the bride and the harlot revisited

How important are the themes of "the harlot" and "the bride" to a full and well-rounded understanding of Gods word to us? In our reading groups we are still engaging the book of Revelation. The Representation of The Harlot City (and The Victory of Christ Over Her) is found in Rev. 17-20:15. The Representation of The Bride of Christ (or The New Jerusalem) is found in Rev. 21-22:7. These two figures are key and climactic representations in this book. But the idea of their contrast does not originate in this last book of the bible. The contrast between a faithful bride and an unfaithful harlot is already developing in the book of Exodus.

"You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods."(Exodus 34:13-16)

If the passage above was all we had from the Old Testamnet as a figurative use of "harlotry" for corporate unfaithfulness to God by the figurative lady who would call herself, "the people of God", we would only have a small connection to our passages in Revelation. Actually though, this theme of Faithful Bride or Unfaithful Harlot becomes very much more important in the story of God and his people.

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