What is the Identity of Babylon the Great

by Hermanus W. Smeenk

Not one but two women in Revelation 17

          In Revelation 17:1-5 we read "1. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, 'Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot (whore) who sits on many waters, 2. with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

          Comment: The angel tells John he's going to show him the judgment of a woman sitting on many waters. In Revelation 17:15 the angel explains that the waters where the whore sits are peoples, multitudes, and nations, and tongues. In verse 16 the angel tells John that the ten horns of the beast shall hate the whore, make her desolate and naked, shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire (total destruction will come upon her). In verse 17 the angel explains that it was God's will for them to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God are fulfilled.

          Now, in Rev 17:3, on the way to a place in the wilderness where the angel will show John the judgment of the great whore they come across ANOTHER woman, not the same one, a different one. This woman is sitting on a scarlet beast, not on the waters, so it has to be a different woman.

          Comment: Church of God ministers maintain that a woman spoken of in prophecy is symbolic of a church. I do not agree. Judah and Israel are both symbolized as women in various places in the prophetic books of the bible. These are nations, not churches. The woman in Rev 12 is a nation, spiritual Israel (I Peter 2:9), not a church. The woman sitting on many waters is a nation, not a church. The woman on the scarlet beast (the Vatican) is a nation, not a church. The Vatican, as was pointed out to me, is a State of the City of the Vatican, which is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, the capital city of Italy. The bible calls it in Rev 17:18 "...that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth." Therefore, it is not a church but a nation.

          Revelation 17:3-5. 3. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet (symbol of great sin) beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5. And on her forehead a name was written: Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the earth."

          Comment: The name written on her forehead is not the name of the woman. In prophecy, having a name written on the forehead does not necessarily identify the name of the individual but to whom the individual owes his allegiance. For example, in Ezekiel 9:4 the man with the writer's inkhorn was told to put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it (Jerusalem). In Revelation 7:3 the four angels were told not to harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till the servants of God had been sealed on their foreheads. Also, in Revelation 13:16 the false prophet causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads. Again, in Revelation 14:1 the 144,000 have their Father's name written on their foreheads.

         Many believe that the woman (the Vatican) who sits on the scarlet beast is Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and the abominations of the earth. They believe that the Catholic church is a great false church, the Great Whore, teaching many false doctrines and deceiving many peoples and nations. They point to the Protestant churches which came out of her as the daughters or harlots which still practice many of the false doctrines of the Catholic church.

Is the Vatican the Great Whore?

          In Revelation 17 the woman on the scarlet beast is constantly referred to as "the woman". Chap 17:4 "the woman", Chap 17:6 "the woman" Chap 17:7 "the woman", Chap 17:9 "the woman", Chap 17;18 "the woman". In Chap 17:4, she is said to have a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. Yet, she is not labeled as a "whore" in this chapter but always as "the woman". Who is "the woman"? Revelation 17:18 tells us, "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth" (The Vatican). Keep in mind what Peter wrote in his second epistle chapter 1:20-21: "20. knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21. for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

         So, we must go to the Bible for the identification of the great whore. Let’s see who the bible reveals to be the great whore and God's judgment of her.

Which Nation is called the Great Whore?

          Lets go back to Revelation 17 and 18. In these two chapters we learned that the great whore sat upon many waters (vs 1). In Rev. 17:15 God reveals that the waters are a symbol of peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. In Rev 17:3 we found that a different woman sat upon a scarlet colored beast, which was full of names of blasphemy, having 7 heads and 10 horns. The seven heads being interpreted to be seven successive resurrections of the Roman Empire. The ten horns are interpreted in the bible as 10 kings or also ten nations in Europe that give their power or sovereignty to the beast, the ruler of an eleventh nation.

          COMMENT:The whore is symbolized by one entity, a city or nation. So, if that is the case, then which nation does God call a whore in the Bible? Let’s go to the book of Ezekiel, chapter 16:1-35,

1. Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2. Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3. and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4. As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. 5. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.

