When we look into the Book of Revelation, usually it’s our imaginations that take over. Mostly we’re confused because of sensory overload and the inability to distinguish between the spiritual and the natural. Combined with so many theories, it’s a wonder we can be confident understand anything it teaches. The great whore in Revelation chapter seventeen teaches us many things, but we lose some meaning because we get caught up in its description.
I’d say there are three things that stand out and we should have a basic understanding of: (1) She’s a prostitute, (2) the prostitute is riding a beast, and (3) the whore has a cup full of abominations.
It seems to me that we need to understand (1) who or what the beast is, (2) what interaction does the prostitute have with the beast, (3) what does the Bible say are abominations, and (4) how are the abominations important?
What Are The Abominations
There’s not enough time in a simple blog to cover all these questions, but I do want to touch upon what the Bible says are abominations.
First, what is the definition of “abomination”? An abomination is something that is disgusting or detestable. Of course we’re seeing how God is looking at things and not how humans see things. God created all things and for His pleasure. When He created humans, He made it so that we have no choice but to make decisions. The eternal plan of God is that He has a family that has chosen Him and His ways, even when we don’t understand the “why’s.” It’s a life of faith. The plan of God is eternal. We don’t know all that is planned, or what we’ll truly be when He appears (1 John 3:2). We have no choice but to be pro-God or pro-world in our decisions.
In the hand of the prostitute, we see a cup full of abominations. What does the Bible say are abominations? When we know the answer to that question, we’ll have another key to understanding how the beast, the prostitute and the inhabitants of the earth interact.
Why do you suppose she is called a great harlot? It’s because she’s a seductress that lures people away from God. She entices people to have an affair with the things of this world and not worship the living God, the Creator of all things. People are drunk with the desire of the things of this life—entertainment, sex, political power, social influence, money, fame, and anything else that draws a person away from serving the God of creation and His Son, Jesus, the Messiah. On the outside she is beautiful, but she brings only death.
In the cup are the abominations that she uses to seduce people away from God. What are those abominations? Here’s what the Bible says:
Deuteronomy 18:9–12 says, “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.”
“Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret” (Deuteronomy 27:15).
“You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 7:25).
“And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion” (Leviticus 18:21–23).
“A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5).
“You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who behave unrighteously, are an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 25:13–16).
“These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16–19).
A New Life In Christ Jesus
I have yet to find anyone that has never sinned. I know many people who live lifestyles that are not pleasing to God. People that I care about and love. God loves them more, and in His love He has made a way out of sin. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we’re more than just forgiven; we’re born again. The spirit man that was once dead and at enmity with God is made alive to God and is a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
If we sin once we’re born again, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1) and “if we confess ur sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Whatever sin you may have committed, know that you can go to God and receive eternal life. The only one keeping you from Him is you. Ask Jesus into your heart and He’ll give you the gift of eternal life (John 3:16).
Stay strong and prepared!