In the New Testament the city of Babylon is mentioned a few times. Notably in the book of Revelation:

6Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” 8 A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” 9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. (Revelation 14:6-12, NIV, emphasize mine)

See also 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2, 18:10, 18:21.

What does Babylon refer to? If there are diversity among scholars I love to hear about different opinions. But I only want answers that argue from the text itself and it's historical situation.

There is another question that touches on the subject. But I want this to be more specific and go deeper.

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    Much of this question is its own answer. You should consider moving the section beginning with "Most scholars..." into an answer. Jan 3 '14 at 14:35
  • @NiclasNilsson-I will respond to this question when I get to my references, but from both a Hermeneutical and Historical context, it cannot be Rome. When one makes the adjustment from Literal to Figurative, one cannot mix literal and figurative interpretations to suit your interpretation, any more than you can 'mix' wool and cotton, or wheat and barley. That Peter called Rome "Babylon" is a matter of record, but that doesn't explain Babylon the Great.
    – Tau
    Jan 4 '14 at 13:03
  • 1
    @user2479 I'm looking forward to an exciting exegesis (not eisegesis) :-) Jan 4 '14 at 13:13
  • 1
    @NiclasNilsson-That's why I need to get to my resources-I usually do it at night.
    – Tau
    Jan 5 '14 at 1:43

Contemporary Jewish Apocalypses

Fourth Ezra is a Jewish apocalypse written circa AD 100, with later Christian additions. Chapter 3.1-2,38-31, written by the original Jewish author, has the following:

In the thirtieth year after the destruction of the city, I was in Babylon — I, Salathiel, who am also called Ezra. I was troubled as I lay on my bed, and my thoughts welled up in my heart, because I saw the desolation of Zion and the wealth of those who lived in Babylon. [...] 'Then I said in my heart, Are the deeds of those who inhabit Babylon any better? Is that why it has gained dominion over Zion? For when I came here I saw ungodly deeds without number, and my soul has seen many sinners during these thirty years. And my heart failed me, because I have seen how you endure those who sin, and have spared those who act wickedly, and have destroyed your people, and protected your enemies, and have not shown to anyone how your way may be comprehended. Are the deeds of Babylon better than those of Zion?'

According to this text, 'Ezra' is writing thirty years after the 587 BC destruction of Jerusalem. Internally, this would date the book to about 557 BC, a full century before the biblical Ezra was even active, which is not feasible. This, among other signs that this was not written by the Ezra, has led scholars to date the book thirty years after the second destruction of Jerusalem of AD 70. This would mean the author was casting himself in the role of Ezra, with Rome found in his references to 'Babylon'.

Second Baruch, an apocalyptic book written about the same time, uses a similar literary device. The author assumes the name of the biblical Baruch, writing about the second destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 as if it was the one in 587 BC. Again, Rome takes the identity of 'Babylon' (cf. 2 Baruch 10.1–3, 11.1, and 67.7).

The Sibylline Oracles

The Sibylline Oracles, a large set of apocalyptic visions, were written, edited, and redacted by various Jews, Christians, and Gnostics over several centuries. Book 5.187-205, written around AD 130-160, equates Rome with Babylon when it puts the blames for the temple's destruction on Nero, the 'mighty king' who 'laid his hands upon the womb' (i.e. murdered his pregnant wife):

When one from Italy shall smite the neck
Of the isthmus, mighty king of mighty Rome,
A man made equal to God, whom, they say,
Zeus himself and the august Hera bore
He, courting by his voice all-musical
Applause for his sweet Songs, shall put to death
With his own wretched mother many men.
From Babylon shall flee the fearful lord
And shameless whom all mortals and best men
Abhor; for he slew many and laid hands
Upon the womb; against his wives he sinned
And of men stained with blood had he been formed.
And he shall come to monarchs of the Medes
And Persians, first whom he loved and to whom
He brought renown, while with those wicked men
He lurked against a nation not desired
And on the temple made by God he seized
And citizens and people going in,
Of whom I justly sang the praise, he burned

Milton S. Terry revised translation

Why did they call Rome 'Babylon'?

