The Bible alludes to women when symbolizing the evil spirits of idolatry, harlotry, and spiritual fornication. Idolatry is the sin of worshiping anything or god other than God and in Jeremiah chapter 3, the Lord calls Israel's idolatry backsliding and compares it to that of a cheating wife who departs from her husband.
Harlotry is the promiscuous behavior of a woman with many lovers. The book of Proverbs, chapter 7:6-27, describes a young man who lacks discretion and falls for the seduction of "... a woman with the attire of an harlot" (v.10) who invites him to lay with her while her husband is away.
Spiritual fornication is much like idolatry except that the worshiper has not left God for the other god but is secretly making love to the other while still committed to God. In either case, the sin represents the broken relationship between the worshiper and God.
When referring to these relationships, many times the Bible uses the union of marriage as the symbol of the relationship. For instance, God's relationship with Israel in the Old Testament made Israel His spiritual wife and He her husband. To symbolize God's relationship with the church in the New Testament, the Bible uses Christ as the Bridegroom and the church as His bride.
In the church today, idolatry would mean that a believer once loved God but has left Him for something or some other god in the world they find more appealing. The meaning of a harlot would be a believer who promiscuously flirts with the many distractions in the world while confessing their loyalty to God. And to commit spiritual fornication a believer secretly exploits himself or herself by practicing some of the evils of the world while serving God.
We will unfold a mystery from the book of Revelation to prove that there is an evil spirit destroying the world and the church by distracting them both from acknowledging and worshiping God. This spirit is corrupting both with the love of money. Though destroying the work of God is the Devil's only focus, he knows the churches' weakness right now, which is their emulation of the world, so if he corrupts the world the church will follow. When the church lusts for the things the world lusts for, which is money, they fall from the grace of God and depend on the guidance of the world.
The prophesy of this fall comes in the book of Revelation chapter 17, and we will walk through every other verse to unfold the mystery, which begins in verse one and reads:
"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration (Revelation 17:1-6)."
Many of the Old Testament cities and nations possessed a kind of persona to God; they were like distant children that played with His son Israel in the neighborhood of ancient bible times. Because of Israel's bad behavior at times, the Lord would allow Israel to fall victim to Babylon and serve them as slaves for years at a time.
When the nation of Babylon reigned as a world power, all sorts of wickedness, sorcery, and witchcraft infected its society and sometimes while serving Babylon, Israel adopted these evil ways. While captives in the land of Babylon, God would send prophets such as Daniel and Jeremiah to the children of Israel with warnings for them to turn from these evil ways so He could heal them and bring them out of captivity.
However, many times Israel rebelled against the prophets and killed them because they hated to hear the chastising messages. Nevertheless, God continued sending "doom prophets" who cursed and bewailed them and sometimes bemoaned and cried for them, and He sent them because He loved Israel and desired them to be obedient and righteous. Babylon worshiped other gods and never acknowledged the God of Israel as the true God.
Babylon's gods were gods of stone and lived upon high hills and high places of the wilderness, but could never match the power of Israel's God. Because Babylon was an ancient metropolis and a central port of importing and exporting of the world's goods, lots of activity went on and many different people ventured through.
With so much foreign traffic evil was foreseeable and many of these evils influenced Israel. They did not worship God, as they should have because they did not have the religious freedom they once did. Instead, they succumbed to idolatry and sorcery, bringing the wrath of God upon the entire nation.
Today, the spirit of Babylon, the Great Harlot, is one of spiritual fornication because it causes the people of God to worship other false gods while they confess to love God. But this Harlot is powerful enough to deceive the kings of the earth and not just the people of God.
The scripture above says, "With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication" (v. 2).
Not only have the leaders of the earth fell to her witcheries and sorceries, the entire world has fallen to her evil spirit. The scripture describes this evil as a type of fornication in a drunken state: laughter from the depths of lascivious desires while doting about from one lover to the next. God is a jealous God when someone He loves gives himself or herself to another.
He loves the world and gave His son for the sins of the world, but the kings of the earth commit idolatrous acts with other gods, the people follow, and they are all drunk with the spirit of this harlot's fornication. Because the church is the bride of Christ, and is in the world, if a believer sets anything above their love for Jesus, the Bridegroom, they have committed spiritual fornication and have ignited the jealousy of God.
The scripture above says that the harlot was drunk with the blood of the saints (those who died righteous in the Old Testament) and the martyrs of Jesus (the apostles and followers who were killed for Christ). Because the world commits fornication with other gods through the spirit of the harlot, they will persecute people who do not worship other gods along with them.
For example, during the time of the early church, the leaders of the earth felt threatened by the presence of the true God, and in a drunken state (figuratively), they killed and crucified those who believed in the preaching of Jesus. But this is not the end of the story. Years after the early church, many of those who worshiped Jesus were too, deceived and drunken with the wine of the harlot's fornication. Instead of worshiping God as commanded, they worshiped the anti-Christ god, or son of perdition, who was the Devil.