What is the greatest enemy of the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth today? For decades it was perceived to be Communism, but the Cold War ended in the early 1990s. Then, militant Islam emerged as the primary target. Other foes have also been identified, such as Liberalism, Secularism, or Socialism. In their own ways each of these forces resists the expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven, but the Bible describes the greatest opponent of the Church as a seductive and deceptive force that has largely been ignored and misunderstood in the prosperous Church of the West.
The true Church is the Bride of Christ, identified with the holy city of Jerusalem in the book of Revelation:
“Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem.” Rev. 21:9-10
The Church is the spotless and pure virgin bride who awaits a future wedding with her husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, the greatest nemesis of the Bride of Christ is identified as a fornicating, seductive and deceptive prostitute, associated with the end-times city of Babylon:
“Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore… So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast… And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Rev. 17:1-5
If we read further we find that this great spiritual force successfully promotes a false Gospel into all the nations (Rev. 18:23) of the earth. She deceives the nations of the earth, she seduces the kings of the earth, and she owns the great merchants of the earth (“thy merchants were the great men of the earth,” Rev. 18:23). The greatest enemy of the Church of Christ is also the world’s greatest consumer. When she is finally judged by God the leaders of global corporations will be grief-stricken at their loss, as will the leaders of the global shipping industry. Today 90% of global trade goes by sea, and the amount of goods shipped overseas since 1950 has increased twenty times over, due to the increase―that is today the triumph― of free-market globalization.
Jesus taught a parable of a foolish rich man saying, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). This warning is completely lost on the Laodicean Church, which has a heart set on material things and says, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Rev. 3:17). This church is materially rich, yet Jesus convicts it of being poor, blind and naked.
The Whore of Babylon is a great consumer of material things, and so is the Laodicean Church, which is why Jesus speaks to this Church in the familiar language of commerce when He calls it to repentance:
“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Rev. 3:18-19
Materialism and consumerism both come from the sin of covetousness, which the Apostle Paul directly equates with idolatry (Eph. 5:5, Col. 3:5). Jesus warns of the deceitfulness of riches (Matt. 13:22) and says that one cannot serve both God and Mammon (Matt. 6:24), which can only lead to spiritual blindness (like the Laodicean Church).
The word of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Church of today that exists in a world dominated by the profit motives of the wealthiest merchants of the global free market is to come out of Babylon (Rev. 18:4-5). It is the seductive and deceptive world-system in which everything is turned into a commodity―even the bodies and souls of men; and where kings and merchants grow rich off of profits from marketing the “lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). The Apostle Paul was moved to tears when he warned about the deceptive lure of a destructive materialism that would be promoted by the enemies of the cross of Christ:
“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:17-20
True sustained revival will never come to a Church that remains blinded and seduced by the luxuries and deceptive propaganda promoted by Heaven’s greatest enemy: the Great Harlot of Babylon. Jesus says, “Come out of her, my people!” Come out, and let’s be a part of the authentic end-times revival of the Church!
April 6, 2012