“ And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls…” (Rev. 17:1).
The woman, Mystery Babylon, is seen by John as arrayed in distinct clothing. Clothe have significant meaning. It represents one’s rank, authority, wealth, accomplishments, education and knowledge. In society, many are subconsciously programed to respect people by how they’re dressed, be it a uniform, a sharp suite or a doctor’s coat. On the contrary, a beggar or a homeless person may not garner the same level of esteem because of their worn out clothing.
Throughout scripture, clothing has similar significance. For instance, the Levitical priesthood were distinguished by their adornment signifying their election and position. Sackcloth were often put on to signify the stripping of one’s self during a time of repentance or mourning.
But clothing has an even great spiritual meaning. It represents one’s nature. It signifies the life, character, and mind one has out on. Thus we are instructed to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is our Lord who clothes us with the garment of salvation and covers us with the robe of righteousness (Isa. 61:10). No wonder then the counsel of the Lord to those in Laodicea is to buy from Him white garments so that you may be clothed to cover their nakedness (fleshliness) (Rev. 3:18).
On the other hand, clothing can serve as a disguise or a cover to represent a false identity. Some of the biggest thieves in the world wear suits and expensive ones at that. Similarly, John saw this woman wearing rather impressive attire. In light of the error, rebellion and abomination Babylon represents, one would expect to distinguish the harlot by her clothing and adornment. But this is not the case. She is arrayed in purple and scarlet and adorned with gold and precious stone.
Adornments are generally for the purpose of appearing beautiful or attractive. It is common for women to use body adornments in order to enhance their appearance by decorating and styling their hair, wearing jewelry and attractive clothing. A great deal of money, time and effort is invested in this endeavor.
Yet this is also true of the scarlet woman, she invests much time, effort and money to appear beautiful, genuine and attractive that she may seduce the saints. And many today have been lured by her adornments and external paraphernalia. Her music, her impressive buildings, her charismatic speakers, the hype and delirium created in her programs, her flesh centered message and her countless other decorations attract the saints by the thousands. But underneath all the external adornment is a harlot who refuses to subordinate herself to the Spirit of the Lord.
You see, what is preached from the pulpits of most churches is seemingly positive, sincere, well intentioned, encouraging, and uplifting. However, to the discerning ear, at the root of many teachings is soul development and the promotion of self which is in stark contrast to teachings which cultivate the life of Christ in the saint. It’s a façade; sheep’s clothing that makes the church system seemingly genuine to the undiscerning.
Thus, it is no surprise that her clothing resembles the veil of the tabernacle which was “woven of a blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen” (Exo. 27:16). Similarly, the Levitical priesthood were also arrayed in a holy garment including the ephod and breastplate “made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen” (Exo. 28:8,15). The breastplate the priest wore was also arrayed in four rows of precious stones (Exo. 28:17-20). Together, the apparel signified their special dignity, election and authority which gave a kingly character to the high priest.
However, we also see the harlot arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls. At first glance it seems that mystery Babylon is the elect priesthood. But, it is a deception, an imitation and forgery of the glory and beauty of holiness which the priests’ rob typified. Just like counterfeit money which resembles the real but has missing features, so is Babylon. Unlike the priesthood, she is missing the blue thread, the fine woven linen, the four rows of 12 precious stones found on the breastplate and the various other details found on the holy garment of the priesthood from their head covering to their belt. The pearl is also added although it is not found on the garment of the priests nor the tabernacle.
To those who will see her by the Spirit, Babylon is an imitation. Her many false prophets and deceitful workers transform themselves into apostles of Christ (2 Cor. 11:15). These deceitful workers of which Paul refers are crafty, cunning and subtle in their deception.
I’m sure many of us have come across counterfeit goods, be it phones, clothing, shoes etc. A poorly made fake is easily recognizable. But if we have very little knowledge or experience with the original then it becomes difficult to distinguishing the forged from the original.
Today, we have in our midst the biggest forgery every established by Adam. It’s called Mystery Babylon. But God is now revealing in many sons the genuine; the truth and reality of the Kingdom of God. And those who recognize the counterfeit system and its deceitful works are now shouting from the roof tops to warn the saints not to buy what Babylon is selling. Countless are Babylon’s counterfeits, be it her erroneous doctrines, her man-centered programs and her numerous denominations and sects.
Babylon is especially good at counterfeiting truth. Among such forgery that has recently been offered by her merchants for you to buy is called Calvinism; a collection of half-truths named after a man. A half-truth is simply a glorified lie. Be suspicious of any doctrine, teaching or set of principles named after a man. There is no other name by which we are to identify and associate ourselves except our Lord Jesus Christ.
Over the centuries, Babylon’s disguise and forgery has caused many to be deceived by the external attractions of the Babylonish church system, mesmerized by her purple and scarlet adornment and the glitter of her precious stones. Religion is a sham and it has designated to itself a special dignity, election and office, and kingly character that is neither real nor God ordained. However, through its disguise, the Babylonish religious system has gained legitimacy and has positioned itself in the heart of many saints leading them astray. The council of our Lord Jesus rings true today: “beware of false prophets, which come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15).
I close with the divine council of our Lord who summons us to: “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her” (Rev. 18:4-7).
Amen! Let it be Lord!
To be continued…