WHO OR WHAT IS BABYLON THE HARLOT? (Silver Skies Research)

  1.  INTRODUCTION
  2. HISTORY OF BABYLON

III.       WILL BABYLON BE REBUILT?

  1.         Isaiah’s Prophecies of Babylon
  2.          Jeremiah’s Prophecies of Babylon
  3.         Conclusions
  4. INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION 17
  5.         Conclusions
  6.  THE VISION OF BABYLON THE HARLOT – 17:1-6
  7. The Impending Judgement of the Great Harlot – 17:1-2
  8. The Vision– 17:3-6
  9. THE INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION – 17:7-18
  10.         The Scarlet Beast is the Antichrist – 17:8, 11
  11.          The Seven Heads are Seven Successive Kingdoms – 17:9-10
  12.         The Ten Horns are Ten Contemporaneous Kings – 17:11-12
  13.         The Woman is the Great City, Babylon – 17:18
  14.  THE JUDGMENT OF BABYLON – 18:1-3
  15. DESCRIPTION OF THE JUDGMENT OF BABYLON – 18:4-20
  16.         Israel Warned to Flee Babylon – 18:4-5
  17.          The Ultimate Reason for Judgment – 18:6-7
  18.         The Length and Character of the Judgment – 18:8
  19.         Kings and Merchants Weep Over Babylon – 18:9-19
  20.          Heavenly Hosts and Saints Rejoice Over Babylon’s Destruction – 18:20

VII.      TOTAL ANNIHILATION OF BABYLON – 18:21-24

I. INTRODUCTION

The identity of Babylon the Harlot in Revelation 17 and 18 has historically had a number of identifications. She has been identified as 1) the carnal church, 2) the false church, 3) Islam, 4) the Papacy, 5) the city of Rome, 6) the church of Rome, 7) sinners, 8) the reprobate,[1] 9) ecclesiastical Babylon, and 10) a multifaceted rebuilt Babylon. Of course, the best way to uncovering her identity is to utilize the grammatical-historical methodology to the best of our ability. This will go a long way in eliminating conscious or subconscious subjectivity, and maintaining an objective reading of the text.

Babylon is mentioned 288 times in the Bible and is thus the second most mentioned city, second only to Jerusalem, which is mentioned 808 times. Throughout the Bible there is an obvious contrast between Babylon and Jerusalem in Scripture. Babylon representing the Kingdom of man and Jerusalem representing the Kingdom of God. Geographically, the two cities are only 560 miles apart, both sitting proximate in the Middle East. The geographic nearness of the two cities is not by chance. The region serves as the intersection of three major continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa) and thus has a vast history of commercial trade, war, and linguistic as well as cultural diversity. The region is literally the very “navel” of the earth. It is thus a very valuable and coveted real estate. To understand the contrast between the two cities as representative of the Kingdom of man and Kingdom of God a careful study of the background of Babylon is in order.

II.      ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF BABYLON

According to Genesis 10 the city was founded by Nimrod. Nimrod was a descendant of Ham, the “darkened or sunburntone“, and he begat Cush, “the black one”, and Cush begat Nimrod, which means “let us revolt” and he “became a mighty hunter against Jehovah” (Gen. 10:9). And the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom was Babel. In Akkadian we find that the term Bab-El originally meant “gate of God”. In Hebrew the term Babel came to mean “confusion”. The principle is that from the human viewpoint Babel was the gateway of God, but from the divine viewpoint Babel was confusion. To understand the significance of the founding of Babel it is helpful to recall God’s command to Noah and his sons.

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Gen. 9:1)

This is the post-diluvian re-institution of divine institution #1 (cf. Gen. 1:28). Just as Adam was originally commanded, so Noah and his sons were commanded. The content of the command was three things, to 1) labor fruitfully, 2) multiply/procreate, and 3) replenish or scatter upon the earth to fill it. While Noah and his sons fulfilled the first two commands there was a failure on the part of man to fulfill the third, that of scattering upon the earth. God had commanded nationalism, but man disobeyed, trying to maintain internationalism. The rebellion of man against this third aspect is found in Gen. 11:4

And they said, Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top (may reach) unto heaven, and let us make us a name. Lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Nimrod and his followers chose to build a city with a high tower or ziggurat. A ziggurat was a sacred temple tower dedicated to heathen deities often in connection with astrology, the zodiac, and mother-child worship. Verse 9 tells us that this city was Babel, because it was there that God confused the languages so that men would scatter. Thus, the confusion of languages was a divine judgement on mankind for not obeying the Gen. 9:1 command to scatter. Babel was man’s attempt to make himself a name by building a Kingdom of man in rebellion against the command of God. In stark contrast to this, God told Abram, “I will make thy name great” (Gen. 12:2). The principle is that man wants to make his name great, but it is God who actually makes a man’s name great.

Ancient lore now comes to our assistance, and tells us that the wife of Nimroud-bar Cush was the infamous Semiramis the First. She is reputed to have been the foundress of the Babylonian mysteries and the first high-priestess of idolatry. Thus Babylon became the fountainhead of idolatry, and the mother of every heathen and pagan system in the world. The mystery-religion that was there originated spread in various forms throughout the whole earth…and is with us today…and shall have its fullest development when the Holy Spirit has departed and the Babylon of the Apocalypse holds sway.

Building on the primeval promise of the woman’s Seed who was to come, Semiramis bore a son whom she declared was miraculously conceived! And when she presented him to the people, he was hailed as the promised deliverer. This was Tammuz, whose worship Ezekiel protested against in the days of the captivity. Thus was introduced the mystery of the mother and the child, a form of idolatry that is older than any other known to man. The rites of this worship were secret. On the initiated were permitted to know its mysteries. It was Satan’s effort to delude mankind with an imitation so like the truth of God that they would not know the true Seed of the woman when He came in the fullness of time….

