Babylon is referred to over 300 times in the book of Revelation. Since Babylon is an ancient city that is no longer active on the global market, who or what is being referenced in the future? Dr. Hindson and Dr. Hitchcock offer different interpretations about who exactly Babylon is, and what the implications of Babylon in Revelation mean.
Hindson: Many take it as literal Babylon; that Babylon will one day be rebuilt in the future, become the great commercial center of the world, become the headquarters of the Antichrist. And certainly ancient Babylon was a major evil city, etc. But even by the time of John it was not a major city that was having a major commercial influence in the world. I think he uses Babylon as a code word for Rome in the book of Revelation. Because he says it’s the city that sits on seven hills, and it’s the city that rules over the whole world. Rome was a city that literally ruled over the whole world at that time. If you were a Roman citizen you were considered a citizen of the city of Rome, not the empire. And so, because he calls it “mystery Babylon,” I think it’s a clue that you’re not supposed to take it literally.
Ankerberg: Okay, Mark?
Hitchcock: Yes. It’s fascinating to me. When you come to the book of Revelation most people never would think of this, but 44 of the 404 verses in the book of Revelation are about Babylon; 11% of the book of Revelation is about Babylon. So whatever it is, it’s important. And Babylon is the last place that God deals with before the second coming of Jesus in Revelation 19. Yes, I agree with Ed there; I think this is the most difficult interpretation in the book of Revelation. People take Babylon to be Rome; of course some take it to be New York City; preterists take it to be Jerusalem.
And I take it in a more literal sense to be a literal Babylon that’s going to be rebuilt. The word Babylon, Babylonia, is referred to about 300 times in the Bible. It’s always literal; except, there is one place, in 1 Peter 5:13, where Babylon does seem to be used there for the city of Rome.
But, you know, to me I think the most important thing is we see everything really come full circle. Right in the beginning after the flood everyone was gathered at Babylon. And the city was built there by Nimrod, and really the whole world was under his control. God scattered men over the face of the earth; and Satan, who’s the master globalist, has been kind of inexorably bringing the world back together again. And we see this Babylon, whatever it is in the end, is going to be Antichrist’s city. It’s kind of man’s city. And it’s going to be the final place that God destroys before the Lord Jesus comes back.
And I think the main message is, when you read those chapters, Babylon is a place of materialism and sensuality and opposition to God. The main message, whatever place we identified Babylon as particularly, it’s something you don’t want to be identified with. And whatever Babylon is all about, we want to be the opposite of that in our lives.