Mystery Babylon?

Mystery Babylon the Great

And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. Gen. 11:31


So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.
— Revelation 17:3-5

I want to share with you a theory regarding a key element of the last days: the identity of Mystery Babylon.

I've hesitated sharing this for a few reasons: I don't want to add to the noise. I could be wrong. Before I begin, it's important to say: if there is any error here, it is all mine.

I love that the Lord is continuing to draw me along this journey, which is unfolding everyday. I continue to research this and just want to say I do not know these things for sure, so please do not take my word on this but pray & study for yourself. This will be a Scripture-rich article. I am not a teacher or prophecy expert or ministry leader or anyone other than a woman sitting at home right now in her pajamas who loves the Lord with my whole everything, longs for his appearing, reads Scripture, seeks humility & to walk in the Spirit, and prays daily. And everyday my heart breaks because of something I said or did, thought or felt that shows me how far I am from being the kind of servant / woman / believer I ache to be. 

What I share today is a theory. And while I believe in the viability of it, (otherwise I wouldn't share it) truth is more important to me than being right. But if there is any truth to this, it is purely from God and revealed through the Holy Spirit...not a new revelation, because these things have been before our eyes in the bible for thousands of years. I also think others have drawn similar conclusions, although I had never heard of it before I started writing this article. So please, as you read these words, pray and seek the Holy Spirit's guidance and read the accompanying Scriptures. I share many in this article, but ask you to open your bible and read the context. Study the full passages rather than just the verses. Cross-reference your heart out and dig deep. 


MYSTERY BABYLON AS JERUSALEM & THE TEMPLE MOUNT


There is a principle God uses throughout Scripture: the natural first, and then the numinous. We get the flesh of things before the spiritual. Thousands of years ago, a real city called Babylon fell according to the fulfillment of prophecy. All that remains are a few ruins. It is uninhabited and desolate.

[See: The Rise and Fall of Babylon, Cyrus Takes Babylon, Ancient History: Babylon]

According to extensive biblical prophecy, there is a Mystery Babylon destined for a resounding fall that defines the end of time. Revelation 17, 18 & 19 describe this at length. As to the mystery of her last-days identity, speculations abound—some think it is America; others are more specific and say New York City. There are strong cases for Rome and/or the Vatican, which are hard to refute and would be my own view, if I didn't hold to something else. Mecca is also a candidate. And the UN. And the EU. And in the course of writing this article, I found that Jerusalem has been suggested. Some who hold a preterist view (the belief that most or all of biblical prophecy has already been fulfilled) agree that Jerusalem is the “whore of Babylon,” but that her fall in 70AD fulfilled the prophecies.

Her modern embodiment may not take center stage until after the catching-away of the Church, but my position as a pre-trib, pre-millenialist is that Jerusalem and/or the Temple Mount is the mystery city.

I'm not sure how much we will witness of her prophetic incarnation; however, I believe we can establish a reliable and consistent portrait of the last Babylon through Scripture. Why is this important? As the Age of Grace draws to a close, we know that knowledge will increase—along with deception. (Dan. 12:4 and 2 Timothy 3) I have faith that God makes a way for us to not be deceived, and it is through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit who teaches us and opens our eyes to the truth contained within Scripture. 

TL;DR

While the siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple in 70AD could be a foreshadow of things to come, I do not hold a preterist view and believe very much that the literal embodiment of spiritual Babylon is Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The last Babylon will be utterly destroyed by fire in the judgment of God according to Rev. 18:8. I could be wrong in my theory. There could be some kind of blending of systems and religions to create this last-days beast. Please seek the Holy Spirit through prayer and read the Scriptures and stay awake. 

PS...I absolutely LOVE Jerusalem & Israel, and this article is in no way meant to be disrespectful. I am prayerfully seeking to understand Scripture, and this is where I am today.

MYSTERY BABYLON AS JERUSALEM & THE TEMPLE MOUNT

In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’—Rev. 18:7


Why Jerusalem?