From Babylon this mystery-religion spread to all the surrounding nations….Everywhere the symbols were the same, and everywhere the cult of the mother and the child became the popular system; their worship was celebrated with the most disgusting and immoral practices. The image of the queen of heaven with the babe in her arms was seen everywhere, though the names might differ as languages differed. It became the mystery-religion of Phoenicia, and by the Phoenicians was carried to the ends of the earth. Astoreth and Tammuz, the mother and child of these hardy adventures, became Isis and Horus in Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros in Greece, Venus and Cupid in Italy, and bore many other names in more distant places. Within 1000 years Babylonianism had become the religion of the world, which had rejected the Divine revelation.

Linked with this central mystery were countless lesser mysteries….Among these were the doctrines of purgatorial purification after death, salvation by countless sacraments such as priestly absolution, sprinkling with holy water, the offering of round cakes to the queen of heaven as mentioned in the book of Jeremiah, dedication of virgins to the gods, which was literally sanctified prostitution, weeping for Tammuz for a period of 40 days, prior to the great festival of Istar, who was said to have received her son back from the dead; for it was taught that Tammuz was slain by a wild board and afterwards brought back to life. To him the egg was sacred, as depicting the mystery of his resurrection, even as the evergreen was his chosen symbol and was set up in honor of his birth at the winter solstice, when a boar’s head was eaten in memory of his conflict and a yule-log burned with many mysterious observances. The sign of the cross was sacred to Tammuz, as symbolizing the life-giving principle and as the first letter of his name. It is represented upon vast numbers of the most ancient altars and temples, and did not, as many have supposed, originate with Christianity.

From this mystery-religion, the patriarch Abraham was separated by divine call; and with this same evil cult the nation that sprang from him was in constant conflict, until under Jezebel, a Phoenician princess, it was grafted into what was left of the religion of Israel in the northern kingdom in the day of Ahab, and was the cause of their captivity at last. Judah was polluted b it, for Baal-worship was but the Canaanitish form of the Babylonian mysteries, and only by being sent into captivity to Babylon itself did Judah become cured of her fondness for idolatry. Baal was the Sun-God, the Life-giving One, identical with Tammuz.

…though Babylon as a city had long been but a memory, her mysteries had not died with her. When the city and temples were destroyed, the high-priest fled with a company of initiates and their sacred vessels and images to Pergamos, where the symbol of the serpent was set up as the emblem of the hidden wisdom. From there, they afterwards crossed the sea and emigrated to Italy….There the ancient cult was propagated under the name of the Etruscan Mysteries, and eventually Rome became the headquarters of Babylonianism. The chief priests wore mitres shaped like the head of a fish, in honor of Dagon, the fish-god, the Lord of life—another form of the Tammuz mystery, as developed among Israel’s old enemies, the Philistines. The chief priest when established in Rome took the title Pontifex Maximus, and this was imprinted on his mitre. When Julius Caesar (who, like all young Romans of good family, was an initiate) had become the head of the State, he was elected Pontifex Maximum, and this title was held henceforth by all Roman emperors down to Constantine the Great, who was, at one and the same time, head of the church and high priest of the heathen! The title was afterwards conferred upon the bishops of Rome, and is borne by the pope today, who is thus declared to be, not the successor of the fisherman-apostle Peter, but the direct successor of the high priest of the Babylonian mysteries, and the servant of the fish-god Dagon, for whom he wars, like his idolatrous predecessors, the fisherman’s ring.

During the early centuries of the church’s history, the mystery of iniquity had wrought with such astounding effect, and Babylonian practices and teachings had been so largely absorbed by that which bore the name of the church of Christ, that the truth of the Holy Scriptures on many points had been wholly obscured, while idolatrous practices had been foisted upon the people as Christian sacraments, and heathen philosophies took place of gospel instruction. Thus was developed that amazing system which for a thousand years dominated Europe and trafficked in the bodies and souls of men, until the great Reformation of the 16th century brought in a measure of deliverance.[2]

The key mark of the history of Babylon is that it was first manifested and based in a physical city. Here it exerted its greatest influence because it could express its rebellion against God in the realms of religion, economics, and politics. The degree of rebellion was so great that God judged Babel by confusing the language. This judgement served two purposes. First, it forced men to scatter. Second, it temporarily restrained the “pagan distortion of the true God of creation”.[3] After that the city took a great plunge in terms of its influence and it took over 1,500 years for the city to regain any type of recognizable affluence, this time during the Exile of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar (605-536BC). After Babylon was defeated the city became the capital of the Medo-Persian Empire and later Alexander the Great made it the capital of Greece. This certainly shows the cities importance to Gentile powers. Finally Babylon came under the control of Seleucus who decided to build a capital for himself nearby. This drew most of the inhabitants away from Babylon. However, we find that later on Jews from the Exile still resided there and Peter actually wrote his first epistle from there (I Peter 5:13). “About the middle of the 5th century Theodoret speaks of Babylon as being inhabited only by Jews, who still had three Jewish Universities, and in the last year of the same century the “Babylonian Talmud” was issued, and recognized as authoritative by the Jews of the whole world.”[4] The city is mentioned in 917AD as nothing but an insignificant village and later in 1100 as being known as the “Two Mosques”. In 1898 the city had been renamed Hillah and had about 10,000 inhabitants and was flourishing. Certainly it has never been true that “neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.” Isa. 13:20. Nor can it be said of Babylon—“Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.” Jer. 51:43.[5]  Although the city had undergone a long period of virtual abandonment the spirit and mystery religion of Babylon had already woven its way through the cultures of the world. She has quite clearly made her way into Roman Catholicism when Constantine merged Church and State in 312AD. At this time the religious system regained partial political and economic influence as a means of expressing her idolatry. According to Revelation 17 and 18 she will yet find her original home in a rebuilt eschatological Babylon. And when she does the religious, political, economic system will once again take on an affluence proportional to that of the original city of Babel. Once again, God will intervene to judge man’s rebellion. This judgement will come in two phases and will be complete and total.

III. WILL BABYLON BE REBUILT?

For many years expositors have believed that the references to Babylon in Rev. 17 & 18 were references to Rome or simply a symbol of a godless religious/commercial system and not a literal, geographic city.[6] Are there any biblical passages which teach that Babylon will be rebuilt and destroyed in the last days?

