You are hereA Summary of Harlot Babylon of Revelation 17-18

A Summary of Harlot Babylon of Revelation 17-18

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By Duncan - Posted on 05 March 2006

by Duncan McKenzie
This article is a summary of harlot Babylon found in Revelation 17-18. It summarizes about 70 pages from my book (The Antichrist and the Second Coming). The good news is you don't have to read 70 pages. The bad news is you will have to pay closer attention to the scriptural references to better connect the dots.

The motif of harlot (with only two minor exceptions) is used in the O.T. to represent God’s old covenant people going after the gods and ways of other nations (cf. Ezek. 16). When Revelation was written (c. AD 65) the other nation (the beast the harlot is riding on) was Rome. God’s covenant with Israel was liked to a covenant of marriage (Ezek 16:32), thus God’s old covenant people going after other gods is likened to an unfaithful or harlot wife (cf. Hosea 1-2). When God established the Mosaic covenant, He told Moses the following.

Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured… Deut. 31:16-17

Revelation 17-18 is showing this prophesied destruction of harlot Israel, God’s unfaithful old covenant people.

The book of Revelation is structured on the covenant curses that were to come on God’s unfaithful old covenant people when they broke the covenant, something they did in the ultimate sense when they had Jesus killed (cf. Matt. 21:33-45). God said He would bring four sets of sevenfold punishment on Israel for breaking the covenant (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28). These covenant judgments form the basis of the four sets of sevenfold punishment of Revelation (the seven seals, Rev. 6:1-17; 8:1; the seven trumpets, Rev. 8:2-10:7; the seven thunders, Rev. 10:3-4; and the seven bowls, Rev. 16:1-21). Revelation is showing God’s anger being poured out harlot Israel (the dwellers on the Land) as she is devoured at the end of the old covenant age (cf. Dan. 12:7 Rev. 11:17-18). God had said He would punish His unfaithful old covenant people at this time by bringing back on them the plagues of Egypt (Deut. 28:58-61); this is why a number of the punishments in Revelation are patterned after the plagues of Egypt (7 of the 10 plagues are represented, Rev. 9:1-3; 16:1-4, 8, 10, 13, 21). This background of the covenant curses forms the context in which one finds the judgment and destruction of harlot Babylon. The destruction of Babylon in Revelation 17-18 forms the climax of these covenant curses that were coming on the unfaithful dwellers on the Land (cf. Rev. 11:16-18).

Harlot Babylon was not simply first century Jerusalem but was symbolic of all of unfaithful old covenant Israel. The harlot “city” is associated with elements taken from the Temple and priesthood (she is dressed in the garments of the high priest, Rev. 17:4-5; her merchandise is that of the Temple, Rev. 18:11-13). Like the New Jerusalem bride, harlot Babylon is not a literal city but is a symbol of a community of people. She is symbolic of all of unfaithful Israel (just as Uncle Sam is not simply Washington DC but a symbol of all of America). The harlot of Revelation is the mother (the first, the original) of all harlots (Rev. 17:5).

Revelation is a book about two women/cities that are two wives (the bride is a betrothed wife, Rev. 19:7; the harlot is a widowed wife, Rev. 18:7). The unfaithful widowed wife (who became a widow when she had her Husband, Jesus, killed, cf. Matt. 21:5) is destroyed while the betrothed wife becomes married (Rev. 19:1-11). The subject of Revelation is the same as that of Galatians 4:21-31. In Galatians 4 we are also shown two women/cities that are two wives; like Revelation, one is cast out and the other receives her inheritance. In Galatians the two women cities are the heavenly Jerusalem and earthly Jerusalem. We are told that these “things are symbolic, for these are the two covenants” and those who were part of them (Gal. 4:24). It is exactly the same in Revelation. We are being shown two women/cities, the heavenly Jerusalem and Babylon, which are symbolic of the new and old covenant communities. It is obvious (or should be) that heavenly Jerusalem of Galatians corresponds to the New Jerusalem of Revelation (which comes down out of heaven, Rev. 21:2). Given the context of the covenant curses of Revelation and the Temple/priestly elements associated with Babylon, it should be equally as obvious that she corresponds to the earthly Jerusalem of Galatians 4:24-25 (which, again, is being used as a symbol of those who were under the old covenant).

Revelation is showing the exact same thing that Galatians is, the contrast between the new covenant (which would be fully established at the AD 70 coming of God’s kingdom, cf. Mark 8:38-9:1) and the demise of the old covenant (which would go up in flames with the burning of the Temple in AD 70, Rev. 17:16). This is why the marriage of the bride happens right after the destruction of the harlot (Rev. 19:11). God destroys His unfaithful old covenant wife and then marries His new covenant bride. This was the time that the kingdom of God was taken from God’s old covenant people and given to His new covenant people, the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 21:33-45).