An ancient covenant...

For the context around why Jerusalem is a solid candidate for Mystery Babylon, and why she will be judged so fiercely in the last days, it's important to remember her history and God's holy covenant with Israel. To Abram first (Gen. 17), and then with Moses, God declared that he chose Israel to be his own special people— 

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” Ex. 19:5
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” Deut. 7:6

This covenant was repeatedly broken by the chosen people.

The number of times and the myriad ways Israel broke their covenant with God are exhaustive. For thousands of years, God's beloved disobeyed, rebelled, committed idolatry, and did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than even the pagan nations around them. The Old Testament is packed with the sordid history of Israel and Judah. I will share more examples as we go but one king who stands out is Manasseh:

...he rebuilt the high places [for pagan worship] which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. He also built altars [for idol worship] in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” 
And he built altars for all the host of heaven [false gods] in the two courts of the house of the Lord [the holy temple]. Also he made his son pass through the fire [child sacrifice], practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. He even set a carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of which the Lord had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever; and I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers—only if they are careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.” 
But they paid no attention, and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.
And the Lord spoke by His servants the prophets, saying, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols), therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel:
‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.’” Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the Lord. (2 Kings 21:2-16)

God's temporary rejection of Israel

While God continued to forgive and restore his people over the years, I believe the proverbial final straw came after the stoning of Stephen. God still had mercy (Luke 13:6-9) after Israel rejected his Son Jesus the Messiah, but their final blasphemy against the Holy Spirit with Stephen (Acts 7:51-60) was their last chance before he turned to the Gentiles. I wrote about this with greater detail in my article Daughter of Daylight: Exploring a Pre-tribulational Catching Away of the Church.

[For more on the covenant God made with Israel, see Genesis 17 and Deuteronomy 29 & 30. For more on what happened after Israel ultimately rejected their Messiah, and why after four thousand years of patient forgiveness God turned to the Gentiles, see Romans 9, 10 & 11.]

Ultimately God gave Israel a certificate of divorce (Jer. 3:8) and has given them up until the time that she who is in labor has given birth. (Micah 5:3). He turned temporarily to the Gentiles in order to establish a Church as the body of Christ, but at the end will again restore his beloved Israel. (Rom. 11) He has appointed 70 weeks (of years) for his people (Daniel 9:24-27), and 69 have already been fulfilled. The last week of 7 years is for Israel, not the Church, and is known as the time of Jacob's Trouble (Jeremiah 30:6-8) or, more commonly, the tribulation.

[Please read Jeremiah 3 and Romans 9-11. For more on the time “that she who is in labor has given birth,” see my articles Revelation 12 and Three Months From 9/23


The fierce anger of the Lord will not return until He has done it,
And until He has performed the intents of His heart.
In the latter days you will consider it. Jer. 30:24

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem, capitol of Israel

Babylon and the Temple Mount

For clarity and context, here is a brief overview of two key features in this discussion...


Babylon: the first

It was built in what is known as modern Iraq. The Bible and history call it the Land of Shinar, or Mesopotamia, which was the Chaldean region in the south and means “the land between rivers.” Also known as Babel and infamous for the Tower of Babel, Babylon was originally built by its first king, Nimrod, near the Euphrates. 

Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Gen 10:8-10
And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens;” Gen. 11:4

Babylon, Babel, the tower mounting up to heaven, with Nimrod as its ruler in the Land of Shinar... all of these details offer startling implications for what is to come.

The Temple Mount

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Gen. 22:1-2

That mountain was Mount Moriah where the Temple Mount stands today. Abraham passed this astonishing test of faith, believing that God would provide a lamb to be sacrificed instead of his son. For when Isaac, unaware of God's command and noticing that they did not bring a lamb to sacrifice, questioned his father, Abraham answered,  “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” 

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.”
And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Gen. 22:9-12

As a result of Abraham's great faith, God sent a ram through the thicket for the sacrifice. He confirmed the covenant once more and blessed Abraham exceedingly. And here we have a powerful example of foreshadowing, for God did indeed provide a lamb...


