharisees had piled up on top of it. Their religion was all performance with no mercy or grace. John’s message was to turn from this works based religion back to seeking the face of God with a penitent heart. When Jesus came and began his ministry those whom the Father had given the Son believed and followed Him. These had been prepared by the ministry of John. Even some of our Lord’s 12 Apostles were formerly John’s disciples.
Right now as you read this God is calling His people again to turn away from empty religion in brokenness and repentance to walk before Him with penitent hearts in full obedience. The Church in our time is very sick. Its leaders have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power. They minister perfunctorily and pragmatically which are fruits of unbelief. The Gospel presentation has become a set of steps followed by the rite of saying a sinner’s prayer. Jesus is presented as a wimp who would not dare rebuke anyone. Neither would he demand that His disciples must deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Him. Lordship? What’s that? Christianity is seen as a set of add on options that are all subject to choice. There is no teaching of the wrath of God or of sin or of Hell. Salvation is seen as a way to have Jesus come into your life to so it will be better.
Of course, there are many forms of the Scarlet Woman, more than we can talk about here. But suffice it to say that any form of Christianity that is not totally bound to Christ as Lord who with the Father and Holy Spirit are Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Immutable and Omnipresent is not genuine, but is a prostituted version of it. Salvation is by Grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God. Any other teaching than Justification by Faith which is a gift from God is either works based or antinomian based and, therefore, part of the Scarlet Woman. Churches that exist for themselves or for the power and glory of the leaders are part of Scarlet Woman. Any form of Christianity that is not bound totally to the Glory of God Alone is part of the Scarlet Woman. Who is the Scarlet Woman?
3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. 5 And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (Revelation 17:3-6 ESV)
In Roman times, prostitutes wore a head band with their name on it. This “proudly” portrayed their debauchery. This Scarlet Woman wears a head band as well. We must remember that to God any form of religion that is counterfeit is akin to sexual infidelity in marriage. These churches that exist totally outside of true worship and service for His glory alone are spiritual prostitutes in God’s eyes. Those churches are run by leaders who have bought into the lie that Christianity is marketable or can be sold, or merchandised, or soft-sold, or peddled, or made into entertainment. They have prostituted their ministries by sacrificing the sheep in their care on the altar of self. Who needs God when we have a system that “works?”
Try standing against the tide of these abominations in a 21st Century church that has gone pragmatic and you will quickly find out what it is like to be excluded or run off, or cast out, ignored, and made a pariah. However, God is calling His saints to come out of the Scarlet Woman.
1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. 2 And he called out with a mighty voice,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
3 For all nations have drunk
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
“Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities.
6 Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says,
‘I sit as a queen,
I am no widow,
and mourning I shall never see.’
8 For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.” (Revelation 18:1-8 ESV)
That final call will come, but for now the way is being prepared for our Lord’s return. Those who “get it” and “see it” who have ears to hear and eyes to see recognize the Scarlet Woman and have come out or are coming out as the Lord draws them from darkness to light. The sins of the Scarlet Woman will only increase and fill up the cup of wrath God has for her. God’s people, however, should have nothing to do with these abominations, but should worship the Lord their God in spirit and in truth while obeying Him in all things, abiding in Christ and being Spirit-filled. They must stop seeing religion as the focal point of their relationship with God. Instead, it should be an expression of their living and growing faith.
The foundation of our Faith is Christ not some church building nor even the people in it nor the religious things that go on there. Churches that fear and honor God, follow the Bible rather than what men say, teach their sheep to work out their salvation with fear and trembling are not part of the Scarlet Woman. Those who are part of churches like that are truly blessed by God and should not neglect the gathering of the saints.
Before Jesus comes back, Elijah will return to prepare the way just as John the Baptist prepared the way for our Lord’s first coming. Elijah will come, however, God has awakened many of us right now to shine His light of rebuke into the Scarlet Woman. He is calling the Remnant out of her. The Great Apostasy appears to be upon us. The leaders within the Scarlet Woman have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power. These “fellows” call themselves Christians but deny the veracity of scripture. They contend that we are not Christlike because we rebuke them. They cry for unity at all costs. However, the spirit of Elijah listens to no man, but is subject only to will and purpose of God. There will be no compromise. Jesus said offensive things directly to many people while He ministered on Earth as did John the Baptist and Elijah. We are called to proclaim the truth no matter who is offended by it. We fear God, not men. God is preparing to bring His Kingdom to fulfillment. When Elijah does come will the Lord’s return be far behind? Are these things coming to light at this time so God’s people can be prepared? Whatever God is doing, this message is the one I cannot get past, “Now is the time to repent, turn from sin, turn your hearts to God for forgiveness and cleansing, walk in repentance, abide in Christ, deny yourselves, take up your crosses and follow Jesus, and be Spirit-filled!”
Time is short. We are quickly approaching the time when seals will be broken, trumpets blown and bowls poured out. We must examine ourselves, asking God to show us what needs to be severed from our lives and what must be taken up. When Jesus does return, and He will, will He find faith on the Earth?
Addendum: My friend Rick Frueh has written a great post on empty religiosity called The Shadow of Law. I pray that you will read it as well. Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff
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