So who is your momma?
This may seem like a strange question coming from a website like this, but I’m speaking of your spiritual mother. Many may ask what that even means. But if this question can indeed be asked, and a true answer given, it has great potential to open our eyes to world events in the end times.
There are only two possible answers to the question. The true answer, for you, reveals one of two possible eternal destinies for you.
(Interestingly also, I didn’t plan it this way, but the thoughts and issue came to a head just a couple days before Mother’s Day, appropriately. This may be God’s way of making this issue stand out more in our minds.)
My Decision on Chiastics’ Place in Bible Interpretation
In this recent post in which I refuted Joel Richardson’s Daniel 8 teaching video, I announced I had become convinced of the essential role of chiastics in interpretation. Chiastics reveals the textual form of Scripture setting the overall tone and direction of the text, and the words themselves give us the details. The details within the words themselves can be misunderstood by themselves, evidently. (Even in matters of plain doctrine there are 20,000 Protestant denominations in the world.) However, the form of the text shows us what to look for in the words of Scripture.
In this article I will explain the silver bullet I recently discovered that made me come to the conclusion that I wrote about in that recent post: I believe that the text form and the text words themselves must meet in the middle. Word meanings can be twisted, and so can chiastic analyses, but where they are both done correctly and agree, I believe we arrive at the truth.
Babylon the Great
My recent discovery, which I will reveal a little later here, so happens to be a game-changer for understanding Babylon the Great in Revelation 17. Failing to see the words of Scripture and the text form regarding Babylon the Great to completely “meet in the middle” was a major block to keep me from fully embracing chiastic form’s use in interpretation. I say “completely” because all the words in a chiastic passage must be explained, and the last domino to fall for me was the use of the word “Mother” in Revelation 17:5.
Investigating Babylon the Great right here, let’s look at the chiastic form of Scripture first, to set the direction, and then let’s examine the words in Scripture to fill in the details. We will indeed see chiastics and the word meanings meet in the middle.
The Chiastic Form of the Text
We start with the chiasmus presented in Figure 99 of Chronicles of the End Times, and reproduced below. Fifteen similar words and phrases, in the same order, echoing between Revelation 17 and 21:9–22:5 show us the form of the text. Showing two parallel echoing texts, the chiasmus shows us the Harlot is somehow related to the Bride. Realizing that brides are faithful and harlots are unfaithful, the foundation is set for understanding that the Harlot and the Bride are opposites of one another.
Chronicles explains that this means, just as no servants of Christ reside outside of the Bride, and all servants of Christ are of the Bride, no non-servants of Christ are outside of the Harlot, and all non-servants are of the Harlot. All servants of Christ live in the New Jerusalem, and all non-servants live in the great city (Rev. 17:18).
Keeping this piece of information in mind from chiastics that the Bride and the Harlot are opposites, we press further into seeking the words in Scripture that support this idea. We are now trained to pick up on a meaning from the words themselves that we may not have associated with this topic in the past. This is where I found the “silver bullet.” This does not involve forcing a meaning: it comes down to, are the words there or not, plainly?
The Words of the Text
Most of us who study the Bible and are prophecy students are familiar with the words of Revelation 17:5. In that verse John the Apostle sees a vision of the Harlot on a seven-headed beast and repeats the name written on her forehead: “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
By itself, that inscription can be confusing; words by themselves can be confusing. There are many interpretations being taught about that one sentence. Why she is named “Babylon the Great” and what are the abominations can both be readily explained. Let’s focus here in this article on the most confusing phrase in the middle: “THE MOTHER OF [THE] HARLOTS . . . OF THE EARTH.”
First, note I added the extra “the” in brackets. No, I am not twisting Scripture. That extra “the” is there in the original Greek (go look it up—and it does make a difference in interpretation) but is left out by most Bible translations (I don’t know why). The phrase “the mother of the harlots” wouldn’t be finished without “of the earth.” Revelation 17:5 speaks of two things that are “of the earth”: the harlots and the abominations. Here we will focus on “the harlots.”
Abominations are sins such as idolatry, but who are “the harlots”?
Who are the Harlots?
To answer that question we have to go to the Old Testament prophets such as Jeremiah and Hosea. A theme running through these books is that the righteous are faithful to their husband, God, and idolaters are unfaithful and adulterous to God.
Hosea 4:12 says of the unfaithful people, “They consult a wooden idol and are answered by a stick of wood. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God.”
Speaking to Israel, Jeremiah 2:2 and 3:1 contrast with one another saying, “As a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert,” and “But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—would you now return to me?” Addressing Israel, this issue is finished with Jeremiah 3:9: “she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.” [added emphasis] How does one commit adultery with stone and wood? It is not done by adultery between two people not married to each other. It is done by engaging in idolatry against God using images of stone and wood. God even calls the idolaters back to Him in his mercy: “‘Return, faithless people,’ declares the LORD, ‘for I am your husband.’” [emphasis added]
Paul clarifies what is all included in idolatry in Colossians 3:5: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
It can be seen from these verses, the detailed words of Scripture, that the harlots of the earth are none other than the idolaters; they are everyone who puts themselves and their interests first, ahead of serving God.
