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Matthehitmanhart
Nov 25th 2008, 08:44 AM
1) The Olivet Discourse, which most understand as a shorter treatment of the same subject as John’s Revelation, is centered not on the destruction of some end-time rebuilt Babylon, or even on present day Rome, but rather on the destruction of Jerusalem. If the early church was at all formed by Jesus’ teaching, and, like him, regarded the present Jerusalem as the focal point of national idolatry that was leading the nation into ruin, then it would be natural for them to share his attitude, according to which Jerusalem had come to symbolize all that was resistant to the gospel and violently opposing the existence of a renewed Israel, the new ethnically inclusive people of God. This is obviously the case, since Jerusalem is the city repeatedly charged with the blood of the prophets and saints and apostles through the New Testament (see Rev 17:6; 18:20, 24; cf. Matt 23:34-35).

2) Revelation presents a series of contrasts—a lamb vs. a dragon, the Father’s name vs. the beast’s name, and the bride vs. the harlot. The bride and harlot are represented by two cites, one called the “New Jerusalem” and the other “Mystery Babylon”. The bride exemplifies faithful obedience to God; the harlot exemplifies rebellion against God. The whole symmetry of this contrast suggests that, if the faithful bride is the New Jerusalem, the rebellious harlot is likely the old Jerusalem.

3) Recognizing the immediate application of John’s vision in chapters 4-22 to the seven historic churches to which it was first addressed, we find that the commonality between the faithful among those churches—Smyrna and Philadelphia—was that they were experiencing persecution from “those who say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan”, i.e. from faithless Israel in the dispersion. Practicing Jews at that time were exempt from participating in the Caesar cult, yet the Christians, when they were finally distinguished from the Jews, were not. Of course the Jews didn’t like the Christians much, and they most definitely didn’t want to be associated with them, so many would spy out the Christians and turn them into the authorities in order to bolster their tenuous relationship with Rome. When those persecuted churches in Asia Minor received John’s letter and came upon the vision of chapter 17—of a harlot riding on a beast, drunk with the blood of the saints—it’s doubtful they would be able to associate that imagery with anything other than their persecutors, apostate Israel in unholy relationship with Rome.

4) As a symbolic name for Jerusalem, Babylon would be as fitting as Sodom or Egypt, which were both applied to Jerusalem earlier in Revelation (11:8). Combine this with the fact that the title “Babylon the Great” is prefaced by “Mystery”, and the argument which stands on a literal interpretation of that title looses its force to a large degree.

5) The title “that great city”, which is used first for Jerusalem in 11:8, is used for Babylon every time it appears thereafter (14:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21), with the exception of the one time it appears in reference to the New Jerusalem (21:10), which in fact bolsters the argument based on the contrast between the two cities.

6) In chapter 14, the winepress is trampled “outside the city” (14:20), which almost all understand to refer to Jerusalem, yet the only city mentioned earlier in that passage is Babylon (14:8).

7) The division of Babylon into “three parts” best fits Jerusalem (cf. Ezek 5:1-12; Zech 13:8-9).

8) The designation “the harlot” is an established label for Jerusalem from the Old Testament (cf. Isa. 1:21; 57:8; Jer. 2:2, 20), and it could never appropriately be applied to Babylon or any other Gentile city. The Old Testament uses the metaphor of harlotry exclusively for a city or nation that has abandoned the covenant and turned toward false gods; and with only two exceptions, the term is always used for faithless Israel.

DurbanDude
Nov 25th 2008, 09:53 AM
4 Reasons why Jerusalem is not the Harlot:

1) 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

At the time of writing of Revelation it was Rome and not Jerusalem that was ruling over many kings and the entire area.

2) 17:4 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

I know of no other city that is so visually associated with purple and scarlet clothes and golden cups and precious stones like the Roman Vatican. The bishops wear purple, the cardinals wear scarlet.

3) 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

Except for the Solomon period of about 40 years, Jerusalem has never had renown as a major economic centre. Rome on the other hand had a huge reputation for being a commercial centre. Today the financial influence of the RCI (capital- Rome) is far more subtle, but if you delve into history and look for family links you will see that most of current world banking is controlled by Rome, and many governments are financed by RCI instititions. Just a 30 minute internet research will start revealing this.

