The Perfect Fit:Who was Babylon the Great?
big foot-but no big shoe:my quest for the interpretation of Babylon the Great
So did you read chapters 17 and 18 of the book of Revelation? What cryptic imagery. I can't figure out what's harder to decipher--HTML or Bible prophecy? So what's your interpretation? Actually if you read chapter 17 carefully you might have noticed that the angel that was talking with John explains to him who the whore riding on the beast is. After the vision John was astonished at what he saw. But the angel said to him
“wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns”.
After giving him an explanation of the beast the angel told John
“and the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth”.
So there you have it, the meaning of who the woman of Revelation chapters 17 and 18 is. But in all honesty we still need an interpretation of the angels interpretation. It’s just not enough. In computer lingo it's like we need another link--click here to get a deeper understanding of the angels explanation.
Bible prophesy has always fascinated me. And these two chapters in the book of Revelation were particularly intriguing. At the same time they were a means of frustration because in all my studies over the years I have never been able to come up with, nor have I heard to my satisfaction, a really good explanation of who this woman, this great city was. I was just looking for a simple interpretation. An interpretation that made sense. That was believable. That made all the pieces fit neatly into place, as to who the woman portrayed in chapters 17 and 18 was.
We can liken the Revelation God gave us of Babylon the Great to one big foot. Or lets say one very big massive foot! And the ideal interpretation to one very big corresponding shoe to fit precisely over it. I have seen some close fits but never that one where I could say in my heart “Yes, this is it! This is the shoe that was made for that foot!”
One of the problems with many of today’s popular views on Babylon the Great is that they make her out to be so small. In some cases, even petite, in comparison to what I read in chapters 17 and 18. I see in those pages someone, something, some power so pervasive, so encompassing that:
• It rules over the kings of the earth and allures them to sexual immorality.
• That makes the inhabitants of the earth drunken with her wine, and leads them astray with her sorceries.
• That corrupts the earth and is the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.
• That through her the merchants of the earth have become great.
• With boundaries so vast and wide, that all ever slain on the earth were still within her domain!
Read carefully again Revelation 17:2,5,18; 18:3,23-24; 19:2
The adjective “great” is used no less than 9 times in the King James Version in these two chapters alone, to describe this woman/city!
As well, I didn’t see why she always had to be depicted as so religious: Either she was “False Religion” or “The Counterfeit Church”, or “The ancient religion called Mystery Babylon”, or either the one-world religious system that will arise in the last days, just before the second coming of Jesus Christ. Along with a mixture of other confusing religious slants, including: The Roman Catholic Church, The World Council of Churches, Jerusalem and the Jewish religion, astrology, the new age, star gazing, witchcraft, etc.
Of course ancient Babylon was much more than religion. In chapter 18 where we see judgment falling on the great city, we do not see the destruction of a religious system but rather what could be the scenes from the aftermath of any great city in ruins. Where its rulers are bemoaning and bewailing the loss. Along with the merchants as they see their riches going up in smoke. Where the lights have gone out, and the working has ceased, and the sound of music and the voice of the bride and bridegroom is no longer heard in the streets.
More than religious, we see in chapter 18 an economic Babylon. And in some scenes, a very normal, typical “life in the city” with musicians playing, craftsmen working, millstones grinding, and merchants becoming great.
But if she must be religious: she is a practicing sorceress. Remember 18:23 says
“…for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived”
In the NIV it says
“…by your magic spell all nations were led astray”
One other rather popular, non-religous view is that Babylon the Great represents the USA, or capitalism, or the Imperialistic West. Held by, among others, the Rastafarian movement.
As in this interpretation; along with the other more fashionable ones of today, though I could see some semblance and parity, I was troubled that I could not see a perfect fit in them. Even in my personal studies of over 10 years, as I tried on my own, it alluded me.
But as I sat down once again, drawn back to these two chapters in the book of Revelation, I was more determined than ever for a breakthrough.