The harlot is arrayed in the colors and materials of the Temple and the priesthood (Rev. 17:4; 18:6; cf. Ex. 26:1; 28:3-39). Anybody who knew anything about the Temple could not miss the allusion to the giant {approximately 82 ft. high and 24 ft. wide) “Babylonian tapestry embroidered with blue, scarlet and purple and fine linen” that covered the entrance to the sanctuary (Josephus, The Jewish War, 5,5,4). The merchandise of Babylon (Rev. 18:11-13) is the merchandise used in the building and ceremonies of the Temple (cf. Ezek 16:9-19). Babylon is accused of the same commercialism that the Temple was (Rev. 18:7-11; cf. Matt. 21:12-13). Like the leaders of Israel, harlot Babylon is guilty of the blood of God’s true people (Rev. 17:6; 18:24; cf. Matt 23:29-38; 1 Thess. 2:14-16). Just as the Temple was the gathering place for worldwide Jewry (Acts 2:5-11), so harlot Babylon is associated with diverse nationalities of the world (Rev. 17:15). Just as Jesus had warned would happen to the generation that rejected him (Matt. 12:43-45), so harlot Babylon had become the dwelling place of demons (Rev. 18:2). The destruction of Babylon being symbolized by the throwing away of a great stone (Rev. 18:21) is a picture of the foundation stone (the most sacred spot in the old covenant Temple system) being cast away from God’s Presence at the AD 70 end of the old covenant age (cf. Dan. 12:7).

Understanding the seven mountains that the harlot is seated on requires wisdom (Rev. 17:9). They are not seven literal mountains and are not the seven hills of Rome (a solution that does not require much wisdom). The seven mountains that the harlot is seated on are symbolic of God’s holy mountain, the location of the Temple. This is the same symbolic use of the number seven that is found in Revelation 1:4 where the seven spirits of God are not seven literal spirits but are symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit. This symbolic use of the number seven is also found in Revelation 5:6 where the seven horns and eyes of the Lamb are not to be taken literally, but are symbolic of the Lamb possessing God’s knowledge (the seven eyes) and power (the seven horns).

To say the harlot is Jewish should not be seen as a novel interpretive approach. If one takes into account the overwhelming OT evidence in its favor, the proposition that the harlot represents God’s unfaithful old covenant people should be the starting point of any investigation of Revelation's Babylon. Why commentators don’t seem to get this and continue writing about Rome, the world system and even the rebuilding of literal Babylon is beyond me.

Finally, the beast that the harlot had been whoring with (Rome) ends up throwing her off and burning her with fire, which was the prescribed punishment for a harlot of priestly descent (Lev. 21:9). Harlot Babylon is destroyed by the Roman beast (Rev. 17:16-17). This is the same event that is prophesied in Daniel, where Jerusalem and the Temple were to be destroyed by the Romans (Dan. 9:26-27). I am not going into detail on the beast here; I do that in the book, but let me leave you with a few thoughts, and a conundrum.

While the beast is of Revelation is Roman (not Jewish) it is not simply the Roman Empire. The beast is both a confederation of eight kings and the eighth of these kings (Rev. 17:9-11). The beast of Revelation is the same as the fourth beast of Daniel 7. The fourth beast of Daniel 7 starts off with 10 rulers, then an 11th is added and 3 are taken away (Dan. 7:7-8). This leaves 8 rulers (10+1-3=8) which equate with the 8 rulers of the beast in Revelation. Both the fourth beast of Daniel and the beast of Revelation are destroyed by the AD 70 coming of God (Dan. 7:19-22; Rev. 19:11-21).[for more on the parallels between the 2 beasts see my article on the similarities between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation]

Now the conundrum. Obviously the Roman Empire was not destroyed in AD 70. The Roman Empire also had many more rulers than just eight; how can the beast of Revelation and its eight kings simply be the Roman Empire? I bring this up because I don’t think many preterists are aware of this problem. One can’t just say that the fourth beast of Daniel and the beast of Revelation are the Roman Empire; it wasn’t destroyed at the AD 70 coming of God. Even if one says the destruction of the beast is talking about the eventual destruction of the Roman Empire centuries later, the Roman Empire had many more rulers than just eight by that time. Some who are aware of this problem suggest that the beast is Jewish (that is usually about as far as they get, however). This is not the answer; the beast is Roman, the harlot motif speaks of Israel going after the ways of a foreign power. The harlot is whoring with Rome, not with herself. While the beast is Roman, it is representing something more than just the Roman Empire. Just thought I would leave you with something to chew on.

Duncan

parousia70's picture

Duncan,

I thoroughly enjoyed your article. I have been doing some study on this subject and more specifically your "conumdrum." I believe that Daniel is seeing the forth beast as being Jewish in character. I refer to Dan 7:11 in which the beast is destroyed and then in verse 18 the Kingdom is given to the saints of the Most High as you accurately pointed to in Matthew 21:33-46. I think we develop an inconsistency in trying to make the beast in Revelation Roman. I believe we would be hard pressed to find one single prophecy against Rome in any fashion given by Jesus or the New Testament writers. I look forward to your book.

