Revelation Identifies End-Time Babylon
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: Revelation 17 describes Babylon using common symbolism found throughout the Bible. Who is this "woman arrayed in purple and scarlet" and what will she be like?
 
 

Who is End-Time Babylon?

In Revelation 14:6-13, the Bible tells us about three mighty angels that have three very important messages for the people living in the last days. The Second Angel mentions Babylon in its message saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8).

In order to understand this message, it is essential that we identify end-time Babylon. Numerous verses in the book of Revelation warn against Babylon, and admonish God’s people to come out of Babylon. How can those wishing to align themselves with God come out of Babylon if they don’t know what it is? The message in Revelation 14:8 is repeated more forcefully in Revelation 18:2 and reveals the spiritual decay of this system:

And he cried mightily with a strong voice saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

The unclean and hateful birds are a reference to a counterfeit Holy Spirit that would power the system, leading people to believe that they are working with the power of God.

Revelation 18:4 holds an even stronger admonition:

Come out of her My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

God would not warn His people to come out of Babylon if it were impossible for them to identify Babylon. During the early Christian centuries, Jewish and Christian literature referred to the city of Rome as Babylon. 1 Peter 5:13 also refers to Rome as Babylon. Peter wrote these words while in Rome, at a time when literal Babylon no longer existed:

The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

Surprisingly enough, even Roman Catholics acknowledge this association:

"Babylon,” from which Peter addresses his first Epistle, is understood by learned annotators, Protestant and Catholic, to refer to Rome - the word Babylon being symbolic of the corruption then prevailing in the city of the Caesars.i

The Woman of Revelation 17

Revelation 17 gives us a glimpse of what Babylon will be like. Using prophetic language, it describes a woman who rejects God with her whole being:

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (Revelation 17:4-5).

The woman that rides the Beast in Revelation 17 has all the identifying features of Rome. In fact, Rome applies the very symbolism employed in this chapter to herself. Remember that the name “Babylon ” refers to papal Rome and its allies.

In the Bible, a woman represents a church:

I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman (Jeremiah 6:2).

Isaiah the prophet extends the symbol of a woman to that of a bride. The pure bride represents the pure Church:

For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee (Isaiah 62:5).

Hosea describes the union of God and His people:

And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies (Hosea 2:19).

The same symbolism is employed in the New Testament:

...for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2)

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready (Revelation 19:7).

This beautiful picture of Christ and His Bride, the Church, is marred by the image of a church, “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication , and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication ” (Revelation 17:2).

The Roman Catholic Church is the only church on Earth that fulfills these identifiers of the woman called Babylon in Revelation 17:

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The description of Babylon given in the book of Revelation clearly identifies Babylon as the Church of Rome. We saw many of the attributes of Rome in our examination of the prophecies of Daniel and find them synonymous with those of Babylon. Because of the Church of Rome's deviations from the Bible, most Protestants of the Reformation and post-Reformation era also referred to Rome as spiritual Babylon, the great enemy of God’s people.




i. James Cardinal Gibbons, Faith of Our Fathers (111th printing, Illinois: TAN Books Inc., 1980): 87.

This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article and website are not intended to accuse individuals. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their ability and are seen by God as His children. The information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system that has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. Under the influence of its successive popes, bishops, and cardinals, this system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that clearly go against Scripture.
 
It is our sincere desire to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, so you may decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. If you find herein anything contrary to the Word of God, you need not accept it. But if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality, we encourage you to make all haste to accept that Truth which is revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.
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