In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
An interview with the author of ‘The Scarlet Woman’, Keith Malcomson
European Director of School of Christ International, Keith Malcomson, has recently published his new book upon Revelation 17 entitled ‘The Scarlet Woman’.
We caught up with Malcomson, pastor in Limerick (Republic of Ireland), to ask him about the book’s contents and significance within the current pro-ecumenical climate.
Will Graham (WG): What urged you to write this book Brother Malcomson?
Keith Malcomson (KM): I believe that Revelation chapter 17 carries a very urgent warning to this generation of the Church. It is certainly one of the most neglected portions of the Bible on prophecy within the Church of our day. This is a biblical prophecy given by Christ to the Church yet very few really understand it. I believe that our generation is at the point of its greatest climax in its fulfilment yet the Church is blind, ignorant and careless over it. I believe any church that does not understand it, believe it, and apply it is under great danger of becoming a harlot church.
The silence and ignorance of the Church has stirred my heart concerning the absolute necessity of writing this book. It deeply scares me and concerns me that there is such a massive compromise and apostasy taken place within Evangelicalism which is partially due to widespread ignorance concerning this chapter. It has not been understood and its warning has not been preached.
WG: After penning more than 400 hundred pages, what have you learnt about the identity of the Scarlet Woman?
KM: Like so many others I reached a point as a younger Christian where I was bombarded with different interpretations of different aspects or images within the Book of Revelation and this left me feeling that a full and clear understanding of Revelation was beyond me. It was at that very point that this chapter suddenly opened up and became so remarkably clear that it helped me understand the entire book of Revelation.
Since then I have written and rewritten an article on this chapter several times, but then over three years ago I began to study this chapter intensely for the writing of this book. What I found was a wonderful, accurate and clear history of the harlot church over the past 2000 years in contrast to the true Bride of Christ.
We are told that this Scarlet Woman is situated in the city of Rome upon its seven mountains (17:9, 18), that she sits upon the seven headed, political scarlet beast, which has ten horns (17:3). This beast that she sits on is the same beast revealed by Daniel the prophet depicting the future rise of the Roman Empire after the Grecian Empire (Dan:7:7, 20, etc).
This woman is revealed as a religious system. Her cup is filled with “abominations,” which means idolatry, which is the use of statues and images in divine worship. The inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk through her idolatry and she is the mother of abominations in all the earth (17:4-5). The kings of the earth commit fornication with her which leads them into idolatrous worship in being unfaithful to the true God (17:2). She is depicted spiritually as an unfaithful religious harlot who commits fornication with the political system (17:5).
She is revealed as drunk on the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus (17:6). 4The extent of her influence is international including all peoples of the earth (17:1, 15). She is also present when the symbolic head of the beast is healed and the ten horns (or ten kings) are crowned with international, political and economic power. This represents the reviving of the political beast as a last world government upon the earth and it happens right at the end of time just prior to the return of Christ (13:1-3; 17:12-13). All of this leads me to conclude beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Roman Catholic Church is the only possible fulfilment of this prophecy.
WG: What have Protestants traditionally taught about the Scarlet Woman?
KM: Protestants or Evangelicals have traditionally taught that the Scarlet Woman is the Catholic Church. The founding leaders of the Lutheran Church, the Reformed churches, the Presbyterian churches, the Anglican Church, the Puritan movements of England, Europe and America, the Baptists, the Methodists, the Brethren, and the Pentecostals—to mention a few—all held to the same view.
There might have been very slight differences in explanation but this was their fundamental biblical view. Even before the birthing of these Protestant churches a variety of godly and spiritual movements, including the Waldensians of France, the Lollards of England, and the Hussites of Bohemia, also believed this, not to mention many other spiritual movements that existed across many nations for a thousand years prior to the Reformation.
What is most amazing is that the leading theologians of the Catholic Jesuit Order and of the Counter-Reformation, who were raised up to destroy the affect and influence of the Reformation, also believed that this prophecy could only be fulfilled by the Catholic Church based in Rome. However, they taught that this apostasy of the Catholic Church at Rome would only happen just before the return of Jesus. No single body of men were more likely to deny the identity of the Catholic Church in Revelation 17 than the Jesuits yet they could not and did not.
WG: Why do you think that this prophecy in the book of Revelation is almost totally bypassed or ignored in the contemporary Evangelical world?
KM: Since the Catholic council of Vatican II, which ran from 1962 to 1965, it has not been popular to think of Rome as the spiritual harlot depicted in the Revelation. She became Ecumenical during that council. She no longer called Protestants and Nonconformist churches ‘heretics’ but rather “separated brethren.” She began dialogue with Liberal Protestant denominations; she spoke of unity and tolerance.
In 1967 Catholics began to speak in tongues and prophesy. All of this changed the attitude of many Christians towards them. Some believers were confused by these changes, others were deceived in thinking this was the beginning of a revival, while others who tested this new change with the written scriptures recognised that no fundamental Catholic doctrine had been changed, repented of or forsaken. In fact after Vatican II the doctrine held by the Catholic Church was even more idolatrous and unacceptable to real Christians than at the time of the Reformation.
Another reason for the loss of this correct interpretation of Revelation 17 is the militant rise of Islam. Beginning in the 1990s but especially since 2001 the rise of militant Islam, the Gulf War in Iraq, the attack on the twin towers in New York, mass Islamic immigration into the West, and the recent extreme threat of ISIS in the Middle East and the West, have all led to a new interpretation of the prophetic scriptures with a specific focus upon Islam.