  1. Isaiah’s Prophecies of Babylon

References to Babylon in Isaiah inform us that 1) Babylon’s destruction takes place in connection with “the day of the Lord” (Isaiah 13:6, 9), which is the most common term for the Great Tribulation, 2) Babylon’s destruction will be characterized by a black out (Isaiah 13:10), 3) Babylon will never again be inhabited (Isaiah 13:20), 4) all Israel will be saved after the complete and utter destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 14:1-8), and 5) Antichrist’s death accompanies the destruction of Babylon and Israel’s restoration (Isaiah 14:9-11). The prophet Isaiah clearly uses the Law of Double Reference in Isaiah 13 . Some verses are prophetic of Babylon’s defeat by the Medes (a near prophecy) and other verses are prophetic of a complete and final destruction of eschatological Babylon in the future (a far prophecy). Very clearly not all of these prophecies have been fulfilled.

  1. Jeremiah’s Prophecies of Babylon

Jeremiah is even more clear than Isaiah regarding eschatological Babylon. Jeremiah teaches that 1) the destruction of Babylon is associated with Israel’s national repentance and the fulfillment of the everlasting New Covenant (Jer. 50:4-5), 2) Israel will flee out of Babylon (Jer. 50:8; 51:45; Rev. 18:4), 3) Babylon shall not be inhabited for she will be totally desolate (Jer. 50:13), 4) the land will be restored to Israel and no sin will be found in Israel (Jer. 50:19-20), 5) Babylon, the land of idolatry, will be destroyed to the extent that no one will dwell there (Jer. 50:39; 51:47), 6) Babylon will make the nations drunk on idolatry (Jer. 51:7; Rev. 17:2), 7) Babylon dwellest on many waters (Jer. 51:13; Rev. 17:1, 15), 8) Babylon is referenced as a “destroying mountain” (Jer. 51:25; Rev. 17:9), 9) the heavens and earth will sing for joy over the destruction of Babylon (Jer. 51:48; Rev. 19:1-4). Inevitably Jeremiah 50-51 is linked closely with Revelation 17-18 and speaks of an idolatrous eschatological Babylon which is to be rebuilt and then utterly destroyed in two phases. In the first phase the religious aspect will be destroyed by the Antichrist and his 10 king alliance at the middle of the Tribulation. In the second phase the remainder of the city will be destroyed by the saints of God at the end of the Tribulation.

  1. Conclusions

Prophetically speaking, both Isaiah and Jeremiah declare that when Babylon is destroyed she will no longer be inhabited ever again. Even though the city only survived on a small scale for centuries, there have always been people living there. Certainly it cannot be said that the prophecy of it being “desolate forever” (Jer. 51:26) has been fulfilled. In fact, in modern days, during Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein began rebuilding the ancient city of Babylon on it’s original site. Hussein sees himself as the incarnation of Nebuchadnezzar who took Judah into Exile in 605-586BC.[7] From prophetic, historic, and current observations it is clear that there always has, is, and will be an eschatological city of Babylon. She will rule over the many waters (nations), she will make the nations drunk on her wine (idolatry), she will be totally destroyed in conjunction with “the day of the Lord”, in that day the New Covenant will be fulfilled and all Israel will be saved, the Antichrist will be slain by the breath of the Lord (II Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:20), and Babylon’s destruction will take place suddenly and totally. If God’s word means what it says and says what it means then Babylonmust be rebuilt. It will once again become the geographic city that will infect the world economically, religiously, and politically. She will be restored to greater prominence than her former, become a world center of power, false religion and worship, sin, wickedness and materialism, meeting her final and ultimate destruction just prior to the Second Advent.[8]

IV. INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION 17

The interpretation of Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18 has been debated without finality among scholars. Two basic views to Babylon’s identity have gained the most support among dispensationalists. The first view is that Revelation 17 speaks of the religious system of ancient Babylon and Revelation 18 speaks of the political system of ancient Babylon. Walvoord expresses this position:

Any interpretation of Revelation 17 and 18 is difficult because expositors have not agreed as to the details of their interpretations. In general, however, it is helpful to consider chapter 17 as dealing with Babylon as an ecclesiastical or spiritual entity and chapter 18 as dealing with Babylon as a political entity.[9]

The second view is that Babylon is a rebuilt city with all the aspects of any typical city. One such proponent is Ronald Johnson who says,

Ten times in these two chapters (17-18) the word great is used to describe Babylon…It seems clear that the woman, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots is a literal, eschatological city called Babylon.

Is there a strong enough distinction between Rev. 17 & 18 to conclude that this is a judgement on the ancient religious and political systems of Babylon (Walvoord, Hislop)? or are both chapters speaking about a rebuilt multifaceted Babylon (Dyer, Johnson)? Four observations are helpful in answering this question:

1) there is a religious aspect to Babylon (17:1-2, 4-5, 18:3-8)

2) there is a political aspect to Babylon (17:10-17; 18:2, 9)

3) there is an economic aspect to Babylon (17:4, 18; 18:3-4, 11-17, 19)

4) there is a physical aspect to Babylon (17:18; 18:2, 4, 6-10, 15-19, 21).

These observations show that both Rev. 17 and 18 are an integrated unit that cannot be divided into two judgements on the ancient religious and political systems of Babylon. This is a single Babylon, a rebuilt city with all the aspects of a typical city. The most we can say is that Rev. 17 emphasizes the religious aspect of the city and Rev. 18 emphasizes the economic aspect of the city. But the fact remains, that both Rev. 17 and 18 have religious, political, economic, and physical aspects. This rebuilt eschatological Babylon is most like it’s original prototype, Nimrod’s Babel. Babeloriginally had religious, political, economic, and physical aspects just like any other city so there is no definite justification for seeing these final judgements as merely judging the religious and political systems of ancient Babylon. In fact, that view is quite unordinary from a plain reading of the text.

As to timing, Revelation 17 takes place during the first half of the Tribulation and Revelation 18 occurs at the end of the second half of the Tribulation. This is concluded on the basis of four observations: 1) it is the beast (Antichrist) and his 10 king alliance that burns the Harlot (religious aspect of Babylon) in Chapter 17 while it is the saints of God who burn and destroy the rest of the city in Chapter 18, 2) the final destruction of the city in Chapter 18 is parallel with the events of the 7th Bowl Judgement of Rev. 16:17-21, 3) there is no weeping over the destruction of the Harlot in Chapter 17, but there is weeping over the destruction of the rest of the city in Chapter 18, and 4) the Antichrist is co-ruling with 10 kings during Chapter 17, but he is the sole ruler during the events of Chapter 18 (though he will not be in the city when it is totally destroyed).

