by Dino Nicholas

The blurred lines between the Church and the world. The harlot and the Bride…how do we tell them apart?

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As we experience the intensity of the last days of  Bible prophecy, we must come to terms with the reality of the battle we are engaged in. Our ignorance will become the tool of our defeat if we are not careful to know the word of God in this hour. In fact the child of God’s biggest concern shouldn’t be the mark of the beast, or wars, climate change or the economic situation. All are important but the number one thing Jesus instructs his disciples to be aware of in the last days is deception.“And Jesus answered and said unto them, take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” Matt. 24:4-5  (KJV)

It is in this context we have found ourselves as the Church. Our overemphasis on other things rather than having a deep relationship with Christ has dulled our spiritual senses.Now we are unable to discern between the sheep and the goats, righteous vs. unrighteous, world and the true Church, Jesus’s bride vs. the harlot. The line between the false and the true is now so blurred we cannot tell the difference between a saint and a sinner.  However, the word of God does make a clear demarcation. To effectively combat the lies of the world, the devil and the flesh we must be more full of the truth. Not just knowing the Truth, but having an intimate love for Him that is truth, Jesus Christ. Knowing the truth doesn’t guarantee change, loving the truth does.

Current Realities

The world is currently in the hellish grip of radical revisionism, where history and all that is ancient is being rewritten, deleted from memory and  in some cases, everything Christian is being replaced with another type of religion. These new thoughts appeal to the current millennial generation who have a very high view of themselves. The religious dogma that man is his own god is taking on fresh roots in the world. The fallout seen is the steady decline in the Church, the rise of radical religion, man taking his life into his own hands and the spread of apathy and disillusionment toward the Gospel and the one true Christ, is setting the stage for the rise of the image called the harlot as referred to in Revelation 17:1-6, as well as the persecution of the Bride of Jesus Christ. Many are being led to ask the question, how do I know the true Bride of Christ? Will the true Church please stand up?

As a Banker, I was taught that to rightly identify a forgery I must first study the genuine note well  so that the false would be easily seen. I find that this principle is also true in looking at things in the spirit. If we know the truth , inside out, when the false turns up its easily detected.

Identifying The Bride

Firstly, she is Jesus’s bride; “I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (Rev. 21:96) Jesus further teaches in Matt. 16:18 “And upon this rock I will build my Church..”

It is His  Church, not an institution, system of rules or organization. It is a body, born to be Jesus’s Bride, His wife. The Church’s chief function is to love Jesus. We are Jesus’s people. Jesus didn’t give birth to another religious system He had that in Judaism. Christianity is fellowshipping with Christ our beloved and Him with us until the marriage feast. The Bride is in waiting and whilst she waits she is ministered to by the Holy Spirit, matured and made ready to be equally yoked to her lover – Jesus. Eph. 4:10-11

Her role is to occupy till He returns; she only has eyes for Him, she rules over His business, she walks in His delegated authority, she models and represents Him not herself.  She is a virgin, she keeps herself pure for Him and worships Him alone. Her lamp is trimmed and full of oil as she purposefully waits on her groom.

This Church is  powerful and will be persecuted. She is Christ centered, radically faithful, she rejects the institutions of men and their religious systems designed to block the free flowing Spirit of God to her.

We have relegated the Bride to a Church service, a day of worship, this is not the true Bride. She is the visible representation of Christ in the earth as Jesus was the visible image (representation) of the Father in the Earth so are we for Christ. The best and finest example I can use to represent the Church of Jesus is the story of Mary who anointed his feet,

St. John 12:3-8. Her actions reveal the heart of the true Bride. She lavished all that she had on Jesus, her ointment of spikenard and when she was done she used her glory (her hair) to wipe His feet. Her posture drew criticism and indignation. She was called wasteful and history has not been kind to her. However, Jesus came to her defense, “Let her alone…” John 12:7.  Her actions changed the atmosphere. In a room full of people she was the closest to Him, ministering to Him, that was her purpose, that’s what gave her fulfilment. She is a picture of the true Bride.

The Harlot

Revelations 17:3-18, Reveals the counterfeit bride.  She is described as a harlot. Verse 3 “And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy…”

John  called her a woman, however in the middle Eastern context, she is understood to be a divorcee, or one who broke a covenant. She seems to have all the outer covering of the true Bride. (Rev. 21:9-13) the similarities are stark (Rev. 17:4) “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour decked with gold and precious stones and pearls…”

I don’t only believe she is a false Church/Bride, I believe she was once a follower or seeker of the truth, one who was joined to Him; and just like Gomer, Hosea’s wife, she joined herself to others and despised her husband for other lovers. She looks like the real bride because she too has been around Jesus. However, instead of desiring intimacy with God, she craves her own worship. So instead of intimacy she forms an institution ‘called the Church.” Her tool for worship is religion. Religion is defined as man’s attempt to know God.  She mimics the true Church, by her worship, her colours, her structure, her love affairs but unlike the true Bride’s love for Jesus she prostitutes herself to power, she fornicates with Kings, as stated in Revelations 9-14.  These Kings have one purpose, to make war with the Lamb.

She is against the true Bride, in fact she is the instigator of the Bride’s persecution. The Harlot is a people who have church programmes without Jesus’s Spirit. A love for the things of God without a passion for holiness. She will take a stand on natural issues but compromise on the truth of Jesus’ revelation.

The Harlot is seen as a horror in the realm of the spirit but is a wonder in the eyes of men. The beauty of Babylon and it’s hanging gardens is one of the seven wonders of the world.  John said in Rev. 17:6b “..and when I saw her I wondered with great admiration.” That Angel had to ask John why did he marvel? We must not be deceived by her beauty or goodness in the natural because she will become drunken with the blood of the saints. Her attraction is the same as it was for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Remember, in the book of Daniel, the sons of God were taught the ways of the Babylonians, their kingdom philosophy is to capture and cause the captives to be assimilated and become like them.

We must resist the counterfeit church and her agenda. We must call her what she is – a whore and abomination of the earth.

Finally, she is of the earth, not of the Spirit. 1 Cor.15:45-47. “ The first man is of the earth, but the second man is the lord from heaven.” Vs 47

The true Bride is yoked to heaven, the spiritual realm. Her position is being currently seated in heavenly places not trying to allure earthly men and systems to herself. She is not trying to enrich herself because she is Christ’s, she is not her own. She waits on Him and serves Christ in her season of preparation.

The enemy has come to deceive the world. He has blurred the lines between truth and counterfeit but if we trust our lives to Christ, fully, we will not be deceived. The true Church is not popular but she is visible. I pray that our eyes will be opened to her reality and truth will fill our hearts. When truth fills our hearts then Jesus is indeed centre of our desire. The lines are now clear. We can stand in victory in this season, as the Bride in the name of Jesus.