While I believe that there are indeed various prophecies that reveal the ‘End-Days’ rise of Islam this chapter is certainly not one of them. Those who teach the new prophetic interpretation concerning the “Islamic Antichrist” usually claim that the Scarlet Woman is the religion of Islam, the scarlet beast is the political system of Islam, and the Antichrist is the promised Muslim Mahdi (Muslim Messiah).
We reveal thoroughly in our book why Islam cannot be the Scarlet Woman. In brief let me say that Antichrist’s religious system is revealed as being filled with and dominated by idolatry (the use of statues). The Woman riding the beast is idolatrous, the beast is idolatrous, and the little horn will be idolatrous. Islam would never tolerate that.
We are also told in Daniel that Antichrist will not “regard” any known god including the god of his fathers. If he was an Arab from a Muslim family he would reject Allah and Muhammad.
WG: After Tony Palmer’s declaration that ‘Luther’s protest is over’ and the growing ecumenical relationship between Pope Francis and leading Evangelicals, how should today’s Protestants and Evangelicals react with regards to the Roman Catholic Church?
KM: We must thoroughly reject Catholicism as an acceptable form of Christianity. We must also reject the Ecumenical Movement and any dialogue with Rome. Dialogue is dangerous and will always lead to major compromise. We must teach our people “sound doctrine.” We must teach them why Catholicism and Ecumenism are wrong.
We must once again prepare, equip and commission Evangelical Christians to evangelise Catholics with great love, passion, persuasion, sincerity and fire, with a biblical Gospel of Blood-redemption. We must follow the teaching of Paul the Apostle by calling all Evangelicals to separate from anyone who claims to be born-again and Heaven bound, yet who indulges in idolatrous Catholic worship in the use of statues and idols as aids in their worship (I Cor.5:7-13).
WG: Do you think the Reformation is over?
KM: No. But the Reformation in and of itself is no sacred cow. We only believe in the Reformation in as far as it lines up with the written scriptures. Rome has not changed her doctrines so the Reformation is not over. Genuine born-again Christians who hold fast to the written scriptures and who believe that they are only saved by placing faith in the Blood of Jesus and the finished work of the Cross will always reject Romanism as an acceptable form of Christianity so again the Reformation is not over.
For five hundred years the leaders of all the great national spiritual revivals across the world owned the Reformation as a part of their own personal heritage. The only thing that has changed in our day is that many prominent Evangelical leaders in this generation have compromised. Generally speaking they are blind men leading the blind. They are dominated by biblical and historic ignorance.
Either Evangelicalism will revive and return to its biblical roots and basis or we shall see a new widespread movement raised up by God outside of the organised structure of Evangelicalism that will again be used as a mighty instrument in the hand of God to glorify His name in all the earth. Our loyalty is not to names and titles such as “Reformation” or “Evangelical” but to biblical Christianity.
WG: What would you say to ecumenical folk who stress the importance of the “unity” of the body of Christ?
KM: Biblical unity can only be found amongst genuinely born-again believers who have been washed in the Blood and who are living in obedience to God’s written Word. Unity with Catholic priests who pray to Mary, Episcopalians who frequently get drunk, liberal Presbyterians who deny the basics of the Bible, worldly and heretical Charismatics, and compromised Ecumenists who replace the biblical unity of the body of Christ with their own manufactured and organised visible unity, is no unity at all!
Such a specimen is not the body of Christ. It is an unclean harlot. Liberal Protestant and Ecumenical churches are only daughters of the harlot church of Rome (17:5). All of this was prophesied 2000 years ago and it is contained in Revelation 17. In the Bible we are never called to create unity between enemies but rather we are called to maintain and keep unity amongst genuine brothers (Eph.4:3).
WG: What key doctrines separate Rome from Biblical Christianity?
KM: i) The authority of the scriptures; Rome rejects this. She not only adds to the teaching of the Bible but she contradicts what is held in the Bible with her own Traditions. ii) The finished work of the Cross: Romanism rejects the teaching of placing faith in the Blood of the Lamb alone for salvation. They deny that Christ’s atoning work was finished and complete upon the Cross. iii) The new birth: Catholicism replaces the born-again experience with its teaching and ritual of baptismal regeneration. They officially teach that when an infant is baptised (sprinkled) with water that it is regenerated, born-again, saved, forgiven, made a new creature, a member of Christ, a member of the Church, and divinely illuminated. No true Christian who knows their Bible would ever accept such terrible heresy. iv) The body of Christ or the Church: between the beginning of the fifth century up until Vatican II in the 1960s, Catholicism taught that she was the only true church and only within her membership was salvation found. Since Vatican II she has taught that she is the fullest and most perfect expression of the body of Christ with all others being deficient is some element but still called churches. We as Christians reject this. v) Christian unity: Rome seeks for a visibly organised unity amongst all churches.
The true body of Christ recognises its spiritual unity created by God through the new birth. True biblical unity is made visible when Christians gather together within the boundaries of sound doctrine, a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ, and an outward display of holiness of life and separation from the world. A true Christian could never unite with Rome.
WG: What are your plans for the future? Do you have a fifth book planned?
KM: Yes, and a sixth, seventh and an eighth book. God willing my next book will be How to Judge Biblically. The foundation of this book will be taken from a series of 15 messages I taught on this vital subject. My primary calling is to preach and teach. Writing is an addition to this and just another means to proclaim the truth of God further-a-field. My most vital plans for the near future will be to win souls to Jesus Christ.
WG: Amen. May the Lord grant you a great harvest! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today and for keeping the body of Christ informed about the dangers of ecumenism. If anyone is interested in getting their hands on the book, you may order a copy from Amazon.