4) If you read Daniel 7, it speaks of 4 consecutive empires and shows how the fourth one will keep growing until it rules the whole earth. The bible itself defines that first empire as Babylon, and history shows us which are the next three. Persia conquered Babylon, Greece conquered Persia, and Rome conquered Greece. Rome has never completely fallen but just changed to a religious empire known as the Holy Roman empire, and despite its apparent fall during Napoleon's reign it is still powerful but chooses to dominate world politics less obviously than in earlier times.

Rome is the fourth empire that is to rule the earth, described as a whore riding the beast in Revelation.

third hero
Nov 25th 2008, 10:31 AM
But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, [that] at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, [that] living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and [from] the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. And [men] shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. -Zechariah 14:7-11

Notice something here?

1. the Lord is on earth during this prophecy.
2. There will be no more utter destruction in Jerusalem when the Lord reigns over all of the earth
3. Jerusalem shall be safelt inhabited

Jerusalem is not slated to be destroyed once the Lord comes to the earth to rule over it. But what is the fate of Babylon?

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. Revelation 17:16-17

Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong [is] the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. Revelation 18:8-10

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast [it] into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. -Revelation 18:21

The fate of Babylon is ultimate destruction. WHen Judgment is cast upon her, she will be burned down and afterwards will never be found again.

If Jerusalem was Babylon, then someone is seriously in error. Jerusalem, according to both OT and NT prophecy, is to remain, and actually be transferred to the new earth, under the banner New Jerusalem. (Revelation 20:8-21:27). Jerusalem, on the basis of Zechariah 14 alone, disqualifies it from being the Whore of Babylon.

jeffweeder
Nov 25th 2008, 11:24 AM
This is obviously the case, since Jerusalem is the city repeatedly charged with the blood of the prophets and saints and apostles through the New Testament (see Rev 17:6; 18:20, 24; cf. Matt 23:34-35).

Hmmm, yeah, i see what you mean.--

--4 reasons why it might be.

LK 11

One of the lawyers said to Him in reply, "Teacher, when You say this, You insult us too."
46 But He said, "Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
47 "Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them.
48 "So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs.
49 "For this reason also the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute,
50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,
51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.'
52 "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering."


Matt 23
"Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,
35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36 "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
38 "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!
39 "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!' " (ps 118)




REV 18

Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.
22 "And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer;
23 and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.
24 "And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth."

REV 17
And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly.

DurbanDude
Nov 25th 2008, 01:16 PM
Hmmm, yeah, i see what you mean.--

--4 reasons why it might be.

LK 11

One of the lawyers said to Him in reply, "Teacher, when You say this, You insult us too."
46 But He said, "Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
47 "Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them.
48 "So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs.
49 "For this reason also the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute,
50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,
51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.'
52 "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering."


Matt 23
"Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,
35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36 "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
38 "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!
39 "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!' " (ps 118)




REV 18

Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.
22 "And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer;
23 and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.
24 "And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth."

REV 17
And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly.

Jerusalem received its judgement in 70AD , who slaughtered the Jews then? THE ROMANS. It was at this time that Rome took over the role of the harlot. After slaughtering many thousands of Christians,Rome ironically took on the mantle of Christianity and has been the false representative of Christ on earth to this day. According to a Catholic website (newadvent.org) here is a title of the Pope :

Vicar of Christ(Latin Vicarius Christi). A title of the pope (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm) implying his supreme and universal primacy (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12423a.htm), both of honour (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07462a.htm) and of jurisdiction (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08567a.htm), over the Church of Christ. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03744a.htm) It is founded on the words of the Divine Shepherd (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08374c.htm) to St. Peter (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm): "Feed my lambs. . . . Feed my sheep" (John 21:16-17 (http://www.newadvent.org/bible/joh021.htm#verse16)), by which He constituted the Prince of the Apostles (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm) guardian of His entire flock in His own place, thus making him His Vicar (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15401a.htm) and fulfilling the promise made in Matthew 16:18-19 (http://www.newadvent.org/bible/mat016.htm#verse18).

