In the previous chapter, we looked at several examples of the church doing the opposite of God’s teaching.
But that’s not where it ends. Because the church also seems to have gone out of its way to follow the blueprint of a character we find in Revelation 17: the Whore of Babylon.
Throughout the Bible, the symbolic image of a woman is used to represent the church or the Israelite nation.
In Revelation and earlier in Jeremiah, the Bride of Christ (Jesus’s borderless church made up of true believers across the ages), is depicted as dressed in fine, bright, spotless white linen.
By comparison, the Whore of Babylon in Revelation describes a church gone bad: a promiscuous, unfaithful church that has gone astray from God and is doomed to destruction.
So, let’s take a detailed look at the Biblical description of this wayward woman and see if the church tried to distance itself from this prophetic model of false religion.
Identifying feature No.1: she has an inscription on her forehead
“The name written on her forehead was a mystery: BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”
So what did the church do? Well, on the fascade of the most important basilica in Catholicism, St. John Lateran in Rome, is a Latin inscription, written in capital letters. Note that this church is known throughout the Catholic Church as the ‘Mother Church’. It is also the Pope’s home church.
The inscription (pictured below) is in Latin:
This translates as:
SACRED LATERAN CHURCH, MOTHER AND HEAD OF ALL CHURCHES OF THE CITY AND THE WORLD
Note also that Pope John Paul II made a controversial statement in 2000, claiming the Catholic Church to be the mother of all Christian denominations, as this archived BBC article shows.
Identifying feature No.2: she is marked by blasphemy
“There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names”
So what did the church do? It is clear that many teachings the church has introduced to Christianity are at odds with Bible teaching. In fact, in several cases, these could be seen as highly blasphemous if we believe that the Bible is the unchangeable, eternal Word of God and that man’s law, or Papal Bulls, cannot override it.
Identifying feature No.3: she holds a golden cup
“She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries”
So what did the church do? It chose to celebrate the eucharist using, in many instances, golden cups.
Identifying feature No.4: she is full of the blood of the Saints
“I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus”
So what did the church do? Well, it is undeniable that many thousands of Christians have died because of disagreements with the church, be it because they tried to make the Bible accessible to the masses or because they had differences of opinion branded as heresy.
Identifying feature No.5: she is dressed in purple and scarlet
“The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls”
So what did the church do? It chose to use scarlet red and purple in the clothing of its bishops and officials, both in the Catholic and Anglican churches. It also chose to use plenty of gold, precious stones and pearls.
Identifying feature No.6: she commits adultery with the world
” With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries”
So what did the church do? Well the relationship between church, state and empire is well documented, with Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire only ceasing in the 1800s.
The Vatican is one of the most influential and richest states in the world, playing a large but secretive role in world finance through the Vatican Bank and other investments.
Also note that the Anglican church’s supreme governor is, to this day, the head of the British state: currently Queen Elizabeth II.
Identifying feature No.7: she is seated on seven hills
“The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits”
So what did the church do? It located its seat of power in the City of Seven Hills, Rome.
Notice a pattern?
Now, I’m not going to get into the argument of whether the Roman Catholic Church is actually the Whore of Babylon in Revelation or whether it just happens to have many of the features of this mysterious woman, but it is at least something we need to consider when it comes to decisions about whether to unify with this church and the Anglican church come to that.
I’d also struggle to say I ‘believe the same’ as several other denominations of Christianity, from those who preach a prosperity gospel to those who follow New Age concepts.
But we do need to ask ourselves: why has the world’s biggest Christian church consistently chosen to make itself look more like the Whore of Babylon than the Bride of Christ?
The description is there in scripture in black and white. It is God’s blueprint of what not to look like. Why use it as a step-by-step guide on which to model your church?
You may disagree but, based on cross referencing facts to scripture, I see red warning signs that, at the very least, should make you stop and think.