The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29


Because the natural is first, and then the spiritual, the former Babylon was a shadow of the Mystery Babylon to come. To identify this “mother of harlots” we need to look at her economical, physical, and spiritual characteristics. I will lay out a scriptural journey, so to speak, that leads me to believe that Jerusalem and/or the Temple Mount match this biblical portrait.

For brevity I'm only sharing the highlights of certain portions of Scripture, but context is crucial. Please dig into the full chapters for greater clarity. 

First, a few foundational passages:

REVELATION 17:1-6
“...Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

So [the angel] carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.

I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

LUKE 13:34
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!...”

JEREMIAH 51:7
Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand,
That made all the earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;
Therefore the nations are deranged.

DANIEL 9:24
“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people [Israel] and for your holy city, [Jerusalem]
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.”

All of the above passages offer some notable distinctions. We have:

  • ancient prophecy & the shadow of things to come

  • the wilderness
  • a woman
  • a beast with seven heads and ten horns
  • signs of great wealth
  • a golden cup full of wickedness
  • she is drunk with the blood of saints and the martyrs of Jesus

Using these clues from the scriptures and unearthing others, we can begin sketching out a portrait of who this woman symbolizes in earth's final days.


The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.” —Zech 12:1-2


Mystery Babylon: like an overturned golden cup, the top of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Mystery Babylon: like an overturned golden cup, the top of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

    Jeremiah 51 & the Temple Mount—the intoxication of the nations

    The spirit of Babylon is in the heart of Jerusalem. While today Jerusalem awaits a third temple where the Jews will re-initiate the ancient rituals and sacrifice, the Temple Mount represents the religious fervor of the nations. It is symbolic of the pagan spirituality and idolatry that caused Israel to forsake her God. With this in mind, consider the following passages:

    Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand,
    That made all the earth drunk.
    The nations drank her wine;
    Therefore the nations are deranged.
    Jer. 51:7
    “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
    Who destroys all the earth,” says the Lord.
    “And I will stretch out My hand against you,
    Roll you down from the rocks,
    [earthquake]
    And make you a burnt mountain...” Jer. 51:25; see also Rev. 18:9 and “the smoke of her burning”
    I will punish Bel in Babylon,
    And I will bring out of his mouth what he has swallowed;
    And the nations shall not stream to him anymore.
    Yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall.
    Jer. 51:44
    “Though Babylon were to mount up to heaven, [a reference to the Tower of Babel, Gen. 11:4]
    And though she were to fortify the height of her strength,
    Yet from Me plunderers would come to her,”
    says the Lord. Jer. 51:49

    [A recent headline that shines a sobering light on the Temple Mount and seems to be prophecy unfolding before our eyes: Israel to Re-establish Sovereignty at the Temple Mount]


    Spiritual infidelity through heart and practice was Israel's primary sin. We can contrast the prophetic shadow of Babylon with God's words about Jerusalem by comparing Isaiah 47 and Ezekiel 8 & 13. I urge you to read the full chapters. I've provided select portions below.


     

    Isaiah 47: Babylon

    8 “Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures,
    Who dwell securely,
    Who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me;
    I shall not sit as a widow,
    Nor shall I know the loss of children’; [Rev. 18:7]
    9 But these two things shall come to you
    In a moment, in one day:
    The loss of children, and widowhood.
    They shall come upon you in their fullness
    Because of the multitude of your sorceries,
    For the great abundance of your enchantments.
    10 “For you have trusted in your wickedness;
    You have said, ‘No one sees me’; [Ez. 8:9-12]

    Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you;
    And you have said in your heart,
    ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’[...]
    12 “Stand now with your enchantments
    And the multitude of your sorceries,
    In which you have labored from your youth—
    Perhaps you will be able to profit,
    Perhaps you will prevail.
    3 You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels;
    Let now the astrologers, the stargazers,
    And the monthly prognosticators
    Stand up and save you
    From what shall come upon you.
    14 Behold, they shall be as stubble,
    The fire shall burn them; 
    They shall not deliver themselves
    From the power of the flame;
    It shall not be a coal to be warmed by,
    Nor a fire to sit before!
    15 Thus shall they be to you
    With whom you have labored,
    Your merchants from your youth;
    They shall wander each one to his quarter.
    No one shall save you.