For centuries the kings and the harlot have appeared as lovers, but there has been no real love between them. They each simply used the other to further their own ends. But now the religious system will have served its purpose, so the ten kings banish and completely destroy the harlot (the religious system). Her wealth, buildings, property will be confiscated, her leaders killed, and everything else destroyed.[10]

  1. Conclusions

Revelation 17 & 18 reveal a rebuilt eschatological Babylon which will be located in its ancient location on the Euphrates River. The events of Revelation 17 occur during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation while the Antichrist rides the religious system into a position of power. When the climax of the power struggle between the Antichrist and the religious system comes he will ally himself with 10 kings to destroy the religious system. They will be successful in destroying the central headquarters and killing the leaders of the religious system of Babylon. This is his lawless deed. Three of the 10 kings who ally with him will detest him for his lawless deed. This will cause the Antichrist to kill them. The Antichrist will then break his covenant with Israel by committing the abomination of desolation, thus causing Israel to flee to the wilderness and the whole world will worship him for the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. During this time he will direct all his energy toward destroying Israel. At the time of the 7th Bowl judgement, which occurs at the end of the Tribulation, God and His saints will utterly destroy Babylon such that it will never be inhabited again.

V. THE VISION OF BABYLON THE HARLOT – REV. 17:1-6

  1. The Impending Judgement – Rev. 17:1-2

1And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven bowls, and spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters; 2with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and they that dwell in the earth were made drunken with the wine of her fornication.

  1. 1:The opening verse begin with an angelic proclamation of the impending judgement of the great harlot. This angel is one of the seven who poured out the seven bowl judgements in Revelation 16. The “great harlot” is none other than the religious system headquartered in the city of Babylon. In terms ofmagnitude she is considered “great”. In terms of character she is a “harlot or prostitute”.

To prostitute something is to take that which has a proper use and to turn it into an improper use. A prostitute takes sex, which has a proper use, and perverts it with an improper use; turning it into something illicit, causing fornication. In this case the harlot represents “religion,” which has a proper use (James 1:26-27) but here has been prostituted for improper use. Rather than serving, it rules. The false use of religion causes spiritual fornication.[11]

Thus, the phrase megalhs ths pornhs refers to a religious system that is “exceedingly greatly practicing spiritual idolatry”. The dominant position of the great harlot is seen in Rev. 17:1b.

…the great harlot sits on many waters,

The waters upon which the harlot sits are interpreted in Rev. 17:15.

The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.

So, the picture is of an exceedingly greatly spiritually idolatrous religious system that is dominating the peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues of the earth. The picture of the great system sitting on the nations of the world indicates two things. First, she is supported by the nations, and second, she rules over the nations. The people support the religious system because they are trapped in its idolatrous religious practice. The very nature of man is religious, being made in God’s image he cannot escape who he is. Either he will worship the Creator or the creature but he cannot exist in a state of neutrality. On the other side of the coin, the religious system rules over the people.

  1. 2:The acts of the kings of the earth with the great religious system are seen in Rev. 17:2.

With whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.

Her fornication with the kings of the earth pictures a unity between the religious and political spheres (church and state), thus resulting in a religio-political system that dominates mankind.

This is a picture of the alliance of church and state which is unfaithful for both. This causes both to prostitute (compromise) their responsibility before God. Both state and church were established by God, but must remain separate if they are to carry out their purpose. They are to support one another, but the moment they merge, both liberty and spiritual freedom are lost (at least eventually).[12]

The political system will most probably be a “democracy” while the religious system will be the embodiment of ancient idolatrous Babylon in a one-world religion. Politically, the communist block will fall before “the day of the Lord” (Ezek 38-39) which will result in what mankind perceives as a “democracy”. With postmodern trends in modern thinking such a political system is foreseeable.

According to postmodernism, freedom is an illusion. Western democracies are not free at all. Indeed, they are the easiest to control. This is because those in power make their citizens control themselves. This is far more efficient than a police state, since each individual, imagining that he is free but in reality internalizing the values of those in power, becomes his own policeman. And they are so easy to manipulate.[13]

While the Political system will be perceived as democratic, religiously it will be a one-world religion that embodies the ancient religious system of idolatrous Babylon. The modern ecumenical movement will bring about this one world religious system. Merryman notes:

The spirit of ecumenism is the spirit of our age. It is the dominant thrust of the last half of this century. For example, during this period, nearly every church history text on the collegiate level is ecumenical in its approach. What once were considered cults are now placed under an umbrella called “Christianity” in these textbooks. It is in these years that the charismatic-tongues phenomena spread across denominational barriers linking such diverse groups as Assemblies of God, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans and Roman Catholics. The charismatic movement very willingly casts aside doctrinal truth for what is perceived as spiritual unity; meaning, the capacity to babble in what passes for biblical tongues. Perhaps it is not strange then that the push for ecumenical unity found a focus in this last decade among some influential “Evangelicals” and Roman Catholics. I am referring of course to the ECT phenomena: Evangelicals and Catholics Together. The efforts of Charles Colson and Richard Neuhaus (“evangelical” and Roman Catholic priest respectively) in this ecumenical scenario have been widely published and criticized. As T. A. McMahon well stated, “Brothers and sisters in Christ are being encouraged to dance with what the entire evangelical church for 1,500 years called the ‘whore of Babylon.’” Colson and Neuhaus are set on correcting this image as are other “evangelicals” such as Pat Robertson, Bill Bright, J. I. Packer, Os Guinness, Richard Mouw, Mark Knoll, etc…[14]

Of these and the other proclaimed “evangelicals”, who alongside Roman Catholic priests signed identical statements on the doctrine of justification, there was not one pastor. All the leaders were leaders of parachurch ministries which are by nature ecumenical. Thus, the false religious system of the tribulation will deceive the world because outwardly she will carry the name of God, but inwardly she will worship and serve other gods. Thus, the world will be in a state of spiritual drunkenness, a stupor which will lead to their ultimate denial of the true God of Scripture.

