Topical Studies

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What the Bible says about Prostitute Symbol of
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Proverbs 7:6-9

He describes this young man as simple in the bad sense of the word—he is foolish, inconsiderate, unthinking. He is "open" to all impressions of evil. He lounges near the house of ill repute, not necessarily because he plans to sin, but he does not seem all that opposed to it either! He is hanging out at a certain time and place, open to whatever might happen—no definite plans, just waiting to see how it goes. He lacks the understanding to discern the evil that is present, as well as the wisdom and courage to resist the flatteries and temptations of the seductress. In contrast, though unstated, the pure in heart—those who understand the dangers—would be at home, occupied with things that are more wholesome.

In applying this to ourselves and our efforts to forsake Babylon and steer clear of false doctrines and teachers, we can see that our individual application of verses 1-5—keeping God's commandments and making wise decisions—will help to determine whether or not we are foolish and lacking judgment. If we highly esteem God's instruction, in the letter and the spirit of the law, and if we fear God and keep His commandments, we will have the wisdom and understanding that this young man lacks.

A common saying runs, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." This young man may not have intended to get into trouble. He may not have planned to do anything wrong, but his approach is not aligned with I Corinthians 6:18: "Flee fornication." Paul says, "Turn around and run the other way!" The young man's approach is not one of foreseeing the dangers and avoiding them (Proverbs 22:3; 27:12), and thus he is called simple and devoid of understanding.

In the same way, if our approach is not one of striving to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, avoiding false teachers and doctrines, in essence, we are planning to fail!

David C. Grabbe
Strange Women (Part Two)

Proverbs 7:9-12

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says this about verse 11:

"Stubborn [rebellious, NKJV]." The same word as is applied to Israel represented as an untamed and refractory heifer (Hosea 4:16). Having cast off the wholesome yoke of religious and social restraints, she is ready for every sin. Instead of the soft and gentle voice of feminine modesty, she is "loud," and full of words flowing from assurance. A modest woman shrinks from undue publicity, and is a "keeper at home" (Titus 2:5), and industrious (Proverbs 31:10-31); but she "wanders about from house to house" (I Timothy 5:13); disliking home labor, she resorts to places of amusement, the dance, etc.

Adam Clarke's Commentary adds:

. . . she is never at rest, always agitated; busily employed to gain her end, and this is to go into the path of error. [She turns aside,] preferring any way to the right way. And, therefore, it is added, her feet abide not in her house; she gads abroad; and this disposition probably first led her to this vice.

It is significant to note how universal and unchanging these descriptions are. Proverbs, written roughly 3,000 years ago, still paints a vivid picture in our minds, making it easy to imagine these events. The attitude and approach of the actors are not strange depictions to us, even within the context of our modern world. A common thread and an identical attitude spans the millennia. This pattern is readily identified as Satanic, for the Devil tries to lure us away from the truth with false religion and the culture of Babylon in the same way a prostitute lures young men.

David C. Grabbe
Strange Women (Part Two)

Revelation 18:4

Revelation 18:4 is God's exhortation to the churches to shun the treacherous beauty and charm of this theological and political prostitute, Babylon. God uses very specific wording in His description of her in Revelation 17, calling her a harlot or prostitute. A prostitute can have beauty and charm. Any number of a harlot's attributes can snare a man's attention and divert him from his purpose. Because the world had already ensnared him before conversion, a Christian must be spiritually watchful that he does not return to it. Unfortunately, the world too easily reclaims the unwary, so the apostle counsels God's people to flee from it—to avoid the edge of the cliff.

But what must we flee? In Nebuchadnezzar's vision in Daniel 2, Babylon is the head of gold. Gold is attractive. People give their lives to the power and attractiveness of gold. The head of gold has a beauty that stimulates the eyes, the feelings, the desire for the good things of life. In addition, gold represents quality. In the prophetic image, the quality of metal degenerates or declines as time moves toward the end. Babylon represents a tolerable system, but through the ages, the system degenerates from gold to silver to brass to iron to a final mixture of iron and miry clay.

At its beginning, the system, represented by the whole image, is attractive. As in Paul's analogy of the body in I Corinthians 12, the head guides and directs the other parts of the body. In effect, this means that Babylon, the head of gold, has impressed its system, its ideas, its style, its qualities on all of civilization. Though the system is not acceptable to God, it nevertheless has stamped its mark on the whole world.

Everyone has participated in it. American culture is an Israelite adaptation of the head of gold. All other nations have absorbed its qualities, putting their own particular twists on them. The same basic system pervades the world—and as it is practiced, it is anti-Christ. Because of its attractiveness, its magnetism, and because all are defenseless before conversion, it has impressed itself upon God's people. Babylon is the world Christians must flee.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The World, the Church, and Laodiceanism


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