I have provided my thoughts about whether New York City and Babylon (in Iraq) are potential candidates to be Babylon the Great City mentioned in Revelation 17 and Revelation 18 over the past week in separate articles. I have provided items to consider in favor of each city and items to consider against each city in these articles.
Today I share my current thoughts on whether Jerusalem has potential to be Babylon the Great City. Like my articles assessing whether New York City and whether Babylon in Iraq have potential, I offer items to consider in favor of Jerusalem and items to consider against Jerusalem.
Like Babylon in Iraq, Jerusalem is a candidate that merits a lot of consideration. Here are some of the reasons why I think Jerusalem is a candidate that merits a lot of consideration:
1. Babylon the Great is identified as a “great city” in Revelation 17:18. Jerusalem is identified as a “great city” in Revelation 11:8:
“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.” (Rev 11:8)
“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” (Rev 17:18)
2. Babylon the Great is a harlot. Jerusalem is referred to as a “harlot” in Bible prophecy.
“(20) But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (21) How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.” (Isa 1:20-21)
3. Jerusalem is not exempt from receiving some sort of judgment during the End Times. For instance, Jeremiah 25:15-18, prophecy verses which I believe refer to the future, mentions that Jerusalem will drink from the cup of the Lord’s hand (wrath):
(15) For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. (16) And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. (17) Then took I the cup at the LORD’S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: (18) To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;” (Jer 25:15-18)
In addition, Isaiah 1:27 and Isaiah 4:4 suggest that Jerusalem will be redeemed through judgment:
“Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.” (Isa 1:27)
“When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.” (Isa 4:4)
4. There are some similarities between Bible prophecy verses concerning Jerusalem’s judgment and Bible prophecy verses concerning Babylon the Great’s judgment. The following tables are examples of where these similarities can be found.
|Receive Double for Sins|
|Rev 18:5-6: (5) For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (6) Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.|
|Isa 40:2: Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.|
|Famine & Destruction|
|Isa 51:17-19: (17) Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out. (18) There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up. (19) These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?|
|Eze 7:15: The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him.|
|Rev 18:6, 8: (6) Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double…(8) 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.|
5. Some scholars have noticed a parallel between what the harlot wears and what a Jewish high priest in Old Testament times wore. According to Gregory K. Beale, Exodus 28’s description of a Jewish high priest’s garments and Revelation 17:4’s description of the harlot’s adornment is identical in the Greek language.1 Beale and others argue that this connection suggests that the harlot will play a religious role for the beast (Antichrist).
Scholars who favor the Jerusalem = Babylon the Great theory argue that Jerusalem will be a city that will promote the beast’s (Antichrist’s) religious agenda since the Antichrist will sit in the Lord’s temple and proclaim himself to be God.
“(3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess 2:3-4)
6. Revelation 18:24 notes that the blood of prophets and of saints is found in Babylon the Great City.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Rev 18:24)
Christ noted that Jerusalem was responsible for killing prophets and stoning those “sent” to the city.
(35) That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (36) Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (37) 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!” (Matt 23:35-37)
Although I see Jerusalem as a possibility that merits a lot of consideration, there are some issues that I think proponents of Jerusalem = Babylon the Great need to consider. Here are some of the issues that come to mind immediately
1. Revelation 16:19 distinguishes the “great city” from the cities of the nations and Babylon the Great. A skeptic could argue that Revelation 16:19 is evidence that Jerusalem is not Babylon the Great because the text seems to distinguish between the great city and Babylon the Great.
“And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” (Rev 16:19)
2. Revelation 18:21 is a difficult verse for Jerusalem proponents to reconcile. Revelation 18:21 says that Babylon the Great City “shall be found no more at all”:
“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.” (Rev 18:21)
The reason Revelation 18:21 is difficult for Jerusalem proponents to reconcile is that there are several Bible prophecy chapters that suggest that Jerusalem will be inhabited again and that the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem. For instance, check out Zechariah 12:6-8:
(6) In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. (7) The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. (8) In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.” (Zech 12:6-8)
Similarly, several Bible prophecy passages suggest that the Lord will dwell in Zion/Jerusalem in the future.
“(2) And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. (3) And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isa 2:2-3)
“(1) But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. (2) And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Mic 4:1-2)
“(17) So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. (18) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.” (Joel 3:17-18)
3. Ezekiel 5 is a chapter that many people assume describes the attack of Jerusalem by the Babylonian Empire. Verse 5:9 contains a statement that should not be completely ignored by Jerusalem = Babylon the Great proponents. The verse suggests that the Lord will not judge Jerusalem in such a way again.
(5) Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. (6) And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them. (7) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye multiplied more than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that are round about you; (8) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations. (9) And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.” (Eze 5:5-9)
The siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians left the city in ruins.
(1) And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about. (2) And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. (3) And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. (4) And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain. (5) And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. (6) So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. (7) And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon. (8) And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: (9) And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire.” (2 Kings 25:1-9)
The challenge here for Jerusalem = Babylon the Great proponents is to demonstrate that Ezekiel 5 has some fulfillment in the future, especially verse 5:9.
4. Some people believe that Jeremiah 51:24 and Jeremiah 51:35 are part of a prophecy describing the fall of Babylon the Great. Both these verses mention that what “Babylon” has done to Zion/Jerusalem is part of the reason why it will be punished.
“And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.” (Jer 51:24)
“The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.” (Jer 51:35)
If Jeremiah 51 concerns the destruction of Babylon the Great then Jerusalem cannot be Babylon the Great since “Babylon” is being punished for what it has done to Jerusalem/Zion.
I feel I still need to study the topic of Babylon the Great more and weigh the merits of each candidate under consideration before deciding whether to maintain my previous stance or to change my stance on the identity of Babylon the Great City (I am not afraid to change my stance on the city’s identity). I plan to continue studying this topic for the foreseeable future since I need to be fully comfortable with who I think is Babylon the Great City is before continuing work on my ongoing Ezekiel 38, Ezekiel 39, and other related Bible prophecy chapters study.