Whores are used as sexual substitutes, providers of sexual pleasures without the entanglements of a committed heterosexual relationship. God means for those experiences to occur only within the context of marriage, prostitution short-circuits that righteous directive. How can the Bible apply that sordid concept to spiritual relationships? When people, particularly those who supposedly truly believe, substitute false gods for the real One, the prophets of old called it harlotry and adultery. Instead of a committed relationship with the living God, and satisfaction with the fulfilments derived thereby, idolaters exchange the true God for one of their own making: the God who could not be managed nor massaged, by ones that at least gave the appearance that they could. Do you wonder where they got that idea?
I believe it was part of the Devil's hijacking scheme mentioned in my last post. The Devil's plan, from the earliest times in human history, has been to subvert and steal the redemptive promises announced in the protoevangelion. There is a socio-political component to that plan, there is also a psycho-religious aspect to it. The political aspect is centered around bringing the Antichrist, the man of lawlessness, into worldwide political dominion (which I covered in part in my last post). The religious aspect is the subject of this post and revolves around the figure of the Whore. Revelation 17 shows them linked as part of one overarching strategy by displaying the figures for both together, one riding the other.
In the Devil's plan to separate humanity from God and to torpedo whatever possibility of reconciliation there might be, his prime strategy is been substitution: the Devil for God, the Antichrist for Christ. In order to achieve that ultimate objective, intermediately, he had to hijack the promise to Eve. So, deep in the past, at Babylon, the Devil hatched a substitution plot, where the Whore was offered as a displacement for Eve (or, from our perspective, Mary). Highlighting a few details concerning the Whore may help you see this:
1) She is riding on a scarlet beast, which means that even though she may seem to be in control, she is actually only being carried forth by the Devil's efforts as he wills;Point #5 comes into especially clear focus in v.16. Even though the Whore represents perhaps the most successful of the Devil's schemes through time, she actually deflects attention away from him and thereby is hated by him. It makes a lot of sense, for even in our contemporary culture, even the pimp hates the whore.
2) She is of Babylon, which means that is where the effort first found traction;
3) She is of Babylon so she will have a Roman connection;
4) She is the mother of all harlotries (prostitution), therefore the genesis of all idolatry (substitution);
5) She is a prostitute which means she has a certain utility that will make her worthless once accomplished;
6) She is the mother, which points to a hijacking of Eve's promise;
7) She is the mother of all abominations, which means she is the genesis of practices (in the name of spirituality) that make God gag;
8) Drunk on their blood, she is a murderer of and the implacable enemy of true believers in Christ.