"Just Where Did She Get Those
Grasping the Modern Phenomenon of Holy Spiritual Harlotry
Rev. 17:1 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries." 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 6 —When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.
Have you ever felt “astonished” as John was astonished? Does the following scenario sound familiar to you—
You are in a huge convention of intercessory prophetic believers absolutely saturated with the Presence of the Holy Spirit. The worship draws you in. The preaching seems powerful. The gifts of the Spirit are flowing freely. People are being touched. Prophecies abound.
But yet, as you listen and seek to enter in, you are strangely untouched. Something is not right, but you don’t know what it is. As you listen to the message and the prophecies, you start paying attention to what you do not hear as well as to what you do hear. You notice that you do not hear the message of the gospel. You do not hear about the cross, either about its power to save you from the penalty of sin, or its power to save your soul from its remaining force in you. You do not hear any type of challenge to sacrificial discipleship and obedience—about laying down your present life to gain the next life. Nor do you hear a significantly expository message that opens up the scriptures to your inner man.
Instead, you start noticing more closely what you do hear. You hear about the world. Specifically, you hear about God’s desire and passion for the world. You hear about how God wants to “touch the world.” (Everything is “global.”) He wants the world to have what He has given you—with all your blessings. He wants to use you and your gifts to “change the world” to make it a better place to live. Someone rises to prophesy how the Lord wants to “bless” the government, “bless” the city, and bring “reformation” to the culture. Another prophecy invokes the anointing on the president / prime minister, then the governor / premier. Then, from the back of the room, a wail of intercession surfaces calling to remembrance the nation’s historic “godly heritage.”
This leads to a break out of prayer for significant humanitarian projects—like world disaster relief—with which the church may partner. Finally, an earnest appeal for donations comes forth (nothing crass, but just as you are “led of the Spirit”) for world relief, then for a great mega project (perhaps the new multi-million dollar “intercession and healing complex” to be built across town) or perhaps to wage war over significant political legislation on the horizon—all to give wings to everything that has just been preached, prophesied and interceded for the last hour or two.
The meeting ends. And you do not know what to think. “Astonished” is the only word to describe what you have seen. The Holy Spirit was there. No question about it. Yet nothing about anything you heard resembles the truth by which you first came to know the Lord, nor by which you continue to pursue Him in the secret place, nor by which your hope in a future glorified inheritance is founded. How can this be?
The Woman and Her Jewels
Be astonished no more. What you have just witnessed is the prostitution of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit upon the world and its systems. You have encountered an exercise in Holy Spiritual Harlotry. You have met Mystery Babylon.
John’s vision of Mystery Babylon—especially her jewels—is the key to understanding this experience. But it requires some Old Testament help. Read carefully this passage from Ezekiel 16. And again, pay attention to the jewels:
16:8 "'Later I [the Lord] passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine. 9 "'I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. 10 I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. 11 I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, 12 and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. 14 And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord. 15 "'But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. 16 You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. Such things should not happen, nor should they ever occur. 17 You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them. 18 And you took your embroidered clothes to put on them, and you offered my oil and incense before them. 19 Also the food I provided for you--the fine flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat—you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign Lord.
Taken alone, John’s vision of Mystery Babylon gives us only a general picture of church age spiritual prostitution. As such, the harlot he portrays is aloof to us—someone associated more with historic church-state systems with which we have never identified. But when tied to Ezekiel’s vision, John’s harlot suddenly comes alive with immediate relevance to today’s prophetic believers. Ezekiel’s harlot is personally addressed by the Lord in terms of passionate lavishment! (Hello? Are the bells starting to go off? Wake up! Does the word passion mean anything to you in today’s prophetic context?)
The comparisons of John’s and Ezekiel’s visions are remarkable. That’s because they are describing the same woman. In other words, Mystery Babylon in Revelation represents an end time church who has been loved by the Lord and has been bedecked by the marks of His passionate desire for her. (Ezekiel’s description is not far removed from that of the Song of Solomon.)
But now pay special attention to the jewels—the ornaments, bracelets and precious stones. Both John and Ezekiel take pains to describe the harlot’s clothing and jewelry. In John’s vision alone, those jewels mean little to us. We think of them as the world’s wealth, which the state church has acquired from governments over centuries. True enough in its own right.
But guess again! Tied to Ezekiel’s vision, we see that Mystery Babylon’s end time jewels are those of the Lord’s own gifts to her. Get that word gifts. Gifts from God, I tell you. (Where have you heard that word the last 40 years?) Immediately, the tie between this picture of Mystery Babylon and the New Testament teaching on the gifts of the Spirit comes into force.
