Who Is The Whore Of Babylon (Part One) ?

It is written:

“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.” (Revelation 17:4-5)

Throughout the Book of Revelation, we read of continuous references to “Babylon.” Since Revelation is written primarily in symbolic language (Revelation 1:1), we have to ask the question: who is this whore of Babylon?

There is a great deal of evidence to show us that the “Babylon” of Revelation is actually a reference to the Roman Empire.

We know, for example, that between the Old and New Testaments, the nation of Rome was often referred to as “Babylon.” Barclay notes:

“HERE the doom of Rome is prophesied. Throughout Revelation, Rome is described as Babylon, a description which was common between the Testaments. The writer of 2 Baruch begins his pronouncement against Rome: ‘I, Baruch, say this against you, Babylon’ (2 Baruch 11:1). When the Sibylline Oracles describe the imagined flight of Nero from Rome, they say: ‘Then shall ffrom Babylon a king shameless and fearless, whom all mortals and the noble men loathe’ (Sibylline Oracles 5:143). In the ancient days, to the prophets, Babylon had been the very incarnation of power and lust and luxury and sin; and, to the early Jewish Christians, Babylon seemed to have been reborn in the lust and luxury and immorality of Rome….Babylon is said to have made all the nations drink the wine of the wrath of her fornication. In this phrase, two Old Testament ideas have been fused into one. In Jeremiah 51:7, it is said of Babylon: ‘Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine, and so the nations went mad.’ The idea is that Babylon had been a corrupting force which had lured the nations into a kind of insane immorality. The background is the picture of a prostitute persuading a man into immorality by filling him full of wine, so that he could no longer resist her seductive charms. Rome has been like that, like some glittering prostitute seducing the world.” (William Barclay, The New Daily Study Bible: The Revelation Of John, Volume Two, 125-126 (Kindle Edition); Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press)

John used well-known Jewish symbolic language of his day and age to describe the Roman Empire as Babylon. It was this nation that did everything in its’ power to destroy the church. As John wrote:

Revelation 17:6-I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

Historically, the nation of Rome has done everything in its’ power to destroy the church of Christ. Yet in the end, God’s people will triumph.

Are you part of God’s church (Acts 2:37-47)?

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