Babylon
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mattrose



Joined: 23 Oct 2004
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Location: Western NY

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 11:07 am    Post subject: Babylon Reply with quote

2 Questions
1. Is this list I made a fair representation of major opinions of what Babylon represents?
2. Which view do you guys/girls take?

BABYLON = FUTURE BABYLON (futurists)
Strengths of this view:
Babylon certainly is a key city in history. From Nimrod to Nebuchadnezzar to modern day Iraq, Babylon seems to be a geographical focal point for major world events. Many futurists believe that the city will be rebuilt during the tribulation and serve as the antichrists world capital. Indeed, there have been some rebuilding plans in recent history.

Weaknesses of this view:
This view doesn’t seem to interact with the symbolism provided in this chapter. It is more a ‘poetic’ view than a ‘Scriptural’ view. In fact, it may be both anti-Scriptural (Isaiah 13:19-20) and impossible (Uranium Pollution). It is, however, likely that the ‘strengths’ of this view explain WHY Babylon was chosen as the symbol in Revelation 17.

BABYLON = FALSE RELIGION (historicists, futurists)
Strengths of this view:
Babylon began as a center for ‘humanist’ religion. Many trace this mindset into the Catholic Church and its supposed ‘works-based’ salvation. This seems to fit with some of the symbols involved: The adultery, the integration with government, the apparel, the persecution, etc. It is a fair assumption than any future anti-Christ would have to, for a while (and despite his hatred), hold hands with religion.

Weaknesses of this view:
False religion doesn’t really have a home city. This view includes at least a 2,000-year gap between the 6th and 7th kings (heads). Some would find it hard to argue that false religion is presently ruling over the kings of earth.

BABYLON = ANCIENT JERUSALEM (preterists)
Strengths of this view:
Only the fall of Jerusalem occurred within the time frame of Revelation’s prophecy (must shortly take place). Jerusalem had already been called: The great city, Sodom and Egypt (11:8 ). The division of the city into 3 parts (16:19) fits Jerusalem best (Ezekiel 5). Only Jerusalem can be described as a harlot since only Jerusalem had been in a covenant relationship with God. No city other than Jerusalem could be charged with the blood of the prophets, saints & apostles (17:6, 18:20+24). This seems to be a fulfillment of Ezekiel 16:37-41.

Weaknesses of this view:
The woman is said to sit on seven hills, but this certainly seems to fit better with Rome than with Jerusalem. Some would find it an uphill battle to argue that Jerusalem ever ruled over the kings of the earth.

BABYLON = ANCIENT ROME (preterists, spiritualists)

Strengths of this view:
The Roman Empire was certainly large enough to account for the broader verses (2, 15, 18 ) in this chapter. Rome had long been called the city on seven hills. Ancient Rome was a major persecutor of the early church. The massive Roman Empire did eventually cave in on the city.

Weakness of this view:
It is difficult to see why God would consider Rome a prostitute since they had never been in covenant relationship with Him. The fall of Rome didn’t occur until over 400 years later, hardly ‘soon’. It seems odd to some to separate the city from the empire in such a profound way (beauty & beast).

BABYLON = REVIVED ROMANISM (futurists, spiritualists)
Strengths of this view:
If you’ve already decided the context is the future 7-year tribulation, there is certainly no need to speculate about ancient Jerusalem or Rome. The city of Rome clearly is in view (7 hills). No one can argue the possibility that the future city will influence the future empire towards Romanism and fulfill this prophecy.

Weaknesses of this view:
This includes at least a 2,000-year gap somewhere in chapter 17. The biggest strength of this view (that it cannot be proven wrong) is also its biggest weakness (it cannot, yet, be compared to the evidence). It is difficult to discern why the beast would be opposed to Romanism.
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Steve



Joined: 17 Feb 2004
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Matt,

I think you have done an excellent job of summarizing the pros and cons of the various views. Though I assume you used my book as one of your sources, it looks like you have found some other good sources, or else come up with some good original analysis of your own as well. I am impressed. I think anyone trying to weigh the options will find your summary very helpful.

My own view, for some time, has leaned toward the identification with Jerusalem, though the weaknesses of this position are as you have represented, and the conclusion is tentative.

I might want to use your analysis as a hand-out in future lectures through the Book of Revelation, with your permission. If you are inclined to do similar work with other themes in Revelation, I might want to use them as well (with proper attribution to you, of course).
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Damon



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. Seems like an excellent cross-section of views.

As far as the symbolism of the seven hills goes, I've mentioned in other threads that this represents the capital city of a country moving six times (for a total of seven different, successive capital cities). A hill or mountain represents a government because the mountain was symbolic of the earth which rose out of the waters when the world was created, hence it was supposed to be the 'center of the world' both spiritually and politically.

