A symbolic Babylon does not have to be rebuilt because it never went away. So, there must be something that defines whether this is real or symbolic.
Revelation 18:1-2 NASB After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. (2) And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.
The peculiar thing about this sentence is that it is in the present tense. The piece of the puzzle that makes this understandable is that this is also talking about both Jerusalem and an ideology.
The NASB tries to tame the language by saying hateful birds. Since there are no hateful birds per-say, then there has to be more to the phrase; and there is. As the references in Revelation 18:2 are taken from Isaiah 13:21, then let’s look there.
“But the beasts of the waste land will have their holes there; and the houses will be full of crying jackals, and ostriches will have their place there, and evil spirits will be dancing there.” BBE
Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible makes this statement:
“Babylon the great, and she became a habitation of demons and a hold of every unclean spirit.”
Another of our associations is with the fallen angels/demons are those held in the Euphrates river.
Revelation 9:14-15 NASB (14) one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” (15) And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released so that they would kill a third of mankind.
The Complete Jewish Bible conveys that it, “be full of owls, ostriches will live there, and wild goats will dance there.” (Isaiah 13:21 CJB)
To the Jewish reader, there is an instant association with the restrictions seen in Leviticus, which warns them to stay away from this place – unfortunately, the place is Jerusalem.
Leviticus 11:13-16 CJB “The following creatures of the air are to be detestable for you—they are not to be eaten, they are a detestable thing: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey, (14) the kite, the various kinds of buzzards, (15) the various kinds of ravens, (16) the ostrich, the screech-owl, the seagull, the various kinds of hawks… (the list continues.)
To make this even worse.
Leviticus 11:24 CJB “The following will make you unclean; whoever touches the carcass of them will be unclean until evening,”
So let’s speculate that there are none of these things in Jerusalem. While this theory may work for ostriches, it will not work for most everything else, and it is the uncleanness that is worrisome to the Jew.
Revelation 18:3 CJB “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of God’s fury caused by her whoring—yes, the kings of the earth went whoring with her, and from her unrestrained love of luxury the world’s businessmen have grown rich.”
If what we see here in Revelation 18:3 is to be a rebuilt city, then how is that the nations have drunk of the wine of God’s fury caused by her whoring? A city, cannot of itself be a whore, nor can it create on its own the atmosphere conducive to such references.
From Dr. J. Vernon McGee, ““Have drunk” (or are fallen) are the two permitted renderings—both have good manuscript authority. Both are true. The normal rendering is “have drunk.” This is God’s judgment on big business which denies God’s authority. This is the unholy alliance of government and business. We have seen some of this in our day and, frankly, it smells to high heaven. The word for merchants means “those who travel.” It is not those who produce goods or manufacture goods, but those who are brokers, engaging in business for a big profit. Business is a sacred cow that nothing must harm or hinder. This is true today, of course. Man uses business as the biggest excuse for having no time for God, yet these same men must finally stand before God. God will judge godless commercialism.”
What about this angel who is saying, fallen is Babylon the great?
If I were to guess, I would say this is Jesus Himself. Did He not show up many times under the guise of The Angel of the Lord?
Revelation 18:1 NASB After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory.
He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
Habakkuk 3:3-4 NASB God comes from Teman And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise. (4) His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power.
We are still talking about Revelation 18:2 where it speaks of the destruction of Babylon by saying Fallen, fallen.
Fallen is the Greek word piptō, which means to descend from a higher place to a lower; to be thrust down, or to be judged.
[If Babylon is being judged, then here it is either an ideology, a belief system, or a place with people. Since we know that Jerusalem is called Babylon, then it makes sense that the people would be fallen because Israel is part of the judgment.]
Once again, we are not directed to a physically rebuilt infrastructure, but we are directed to Jerusalem.
“She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.”
Simply look up pictures of Babylon today and it looks like a typical desert town; sparse housing, little to no shade, it looks HOT and barren. If you were part of the World Economic Forum, where would you have your team meetings? Yeah, I thought so, Davos Switzerland, a place that is lush, green, and appeals to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. NO ONE is going to go there anymore.