In His service and yours,
Phillip

REFORMATION COMES WHEN TRUTH IS EXALTED

NB9M's picture

Duncan:

Thanks for the article! We really appreciate your taking the time to put it together.

Question: when you said "Revelation 17-18 is showing this prophesied destruction of harlot Israel, God’s unfaithful old covenant people" - did you really mean the House of Judah?

The northern House of Israel had already been cast out and divorced by Yahweh (Hosea 1, etc.) but the treacherous sister Judah - also the Harlot - remained (Jeremiah 3:8).

The Harlot in the context of Revelation was the remaining House of Judah, who had killed their prophets and our Savior. Their destruction/divorce was required per the law (Deut 24) and facilitated the restoration of the two houses from the remnant (144,000) and the remmarriage of Israel (the bride, found in the Church)to Yahweh.

Since all the phropecies must be fulfilled in this event, then the restoration of Israel (the two-sticks prophecy of Ezekiel) are found in this language.

RE your conundrum: If Rome was the bronze legs of the Daniel 2 statue in place prior to the establishment of the Kingdom, and the Kingdom is here now, then the statue is destroyed. That means that (however we perceive it) the "Rome" of the statue was brought down at the fall of Jerusalem. I believe the clay in the iron facilitating the demise of the statue were the gentile Israelites (the Diaspora.) Rome was Christianized afterward, and its kingdom facilitate the creation and goverment of many subsequent Christian nations... Just a thought.

For His Kingdom,
-Brad

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Duncan2's picture

Hey Brad,

I am using Israel in the generic sense, the children of Israel (not the northren kingdom of Israel). Thus I am using it in the sense of all of God's old covenant people. I think this use is well attested to in the NT (Mt. 2:6; 8:10; 15:31;19:28; 27:42; Acts 2:22; Rom. 9:6; 10:21; Eph. 2:12 etc.). I have not read Lloyd Dale's book so I can't really comment on it. Even if it does have some good stuff in it, I don't think it should not make us paranoid of using "Israel" in the generic sense of God's old covenant people.

Duncan

NB9M's picture

Duncan2:

We're dealing, though, with the identity of Babylon and the destruction of the "Holy City." I'm not "paranoid" concerning the correct useage of the terms "House of Israel" and the "House of Judah" as a result of Lloyd's book. I'm "paranoid" about it because I believe good exegesis here demands it!

Remember: it was not Israel (compositely) that was to be burned by fire, but the House of Judah. The prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah were prophets to that house. Recognizing that the the House of Israel had long since been carried into captivity, and had already been divorced by Yahweh, this is no small detail!

Of all the passages to support this assertion, let me choose the following:

"Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand." (Ezekiel 37:19)

This prophecy could not take place until Judah, who was to "fill her measure of sin" had faced her judgement. After the Jews (Judah) had rejected Jesus, he "walked no more among the Jews" (Luke) and went to mount Ephraim (the Diaspora.) It was THOSE Israelites that were to "ride while Judah plowed."

In pointing out that you referenced Romans 9: note that Romans to whom Paul were speaking were Israelites. Were they Jews? Not necessarily! After all, the focus of His ministry was to the "gentiles" (those 10 tribes of the divorced/gentilized House of Israel.) It is those Israelites that were the focus of Paul, Timothy, James (see James 1:1) etc.

For His Kingdom,
-Brad

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Duncan2's picture

Hey Brad,

I wasn't meaning to imply you were paranoid. In Ezek 23:2 Jerusalem and Samaria (representing Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel) are called the daughters of the same mother. That mother is the whole nation of Israel; the mother of the children of Israel. This is the mother I think we are being shown in Rev. 17-18; the harlot of Revelation is said to be the mother of all harlots (17:5).

Duncan

NB9M's picture

Ooops - missed something. Your reference to Ezekiel 23. That whole chapter does, indeed, confirm that God considered the House of Israel (Samaria) and the House of Judah (Jerusalem) to be harlots.

To Aholah (Samaria): "Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself."

To Aholibah (Jerusalem): "They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes, and take away thy fair jewels. 27 Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt:"

I do agree that Israel - as a whole - were involved in the last days events of the Old Covenant. But, they were two diferent harlots (even fighting against each other.) The context of Revelation 16 & 17 is the judgement against Aholibah (Jerusalem, who had the clothes and the jewels.)

For His Kingdom,
-Brad

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NB9M's picture

Duncan:

I've got your meaning. However, are you sure that the "mother" you're talking about in the first context is the "mother" of the second? Can you show me scripture that describes a "mother of the children of Israel?" I'm not saying it doesn't exist (I'm ALWAYS learning!) but I'm not aware of it. The problem here is - from the physical side - the Sons of God came from multiple mothers.