While we do not know when exactly the symbolic name was attached to Rome (certainly after AD 70, but possibly not until the 80s or 90s), the reason behind the identification of Rome with Babylon in all of the above instances is clearly because Rome, like Babylon, was responsible for the destruction of a temple in Jerusalem.

First Peter 5.13

Your sister church in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark.

There is no known tradition in early Christian history that places Peter at the actual city of Babylon in the Middle East. In the first century, Babylon was in ruins, so any excursion there would have been pointless to the evangelistic efforts otherwise described for Peter.

In 1 Clement 5, a church overseer writing from Rome about 95 AD, groups the death of Peter and Paul into a single paragraph. Some see in this an implication that Peter was associated with Rome, but the author could simply be naming two of the most famous apostles. The first explicit reference that Peter was associated with Rome, is Ignatius to the Romans 2.6, written about a decade or two after 1 Clement.

Critical scholars date 1 Peter to the late first century. The convergence of this information is that 'Babylon' in 1 Peter 5.13 likely also refers to Rome.

The Revelation of John

Revelation 17 identifies Babylon as 'the great city' which sits on 'seven mountains' or 'hills'.1 John was writing circa AD 95, and has identified his primary audience as Christians living in Asia, so we are well within the realm of the Roman empire. The simplest explanation is that this 'city of seven hills' was intended clear identification of Rome, since the city was widely known by such a nickname.2

Adding to this, imperial coins minted circa AD 71 depicted Roma, the goddess personifying Rome, as seated on the city's seven hills. Casting the goddess seated on seven hills as a 'prostitute' would have been a strong criticism of the city.

Vespasian, Sestertius minted AD 71

Image source: icollector.com.

Even aside from the Revelation being contemporary literature to 1 Peter, 4 Ezra, and 2 Baruch, the Revelation contains anti-imperial symbolism elsewhere in the book, strongly substantiating that the prostitute is a criticism of Rome.


Bearing in mind the historical context, the agreement of contemporary sources, and internal indications, it is very certain 'Babylon' refers to Rome, in both 1 Peter and the Revelation.


1 The Greek noun, ορος, most often means 'mountain', but can be used for 'hill'.

2 Cicero to Atticus, letter 6.5; Virgil, Georgics 2.535; Virgil, Aeneid 6.781-783; Sextus Propertius, Elegies 3.11.55-57; Horace, Secular Hymn 7,11; Ovid, Tristia 5.69; Martial, Epigrams 4.64; Sibylline Oracles 2.19; 11.145-154; 13.61; 14.138.

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    Great answer. It might be worth noting that there are still people arguing for an earlier date though I'm not among them. Jan 4 '14 at 9:20

The following text was originally part of my question. But it was pointed out that I really was answering my own question. What I really want is that this answer is to be supplemented with other views that from an academic point of view argue that this might be referring to something else than Rome.

Many scholars take this as referring to Rome for a good reason. It also makes sense looking at 1 Peter:

13She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. (1 Peter 5:13, NIV)

NET Bible notes says:

...Although in the OT the city of Babylon in Mesopotamia was the seat of tremendous power (2 Kgs 24-25; Isa 39; Jer 25), by the time of the NT what was left was an insignificant town, and there is no tradition in Christian history that Peter ever visited there. On the other hand, Christian tradition connects Peter with the church in Rome, and many interpreters think other references to Babylon in the NT refer to Rome as well...

It's also easy to see that Rome had a lot in common with Babylon: Both the Roman and Babylonian empire was big empires. They both destroyed the temple of Jerusalem. There were a lot of wealth in them. They did bad things to the Jews etc.


In the Christian New Testament, "Babylon" is metonymy for Gentile world power.

