Why this Matters
There is a lot of “end times” mania right now. With the coronavirus, civil unrest, and now political unrest, people don’t know what to think. Prophets, church leaders, and political commentators are throwing out predictions left and right. I made a video last year answering the question “Is coronavirus a sign of the end?” Just last week, people were posting memes of VP Kamala Harris dressed in purple with a caption from Revelation. People claim VP Harris is the harlot of Revelation 17! With all the failed political prophets, this makes Christians look even worse.
Not only is this meme disrespectful and hateful, but it reveals a total ignorance of what Revelation is about. When we take a little time to examine the evidence, this conclusion becomes impossible. In fact, no world leader today could be the fulfillment of the harlot of Revelation 17, and below are five reasons that is the case.
#1 The harlot of Revelation 17 is a city, not a person.
The first major reason VP Kamala Harris, or any world leader, cannot be the harlot of Revelation 17 is the harlot is a symbol personifying a city, not a person.
The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.Revelation 17:18
In chapter 18, God issues a warning for his people to come out of the city (Revelation 18:4). John further identifies her as a city in verses 10, 16, 18, 19, and 21 of chapter 18.
VP Kamala Harris is obviously not a city, so identifying her, President Biden, President Trump, or anyone else as a figure in Revelation makes little sense. This is just another example of people reading themselves, their politics, and their expectations into the Bible.
#2 The harlot of Revelation 17 was guilty of the death of the apostles.
John tells his audience that the city was guilty of the death of the prophets, apostles, saints, and witnesses of Jesus.
And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly.Revelation 17:6
Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.Revelation 18:20
And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.Revelation 18:24
Unless VP Kamala Harris lived two-thousand years ago, I don’t see how she could be guilty of the death of those that were eye-witnesses of Jesus. That being said, there isn’t a city in existence today that can bear that guilt, which brings me to my next point.
#3 The harlot of Revelation 17 existed when John wrote Revelation.
The great city in Revelation was the city “where also their Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8). John is dealing with a city that was around two thousand years ago; he isn’t concerned with modern day wars, politics, and other conflicts. As much as we may want to, and I don’t know why we would, we cannot find any modern city in the book of Revelation.
#4 The harlot of Revelation 17 was a city that was going to fall soon.
Another major reason VP Kamala Harris cannot be the harlot of Revelation is the great city existed in John’s day, and its fall was imminent. In the following passages, John clarifies that he was writing about something that was going to take place soon.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,Revelation 1:1
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.Revelation 1:3
And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.Revelation 22:6
“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”Revelation 22:7
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.Revelation 22:10
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.Revelation 22:12
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.Revelation 22:20
It’s been two thousand years since John said the things in Revelation were at hand, so nothing within the book is about some day of destruction in our future. In fact, the only city that fits within all these criteria is Jerusalem in the first century.
#5 The harlot of Revelation 17 was first century Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was guilty of the death of the apostles and prophets.
The first major point is that it was Jerusalem who was guilty of all the blood of the martyrs back to Abel. When reading this passage, pay close attention to the pronouns.
Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!Matthew 23:34–38
In the book of Luke, Jesus said, “It cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33). Of course, He wasn’t speaking literally, but He was identifying Jerusalem as the city known for rejecting the prophets.
The harlot of Revelation 17 must be Jerusalem, the city known for rejecting and killing the apostles and prophets.
Jerusalem existed when John wrote Revelation.
One thing to keep in mind is that I’m not writing about Jerusalem today. I’m specifically talking about Jerusalem in the first century. They were the ones who were guilty of the death of Jesus, not anyone living today.
In the book of Acts, Peter and the apostles cast the blame on Jerusalem for Jesus’ crucifixion. Though it was Rome who put Jesus onto the Cross, Jesus’ contemporaries pressured them into doing so. Peter explains it like this:
Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.Acts 2:22–23
Jerusalem was about to fall in the first century.
Jerusalem also fits the criteria of being a city which was about to fall. Jesus lamented over the city shortly before His death:
When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”Luke 19:41–44
Jesus was aware of the political tensions of the day. He knew that some wanted to take up swords against Rome, and, despite warning of this time and time again, He knew they would ultimately choose to rebel. He offered a way of peace and nonviolence, but they pursued a different peace that requires taking away peace from others.
Stop Trying to Make Revelation About Our Day
Revelation is the vision of a struggle between two ideas, two types of kingdoms: the heavenly kingdom of Jesus and the physical kingdom of the zealots. It isn’t about the USA, North Korea, Russia, or China. Although many of the themes are similar and are applicable today as patterns of what happens when humans choose the way of violence, they ultimately had their fulfillment two thousand years ago in the Jewish-Roman war.
Dr. Don K Preston of the Preterist Research Institute has a splendid book on this subject called Who is this Babylon? It is available at https://bibleprophecy.com and Amazon. You can also check out my ebook on Revelation.