As an aside, this helps us understand Revelation 2:22 better, speaking of those who commit adultery with the prophetess Jezebel. They aren’t necessarily committing adultery, but spiritual adultery, i.e. idolatry along with the prophetess.
Who is the Mother of Harlots?
Now, we have seen the chiastic form show us the Harlot to be the opposite of the Bride. We have also seen the meaning of “the harlots of the earth” in Revelation 17:5. Now we meet head-on the last question and focus of this article: Who is the mother of the harlots of the earth?
Now, besides the harlots being understood, other questions have been answered as to why the Bride and Harlot are opposites and not geographical. For example, the wilderness John is led into in Rev. 17:3 is not an actual place but is a textual opposite of the mountain John is led to, to see the Bride in Rev. 21:10. In terms of great kingdoms, the Bride is the greatest, thus a high mountain, while the Harlot is desolation, for the final state of the Harlot is the lake of fire and desolation. What of the punishment of the Harlot in Revelation 18? It is only the Trumpets and Bowls, and all man’s cities being destroyed (Rev. 16:19). It is very possible that ship’s crews at sea will survive the coming of Christ while watching New York, Rome, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, and Rio de Janeiro burn. Only a third of the ships were earlier destroyed (Rev. 8:9).
Many issues like these have been addressed in the research for my new book about Babylon the Great.
But one issue stayed beyond my understanding: If the Harlot, Babylon the Great is the mother of the harlots of the earth, why isn’t the Bride said to be the mother of the servants of God?
So I placed the whole thing on the shelf for the last few months. I’m not going to publish a book in which I don’t believe and can defend the topic 100%.
The chiastic text form was still on my mind, in the background. But there was a conundrum involving the idea of “mother.” This point about mothers has been a block for me. However, it turns out this was all in God’s good time.
The Answer to the “Mothers” Riddle!
So about a month ago I was just reading the Word, reading Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Even though passages are familiar to me, I love having God’s words and truth wash over my soul. So many things are called to mind, and your soul lights up. You all know what I’m talking about.
Well, I got to Galatians 4:22–24 which talks of two mothers. One is Sarah, the mother of those who are free, and Hagar, the mother of those who are bound. Hmm . . . two mothers sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Moving on to Galatians 4:25 was the familiar passage that Hagar is compared to Mount Sinai which is in Arabia. This verse is the basis for seeking Mt. Sinai in Saudi Arabia rather than the namesake Sinai Peninsula. Joel Richardson has an excellent video on this topic.
Galatians 4:25 also compares Hagar to the Jerusalem that existed then and exists now. It’s the geographical one here on earth made of stone.
But it was Galatians 4:26 that took my breath away: “But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.” My first reaction was “Whoa, that’s it!!”
John wrote in Revelation 21:2, “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” [emphasis added] Revelation 21:9-10 says, “‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.”
So . . . between Revelation 21 and Galatians 4, the Bible DOES say the Jerusalem above, the one that descends from Heaven for eternity to the New Earth, who is the Bride, is the mother of all the saints!
It was chiastics that set my mind on the right path, that the Harlot and the Bride are opposites in every way. My mind was ready to receive the words of Scripture and see them correctly and put them in context! It must have been dozens of times that I read Galatians 4:26 in the past two decades and didn’t think twice of the connection to Babylon the Great. But the text form set my mind to it.
And there it was! Some people say the Bible says only once the Bride is the mother of all us saints. Well, I would answer that only once in Revelations 17:5 the Bible says the Harlot is the Mother of the harlots—and look where that got us: a centuries-old industry of interpretation from one mention.
For me, this issue about “Mother” being either the Harlot or the Bride and what the Bible says was the final nail in the coffin of believing the Harlot was any kind of religious or geographical entity.
So, letting this whole situation sink in, what does “Mother” mean in those two verses of Revelation 17:5 and Galatians 4:26? It plainly does not mean the biggest or greatest of something. It also does not mean a progenitor, or reproducer, either.
I repeat here what I wrote at the top of this article—
“I believe that the text form and the text words themselves must meet in the middle. Word meanings can be twisted, and so can chiastic analyses, but where they are both done correctly and agree, I believe we arrive at the truth.”
I believe we have the answer and the riddle is solved. Chiastics set the tone. The words, the details, fall in line with that tone. The words of the Bible have met the form of the Bible in the middle.
Paul the Apostle wrote in AD 50 or so, 40 years before Revelation was written, that the holy city above is our mother. First century Christians would have been familiar with this saying.
John then wrote of the mysterious Harlot he saw, and that she is the Mother of the idolaters of the earth.
The meaning of “mother” becomes obvious, I believe. “Mother” is proven to mean the ilk of which you and every one of us are. “Ilk” means persuasion or bent. Of whose persuasion are you? Of which mother do you follow? It is the cloth you are cut from. Of which mother do you have the same bent? What is your predilection, fondness, or leaning? Are you serving the Lord of the universe, or yourself? Are you a faithful servant, or a harlot?
There is only the Harlot and only the Bride and all humans reside in one or the other, and all humans are part of one or the other and all human beings have only one or the other as their spiritual mother.
So I ask you again the same question at the beginning of this article: “Who’s your Momma?” The answer can only be “the Harlot” or “the Bride.”