The Identity of Babylon in Revelation 17-18: Part 1 -- By: Charles H. Dyer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 144:575 (Jul 1987)
Article: The Identity of Babylon in Revelation 17-18: Part 1
Author: Charles H. Dyer

The Identity of Babylon in Revelation 17-18:
Part 1

Charles H. Dyer

Executive Vice-President, Professor
Washington Bible College and Capital Bible Seminary, Lanham, Maryland

The world is rushing toward a catastrophic period of time referred to as the Tribulation. God has sovereignly chosen to reveal many details of that period through the inspired writings of His prophets. A correct interpretation of these details is essential for a proper understanding of God’s program for the future.

One key factor in interpreting God’s prophetic program is the identification of the eschatological Babylon described by John in Revelation l7-l8. This section occupies a significant portion of the Book of Revelation, and it provides a graphic account of God’s future judgment on evil. However, one faces many problems in attempting to identify the end-time system of evil that the section presents. This two-part series attempts to provide answers for these problems through an analysis of the chapters individually, synthetically, and prophetically.

The relationship between chapters 17 and 18 is crucial to a proper understanding of the Babylon referred to in both. Do Revelation 17 and 18 separately describe two distinct Babylons? Or are the two chapters a unit that presents but one Babylon?

The Distinctions

Any attempt to understand the relationship between Revelation 17 and 18 must take into account several distinctions that

appear between the two chapters. Primarily because of these distinctions many expositors argue for the identification of two Babylons in the chapters. Four arguments against the unity of the two chapters have been advanced by various authors.

Different Settings

The first difficulty one must face is the different settings for each of the two chapters. The chapters tell of two visions introduced by different angels. Chapter 18 begins, “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven.” The problem centers on the expression “After these things.” Allen feels that this is a strong argument for making a distinction between the Babylon of chapter 17 and that of 18 .

This phrase is of great importance in

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