Because this "mother of the harlots" was described as being Babylon, the bearer of a horrible Abomination and having the blood of the saints, the House of Israel doesn't fit the bill. They never came out of Babylon. They didn't wear the kingly attire, because they were divorced and scattered. It wasn't the House of Israel that had the covenant name "rulers with God" - they gave that up centuries earlier and had other names (precisely as prophecied.)

It was Judah that exploited the beast - not Ephraim. It was Judah that had filled her measure of sin; Ephraim had alread had her judgement (and was in the process of being redeemed in the coming marriage by means of the ministries of the disciples and apostles!) The Holy City of Daniel was not mount Ephraim, but Jerusalem, where the temple resided.

The warring squabble between the House of Judah and the House of Judah was very real. Judah considered the Diaspora as pagan gentiles. The Diaspora, after establishing powerful nations and governments, were integrated with the entity that was about to destroy the Harlot (the clay in the feet of Daniel's statue) and the bringing in of the Kingdom.

Ephraim would ride, Judah would plow. Are these not different houses with different roles to play in the prophecies?

As Hosea, a prophet to the House of Israel said: "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God."

Hosea was not referring to the House of Judah and Benjamin, who were compartively few in number and had not, up to that time, been divorced. They were the "treacherous sister" (the Harlet) who remained...

For His Kingdom,
-Brad

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psychohmike's picture

Hey Brad, Just a thought I had the other day.

Revelation 18:7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

Two things that catch my eye about this passage...No widow & Burned with fire.

Mystery Babylon said that she was no widow. Well if Mystery Babylon is The House of Judah then yes "she" was a widow. She killed the Lord of Glory. Jesus being God and all that is. And so if The one that the House of Judah was betrothed to had died then she was a widow and didn't need to be divorced like her adultrous sister Israel.

Romans 7:1-4 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

And then that she will be burned with fire.

2 Thes 1:7-8 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Matt 22:7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

Aside from this there are too many other verses that paint the picture of the wicked being burned with fire. And then there is the fact that the Roman armies systematically burned what they were conquering(Judea). And well it was fire that neccesitated the tearing down of the temple in fulfillment of prophecy.

This was just a thought I had the other day.

8) Mike

NB9M's picture

Absolutely! Exactly. Exciting stuff!

BTW: Lloyd Dale, in his "Olive Tree Mystery" nails this all down very well. Most "Judeo-Christians" don't know about Israel's split; let alone that God divorced the northern house. Judah did, indeed, become a widow when she killed her husband.

The fact that "the treacherous sister remained": do you think that God allowed her continue because He didn't want the Savior to arrive out of wedlock? It's certainly consistent with the language...

For His Kingdom,
-Brad

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protemple's picture

Brad, you said - "Most 'Judeo-Christians' don't know about Israel's split; let alone that God divorced the northern house." I spoke (I was Amil at the time) at an "End Times" conference back in 2003 that had a mix of End Times perspectives presented. Lloyd Dale and Sam Frost represented the preterist view and when one or the other of them mentioned that God had divorced Israel there were several premils present who almost fainted. When Jeremiah 3:8 was read, they just sat there, almost in stunned disbelief. It would be interesting to know how many modern Christians are even aware of that passage. My experience says that it would be a very small percentage. Its seems that so many people today have a mental picture of OT Israel as a righteous nation that is completely out of touch with the reality presented in the OT.

I agree that Lloyd's book book has some very good information in it.

Steve

NB9M's picture

It really is amazing. I was a Christian for over 30 years before I heard about this; even though we can't possibly understand who the "Gentiles" were and the meaning of many of their eschatological promises. It's a domino that exposes lots of common assumptions about Israel, the Jews, the "Gentiles" and the restoration prophecies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea and Isaiah.

Aside from some unfortuate misuse of the words "Jew" (Judahite) and "Israelite" I think Lloyd's book hit the nail on the head.

One of the startling realities this understanding leads to is this: the mention of other peoples in the Bible mostly in the context of their interaction with Israel. The Bible is a compliation of Yahweh's dealings with His covenant people (to whom alone were given these prophecies.) If we don't understand who these people are, we can't possibly understand the prophecies given to them.

For His Kingdom,
-Brad

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psychohmike's picture

Oh good, I hope others find this worthwhile.

8) Mike

Islamaphobe's picture

An intriguing and well-written article that makes a strong case for the Jewish association of the great harlot, though I have yet to see an argument for a contrary identification that makes any sense to me. Among the items that I particularly like is your treatment of the seven mountains problem. I look forward to the book, which promises to be an important read for those of us who are convinced that Daniel's fourth kingdom is Rome.

