As we have already seen in previous studies chapter 17 deals with a system based in the physical city of Rome, with international influence of a religious nature, and more specifically a harlot church. We also have seen that the seventh head of the beast was a form of government or leadership that would arise after Imperialism but before the last world government. Of course the form of leadership that arose after Imperialism and which is still in place at Rome is the papacy. But what is the city revealed in chapter 18? Is it the same city? Is it a different city? Is it New York?
We must point out that there is a difference between MYSTERY BABYLON in chapter 17, and literal Babylon in chapter 18. If you study carefully from chapter 16:17 to chapter 19:3 you will see both similarities and great differences.
Mystery Babylon is seen in symbolic vision that needs interpretation. But the Babylon of chapter 16 and 18 needs no interpretation, it is literal (17:7). Mystery Babylon is called a Harlot but the literal Babylon is not, it is most often called Babylon the Great (17:5; 18:2). The judgement of Mystery Babylon comes from the ten kings of the revived Roman Empire before the Beast rules, but the judgement of literal Babylon comes at the end of the Beast’s rule 3 ½ years later by the hand of God (17:16; 18:8).
The Kings of the earth are glad for Mystery Babylon to be destroyed but the Kings and merchants weep over the fall of literal Babylon (17:16; 18:9, 11, 15 etc). Mystery Babylon is a religious system but literal Babylon is a merchant city of trade. Mystery Babylon makes herself rich at the expense of the kings and nations of the earth but literal Babylon makes others rich.
There are also distinct similarities between these two Babylon’s which tie them together in a unique bond. Both fornicate with the kings and peoples of the earth (17:2; 18:3). Both have a cup in their hand (17:4: 18:6). Both are cities and are called Babylon. Their clothing and adornments are the same, albeit one is physical and one spiritual (17:4; 18:16). Lastly both are guilty of killing God’s people (17:6; 18:20, 24).
So lets take a closer look at the city to see what the Lord reveals about it and to identify it.
i) It is a great City – v2 “Babylon the great (megas)”, v18, “What city is like unto this great city!”, it is called a "city" seven times in this chapter. No other city is comparable to this city. It is also called a Mega-city (Google contemporary 'Mega-cities' and you will find this is the hour for building such).
ii) It is called Babylon – v2, 10, 21, “that great city Babylon, that mighty city”,
iii) It is a political city, v3, 9, “the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her”,
iv) It is is a Maritime city, v7, 17, ships, shipmasters, sailors and sea,
v) It is a City of trade, v3, 11, 15, “merchants of the earth”, and in v23, “thy merchants were the great men of the earth”. Her trade—v12-13.
vi) It is a Rich city, v7 “lived deliciously” which means ‘in luxury.’ In v3 she makes merchants rich, in v9, kings “lived deliciously with her.”—This is the secret of her quick rise to international prominence in the last days. This one city makes the world rich.
Gen.10:8-11, “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and
Erech (Uruk), and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah…”
The word "Kingdom” here means = dominion, reign, or kingship. So Babel and these other cities were the beginning of Nimrod's kingship. This was the first world government, civilisation (gathering into cities), organised military power and the place where Mystery religion and Mother goddess worship was birthed.
11:4, “…let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
Babel was both a tower and city. This was the first city of the new world.
Prophecy of her Rise
If Revelation 18 is revealing that the physicial, literal city of Babylon will rise to be the ecominic centre of the world in the last days we must ask how will this happen? What will lead to Babylon’s restoration to her ancient glory and her quick rise to glory, influence and riches? I believe Zecharariah chapter 5 which is one of the most important but neglected prophecies for this hour, gives us the answer.
Zech.5:1-4: First Zechariah see's a flying roll which represents a curse upon all who are thiefs and who steal across the whole world. It is a time of judgement on corruption in the economy. James chapter 5 reveals something similiar.
The Prophet Zechariah was told by the Angel to: “Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth” (5:5). When he asks “What is it?” he is told “This is an ephah that goeth forth” (5:6). Its going forth is very important. What is an ephah? The term originated in Egypt and was used in Judea for the instrument that measured corn. It is the symbol of commerce; it speaks of the economy of nations. This is how it appears outwardly “through all the earth” (v6). This word “resemblance” can also mean fountain or source of supply. So this ephah was being looked to as the source of all supply right across the earth. This is a time when every eye is upon the economy.
Initially there does not seem to be anything sinister behind this sight. To outward observation there does not appear to be anything sinister behind this flying ephah. The economies of the nations are, however, being used to bring something sinister about. Hidden in the ephah under a talent of lead was a woman (v7). At a time when everyone is looking to the economy for security this woman is secretly using this for her own ends.
When the angel lifts the lead and shows Zechariah he says “this is wickedness.” This wickedness is separate and distinct from the woman. The Angel then casts the wickedness into the ephah and seals it up with the lead weight. So the woman and wickedness are sealed up and hidden behind the economic situation ready to be revealed. This is the working of the “mystery of iniquity” until “that Wicked be revealed” which was so long held down (II Thess.2:6-8). This word “revealed” means to take the lid off. The mystery of iniquity is of course the revealing or manifestation of Antichrist.
Then Zechariah saw: “…two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven” (5:9). We are told in Jeremiah 8:7 that: “…the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times;”
It is normal and traditional for storks to leave western and mid Europe in August in what is considered one of the most spectacular migration flights in the world. Over a quarter million storks fly in clouds over the city of Istanbul in Turkey during the course of a few weeks. Their main nesting place in the Middle East is Iraq. The stork is well known for returning to nest in a previously used nest. World government is about to go back home and the economy will be used to do it.
When and where does the lid come off? Zechariah asked the angel where this ephah which was being carried by the two women with stork wings is going. The angel replies: “To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.” This is the land of Nimrod where he first built Babel.
The economy will move from the West to the East. Babylon will become the economic centre of the world and the political base for antichrist for a short infamous period of 3½ years during which the world will prosper financially and no one will buy or sell without the mark of the beast (Rev.13:17).
This present financial crisis is being used to undermine Wallstreet, the $, and America in the world economy. It is preparing to move east. Since 2009 there has been much talk about the UN HQ moving from New York city to Babylon in Iraq.
Prophecy of her destruction
Babylon has never been totally destroyed. Not only does Revelation 18 speak of God's end day judgement of Babylon but so does Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Isaiah 6 is set in the context of "the day of the Lord" (v6) which is the hour of God's judgement at the end of time when all the constelations of heaven including sun and moon are darkened (v10). This is the hour when the Lord will punish the whole world for their evil (v11), and an hour when God will shake the heavens and remove the eaerth out of its place (v13). Then in v19 and 20 We are told of Babylon's judgement: "And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.”
Again in Jeremiah 51 we read of her fall: v8 "Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed...", v26, “And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD.”
The stones of ancient Babylon have been used to build other cities and there have always been people living there over the past two millenium's. Alexander wanted to make it his HQ and so did Napolian. This was not allowed. But in the last days it will rise to power just in time to be judged.
Her judgement will come suddenly, unexpectedly, in one hour, in one day (Rev.18:8, 10, 17), and the smoke of her burning will ascend to heaven (18:9). This is the hour of God's wrath upon the cities of the world, the economy and Mammon.
The warning for God's people is: "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." (18:4-5)