    Ezekiel 8: Jerusalem

    And He said to me, “Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.” So I went in and saw, and there—every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls. And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each man had a censer in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’” (Eze. 8:9-12)

    Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.” So He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east. (Eze. 8:15-16)

    Ezekiel 13: Jerusalem

    1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’” [...] 6 They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ But the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed. 7 Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, ‘The Lord says,’ but I have not spoken.”

     

    And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Rev. 14:8

    “And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.“When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord God. “Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.  “Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord God.”—Ezekiel 16:6-14

    The unfaithful woman

    God considered his relationship with Israel to be like that of a husband and wife. This is one reason why faithfulness in marriage is so important to him, because the natural comes first, and then the spiritual.

    Heartbreakingly, Jerusalem—the city with the temple, the spiritual heart of Israel, the place on earth where God dwelt with man—went above and beyond in unfaithfulness. The entire Old Testament contains lurid descriptions of Jerusalem's harlotry, adultery, and abominations, but no chapters are as startling to me as Ezekiel 16 and Ezekiel 23. 

    Here are the highlights, but to grasp the full scope of Jerusalem's betrayal, please read the chapters in their entirety.


     

    Ezekiel 16 (select portions)

    Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations...

    “Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry a small matter, that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire? And in all your abominations and acts of harlotry you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, struggling in your blood.

    “Then it was so, after all your wickedness—‘Woe, woe to you!’ says the Lord God—that you also built for yourself a shrine, and made a high place for yourself in every street. You built your high places at the head of every road, and made your beauty to be abhorred. You offered yourself to everyone who passed by, and multiplied your acts of harlotry. [...] Yet you were not like a harlot, because you scorned payment. You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband. Men make payment to all harlots, but you made your payments to all your lovers, and hired them to come to you from all around for your harlotry. You are the opposite of other women in your harlotry, because no one solicited you to be a harlot. In that you gave payment but no payment was given you, therefore you are the opposite.”—portions from Ezekiel 16

    Ezekiel 23 (select portions)

    She [Jerusalem] revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness. Then I alienated Myself from her, as I had alienated Myself from her sister...

    ...For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths. For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.

    “Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. You sat on a stately couch, with a table prepared before it, on which you had set My incense and My oil. The sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and Sabeans were brought from the wilderness with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. 

    Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, ‘Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them?’ Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot...

     

    “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” Rev. 17:18


    MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT: Jerusalem, with whom all the leaders of the world are obsessed as spiritual Babylon: the Wilderness of the Sea (Is. 21:1)

    Scripture has given us three intriguing accounts that in my humble opinion represent the embodiment of Jerusalem as spiritual Babylon. They each involve a woman and the wilderness. First we have the vision of Zechariah:

    Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, “Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.”
    So I asked, “What is it?” And he said, “It is a basket that is going forth.”
    He also said, “This is their resemblance throughout the earth: Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket”; then he said, “This is Wickedness!” And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth. Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven.
    So I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they carrying the basket?”
    And he said to me, “To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base.” (Zech. 5:5-11)

    Next we have the woman of Revelation 12 in the vision of John:

    Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. [...] Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. (Rev. 12:6, 13-14)

    And finally, we have John's vision of Mystery Babylon:

    “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
    So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:
    MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
    THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
    AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
    OF THE EARTH.
    I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. (Rev. 17:1b-6)