According to the Hebrew Bible, Babylon was the first Gentile world power to enter the stage of world history when the visible theocratic kingdom on earth ended. That is, the Shekinah Glory, which had resided in the temple up until that point of time, had been the locus of the visible kingdom of God on earth. That glory departed the temple as the Babylonian Empire emerged (compare Ezek 10:4 with Ezek 10:18 with Ezek 11:23). Thus the kingdoms of man, glorified by this head of gold (Dan 3:32-35 compared with 1 Cor 11:6-7 and Heb 2:6-7, where the head is equated with authority), had displaced the glory of God on earth. Thus Babylon began the domination of the Gentiles over the visible theocratic authority of God on the earth -- ergo, the Babylonian Captivity. The following graph depicts this development between the visible and invisible kingdoms of God and man on earth.


Please note that as time has gone by, subsequent Gentile world powers have entered and left the scene of world history: each of these empires, like the head of gold, are represented by other elements of the earth (iron, bronze, clay), which become more unstable with time (since the image with the head of gold is top-heavy), and therefore will one day be destroyed by the power that comes down from heaven (Dan 2:44). Note that according to the Christian New Testament, the Shekinah Glory (Spirit of God) indwells the body of those believers on Jesus Christ (1 Cor 6:19-20), and so the authority of God prevails on these persons, upon whose hearts are supposed to be written the law of God according to Rom 2:14-16, 2 Cor 3:2-3, and Heb 10:16.

So to what is "Babylon" referring in the Christian New Testament? The reference is to the locus of Gentile world power with direct political and military authority over the Promised Land. At the time of the writing of the Christian New Testament, that world power was the Roman Empire, whose "capital" (or HEAD) was Rome.

  • +1 from me. You drew that chart yourself?
    – Dan
    Jan 5 '14 at 23:31
  • @GoneQuiet - the Mosaic Covenant was not eternal, but temporal according to Jer 31:27-34. Please note that in Jer 31:33 the law is written on hearts. If you want to see the fourth (or fifth) temple, please click here.
    – Joseph
    Jan 6 '14 at 1:11
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    This could be a good answer if you left out the replacement theology and focused on the metonymy. Jan 9 '14 at 18:38

The typical view that Rome is both the harlot and the beast has several flaws and is not scriptural.

First, the name Babylon was on the forehead of the harlot that sat on top of the beast.

Rev. 17:3,

"3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns." (KJV)

The woman was distinct from the beast; she was not the beast. It was the beast that was full of names of blasphemy that had seven heads and ten horns. The woman did not have seven heads and ten horns, only the beast did.

Rev. 17:4,

"4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:" (KJV)

This same description is echoed again in Rev. 18:16, clearly identifying the woman as the great city,

"and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls!"

The woman riding the beast was the same as "that great city", which is also identified in Rev. 11:8,

"8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." (KJV)

Which is confirmed in Rev. 17:18,

"Rev. 17:18, "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." (KJV)

Therefore, the woman was "that great city" or "the great city", which was also Jerusalem.

Purple and scarlet are royal adornments, also often associated with great wealth. The gold and precious stones and pearls also signify money. The woman / Jeruslaem was full of fornication. Fornication is when a woman, or a man has sex outside of marriage. To be accused of fornication implies adultery for a married woman.

Rev. 17:5,

" And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth."

The name Babylon was on the woman's forehead, not on the beast's forehead. In the very same title, she was called symbolically a "harlot". A harlot sells herself for money, which is the wealth she is adorned with in verse 4. The woman has sold herself for money, thereby committing fornication.

The woman was riding, or directing the beast. Rev. 17:7 says that the beast was carrying the woman. They were separate entities. The scriptures positively identified the woman as the city of Jerusalem, but we need to search OT scriptures to know why she wore the title of Babylon.

Rev. 17:16,

"16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire." (KJV)

That the ten horns were going to share power (receive authority) one hour with the beast (Rev. 17:12) was symbolic of lesser authority than kings / heads. But, they still had some power. That they hated the whore (the same harlot that sat on top of them) again indicates that the woman was not of the beast.

The woman was not part of the beast, but was using the beast for her own purposes. The analogy is that of a rider that rides a horse, and directs its path.

