In a previous study I identified the great harlot, Mystery Babylon the Great, of Revelation 17 as the ancient city of Jerusalem, which contradicts just about all of present day eschatology. Some want to make the great harlot Rome, the Vatican, literal Babylon in modern Iraq or some such city that fits their idea of what the “end times” should look like. Nevertheless, the Bible never speaks about the end of time. Imagine that! The **Bible** never once mentions the end of time. In fact, the Scriptures claim the Kingdom of God, which was set up by Jesus during the days of the Roman Empire, would continue forever (Daniel 2:44). How can this be, if one’s eschatology demands the destruction of the universe?
Clearly, if one misunderstands who the great harlot is, his or her entire eschatology is wrong! If Jesus was to judge the great harlot (Revelation 19:2-3) at his return, but folks are looking for the wrong city to be destroyed, then obviously not only wouldn’t these people recognize the end of the age, when they saw it, but they would miss the actual return of Christ! Think about it. If Jerusalem is the great harlot, and Jerusalem was indeed destroyed in 70 AD, and, if the Lord came in the person of the Titus and his armies, then most of modern Christendom has missed the return of Jesus and erroneously look for a future parousia (return of Christ) that will never occur.
Let’s consider the word harlot, not only as it is used in the Apocalypse, but also as it is used in the rest of the Bible. The prophet, Ezekiel, uses the word to describe Samaria, the capital of the ten northern tribes, and Jerusalem, the capital of the two southern tribes. The twelve tribes are presented as the wives of the Lord, but they made alliances with surrounding nations for their protection. In other words they didn’t trust that the Lord was a husband who was strong enough to defend them. So, they heaped to themselves lovers or kings of other nations. This was considered unfaithfulness, so the two nations were dubbed harlots. It is a covenantal term. It has to do with a nation or nations that have or had a covenantal relationship with the Lord, but rebelled against that covenant and played the harlot, seeking to receive what the Lord promised them from other nations (lovers).
In other words both Samaria and Jerusalem broke their marriage vows with the Lord (the Old Covenant) by seeking help from other nations, and in the process, becoming more and more like the gentiles in behavior, ultimately worshiping their gods. The Lord divorced Samaria (Hosea 2:2-4; cp. Isaiah 50:1), and ultimately destroyed her for playing the harlot. That is she ceased to be a nation and was dispersed among the gentiles. Jerusalem not only played the harlot like her sister, but was even more flagrantly unfaithful to the Lord (Jeremiah 3:6-11). However, the Lord was unable to treat Jerusalem as he treated the ten northern tribes, because of his covenant with David. The Messiah or the great King that would save his people was to be born out of David’s lineage (2Samuel 7:12; 2Chronicles 21:7)
Now, we come to Revelation 17:4-5. The word, harlot, in the context of what I have written thus far is covenantal language for a woman who had broken her marriage vows. Which nation, or city existed or even exists today who had or has a marriage covenant with the Lord? Certainly Rome doesn’t fit this kind of language, and neither does the Vatican or any other city on earth. Only first century AD Jerusalem fits the context of a covenantal relationship with the Lord. Ancient Jerusalem prior to 70 AD was the only city of that day that had a marriage covenant with the Lord. No other city could boast of such a relationship, nor could any city since, including modern Jerusalem! Present day Jerusalem doesn’t have a marriage covenant with the Lord. They have been divorced.
First century AD Jerusalem is the only city from that time to the present that could fit the context of Revelation 17. Therefore, Mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots, i.e. the great harlot of the Apocalypse, can be no other city than Jerusalem, which was destroyed cir. 70 AD. John tells us that she was “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus (Revelation 17:6), and Jesus told the leaders of Jerusalem:
“I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:34-36).
Jesus spoke of that generation, not a time 2000 years later. He prophesied that Jerusalem and its Temple would be utterly destroyed, which meant God had divorced his people, destroyed their nation and dispersed them among the gentiles, thus, bringing the Old Covenant to an end.