As one grows in Christ they will find that the safest way to interpret scripture is with other scripture. Babylon in the Apostle Johns revelation is no exception to this rule. While it is true that Babylon may represent many things in the world, first and foremost in the Bible it symbolically speaks of a very specific time period known as "The Times of the Gentiles." During this time period four empires where to rule over and oppress Gods people. As it turns out this time period lasted nearly two thousand years.
The hyperlinks in this article link to reference material associated with the statements containing them. Most of the reference material is an integral part of the article. The hyperlinks are not randomly added definitions. It is not the intention of this article to go into detail in this article. The details are in Bible prophecy articles, especially the End Time Prophecy article. This article is intended as a general overview of Babylon in the book of Revelation.
In the book of Daniel chapter 2 you will find the first of five visions or dreams recorded with various details of four different empires. The first of (or the head of) which is Babylon. The most noteworthy in Daniel chapter two is that the beginning of an everlasting kingdom from heaven will take place during the fourth empire.
In Daniel chapter 7 we see four animals which again represent these same four empires. At this point the main reason you can know this is that these four empires end with the same scenario contained in Daniel chapter two. The establishment of an everlasting kingdom from heaven that begins to take place during the fourth empire.
In the next vision in Daniel chapter 8 the second and third empires are named. Further details about these empires are added with each successive vision. His vision in Daniel chapter 9 prophesies the time period between the Jewish peoples return to Israel to the coming of the Messiah. It also says when he comes Jerusalem will be destroyed.
Daniel Chapters 10-12 again record visions of the same things. The head of the statue has already been conquered by the second empire at this time. Chapter 11 starting with the Medo-Persian Empire goes into great detail of the wars between what's left of Alexander the Greats empire. It then mentions Herod the Great and the annexation of the last section of the Greek empire to the fourth empire Rome. Chapter 12 prophesies the ministry of Christ through apostles and the ending of the first covenant age with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. .
Revelation 13-14 record the same events as written in Daniel, some of the symbolism is the same, some of it is different. The same events can be seen in it even though it is a bit more cryptic in nature and the emphasis is now on Rome.
Revelation 15-19 just like it specifically says, details the destruction of this Babylon. Those four empires who's head was Babylon that for so long were victorious over the righteous. That it specifically details Babylon's destruction should be kept in mind when bombarded with endless and unhealthy speculations about the end of the world. Then just as Daniels revelations say; after Babylon is destroyed the kingdom of God "shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High." This is symbolized by the marriage supper of the lamb and the sword which proceeds out of this mouth. That sword being his word that when believed brings salvation to whole nations or when rejected results in the destruction of nations.
The visions John had on the subject of Babylon where so relevant to his day. They hand of this wicked empire weighed heavy on the saints with it's lawlessness and persecution. There can be no doubt that the Apostle understood Daniels revelations about the destruction of the Roman Empire and the glories that would follow. The saints of God would be given their proper place in the earth as the light and the salt that would bring law, justice, freedom and righteousness just like it was prophesied all through the Old Testament. He undoubtedly was burdened and prayed for the fulfillment of these things as he studied them in the scripture. God not only assured John by showing him that what was already written would happen, but also that this would not take place in his lifetime. There was yet many emperors to come and that the empire would change its form yet remain the same. How could anyone know in the first century but God that the Roman empire would split into an eastern and western empire and wickedly oppress Gods saints for over another millennia? How could anyone know that the preaching and teaching of the word of God, and it's mass production via the printing press would start the world down the road toward the final destruction of the power of that Empire.
Christ himself said, "the kingdom of God comes not with observation, but it is within you." By this word it is understood that the things of the Kingdom of God, righteousness, goodness, love, purity, holiness, godliness, ect. are established in peoples hearts first. After this takes place those people will quite naturally establish human government based on those principles that are in their hearts. Since "Babylon" has fallen the people that have Gods word established in their hearts and those who are influenced by them have indeed been dominate in the world. They have established just governments based on the rule of law rather than the whim of men, they have triumphed over every adversary, the fear of them is in all the earth. This is what is to be understood as: " And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him." These are the people who are "last" in the progression of time but who are "first" in that all the promises written are fulfilled in their generations. What is exciting is that the gospel hasn't even been preached in all the earth nor understood completely by most Christians. When this takes place those of that time period will look back and say "truly, eye had not seen nor ear heard what God had prepared for the sons of men."
1st Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be
counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word
© 2002-2012 Daniel Martinovich