What do I know thus far?
That Babylon, in “the Revelation,” is primarily symbolic.
Rev_14:8, “she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.” (During the time of Nimrod there was only one language and “nation.” Therefore this statement is a projection to a future time. That future time is upon us.)
Rev_16:19, “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell.” (I used the term symbolic because it is still a future event; and, Jerusalem is also called “that great city.”)
Rev_17:5, “on her forehead a name was written, a mystery.” (Mystery is the word musterion – according to Thayer, “religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals.” In general, the church is initiated as we are no longer mere mortals. Still, the terms forehead and mystery are highly indicative of symbolism.)
Rev_18:2, The CEV states “it is the den of every filthy spirit and of all unclean birds, and every dirty and hated animal.” (So we are looking both to the future and the present to see this.)
Rev_18:10, quoting from the NASB we see this, ” the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.” (We have seen that Jerusalem is also called the great city. The practical side of this is the question, how do you destroy such a great city in a day? And, why would the destruction of Jerusalem cause the world’s wealthy to mourn? Unless we have not been told everything.)
Rev_18:21, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.” (These same words were used of Babylon, and yet, to a degree, it is inhabited. Does this make God a liar? No, but there is certainly some verbal painting with a broad brush, and that must be taken into consideration. So we might be looking for a nuclear attack.)
Simply said, we are seeing references to things such as the mother of harlots and the abominations. While most can understand the depth of perversion that is associated with Babel, but the Bible does not spell that information out for us. Since we are biblically based, then we need to lean toward sound doctrine when it comes to interpretation, and that is the Bible points to Jerusalem.
That Jerusalem, which is referred to as Babylon, will be split into three parts by a horrendous earthquake.
Revelation 16:19 NASB The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
Since everything in the Revelation is based upon some statement within the Old Testament, what do we have as a witness to a massive earthquake?
One of the most dominant, outside of Revelation, comes from the Psalms.
Psalms 114:3-8 CEV When the sea looked at God, it ran away, and the Jordan River flowed upstream. (4) The mountains and the hills skipped around like goats. (5) Ask the sea why it ran away or ask the Jordan why it flowed upstream. (6) Ask the mountains and the hills why they skipped like goats! (7) Earth, you will tremble, when the Lord God of Jacob comes near, (8) because he turns solid rock into flowing streams and pools of water.
I chose the CEV as it describes several events that could easily be associated with a life-changing earthquake, such as the Jordan suddenly flowing upstream, and the mountains and hills skipping around. Note this effect as He turns solid rock into flowing streams. It is easy to associate this with a thermal event like a volcano erupting.
Jeremiah 4:24 might also be one of those references.
Jeremiah 4:24-27 NASB I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, And all the hills moved to and fro. (25) I looked, and behold, there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. (26) I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were pulled down Before the LORD, before His fierce anger. (27) For thus says the LORD, “The whole land shall be a desolation, Yet I will not execute a complete destruction.
At one time, I used this verse in Jeremiah to make a point about how or why the earth came to a place of destruction. While to most this seems irrelevant, but scripture tells us that the earth was perfect in the day He made it, and yet at some point, the earth became void and without form. Now try to explain that.
The Harlot that rides the beast is the same harlot/whore that we find in the basket.
Zechariah 5:5-11 tells us of the “woman” in the basket, covered by a lid of lead. She is lifted from the basket and shown to Zechariah, and told, this is wickedness. That woman personifies wickedness.
The Apostle Paul wrote how Israel took pleasure in the wickedness.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 NASB (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (9) that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, (10) and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (11) For this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, (12) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.
Isaiah tells how Jerusalem became a harlot.
Isaiah 1:21a NASB How the faithful city has become a harlot,
The prophet Ezekiel said, you played the harlot.
Ezekiel 16:14-15 NASB “Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” declares the Lord GOD. (15) “But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing.
Revelation 17 tells us that the great harlot sits on many waters; it goes on to explain what the waters are.
Revelation 17:15-17 NASB (15) And he *said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. (16) “And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. (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 will be fulfilled.
There is no doubt in my mind that the passages above are speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem/Israel, but not completely.
In Zechariah chapter five, the woman in the basket is wickedness, and she is being taken to Shinar, the place where Babylon began.
What then is Babylon?
- To Israel, under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon became their captor, their punisher, and their protector. You see, God often uses others to carry out His will. When we read about Babylon from the book of Daniel, we see that they too had their fair share of idols. During the time of Daniel’s captivity, he tells us that Nebuchadnezzar had a massive statue of himself made, and he forced everyone to bow to it. Israel adopted Babylon’s ways.
- Babylon is Jerusalem, “that great city“. Since the woman, which equals wickedness is Jerusalem, then “that great city” is also representative of wickedness.
- Babylon is the whore and the harlot, as these terms are synonymous.
- Babylon is symbolic, and we see that as Jerusalem is called Babylon; and, referred to as the whore. If the whore/harlot is wickedness, and Jerusalem, in scripture is described as giving itself over to wickedness, then Jerusalem is wickedness and therefore the whore in the basket.
- She, Jerusalem, made all the nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. What does that mean? That the wrath reserved for Israel will also be poured out upon the world because we too are neck-deep in this money lust.
- Babylon represents the global banking system and the basis for this money lust.
- The two witnesses have finally been killed, after preaching in the streets of Jerusalem for 1,240 days. Revelation 11:8 tells us that their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city for three days. The great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
The harlot/whore is pure wickedness.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-10 NASB (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (9) that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, (10) and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
Revelation 17:5-6 NASB, describes the harlot, but it does not define who or what she is very well.
At this point, with many clues and explanations, it is easy to see that Babylon, the Great, the Mother of Harlots, is Jerusalem, but we still get hung up looking for a rebuilding of some tower, and that leads us to our last point.