The woman sat upon seven mountains (Rev. 17:9). The woman sat on a beast that had seven heads and ten horns (vs. 7). The woman also sat upon many waters which were many people of different nations and languages (tongues) (vs. 15). And, the woman was "that great city."

As the woman was not the beast, and as many scholars agree that the beast was the old Roman empire, then the woman was a different entity from Rome.

Much of Rev. c. 17 remembers the prophesy of the destruction of Babylon in Jer. c. 51.

Jer. 51:7,

" Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad." (KJV)

The idolatry of Babylon had been spread throughout the surrounding lands. This is echoed in Rev. 17:2.

Jer. 51:13,

" O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness." (KJV)

Jer. 51:42,

"42 The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof."

This was often a meme of destruction in prophetic language... being flooded with the "waters" of the armies of foreign nations.

By putting the name of Babylon upon the woman, Christ was comparing the woman's sins to those of Babylon whom God had previously judged and destroyed. By naming the woman with the name of a destroyed city, Christ was spelling out her desolation.

The great city -Jerusalem - was called Sodom and Egypt, and also Babylon because all three of those cities were associated with the destruction that came upon them for their wickedness and idolatry. Being called the same names convicted Jerusalem of the same wickedness. As Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon had been destroyed, so was Jerusalem going to be destroyed / desolated.

Rev. 11:8 identifies the great city (Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon) as the one where "our Lord was crucified".

Christ was not crucified in Rome, but in Jerusalem. It was Jerusalem that was guilty of fornication, of being an adulteress and had already been accused of adultery by playing the harlot and cheating on her husband - God.

Jer. 13:27,

" I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?"

Jer. 19:8-9,

"8 And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof.

9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them." (KJV)

Jer. 22:8-9, speaking against Jerusalem,

"8 And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this great city?

9 Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them."

Jer. 23:14-15,

"14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

15 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land."

Ezekiel's message was even more clear.

Ezek. 23:3-4,

"And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.

4 And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah." (KJV)

Ezek. 23:17,

"17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them." (KJV)

Ezek. 23:22-23,

"22 Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side;

23 The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses." (KJV)

Just as in Ezekiel, it was Jerusalem that was the whore of Babylon, not Rome.

It was Jerusalem that used Rome to crucify our Lord and Savior. It was Jerusalem that used the Romans to persecute the Christians. It was Jerusalem that was "the great city" where our Lord was crucified. It was Jerusalem that was compared with Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon for their wickedness. It was Jerusalem, who had been married [covenanted] to God, not Rome. Only Jerusalem / Judea had had a covenant with God which they broke in adultery.

Rome was not covenanted with God, and could not then be accused of fornication nor adultery.

Matt. 23:37-38,

"37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (KJV)

Rev. 18:3,

"3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."

Rev. 18:18-19,

"18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate." (KJV)

The "great city" throughout all of Revelation is the same "great city" - Jerusalem. The woman riding the beast was the great city where Christ was crucified - Jerusalem. Therefore, the woman who was the whore of Babylon was Jerusalem, just as she had been in Ezekiel.

It was the destruction of Jerusalem that was prophesied in Revelation, just as it had been in Ezekiel and Jeremiah. She was the one that had killed the prophets (Matt. 23:37) and in which was found the blood of the prophets and the saints (Rev. 18:24).

See more at my blog ShreddingTheVeil in the posts "The Whore of Babylon", and all ten parts of "It's Not The End of The World" and all 8 parts of "The Signs of Revelation."

