Have The Prophecies In Revelation 17-18 About Babylon Been Fulfilled? Part 1 -- By: Andrew M. Woods

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 169:673 (Jan 2012)
Article: Have The Prophecies In Revelation 17-18 About Babylon Been Fulfilled? Part 1
Author: Andrew M. Woods


Have The Prophecies In Revelation 17-18 About Babylon Been Fulfilled? Part 1

Andrew M. Woods

Andrew M. Woods is Associate Professor of Bible and Theology, The College of Biblical Studies, Houston, Texas, and Senior Pastor, Sugar Land Bible Church, Sugar Land, Texas.

Preterists contend that the events in Revelation 4-22 were mostly fulfilled in the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. They believe that the book of Revelation was penned in the mid 60s and predicts God’s judgment in AD 70 on national Israel because of her rejection of Christ. At that time God was also at work creating the new universal church to replace disgraced and judged Israel (John 4:21; Gal. 3:9, 28-29; 6:16; Eph. 2:14). However, “partial” preterists are quick to distinguish themselves from “full” preterists by still holding to a future bodily return of Christ and final judgment (Rev. 20:7-15).1

Preterists believe that the harlot in Revelation 17-18 represents first-century Jerusalem and that the beast represents first-century Rome. Thus the beast’s destruction of the harlot (17:16-17) represents Rome’s sacking of Jerusalem in the events surrounding AD 70. Gentry states, “I am convinced beyond any doubt that this Harlot is first-century Jerusalem.”2 Hanegraaff similarly explains,

“What has puzzled me over the years is not the identity of ‘the great prostitute,’ but how so many could mistake her historical identity. . . . In biblical history only one nation is inextricably linked to the moniker ‘harlot.’ And that nation is Israel!3

A number of commentators (along with Gentry and Hanegraaff) embrace this interpretation. Older commentators who hold this view include Philip Carrington, J. S. Russell, and Milton Terry. More recent commentators who hold this view include David Chilton, Massyngberde Ford, Kenneth Gentry, Scott Hahn, Hank Hanegraaff, R. C. Sproul, and N. T. Wright. Recently several books have defended the notion that the Babylonian harlot represents first-century Jerusalem.4 The purpose of the...

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