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The Mystery of Babylon in Revelation

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 10, 2008


The mystery of the Babylon in Revelation has confounded people for years.  There are many speculations about what Babylon actually represents.  People have spent hours, days and years gathering information in an attempt to answer this question.  Historians have assembled arguments supporting parallels between the statements found in the text of Revelation and events in history.  We need not question history, more than enough evidence lies within scripture itself to explain exactly what Babylon represents.  The Bible alone can explain what Babylon represents.

KJV Revelation 14:8-9
8.  And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

The first step in studying any text within the Bible is to explain the physical aspects.  In Rev 14 we see that Babylon is fallen.  Which means that the city is defeated.  The question is, who has defeated Babylon?  We also see that Babylon, referred to as a woman (she) made nations drink of the wine of her fornication.  To understand this text we need to find out what the wine represents, and what her fornication represents.

When examining text we need to understand both the physical and the spiritual context of the verse.  We have already explained the physical aspects and the questions concerning them.  We now need to look into the spiritual context.  How do we determine what phrases of the text are spiritual?  The easiest and most reliable method of determining the spiritual context of a verse is to determine it’s physical traits.  If the circumstances of the statement defy the laws of nature in any form, the statement must be spiritual.

Revelation 14:8 tells us that Babylon is fallen.  When did Babylon fall?   “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.  And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.”  KJV Daniel 5:30-31  The kingdom of Babylon was defeated by Darius in about 539 BC.  “Because of the wrath of the Lord it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.  It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.  But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and Satyrs shall dance there.”  KJV Jeremiah 50:13  Isaiah 13:20,21  The Bible tells us that Babylon will never again be inhabited.  It will remain desolate.  We know this is still true today.  Babylon was never to be rebuilt.  So why does the book of Revelation, written more than 500 years after the fall of Babylon tell us that Babylon is fallen?  There can be only two reasons.  The first is John is referring to the fall of Babylon that occurred more than 500 years before his writing.  Or the only other explanation is that this text is referring to a spiritual Babylon.

If this text is referring to a spiritual Babylon we must find the meaning of the text, “not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”  KJV 1 Corinthians 2:13

The first place to look for a spiritual interpretation of a spiritual phrase is the book that it is found it.  Often times spiritual symbols are explained else where in the same book of the Bible.

“And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.  And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.  Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.  And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” KJV Revelation 16:19, Revelation 17:5,  Revelation 18:2, Revelation 18:10, Revelation 18:21

Examining other text from Revelation we can clearly see that Babylon is a spiritual symbol.  It represents the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.  The spiritual meaning of Babylon is further explained as being a living place for devils, foul spirits, unclean and hateful birds.  A bird will generally represent a man.  Notice that Revelation 18:2 states that Babylon is fallen and is become the habitation of devils.  A careless reading would lead one to believe that Babylon has fallen because it was the home of devils.  The Bible states that Babylon has fallen and at that the time of the fall has become the hold of devils.  It is like saying, “that used to be a really nice church until those fanatics showed up and started changing things.”  We would consider that the fall of a church.  The church will still physically stand and exist but has experienced a spiritual fall.

Babylon has a deep spiritual meaning.  The deeper the meaning the harder we need to look.  We have examined other verses in the book of Revelation that contain the word Babylon and do not have a full understanding of the word.  We need to look at the text surrounding the verses containing Babylon to see if they contain further details.

KJV Revelation 17:4-8
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: 5.  And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6.  And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 7.  And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8.  The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Here we see that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.  Since the woman is also a spiritual representation of Babylon we see that this symbolizes a power or church that will persecute the saints.  Martyrs are people that give up their lives for a belief.  These martyrs die because of their belief in Jesus.  Babylon is a spiritual representation of a power that wars against Jesus and God.  This woman is seen riding on a beast that comes out of a bottomless pit and goes into perdition.  There is only one power that comes for a pit and goes into perdition.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;    Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”  KJV 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4  Who is this son or perdition that will be revealed?  We are given another clue to follow.  The son of perdition will exalt himself above God.  Is there such a person on earth that would do such a thing?

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.   And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.  KJV Isaiah 14:12-15, Revelation 20:1-3, Revelation 20:10

It is clear to see that the beast this woman is shown riding on represents the power of Satan.  The beast is not bridled so the woman does not have control of the beast.  Rather the woman, Babylon is held up by the beast.

The book of Daniel has additional details describing the power that exalts himself.

KJV Daniel 11:36-39
36.  And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37.  Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38.  But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 39.  Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

Here is a wealth of important details we need to consider.   This power will not regard the God of his fathers.  Since verse 36 speaks of the God of gods this must be the one and only true living God.  This could indicate that this religion will be born from a religion that does worship the true and living God.  There could only be two religions that could give birth to such a power.  This power must spring up from either the Hebrew or Christian religions.  This religion will not have a desire towards women.  This may mean that they will consider women to be second class citizens.  At the very least this religion will not allow women to achieve offices or status as high as men are allowed to occupy.

