Was the nation of Israel the Harlot (i.e., the adulterous wife) who has been cast out and finally judged for rejecting her husband (God) who had come to them in the flesh? Who is Israel now?
B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, June 11, 2020
The Old Testament equates Israel (and Judah, seen collectively as “Israel” or the “Jews”) and Jerusalem—the seat of power for Israel specifically—as the bride or wife of God; and when she turned her back on God, she was playing the harlot and committing adultery against God. Jeremiah 3:20 says “Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, So have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel," says the LORD.”
Many times the nation of Israel, the Jews, or Jerusalem was seen as the harlot involved in adulteries against God: Jeremiah 3:1-9, 9:2, 13:27, 23:14; Isaiah 1:21, 5:1-7; 13:1-10; Hosea 2:4, 4:15, 7:1-4, 9:1; Ezekiel 6:9, 16:1-2; 16:15-41, 23:37-43; Judges 8:33; 2 Chronicles 21:11-13.
Keep this in mind when reading Leviticus 20:10, Matthew 12:39, and Mark 8:38. The Jews at the time of Christ were no different, outside of the saved remnant. For they did not seek after Christ but rejected Him and crucified Him and persecuted the Christians who followed Christ—even Saul (Paul) was doing this.
The Jews rejected Christ their king as John 19:15 records, “But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"” Their harlotry culminated at this very moment as they told God the Son, to His face, that they held to a human king (and a “beast” of Daniel no less) over Him.
The blood of all the prophets that was shed, much by the hand of Israel, was to be charged to this first century generation as Luke 11:51 points out, "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.” The Jews assembled in Jerusalem in Matthew 27:25 responded when crucifying Christ by saying, “And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children."
Considering that Israel was previously annihilated and the Temple previously destroyed (with the exception of a remnant sent into captivity) for their constant rejection of God and His prophets in the Old Testament…should we not expect judgment upon the Jews who killed the One the prophets warned them about, the God-Man, Jesus Christ?
The Harlot was the nation of Israel (the Jews) being led by the Great City, Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8). This is why there is a need for a New Jerusalem (Galatians 4:25-26, Hebrews 13:14, Revelation 3:12, 21:2-9).
Descriptors of the Harlot being Israel/Jerusalem
1. Where the Lord was Crucified (Revelation 11:8)
3. Blood dripped by her attacks on the Martyrs (constant persecution of the church—(e.g., Acts 8:1-4, 11:19, 14:2, 17:13, 23:27, 1 Corinthians 15:9, Galatians 1:13)
5. Responsible for the blood of the prophets (Matthew 23:29-37, Luke 11:47-50, Acts 7:51-52, 8:1-3, Romans 11:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15)
6. Called Babylon (can’t be Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar’s day since it had been utterly destroyed by the first century and is still desolate today! Again, Babylon was equated with the “Great City” where the Lord was crucified, Revelation 11:8, 16:19, 17:18, 18:10, 18:16-21, Peter even alludes to Jerusalem being Babylon in 1 Peter 5:13 as his ministry was directed to the circumcised of Israel—Galatians 2:8.)
7. Called Sodom (again Sodom was equated with the “Great City” where the Lord was crucified, Revelation 11:8, 16:19, 17:18, 18:10, 18:16-2)
8. Called Egypt (again Egypt was equated with the “Great City” where the Lord was crucified, Revelation 11:8, 16:19, 17:18, 18:10, 18:16-21)
9.The city will be divided into thirds at judgment in Revelation 16:19 (Ezekiel 5:1-5 says this is Jerusalem’s future)
10. Jerusalem and the Israel were often referred to as the “Harlot”, “Prostitute”, and adulterous in the Bible (e.g., 2 Chronicles 21:11-13, Psalm 106:39-40, Isaiah 1:21, Jeremiah 3:1-8, 13:27, Ezekiel 24:4-30, Hosea 4:12, 5:3-5, etc.)
So who is Israel? Israel is a name God selected and gave to His people, beginning with Jacob (who was given the name Israel). Israel is God’s people. Romans 9:6 point out that “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Christians are now grafted into the remnant of Israel (Romans 11:1-27), the true bride of Christ (Revelation 22:14-17), having many natural branches pruned from Israel (Romans 11:17).
This is why Christians are the spiritual seed of Abraham (Romans 4:6-18). Whether Jew or gentile, we are all in the same boat and in need of Jesus Christ to be re-grafted into Israel. This is sometimes called "Grafted Theology".