That the earth-dwellers will be “drunk on the wine of her immorality” refers to their being controlled by “demonic doctrines, ideologies and concepts produced by this religious/political alliance”.[15] The demonic doctrines include 1) the deity of man, 2) moral relativism, 3) unity through social reform, and 4) spiritual enlightenment through mystical spiritual experiences (contemplative spirituality).[16] All these are current doctrines of New Age mysticism.

  1. The Vision– Rev. 17:3-6

3And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness: and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication, 5and upon her forehead a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered with a great wonder.

  1. 3:In order for John to see this spectacular vision, the angel carries him away in the Spirit into a wilderness. Being carried away into a wilderness, desert, or other remote location often accompanied dramatic revelation to the prophets. This verse introduces us to the woman. The woman is not Israel as she was in Revelation 12, but is interpreted for us in verse 18 as the “great city”. Babylon is called the “great city” six times in six different verses. Eight times in these same six verses Babylon is referred to as a city.[17]Thus, the woman is the great city of Babylon as contrasted to Jerusalem which is pictured as a bride in Revelation 21. Next, the scarlet beast is introduced. The scarlet beast is described as having seven heads and ten horns just like the beast of Revelation 13. Thus, the scarlet beast and the beast of Revelation 13 are one and the same, namely the Antichrist.

 4:Theexternal adornment of the  religious aspect of Babylon in contrast to the internal religious rot is described in Rev. 17:4:

And the woman [Babylon, cf. 17:18] was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality,

Purple and scarlet have been associated with royalty for centuries. The gold, precious stones and pearls refer to the immense wealth of the city of Babylon. The “gold cup” is what she tempts the world to drink her stupefying wine from. The abominations, unclean things, and immorality are references to the false doctrines, idolatry, sorceries, sensual trappings, and material adornment of the religious aspect of Babylon.

  1. 5:The name written on the forehead of the woman was a common practice for harlots in the ancient world. This showed their shamelessness of their character. In the same way, depravity will have advanced to such a degree that there is no attempt to hide the shame. Open sinful expression is the norm and illustrates the character of mankind. The text says that the forehead name has been a “mystery” prior to this revelation. A mystery was something that was not revealed in the OT (Rom. 16:25-26; Eph. 3:4-6, 9; Col. 1:26). The content of the mystery is the fact that Babylon will develop into a one-world, unified religious system and will be the religious ruler for the first half of the Tribulation. It will be headquartered in the City of Babylon.[18]

Now that the mystery is revealed, she is described as being mother of two things: 1) “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS”. This means that Nimrod’s original Babel is the source of all religious prostitution. 2) “MOTHER OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”. This means that Nimrod’s original Babel is the source of all false doctrine, sorcery, sensuality, idolatry, and astrology of the ancient religion of Babylon. “Of the earth” indicates that her influence and false doctrine have spread worldwide.

  1. 6:The city of Babylon is “drunk with the blood of the saints”. According to Jer. 50:7, 29; 51:24-25, 34-35, 49 this probably refers not only to Tribulation martyrs, but also to all those who were killed by the proponents of the religious system of Babylon throughout history. It is now time for God’s vengeance. It is time for God to recompense the enemies of His people! This religious system that was founded at Nimrod’s Babel has murdered millions of saints throughout history. So many saints have been killed that she has become drunk on their blood.

Though many aspects of the vision are left unexplained in this section, the next section reveals the interpretation of each component of the vision.

VI. THE INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION – 17-7-18

7And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and the ten horns. 8The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go into perdition. And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, (they) whose name hath not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast, how that he was, and is not, and shall come. 9Here is the mind that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth: 10and they are seven kings; the five are fallen, the one is, the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a little while. 11And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition. 12And the ten horns that thou sawest are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet; but they receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour. 13These have one mind, and they give their power and authority unto the beast. 14These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they (also shall overcome) that are with him, called and chosen and faithful. 15And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16And the ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her utterly with fire. 17For God did put in their hearts to do his mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished. 18And the woman whom thou sawestis the great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

In this section four identifications are made by the angel; 1) the scarlet beast is interpreted as being identical to the beast of Revelation 13, who is the Antichrist, 2) the seven heads are interpreted as seven successive kingdoms, 3) the 10 horns are interpreted as 10 contemporary kings, and 4) the woman is interpreted as the great city, Babylon. 

  1. The Scarlet Beast is the Antichrist – 17:8, 11
  1. 8, 11:

8The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss…when they behold the beast, how that he was, and is not, and shall come. 11And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition.”

This phrase should be understood literally as “he was alive, he is dead, and he shall come back to life”. This confirms what John saw in 13:3, 14, that the Antichrist will counterfeit the resurrection. In 13:3 John “…saw one of his heads as though it had been smitten unto death; and his death-stroke was healed: and the whole earth wondered after the beast;” Verse 14 adds that it will occur by the sword. So the Antichrist will be killed by a sword but will come back to life. This event occurs about Mid-Tribulation as indicated by comparing this with the phrase “and is about to come up out of the abyss” (Rev. 13:1). The phrase “and to go into perdition” indicates that this is the Antichrist’s last hour. After the Antichrist rises from the dead he will desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem by sitting in the Temple and exalting himself as God (II Thess. 2:4) “then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming” (II Thess. 2:8). So at this point the “son of perdition” has only 1260 days left and is thus about “to go into perdition”. Since this is his last hour Satan will unleash all his hatred through the Antichrist in trying to destroy Israel, from whom the manchild came forth (Rev. 12). The world will be in awe of the Antichrist because of his counterfeit resurrection. This will cause the non-elect to worship him rather than the religious system of Babylon which the Antichrist is about to destroy (cf. 17:16).

  1. The Seven Heads are Seven Successive Kingdoms – 17:9-10
  1. 9-10:“The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the womansitteth: and they are seven kings; the five are fallen, the one is, the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a little while.”

