A Study of Revelation 17:4
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls…”
Here again we see that the counterfeit church herself must also be clothed with the spiritual raiment of the one true Church. If one is to mimic another, it is logical that they would masquerade in appearance and in mannerism of the one they are imitating. By being arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold, precious stones, and pearls, this harlot is saying “I am the Church of Jesus Christ.”
Proverbs Chapter Thirty-one describes the true “virtuous woman” (verse 10), of which can be no other recipient on earth other than the Church of Jesus Christ worldwide. In verse twenty-two we read of her: “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.” Scarlet and purple can be shown to represent the same color in scripture. The Roman soldiers forced a purple robe upon Christ (John 19:2) while Matthew 27:28 says it was scarlet, which are the same colors.
In Acts 16:14 we learn of a woman by the name of Lydia who became converted to Christ. She is said to have been a “seller of purple.” She no doubt dwelt in dyes and dyed goods. This historic parable takes only two verses (verses 14 & 15), however there is much spiritual insight hidden in these two verses. The fact that Lydia was a “seller” of purple tells us that she was a “merchant” of the gospel. Purple being a prominent spiritual representative and characteristic of the true gospel. Song of Solomon is a beautiful allegorical account of Christ and His bride, the Church. The symbolical descriptions are too numerous to mention. Purple is a prominent color used in this account also.
The religious harlot is also said to be decked with gold and precious stones and pearls. When King Solomon began to build the House of the LORD in Jerusalem upon Mount Moriah, it is no surprise that he garnished this temple with many precious stones. “And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of paruaim,” II Chronicles 3:6.
The queen of Sheba heard of the fame and wisdom of King Solomon and traveled far to bring him much riches, including precious stones (1 Kings 10:10), of which much was used for the House of the LORD.
We also see that pearls is yet another segment of riches used in describing the gospel.
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you,”
SEEKING GOODLY PEARLS
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls, Who, when he had found ONE pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it,”
The counterfeit church/harlot has arrayed herself with the righteous attire reserved solely for God’s Anointed Christ and His bride. She has decked herself with gold, precious stones and pearls. Of course these are but only a portion of her metaphoric lush and sumptuous adornment, worn that she might beguile all who come to inquire on the name of Christ.
The kingdom of heaven is not many pearls, it is only one pearl – one pearl of great price as we read in Matthew 13:45-46. When we look further at the Greek word “heis” or “hice” (1520 in Strong’s) meaning “one” we see that it does not mean “one of many” but a “specific” one. A good example is found in Matthew 8:19 where this same Greek word for “one” is translated as “certain.”
“And a certain [one; heis; 1520] scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest,”
God is speaking here of a specific scribe, and is not speaking in general of one of many scribes. Another example might be found in Matthew 6:24 where we read:
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one [one; heis; 1520] , and love the other; or else he will hold to the one [one; heis; 1520], and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Still another good example is found in Matthew 20:21, and reads:
“And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one [one; heis; 1520] on thy right hand, and the other [one; heis; 1520] on the left, in thy kingdom.”
These are particulars spoken of here. One and other both refer to specific persons. There is only one goodly pearl and it is indeed of great price. Christ’s kingdom, which is in heaven, is that one and only pearl of great price. The price was indeed great, but not for man. The price of this pearl was paid by God sending His only begotten son into this world to endure and pay for the sins of all of His elect whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundations of the world. This is the pearl that God commands all (as spiritual merchants) to seek after. This is the Gospel plan for eternal salvation through the great price of God incarnate coming into this world to suffer rejection, to be crucified, to endure eternal hell on behalf of all His elect, and to resurrect from the dead on the third day – to ensure that the gates of hell can never prevent His salvation plan from going forth. This is God’s price which no man can discern. This pearl contains riches that escape most of the world.
“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward,”
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,”
The harlot of the last days and Great Tribulation period wears Christ’s pearl with pride and cunning duplicity. She consists of the congregations and organized churches throughout every country upon the face of this earth. The masses flee to her for numerous reasons. She displays her pearl to all who unwittingly approach or enter in through her wide pathway. Multitudes find nothing amiss with the pearl she displays, for they are unlearned in the Scriptures. Neither can they hear or touch this greatly pearl apart from Scripture, as in the days of old. They see and accept a pearl that is worthless in all manner; a pearl that is tarnished and cracked, having no value or concept of keeping Christ’s commandments and laws and ultimately no salvation to offer. She extends her hand which once held Christ’s golden cup, but now is filled with the abominations and filthiness of her fornications. The masses eagerly come in droves to purchase and accept this pearl and to worship it’s image – whatever that might be.
“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass,”
In addition to this spiritual harlot being arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, Revelation 17:4 tells us that she is also decked with gold, precious stones and pearls. Revelation chapter eighteen gives us similar language in describing her spiritual attire. “And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls,” (Rev. 18:16).
These are but spiritual attributes or metaphors of Christ’s Gospel call to His bride, the true Church.