Because the force behind this religion will magnify himself above all gods this must be a religion that stems it’s belief in other gods.  The true Christian religion does not recognize other gods.  “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.  What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?  Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.  And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.  And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:  KJV Deuteronomy 28:64, Habakkuk 2:18-19, 2 Kings 19:18, Revelation 9:20
This religion will honor a god of force with gold and silver.  Physically this would indicate the funding of a strong army.  Spiritually this would indicate that this religion will enforce it’s own interpretation of the word of God with violence.  Or it may indicate that this religion will introduce false idols of gold and silver that people will cling to in the last days.

KJV Revelation 18:1-3
1.  And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2.  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 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

Looking further into Revelation 18 we see that all nations have drunk of the wrath of her fornication.  Revelation 17 has shown us that the woman was drunk on the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus.  This text shows us that all nations will be assisting the woman in the persecution of the saints.  The definition of fornication is adultery and idolatry.  The condition of adultery represents a person that is not loyal to God.  “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.”  KJV Jeremiah 23:14  Idolatry need not be explained.   This relationship established with this woman riding upon Satan shares her power with the merchants of the earth.  These business people became rich through this relationship.  Through Satan’s power people are made rich and people are given positions of power.  Because Satan has placed people in control of the governments and vital businesses the fall of Babylon will have a serious effect on the economic climate of the earth.

Other books of the Bible may add important information, guiding us to a complete understanding of word Babylon.

KJV Genesis 11:7-9
7.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8.  So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9.  Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Babel was the first city built after the flood and was the original name of Babylon.  Babel was the site of a tower the people decided to build.  ‘And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”  KJV Genesis 11:4  They were committing the same sin as Satan, attempting to set their throne above God and make themselves a name.

KJV 2 Kings 24:8-17
8.  Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. 9.  And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done. 10.  At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 11.  And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. 12.  And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. 13.  And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. 14.  And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. 15.  And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16.  And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon. 17.  And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Because there is so much information contained in this text we will first take a look at the physical aspects.  Jehoiachin was the king of Judah.  When looking at the spiritual aspects of a text we have to remember that there is a difference between Judah and Israel.  Jehoiachin is from the line of king David and has quite a different spiritual role than the kings of Israel.  In this case Jehoiachin was an evil king and did not follow in the ways of David.  This is why Judah was handed over to Babylon.  After Jerusalem was defeated by Babylon the treasures of the house of the Lord were carried away to Babylon.  What was left of the army of Judah and the craftsmen were also carried away to Babylon.  The Bible says they were carried away, “into captivity.”  The kings mother and wives and his officers were also carried away.  The king of Babylon appointed a new king in Judah.  It is interesting to note that the only kings that were chosen by God to lead Judah were Saul, the first king of Judah and David who succeeded him.  The rest of the kings of Judah were from the line of David as promised by God.  Not one of them had the blessing of God that had been specifically mentioned with David and Saul.

If we look at the spiritual aspects of 2 Kings 24 we will see more identifying remarks that will help us understand the role the spiritual Babylon of Revelation will play in the last days.

Babylon was allowed to conquer Judah because of their sins.  This was some time after the conquest of Israel, the ten northern tribes.  This makes it clear that the spiritual Babylon of Revelation will have the ability to conquer people that have the appearance of following  God but have allowed their sins to grow to a level beyond what God will allow.  The Bible tells us that the physical Babylon carried away the treasures out of the house of the Lord.  The spiritual Babylon will have images that will convince people this spiritual Babylon is worshipping the true God.  But remember, the woman that represents the spiritual Babylon is sitting upon a beast that represents Satan.  It is clear to see that many people will be deceived.  Just as the physical Babylon carried away captive the mighty men, the craftsmen, the kings officers, mothers and wives the spiritual Babylon will carry away captive both men and women.  The mighty men tell us that the spiritual Babylon will have military influence.  The craftsmen indicate economic control.  The officers represent control of the government.  Spiritual Babylon will have complete control.

KJV 2 Kings 25:1-30
1.  And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about. 2.  And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 3.  And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. 4.  And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain. 5.  And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. 6.  So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. 7.  And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon. 8.  And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: 9.  And he burnt the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire. 10.  And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about. 11.  Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away. 12.  But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen. 13.  And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the Lord, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the Lord, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon. 14.  And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away. 15.  And the firepans, and the bowls, and such things as were of gold, in gold, and of silver, in silver, the captain of the guard took away. 16.  The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of the Lord; the brass of all these vessels was without weight. 17.  The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it was brass: and the height of the chapiter three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the second pillar with wreathen work. 18.  And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door: 19.  And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king’s presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city: 20.  And Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah: 21.  And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land. 22.  And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler. 23.  And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men. 24.  And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.

