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 Who is Mystery Babylon?

Revelation 17:4-5

The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, and having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MITHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMONATIONS OF THE EARTH."

Who exactly is John talking about here. This question came up and one of the threads on the end times. To be honest I do not know. I listen to Revelation as part of my Bible listening program. But there's a lot about the book that is a mystery. No pun intended.

Like to see some fruitful discussion in terms of who mystery Babylon is. I understand that people have different views about things. I ask that the discussion be reasonable. And maybe together the Holy Spirit might give us revelation as to what this text means. Again no pun intended.

My intention is not to start an argument. But honestly, I would like to know who John is talking about here. All throughout my walk with Christ I've heard differing interpretations rsgarding this passage. But Wonder, what is the Holy Spirit really saying.

Hope we can be Berean and find out the answer.

 2016/4/5 13:48

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5390

 Re: Who is Mystery Babylon?

To me it sounds like papacy. Purple and scarlet- gold- riches- idolatry- blasphemy.


 2016/4/5 14:03Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2002
Joplin, Missouri


Funny...I was reading Revelation yesterday and had the same question. Scripture is not extremely clear to me. I would love to hear some opinions and the reason why for that opinion based oh what you see in scripture.


 2016/4/5 14:07Profile

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5390


Further, there is reference to 7 hills(Rome) and she is guilty of martyring, etc.

Yep- I agree with Matthew Henry that it's the papacy.


 2016/4/5 14:11Profile

 Re: Who is Mystery Babylon?

Here is my contribution, Bear and this is what I see in the Scriptures.

The False Bride - is Satan's counterfeit of the True Bride. It is the corrupt counterfeit church bethrothed to Satan and devoted to his system (the world) while the true Bride is bethrothed to Christ and loyal to the Kingdom of God. Different spirit source, different kingdom, one is earthly, fleshly the other is heavenly, spiritual. One operates by the Holy Spirit motivated by the the love of God and humility the other by the powers of darkness, selfishness and pride.

A "pure woman" represents a pure Church, a corrupt woman represents a corrupt Church. The woman in white is Christ’s bride, the true Church. But Revelation 17:1, 15-16 and 19:2 calls this second woman a “WHORE” or “HARLOT”, a fallen Church teaching false doctrines. And she persecutes and kills the true saints of God. "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus". (17:6)

Satan is the "bridegroom" of his church which by extension contains everything that is not of Christ on earth - all false religions make up his "church", anything not deriving it's nature and character from Christ is deriving their nature and character from Satan. Either, or...Scripture reveals there are always and only two parallels between the true and the false, life and death, good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, Christ and Satan, true saints and antichrist(s).

I say antichrists because you also have many "christ-ones" on earth, the true saints of God filled with the Holy Spirit who make up the Bride and many antichrist-ones filled with "the evil spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience", that make up the False Bride.

This is only a high level summary. Of course you know the scriptures contain a lot more detail.

 2016/4/5 14:13


I used to think it was just the Papacy, but now I see that it is everything in Satan's kingdom.

Papacy is only part of Satan's kingdom (granted a large part and they are very rich as scripture alludes to). Satan chiefly uses them to control the rest of his domain in many respects but not all respects. Of course the Papacy is always jockeying for more control and influence in the world system. I think seven hills does refer to them and they are "on many waters", with religious "ambassadors" in every country except maybe Iran and N. Korea. But, there is a much wider picture of Satan's false Church as it contains all religions that were spawned by him. They are all members of the false church, bride. Basically, the world, Satan's system and all those who are loyal to his system. Most don't know it and that is why we have to preach the gospel to "open the eyes of the them which are blind".

Mystery Babylon fights wars in the flesh using carnal weapons, the Church fights in the spirit using spiritual weapons, of course.

 2016/4/5 14:19

Joined: 2011/8/23
Posts: 1632


Hanegraaff identifies the Rev. 17 harlot as apostate Israel of history and cites, chiefly, Ezekiel 16 as a near identical parallel that, to him, makes it so unmistakable that it puzzles him why anyone misses it and would think to identify anyone else.

Rick Booye, pastor at Trail Christian Fellowship in Trail, OR, has two nicely put sermons on Revelation 17 for further study, if you like:


Check Booye's study notes on the first of these. I really like his point that the cure for prostitution is not celibacy, but marriage (that is, marriage to the Lamb).

Just a couple of very different approaches to the question I thought to share.

Personally, IDK, but I tend to think as Booye does.


 2016/4/5 14:48Profile


I agree with Booye on this:

What is the Prostitute Babylon? The personification of human idolatry: WorldThink.

A. Worshipping and centering life around anything other than God and his kingdom.

All the idolatry humanity has ever produced in one Civil/Religious Antichrist System.

Idolatry is centering your life on anything other than God and His Kingdom (Matt.6:33).

It is a replacement God, an Anti-Christ.
A. It is what the Devil tempted Jesus

 2016/4/5 15:19

Joined: 2008/5/3
Posts: 435


Isn't the answer included on the same page the question originates from...

Rev 17:18  And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

There's your answer. Does Rome reign over the kings of the earth? Strong influence yes, rule over: no. There is no jurisdiction, a required component for that.

Currently that great city is seat of the U.N., or NYC.

