Janet Smith – 9-4-2020 ©gardenministries.org
Supernatural signs and wonders will become an everyday reality as the emerging Bride of Jesus Christ begins to walk in new levels of authority and power. But there are two sides to the end-time story. There are also those who emerge as the Revelation 17 “Harlot.” They too will walk in powerful signs and wonders.
The Bride’s power comes from the Holy Spirit’s end-time harvest work as He brings His wheat into His Barn. The Harlot’s power comes from Satan’s arsenal to lead many astray into a counterfeit “gospel” of compromise and mixture. The Harlot represents the Tares that Jesus referred to in Matthew 13. The Bride represents the Wheat.
In the face of fiery persecution, the Bride of the Lamb will show His Lamb-like heart and will not return in kind when reviled. Instead, like Jesus, the Bride will entrust herself to the Father’s ability to righteously judge the situations at hand. While the Harlot will competitively seek to dominate and subjugate those who do not comply with its false doctrines and mandates, the victorious Bride will lean into Jesus as her All-in-all and trust the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of those He speaks to through their witness.
Matthew 13:24-30 NASB Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27 The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’
Scripture tells us that signs and wonders will come to both camps: The Bride and the Harlot. Those given to the Harlot’s religion will emerge as Satan’s witnesses. They will promote a “shining” counterfeit religion supported by false signs and wonders but reject the centrality of the cross. Some of these will say they are Christians, but they are not.
Matthew 24:24 NASB For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 NASB …that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
The real and the counterfeit will be fully matured and discernable only by the Spirit of Truth and those who love the Truth. How will we know which is which and who is who? John 13:35 tells us that Love is the way to know who belongs to Jesus. Those who take up their cross and emerge dead-to-self and alive unto Christ, will shine in the glory of God and perform the “greater works” described in John 14. These shining ones will be known for their obedience to Christ’s greatest commandments.
They will hold fast to their first love Jesus, and walk in gracious humility toward others as they fiercely proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ unto the ends of the earth. They have overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and they do not love their lives unto death (Revelation 12:11). These are those who are God’s end-time witnesses, who, like the two Witnesses in Jerusalem, who are preaching to the Jews, these will preach the gospel throughout the earth and display great signs and wonders that point to Christ’s supremacy and great love for mankind.
John 14:12-15 NASB Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
The love of God is perfectly expressed in Jesus on the cross and now in Heaven on earth through His followers. Christ’s Bride will display God’s love. The love of Jesus is different then the world’s “love.” Christ’s love is perfect and bears the Galatians 5 fruits of the Holy Spirit.
John 13:34-35 NASB A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
The world’s “love” is self-serving and fear-based. The world’s Harlot religion will be undeniably evident in these two issues: sexual immorality and idolatry. Just like the name implies, the Harlot will not hold to what the Bible defines as sexual purity in marriage and will encourage idolatry, i.e. honoring and venerating other gods and powers, in their varying forms of religious practice. Another evidence of the Harlot religion is its sterility. It can only bear the deeds of the flesh and cannot bear the Galatians 5:22 fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-26 NASB But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
There will come, and has already started, a separation in the Christian camp. Even with the possible cost of losing their closest family members or friends, there will be those who still choose to embrace their cross and publicly confess their uncompromising devotion to Jesus. They will stand firm in the whole counsel of God provided in scripture and seek heavenly wisdom (James 3:17).
Matthew 10:32-39 NASB Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. 34 Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
The Bride’s uncompromising stand of faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and her firm belief in the Holy Scriptures will draw intense persecution. The line of demarcation between the emerging Bride of Jesus Christ and the world’s religious Harlot will pivot around those who are willing to face persecution for following Jesus (i.e., they are willing to “lose their life for His sake”) and those who will compromise to avoid persecution (i.e., they will try to “save their life”). Jesus knows those who are His own.
Those who call on the Name of Jesus also know they cannot compromise with what the Bible calls sin. They must turn away from these things or they are being hypocritical. The Harlot will be known for hypocrisy—saying one thing and doing another.
2 Timothy 2:19 NIV Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
Satan also knows those who belong to Jesus. The Bride of Jesus Christ will shine in great love and humility amidst the backdrop of persecution and injustice. This persecution ensures pure heart motive’s in the use of God’s authority and power. Peter tells us that the Spirit of glory draws the insults of those who reject Jesus as the only Way to the Father and to eternal life.
1 Peter 4:14 NASB If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
Paul told us in 2 Timothy 3:12, “…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Paul also said in Philippians 3:18 that “many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”
Those who reject the hardship of the cross and its death-to-self process, are those who have set their mind on earthly things. If we are not willing to undergo the painful process of yielding our will to the Father in the fiery trials He allows, we are likely to succumb to the harlot religion’s seduction.
James 4:4 NASB You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
God will allow His own people to be persecuted to purify and preserve a righteous heart motive. Christ’s Bride will carry and display the glory of God at personal cost and will always point to Jesus Christ as the only and exclusive way to the Father and to eternal life. They will not take the credit or the glory unto themselves but always give it to Jesus, the One they love, serve, cherish, and follow. If we do not let the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctifying our self-centered, soul-life ego, we will be ensnared by the Harlot religion.
When we allow our soul life to be led by fear and selfish ideals, our ego remains uncrucified with Christ. Galatians 2:20 is not yet activated and at work within our hearts. We cannot purify our own souls and we cannot discern our own selfishness, unless the Spirit of Truth reveals it to us. We cannot “die to self” without the Holy Spirit’s conviction and empowerment. We have to ask for this process and then submit to the Holy Spirit’s work through the fiery trials He brings our way. We are not in charge of our death-to-self process, Jesus is.
The pure and spotless Bride of Jesus Christ will stand firm, even unto death, and publicly confess that Jesus is the exclusive Way to eternal life with our Creator Father God. In the face of the Harlot religion’s false peace and false unity, the uncompromising Bride of Christ will appear as an enemy of peace and will be persecuted for her devotion to Jesus. This persecution, and unwillingness to compromise, marks Christ’s Beloved. Her fiery, first-love for Jesus and His body sets her apart from the others.
1 Peter 1:3-9 NASB Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.