Looking at the physical aspects of 2 Kings 25 we need to understand that historically this event follows the events in 2 Kings 24.  There is a small number remaining in Judah that rebel against Babylon.  Once again Babylon lays siege on Jerusalem.  There is a great famine, there is no food in the city.  The people have no physical food to eat.  When Jerusalem is conquered for the second time the remaining items is the house of the Lord are carried away and it is burned.  Many of the remaining people are carried away.  The priests and scribes are killed.

This text tells us that there will be a second assault by spiritual Babylon which causes a great famine.  “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:11-12   Spiritual Babylon will hatch a plan that will deplete the world of the word of God.  At this point it appears that the inferior substitute spiritual Babylon is creating is complete.  When studying the temple and tabernacle one needs to know the back ground of the two.  The tabernacle was built after a pattern God personally showed to Moses.  “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.  According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.”  KJV Exodus 25:8-9  Moses was shown the original sanctuary in Heaven and given the pattern by God.  The Bible lists explicit instructions for the tabernacle.  There are many differences compared to the temple built by Solomon.  All of the instruments used in the tabernacle were made of gold, except for the alter that was covered in brass.  The final articles carried away by Babylon were made of brass.  Gold symbolizes the law and word of God. “Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.”  KJV Psalms 119:127  Brass represents captivity.  “And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.”  KJV 2 Kings 25:7   There is one very important item that Babylon will never be allowed to carry away, the ark containing the law of God and the mercy seat.  The deception set up by the woman, Babylon and the beast will not contain the law of God or the mercy seat.  The true temple of God contains the ark.    “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament:”  KJV Revelation 11:19

Babylon kills the priests and scribes.  This represents the persecution mentioned in Revelation.  “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”  KJV Revelation 13:7  Babylon will convince people that the only way to remain safe is to serve Babylon, the woman riding upon the beast.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:  And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  KJV Revelation 13:15-17

There is no doubt that the captivity in spiritual Babylon will be a spiritual captivity.  If people are physically held captive they will have no need to buy or sell.  They would be slaves.  Strange as it may seem, there is one commandment that reminds us we were once slaves.

15.  And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.  Deuteronomy 5:15

Just as the Lord lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the promised land, God will lead His people out of the captivity of Babylon into the promised land.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  Revelation 21:1-4

KJV 2 Chronicles 36:18-23
18.  And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. 19.  And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. 20.  And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 21.  To fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

2 Chronicles 36 confirms what we have found in 2 Kings 24 and 25.

KJV Isaiah 13:1-22
1.  The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. 2.  Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. 3.  I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. 4.  The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. 5.  They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. 6.  Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. 7.  Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: 8.  And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. 9.  Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10.  For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. 11.  And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12.  I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13.  Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. 14.  And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. 15.  Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. 16.  Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. 17.  Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. 18.  Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children. 19.  And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 20.  It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. 21.  But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and Satyrs shall dance there. 22.  And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

It is because of writing like this many so called theologians call Isaiah the rambling prophet.  When people do not understand a section of the Bible it is not time to discount it based on the thoughts and understanding of a few, it is time to pray and study, to gain a clear understanding of the word.  Isaiah 13 confirms a link between physical Babylon prophesied in the Old Testament and spiritual Babylon of Revelation that can be plainly seen.  The same key words and events used on Isaiah 13 are used in Revelation.

KJV Revelation 6:12-17
12.  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13.  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14.  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15.  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16.  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17.  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

KJV Revelation 11:13
13.  And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

KJV Revelation 16:18-19
18.  And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19.  And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

When spiritual Babylon will fall the wise and mighty men held captive by the deceptions will be so convinced by the forms of worship they follow that they will turn to their religious leaders and ask to be saved by them in the great day of the Lord.

“Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock; He only is my rock and my salvation.”  Psalms 28:1, Psalms 62:2  “For their rock is not as our Rock.”  Deuteronomy 32:31

Isaiah drifts between physical  Babylon and spiritual Babylon because one will explain the other.  The prophesies are blended together within the word of God for a reason.  God used a physical tabernacle here on earth to point to the spiritual temple in Heaven.  God used the services of the tabernacle to point to the life, death, resurrection and ministry of Christ in Heaven.  God also is using the history of physical Babylon to lead us to an understanding of the spiritual Babylon of the last days.

KJV Jeremiah 27:20-22
20.  Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem; 21.  Yea, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem; 22.  They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the Lord; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.