That might change in the future, however Rev 18 indicates that at time of it's destruction it still is (up to then), because the merchants of the earth weep over their favorite market center's sudden end. These days when all global commerce has an online department that goes mostly through US web servers, because its cheaper, and almost all foreign companies have either customers or even part of their main market in the US that's the only one that fits that specific scenario, there is no close second. Anywhere, and at any time. Go to any market forum, they can tell you the same, there is no global e-commerce without the US. And there never was a global market at any time that had that many foreign merchants involved, it's unprecedented.

It's difficult to say yes to that truth when you're part of it, it's like asking anyone in Sodom if they would be aware that they are almost ripe for destruction. Of course nobody would be able to agree with that, they would find 100 alternative answers that sound more comforting to them.

What about truth? Wouldn't that be more comforting and start some action in the right direction? Then again was there any truth in Sodom? Is there any truth in Babylon?

 2016/4/6 23:13Profile


"City" is figurative language for Satan's worldwide religious system of IDOLATRY and REBELLION against God. Setting up false saviors (false Christs) in every religion.

This "City" is the one system before which all kings, dictators, and nations have been forced to bow down throughout history, that is, the "Babylonian/Satanic" religion of idolatry.

Satan wants us to get our eyes on flesh and blood and think our battle is with a particular religious organization on earth, but though the RCC is a major religious organization that has persecuted and slain the saints of God, the "CITY" encompasses all of Satan's idolatrous religious systems.

Figurative language is very important because it is God's shorthand way of revealing spiritual realities.

For instance, the Book of Revelation uses the word "waters" and "sea" as figurative language and if you search you will find out what this refers to.

17:15 And he saith unto me, THE WATER WHICH THOU SAWEST, where the whore sitteth, ARE peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

Then the angel explains to John the meaning of the water on which the woman (whore) is sitting: It is the peoples of the earth. Peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages designate all humanity in the book of Revelation. As in the saying, "sea of humanity"

Just keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is trying to reveal spiritual realities through the writers of the Scriptures...things not seen, rather than things that are seen. But Satan is convincing many that these things pertain to what is seen, thus Christians think the battle is between this false organization or that one, or this wicked nation or that one.

Thus, people create beliefs from one scripture that is no where else to be found in the Bible.
A good example of this is the "millenium". It is mentioned only once, in Rev 20:1-6
Figurative speech - God's shorthand to reveal something.

Revelation means an "uncovering" or "unveiling". The Book of Revelation is meant to reveal spiritual realities not conceal them.

Revelation employs apocalyptic language with highly symbolic and figurative language.

People today are unfamiliar with apocalyptic language which was popular from 200 BC to 200 AD and the early church understood it and used it during times of persecution to describe good and evil. Remember, John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos during a time of great persecution. Today, most people are prone to take things literally not recognizing the figurative use of language in the Bible.

These things that John was talking about were to "shortly come to pass".

Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things WHICH MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Towards the end, John says, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND" - Rev 22:10

In these two cases, "shortly come to pass" and "for the time is at hand", John is not speaking figuratively. This is straight talk now, and not symbolic language. Remember, he was writing the book to comfort the Christians to whom this letter would be sent to during this time of great persecution.

John announces at the beginning and then again at the end just so everyone would know for sure.

"Shortly come to pass..." Rev 1:1,3
"For the time is at hand... "Re 22:6,10

The literalist here, should agree. For some reason that is not the case.

This is not figurative language for a couple of thousand years, later. That would not be very comforting to the Christians of John's time.

Some think Bablyon back then was Jerusalem and the Beast that supported the Whore was Rome and although that might be very applicable for that time (in John's mind), there are still spiritual realities that do pertain to our time and every time in between the 1st century church and now. Just as the false religious system killed Jesus and many saints and employed Rome to carry out their dirty work, that same modus operandi has taken place through the centuries. As the Whore is still today, religious idolatry (Satan's "city", "Kingdom") and the beast is the political/military world that is married to the false religious system. Hence, the religious system rides the beast. Always has and always will since they are both Satanic systems, belonging to the same kingdom. The false religious system has used political and military powers through the centuries to persecute the saints of God.

The purpose of Revelation was to reveal that God was bringing judgment on Rome and Jerusalem for having rejected God and persecuting His people culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and even Rome ceased to be a world power, later. And yet, the book of Revelation is still applicable in every century, till the end. Because this same judgment has taken place in different ways on the Satanic kingdom. I remember when Richard Wurmbrand was imprisoned for his faith and great persecution took place in Romania. Eventually, the Lord judged that ruler and the political system and that kingdom (principality) were brought down.

Revelation is a book of warning to saints then and now and in between to remain faithful and it is a book of comfort, then, now and in between, and it is still applicable generally speaking in the battle between God and Satan and the true Church and the False Church. There are still things to come to pass. It is a panoramic view of the battle between light and darkness, Kingdom vs kingdom, righteousness and unrighteousness. There is still a few more things to be fulfilled:

The final and ultimate defeat of Satan - Rev 20:7-10
The final judgment - Rev 20:11-15
The eternal destiny of the redeemed saints of God - Rev 21:1-22:5

It is really important to look at these things with spiritual eyes and not with your physical eyes and when you see these things, it really helps you to understand where the true battle is taking place and then you will not "entangle yourself in the affairs of this life".

"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." 2 Tim 2:3

May the Lord help us all to see.

Food for thought...

 2016/4/7 0:26

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