11 – The Whore and the Virgin (Revelation 14)

Home Learning Hub Reflections in Revelations 11 – The Whore and the Virgin (Revelation 14)

This chapter begins with another vision of the resurrection, the 144,000 in Zion, which is the earth renewed by the temple/ kingdom of God. It is a foretaste again of what the Revelation spells out in more detail in chapters 21-22. There, the throne, meaning the presence of God, is among his people and his kingdom rules throughout the earth.

Their new song is the song of a community kind of kingdom, which is free from the self-centredness of the beast, which the world under the beast can’t understand. Those singing the song are the virgin, which isn’t literal of people who haven’t married, but who haven’t defiled themselves with the beast. The virgin is compared to the whore, that is revealed in the next chapters. The virgin is true Israel, the followers of Christ, while the whore is false Israel, who have left Christ and gone whoring after Caesar and after the kings of the earth.

The song they sang was also the Song of Moses. This was sung after the Exodus through the Red Sea, and also in Deuteronomy 32, in Moses’ last days. It was a song about the faithfulness of God to redeem his people, as the virgin was being redeemed in Revelation.

But in the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, God predicts the final apostasy of Israel, which is being played out here in the Revelation.

After the Song of Moses, the harlot Babylon, is revealed. Revelation follows Deuteronomy 32, which once again shows that Babylon is Jerusalem

The virgin follows the Lamb, wherever he goes. He was killed by the beast. Likewise, the virgin believers do not love their own lives, but are given to serving others. This is where the Lamb goes, the path he treads. He refuses violence and gives his life for others.

Then, before the final judgement of Jerusalem is the proclamation of the gospel, the marking of the followers of Christ. Then the fall of “Babylon.” Revelation identifies Babylon as the harlot. This is Jerusalem. They were married to God, but became unfaithful to him, according to the word of all the Prophets. They made themselves apostate from God.

We see this pattern throughout Israel’s history, first with the Golden Calf, just after the Exodus. Then in Samuel’s day, when they refused God as their king, and wanted to make their own kings, who would do as they wanted. This was the way satan offered to Jesus in his temptation, to refuse God’s cross and self-giving and take up the power of Rome. This is the apostacy that satan sold to Israel, for their lives. This is why they were called the harlot. This is why they were called Babylon in the symbolic text of Revelation.

Instead of leading the world to God, they led the world into the sins they were committing. This is how the Old Testament prophets all spoke of Israel.

Then Revelation tells of the coming destruction of Jerusalem. “Its smoke shall rise up forever and ever.” This means a total destruction was coming to the city. This isn’t literal language. It is apocalyptic text, taken from the Old Testament.

Speaking of the fall of Edom, Isaiah said, “And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, and her soil into sulphur; her land shall become burning pitch. Night and day, it shall not be quenched; its smoke shall go up forever.” (Isaiah 34:9-10) Edom became a lake of fire. Its smoke of the burning destruction “shall go up forever.” But the smoke of Edom didn’t burn forever, literally. The term meant that its judgement, its destruction, would be everlasting. There would be no return from death for these people, no resurrection to life. This is the same language that is used in Revelation for the fall of Babylon and everyone who takes its mark.

To be thrown into the lake of fire and torment, meant that the city, and those who took the mark, would be thrown into the torments of destruction, which included the burning of the city, and that this torment of destruction would go on until the city had been fully consumed and the judgement promised had been fulfilled. That the torments of their destruction would “go up forever,” meant here, what it meant in Isaiah, that there would be no future rescue for those who are cast out of the kingdom of God by their own determined actions. The people are finally allowed to reap what they sow. God’s judgement simply affirms what our own action have determined.

Next comes the harvest, which is the fall of Jerusalem. It is overseen by Christ, but carried out by his angels, as in the parables of Christ about the end of that age: the end of the Old Testament age, the end of the temple, Mosaic era, that Daniel said was coming in the days of Rome. Christ comes on a cloud, as in the opening of the Revelation 1. The angels put in the sickle to reap the harvest of judgement.

This is all symbolic of judgement. In the parable Jesus gave, the angels gather out the wheat, through the gospel, and then they throw the tares into the fire. This means they remove all hindrance from the consequences of human sin and allow that sin to run its full course to destruction. This is how the judgement comes, and this is how Jerusalem fell: covetousness and hatred took over, until it was consumed by itself. When this came upon Jerusalem, there was a serious blood bath of death, described by the proverb of the horse’s bridle.