The “scarlet beast” was described as having “seven heads and ten horns” in 17:3. The seven heads are interpreted in 17:9-10 as being “seven mountains”. When the term “mountain” is used symbolically in Scripture it always refers to a “king, kingdom, or throne” (cf. Jer. 51:25). As verification, the next phrase says the “seven mountains are seven kings.” Many expositors have taken the phrase “the seven heads are seven mountains” to be a reference to Rome since Romewas known as a city upon seven hills. However, the context makes this identification impossible.

Verse nine states that the seven heads are seven mountains. Unfortunately, too many Bible teachers have stopped here, ignored the following verse, and consequently concluded that the seven mountains represent Rome, for Rome is a city sitting upon seven hills. However, a number of cities in the Middle East claim to sit upon seven hills or mountains. So this is not enough to pinpoint Rome as the place to which this passage refers.[19]

Fruchtenbaum’s statement is noteworthy and Bible expositors should be slow to make Rome the identification. Seiss also rejects Rome as the identification.

These are the words which are supposed to fix the application of the picture to the city of Rome, as Rome is called a city of seven hills. But a flimsier basis for such a controlling and all-conditioning conclusion is perhaps nowhere to be found. The seven hills of the city of Rome, to begin with, are not mountains, as every one who has been there can testify; and if they were, they are no more characteristic of the situation of Rome than the seven hills are characteristic of Jerusalem. But the taking of them as literal hills or mountains at all is founded upon a total misreading of the angel’s words.

mountain, or prominent elevation on the surface of the earth, is one of the common scriptural images, or representatives of a kingdom, regal dominion, empire, or established authority (cf. Ps. 30:7)…So the Lord in His threat against the throne and power of Babylon said: “I am against thee, O destroying mountain, which destroyest all the earth; and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.” (Jer. 51:25.) So the kingdom of the Messiah is likened to “a stone, which became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (Dan. 2:35.) And this is exactly the sense in which the angel uses the word here, as he himself tells us. He does not say, “the seven heads are seven mountains, where the Woman sitteth upon them, “ and there leave off; but he adds immediately, “and they are seven kings,” or personified kingdoms…The description, therefore, so far from fixing the application to the Papacy, or to the city of Rome, decisively settles that it cannot possible apply to either, for neither has seven such mountains.[20]

Therefore, verses 9-10 are not depicting a geographical location, but rather seven successive kingdoms that have or will encroach and rule within Israel’s promised borders. These include the Egyptian Empire (1st head), Assyrian Empire (2ndhead), Babylonian Empire (3rd head), Medo-Persian Empire (4th head), Greek Empire (5th head), Roman Empire (6thhead), and the Revived Roman Empire (7th head).

At the time of John’s writing of the Book of Revelation (AD 95-96) the first five heads had fallen, the sixth head, Rome, was, and the seventh head, Revived Rome, was yet to come. Since the text designates seven successive kingdoms then if it referred to Rome the city, then five hills should no longer be in existence, only one should be there now with another to arise in the future![21]

Of course, this interpretation is impossible! The terminology forces the seven heads to be seven successive kingdoms. Historically the first six kingdoms fulfilled the requirement of the text; namely, that all five had fallen, Rome was, and Revived Rome was yet to come. When Revived Rome comes under the Antichrist stage “he must continue a little while”, namely 1,260 days.

  1. The Ten Horns are Ten Contemporary Kings – Rev. 17:11-12 
  1. 11-12:

11And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition. 12And the ten horns that thou sawest are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet; but they receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour.

The ten horns mentioned in 17:3 are ten contemporary kings that will rule in the future. This passage should be interpreted by a comparison with Daniel 2:40-43, and Daniel 7:20-27. In Daniel 2:40-43 the Revived Roman Empire is described by ten toes made partly of tile and partly of iron. This unordinary mixture is illustrative of the apparent strength but certain brittleness of this Empire. The ten toes of the statue are obviously linked to the ten horns of Revelation 17. In Daniel 7:20-27 the Revived Roman Empire is described as ten horns, just as in Revelation 17. The angel gives a clear explanation of who the ten horns are in Daniel 7:20,24.

…and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts, and which was larger in appearance than its associates…As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.

Initially, the Antichrist will rule contemporaneously with 10 kings. This establishes his position as the other horn that “will arise after them” [i.e. the 11th horn] of Dan. 7:20-27. After the Antichrist gives them power for one hour they will destroy the religious aspect of Babylon (Rev. 17:12). Subsequently, the Antichrist will murder three kings who did not support his lawless act. Once he kills these three kings there will be seven kings remaining in addition to himself. This will make the Antichrist the 8th horn of Revelation 17:11, because he is the eighth of the seven contemporary kings. He will also become the seventh head in relation to the seven successive kingdoms.

And the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth [contemporary king], and is one of the seven [successive kingdoms], and he goes to destruction.

The following chart depicts the relationships just discussed.

  1. The Egyptian Empire                      1st head
  2.  The Assyrian Empire                     2nd head

III.   The Babylonian Empire                  3rd head                                    Successive Kingdoms

  1.  The Medo-Persian Empire              4th head
  2.  The Greek Empire                         5th head
  3. The Roman Empire
  4.  The United Stage: Rome               6th head
  5.   The Two Division Stage:            East-West Powers
  6.   The One World Govt. Stage

VII.  Revived Roman Empire

  1.   Ten Division Stage                    Ten Horns                    Contemporaneous Kings
  2. The Antichrist Stage                  7th head/11th horn/8th horn

VIII.     The Messianic Kingdom

  1. The Destruction ofBabylonthe Harlot – Rev. 17:13-17
  1. 13 -17:The ten horns [contemporaneous kings] have one purpose or one mind and they give their power and authority to the beast (Rev. 17:13). This will set up the Antichrist Stage of the Revived Roman Empire which supplies the power needed to attempt to destroy the Jews (Rev. 12;17:14).

These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.

Of course, he will fail to destroy them and will be destroyed himself. The major influence of the Harlot (i.e. religious aspect of Babylon) will be during the first half of the Tribulation. The destruction of the Harlot will occur when the 10 contemporary kings “receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour” to destroy the Harlot (Rev. 17:12, 16). The Harlot will be destroyed because these ten kings and the Antichrist hate the harlot (Rev. 17:16).

