A Study of Revelation 17:4
A Golden Cup In Her Hand
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:
Why did God specify that this symbolic woman-harlot has a golden cup in her hand?
The term “Golden Cup” is used only twice in the Bible, here in Revelation 17:4 and in Jeremiah 51:7.
It is very interesting that in both renderings of this term, “Golden Cup”, are in reference to Babylon. Both Jeremiah 50 and 51 are chapters describing the ultimate destruction of Babylon. This was a comfort for those who were captives of the literal Babylon 2600 years ago. But God used the physical destruction of Babylon as a picture of God’s judgment upon the end time spiritual Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18.
Physical Babylon was a picture of the kingdom of Satan, and the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, was a picture of Antichrist. But when Babylon had swallowed up the kingdom of Judah, both the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan had merged into one, just like in the end time the kingdom of God, the church, will be swallowed up by the kingdom of Satan and will be called Babylon. This is repugnant to most church going people. We naturally want to separate the apostate corporate church from the unsaved world. Like Habakkuk we think that the unsaved world is morally far worse than a church that errs in doctrine. But the Bible does not teach that. According to the Bible, God finds an apostate church far more repugnant than the unsaved heathen who do not know any better.
In 2 Thessalonians 2 God uses the term “falling away” for an apostate church. To fall away from the truth of God does not mean to turn away from God and become like unchurched heathen. To fall away from the truth means to turn to other ways of salvation than the salvation of the Bible. It means to serve other gods religiously and to lead our children and our friends also in that direction. God says in:
“Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad” (“therefore the nations act boastfully”)
Why do the nations act boastfully?
They do so because the new gospel that they are learning is not giving God the glory, but is giving the glory to man. It means that the church has left the back door open to other interpretations of the Bible that are not altogether God glorifying. It means, for example, that they are turning to gospels that give the glory of salvation to man’s “own free will”. Or perhaps that they are turning to gospels where God is still bringing Divine messages today in the form of dreams and visions and angel visitations and tongues. All these are gospels where people are worshipping other gods, but they are not worshipping the God of the Bible. These are the forms of idolatry that are prevalent in the harlot-church. These are the forms of idolatry that are spawned by Satan, because Satan hates mankind, and that includes the harlot-church. God will judge the harlot-church severely, but God will be merciful and kind to all those who remain faithful to Him. Look at Jeremiah 51:5, and see how our merciful God keeps caring for His sheep. We read in Jeremiah 51:
For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.
“Israel hath not been forsaken” refers to those in Israel who remained faithful, and the same refers to Judah in this verse. Apply this now to our time: If we remain faithful we will not be forsaken even if our land is filled with sin against Christ, the Holy One of Israel. But if we do remain faithful we must ascribe this altogether to the mercy and grace of God, and not be stuck up in pride.
Now let’s take a look at what God says in verse 7 of the same chapter:
Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand.
You see, throughout the centuries the church has always acknowledged that it was the providence of God who caused all calamities and disasters in the world. Babylon was the instrument through which God afflicted His people. The cup of His wrath was in the Lord’s hand. But this will change in the end time church, for we read in Revelation 17:4 that the harlot has the golden cup in her hand. Once the corporate church falls into worldwide apostasy, the golden cup in the Lord’s hand became the golden cup in her hand. The cup of the wrath of God that the Lord Jesus had to drink was changed to a cup in her hand.
She is no longer preaching the truth of the Word of God. The salvation that she is declaring is a works gospel; and thus the golden cup is no longer in the Lord’s hand, but in her own hand. That is why God says that this cup is “full of abominations and filthiness of her fornications”. The corporate church will no longer care for the true Gospel, but will want to design their own gospel, a works gospel. And so, it appears that the majority of the corporate church even in our day today is attempting to build a spiritual tower whose top will reach into heaven, but without the real Christ or the God of the Bible.
By Alfred J. Chompff