John S. Evans

Duncan's picture

Let me just add this addendum. I mentioned that the overwhelming OT uses of the harlot motif speak of God's unfaithful old covenant people. I should have put in more references (Lev 17:7; 20:5-6; Num14:33; 15:39; Deut 31:16; Judg 2:17; 8:27; 1 Chr. 5:25; 2 Chr 21:11; Ps 73:27; Hosea 1:2; 2:4; 4:15; 9:1; really the whole book of Hosea; Jer. 2:20; 3:2,9,13: 5:7,11; 13:27; Eze. 6:9; 16; 23; 43:7,9).

Thomas, you keep us on our toes. By having a different perspective you play an important function (kind of like going to the dentist, not always fun, but necessary ;-) The meaning of the woman and the seven mountains requires wisdom, it is not immediately apparent. I think it is crucial to look to Scripture for the meaning of the harlot.

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan,

Your argument re: the seven heads (kings/mountains) seems, at least indirectly, to affirm my main point: the imagery of a woman on seven heads would necessarily lead the first audience to Rome. (Thus, one would not need wisdom after all? Right?)

Well, I am not able to see that the OT necessarily would make us identify the "kings" with Roman emperors. (BTW, most futurists love to use the OT in order to make the kings = kingdoms.) In my opinion, Wisdom was required for an understanding of the imagery, not the explanation given by the angel.

Regards

Thomas S.

psychohmike's picture

Gee Whiz Duncan...You make my paper on Mystery Babylon look so...so...so...donnish. Pedantic even!!!

I guess it wouldn't be a learning process if learning were like getting plugged into the matrix. Oh well, someday I will be an old school preterist.

Good work Duncan 8) Mike

Duncan's picture

Thanks for the kind words Mike. Hey don't feel bad, I don't even know the acutal defintion of pedantic. Seriously I have worked on my book for 6 years, I can't tell you how many times I have re-written and refined things. As I continue to get feedback from people like you (I thank you for the feedback you have already given me privately) hopefully things get stated more cleary.

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

Duncan,

I am sure you will get many "amen" and "I agree", but perhaps you would appreciate some critical remarks as well?

First, the Washington D.C. analogy does not work. Whereas Washington D.C. is well-known as the capital city of the USA, "Babylon" was not well-known as a name for Jerusalem. (It was well-known as a cipher for Rome!)

Second, I am not able to see how you can identify the fourth beast in Dan 7 with the sea beast in Rev 13 (cf. Rev 17). Hopefully, you make this clear in your book.

Finally, I am not sure that most preterists are not aware of the problem that the Roman Empire continued to exist, and even grew bigger, after 70 CE. This might be a problem for those full preterists who insist on identifying "Babylon" with Jerusalem and/or the fourth kingdom in Daniel with the Roman Empire, but it was no problem for classic pretersts like e.g. Moses Stuart.

When will your book be published?

Regards

Thomas S.

Duncan2's picture

Come on Thomas. You write the following and then give no explanation.

"I am not sure that most preterists are not aware of the problem that the Roman Empire continued to exist, and even grew bigger, after 70 CE. This might be a problem for those full preterists who insist on identifying "Babylon" with Jerusalem and/or the fourth kingdom in Daniel with the Roman Empire, but it was no problem for classic pretersts like e.g. Moses Stuart."

How can we take you seriously when you don't state your position? We are not asking for something original or involved, just a summary of your postion. When you don't give it, it makes one wonder if you are afraid your postition won't be as ironclad as you like to portray it. I mean you have an immediate problem with explaining how Rome (the harlot in your view) was about to fall (according to Revelation) in the first century never to rise again. The fact that Rome "grew bigger" in the first century is just as much a problem for your position.

Duncan

Duncan2's picture

Come on Thomas. You write the following and then give no explanation.

"I am not sure that most preterists are not aware of the problem that the Roman Empire continued to exist, and even grew bigger, after 70 CE. This might be a problem for those full preterists who insist on identifying "Babylon" with Jerusalem and/or the fourth kingdom in Daniel with the Roman Empire, but it was no problem for classic pretersts like e.g. Moses Stuart."

How can we take you seriously when you don't state your position? We are not asking for something original or involved, just a summary of your postion. When you don't give it, it makes one wonder if you are afraid your postition won't be as ironclad as you like to portray it. I mean you have an immediate problem with explaining how Rome (the harlot in your view) was about to fall (according to Revelation) in the first century never to rise again. The fact that Rome "grew bigger" in the first century is just as much a problem for your position.

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

Duncan,

First, I am referring to relevant secondary literature, whicj (I think) is rather normal. Second, Moses Stuart has written a nice commentary on Revelation; I don't think I am able to do it in a better way.

Finally, as I do not share your interpretation of the temporal markers in apocalyptic literature, I really do not see that I have any problems with Rome becoming more powerful after 70 CE or Rome not being destroyed in the first century CE (for that matter).

Again, I was only offereing my thoughts. But every time I mention some problems with "Babylon" = Jerusalem, people seem to get upset. I wonder why? What is at stake?

:)

Regards

Thomas S.

