In the Revelation, we read of Babylon the Great who will make the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.
A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” Rev. 14:8
In the following passages, Babylon the Great is also referred to as the Great City and as the Great Prostitute who will commit adultery with the nations.
The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Rev. 16:19
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” Rev. 17:1-2
In order to identify who Babylon the Great represents, we have to understand the meaning behind the name itself. In the Scriptures, when the word Babylon is used figuratively, it refers to the ancient city of Babylon where man first organized a collective rebellion against God (Gen. 11:1-9). When the Revelation adds the word great to this symbolic word, it tells us that this future, rebellious city will eclipse the sin of the first Babylon and will lead the world in rebellion against God.
Further information concerning Babylon the Great is revealed in the above verses that explain how the rebellious city will commit the sin of adultery with the nations. In order to fit this description, a city would have to be in a marriage covenant with God, and then break that covenant in order to follow after other gods. From the Scriptures, we know that the only Israel and the city of Jerusalem are described as God’s bride, which would make Jerusalem the city known as Babylon the Great.
The word of the Lord came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the Lord says: “‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown. Jer. 2:1-2
The identification of Jerusalem as Babylon the Great is confirmed in following passages, which describe Jerusalem as the great city, which is the same name given to Babylon the Great.
Now when they (the Two Witnesses) have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified (Jerusalem). Rev. 11:7-8
When the Revelation calls both Babylon the Great and Jerusalem the great city, it means that they are the same city.
The Transformation of Jerusalem into Babylon the Great
In the above account of the killing of the Two Witnesses by the Beast, we are given the circumstances that will lead to the conversion of Jerusalem into Babylon the Great. In these passages, the Beast refers to the Man of Lawlessness who is more commonly known as the antichrist. When the Beast (the antichrist) kills the Two Witnesses, it will be part of a larger Attack on Jerusalem itself. Following the Attack on Jerusalem and the killing of the Two Witnesses, the Beast and his army will occupy the city for 42 months. (To read more about the Attack on Jerusalem, see Is the Attack on Jerusalem a Past Event?)
I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. Rev. 11:1-2
When the Beast (the antichrist) conquers Jerusalem and establishes his rule over the fallen city, it will become the great city known as Babylon the Great who will make the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries. This corresponds with how, in the previous passages, Fallen Jerusalem is also figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, which is a description of how under the rule of the Beast, Jerusalem will become a slave to sin (Egypt), and will lead the rebellion against God (Babylon), before she is destroyed for her wickedness (Sodom).
The future rule of the Beast over Fallen Jerusalem can also be seen in the following prophecy of Daniel that describes how a king will invade Israel and pitch his royal tents at the beautiful, holy mountain.
“The king (the antichrist) will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place… He will also invade the Beautiful Land (Israel). Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain (Mount Zion). Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.” Dan. 11:36, 41-45
In these verses, we are told that the ruler will set up his tents at the beautiful, holy mountain (Mount Zion), which is to say that the Beast will establish his headquarters in Jerusalem after conquering the city. When the Beast establishes his rule on Mount Zion, the Fallen City of Jerusalem will lead the world in rebellion against God as Babylon the Great.
The Great Prostitute
In addition to being figuratively described as Babylon the Great, The Revelation also refers to Fallen Jerusalem as the Great Prostitute.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. The name written on her forehead was a mystery: babylon the great the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth. Rev. 17:1-5
In the above verses, the Great Prostitute has the name Babylon the Great written on her forehead, which tells us that she is another representation of the fallen city of Jerusalem once it comes under the rule of the Beast. Accordingly, the woman is also described as the great city, which, as we saw earlier, is the same name given to Fallen Jerusalem and Babylon the Great.
“The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.” Rev. 17:18
The Fall of Babylon the Great
The eventual downfall of Babylon the Great will occur at the Battle of Armageddon when a severe earthquake will destroy the armies of the Beast and the great city from which he will rule. (To read more about this battle, see The Battle of Armageddon)
Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.
The description of the fall of Babylon the Great is accompanied by a warning to God’s people to come out from her in order not to share in her sins and receive her plagues.
Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;” Rev. 18:4
The fall of Babylon the Great is also described as a large millstone that is thrown into the sea, which is a picture of how the kingdom of the Beast will never rise again.
Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.” Rev. 18:21
When Babylon the Great is destroyed, the kings and merchants who grew wealthy off of her trade will weep over her demise.
“When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, you mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your doom has come!” Rev. 18:9-10
“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore— cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves. “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your luxury and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out: “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!”
The mention off the kings and merchants who will mourn over the fall of the Babylon the Great reflects how the kingdom of the Beast will include the great port cities of the Mediterranean Sea, which will belong to the ten nations that will give their authority to him. (To read more about the rise of the Beast and the ten kings who will follow him, see Revelation Chapter 13) The sea captains and merchants who service these ports will become rich from her trade and will be filled with mourning when Babylon the Great is destroyed in one hour by the Great Earthquake that will occur at the Battle of Armageddon.
The last mention of Babylon the Great has to do with the celebrations that will follow the destruction of this sinful city that ruled over the nations.
After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” Rev. 19:1-2
 The identification of Jerusalem as the Great Prostitute, who will commit adultery with the nations, is consistent with the following Scriptures that also describe Israel/Jerusalem as the unfaithful bride, who once loved God, and who engages in prostitution.
– Israel is the young woman married to God. Isa. 54:5, Ezek. 16:8
– Jerusalem is the bride who once loved God. Jer. 2:1-2
– Israel is the adulterous wife. Hos. 1:2, Jer. 3:20, Ezek. 16:32
– Israel/Jerusalem is the prostitute. Isa. 1:21, Jer. 2:20, Ezek. 16:15
– Israel commits adultery with the nations. Ezek. 16:23-29
 In these passages, the seven heads and ten horns of the Beast represent how the Man of Lawlessness will rise up from a coalition of ten kings, who will give their authority to him, and how the Beast will subdue three of the kings on his rise to power (Dan. 7:23-25).
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