Imagine an individual claiming himself to have supreme and universal primacy , both of honour and jurisdiction, over the Church of Christ. The RCI is the harlot church. Rome has caused more slaughter of Christians and Jews than even the Moslems. Just as Jerusalem represents religious harlotry and hypocrisy during the Jewish times, since the crucifixion it is Rome that has been slaughtering Jews and Christians and represents harlotry and hypocrisy relating to true Christianity.

If you would like me to research and list the major slaughters of Rome over the last 2000 years then I will, the killing of the faithful Jews by the hypocritical leaders of Jerusalem pales into insignificance when compared to the slaughters of Christians by the hypocritical so-called leaders of Christianity.

Literalist-Luke
Nov 25th 2008, 04:23 PM
1) The Olivet Discourse, which most understand as a shorter treatment of the same subject as John’s Revelation, is centered not on the destruction of some end-time rebuilt Babylon, or even on present day Rome, but rather on the destruction of Jerusalem. Which took place in 70 AD.
If the early church was at all formed by Jesus’ teaching, and, like him, regarded the present Jerusalem as the focal point of national idolatry that was leading the nation into ruinIdolatry was not what led Israel into ruin – it was their rejection of Jesus. I did a search for the word “idolatry” in the Gospels. Jesus never even used that word in any of them.
then it would be natural for them to share his attitude, according to which Jerusalem had come to symbolize all that was resistant to the gospel and violently opposing the existence of a renewed Israel, the new ethnically inclusive people of God. This is obviously the case, since Jerusalem is the city repeatedly charged with the blood of the prophets and saints and apostles through the New Testament (see Rev 17:6; 18:20, 24; cf. Matt 23:34-35). “Throughout the New Testament” only includes Revelation and Matthew in your list, and you are assuming they are the same thing. And the usage isn’t even the same – Revelation 17:6 says “God’s people” and “those who bore testimony to Jesus”. That has nothing at all to do with the prophets of Israel. It’s referring to the Church. Revelation 18:20 includes the “apostles and prophets” as a part of those who should rejoice over the destruction of Babylon, but they’re still only a small part of the list. Your connection between Matthew 23 and Revelation 17-18 doesn’t hold up.
2) Revelation presents a series of contrasts—a lamb vs. a dragon, the Father’s name vs. the beast’s name, and the bride vs. the harlot. The bride and harlot are represented by two cites, one called the “New Jerusalem” and the other “Mystery Babylon”. The bride exemplifies faithful obedience to God; the harlot exemplifies rebellion against God. The whole symmetry of this contrast suggests that, if the faithful bride is the New Jerusalem, the rebellious harlot is likely the old Jerusalem.Another assumption in contrast with the plain wording of Revelation. “Babylon” is located in the Shinar Desert, not at Mount Moriah. You are correct about the various contrasts in Revelation, but none of them give you license to assume the extension to New Jerusalem vis a vis “Old Jerusalem”. That same passage in Revelation 21-22 about New Jerusalem also speaks of a new earth as well. Why aren’t you pursuing an “Old Earth” analogy?
3) Recognizing the immediate application of John’s vision in chapters 4-22 to the seven historic churches to which it was first addressed, we find that the commonality between the faithful among those churches—Smyrna and Philadelphia—was that they were experiencing persecution from “those who say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan”, i.e. from faithless Israel in the dispersion. Practicing Jews at that time were exempt from participating in the Caesar cult, yet the Christians, when they were finally distinguished from the Jews, were not. Of course the Jews didn’t like the Christians much, and they most definitely didn’t want to be associated with them, so many would spy out the Christians and turn them into the authorities in order to bolster their tenuous relationship with Rome. When those persecuted churches in Asia Minor received John’s letter and came upon the vision of chapter 17—of a harlot riding on a beast, drunk with the blood of the saints—it’s doubtful they would be able to associate that imagery with anything other than their persecutors, apostate Israel in unholy relationship with Rome. Then how do you explain this writing from Hippolytus, who lived within less than a century after the writing of Revelation:

Hippolytus: (AD. 170-236)
“As these things, then, are in the future, and as the ten toes of the image are equivalent to (so many) democracies, and the ten horns of the fourth beast are distributed over ten kingdoms, let us look at the subject a little more closely, and consider these matters as in the clear light of a personal survey. The golden head of the image and the lioness denoted the Babylonians; the shoulders and arms of silver, and the bear, represented the Persians and Medes; the belly and thighs of brass, and the leopard, meant the Greeks, who held the sovereignty from Alexander’s time; the legs of iron, and the beast dreadful and terrible, expressed the Romans, who hold the sovereignty at present; the toes of the feet which were part clay and part iron, and the ten horns, were emblems of the kingdoms that are yet to rise; the other little horn that grows up among them meant the Antichrist in their midst; the stone that smites the earth and brings judgment upon the world was Christ.” [Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 27,28]

He plainly associates the final beast with Rome and says nothing about Jerusalem or Jews. Using your scenario, that Jews were supposedly the primary agents of persecution, it seems difficult to see how a person from that time period as prominent among believers as Hippolytus was would be so ignorant of the source of their persecutions as to call Rome the primary agent of evil.
4) As a symbolic name for Jerusalem, Babylon would be as fitting as Sodom or Egypt, which were both applied to Jerusalem earlier in Revelation (11:8). Combine this with the fact that the title “Babylon the Great” is prefaced by “Mystery”, and the argument which stands on a literal interpretation of that title looses its force to a large degree. It could also be argued to the contrary that if God went to the trouble of symbolizing Jerusalem with Sodom and Egypt, but didn’t bother mentioning Babylon, that should be an indication that a parallel was not intended. And the word “Mystery” hardly discredits a “literal” interpretation. If you want to go there, then you’re going to have to deal with Amillennialism as well.
5) The title “that great city”, which is used first for Jerusalem in 11:8, is used for Babylon every time it appears thereafter (14:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21), with the exception of the one time it appears in reference to the New Jerusalem (21:10), which in fact bolsters the argument based on the contrast between the two cities.This is a point that, if there were other credible points to support it, I could go along with. Unfortunately, Jerusalem and Babylon both being referred to as “great cities” does not require them to be one and the same.
6) In chapter 14, the winepress is trampled “outside the city” (14:20), which almost all understand to refer to Jerusalem, yet the only city mentioned earlier in that passage is Babylon (14:8).That’s because “outside the city” is where the plain of Megiddo, Armageddon, is located. It still doesn’t make Jerusalem “Babylon”.
7) The division of Babylon into “three parts” best fits Jerusalem (cf. Ezek 5:1-12; Zech 13:8-9).Considering that Isaiah and Jeremiah both predicted the total destruction of Babylon (which has never happened yet, by the way), I don’t see where you’re getting the notion of Babylon being divided into three parts.
8) The designation “the harlot” is an established label for Jerusalem from the Old Testament (cf. Isa. 1:21; 57:8; Jer. 2:2, 20), and it could never appropriately be applied to Babylon or any other Gentile city. Well, first of all, in your analogy of Jerusalem as the “harlot” you should also include the entire book of Hosea, which is far more explicit than Isaiah or Jeremiah. But the Old Testament’s equating of Jerusalem with a harlot includes no statements anywhere that would prevent us from making a similar analogy with another city. Considering the apostasy of Genesis 11 happened at Babylon and was long before David conquered the Jebusites in Jerusalem, I would think Babylon would actually have first dibs on the “harlot” analogy.
The Old Testament uses the metaphor of harlotry exclusively for a city or nation that has abandoned the covenant and turned toward false gods; and with only two exceptions, the term is always used for faithless Israel.Except in Revelation 17, in reference to our apostasy from the Noahic Covenant just after the Flood, long before Israel ever existed.

Nihil Obstat
Nov 25th 2008, 05:16 PM
(I write this having not yet read the others' posts...) Though I once agreed with you, I now believe that the harlot is not Jerusalem, but Babylon, a future city to be reestablished east of the Euphrates (Zech. 5:11; Rev. 16:12).


1) The Olivet Discourse, which most understand as a shorter treatment of the same subject as John’s Revelation, is centered not on the destruction of some end-time rebuilt Babylon, or even on present day Rome, but rather on the destruction of Jerusalem. If the early church was at all formed by Jesus’ teaching, and, like him, regarded the present Jerusalem as the focal point of national idolatry that was leading the nation into ruin, then it would be natural for them to share his attitude, according to which Jerusalem had come to symbolize all that was resistant to the gospel and violently opposing the existence of a renewed Israel, the new ethnically inclusive people of God. This is obviously the case, since Jerusalem is the city repeatedly charged with the blood of the prophets and saints and apostles through the New Testament (see Rev 17:6; 18:20, 24; cf. Matt 23:34-35).