Duncan2's picture

Thomas,

Are you saying that in your postion the harlot being destroyed is talking about Rome being destroyed hundreds of years later? Could you at least outline your postion? Even what you are saying here is not very clear. I am not upset at your comments but I am getting frustrated by your seeming need to keep your position ambiguous. You keep saying that your position can handle most or all of the problems but you won't share it. If you were so sure of it I would think you would be glad to share it.

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

Duncan,

In harmony with the oldest preterist interpretation (known to me), I identify "Babylon" with the City of Rome and the "beast" (Rev 13:1f.; 17) with the Roman Empire.

I think the millennium started after the fall of "Babylon". We are currently in the Millennium.

As to the Book of Daniel, I think most of it has been fulfilled. I think it starts with the Neo-Babylonian Empire and ends with the fall of the fourth, divided, kingdom which is followed by the coming of one like the son of man/kingdom no. 5.

Hope this helps!

Regards

Thomas S.

Duncan2's picture

Thomas,

Well that clears everything up for me! (I couldn't resist a little sarcasim, but I think you have it coming. That is pretty bare bones stuff, but it is something). So the millennium began after the fall of Babylon (Rome). Exactly when? right after? years after? Do you see Rev. 19 as the (so called) Second Coming? Did that happen at the fall of Rome or are you more postmillennial? When do you think the Second Coming did or will happen? (that leaves me 14 of 20 questions left!)

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan,

I have never stated that I have all the answers. Perhaps you now are able to understand why I would never write a commentary on Revelation -- I think that would demand decades of theological studies.

As to your questions: I do not think the "millennium" is a period of literal 1000 years. (Does that make me amillennial?) However, according to the Book of Revelation, the "millennium" does seem to start after the fall of the beast and the false prophet (cf. e.g. Rev 19:20-21; 20:2).

It might be that there is an allusion to the so-called second coming of Christ in Revelation. In harmony with the apostolic faith of our fathers, I believe that Jesus will come again. When he returns, he will make an end to all evil.

Regards

Thomas S.

mazuur's picture

Duncan,

Don't waste your time. All you will get out of Thomas is suggestions to go read such and such commentary. He can not defend his position in the least. Know matter what you ask, all you will received is avoidance. He will change subjects and use redirection tactics to avoid having to actually engage in any demonstration of an argument.

Personally, I think it's because he himself doesn't understand his own position. He merely holds to "Classic Preterism" because that is what his Church holds to and tells him to believe.

If you continue your dialogue with him you will only be greeted by further frustration due to ambiguous claims and avoidance.

By the way, excellent write-up. If you haven't read Kurt Simmons' commentary on the Revelation (www.preteristcentral.com) I would recommend it to you. He takes the same route concerning the seven mountains the Harlot sits upon. Notice they are not "hills", which is what Rome was known for sitting upon. After further study myself, I too do not think the seven "mountains" are a reference to Rome, even though Jerusalem (the Harlot) was in bed with Rome.

Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Rich,

As you definitely do not know me nor are able to read the thoughts of others, I see no value in your latest ad-hominem attack.

Regards

Thomas S.

mazuur's picture

C’mon Thomas. Don’t even try to play that card.

I stated, "All you will get out of Thomas is suggestions to go read such and such commentary. He will change subjects and use redirection tactics to avoid having to actually engage in any demonstration of an argument."

This is in fact true. You have demonstrated this over and over here, and even started the same mode of practice here with Duncan. Just read your own comments. It’s pretty easy to prove. Every time you criticize someone’s write-up (with no line of argumentation), and then they try to get an answer from you, it seems invariably you start playing some game of superiority through ambiguity. Duncan in fact just witnessed it himself, which is why he stated, "Come on Thomas. You write the following and then give no explanation…How can we take you seriously when you don't state your position? We are not asking for something original or involved, just a summary of your postion. When you don't give it, it makes one wonder if you are afraid your postition won't be as ironclad as you like to portray it".

Duncan Continues, "Could you at least outline your postion? Even what you are saying here is not very clear. I am not upset at your comments but I am getting frustrated by your seeming need to keep your position ambiguous. You keep saying that your position can handle most or all of the problems but you won't share it. If you were so sure of it I would think you would be glad to share it."

As far as me, you know very well the same exact exchange happened merely a week or so ago over the same exact topic. So, I have personal experience to speak from in giving Duncan the advice not to waste his time. I’m not sure what having to know you “personally” as to do with it. I merely spoke out of experience learned though interaction with you, so I do "know" you in that light, and in was in that light that I spoke concerning you. Do you need a link to said experience?

Duncan isn’t the only person getting frustrated by your practice either. Just read through your exchange with Psychohmike.

