Who Rides the Beast?
A plethora of Protestant theologians will, without hesitation, assert that the woman "clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication" (Rev 17:4 NRSV used throughout) is the Catholic Church. For five centuries, these theologians have linked spiritual Babylon and the Roman Church, as they found in the papacy evidence of Satan reigning over the Body of Christ. The Pope, himself, became the embodiment of evil. Any ecumenical spirit that might have existed was burned at the stake, with a bag of gunpowder hung from its neck, as the great schism leaped centuries, swung on its axis, and stands to this day between the Roman See and the Church's protesting daughters. And no image better personifies that schism than the great whore of Babylon.
One theological construct more than any other keeps the schism separating the Roman Church from her daughters from being bridged: that construction is the elevation of Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth. And it is the role of Mary as the shadow of a spiritual reality that I wish to examine in this season when Christianity again remembers the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus; for it is a fallen Mary who rides the seven-headed beast. It isn't the Roman Church, or any other religious organization as formulated today. In other words, the great whore will be the derivative created from the liberation of spiritual Israel at a future second Passover. She will consist of those self-identified Christians who either remain in spiritual Babylon after being liberated, or who choose to return to spiritual Babylon by accepting the mark of the beast (Chi xi stigma). The blood of martyrs on which she became drunk isn't blood shed in the 1st or 2nd or 3rd Centuries, but the blood of the saints martyred during the Tribulation. The Apostle John sees her in vision during the second half of seven years of tribulation. The liberation of spiritual Israelites from their present mental paradigms occurs during the first half.
The Christian Church is spiritual Israel, created when the law or covenant that divided the circumcised from the uncircumcised was abolished. Arguably, it began when Jesus sent forth the seventy, saying to them that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Traditionally, it began on that day of Pentecost when the one hundred twenty were filled with the Holy Spirit, and three thousand disciples were added to the Body of Christ. In actuality, it began when the glorified Christ returned to earth the day of His ascension and breathed on ten of His disciples, saying, Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22B23).
The Church becomes the second or spiritual Eve, created from the wound in the side of the second Adam. The Sinai covenant, the law by which circumcised Israel had been made a holy people (Exod 19:5B6), was abolished with the death of the Covenantor, YHWH, born of Mary as the man Jesus of Nazareth. Spiritual Israelites became the holy nation and royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9) that were in covenant with God the Father. While YHWH was physical Israel's Elohim (Exod 20:2) and was the Creator of life and of the physical universe (John 1:3B4), YHWH [Theos], when born as flesh (John 1:14) and when again glorified as God has a God [Theon], who was not previously known to physical Israel. God the Father is spiritual Israel's Elohim (John 20:17).
The problem theologians have had for the past two millennia is seeing the parallel between two creations, one physical, one spiritual. The physical creation is the shadow of the spiritual, or at least, that portion of the physical creation that has been recorded in Holy Writ is the shadow of the spiritual creation that begins with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. For theologians to understand biblical prophecies, they must see the typology present in what has been included and excluded in Holy Writ. For example, Moses was the mediator of the Sinai covenant. YHWH instructed him, when asked the name of the God of these Israelites' ancestors, to say that the singular, I AM, had sent him. He was not to say that Elohim, or YHWH, both linguistic icons plural in construction, had sent him. Rather, he was to use an icon that can only be singular in construction. (Elohim is plural although usually singular in usage. YHWH is always singular in usage, but in actuality, is plural, revealing both Theon and Theos and their Breath--the "Ah" or apostrophe in Elohim also reveals the Breath/Pneuma of both deities). So when the Sinai covenant is given, the physical shadow has circumcised Israelites receiving the spoken law of God, and accepting a covenant that promises material blessings for obedience, this covenant mediated by Moses as the intercessor for I AM. The spiritual reality of what the Sinai covenant foreshadows has all people receiving the laws of God by having these laws written on their hearts and mind when drawn by the Holy Spirit/Pneuma, with the glorified Christ as their intercessor with God the Father. The Sinai covenant corresponds to the new covenant, with hearing the spoken Living Words of YHWH corresponding to receiving the Holy Spirit, or Breath of God. Moses corresponds with the glorified Christ, and I AM corresponds with God the Father. Likewise, the first physically-created man is Adam; the first spiritually-created man is Christ Jesus. There was a first Eve, who believed the lie of the serpent when told that she would not die; there is a second or spiritual Eve, who believe Satan's lie that humanity had an immortal soul. Physical Israel rejected YHWH and asked to be ruled by a king. Spiritual Israel rejected the Father and asked to be ruled by the spiritual power behind the Roman Emperor. Because physical Israel profaned God's Sabbaths and would not keep His laws, YHWH sent first the house of Israel, then the house of Judah into national captivity. Because spiritual Israel profaned God's Sabbaths and would not keep His laws, God the Father sent first the spiritual house of Israel [Arian Christianity], then the spiritual house of Judah [trinitarian Christianity] into spiritual captivity. Then, as a remnant of circumcised Israelites under Ezra left Babylon to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, a remnant of spiritual Israel left spiritual Babylon to rebuild the temple of God in spiritual Jerusalem, which doesn't have geographical coordinates, but theological doctrines. So everything recorded in Holy Writ prior to Jesus of Nazareth's baptism is the shadow of a spiritual reality, such is the tightness of the inspired typology, with spiritual Babylon the mental landscapes by which Satan has deceived the whole world (Rev 12:9).
