24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
If we pay attention to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles and if we put our trust in Jesus alone, we have everything necessary to defend ourselves against the ways of the “strange woman.”
Her ways can be found throughout scripture. I believe what we read of in Proverbs compares very closely to what we read of the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon in Revelation—who is the great apostasy within the church. It is said that she is “that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
There is another city. There is New Jerusalem. A city is not just a location on a map, but a people. As Christians, we are residents of New Jerusalem. The apostate church that worships the false Christ is the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon.
The entire book of Revelation is written to the churches, and the beginning shows us that five out of seven churches are warned with being removed. In Revelation 11 we see that two candlesticks remain who keep the testimony of Jesus and speak against the Great Whore and the false Christ. When their testimony is finished, they are killed. Three and a half days later the Spirit of Life from God enters them and they are resurrected.
It is not far fetched to consider the shortcomings of Christianity or to consider that the majority will fall away when the false Christ comes.
However, we who trust in Jesus do not need to despair or begin to doubt our salvation. I do think it is wise for us to consider the devises of the “strange woman” and Satan. All things are created by God for a purpose, and we should do our best to hear what He is saying to us.
We can learn a lot about the ways of the “strange woman” within Revelation including the warnings given to the churches, the description of the two beasts, and the description of the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon. We can also learn from the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, as well as the Old Testament prophets concerning the enemies of Israel.
If we can learn about these things, and contrast the ways of the “strange woman” and Satan with those of the faithful church and Jesus Christ, then we should see some important differences that help prepare our hearts and minds, safeguarding us against that great deception.
Isn’t trust in Jesus what matters most? If we trust in Him, why bother learning about these things?
It is true that trusting in Jesus is paramount, and no amount of knowledge will prepare us if we are not faithful to Him. However, as faithful stewards who are building up the Kingdom, we should not be unarmed against the enemies to come. Just as the men of Nehemiah carried swords on their person while they rebuilt the wall of the temple, we carry the Word of God.
We need to study the scriptures and understand so that we might be wise concerning the ways of our adversaries and prepared to make a stand against them. Many strong men will die at their hands, and even now, many strong men are captivated by the “strange woman” who leads the church towards death.
As Isaiah wrote, “hell hath enlarged herself and opened her mouth without measure.”
As faithful Christians, we are not to be consumed. Yet, let us be wise. Let us use every tool we have at our disposal. Let us consider what the word says through scripture concerning these matters. Let us hear what the Word says and be strengthened by Him and filled with Him, so that we use the Word to fight our enemies. “Fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies.”
If we want that power—if we want to be among the two faithful churches—then we need to show ourselves to be good stewards of the word of God that was written and faithful recipients of the blood that was shed by the Word of God.
All of this said, what are the ways of the “strange woman” and the contrasting ways of the faithful church?
This has been discussed somewhat in this Proverbs study, and we will continue to explore this topic.
In general terms, I believe the ways of the “strange woman” have to do with abusing the word of God (the scriptures) and the Word of God (Jesus’s sacrifice). In general terms, we do so when we go the extreme of forgetting mercy for sinners and we do so when we go the extreme of condoning a sinful life.
We also do so when we exalt others above Jesus. These lead to the death of many spiritually and physically, and if we are “drunken with blood” then we will have to drink the cup which we have filled.
The mercy of God given through Jesus underpins all judgments. Though we have been unfaithful to the Word, we can find mercy if we admit our ways to the Lord and do everything we can to turn to Him more fully. In so doing, should we be here during the time of great trouble and temptation, we will stand with greater peace of mind.
The world will be full of fear when the end times truly begin—so full of fear that their hearts fail (Luke 21, Mark 13, 2 Thessalonians 2). We are not in the end times, and Jesus will not return at just any time to rapture the church away. We do not trust in the rapture which will not come, but in the resurrection when Jesus returns at the seventh trumpet.
It is the Great Whore who says, “no harm will come to us.” Harm will come to us. Jesus said so. The apostles said so. Revelation says so. However, in Christ we have the ultimate victory. If we suffer and die—just as Christians around the world have always suffered and died (are we better in the United States that we should not?)—He will raise us up.
Though the earth will be full of fear as never seen before, we will trust in Jesus. Our trust is made stronger when we repent of our unfaithfulness and know that we are right with Him. Our trust is made stronger when we see Him working in our lives, drawing us closer to Him and away from the “strange woman.”
I know that some discount Old Testament prophets because Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant. However, everything occurs in cycles and there is “nothing new under the sun.” We can learn a lot from the Old Testament prophets when viewed in light of the New Covenant and Revelation.
All of the prophecies speak of Jesus and warn us of the ways of our adversaries. The hearts of man are alike, and we have gone astray just as the people of God have always gone astray. We are no better, and Revelation as well as teachings of Jesus and the apostles speak to this fact.
That being said, this scripture from Isaiah comes to mind:
10 Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
24 Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:
25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:
26 And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.
27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.
28 And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.
30 For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.
31 And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.
What about myself? It is good for us to consider our own state and our own sin above all else. I know that Jesus tries the hearts of man, and for the majority we are alike. It is only by the blood of Jesus and the work of His Spirit that I am cleansed of sin and “quickened” after His likeness.
I don’t always take the word as seriously as I should, and I have been very clumsy with it at times. I don’t always take the Word as seriously as I should, and I don’t feel worthy that His Word should come from the things I speak or write. I need to grow in this.
However, He is faithful and merciful, and He shows us how to be more faithful with what we are given. If we seek Him and continue to seek Him, though we make mistakes and struggle with sin, He is patient with us. He will not leave us nor forsake us.
We do not receive the Word because we are worthy, but so that His name is honored. “For His namesake, He leads me in the paths of righteousness. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me.” This is true for all who put their trust in Him.