Thus, the Babylon of Revelation could very easily be two different cities (e.g, the sixth and seventh hills), not just one. It could be both literal Babylon and Jerusalem, for instance.

Damon
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mattrose



Joined: 23 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Steve and Damon

Steve...Yes, this handout is part of the series I've been doing (for 19 weeks now) and your book has been the major source. I have also been reading through Tim Lahaye's 'Revelation Unveiled' since that seems to best represent the most popular view of Revelation. Various other sources have been used in moderation including discussion on various message boards with those who hold each view. It'd be glad if you and others could find use fr the handout! My other handouts have been a stricter summary of your book though http://www.wvss.com/forumc/viewtopic.php?t=368 , but chapter 17, I felt, lent itself to a different format.

Damon...That is an interesting view. Not altogether different from what Lahaye said (although I like your view a lil better than I liked his). I have also come across various people on the internet that equate the 7 hills with the 7 continents.
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Damon



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI, Mattrose, I'm deriving this view from the fact that the earliest peoples that we know of from history (e.g., the Sumerians, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, etc.) all used this same symbolism. Since Israel came into being in this religious environment, it seems only natural that they would have symbolically understood things in exactly this way.

In fact, the difference between Israel and the other peoples of the ancient world was not how they symbolically understood things (since there are many well-understood parallels between biblical symbolism and the symbolism of these other cultures), but rather their higher ethical standard.

Damon
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mattrose



Joined: 23 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeffrey,

Thanks for your comment. I agree.

It was hard coming up with weaknesses for the preterist view. That is why I adhere to that position Smile
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sab



Joined: 15 May 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi, I'm new here. I recently bought 4 views of Revelation and was interested in discussing it. It is the first book I've seen in years that discusses the Historicist view with any sympathy.

I first heard about Babylon being Rome in 1979 - in fact the same night I got filled with the Spirit.

However a few years ago I began to question some things. I had a niggle in my mind about Constantine's church.

Anyway to cut a long story short. Has anyone considered that Mystery Babylon may be Constantinople/Istanbul?

I was fiddling with my pc encyclopedia some years ago and typed in "seven hills" and up came "Istanbul". I knew nothing about it at the time but was surprised to read "she" was built on seven hills and was called "New Rome". She was also called the "Queen of cities".

I used to wonder why the kings burned her in chapter 17 and in chapter 18 wept when they saw the smoke of her burning. Yet this is precisely what happened to Constantinople. She was burned by the crusaders in 1204 but in 1453 when she was conquered by the Ottomans the Latins were panic stricken.

"The importance of Constantinople was felt and magnified in its loss. The pontificate of Nicolas V however peaceful and prosperous, was dishonoured by the fall of the Eastern empire and the grief and terror of the Latins revived, or seem to revive, the old enthusiasm of the crusades." (Gibbon chapter 68)

There are several other facts about Constantinople that closely match Revelation. Eg

18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyes their merchandise any more:
18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.


The following is a description of Constantinople from the December 1983 edition of National Geographic pg 723:

Quote:
But none of Justinian's cities matched the splendour of his Constantinople.
Medieval visitors from the rural west, where Rome had shrunk to a cow town, were struck dumb by this resplendant Metropolis, home to half a million, its harbor crowded with vessels, its markets filled with silks, spices, furs, precious stones, perfumed woods, carved ivory, gold and silver and enamelled jewelry. "One could not believe there was so rich a city in all the world," reported the crusader Villahardouin.


The following entry is from World Book Encyclopedia, under Byzantine Economy.

Quote:
Most of the people of the Byzantine Empire lived in villages. They grew grapes, olives, and wheat or herded sheep. Merchants and craftworkers practised their trades in the towns and large cities. The Byzantines imported silks, spices, and luxury goods from China, and furs, slaves, and timber from Western Europe. Constantinople was a successful trading centre because of its ideal location on the Bosporus and its fine port.

The manufacture of silk textiles became an important Byzantine industry during the A.D. 500's, when silkworms were introduced into the empire. These textiles were exported from Constantinople, along with carved ivory, enamel, glassware, and church doors made of bronze.


Now the city is bracing for a major earthquake as it's built some 15 miles from the North Anatolian Fault Line. Also a quick look at any map reveals the city is "in three parts" as it says in Rev 16.

This city was the wealthiest city in the world for almost 1000 years and ruled over the kings of the earth.
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Steve



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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi sab,

Very interesting stuff! Thanks for sharing it. I never heard this theory, but it seems like one that the historicist view would find very useful. I am impressed, and surprised that this identification did not become the prominent view among historicists. Perhaps the reformers' hostility toward the papacy demanded that they identify Babylon with that institution, causing them to miss an even better alternative.
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Allyn



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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wonder, where does the harlotry fit in? It does not seem to fit when considering that Jerusalem/Israel has always been exposed as the harlot.
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sab



Joined: 15 May 2006
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Thanks for your responses. I wanted to share this with you, Steve, ever since getting your book, so was thrilled to find this forum.