Everything physical has been raised a level in the spiritual creation: whereas the focus of biblical prophecies given under the old covenant was the world's physical geography and geopolitics, the focus of endtime prophecies is the spiritual landscape of the world. The prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel are primarily about physical nations and peoples--Israel, Tyre, Babylon, etc.--and these prophecies were fulfilled. But these prophecies retained spiritual fulfillments, many of which have come to pass without theologians recognizing what occurred because these theologians are, themselves, reading Holy Writ from the perspective of living in spiritual Babylon. Their mental landscapes are occupied territory, for a truly deceived person does not, and indeed, cannot realize he or she has been deceived until the person escapes from enemy-occupied mental landscapes. Reasoning becomes circular. Catch-22 logic abounds. And the Christian Church spiritually corresponds to the nation of Israel in Egyptian bondage, with Satan being the reality that Pharaoh typed.
Spiritual Israel will be liberated from the mental landscapes of spiritual Babylon on a future second Passover night. This should be good news for every Christian, but most of spiritual Israel will not take the Passover, will not place themselves under the blood of Christ as instructed to do so by both Jesus and the Apostle Paul. They will instead take communion however and whenever they choose. As such, when the firstborns of spiritual Babylon are killed, so will be the firstborns of spiritual Israelites who have determined for themselves when and how they will take the Passover.
When firstborns are slain, the great horn of the spiritual king of Greece will be broken, for this first king (a spiritual being) has already rebelled against Elohim, and will never again place itself under Christ/Theos. Today, the spiritual king of Greece as the he-goat of Daniel chapter 8 is trampling the spiritual king of Persia/Babylon. The shadow of this trampling is the success of Alexander the Great. The physical manifestation of this spiritual warfare is America's success in Iraq, which will result in the implementation of a new world order. The mental landscape of the United States and Britain will be imposed upon the mental landscapes of ancient Persia. Victory won't consist of physically occupying the land as Alexander did, but of mentally occupying the spiritual landscapes of that geographical region. The democratic ideals of the spiritual king of Greece will replace the ideals of the spiritual king of Persia. Spiritual Babylon will have a new king, but one that is still subservient to Satan.
When the great horn of the spiritual king of Greece has been broken, four lessor horns or demons will arise. Two of these four horns will make war on each other. They are the king of the North and the king of the South. Each will empower a ten-nation coalition, and these coalitions are supernaturally broken halfway through seven years of tribulation. If they were not broken, humanity would not survive. So many saints are martyred prior to day 1260--day 0 is when the Messiah comes in power--that if Christ didn't then crush these two warring coalitions that militarily surround and occupy a portion of Jerusalem, humanity would exterminate itself (i.e., in religious parlance, if these days were not shortened, no flesh would be saved alive).
The gospel or good news of the kingdom of God that must be taken to the world prior to when the end of the age can come is that despite the martyrdom of the Tribulation, despite the betrayals, the lawlessness, the love of many growing cold, those individuals who endure will be saved (Matt 24:9B13). Enduring requires, though, not accepting the mark of the beast.
Elohim [plural] said, Let us make humankind in our image (Gen 1:26), and Adam was created from red mud by Elohim [singular] (v. 27). The creation of many spiritual heirs of God the Father began with making humankind in the image of the Elohim kind. The first Adam was an air-breathing being (1 Cor 15:45). The first Eve was created from a wound in Adam=s side, and she swallowed the serpent=s lie that she would not die, but would become like Elohim if she ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She ate, and she gave the fruit to her husband. He also ate. They then hid from their Creator, who pronounced judgment upon them and expelled them from Eden. And as promised by their Creator, they both died. But humanity derives its air-breathing life from being the offspring of this first Adam and this first Eve.