If you witness somebody constantly stealing, and then warn the people who are around that person that he is a thief, if that attacking the thief? Duncan was merely beginning to get a taste of your normal mode of operation (one which I had already had to endure) and was beginning to get frustrated by it (which I can relate to). I was merely giving him the advice (warning) not to waste his time. Giving somebody a warning concerning somebody is not attacking said person. And the “value” to Duncan would be considerable. Think how much time he would save not having to reply over and over only to be greeted with more ambiguity resulting in more frustration.

I see you finally replied to Duncan, and actually stated your position. Gee, the fact that it took me to say what I did to finally move you to state it speaks volumes. Of course you’ll deny that, which is ok, at least you finally stated a position. Of course it now remains to be seen if you will defend your position when/if Duncan ask for support of it, and telling him to go read such and such commentary is not giving support. That is merely playing your game of “hide and seek” again.

It all comes down to this Thomas. If you are going to post comments that are critical, you should as least show the respect of giving support to your critical comments. If you don’t want to enlighten somebody as to why you think they are in error, then don’t criticize their work. If that is all you're going to do, why do you waste your time here? You obviouly don't agree with anybody's position here, and you seem to refuse to give any evidence as to why, so what is your point?

Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Rich,

Over and over again, I have provided you (all) with references to relevant literature. I suggest that you visit your local university library.

(You remind me of one of my students; she actually thought I would do the reading for her...)

If you refuse to look up what e.g. Aune writes in his commentary (3 vols.), that's your choice.

Regards

Thomas S.

Duncan's picture

Thomas,

It is way past time for you to step up to the plate and write an article. Seriously, clear all this up for us and share your classic preterist position. Don't simply direct us to Stuart, you are a smart, well read, articulate guy (that's a sincere complement), give us an article.

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan,

I just wanted to present some criticism that you might want to address in your book; that's all. I do not think that I have anything substantial to add to all that has already been written on "Babylon the great". If I ever make a discovery, I will make it available for the public.

By the way, I see that you did not answer my question re: the publication of your book. Fine! (I was only asking because I welcome your attempt to address at least some problems with the "Jerusalem interpretation", usually ignored by people in the "full preterist" camp.)

Regards

Thomas S.

Flakinde's picture

"I do not think that I have anything substantial to add to all that has already been written on "Babylon the great". If I ever make a discovery, I will make it available for the public."

ThomasS:

I don't think anyone here is interested in anything as revolutionary-sounding as "your discoveries". I think it's clear that you have, or at least claim to have, access to information ("all that has already been written") that most of us are unaware of. I too join the ranks of those who cordially ask you to write an exposition or a summary on "all that has already been written" about this subject. It would certainly be for our benefit.

You have an audience of at least four people, willing to pay attention to what you have to say...

Blessed in His rest,

Alexander Rodríguez

ThomasS's picture

Dear Mr. Rodríguez,

The following authors have written extensively on "Babylon the Great"; theur works might be of some interest:

J.-P. Ruiz (monograph on the use of Ezekiel in Revelation);

M. Rissi (monograph on "Babylon the great");

G. Biguzzi (essay on "Babylon the great").

As to why the fourth kingdom in Daniel cannot be identified with the Roman Empire, see e.g. the commentaries by M. Stuart and E.C. Lucas.

Hope this helps!

Thomas S.

Islamaphobe's picture

Thomas,

I have read the commentary by E. C. Lucas and much of Moses Stuart's material that relates to the fourth kingdom issue. Stuart was, and Lucas is, a fine biblical scholar. After reading them, however, my confidence that Daniel's fourth kingdom is Rome is completely unshaken.

Your comments on this site have made me keenly aware of a fact to which I had paid insufficient attention, to wit that there have been some good scholars who have adhered to the position that there was a real prophet Daniel who (probably) lived in Babylon in the sixth century BC, but the fourth kingdom whose existence was foretold to him was not Rome. I think it is time that I consider writing an article for this site in which I systematically provide a full explanation of why I believe this position is untenable. I'll try to get one out in a couple of months and invite you to fire away at it.

John S. Evans

ThomasS's picture

Dear John Evans,

I am looking forward to reading this!

Regards

Thomas S.

Flakinde's picture

Thomas:

A bibliography wasn't exactly what I (and the others, I believe) had in mind, but thanks anyway.

Be blessed,

Alexander Rodríguez

psychohmike's picture

I second that. The one thing this website encourages is contribution. And those that run the thing are not apposed to opposition. If it will clear things up for us then you will be doing us all a favor.

8) Mike

psychohmike's picture

Hey Thomas,

Rather than just saying that Babylon was a well-known cipher for Rome...Could you possibly supply some support for that claim. I've always heard that claim and even used to use it.

Thanks, Mike 8)

ThomasS's picture

Mike,

Are you serious?

Regards

Thomas S.

psychohmike's picture

Yeah sure...what the heck. It would be to the benefit of everyone here. The truth is a good thing and in my eyes is welcome.

I am more than willing to be wrong. I wouldn't be a preterist if I wasn't.

The earlier the better.

8) Mike

chrisliv's picture

Yeah,

It's quite the opposite.

