The Identity of Babylon - Part 3 -- By: Andy Woods

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 09:28 (Dec 2005)
Article: The Identity of Babylon - Part 3
Author: Andy Woods

The Identity of Babylon - Part 3

Andy Woods

This is the final part of Andy Woods’ thorough study of the identity of Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18. This series of studies is to be reviewed in the next Bibliotheca Sacra. We trust you have enjoyed reading them in the CTJ. We believe the author has made a valuable contribution to this interesting subject.

Descriptive Words and Phrases from Revelation 17–18 A scrutiny of some of the parallels between Revelation 17–18 and Rome that are relied on by Rome advocates demonstrates that they are not as convincing as perhaps they initially appear. For example, as mentioned earlier, the water imagery of 17:1 seems inapplicable to Rome since Rome had no seaport and more applicable to Babylon which was located on the bank of the Euphrates. Moreover, the notion that the forehead writing (Rev 17:5) is an allusion to prostitutes of the Greco-Roman culture wearing headbands inscribed with their names is questionable. Some scholars are questioning the historicity of this practice altogether.1

Furthermore, the Christian martyrdoms supposedly alluded to in Revelation 17:6 and 18:24 do not uniquely identify Rome due to the fact that Israel (Matt 23:35; Acts 7:52) and historical Babylon (Jer 51:35, 36, 49) were also causes of such martyrdoms. In addition, it is doubtful that John was referring to the Nero Redivivus Myth in Revelation 17:8, 11 simply because it is doubtful that John himself believed in such a myth. This myth was unknown to the early church fathers. More importantly, Irenaeus, who was the disciple of Polycarp who in turn was the disciple of John, had no knowledge of the Nero Redivivus Myth.2

End Time Religious System


Yet another approach to identifying Babylon of Revelation 17–18 is to view Babylon as an end times religious system that will dominate the world during the coming tribulation per...

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