I had never heard this theory before either but have been praying for understanding for the Book of Revelation since 1979 and it was a long time coming. However I believe the Lord tried to show me this in 1979 but I had just heard about Rome being the harlot and was a baby Christian and when I read about the Byzantine Empire was too ignorant of history to realize it WAS the Roman Empire.

About the harlotry. I have so many references... at home... I recently borrowed a book from the library about Roman art. There's a good quote in that how after Constantine "Christian" art adopted Roman art "lock, stock and barrel". The source or "mother" of much of the paganism that flooded the church in the fourth century was Constantinople.

I also have several pictures of Constantinople personified as a "queen." If I can scan them I could try and post them. One is a golden cup with a personification of Constantinople as a queen. It is in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Has anyone ever read about the 2nd Council of Nicaea in 787? It's a pretty awesome fulfillment of Thyatira and Jezebel. The Byzantine Empress, Irene, called it to rule on the use of images in the church. Irene was as close to 'Jezebel' as anyone I've ever read about. She was an idolatrous queen who wanted to rule the Empire uncontested so she had her son blinded and imprisoned. He died from the wounds. She then ruled as 'Basileus' - emperor (not Empress) (Like Jezebel she signed letters in the king's name). Another possibility is Theodora who again pushed the iconophile issue in 843A.D. This time it was kept and has been celebrated ever since in the Greek church as the "Triumph of Orthodoxy." Incidentally my encyclopedia says Jezebel died in 843 B.C. Interesting trivia.

The harlots would then be the churches that came from this system. Basically all the Orthodox churches. Greek, Russian, Serbian etc.

The Apostle Paul said, "Shall I take the members of Christ and join them to a harlot?" This really represented unfaithfulness to the terms of the New Covenant in Christ. So a harlot then basically is any church that pollutes its worship with idolatry.

Paul said he was 'astonished' when the Galatians had turned away from the gospel he had given them. The same word is used in Rev 17 only John was greatly astonished. (not clear in the KJV because different words are used - marvel - wonder) How much more astonished was John when he saw the church completely flooded with idols after the fourth century and becoming a persecutor of Jews and anyone who dissented from the Imperial church.

Constantine even erected an image of the Sun God in the Forum at Constaninople with his face on it and brought the emperor cult into the church. Like the messenger of Thyatira the bishops tolerated it. This image was raised on a porphery column - The woman was clothed in purple - porphery was a stone that was widely used in building the city.

The more information I find about Constantinople/Istanbul the more amazed I am at the accuracy of the prophecies.
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STEVE7150



Joined: 19 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyes their merchandise any more:
18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.


Hi Sab, Have you ever heard of Walid Shoebat? He is a former Palistinian terrorist turned Christian who believes the beast that comes out of the pit in Rev 17 is Islam and that Mecca sits on 7 hills and Saudi Arabia sits on 3 seas and the wine that the world is after is oil. And he says all these products listed above are the products of Saudi Arabia. He just wrote a book called "Why i left Jihad" which i ordered where he goes into this. I also think the historist view makes the most sense.
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chriscarani



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STEVE7150 wrote:
18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyes their merchandise any more:
18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.


Hi Sab, Have you ever heard of Walid Shoebat? He is a former Palistinian terrorist turned Christian who believes the beast that comes out of the pit in Rev 17 is Islam and that Mecca sits on 7 hills and Saudi Arabia sits on 3 seas and the wine that the world is after is oil. And he says all these products listed above are the products of Saudi Arabia. He just wrote a book called "Why i left Jihad" which i ordered where he goes into this. I also think the historist view makes the most sense.



Steve7150,

I have heard of this guy before. I saw him on one of the Christian networks a few years back. He said he spent an entire year of intense study of the Bible before converting. I am glad you brought this up, because I think about this guy often, but I didn't realize he had a book. I will have to check it out.
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STEVE7150



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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have heard of this guy before. I saw him on one of the Christian networks a few years back. He said he spent an entire year of intense study of the Bible before converting. I am glad you brought this up, because I think about this guy often, but I didn't realize he had a book. I will have to check it out.

Chris, If you want to hear him interviewed you can check out olivetreeviews.org on 7/10/04. #18 at bottom archives. He does get into his revelation views , very interesting stuff.
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djeaton



Joined: 01 May 2006
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STEVE7150 wrote:
Chris, If you want to hear him interviewed you can check out olivetreeviews.org on 7/10/04.
I'm not familiar with OliveTree. What is their take on things?
D.
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STEVE7150



Joined: 19 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jan Markell is a died in the wool dispensationalist but i was really more recommending the interview then the site.
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