Babylon: The Spiritual & Economic Harlot, Part 1
Babylon: The Spiritual & Economic Harlot, Part 2
Is the USA in end times prophecy? Perhaps the most asked question after, 'are we in the end times now?' I admit I go back and forth on the answer. I cannot dogmatically say one way or the other because as far as I can tell from my limited studies, the bible doesn't say one way or the other.
For a long time I believed that the US was not a specific player in end times prophecy, any more or less than any other nation that is on the earth, except for the biblically identified nations in last times prophecy in the Middle East. After all, Iraq is home to Babylon, Israel is the navel of the world, Egypt is ancient, Damascus is 4000 years old. America as Americans know it is less than 300 years old. Why should we of all places have any part in this ancient drama?
But then there are some things that trouble me in attempting to resolve. Babylon is the focus of Revelation 17 and 18. Rev 17 Babylon is the fall of Spiritual Babylon and Rev 18 is fall of Economic Babylon. The city itself is also mentioned. Revelation 18:9b mentions it twice as a city, as does verse 16, 18, 19 and 21. It is said seven times to be a city in Revelation 18. So Babylon is not just a spiritual false religion and not just an economic system, it is an actual city, too.
Babylon in Iraq exists. It is partly abandoned but before Saddam Hussein was killed he was rebuilding it. He actually thought of himself as a modern king Nebuchadnezzar and had bricks made that one one side had the name Hussein and on the other side had the name Nebuchadnezzar imprinted. Some have speculated, including myself, that after the Iraq war ends the investments and money flowing to the city would propel it to prominence.
However there are some details that do not make sense in thinking of the Iraq Babylon as the prophesied city. In Revelation 18 there is much mention of ships seafaring cargoes and sailors and captains. Babylon Iraq is 375 miles from the Persian Gulf. Merchants are mentioned, commodities, but why sailors and seafaring cargoes? The verse says:
"For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’ “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’ (Rev 18:17-19).
So the sailors stand off at sea watching the demise of Babylon the city... The verse goes on with this title punctuating the story:
"Finality of Babylon’s Fall"
"Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore." (Rev 18:21).
So the finality of Babylon's demise comes from the sea. How can this be if Babylon is the desert Babylon? Just because we can't picture it now does not mean it won't come to pass the way described. The Tribulation is full of devastating earthquakes and perhaps one of them cracks the land enough so that Babylon becomes waterfront property.
But another notion comes to mind. I am speculating here. Perhaps Babylon is New York City.
Revelation 18 is all about the fall of the evil economic system. The world's current economic woes began when Lehman Brothers fell, sparking an economic panic and decline that continues to this day. Wall Street is home to the brokerage houses that caused the economic panic and global decline. The world's reserve currency is the US Dollar, and NYC is home to all currency at one point or another. NYC drives the world's economy.
NYC is also home to the United Nations, thought to be a progenitor of the home to the one world government prophesied to come in Revelation 13. NYC is a busy port. Within one generation, the US has been both the strongest ally to the new nation of Israel and its biggest betrayer. Islam calls us two the Great Satan and the Little Satan. Here, Patrick Heron makes a case for Babylon the city being NYC.
The first rule of biblical understanding is to take the bible literally where it is obvious it should be taken literally. Babylon was and is a city in Iraq. I'm still inclined to believe the prophecy will culminate in the literal place the bible tells us it will, but I am throwing out this a possibility to chew on.
Read for yourself in the bible, and read widely. Revelation is not the only place that the final judgment of Babylon is discussed. Jeremiah 50 & 51, and Isaiah 13 are but a few examples. The idea is to read and pray for understanding with open mind. We can't be dogmatic about the details when the details are not given.
True believers in the church will not be on earth when the final judgments occur, and certainly not be here to witness Babylon's fall. However, we will praise the Lord for its death! Revelation 18 shows the earthly lament for Babylon's fall, but Revelation 19:1-6 shows the heavenly praise for the Lord's final sweeping away of the curse that Babylon is! There is a "Fourfold Hallelujah"!!
"After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER.” And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! HER SMOKE RISES UP FOREVER AND EVER.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying,
“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns."
Babylon: The Spiritual and Economic Harlot, Part 1, here
Babylon: The Spiritual and Economic Harlot, Part 2 here
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