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    +1; Gina - I completely agree in your conclusion that the texts indicate Jerusalem. However, because of the length, maybe it could help if you had a small summary at the top including your citation to Revelation 11:8? Nov 20 '17 at 22:31
  • @elika, I had to think about how to rearrange the flow in order to move Rev. 11:8 closer to the top. Is this better?
    – Gina
    Nov 22 '17 at 8:31
  • Gina - Thanks. I am not sure rearranging it is necessary, but it is helpful for me - and maybe for others to see how all of your other points connect. Thanks! It's just that THE one verse representing your conclusion is the only one not presented as a verse, or emphasized in some way. Nov 25 '17 at 17:50
  • Gina I'm deeply impressed with the kind of answers you are able to provide. I've being going through your numerous answers and I couldn't help but upvote about four times. A great Bible student you are.
    – user20490
    Dec 20 '17 at 0:26
  • Thank you, user20490. I do try to stay only within God's word.
    – Gina
    Dec 20 '17 at 0:36

Babylon The Great in Revelation has one notable influence therein which is noted as:- Revelation 18:23 "No light of a lamp will ever shine in you again, and no voice of a bridegroom and of a bride will ever be heard in you again; for your merchants were the top-ranking men of the earth, and by your spiritistic practices all the nations were misled."

As "spiritistic practices" are condemned in the Bible as Demonic etc., and as it is noted in the texts that's its a world wide influence over commerce (merchants) and world leaders (top ranking men) this must stand for the influence of world wide religion the God does not approve of as only three things run the world Religion, Politics, Business.

Babylon The Great therefore must be the world wide empire (hence calling it Great, as in size and influance) of religions that do not please God.



Of the views available, three main ones stand out in current interpretation.

Literal Babylon

First, is that Babylon refers to the literal Babylon. This seems unlikely because, as many point out, Babylon at the time of the New Testament was relatively unimportant. Certain futurist eschatologies hold that the the city will be completely re-built sometime in the future, and thus fulfill the prophesies itself.

While not particuarly backed by other Scriptures, adherents tend to take a "wait and see" approach. Their claim is that the text simply means what it says.


Other Eschatologies, particularly those of the preterist persuasion, hold that Babylon typifies Jerusalem. This is especially important for those holding to the "full-preterist" position, which claims that ALL Biblical prophecy is completely fulfilled already, as well as the recapitulation viewpoint, which holds that Revelation 12ff is simply repeating the same prophecy of Revelation 6-11 with different emphasis and viewpoint.

To support this view, writers often comment on the usage of the same phrase "the great city" in both Revelation 11:8 and Revelation 17:18. For those who need


And, the remaining primarily viewpoint is that Babylon is Rome. The primary Biblical rationale of this comes from Daniel 2 itself. Four successive world-ruling powers are depicted, starting with literal Babylon as the head of gold, and concluding with the legs of iron (with feet of mixed iron/clay). As many identify this fourth kingdom with Rome in some form or another, the implication is that "what you call the head, you call the foot". Since, in the dream, the four materials constituted all the same statue, with Nebuchadnezzar as the head, all four kingdoms constitute the same entity, which by way of identification, could then all be called Babylon. Hence, Babylon was Babylon, Media-Persia was Babylon, Greece was Babylon, and, finally, Rome was as well. As these constituded a single ruling power, continuous segements of a one-world government ruling over the entire Earth for the span of nearly 1,000 years, these would then be all viewed as one, symbolically and/or spiritually.

The indication of the phrase "The Great City", implicating Jersualem, however, is deemed insufficient. In Revelation 11:8, it is "the great city wherin their Lord was crucified", and in Revelation 17:18, it is "the great city that rules over the kings of the Earth". Clearly, "the great city" is not the entire phrase, and such a reduction seems ulterior.

Additionally, the typology of Revelation 17 would have been interpreted by the original audience as Rome, without much doubt. Rome was known as "the city of seven hills", and coins were minted of the "dea Roma", the goddess 'Rome' (whose name backwards spelled amor--love), with her seated upon those seven hills, beside waters (presumably, the Tiber). Additionally, according to Wikipedia, she 'personified the city', as well as 'civilization itself'. Clearly this was a type known to the time.

As this would have been the clear first-century expectation, it seems to be the plausible one, at least on the basis of this evidence (which, of course, does not inherently rule out the others).

Another Possible Variation

Hence, as another possible alternative to the meaning of Babylon. As John first sees the harlot in Revelation 17, later identified as "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots", this could very well be an identification of this 'diety', the 'dea Roma'. As she was to be said to 'personify the city', to say that she 'was the great city that rules over the kings of the Earth', would be correct. Additionally, this would explain why she is said to be riding the beast, where the beast would have been the Emperor and/or the Empire itself.

