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Jerusalem was Babylon the Great, the Mystery is History
Babylon the Great is not the rebuilt city of Babylon, pagan or Papal Rome, nor the apostate Church; the list of theories seems endless. New Yorkers can rest assured it is not their city either!
When attempting to understand the ‘end times’ our primary source of information should be the Scriptures, not the daily newspaper, international events, current affairs, or even the fictional ‘Left Behind’ paperbacks.
Rev 1:1-3 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
‘to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass’ / ‘for the time is at hand' The 1st century Church understood by these opening statements that the fulfilment of the vision was applicable to their generation.
‘keep those things which are written therein' The saints had the capacity to understand the Revelation; otherwise, it would have been unreasonable to demand their obedience. Nevertheless, today it is considered the most enigmatic book in the New Testament. Taking into account context and audience relevance, 1st century fulfillment is a clear and obvious conclusion. In my opinion, our difficulty is our reluctance to believe the numerous impending time statements in the first and last chapters.
In search of Babylon the Great, I have selected a range of Scriptures to support my view Jerusalem was Babylon the Great.
The Whore of Babylon
Identifying the City Described as a Harlot
- Rev 17:5-6 KJV 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.
- Isa 1:21 KJV How is the faithful city become a harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
In the Scriptures, the only great city described as a harlot was Jerusalem.
Mat 12:39 KJV But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
'How is the faithful city become a harlot!' God's covenant with Israel was like a marriage. Nevertheless, Israel was unfaithful, following after the idols of surrounding heathen nations. The sign of the prophet Jonah was an antitype of Christ's resurrection.
- Luk 19:41-44 KJV And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Forty years later His prophecy was fulfilled to the letter.
A Quote from John Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Luke 19:43 'Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee around - All this was exactly performed by Titus, the Roman general.'
Identifying the City by a Major Event
Rev 11:8 KJV And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Many scholars believe the Revelation described Rome not Jerusalem, however, the clue is in the verse ‘where the Lord was crucified’.
Identifying the City by its Spiritual Names
Rev 11:8 KJV And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
What great city was ‘spiritually’ called Sodom? There was only one and it was Jerusalem.
Isa 1:8-10 KJV And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. 10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
- Jer 23:14 KJV I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a 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.
Jerusalem was called 'Sodom' and 'Gomorrah' by prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Mat 17:17 KJV Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
The city ‘spiritually is called Sodom’ after the wickedness of its inhabitants.
What great city was ‘spiritually’ Egypt? There was only one, Jerusalem, for its persecution of God's remnant people. The plagues that devastated Egypt were about to come upon that city.
Which city is/was Babylon the Great?
Identifying the City by its Apparel
Rev 18:16 KJV And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
What great city was clothed in fine linen? There was only one and it was Jerusalem.
Eze 16:10-12 KJV I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. 11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. 12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.
The prosperity and grandeur of Jerusalem reached its peak during the reign of David and his son Solomon.
'I girded thee about with fine linen' This was emblematic of Jerusalem during a period when God blessed the city.
Identifying the City by its Persecution of the Saints
- Rev 18:20-21 KJV Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 21 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.
- Mat 23:37 KJV 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.
Jesus warned 1st century Jerusalem of pending judgement and destruction because it was the city that killed the prophets.
- Luk 11:50-51 KJV That the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, who was slain between the altar and the temple. Yea I say to you: It shall be required of this generation.
The fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy was in AD 70, within the lifetime of His generation.
- Luk 13:33 KJV Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
A Quote from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
Luke 13:33 'it cannot be that a prophet, etc. — “It would never do that,” etc. — awful severity of satire this upon “the bloody city!” “He seeks to kill me, does he? Ah! I must be out of Herod’s jurisdiction for that. Go tell him I neither fly from him nor fear him, but Jerusalem is the prophets’ slaughter-house.”'
- Act 7:52 KJV Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Prior to his martyrdom Stephen condemned the religious leaders in Jerusalem for killing the prophets.
- Rev 18:24 KJV And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
The Scriptures clearly ascertain Jerusalem was Babylon the Great.
