False Religion Plays the Harlot
1. How has prostitution been viewed by many?
SOME call it the oldest profession—that of the harlot, prostitute, or whore. As commonly used, all these words have the same meaning, referring to an immoral woman who sells the use of her body to men. Yet, there was a time when this was regarded as an honored calling!
2, 3. How did the role priestesses played in ancient Babylon contrast with Jehovah’s law to Israel regarding male and female prostitution?
2 Speaking of ancient Babylon’s priesthood, Professor S. H. Hooke, an authority on Biblical archaeology, stated: “The priesthood was not confined to men, but women formed part of the staff of the great temples. It was considered an honor to belong to the order of priestesses, and we hear of several kings who dedicated their daughters to the priestly calling. . . . Their most important function was to serve as sacred prostitutes at the great seasonal festivals. . . . The temple of Ishtar [goddess of fertility and war], naturally, contained a large staff of such women.”
3 This was in stark contrast with worship that was to be rendered to Jehovah God by the nation of Israel. The Law clearly stated: “None of the daughters of Israel may become a temple prostitute, neither may anyone of the sons of Israel become a temple prostitute [practicing homosexuality]. You must not bring the hire of a harlot or the price of a dog into the house of Jehovah your God for any vow, because they are something detestable to Jehovah your God.” (Deuteronomy 23:17, 18) Thus, a harlot’s payment was unacceptable as a contribution to God’s sanctuary. Even harlotry without any religious connotation was disgraceful. The Israelites were commanded: “Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, in order that the land may not commit prostitution and the land actually be filled with loose morals.” The laws against prostitution and homosexuality, which is described as “a detestable thing,” were a protection for the nation, both spiritually and physically.—Leviticus 19:29; 20:13.
Spiritual Harlotry Even Worse
4. What is the worst form of harlotry?
4 From God’s viewpoint, however, there is a worse form of prostitution—spiritual harlotry, or claiming to worship the true God while actually giving worship and affection to other gods. Ancient Jerusalem took her prostitution a step further. She gave presents to those nations that spiritually fornicated with her, polluting true worship.—Ezekiel 16:34.
5, 6. Who are committing spiritual harlotry in this 20th century, leading to what questions?
5 Even in this 20th century, spiritual harlotry is common in the world religious system. Christendom is the most prominent part of that system—a system that the Bible calls “Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.”—Revelation 17:5.
6 But what is the final destiny of Babylon the Great? And how will that final outcome affect you and your loved ones? If God judged harlots adversely in ancient Israel, what will he do about modern spiritual harlotry? The following articles will examine those questions and related ones.