While the creation of many spiritual heirs began with the physical creation of Adam, this creation has a second stage prior to the actual glorification of heirs. The Apostle Paul writes, "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven" (1 Cor 15:47B49). Christ Jesus is this man of heaven, the second Adam. The Church, created when the glorified Jesus breathed on His disciples (John 20:22B23), is the second Eve. This spiritual Eve, though, doesn't conceive children through spiritual intercourse with her husband. Rather, she conceives children when she is immersed in the Breath of God, or in the vernacular of Christianity, when she is baptized by the Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost when three thousand are added to the Body of Christ. She is a sexual virgin, just as was Mary, mother of Jesus.
Mixing metaphors is, for writers, a cardinal sin. Mixing analogies when explicating Scripture is also problematic unless the text clearly does this mixing--Paul assures disciples that they will bear the image of Christ. Disciples, when glorified, will be like Christ is now. Heirs are not of some lessor kind or specie, but are descendants of those to whom they are heirs. Angels are not heirs of Elohim. They are ministering spirits. They are not family members even though they presently have higher status than humans; thus, since glorified humans will be like Christ is now, their spiritual conception and gestation will also be analogous to Christ=s. But the analogy of Jesus as the second Adam breaks down when Jesus doesn't eat the forbidden fruit; rather, he overcomes the spiritual serpent, Satan. Jesus remains in spiritual Eden; He remains in the garden of God. Spiritual Eve, though, does not. Just as the first Eve believed the serpent's lie that she would not die, the second Eve swallowed Satan's lie about humanity having an immortal soul, thereby not dying at death but living on in an altered state, fully conscious of its surroundings.
Because the analogy of Jesus being the second Adam breaks down when He defeats Satan, a second analogy is merged with the first. That analogy is the role Mary shadows. Matthew writes, "Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit" (1:18). The Church is identified as the Bride of Christ--this second Eve is betrothed to Christ, but the wedding doesn't take place until Christ returns as the Messiah. The Church has the same relationship to Christ today as Mary had to Joseph. The Church has conceived many sons and daughters who are not yet glorified. Their conception was by the Holy Spirit, and began on that day of Pentecost when three thousand were added to the Body. So the Church is the spiritual reality of the physical shadow that Mary, mother of Jesus, cast in history.
When Joseph was going to quietly put Mary away because of her pregnancy, "an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit'" (Matt 1:20). Mary's pregnancy fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel. But the angel told Joseph that he was to name the Messiah Jesus, which is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Joshua. The child wasn't to be named Emmanuel, so let's look at the name, meaning "'God is with us'" (Matt 1:23). As a description of Jesus, the name applies: Again, Jesus was Theos, the Creator of Adam and of everything physical (John 1:1B2). As such, He was YHWH, Israel's Elohim. So He was literally God made flesh, dwelling with humanity. But the primary referent for the name Emmanuel isn't God, but "us." The meaning of the name implies discipleship, implies the presence of Elohim being with disciples. As such, the name Emmanuel introduces the analogy of Mary being a type, or the shadow of the Church.
Joseph was told not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Today, we should not be afraid to identify the spiritual Mary as the future Bride of Christ. And the question of whether analogies should be mixed enters the discussion: the second Eve eats the forbidden fruit of taking to herself the knowledge of good and evil. She has been driven from the garden of God. Elohim pronounced judgment against her, that judgment being that she shall desire her husband, the second Adam, and she shall have pain in childbirth. Indeed, her desire is for Christ, and she will experience the pain of living through seven years of Tribulation, after which she will give spiritual birth to many sons and daughters. The spiritual Mary also gives birth to spiritual sons and daughters. Both analogies work equally well when the Messiah marries His Bride.