I Cor.12:1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. Eph. 4:8 This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 —to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
We now see that the jewels belonging to Mystery Babylon are nothing less or else than the gifts, powers and anointings of the Holy Spirit bestowed on her personally by the Lord Himself, but which she has prostituted with the kings of the earth.
This is what astonished John! And this realization is the key to resolving our own astonishment, amazement, bewilderment with this modern polluted yet truly Spirit-saturated church. It is the key to unraveling the mystery behind Mystery Babylon and the phenomenon of Holy Spiritual Prostitution in the culture prophetic movement.
The Purpose Versus the Prostitution
Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit to the church in John 14-16 was a betrothal promise. He was promising us His Spirit jewels as an engagement gift until He would return for us in marriage. Paul tells us what the purpose of these jewels was. Jesus gave the Holy Spirit for the building up of the Body of Christ to her perfecting in Christ—even as a man cherishes his wife. In our limited understanding, we have believed in the inviolable sanctity of these gifts and the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit’s presence among us.
But once understood prophetically, we see that this understanding is wrong and has always been wrong. The truth is that the gifts, anointing and very Presence of the Holy Spirit Almighty in the church are corruptible and prostitutable! Ezekiel’s vision is what explains this to us.
In Ezekiel, the Lord charges Israel (thus today’s spiritual Israel), with having prostituted His gifts by lavishing them on the world—on all the kings of the earth, and on “anyone who passed by.” Ezekiel’s is an absolutely outstanding descriptive prediction of the prostitution of the Holy Spirit Himself by the end time Spirit-baptized church (manifest in our generation as the combined prophetic-intercessory-worship movement) by its “lavishing” of God’s anointed Presence on the financial and political systems of the world.
The Spirit-baptized prophetic church has abandoned the gospel and replaced it with appropriating the Holy Spirit to the sanctifying of fallen human systems. If you listen to most prophecy and intercession today, it is “lavished” on salvaging the world’s cultures with their failed ways of government, finance, education and you-name-it. (I will never ever forget the day in March 1988 when I listened to an entire South Carolina mega-church with one accord try to “prophesy” Pat Robertson into the U.S. presidency. Believe me. I was astonished!)
All of this harlotry is conducted in the name of “advancing the kingdom.” Does this mean anything? Please take a closer look at the harlot’s attire. Notice that Mystery Babylon is attired in scarlet and purple. Note that color, purple. It is the color of royalty. It is the color of the kingdom. This is none other than a portrayal of the end time prophetic church’s attempt to assign spiritual royalty to the world’s systems in the name of “advancing the kingdom.” You already know this. It is everywhere—spewing from the mouths of even the most well-respected and beloved prophetic teachers in our community.
Time fails me to identify the spiritual significance of every other prostituted detail in John’s and Ezekiel’s visions (try the incense, oil and wine on for size!) I will leave that to others. The main point to grasp today is that the Holy Spirit’s presence and power is entirely “prostitutable” by the church and this “prostitutability” of the Spirit is the key to understanding the Mystery Babylon among which we are dwelling. It provides the meat behind the Lord’s scant reference to denying knowing those who “prophesy, cast out demons and do many wonderful works [for the world, of course] in His name” (Mt. 7:22-23).
But I close by exhorting you to use discernment, not to react! Many whose spirits sense this prostitution (though they can’t define it) have reacted by rejecting and denying the Spirit’s movement in the church today altogether. They reject His amazing powers of worship, prophecy and intercession given for our final perfecting and ripening as the Lord’s return nears. They fail to enter in and would even discourage others because of the “risk” of prostitution.
Such reaction however is foolhardy. It is like a future bride saying to her fiancée, “No, I can’t accept your ring because I might be unfaithful with it, as almost everyone else seems to be.” What an insult to our gracious Lord! Don’t fall for it, as so many wilderness camps have. The Lord won’t accept that, any more than he accepted the one who “buried” the gifted talent. (He’ll be just as angry with you for rejecting His Gift as for prostituting it!)
Do rather “ask, seek, knock” for every good gift that comes from our Father above as a token of His Son’s betrothal of us. Press into Him as far as possible for all the presence and power of the Spirit available to us. Do so as corporately as possible. But walk with a guarded heart. Protect the sanctity of the Lord’s corporate presence and manifestation knowing you can prostitute Him. Refuse to be bought into lavishing your anointing on the world instead of the Body of Christ. Stand on the gospel. Stand on the word of the apostles. Walk with others as far as you can before a stench of prostitution becomes uncorrectably overwhelming. Then get out! But never give up on embracing all the Spirit of the Bridegroom has for us—and doing so together.
Let’s be faithful as we trust Him to safely guide us through this astonishing labyrinth.
First Love Ministry
New Meadow Neck, RI
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
(For more detailed study of this phenomenon, please see The Holy Spirit in the Church of Laodicea. )BACK TO TOP
Page created January 30, 2007