    At first I was unsure about the connection of the woman in Revelation 12 to the other two passages, but then I found the following words in Micah 4. Please read the whole chapter, because it sheds great light on the Lord's plan for the latter days and for Jerusalem. The pertinent verses are 9 and 10:

    Now why do you cry aloud?
    Is there no king in your midst?
    Has your counselor perished?
    For pangs have seized you like a woman in labor.
    Be in pain, and labor to bring forth,
    O daughter of Zion,
    Like a woman in birth pangs. [Rev. 12:1-5]
    For now you shall go forth from the city,
    You shall dwell in the field,
    And to Babylon you shall go.
    There you shall be delivered;

    There the Lord will redeem you
    From the hand of your enemies.” (Micah 4)

    Here we see again the wilderness, the land of Shinar where the literal city of ancient Babylon was built. Because of God's wrath and judgment in the last days, I believe this fleeing woman indicates the remnant he is calling out of the city of Jerusalem, but who still needs to be washed and restored through the righteousness of God. Please consider this in the following passages:

    And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her [Mystery Babylon], my people [the remnant of Israel], lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.” Rev. 18:4-6
    Flee from the midst of [Mystery] Babylon,
    And every one save his life!
    Do not be cut off in her iniquity,
    For this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance;
    He shall recompense her. Jer. 51:6
    “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand) [the holy place is the temple, and the temple is in Jerusalem], “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains...” Matt. 24:15-16

    “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
    Will bring her into the wilderness,
    And speak comfort to her.
    I will give her her vineyards from there,
    And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
    She shall sing there,
    As in the days of her youth,
    As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

    “And it shall be, in that day,”
    Says the Lord,
    “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’
    And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’
    For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals,
    And they shall be remembered by their name no more.
    In that day I will make a covenant...

    “I will betroth you to Me forever;
    Yes, I will betroth you to Me
    In righteousness and justice,
    In lovingkindness and mercy;
    I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
    And you shall know the Lord.”
    Hosea 2:14-20

    “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely...” Hosea 14:4

    Meanwhile, in Jerusalem...

    Matthew 18:6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
    Rev. 18:21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.

    Scripture suggests that the literal remnant of Israel will be miraculously saved and will go to the wilderness, the land of Shinar where the literal ancient city of Babylon was built. Mystery Babylon, however, will reign in Jerusalem until her fall as God inflicts his vengeance and wrath during the Great Tribulation.

    We have further confirmation through these grief-soaked cries of Jesus in Matthew 23:31-39: 

    “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate;  for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

    Compare this to these words in Rev. 18:20, 24...“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her! ... And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”

    In John's account, he noted that the great harlot was sitting on a beast with 7 heads and 10 horns. It reads like a great riddle:

    “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
    “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
    Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” (Rev. 17:9-18)

    Here we have: 

    • 7 heads as 7 mountains where the woman sits*
    • 7 kings: five in the past, one present, one future; plus an 8th who is of the 7 and is evil**
    • 10 horns as ten future kings with a one-hour rule whose sole purpose is to hate the harlot & destroy her
    • 1 harlot, the woman who is “that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth”***

    Where else have we seen the beast with seven heads and ten horns and crowns?

    Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Rev. 13:1
    And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. Rev. 12:3

    This is also the 4th beast described in the book of Daniel, which I hope to write about more deeply in the future. This beast is the one who is or becomes the “abomination of desolation” standing in the holy place, “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thess. 2:4 It is the Antichrist, exalting himself in the temple of God, located in Jerusalem, who manifests the demonic nature of Mystery Babylon. The devil's trinity as the dragon, the first beast and the second beast (Revelation 12 & 13) is a complete mockery of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Through deception, idolatry, oppression and authoritarian rule, the idolatrous spirit of Mystery Babylon will become revealed in, or as, Jerusalem.