God promises that the vessels carried away to Babylon will be returned.  The items were returned by a proclamation set forth by Cyrus king of Persia. “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods;”  KJV Ezra 1:1-2, 7

Just as the physical temple was rebuilt and the items returned to Jerusalem the spiritual will be returned.  What does this mean?

“After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:  Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.  If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth:  But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.”  KJV Acts 15:16, Job 22:22-23, Psalms 138:2, Psalms 5:7

This does not mean that the physical temple will be rebuilt as some believe.  Just as Babylon will never be rebuilt, because the book of Revelation deals strictly with a spiritual Babylon it is clear to see that the temple will also be spiritual.  Babylon represents a form of false worship.  The temple represents a true form of worship as the text indicates.

KJV Jeremiah 29:10-15
10.  For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11.  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12.  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13.  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14.  And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. 15.  Because ye have said, The Lord hath raised us up prophets in Babylon;

Jeremiah further emphases this point.  When you shall call upon God and pray unto Him and search with all of your heart, God will release you from this spiritual captivity.  What does it mean to search with all of your heart?  It means to study the word of God.  To search His scriptures.  To be lead by the Spirit into all truth.  Worship is not building stone temples that only display the workmanship of men.  True worship comes from the heart.

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.  Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”  KJV John 4:23-24, Psalms 25:4-5, John 14:16-19, John 15:26, John 16:13-14

Babylon does not contain or teach truth.  Babylon does not have the Spirit of God.  Babylon does not have Christ, His Comforter or the power they embody.

KJV Jeremiah 50:34-41
34.  Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon. 35.  A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men. 36.  A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed. 37.  A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed. 38.  A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols. 39.  Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. 40.  As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the Lord; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein. 41.  Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.

This prophesy focuses on the fall of physical Babylon but also reveals some interesting traits evident on both physical and spiritual Babylon.  They will both be liars.  Their treasure will come to nothing.  A drought will dry up the physical water and spiritual water.  They will worship idols.  God has over thrown physical Babylon and will over throw spiritual Babylon.

KJV Jeremiah 51:6-9
6.  Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. 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. 8.  Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. 9.  We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.

KJV Revelation 18:2-5
2.  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 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. 4.  And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5.  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

Jeremiah and Revelation are a reflection of one another.  Comparing these text no one can deny the connection between the two.  Jeremiah’s is prophesy is in regards to physical Babylon.  There is no doubt Revelation is speaking about spiritual Babylon.  A close study of the Bible will confirm a relationship between the two.   There should be no doubt the physical aspects of the past Babylon will show us the spiritual aspects of the Babylon to come after the days of John the revelator.

KJV Jeremiah 52:9-16
9.  Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him. 10.  And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. 11.  Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death. 12.  Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, 13.  And burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire: 14.  And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about. 15.  Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude. 16.  But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.

Whenever we see an acted parable repeated in the Bible three times of more it is a signal to pay attention.  It is like a road sign that tells us, “this is the highway to truth.”  It will lead to a message God wants us to understand.  God does not waste His words.  These prophesies were repeated time and time again, spoken to the people of Israel and Judah as a warning.  These words were preserved throughout generations not as a history lesson but a warning for the future.

Zedekiah had his eyes put out to represent the spiritual blindness that will be experienced by those held in captivity by Babylon.

“And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?  And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.  Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:”  KJV Exodus 4:11, Deuteronomy 28:29, Matthew 15:14, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Ephesians 4:18

“And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.”  KJV John 9:39, 2 Corinthians 3:14

“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.  Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.”  KJV Luke 4:17-19, Isaiah 35:5, Deuteronomy 27:18

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4 Responses to “The Mystery of Babylon in Revelation”

  1. susan said

    i think this is explained super.i would be thankful for every information you could give me. thank you and god bless

  2. adventbiblestudy said

    Susan
    Thank you for the comment. Is there anything you need help on? I also do Bible studies on request

  3. Kingsley said

    Hi,

    I’m interested in the explanation of Ezekiel 9. I have come rather interesting explanation of it being literal and will happen to purify the church be Jesus comes. Please help

    Kingsley M.

  4. adventbiblestudy said

    I think people use the phrase, “literal meaning,” as a cover to supply their own interpretation. Some things in the Bible are very straight forward and easy to understand, such as Jesus’ sermon in Matthew 5. Ezekiel 9 is a prophecy containing a number of key words. To understand the prophecy each of the key words must be compared with other texts to learn the spiritual meaning. Only when every word is understood can you be sure you have the proper interpretation.

    Try using the free Bible program Esword. You can download it from the Internet and begin your study.

    I usually work with parables. They are much easier to understand. I think you have to be able to understand parables before you have the ability to begin to interpret prophecies, which can take much longer to interpret. Don’t forget to begin with prayer.

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