If this were the case, Babylon is the city, but the harlot labeled as 'Babylon the Great', were this persona, it would clear up other difficulties in interpreting Revelation 17, such as how she rides the beast (the nation), why the beast hates her, and will destroy her with fire.

Essentially, this goddess would be the primary principality (heavenly ruling spirit, Ephesians 6:12) of the captial city of the then "one-world government", the Roman Empire. Quite conceivably, as all four kingdoms depicted in Daniel 2 constitute only one unit (the statue), and as this diety could be said to personify 'civilization itself', this entity could be seen as to be the common-thread between them all, first empowered through Nebuchadnezzar, ruling through Media-Persia, Greece, through Augustus, and to the end of Rome. Taking a further step out in speculative interpretation, it could be suggested that it might be the same 'woman' (called 'wickedness') from Zechariah 5, brought from Israel to Babylon. In round-about manner, then, what is "Babylon the Great" could be what many would generally term 'Jezebel' today. Deported from Israel after being enthroned, only to rule them from a higher level through the successive forms of Babylon. Hence, she truly is "mother of prostitutes and the abominations of the Earth".

This, then, allows the differentiation in the passage of why the beast and ten horns would have hated the harlot. As the 'dea Roma' was often worshipped side-by-side with the emperor himself, nothing would make a luciferian-inspired world-ruling narcissistic dictator hate more effectively, than to have a jezebellian diety worshipped along side, and often, in preference, to himself, and that in his own temples.

Aspects of this could also help to explain John's 'astonishment' at seeing her. At having the ruling spirit of the current world-government exposed, John is astonished. The angel then asks why he is astonished. As if, perhaps, by some prior introduction, he should have understood.

  • @user6152 - "The indication of the phrase "The Great City", implicating Jersualem, however, is deemed insufficient. In Revelation 11:8, it is "the great city wherin their Lord was crucified", and in Revelation 17:18, it is "the great city that rules over the kings of the Earth". This is a great counter-argument, but it does not take into account that this is a prophecy - of the future - about a "false messiah" and "Israel". So, it is entirely consistent that both aspects could apply to Jerusalem. And, you would still have to explain "wherein the Lord was crucified" - if about Rome. Nov 20 '17 at 22:35


What does she represent?

Characteristics of Babylon the Great

Verses are from the book of Revelation chapters 17 and 18 NASB


17:1 "Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters". 17:15“The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues."


17:2,3 "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.” 3 And he carried me away [a]in the spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns."


17:4,5 "The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and [b]adorned with gold and precious [c]stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5 and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."


17:6,7 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the [d]saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered [e]greatly. 7 And the angel said to me, “Why [f]do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns."


17:16 "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 [i]purpose [j]by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled."


17:18 The woman whom you saw is the great city, which [k]reigns over the kings of the earth.”


18:2,3“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a [m]prison of every unclean spirit, and a [n]prison of every unclean and hateful bird. 3"For all the nations [d]have drunk of the wine of the [e]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 [f]wealth of her [g]sensuality.”


18:9 “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived [l]sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning,"

18:10 " Standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come."

18:11 “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more—

18:12 "Cargoes of gold and silver and precious [m]stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and [n]bronze and iron and marble.


18:23 "And the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery."


20 "Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you [w]saints and apostles and prophets, because God has [x]pronounced judgment for you against her.” 23b "because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. "


Some say that it is Babylon, others say it is Rome, those empires have ceased long time ago, and the prophesy has its fullfilment in the future. Babylon the Great , called the "Great City", "the harlot" , is said to be sitting on peoples, nations and multitutes, therefore it cannot be a literal woman, so what does this symbolic "Babylon the Great " represents?. The fact that she is called the "great city" and has a kingdom that rules over the kings of the earth ,indicates that she has power, weath and influence over them, on a world wide basis. The harlot is also said, to be dressed in scalet and purple clothing , and that she is adorned in expensive jewelry, obviously she has amassed shameless wealth.