    “An astonishing and horrible thing
    Has been committed in the land:
    The prophets prophesy falsely,
    And the priests rule by their own power;
    And My people love to have it so.
    But what will you do in the end?”
    Jer. 5:30-31


    The New Jerusalem

    “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen... and shall not be found anymore.”—Rev. 18


    Jerusalem being Mystery Babylon makes her the Old Jerusalem. Just as the first Babylon was a shadow of things to come, so is the first Jerusalem. In one of the most beautiful and hopeful passages in the Bible, John writes,

    Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
    Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Rev. 1-5)
    “...Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. (Rev. 21:9-11)

    What a healed and restored contrast, from unfaithful Mystery Babylon who broke God's heart, to the holy bride of the Lamb!

    “...For your Maker is your husband,
    The Lord of hosts is His name;
    And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
    He is called the God of the whole earth.
    For the Lord has called you
    Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
    Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
    Says your God.
    “For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
    But with great mercies I will gather you.
    With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
    But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
    Says the Lord, your Redeemer.
    (Isaiah 54:5-8)

    [See also: Isaiah 62]

     
    Come thou long expected
     

    Dear ones, the time is short. I write this with joy and with urgency. God is faithful and just. He is coming quickly! Beloved, you are wanted and desired in the New Jerusalem. And at the time of this writing, we still live in the Age of Grace.

    This means that we do not need elaborate rituals or legalistic traditions in order to atone for our sins or to escape all that is coming upon the earth. Our salvation is by grace through the faith of Jesus, the son of God, who died for our sins, was buried and conquered death by coming back to life. He did this because of his great love for us! It is simple and lovely and life-giving. Throughout all of the ages, there has never been an easier way to be made holy and righteous before God. We simply must trust and believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he has died for our sins so that we may have eternal life. He has done the work for us. And when we believe, he gives us the Holy Spirit who seals us for the day of redemption and guides & teaches us concerning truth. 

    Wherever we are in our lives, we can simply turn to him. If for the first time, for salvation through believing that he sent his son Jesus to die for our sins and take on himself the punishment we were due, because sin cannot be in the presence of our holy God. And Jesus is the only one who could die and come back to life. That's how much God does not want anyone to die, and how much he longs for us to be with him in his presence....he chose his own son who could die, and come back to life, and not stay dead!

    And he is alive now and will soon come to receive to himself the body of Christ, the Church. If what I'm seeing through Scripture regarding our current days is accurate and true, then this time is soon coming to a close. But we still have today. If you've already believed, and if you have drifted away, he is so near. He will never leave you nor forsake you or reject you. Simply look up. Just talk to him. He won't condemn you. He will lovingly restore you in miraculous and beautiful ways that will astonish you. 

    The gospel of grace

    Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures... 1 Cor. 15:1-4
    “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3
    “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” Revelation 22:12

    Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:28-29

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

    Please believe.


    Notes:

    *These could well be literal hills or mountains, and Jerusalem does have seven: Mount Scopus, Mount Olivet, the Mount of Corruption, the original Mount Zion, the New Mount Zion and the hill on which the Antonia Fortress was built. (Says Wikipedia.) Other cities, like Rome, also have seven. Regardless, all of the other imagery in the passage is symbolic, and so I hold the literalism of these mountains loosely.

    **It's not airtight, but one possible explanation of the seven kings could have something to do with the seven houses/dynasties of Israel and Judah. I'm still looking into this.

    ***All of the leaders of the world are obsessed with Jerusalem, intoxicated with the idea of peace treaties and being the one who can broker peace between Israel and her surrounding nations. In this vein, this could mean reign-over as in the heart. The Greek interpretation is “kingship,” as having kingship over the kings of the earth. The Greek word is basileia and means: kingship, sovereignty, authority, rule, especially of God, both in the world, and in the hearts of men. That being said, this verse also offers a strong case for identifying the woman as an entity such as the Vatican, the UN, or the EU. 

    Additional reading:

    Thank you for reading this long study. At the end of the day, this is only a theory and there are solid arguments for other MB candidates. May the Lord guide us always and may we stay focused on what matters most.