Cross references:

  1. Deuteronomy 29:18: Deut 13:6
  2. Deuteronomy 29:18: Deut 32:32; Heb 12:15

Is there a connection between “wormwood” in the Old Testament and “wormwood" in the New Testament? Let's play another round. 

Round 2: Connecting the 'Harlot'

Revelation 17:1, 5, 15, 16 and 19:2 speak of the great harlot. Go ahead and type in the word “harlot” on Bible Gateway. You will come up with 113 references to the word in the NASB. Take a look at the word when it's not used about an individual, like Rahab. It is usually used in reference to “playing the harlot," and it is almost always used in reference to Israel and her unfaithfulness, particularly in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea. Interestingly again, one of the references is Deuteronomy 31:16:

The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.

A few verses later,  in Deuteronomy 31:29, you have a similar verse:

For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”

Many people want to know who the great harlot is in Revelation. Simply connect the dots and see. Who was the great harlot throughout Old Testament Scripture? Unfaithful Old Covenant Israel.

Round 3: Connecting More Dots

Let's take a closer look at Revelation 19:2 mentioned above. It says: "Because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of his bond-servantson her."

John the Apostle directly quotes the Song of Moses here from Deuteronomy 32:43. The Song of Moses was written by Moses to be sung by the Israelites as a witness against themselves for their unfaithfulness in the generations to come.

Now, why is Deuteronomy 32:43 directly quoted in the climactic chapter of Revelation 19? Why would John put it in there? Could it be that the vision of Revelation is a vision that has to do with the coming end of Old Covenant Israel and the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., and not the end of the earth? It is worth your study time to seek out the answers and connect the dots.

Round 4: Finish the Picture

A parallel passage to Deuteronomy 28-32 is Leviticus 26. I call it the Reader's Digest version. This has lots of interesting  dots to connect. It predicts punishment upon God’s people if they didn’t obey.

  • Leviticus 26:18: "If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins." Coincidentally, Revelation 5 and 6 has seven seals!
  • Leviticus 26:21: "If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins." Interestingly enough, Revelation 8 and 9 has seven trumpets!
  • Leviticus 26:24: "Then I will act with hostility against you; and I, even I, will strike you seven times for your sins." Convincingly,  Revelation 10 has seven thunders!
  • Leviticus 26:28: "Then I will act with wrathful hostility against you, and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins." Stunningly, Revelation 16 has seven vials!

So we have been "connecting the dots" with a number of passages here. In actuality it is called Scripture interpreting Scripture. So, what does the picture begin to look like? It looks like the curses to be laid upon Israel in Deuteronomy 28-32 and Leviticus 26 are directly connected to the book of Revelation, through key terms like wormwood, harlot, and a direct quote from Deuteronomy 32:43  in Revelation 19:2. In the parallel passage of Leviticus 26, God speaks of how He will punish Israel for breaking covenant with Him, through four sets of seven judgments upon them. The apostle John speaks of the same four sets of judgments coming upon the land in the Book of Revelation.

Could the Book of Revelation be describing the curses laid out for Old Covenant Israel and the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. rather than a description of the end of the earth? It's well worth your time and study to connect the dots.

Paul R. Lopez is a longtime student of the Word and a Bible teacher and small group leader at Murrieta Valley Church in Murrieta, Calif. He welcomes your comments to this article.

Publication date: June 11, 2012