Jesus' attitude is that of mourning the coming destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44), "the city of the great King" (Matt. 5:35) - not that of celebration (Rev. 19:1-2). The Day of the Lord will come upon all nations, bringing low all who are self-exalted, including Israel, the Lord's people of covenant. One of the main purposes for this Day as put forth in Scripture is to break the pride of the Jews (Lev. 26:19; Deut. 32:36; cp. Dan. 12:7) and bring to completion the iniquity of the Gentiles (cp. Gen. 15:16; Dan. 8:23; 9:27), that the holy city would be cleansed of its sins (Dan. 9:24) and established above every other mountain (Mic. 4:1-8). Jerusalem, during the tribulation, does not seem to be in league with the False Prophet (the Antichrist), or even in a position to be clothed in 'luxurious garments', but rather, as you later reference in point #7, half the city will go into captivity (Zech. 14:2), and two thirds of the half remaining will have been killed (13:8; cp. Eze. 5:1-12), and the surviving one third will be holed up in the city until the end (12:5-9; 13:9). Hardly the description of those "drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (Rev. 17:6), wouldn't you agree?


2) Revelation presents a series of contrasts—a lamb vs. a dragon, the Father’s name vs. the beast’s name, and the bride vs. the harlot. The bride and harlot are represented by two cites, one called the “New Jerusalem” and the other “Mystery Babylon”. The bride exemplifies faithful obedience to God; the harlot exemplifies rebellion against God. The whole symmetry of this contrast suggests that, if the faithful bride is the New Jerusalem, the rebellious harlot is likely the old Jerusalem.

The earthly Jerusalem is to the heavenly Jerusalem as my old man is to my new man... but that's another thread for another time. Being so, I disagree that these two cities are being symmetrically contrasted, since they are truly one and the same city. ;)


3) Recognizing the immediate application of John’s vision in chapters 4-22 to the seven historic churches to which it was first addressed, we find that the commonality between the faithful among those churches—Smyrna and Philadelphia—was that they were experiencing persecution from “those who say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan”, i.e. from faithless Israel in the dispersion. Practicing Jews at that time were exempt from participating in the Caesar cult, yet the Christians, when they were finally distinguished from the Jews, were not. Of course the Jews didn’t like the Christians much, and they most definitely didn’t want to be associated with them, so many would spy out the Christians and turn them into the authorities in order to bolster their tenuous relationship with Rome. When those persecuted churches in Asia Minor received John’s letter and came upon the vision of chapter 17—of a harlot riding on a beast, drunk with the blood of the saints—it’s doubtful they would be able to associate that imagery with anything other than their persecutors, apostate Israel in unholy relationship with Rome.

Interesting point, and perhaps even your strongest point. However, the epistles are highlighting not the enemies outside the churches, but that the churches themselves are enemies of Jesus and, apart from repentance, will be judged by Him with the rest! And even faithful Smyrna and Philadelphia were not exempt from warning, that they too must persevere unto death or suffer eternal wrath. So to say that "it’s doubtful they would be able to associate that imagery with anything other than their persecutors, apostate Israel in unholy relationship with Rome" seems a bit strained. The imagery of the harlot is clearly a reference to Isa. 47-48 and Jer. 50-51, which undoubtedly concern Babylon, not Israel.


4) As a symbolic name for Jerusalem, Babylon would be as fitting as Sodom or Egypt, which were both applied to Jerusalem earlier in Revelation (11:8). Combine this with the fact that the title “Babylon the Great” is prefaced by “Mystery”, and the argument which stands on a literal interpretation of that title looses its force to a large degree.

