Revelation 17-18

ckeller's picture

Revelation 17 and 18, i would like to hear some different views, from people who truly know the Word, from different denominations, in particular.. a Catholic interpretation, a Protestant intepretation. To me, this is an interesting topic, but i want to come to the truth about it... Thanks

tomgroeneman's picture

mystery Babylon

Here is part of a post I submitted in the Revelation study that we did a couple years ago. You can access the full threads on chapters 17 and 18 in the Biblical Studies forum. Justin Staller, who is now doing the gospel of John, was the group leader.

Identification of the woman that sits on the beast is complex. Justin's discussion of the overlapping possibilities of Israel/Jerusalem, the Catholic Church and the connections with OT scriptures is compelling. The theme of harlotry is certainly applicable to unfaithful Israel and the religious compromise of the Roman Church. I would forward a further option: that the identity of the harlot named Babylon is the same political, religious and economic system that has dominated the world since the days of Genesis chapter 11 when the city was founded. The parallels of Revelation with the book of Daniel are inescapable and Daniel's context was the ancient kingdom of Babylon. His visions of the statue and the beasts are clearly representative of the world kingdoms. The cultural and commercial preeminence of America has led the Rastafarians to identify the U.S. with Babylon. Many people today still consider New York City to be the capitol of the modern world. In a spiritual sense, Babylon is the idolatry of money and materialism. The religious and political dictatorship of the antichrist will be established on this ancient system of domination. Revelation is about final judgments and it is this world's system of profit, exploitation and power that will be judged. The ancient kingdom of Babylon ruled the civilized world (like Rome) and all the peoples and cultures of the conquered nations had populations in the capitol. Rev. 17:18 is one of the instances where John's vision is interpreted for the reader; "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth." For the believers of John's day there can only be one city that fits that description: the empire of Rome. This has led many to identify mystery Babylon, at least in its religious sense, with the Papacy.

Tom Groeneman