Babylon makes merchants and kings rich

 Just like most other portions of the book of Revelation, chapters 17 and 18 are problematic for those who want to believe the book is merely symbolic, and therefore may be interpreted many different ways—especially their own unique way. I agree with Finis Dake (of Dake’s Annotated Bible) that the material must be taken literally unless it becomes obvious that some portion is symbolic. And even then let the book of Revelation itself, or some other Bible book, explain the symbolism.

Primarily, the book of Daniel lays the foundation for understanding the book of Revelation, and Revelation expands upon Daniel’s prophetic visions of the end-times and makes those visions make more sense in our day.      Both chapter 17 and 18 use the term Babylon and present both similarities and differences between the two Babylons. First of all, both Babylons are called a city. Although I do not know all of the implications of that fact, I can say that the very term city reveals that each entity is a well-organized system.

The first is a well-organized religious system that has dominated mankind since the fall of Adam—chapter 17. The seven-headed beast the woman rides is made up of various nations of people existing from early on since the fall—See Revelation 17:15. That seven-headed beast is seven heathen world powers that have ruled most of the world’s population at various times throughout fallen man’s history—Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and the end-time form of that old Roman Empire—the two feet and ten toes. Thus, the seven heads cannot be seven literal hills of the literal city of Rome. Remember, five had fallen, one was and the other had not yet come in John’s day—Revelation 17:10. Therefore, the seven-hills-of-Rome interpretation of 17:9 is most ridiculous.     

Chapter 18 describes a literal city named Babylon. Although there is now no existing city by that name, I take what the angel told John literally, rather than believe Babylon is some code word. What code? That is where imagination runs wild. And, there are some wild interpretations out there. All of which leaves the church confused, rather than enlightened. Remember, the name of that book is Revelation—an unveiling—not confusion. Understanding is what we need, and understanding comes through honest study, not speculation—2 Timothy 2:15.     Contrasts: The whore makes herself rich, whereas the literal city of Babylon makes merchants and kings rich. Moreover, the ten kings under the Antichrist will themselves destroy that whore—the religious system—yet they will actually lament the destruction of the literal city of Babylon. Dr Finis Dake’s Bible notes provide other significant comparisons and contrasts of the two Babylons. And, as Dake points out, nowadays with modern equipment cities can rise overnight.      The land of Shinar—where Babylon came into existence—was the location of the first organized human rebellion against God—the beginning of the religious system called Mystery Babylon in Revelation 17:5. More on Babylon next time. 

(Ron Craig is pastor, teacher and author of Christian books; and these articles. You may view all the books by logging onto www.livingwayfellowshiponline.org. While logged on the website you can even listen to audio Bible-lesson podcasts. You may also send your questions or comments to ronwritercraig@gmail.com)

Comments are closed.