When Peter wrote that those in Babylon greeted the dispersed (1 Pet. 5:13), do you honestly think he spoke of Jerusalem...? John obviously wrote that Jerusalem was spiritually called Sodom and Egypt at Jesus' crucifixion as a reference to Isa. 1, which calls Israel a harlot (v.21), but never is Israel called "the mother of all harlots" - that phrase is only used of those Gentile nations she commits harlotry with (Eze. 16:44). And just because the title includes "mystery" in it does not remove literalness, but rather strengthens it being literal. The mysteries spoken of in the NT are glorious literal realities, not 'spiritualized' realities (cp. Rom. 11:25; 1 Cor. 2:7; 15:51; Eph. 1:9-10; 3:3-6; 5:31-32; Col. 1:27; etc).


5) The title “that great city”, which is used first for Jerusalem in 11:8, is used for Babylon every time it appears thereafter (14:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21), with the exception of the one time it appears in reference to the New Jerusalem (21:10), which in fact bolsters the argument based on the contrast between the two cities.

I think that 16:19 is about Jerusalem also (see #7). And "[earthly] Jerusalem" is not once named explicitly in Revelation, but "Babylon" is used six times. I think Babylon and the New Jerusalem are being contrasted, not earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem. (Do you believe Babylon will be a real city to be rebuilt in days to come?)


6) In chapter 14, the winepress is trampled “outside the city” (14:20), which almost all understand to refer to Jerusalem, yet the only city mentioned earlier in that passage is Babylon (14:8).

Not sure how this could be used as a point for or against... either way the plain of Megiddo is outside both cities. Perhaps I need more explanation on this one?


7) The division of Babylon into “three parts” best fits Jerusalem (cf. Ezek 5:1-12; Zech 13:8-9).

I agree Rev. 16:19's "great city" best fits Jerusalem (cp. Rev. 11:8, 13), as in contrast to "the cities of the nations", which "great Babylon" would be a part of, for Babylon will not be divided, but violently thrown down, never to be found again (cp. Rev. 16:19b w/ 18:5-6, 20-21).


8) The designation “the harlot” is an established label for Jerusalem from the Old Testament (cf. Isa. 1:21; 57:8; Jer. 2:2, 20), and it could never appropriately be applied to Babylon or any other Gentile city. The Old Testament uses the metaphor of harlotry exclusively for a city or nation that has abandoned the covenant and turned toward false gods; and with only two exceptions, the term is always used for faithless Israel.

And of those two exceptions, it is used first in Scripture of the Gentile nations (Ex. 34:15), not of Israel. So to say that "it could never appropriately be applied to Babylon or any other Gentile city" is quite untrue (and you agree, saying "exclusively" yet with "exceptions"), as the precedence of harlotry is for those not in covenant with God. Take care not to confuse harlotry with adultery. Israel was only ever called a harlot because the nations were in harlotry.
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Great stuff as always, bud! Looking forward to discussing this further with you! - Astro

Nihil Obstat
Dec 4th 2008, 04:39 AM
Well Hitman, it's been over a week... any thoughts?

markedward
Dec 4th 2008, 07:33 AM
When Peter wrote that those in Babylon greeted the dispersed (1 Pet. 5:13), do you honestly think he spoke of Jerusalem...?Though you weren't asking me, I thought I'd throw in my thoughts.

1. Scripture consistently depicts Peter as residing in Jerusalem. According to Paul's letters, Peter was in Jerusalem over two decades after Christ ascended to heaven. According to Acts and Paul's letters, Peter was one of the few apostles remaining in Jerusalem, and his ministry there was so strong that he was considered a "pillar" to the Jerusalem church.

2. The few times Peter is depicted as leaving Jerusalem, he never travelled very far, and he always returned. Nothing indicates that Peter left Jerusalem, or that he had intentions to leave. Paul claims that he was the apostle to the gentiles, while he claims Peter was the apostle to the Jews. Jerusalem is the place to minister to Jews.

3. 1 Peter mentions two other believers: Mark and Silas. These individuals are, likewise, depicted as living in Jerusalem. Although it's possible that Peter and Mark and Silas could have all gone off to Rome or some other city, there's just no indication in Scripture that this ever happened. Nothing in the letter indicates that the three are off on a ministry-trip.

4. Peter says he is sending greetings from Babylon to "the dispersed" or "the scattered". In Scripture, the only "scattering" of Christians that I can find is in Acts, when they (with the exception of the apostles) were driven out of Jerusalem. Peter was one of the relative few who stayed in the city.