6. 'And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7. I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.'

8. 'When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine' says the Lord GOD. 9. Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil.

10. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. 12. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. (Can you see a similarity here between Israel and the great whore?)14. Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,' says the Lord GOD.

15. 'But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it. 16. You took some of your garments and adorned multicolored high places for yourself, and played the harlot on them. Such things should not happen, nor be. 17. You have also taken your beautiful jewelry from My gold and My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images and played the harlot with them. 18. You took your embroidered garments and covered them, and you set My oil and My incense before them. 19. Also My food which I gave you - the pastry of fine flour, oil, and honey which I fed you, you set it before them as sweet incense; and so it was,' says the Lord GOD.

20. 'Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry a small matter, 21. that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire? 22. And in all your abominations and acts of harlotry you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, struggling in your blood.

23. 'Then it was so, after all your wickedness,‘Woe, woe to you!’ says the Lord GOD, 24. 'that you also built for yourself a shrine, and made a high place for yourself in every street. 25. You built your high places at the head of every road, and made your beauty to be abhorred. You offered yourself to everyone who passed by, and multiplied your acts of harlotry. 26. You also committed harlotry with the Egyptians, your very fleshly neighbors, and increased your acts of harlotry to provoke Me to anger.

27 'Behold, therefore, I stretched out My hand against you, diminished your allotment, and gave you up to the will of those who hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior. 28. You also played the harlot with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; indeed you played the harlot with them and still were not satisfied. 29. Moreover you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader, Chaldea; and even then you were not satisfied.

30. 'How degenerate is your heart!' says the Lord GOD, 'seeing you do all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot. 31. You erected your shrine at the head of every road, and built your high place in every street. Yet you were not like a harlot, because you scorned payment. 32. You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband. 33. Men make payment to all harlots, but you made your payments to all your lovers, and hired them to come to you from all around for your harlotry. 34. You are the opposite of other women in your harlotry, because no one solicited you to be a harlot. In that you gave payment but no payment was given you, therefore you are the opposite.'  35. ‘Now then, O harlot, (whore) hear the word of the LORD!

         COMMENT:A matter is established by two witnesses (Deut. 19:15). Let’s look at one more accusation by God concerning Israel’s morality in Hosea 4:11-18,

11. 'Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart. 12. My people ask counsel from their wooden idols,  and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God. 13. They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops,  And burn incense on the hills,  under oaks, poplars, and terebinths,  because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters commit harlotry, and your brides commit adultery.

14. I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your brides when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go apart with harlots, and offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot. Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled. 15. Though you, Israel, play the harlot, let not Judah offend. Do not come up to Gilgal, nor go up to Beth Aven, nor swear an oath, saying, ‘As the LORD lives’

16. For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn calf; now the LORD will let them forage like a lamb in open country. 17. Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone. 18. Their drink is rebellion, yhey commit harlotry continually. Her rulers dearly love dishonor.

         What does God pronounce as "harlotry" by Israel? Alliances with other nations instead of relying on Him for protection. As her Husband, Israel should have looked to Him for all her needs rather than to other nations. God accuses Israel of this very thing in the following passages:

In Ezekiel 16:26 God accuses Jerusalem of 'committ{ing} harlotry with the Egyptians, your very fleshly neighbors, and increased your acts of harlotry to provoke Me to anger.'

In Ezekiel 16:29 God continues 'Moreover you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader, Chaldea; and even then you were not satisfied.'

Also, in Ezekiel 23:7 God says 'Thus she committed her harlotry with them, all of them choice men of Assyria; and with all for whom she lusted, with all their idols, she defiled herself.'

         When God made the covenant with Israel, He told her in Exodus 19:5,6:

5. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.

         In Leviticus 26 God promised blessings if Israel walked in His statutes, kept His commandments, and did them, but curses if they despised His statutes, abhorred His Judgments, so that they would not do all His commandments, and break His covenant.

         In Jeremiah 3:8 God reveals that: 'Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.