And the ten horns [contemporary kings] which you saw, and the beast [Antichrist], these will hate the harlot [leader of religious Babylon] and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.

There is obviously a power struggle between the 10 kings and the Antichrist with the religious leaders of Babylonduring the first half of the Tribulation. Verse 15 says that “The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” This means that the 10 kings and the Antichrist realize that the people of the world support the Harlot and the Harlot really has control over the people. This will make the Antichrist give authority to the 10 kings so they can destroy the Harlot and rule the world. Initially, the Antichrist and the ten kings needed the Harlot in order to rise to power and influence. The Harlot provided a religious base that unified all cultures, nations, and tongues. When the power struggle reaches its climax the Antichrist and 10 kings will plot to destroy her. Once the religious aspect of Babylon is destroyed the Antichrist will murder three of the 10 kings who detested this lawless act. This destruction of the religious aspect of Babylon will give the Antichrist power in the three key spheres of influence: 1) he will have complete economic control over all buying and selling. Without the mark of the beast no one will be able to buy or sell any goods (Rev. 13:16-17), 2) he will have complete political control because he will be world dictator, and 3) he will have complete religious control because he has destroyed the Harlot and gained the loyalty of the world by way of the counterfeit resurrection. Ancient Babel will be completely restored in Antichrist’s Babylon. With such power, he will be in position to attempt the destruction of all Israel (Rev. 12; 13:7). To accomplish this he will first exalt himself as God, desecrating Israel’s Temple. This is the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet. This act will be the sign for all Israel to flee Judea into the wilderness (Matt. 24:15). Even though all these events seem horrible it is God who has decreed them to come to pass (17:17).

For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be fulfilled.

  1. The Woman is the Great City, Babylon – 17:18

As mentioned before, the woman is interpreted for us as the great city. And the term great city is used to describe Babylon. There can be no doubt that there will be a rebuilt Babylon. Historically, the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah have not been fulfilled. Presently, Saddam Hussein is rebuilding the city of Babylon in its ancient location. This city, the woman Babylon, is contrasted to the woman New Jerusalem in Revelation 21. This city is political, economic, religious, and physical. It will use these divinely instituted and created aspects as the means of distributing its pagan sorceries and false doctrines of man in rebellion against his Creator.

V. THE JUDGMENT OF BABYLON – 18:1-3

These opening announcements reveal the certainty of the impending judgment described in Revelation 17:1-2. Here the destruction of Babylon is viewed as a past event. The surety of God’s word and His power are such that He decrees the end from the beginning. Such is the case in this passage. The reason this judgment has come upon Babylon is described in Rev. 18:3 which parallels Rev. 17:2.

For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.

By this time in history the city of Babylon will have become the world political, economic, and religious center. The influence of this city will be greater than any previous Kingdom of man. Establishing it’s rule and power worldwide.

VI. DESCRIPTION OF THE JUDGMENT OF BABYLON – 18:4-20

  1. Israel Warned to Flee Babylon– 18:4-5

Come out of her my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues;

These two verses warn Israel to flee Babylon for two reasons. First, in order to avoid participation in Babylon’s sins, and second, to avoid the plagues which are about to fall upon Babylon. Many Israelis will flee Babylon and head to Jerusalem as described in Jeremiah 51:50.

You who have escaped the sword, Depart! Do not stay! Remember the Lord from afar, and let Jerusalem come to your mind.

  1. The Ultimate Reason for Judgment – 18:6-7

To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, “I sit as queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.”

Ultimately, Babylon will be judged for her autonomous spirit. She will be paid back double according to her deeds. This passage teaches not only God’s justice in dealing with sin, but His grace in waiting so long to judge! Babylon is judged for the “cup which she has mixed”. God does not judge arbitrarily or unjustly, but according to one’s deeds. Babylon is seen as responsible for her actions and her negative response toward God. Rev. 17:7 is an amazing picture of the autonomous spirit of man against God. The autonomous spirit glorifies itself rather than God and lives according to the laws which it erects on the basis of a carnal mind, thus denying God’s standard. The autonomous spirit is at the root of all sin!

  1. The Length and Characteristics of the Judgment – 18:8

For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.

Because of Babylon’s autonomous spirit the length of the judgment that comes upon Babylon will be just one day. There is no reason to take this number figuratively, as it is quite possible that God will destroy the city in a single day. The three characteristics of the judgment include pestilence (death), mourning, and famine. All three of these characteristics follow or are part of great wars and destruction, especially this final destruction of the great city. Though Babylon proclaimed that it would not mourn in the prior verse (18:7), we see here that she will mourn immensely when the judgment comes. The masses that weep and mourn are described in Rev. 18:9-19. The means of the destruction of Babylon will be by fire.

  1. Kings and Merchants Weep overBabylon– 18:9-19

The kings of the earth…will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning…every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, what city is like the great city?

This is an extensive description of the mourning of the kings and merchants. Such mourning is not described anywhere else in the Bible. The reasons these people mourn is not because of spiritual loss, but rather, material loss. Note the list of materials which these people mourn over.

Gold

Silver

Precious stones

Pearls

Fine linen

Purple and silk and scarlet

Citron wood

Articles of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron, and marble

Cinnamon and spice

Incense and perfume and frankincense

Olive oil and wine

Fine flour and wheat

Cattle and sheep

Cargoes of horses, chariots, slaves, and human lives

All luxurious materials

Their investment in the visible material goods of this world far outweighs their investment in the invisible spiritual gifts of God. For them, these goods are their entire life. In fact, they find their identity in the things of this world and define others by their level of material success. Ironically, it is not only what they live for, but also what they die for! For in one hour the economic, political, and religious center of the world will transform from splendor to ashes before their very eyes.

  1. Heavenly Hosts and Saints Rejoice OverBabylon’s Destruction –18:20

In contrast to the great weeping of those who are Satan’s followers, the heavenly hosts and all saints of God rejoice over the final and total destruction of Babylon (Rev. 18:20).

Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.