Neither a spiritual Eve nor a spiritual Mary exists apart from the disciples that comprise the Church. Metaphors exist only until examined closely. Again, the reality of what physical Israel in Egypt foreshadowed is spiritual Israel in spiritual Babylon, subject to Satan as the spiritual type of the Egyptian Pharaoh. It is easy to see how the second Eve is deceived and in spiritual bondage to Satan, who deceives the world (Rev 12:9); no caveat is given for spiritual Israel, or for anyone else. Only the man Jesus defeated Satan. So only to the extent that a person possesses the mind of Jesus is a person free from being deceived. Thus, spanning analogies, if Joseph was told not to be afraid to take Mary for a wife, and if Joseph is a type of the spiritual Bridegroom, then Christ isn't afraid to take the spiritual Mary as a wife--and if Christ will accept the spiritual Mary as His Bride, and if Judgment has been given to Him to determine which disciples shall be in the resurrection to life and which in the resurrection to condemnation (John 5:29), then it is presumptive of us to label any disciple as not genuine. We can judge fruits. We can identify where there is an abundance, or a want of spiritual fruit being manifest in a person=s life. But we cannot say who is, or who isn't genuine. Paul says schisms will separate those who are genuine from those who are not, but when schisms cut across schisms (and have for two millennia) after all of spiritual Israel was sent into spiritual captivity, identifying genuine Israelites from Egyptians becomes a task worthy of God. All self-identified Israelites must be presumed genuine until they prove themselves not so. Therefore, a Mormon, a Catholic, and a Baptist stand equally tall before Christ though not before each other. Each is a spiritual Israelite living in Babylon; each is part of spiritual Eve/Mary; each will be mentally liberated on that future night of the second Passover. The two witnesses of Revelation chapter 11 are the spiritual reality of Moses and Aaron, and it is these two witnesses who will lead spiritual Israel out of Babylon and into the wilderness where God the Father will again feed His holy nation with manna (John 6:53B58), while showing Israelites His Sabbaths. The work of the remnant of Israel that has already left Babylon is to rebuild the temple of God, and the walls of spiritual Jerusalem--this is the work of the Church in Philadelphia.
Again, Christ will make the determination of which spiritual Israelites are genuine when all of spiritual Israel is liberated at a second Passover. Those who are genuine will live by faith. Those who are not will eventually accept the mark of the beast. It is these false Israelites who become the great city identified as Babylon. They constitute the fallen woman that rides the beast; they are the great whore. And they will have expelled the genuine saints from the Church they represent.
The mental paradigms that form the social constructs upon which humanity recognizes "reality" are the production of the spiritual powers reigning in Babylon. Because the early Christian Church rejected keeping the laws of God which the Holy Spirit wrote on the hearts and minds of disciples as a condition of the new covenant; and because the early Christian Church profaned the Sabbaths of God; and because the early Christian Church did not believe that eternal life was a gift of God, God the Father drove the early Christian Church out of His garden (i.e., spiritual Eden). The Father sent the early Church into spiritual captivity--and that captivity has been continued through historical exegesis. Again, the mental landscapes of "Christian" theologians have been and continue to be enemy-occupied territory. And a person's thoughts are derivatives of the social constructs upon which the person recognizes reality. Until a person is mentally liberated, the person is a spiritual slave of the king of Babylon, Satan himself. The person is deceived, and has no hope of becoming undeceived until drawn or liberated by the Father from mental bondage. The person is as a chess piece manipulated by Satan. The person can tire of being black, or of being white, and can change sides of the board, but the person cannot leave the game until God the Father draws the person. The good news of the endtime gospel is that liberation will shortly come, and the liberated person who endures to the end will be saved (i.e., will be part of the first resurrection). The downside of this good news is that there will be martyrdom and betrayal, that enduring will not be easy. There will be no pre-Tribulation rapture of the Church. Saints must live by faith; they must not return to mental, or physical slavery by accepting the mark of the beast.
The great whore isn't the Roman Church, or any other singular entity. She is the woman who accepts the tattoo of the Cross (Chi xi stigma) on her hand or forehead. She consists of two-thirds of the holy ones, those that Christ turns His hand against (Zech 13:7-8), or the seventy percent who won't be ruled by Him (Luke 19:27). She is a fallen Mary. And she doesn't exist until after spiritual Israel has been liberated from bondage to Satan, the king of Babylon (Isa 14:3B21). Until then, only Christ knows what is in the hearts and minds of self-identified disciples; for part of Satan's deception is concealing the law of God from drawn disciples through the reassignment of linguistic objects to icons. But when liberated from spiritual bondage, genuine disciples will manifest themselves through their obedience to Christ. The Bride and the whore will part company, with the whore betraying and slaying many genuine disciples. Again, the endtime gospel that must be proclaimed to the world is that those disciples who endure to the end will be saved. They are the face of the Bride.