         What was it that caused God to call Judah and Israel harlots? God was their husband who provided for them, fed them, clothed them, gave them rest and peace in the land. He blessed them abundantly. Then Israel and Judah wanted a king of their own like the nations around them instead of having God as their King. (I Samuel 8:5).

         God allowed this to happen and gave them Saul, a Benjamite, as their first king, then David , and Solomon. Solomon married foreign women who worshiped idols. Subsequent kings did not rely on God to protect them nor did they continue to obey God’s commandments. They began to make alliances with their neighbors which, in God’s sight, was playing the harlot as we learned in Ezekiel 16 and 23. (Any questions or comments on this article should be addressed to me by e-mail at hsmeenk@hshideaway.com Subject: BtG)

         COMMENT:It is Israel that God calls a whore because of all that she has done. In a prophecy for the end time, God says He will not let Israel go unpunished for her sins. In Jeremiah 30:4-11, Jeremiah wrote:

4. Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. 5. For thus says the LORD: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. 6. Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale? 7. Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

8. ‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’says the LORD of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them. 9. But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

10. ‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD, ‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. 11. For I am with you,’says the LORD, ‘to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.’

12. For thus says the LORD: ‘Your affliction is incurable, your wound is severe. 13. There is no one to plead your cause, that you may be bound up; you have no healing medicines. 14. All your lovers have forgotten you; they do not seek you; for I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased. 15. Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable, because of the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you.

Where is Babylon the Great?

         I’d like to quote parts of an article by John W. Ritenbaugh titled 'The Beast and Babylon (Part Two)' appearing in the Forerunner, "Personal," May 2004. In this article Mr. Ritenbaugh wrote a discourse on Babylon, beginning with Nimrod, the original founder of Babel.

"We understand that Nimrod was "before" God as an enemy; he was "against" God. Genesis 11:8-9 helps clarify this: "So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

God's scattering the builders shows Nimrod's and therefore Babylon's adversarial attitude toward God. From this beginning, Babylon eventually grew to become a worldwide political, military, economic, and religious system bearing the basic attitude as its founder. It can be a nation or a system that is against the Lord. "Babylon" thus became the Bible's code word for what the New Testament writers call "the world." They use the Greek term cosmos, implying an organized worldwide system opposed to God.

At the time of Genesis 11, the people scattered from the Tigris-Euphrates valley, taking much of the antagonism to God's ways with them. To some degree, each language group adapted the attitude and system of Babylon to their ethnic traits. It took centuries for the people to migrate and settle in their new lands, but occur it did. Some remained in Babylon and through the centuries became the Babylonian nation, dominated by the Chaldeans.... Nebuchadnezzar became Babylon's greatest king. God gave him the dream of a great image, and Daniel later told Nebuchadnezzar that he represented the head of gold. (Daniel 2:38).

The other portions of the image represented powerful kingdoms Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome that, through the centuries, would follow Babylon in dominating the Western world. They certainly dominated the part of the world the Bible is concerned with the portion the Israelitish descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived in.

Nevertheless, because the head represents Babylon, and the head directs the entire body, we can safely assume that this image confirms the continuation of the same general Babylonish system right on down to its end represented by the feet and toes. Geographically, this interpretation of the image places the Babylonish system firmly in what media personalities, political figures, geographers, and anthropologists widely call the "West."

Just as the dominating power systems eventually geographically migrated from Babylon to Rome, so other massive, ethnic migrations also occurred. II Kings 17:6, 18 states: In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. . . . Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone.

Assyria defeated Israel and relocated its people to Media more than a hundred years before the nation of Babylon arose to full strength. Then, in tandem with the Assyrians, they migrated, eventually settling in central and northwest Europe. They began settling there long before Rome rose to power to continue the Babylonish system.

Another migration began when the Babylonians subjugated the Jews, beginning about 604 bc, taking many of them to Babylon as captives. II Chronicles 36:17, 20 adds detail: "Therefore He brought against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, on the aged or the weak; He gave them all into his hand. . . . And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia."

