Will Babylon be Rebuilt in the End Times or is Rome the Babylon of Revelation?
Babylon was one of the most ancient cities of the world, about 50 miles or so south of Baghdad. It was founded by some of Noah’s descendents about a hundred years after the great flood of Biblical notoriety. It was likely the birthplace of the false worship of idols and is the origin of the infamous mother-child cults, which have spread all over the world under various names. It was where the tower of Babel was built in rebellion to God. In punishment, God came down and confused the languages of the people in order to make them spread out over the earth.
About 600 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar had made Babylon into a pagan empire where religion, government, and commerce became a united force to be reckoned with in the powerful Babylonian empire. It was likely one of the most powerful and influential monarchies in the world. Both of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied against Babylon correctly predicting its fall from power. Babylon fell to the Persian armies of Cyrus in 539 B.C. who was also predicted by name in the Bible to come and destroy it. The city of Babylon is now no more than a pile of rubble, but could this ancient evil empire be rebuilt at some time in the near future as in the popular fictional Left behind series? I heard tell that Sadam Hussein had once tried to rebuild it, but where is he now?
The author of the Left Behind series, Tim LaHaye, believes that “in the coming Tribulation period the Antichrist will rule the world from His headquarters in the literal, rebuilt city of Babylon on the Euphrates River in modern day Iraq.” LaHaye also believes the original fall of Babylon doesn’t fulfill the Biblical prophecies of its fall, so that it will have to be rebuilt again to completely fulfill all the prophecies. The prophecies in Isaiah 13-14 and in Jeremiah 50-51 tell us of the complete destruction of Babylon so that it will never be rebuilt. But the old Scofield reference Bible points out that in Isaiah the literal existing city is in view, while the references in Revelation are symbolical of the political and religious world power under the Beast. It states, “That Babylon, the city, is not to be rebuilt is clear from Isaiah 13:19-22; Jeremiah 51:24-26, 62-64.” Babylon in scriptural symbolism stands for the corrupt world power and religion. Verses 17-22 of Isaiah predicted the destruction of the literal city of Babylon, which existed at the time of the writing of Isaiah, and that once destroyed, Babylon would never be rebuilt.
In Revelation 17, the symbolic Babylon is in view. 17:3 says “I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” Verse 6 tells us of the woman, who is drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. Verse 8 informs us that the beast “was, and is not, and yet is.” So we know that the woman blasphemes God, kills those who follow God, once existed, was destroyed or lost its power, and will exist again in the future and regain its lost power. Verse 9 further tells us that the seven heads are seven mountains. Verse 15 goes on to tell us that the woman will have power over many people, nations, and languages. Verse 18 finally tells us that the woman is a city, which has power over the rulers of the word. So we know that the woman (Babylon) is a city that sits on seven mountains, has had power over many people and nations, along with their rulers.
The successive world powers were Tyre (Assyria), Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, which leads us to modern times. The world power of the beast (antichrist) is yet to come. Revelation tells us that five are fallen, one is, and one is to come. Verses 10 and 11 tell us that the beast will be of the seven world powers. The one world power that fits this description is Rome. Rome is commonly known as the city which sits on seven hills (mountains). The Roman Catholic Church held both religious and political power for hundreds of years, in which it ruled over kings and people of the nations. During this time, when the Roman Catholic Church held political as well as religious power, it persecuted and murdered many of the followers of Christ, who dared to buck its power. The Bible was banned in the languages of the people, and anyone who dared to translate it or read it were mercilessly hunted down by the arms of the Roman Catholic Church and martyred for their faith.
Revelation 18:4 shows an angel calling God’s people out of it so that they wouldn’t participate in its sins. Could this not but be the Protestant Revolution. Rome could very well be the Babylon of the End Times and it could regain its political power that it has lost. The Roman Catholic Church has clearly held political power in the past for the 1260 prophetic days (years) spoken of by Daniel the prophet. The City of Rome in modern times is one of the largest and most powerful areas of commerce, and with it being the base of the Roman Catholic Church holds significant religious power as well. If it regains its political strength at some time in the future, it could very well be the Babylon of the future Antichrist. The Popes wear a miter hat that proclaims them to be the Vicar of God, which is certainly blasphemous. It is inscribed with the Latin words VICARIVS FILII DEI. The Roman numerals in this Title add up to the 666 of Revelation 14:18. Is Babylon in Revelations the literal city of Babylon rebuilt, or could it possibly be the Roman Empire revived into a religious and political world power?