She is called "the harlot", why?. When the Israelites were leaving Egypt ,God warned them not to seek the friensdship or make alliances with the neighbouring nations as this would lead them to worship other Gods. This was called harlotry. (Ezek. chapt. 23 Deut. 12:30-31) By persuing alliances and friendships with the kings of the earth, Babylon has commited spiritual adultery. Todays Christianity is not the same as in Paul's day, Christianity today has been paganised by the adoption of Babylonian, Egyptian and Hellenistic beliefs , philosophies and practises. For example the immortality of the soul , goes against all Bible teachings of resurrection, and gehenna has been paganised into a fiery place of torment, called "hell". (Matthew 18:9 Mark 9:43,45, 47) The name "Easter" comes from the Babylonian goddess of fertility "Ishtar",many Easter customs have been adopted from these pagan nations, which also carried out ritual sex acts, with the temple prostitutes.

God disloses how to worship him, not man. “ Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it." Deut. 12:32 ( NASB)

Likewise today, God warns people that want from their heart to worship him, in spirit and in truth, to come out .

“‘Come out of her, my people,’[b]so that you will not share in her sins,so that you will not receive any of her plagues;" Rev.18:4.

James wrote :" You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God". James 4:4( NASB.)


Evidence to her identity is that she is sitting on a scarlet beast, ( The beast represents political powers and kingdoms, Daniel chapter 7 and 8) with ten horns, and that God has put in the heart of the beast to attack and devastate and burn her up, showing that she will never rise again. Since both the Kings and their friends the mechants mourn for her, and stand a long way off, because they are afraid of sharing in her suffering , this indicates that Babylon is not represented by either the political or the commercial empires of the world.


An indication as to her religious idendity is that God has pronounced judgement on Babylon ,the charges against her is that she has misled all the nations with her spiritism. Spiritism is religiously inspired, Babylon has filled the hearts of millions of people with fear,of demons, superstitions, sorcery, fear of the dead, evils spirits and everlasting punishment in a fiery torment. As a result , people rush to buy, good luck charms, amulets, and do rites to protect themselves.

Another fact indicating her religious identity , is that she has also been accused by God of persecuting and killing the followers of Christ and that she has become a dwelling for demons and every unclean spirit .

For example:

William Tyndale was persecuted, for wanting to have the Bible translated in the common language of the people .He was strangled to death while tied at the stake, and then his dead body was burned".( Wikipedia)

Also,John Wycliffe was persecuted for teaching bible truths.He was declared a heretic long after his death , his bones were exhumed, burned and the ashes cast into the River Swift.

It is reasonable now to conclude that "Babylon the Great" represents the religions of the world ,which have sought friendship and alliances with the beast, the beast represents all the political powers of the world . It also includes religions which opposed God and used spiritism to mislead people away from worshiping Him, in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24 NASB.)


I personally believe that Babylon in the new testament is what the world became after jesus Christ and the demise of the apostles it fell into Babylonian ways of adultery debourchery lies and not listening exactly to god or his people, many think that Babylon is all churches making people drink wine etc that they have not followed gods laws and have become entangled by politics that eventually politics will strip religion bare and that would be Babylon the greats destruction. Yes eventually even the Jews who are not Jews and those who claim they did great things in the name of jesus Christ will not be actually acknowledged by jesus Christ as he says I do not know you, please read all the bible not just segments and play judge as it is forbidden to do that especially adding to scriptures and taking away from the scriptures it is purely wrong.

  • Will you show "Babylon in the new testament is what the world became after jesus Christ and the demise of the apostles it fell into Babylonian ways" from the text?
    – colboynik
    Oct 3 '18 at 17:38
  • Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for your contribution. The above is a well expressed opinion but is based on no references to support it. Neither is any reasoning provided. Please take the tour to see what is need for a good answers.
    – user25930
    Nov 5 '18 at 8:31

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