Beginning about seventy years later, a small "remnant" of Jews began to return to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel and later under Ezra and Nehemiah, but the great bulk of Jews remained in Babylon. Over the centuries, their descendants eventually migrated elsewhere, and many of them ended up in Russia and Eastern Europe.

In a paper published in the 1970s, Ernest Martin (former Worldwide Church of God minister and Ambassador College faculty member) established that the Chaldeans migrated first from Babylon to Tyre, but when Alexander the Great destroyed Tyre and Sidon, they migrated into Italy, eventually making up a large portion of Italy's population.

Notice how Babylon's influence spread into the Western world in much more concentrated doses than the original migration at the confusion of languages. It directly affected the Israelitish people as they simultaneously carried and disseminated it through their migrations.

The New Testament's concept of Babylon is of a worldwide system. It began in the Tigris/Euphrates Valley, but it did not remain there. The Roman Empire was a dominant power within that anti-God system, and because of the migrations of ethnic groups it ruled over, the entire Mediterranean area and much of Europe, including the British Isles, became enveloped by this Roman/Babylonish system.

Perhaps even more interesting is that almost all the people who inhabit the northern and western parts of the Roman Empire are Semitic. Israel, the Assyrians, and the Chaldeans are all descended from Shem: Israel from Shem's son, Arphaxad, through his descendant, Eber, and later Abraham; Assyria from another son, Asshur; and Chaldea also from Arphaxad but through another line.

Let us take this one step further. From where did the peoples who colonized Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and the United States begin their colonization? Semitic Israelitish people from northwest Europe colonized every one of them. The first and the majority of the colonists came from within the vast area of the Roman Empire, and in the same manner that the people from Nimrod's domain took the Babylonish anti-God system with them, the colonists from Northwest Europe carried with them much of Rome's Babylonian culture - but with their own Israelitish, semi-biblical twist to it.

English, Dutch, French, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Belgians, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, and Germans colonized first. It was not until later, after the colonies were well established with Semitic peoples, that large numbers of immigrants from Eastern Europe came to the Israelitish colonies.

The Bible clearly reveals Babylon to be a worldwide entity. For the past two thousand years, the history of the Israelitish people has been culturally dominated by Rome's Babylonish system because they have been geographically within its borders and, more importantly, under its religious, economic, military, and political influence. Even though the Bible does not directly present Rome as being as geographically massive as Babylon, it is nonetheless culturally dominant on a worldwide basis because of the migrations and influence of the Israelitish people.

As you can see, the Babylonish influence did not stay in Babylon but became spread throughout the Western world as a result of the migrations of Israelites, Assyrians, and Chaldeans over the centuries. Today we can find this Babylonish influence in Europe, Australia, Africa, and America. It has become a worldwide anti-God system."

COMMENT:The leader of this anti-God system in the world of today is none other than the United States of America. The Muslims rightly call this nation "the Great Satan" for all the evil ways it exports to countries around the world. Contracry to popular opinion, it is not a Christian nation. We are governed by secular leaders and the majority of the population are anti-God, anti-law, each deciding for himself what is right and what is wrong. Each follows his or her own way with special emphasis on their self and live their life in a way which seems to bring them the greatest pleasure for the immediate future.

The Judgment of the Great Whore

In Revelation 13, after the seventh trumpet, John sees a beast with ten horns and seven heads come up out of the sea. To it, the dragon gave its power, its throne and great authority. It was given authority to act for 42 months speaking blasphemies against God, His Divine Presence, and against those living in heaven. Also, it was allowed to make war against God's holy people and to defeat them. This would occur before the first resurrection and the return of Jesus Christ.

In Revelation 14:8 a second angel shouts that Babylon the Great is fallen. This seems to indicate that Babylon the Great will be destroyed after the seventh trumpet and the first resurrection but before the seven plagues that will be poured out upon the earth.

