Have The Prophecies In Revelation 17-18 About Babylon Been Fulfilled? Part 5 -- By: Andrew M. Woods

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 170:677 (Jan 2013)
Article: Have The Prophecies In Revelation 17-18 About Babylon Been Fulfilled? Part 5
Author: Andrew M. Woods


Have The Prophecies In Revelation 17-18 About Babylon Been Fulfilled? Part 5

Andrew M. Woods

The first four articles in this series analyzed eleven issues in Revelation 17-18 that preterists use to support the view that Babylon in these chapters represents first-century Jerusalem. This article deals with additional problems with equating Babylon and first-century Jerusalem mostly from outside chapters 17-18.

Arguments Used By Preterists

Preterists present several arguments from outside the text of Revelation 17-18 in seeking to identify Babylon as first-century Jerusalem. These include (a) prophetic “time texts,” (b) appeals to extrabiblical sources, (c) literary contrasts between the harlot and the New Jerusalem, (d) the assumption of Revelation’s immediate relevance to a first-century audience, and (e) the assumption of Revelation’s complete understandability to first-century readers. This section shows how each of these arguments is invalid.

Time Texts

The book of Revelation uses the words τάχύ and τάχει (“shortly” or “quickly,” 1:1; 2:16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:6, 7, 12, 20), ἐγγύς (“near” or “at hand,” 1:3; 22:10), and μέλλω (“about to,” 1:19; 3:10), and preterists

believe these words mean that most of John’s prophecies were fulfilled in the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.1 According to Jerusalem advocates, these words narrow the interpretive possibilities for the identity of Babylon in Revelation 17-18 so that one must at least consider Jerusalem, an immediate oppressor of God’s people at the time John wrote the Apocalypse.2 As Russell explains, “Rome, Heathen or Christian, lies altogether outside the apocalyptic ...

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