In case Thomas has never noticed it, Apostle Peter is another biblical writer to refer to Jerusalem as "Babylon".

"The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son." 1 Peter 5:13

Obviously, along with James, it was Peter who was the Apostle over the Church at Jerusalem. So, Peter also makes a biblical and sarcastic reference to his own city of residence as "Babylon". He could not possibly be referring to any other church body or city that he and his son could be saluting from.

So, Revelation calls Jerusalem "Babylon" and "Sodom and Egypt" much in the same sarcastic way Peter referred to Jerusalem as "Babylon" which was about to be Judged.

That much is terribly clear.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

NB9M's picture

WOW! Never saw that. Thanks!

\

ThomasS's picture

Dr. Livingstone (I presume),

Unfortunately, there are at least two problems with your position:

(1) Peter does state that Babylon = Jerusalem. (Your argument is based on speculation only.)

(2) The very idea that "Babylon" in 1 Peter = Jerusalem is a novelty; according to the oldest interpretation (of 1 Peter), this "Babylon" was the City of Rome.

Regards

Thomas S.

mrfullpreterist's picture

Thomas,

Check out this link. You'll have to type it in. There is much more evidence that Peter was writting from Jerusalem.

preteristarchive.com/Preterism/kiser-greg_p_01.html

Rob

mrFOOLpreterist FKA as mrfullpreterist

Still searching to understand the Truth.

ThomasS's picture

Speculation, only speculation!

As you (should) know, there are just as much "evidence" for Peter writing from Rome. However, if we just stick to the facts: Rome, not Jerusalem, was called "Babylon". Rome, not Jerusalem, was well-known as a woman-city on seven mountains.

StephenGreer's picture

I don't know if I would necessarily say speculation; there were some pretty powerful arguments in that article as far as I could tell. Also, have you considered Revelation 18:4-8, but specifically verse 4? If you compare it with Matthew 24:15-20, Mark 13:14-17, and Luke 21:20-22, ALL of which discuss the judgment on Jerusalem (and that is pretty widely agreed from what I understand), the similarities are astounding:

Rev 18:4 "Then I heard another voice from heaven say: 'Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not share in her plagues...'"

Matt 24:15-20 "'So when you see standing in the holy place "the abomination that causes desolation" spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand - then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.'" (Mark says almost exactly the same thing)

Luke 21:20-22 "'When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.'"

(All verses from NIV)

So the correlation between what those in Babylon are told to do and what those in Jerusalem are told to do are incredibly similar. It is rather obvious that John is quoting what Jesus said concerning Jerusalem's destruction, and if that is the case, he would in effect be saying that Babylon is Jerusalem, not Rome, because Jesus was not concerned with the city of Rome.

As for the woman sitting on the seven hills, is it impossible that it could mean Jerusalem was riding that power of Rome? In other words, could she not have been using the power of the Roman government to become "drunk with the blood of the saints"?

Just some thoughts...

ThomasS's picture

Hi!

As you probably know, the seven churches (addressed by John) were not located in Jerusalem, but in Asia Minor -- way outside earthly Jerusalem.

Realising this problem, one of the earliest advocates of an identification of "Babylon" with Rome argued that the seven churches mentioned in Rev 2-3 were located in Jerusalem, not Asia Minor. Obviously, he was in error.

Regards

Thomas S.

StephenGreer's picture

I'm not entirely sure I understand what you are saying, so correct me if I'm in error. It sounds like you are saying that since the churches were in Asia Minor, that discounts "Babylon" as being Jerusalem. However, that doesn't really help the case for Rome, either. In addition, Jerusalem's destruction would be of great importance to at least the Church in Smyrna:

Rev 2:9 "I know your afflictions and your poverty - yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." (NIV)

Now, if the Jews were a persecuting force in the first century (and reading Acts shows that to be true), they would in fact be "drunk with the blood of the saints" (Rev 17:6), which Babylon is identified as being. Thus, it would logically follow that Jerusalem would be the Great City "Mystery Babylon the Great", unless there is a double fulfillment anticipated in Revelation. However, there is no real textual evidence that I can see for such a view. Again, if I misrepresented your views, by all means correct my errors. Take care!

Brother in Christ,
Stephen

ThomasS's picture

Stephen,

My point is that you cannot link or equate the so-called "Q-Apocalypse" and the Book of Revelation uncritically.

The Churches of Asia Minor were deep inside Rome both socio-culturally and political.

As to Rev 2:9, this is the only time John is attacking "Jews" in the Book of Revelation. But the identity of these "Jews" is, as you might know, disputed. (I think they were Jews rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, but this is difficult to know.)

Only one great woman-city of the first century (B)CE was known as "Babylon" and well-known as situated on seven mountains -- and we all know which city this was, don't we?

:)

Regards

Thomas S.

chrisliv's picture

Oh,

Doubting Thomas...

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

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