COMMENT:You would think that since the Bible is a book about Israel and God's people the book of Revelation would have something to say about the end-time prophecy in Jeremiah 30 concerning the fate of Judah and Israel. It does! In both Revelation 17:15-17 and in Revelation 18.

         Revelation 17:15-17 tells about the great whore and her punishment (Jacob's trouble):

15. Then he said to me, `The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16. And the ten horns which you saw on[a] the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

Revelation 18 is a whole chapter containing a detailed description of the destruction of the Great Whore (Babylon the Great) spoken of in Revelation 17:16. Lets read vs. 1 - 19 of Chapter 18:

1. After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 2. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, 'Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.'

COMMENT: Genesis 22:18: In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.' Since World War II we can certainly see how blessed the world has been by the prosperity of the United States. Economically, many nations, most prominently Germany, Japan, Korea, the Arab world, and in these last 10 years, China, have become very rich because of trade with the United States. Militarily, during the Cold War the United States has become directly involved in 8 different alliances with various countries: 1) Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (RIO PACT), 2) Western European Union (WEU), 3) North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), 4) ANZUS Treaty (ANZUS), 5) Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), 6) Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), 7) North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and 8) 14 Major non-NATO allies of the United States (MNNA).

Many say that Rome is Babylon the Great. Can you say that Rome has had a greater impact on the world than the United States? Is Rome a great trading partner with the nations of the world? Does Rome have military alliances with the greater part of the Western world? No, the only nation to which Revelation 18:3 applies is the United States of America. Therefore, it is the only nation to which the title "Babylon the Great" can be applied. Continue with Revelation 18-

4. And I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, [are God's people in Rome?] lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 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.’ 8. 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.'

9. 'The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 10. standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ 11. 'And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: 12. merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13. and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. 14. The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all.'

15. The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16. and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! 17. For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance 18. and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’

19. They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’

COMMENT:The Vatican is located in the center of Rome. Rome lies about 12 miles inland from the coast of Italy and is not known as a trading port. It has no shipping docks, no piers, no anchorages for ocean going trading ships. New York, on the other hand is one of the busiest ports in the world with great ships from around the world continually coming into her port, day and night. It is not possible that verses 15-19 can refer to the Vatican or Rome since no ocean going trading ships ever come there.

         Notice, the bible refers to Babylon the Great also as a city, a single entity as opposed to the Beast that is portrayed as consisting of many peoples, nations and tongues.

         In the bible, a city may either be only a city or one that is representative of a nation, such as Samaria was representative of the northern 10 tribes of Israel. Likewise, Jerusalem was representative of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Babylon was representative of the Chaldean empire.

Which Nation is Called Great

         Which nations were prophesied to become great in the latter days? Let’s go to Genesis 48:17-19:

17. Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18. And Joseph said to his father, 'Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.' '19. But his father refused and said, 'I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and HE ALSO SHALL BE GREAT; but truly his YOUNGER BROTHER SHALL BE GREATER THAN HE, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.'

          Ephraim was prophesied to become greater than Manasseh; however, it is no longer as great as it was before World War II. Where can the descendants of Manasseh be found in our day? [See my article on Where Are The Tribes Of Israel?] Of all the nations in the world in this day, which nation can be called "great"? The United States of America.

         No other nation in the world has been blessed as greatly as Great Britain and the United States. All other nations received their riches from these two nations. Truly, Manasseh now is a GREAT nation. Greater than any other on the earth. It has been able to enforce its will and control many nations, is involved in worldwide trade with virtually every nation in the world, and has made more alliances with other nations than any other nation in the world.

          Therefore, it is called BABYLON THE GREAT, the Mother of Harlots and the abominations of the earth. Who are her daughters? Her sister tribes of Israel, they are all living in the same luxurious and sinful manner of Mannaseh. Here is what God has to say about this kind of living of Israel through the prophet Hosea:

Hosea 4:1-5 1. "Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel, for the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: 'There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. 2. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. 3. Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away. 4. Now let no man contend, or rebuke another; for your people are like those who contend with the priest. 5. Therefore you shall stumble in the day; the prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother."

