Monday, October 5, 2015

The Mystery of Babylon the Great

"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 fornications. 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)

Many Bible prophecy interpretations suggest that Babylon from the book of Revelation will literally be the ancient Babylon rebuilt.  Many pointed to Saddam Hussein as the leader most likely to lead this rebuilding as he did make attempts to rebuild upon the former site of Babylon.  Obviously that didn't happen.  Isaiah 13 explicitly states that Babylon will never become a city again.  After it's destruction by the Medo-Persian Empire, it was laid in ruins and continues to be so to this day. Also, the Babylon from Revelation is clearly a city bordered by an ocean or sea as it's sea merchants look upon it's devastation in anguish.  Ancient Babylon is too far away from the nearest body of water (the Persian Gulf,  300 miles) and the Euphrates River is not large or deep enough for any significant commerce to occur.

Some students of Bible prophecy interpret Jerusalem as being Babylon. They credit the Biblical symbol of Israel being a prostitute.  This is where the similarities end.  Israel is a player in the world economy but can it be described as the city where the kings of the earth reign (vs. 18)?  Is it's economic importance vital to the world economy (18:11)?  Is Jerusalem home to people of many nationalities (vs.  15)?  Finally, if Jerusalem were the city that is destroyed in one hour by the ten kings from Revelation, then the battle that Jesus leads against the armies of Israel seems to be moot. Neither Ezekiel 38, Zechariah 11, nor Revelation 19 seem to point to a destroyed Jerusalem.  If anything Jesus will come to save Israel at its lowest point, just before it is about to be destroyed by the Antichrist and his cohorts.

Here's why I think the harlot Mystery, the great Babylon, could possibly exist on Earth today.  There are similarities between the two cities in current contest for the world's greatest city:  London and New York.  But I think you'll see valid reasons for naming New York as a likely candidate to be Babylon from Revelation.  I come to this conclusion with a heavy heart, and a few others have as well,  but I admit to inconsistencies and doubts which I also discuss.

1.  World's leading stock exchange. The New York Stock Exchange is the world's leading stock exchange followed by NASDAQ,  also American.  London ranks 3rd or 4th with Japan. (18:11, 17, 18 "And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore... And every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What is like this great city?'"

2.  New York is one of the most racially diverse cities in the world.   Second behind Toronto for percentage of foreign born immigrants, it has the highest immigrant population, as well as the highest number of spoken languages (800) of any city worldwide.  (17:1,15Then 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 who sits on many waters... And he said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.“)

3.  The ten kings from Revelation 17 hate the harlot Mystery.  They join together to destroy the city of Babylon, are given power for one hour, and that's all it takes because Babylon is destroyed in one hour by fire (nuclear bomb?) (18:8-10).  If the ten kings listed here are the alliance between Russia, Iran and other former USSR and Islamic States listed in Ezekiel 38 to storm Israel and make war with the Lamb (17:14; 19: 19), then it is widely known that Russia's greatest enemy is the US, and Iran, and Islam in general, consider Israel and the US to be its greatest enemies.  In fact, the US perhaps even more so than Israel as it is referred to as Big Satan and Israel is called Little Satan.  (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.")  Once this hatred is unleashed on America,  it seems the next step (under control of the beast, the Anti-Christ) is to invade Israel and prepare to make war on the Lamb (17:13,  14 "These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.  These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful." 19:2, 19 He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her... And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.")

4.  New York City is home to the United Nations headquarters.  The UN could easily be described as the ruling power over the kings of the earth.  (17:18 "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.")

5.  New York City has the largest Jewish population of any city outside of Israel. Indeed Israel just recently surpassed the US in Jewish population.  (18:4 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.)

6.  It's already been tried and a next time will likely be worse!   9-11 is definitive proof that Jihadist Islamists has its mind to destroy New York City.  It could be said that the Revelation 18 prophecies have already been fulfilled when the Trade Towers went down, however the destruction described in Chapter 18 seems to be utterly catastrophic beyond the core of Ground Zero Manhattan. (18:22 "The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. And no craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore. And the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore.")  Unaware of, or undeterred by the future medical issues (ie cancers, lung disease) that would occur from the fall of the Twin Towers, men rushed in to help recover survivors.  Revelation 18 clearly states that men will gaze after fallen city of Babylon from afar for fear of the fire and plagues; "at a distance" is used 3 times from verses 10-17.  If a nuclear bomb were to fall on New York City, or any city, there can be no immediate rescue plan in place at Ground Zero because if there were survivors of the explosion, exposure to radiation would result in their deaths within hours or days.  Rescue helpers would suffer the same fate from this immediate exposure to radiation,  thus rescue efforts would be concentrated at a minimum of 1-4 miles depending on the force of the explosion. (18:9, 10 "And the kings of the earth ... will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, at a distance for fear of her torment." 18:15 "The merchants of these things ... will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing.").

As it stands, the idea that New York is Mystery, the Great Babylon, is a theory.  The reality is there will be a city like Babylon of old—the economical centre of the world—that will be destroyed by fire, likely as the result of alliance of 10 world leaders dropping a bomb on it.  The destruction is described as a judgement from the Lord but does not seem to come directly from His hand.

Perhaps my greatest doubt about New York being Babylon is whether the prideful, greedy, careless acts of the harlot Mystery can be attributed to New York City more than any other major city in the world.  Surely a country that up until now has been Israel's greatest ally, and greatest shelter for her people, does not deserve  the awful accusations attributed to Mystery and God's subsequent judgement?  Has or will the USA become so immoral and hostile to God's people  to warrant such judgment or is there another world city rising to mirror it's status as the world's greatest city (for example Dubai)?  What city is so evil to be accused of being "drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus"?

As I ponder this I begin to think about conspiracy theorists who claim that the United States had a vested interest in invading Iraq and Afghanistan after 9-11 (we've all heard the theory that the war was just about oil).  The aftermath of those wars are directly linked to the uprising of Islamic State and the current turmoil in Iraq and Syria.  Unless the US has some nefarious goals for the Middle East, how else can it be described as Revelation 18:23, 24 does "For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived and in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth."?  Have the US-led military maneuvers of the last 15 years and longer led up to the current mess in the Middle East, which will eventually usher in the Great Tribulation?  That seems crazy and too much the ramblings of conspiracy theorists.  I don't want to be viewed as a conspiracy theorist but I admit, I do feel a little crazy at times.

Once again all these ideas are simply theories but I hope I've provided enough evidence to give some credibility to it.