In a single day the Lord will pronounce judgment against the Kingdom of man in favor of the saints of all dispensations. In the end, we can rest assured that we will be victorious through Christ, our deliverer!

VII. TOTAL ANNIHILATION OF BABYLON – 18:21-24

This closing statement on Babylon sums up the degree of annihilation that will come upon her in that day. There will be no harpists, musicians, flute-players or trumpeters. No craftsmen, no sound of the mill, no light of a lamp, no marriage joys. Nothing good that God has created will exist in Babylon; the land will be an utter desolation. Two passages describe the day of Babylon’s final destruction. Both passages are prophetic. The first is Jer. 51:60-64.

So Jeremiah wrote in a single scroll all the calamity which would come upon Babylon, that is, all these words which have been written concerning Babylon [Jeremiah 50-51]. Then Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “As soon as you come to Babylon, then see that you read all these words aloud, and say, Thou, O Lord, hast promised concerning this place to cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation.’ And it will come about as soon as you finish reading this scroll, you will tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, and say, ‘Just so shall Babylon sink down and not rise again, because of the calamity that I am going to bring upon her; and they will become exhausted”. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

And the future fulfillment of this magnificent prophecy is found in Rev. 18:21 which reads,

And a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.”

I ask you today, has Babylon been destroyed as is necessitated by Scripture? Was it completely destroyed by Cyrus of Persia? I think not! And what about the modern rebuilding of Babylon by Saddam Hussein who has been rebuilding the city since 1980.

Saddam Hussein of modern-day Babylon believes he is the reincarnation of the same King Nebuchadnezzar who began his conquest of Jerusalem on January 15, 588 BC. For the purpose of his own glory, he has rebuilt the ancient city of Babylonin its historical location along with Nebuchadnezzar’s ancient palace and centers of idolatrous worship.

Scripture clearly portrays that there must be a physical rebuilding of Babylon. History has validated that the physical rebuilding of Babylon has already begun taking place! Not only is the city rebuilt, but the idolatrous worship centers have been rebuilt as well! Note the comments by an anonymous writer concerning the destruction of a rebuilt Babylon,

Of all of the countries listed in Bible prophecy, which are soon to be defeated in the upcoming war of Psalm 83, none have the extensive amount of prophecy devoted to revealing their destruction, as does Iraq (listed as Assyria in that passage). The entire Chapters of Jeremiah 50 and 51 in conjunction with numerous other mentions in Scripture are focused on Babylon, Iraq’s devastation in the near future.

Though my position is that Babylon represents a literal rebuilt city, I do not deny that there is a huge religious aspect to that city. For the world to unite the world must come together on religious grounds, that is, a common set of beliefs. The false prophet will unify the world religiously by the predication of himself via signs and miracles (Rev. 13:12-15). Many believe that Babylon the harlot is the representation of the evil of the Roman Catholic System, but that system is merely the vessel which carries the ancient religious system of Babel. The fact that Babylon is both a rebuilt city and the central shrine of the evil of the ancient religious system of Babel is the normal reading of the text. The rebuilt economic and political city of Babylon will be the headquarters of the ancient religious system of Babel.

The final destruction of the city of Babylon will occur at the end of the 2nd half of the Great Tribulation in preparation for the Second Coming of Messiah. After which these words will be sung by all who have accepted Jesus as Messiah (Rev. 19:1-6).

After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! – Rev 19:1-6

[1] Froom, Leroy Edwin, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers: Vol. I, (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1978), p. 991.

[2] Harry A. Ironside, Lectures on the Revelation, pp. 287-95 quoted from Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1964), pp. 365-67.

[3] Couch, Mal, Dictionary of Premillennial Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), p. 62.

[4] Larkin, Clarence, Dispensational Truth, (Glenside, PA: Published by Clarence Larkin, 1920), p. 142.

[5] Ibid., 142.

[6] Johnson, Ronald, Babylon the Great City, the Harlot (The Conservative Theological Journal, Vol. 4. No. 13, December 2000),  p. 346.

[7] Wallace, Daniel, Lesson 25: Babylon as Seen in Scripture: An Introduction to Chapters 17-18(http://www.bible.org/docs/nt/books/rev/jhk3/rev-26.htm)

[8] Johnson, Ronald, Babylon the Great City, the Harlot (The Conservative Theological Journal, Vol. 4. No. 13, December 2000),  p. 346

[9] Walvoord, John F., The Revelation of Jesus Christ, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), p. 243.

[10] Wallace, Daniel, Lesson 25: Babylon as Seen in Scripture: An Introduction to Chapters 17-18(http://www.bible.org/docs/nt/books/rev/jhk3/rev-27.htm), p. 10.

[11] Fruchtenbaum, Arnold F., The Footsteps of the Messiah, (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1984), p. 160.

[12] Wallace, Daniel, Lesson 26: The Judgement of Religious (http://www.bible.org/docs/nt/books/rev/jhk3/rev-26.htm), pp. 1-2.

[13] Veith, Gene Edward, World Magazine (December 2, 2000), 22.

[14] Merryman, Ron, Justification By Faith Alone & It’s Historical Challenges (Hermantown, MN: Merryman Ministries, 1999), 94-95.

[15] Wallace, Daniel, Lesson 26: The Judgement of Religious (http://www.bible.org/docs/nt/books/rev/jhk3/rev-26.htm), p. 5.

[16] For an excellent primer on the Contemplative Spirituality movement which is sweeping across Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Religious lines see John Caddock, What is Contemplative Spirituality and Why is It Dangerous?: A Review of Brennan Mannings The Signature of Jesus.

[17] Johnson, Ronald, Babylon the Great City, the Harlot (The Conservative Theological Journal, Vol. 4. No. 13, December 2000),  p. 350.

[18] Fruchtenbaum, Arnold F., The Eight Mysteries of the New Testament: Manuscript #182, (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1992), p. 42.

[19] Fruchtenbaum, Arnold, Footsteps of the Messiah (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries Press, 1982), 31.

[20] Seiss, Joseph A., The Apocalypse (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1957), 391-392.

[21] Fruchtenbaum, Arnold, Footsteps of the Messiah (Tustin, CA: Ariel Press, 1982), 31.

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