         The bible reveals Israel and Judah to be harlots or whores. They committed harlotry against their God and continue to do so to this day. We know that Israel today is located in Western Europe, Canada, the United States, South Africa, and Australia. All of these have made many alliances with the nations of the world. They all have forgotten the God that blessed them and have forgotten the laws that God gave that when obeyed would result in great blessings. They were all greatly blessed but when they began to forget the God that blessed them they began to lose their blessings and, instead, the curses of Deuteronomy 28:15-68 have come upon them. However; because of its position in the world, the United States, has entered into more alliances than any other. In God's eyes, she is the Great Whore who exercises all of Babylon's idolatries and fornications.

          COMMENT:Some will argue that the United States could not possibly be Babylon the Great. They point to Revelation 18:24 which states "And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were [ever] slain on the earth." However, we know from history that neither Rome nor the United States have killed people from all the nations from time immemorial. Rather, this verse appears to allude to the anti-God system of Babylon going back to the time of Nimrod which has certainly been the cause of wars and killings in the earth.

A Warning to God's Called

Revelation 17:16-17, 16. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

Revelation 18:19: They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’

God warns His people in Revelation 18:4-5:

4. And I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.'

And what are her plagues? Continue in Revelation 18:6-8:

6. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 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.’ 8. 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.'

         God warns His people to come out of Babylon the Great. Who else has He warned in the past to come out of a place? Let’s go to Genesis 19:12:

"Then the men said to Lot, 'Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city - take them out of this place!'"
We also find a warning In Jeremiah 51:6-7:
6. Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance; He shall recompense her. 7. Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand, that made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore the nations are deranged.

         When God tells His people to come out of Babylon, is He only saying that we should not be part of Babylon and to keep ourselves pure from her sins? Or is He also telling us to physically remove ourselves from Babylon? He is telling us to do both, spiritually and physically. He has given us an understanding of the location of Babylon the Great. He has pronounced judgment on her that she would be destroyed (Rev. 18:8) and in our day, that means by nuclear war.

         Many of our brethren have scoffed at the idea that God would take us to a place of safety. However, He revealed to the Apostle John that He would provide a place in the wilderness for the Church (the woman) where He would take care of her. (Revelation 12:13-17):

13. "Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."

          They say that a place of safety is wherever you are, that God will protect you in your home, at work, or wherever you may be. But, when the nuclear bombs start falling, will God miraculously encase us in a nuclear fall-out shelter? Will He have stocked the shelter with food and water, enough to last until the return of Jesus to the earth?

         Why would God tell us in Revelation 18:4 to come out of Babylon so we wouldn’t have to take part in her plagues if He was planning to protect us wherever we are? Didn't He tell Lot to get out of Sodom and force him to leave when Lot came up with a excuses? In the book of Jeremiah He also told Judah and Israel to physically get out of Babylon because Babylon was going to be destroyed.

         After God finishes destroying Babylon the Great (the United States) it will become completely uninhabitable, the only thing that will be found there is "...a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! (Revelation 18:2). The demons will be restricted to this place for a thousand years!

Satan and his demons will be restricted from influencing people on the earth (Rev 20:7-8) during the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:4):

4. "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

         Let’s settle it in our minds. God’s people will have to physically leave the United States and probably need to go to Israel (Judea) prior to fleeing to a place of safety. This appears to be implied by Jesus when He told His disciples (us) in Matthew 24:13-22:

13. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.   15. Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), 16. then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20. And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

         When we leave, the only things that we will be able take with us are some clothes and some food for on the way. We’ll need to leave everything else behind. Keep in mind that when the abomination that makes desolate (armies of the beast) surround Jerusalem we have to flee for our lives to the mountains so we won’t be able to take much with us. At that time I'm sure God will let us know where that place is that He has prepared for us.

Continue to read the next chapter titled "Did Christ or Paul Change the Observance of Passover?"

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