The Destruction of the Temple
Identifying the City by the Timeline of its Destruction
- Dan 12:7 KJV And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
Daniel's visions described the 'last days' of Old Covenant Israel, not the end of the world or the end of time. He prophesied that prior to the end of the Old Covenant Age there would be terrible tribulation for a period of 42 months, the outcome being the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish nation. This catastrophe took place in AD 70, when ‘the holy city' was 'tread under foot' by the Roman army.
('a time’ = one year; ‘times’ = two years; 'the dividing of time’ = half a year; forty-two months in total)
- Luke 21:24 KJV And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Jesus not only endorsed Daniel's prophecy in Luke 21:24, He continued by predicting the timeline of its fulfillment. The disciples asked Jesus ‘when shall these things be?’...Luke 21:6-7, and He told them ‘This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled’...Luke 21:32.
- Rev 11:2 KJV But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
Revelation 11:2 is in harmony with Daniel 12:7 and Luke 21:24. Jesus added the 42 months period to His previous predictions in the Olivet discourse.
Not only have we identified the timeline of Babylon the Great, we have also found Scriptural evidence that confirms the pre-AD 70 date for the writing of the Revelation!
Identifying the City by its Final and Tragic Demise
Rev 11:18 KJV And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Rev 14:7-8 KJV Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 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.
Joh 5:25 YLT `Verily, verily, I say to you--There cometh an hour, and it now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those having heard shall live;
1Jo 2:18 KJV Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
John's affirmation was consistent in his Gospel, Epistle, and the Revelation. Christ’s return, the resurrection, and the judgement, were about to be consummated at the imminent destruction of Jerusalem.
- Luk 21:20 KJV And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
'when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies' Luke explained the meaning and timing of 'the abomination of desolation'.
Mat 24:15-16 KJV When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
‘when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation’ Jesus warned the disciples to flee Jerusalem. The remnant left the city before it finally fell, and history records they fled to Pella in AD 70.
Zec 13:9 KJV And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Rev 18:8 KJV Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
Rev 18:10 KJV Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Rev 18:19 KJV And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Zec 14:1-2 KJV Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Here we read a solemn yet vivid account of the wrath poured out upon Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman army.
The fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy was on the ‘Day of the Lord’ in AD 70.
Revelation 18:8 'Utterly burned with fire - Of what city is this spoken? Rome pagan has never been thus treated; Alaric and Totilas burnt only some parts with fire. Rome papal has not been thus treated; but this is true of Jerusalem, and yet Jerusalem is not generally thought to be intended.’— Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible
The New Jerusalem
Identifying the City by its Antitype the New Jerusalem
John described the most beautiful city in the closing chapters of the Revelation, the New Jerusalem; earthly Jerusalem was it’s foreshadow.
Rev 21:1-2 KJV 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. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:18 KJV And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
A Quote from Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible
Revelation 21:2 ‘...On the phrase “new Jerusalem,” see the Gal_4:26 note, and Heb_12:22 note. Here it refers to the residence of the redeemed, the heavenly world, of which Jerusalem was the type and symbol. It is here represented as “coming down from God out of heaven.” This, of course, does not mean that this great city was “literally” to descend upon the earth, and to occupy any one part of the renovated world; but it is a symbolical or figurative representation, designed to show that the abode of the righteous will be splendid and glorious. The idea of a city literally descending from heaven, and being set upon the earth with such proportions - three hundred and seventy miles high Rev_21:16, made of gold, and with single pearls for gates, and single gems for the foundations - is absurd. No man can suppose that this is literally true, and hence this must be regarded as a figurative or emblematic description. It is a representation of the heavenly state under the image of a beautiful city, of which Jerusalem was, in many respects, a natural and striking emblem.’
Has this Hub challenged you to search the Scriptures?
The destruction of earthly Jerusalem was an outward manifestation of spiritual change; the introduction of spiritual heavenly Jerusalem.
Joh 4:23-24 KJV 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. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
In New Jerusalem, true worship is not restricted to any one place or nation.
Rev 1:1 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
The Revelation was a vision of 'things which must shortly come to pass' and subsequently did.
The annals of history reveal the identity of Mystery Babylon!
Can we now identify the city called ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great’ in the Revelation? I am convinced we have done so, and it is none other than Jerusalem.
What do you think?
© 2011 Alexander Gibb