After the beast has killed the two Prophets, we read in Revelation 11:8,

Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

Why is the great city of Jerusalem figuratively called Sodom and Egypt?

4 Answers 4


The Revelation contains hundreds of references and allusions to the Hebrew scriptures. (An exact count varies from one commentator to the next.) He quotes, paraphrases, and adapts parts of the scriptures so often and so thoroughly, we can safely say the author knew the Hebrew scriptures inside and out.

Where Their Lord Was Crucified

Some commentators equate the 'great city' of Revelation 11 with the 'great city' Babylon from Revelation 17. Many of those same commentators identify Babylon as a cipher for Rome, hence, they read the 'great city' of Revelation 11 as Rome.

However, the author's description of this 'great city' as the place 'where their Lord was crucified' appears to be a conscious attempt to avoid any such confusion (i.e. with the latter 'great city', Babylon).

All extant Christian literature from the first century that has anything to say on the issue associates Jesus' crucifixion with Jerusalem, not Rome (e.g. Luke 23.7,28; John 19.20; Acts 4.27; cf. Hebrews 13.12).

Is there precedent for Jerusalem being compared to Sodom and Egypt?

Comparisons to Sodom

Comparisons of Israel, Judah, or Jerusalem to that of Sodom (and Gomorrah) are frequent and direct in the Hebrew scriptures: Deuteronomy 29.23; Isaiah 1.9-10; 3.8-9; Jeremiah 23.14; Ezekiel 16.1-2,44-58; Amos 4.11; Lamentations 4.6.

Comparisons to Egypt

Comparisons to Egypt are extremely rare, but they do occur.

Deuteronomy 28 details the rewards and penalties of Israel's covenant with God. In the event of disobedience to the covenant; 28.27 and 28.60 compare a disobedient Israel as worthy of the same plagues that came on Egypt during the exodus. A similar instance occurs in Amos 4.10.


While the statement that Jerusalem is 'spiritually' equivalent to Sodom and Egypt is very brief in the Revelation, it is very probable the author was drawing influence from the Hebrew scriptures, and compressed it into a single thought.

  • Sound comments based on the scriptures, with comparisons to Egypt we have Isaiah 19:1,19 and Joel 3:19 Feb 17, 2018 at 20:18

1st of all, the presumption of the question is that the "Great City" is Jerusalem. In a poll of commentators, about half agree that it is Jerusalem, and the other half see it as an extension of Babylon/Rome. Matthew Poole's Commentary states,

Some, by the great city, would have Jerusalem understood; but that was now far from a great city, nor do the addition of those words in the latter end of the verse prove it; for Christ was not crucified in that city, but without the gates. Most judicious interpreters, by the great city here, understand Rome, which is seven or eight times (under the name of Babylon) so called in this book.(Taken from here)

Other commentators, such as Ellicott, give this explanation,

The city is described as the great city (comp. Revelation 16:19), and also as Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem. Do not passages like this show conclusively that to deny the mystical or allegorical sense of the Apocalypse is to keep the husk and cast away the seed? The city is great, for it is all-important in the eyes of the inhabitants, as public opinion is all-important to the weak or the worldly; it is Sodom, for it is the place where, through pleasure and luxuriousness (fulness of bread), the worst forms of immorality take root; it is Egypt, for it is the house of bondage, where the wages of sin become tyrannous; it is Jerusalem, for it is the apostate place where the presence of Christ is hated.(Taken from here)

Both commentators give compelling reasons: Jerusalem is certainly the scene of the Lord's crucifixion, that fact that it was 'outside the city proper' does not negate the fact that it began within the city, and indeed, the actual event taking place outside the city fulfills Scriptural precedent,(Heb. 13:12-13)

" Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach."

This passage is in reference to Lev. 24:14,

Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.

Jesus bore the curse for all sin outside the camp; since the Temple was permanently in Jerusalem, the precedent was that we would go 'outside' Jerusalem a short distance, that the sin could be taken 'outside' and the camp/city be healed. Jesus Himself said, (Luke 13:33)

Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

The question that has divided the commentators, and the subject of our discussion is:

"How can Jerusalem be both the "City of the Great King" and "Sodom and Egypt"?

What must 1st be noted is that the deaths of Jesus; the prophets that preceded Him, nor the Apostles that followed Him, up to the deaths of the 2 witnesses did not cleanse the city. There is no question that Jerusalem was to reflect the glory of God,(Jer. 3:17)

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.

This is "The City", the "Great City" that rules over all the kingdoms of the earth. However, in killing the prophets, as well as those who bring testimony of Jesus to it, Jesus says,(Matt. 23:37-39)

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! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Sodom and Egypt fell under the Lord's judgment; Sodom for all eternity and Egypt under numerous times. Jerusalem had incurred God's wrath in the same manner as Sodom and Egypt, as she had participated in the sins both were guilty of; hence figuratively she could be called the same as them. The difference is "til"(Matt. 23:39)God's favor for Jerusalem goes beyond their sinfulness; when she says, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord",then she becomes the "Joy of the Whole Earth" and the City that reigns over all the earth.


Egypt represents power, luxury and influence. It is symbolically describing a nation which influences much of the world and inspires its own materialistic image. The pyramid is a great symbol to illustrate this point; a system of control that is supported by contributing masses on the bottom and controlled by the powerful leaders at the top. In between the two, you have the middle class. Egypt represents a powerful international economy. Egypt is also notorious for false religions and the practice of worshiping numerous gods.

Sodom represents an empire which inspires sexual immorality. Backed by the power of a materialistic empire with the likes of Egypt, perversion and sin is a widespread attribute in the place the author describes as "Sodom and Egypt". Together, "Sodom and "Egypt" depict a pagan nation with both economical and spiritual power.

This term reflects a nation with the characteristics of the two. It is empirically powerful as well as sinfully benevolent.

Looking at the destruction of both Sodom and Egypt, you can easily assume this place is very much in God's disfavor.

"Sodomy and Capital Power"


In Egypt, the people worshiped the host of heaven and fallen angels masquerading as gods. They worshiped the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They worshiped Osiris, Isis, and Baal. In Sodom, they worshiped Belial and practiced rape and homosexuality. The city in Revelation that is called "Egypt and Sodom" spiritually is a city that embraces false god worship, angel worship homosexuality, Islam, JW, SDA, Hinduism, atheism, zodiac, Greek myths, Roman myths, witchcraft, masonic teachings, Catholicism, Buddhism, Scientology, and all other false teaching such as materialism, etc... Lucifer never finished the city and the tower of Babel. The city in Revelation is the finished Babel, also known as spiritual Egypt and Sodom, where you can do all that you imagine to do. Both Egypt and Sodom deny our Lord and savior Jesus, as most of the world does. Every false teaching has its own version of Jesus. Jesus said "many shall come in my name saying Christ is here or there. Don't believe them"

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    – ThaddeusB
    Sep 15, 2015 at 15:48
  • 1
    That said, your answer would be greatly improved if you revise your post to either cite references that back your position or to more thoroughly explain how you get this interpretation from the text itself. As it stands now, your answer is just an unsupported opinion.
    – ThaddeusB
    Sep 15, 2015 at 15:53

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