In a previous article, we talked about how the Antichrist’s allies give him their national sovereignty, especially as it relates to their military power. We saw how the ten kings transfer power to the Antichrist in two phases. We also saw how the second phase of this power transfer is motivated by hatred of the end-time city of Babylon, whereas the first is not.
And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 17:16-18)
Earlier in Revelation 17, it describes this “harlot,” who rides the back of the beast:
And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.(Revelation 17:3-6)
Prostitution as a Metaphor
Throughout the Old Testament, Israel was compared to a prostitute who had abandoned God, running after idols. The language about Israel’s unfaithfulness to God is sometimes graphically sexual. In fact, the some sexually explicit parts of the Bible aren’t about sex or marriage at all, but about Israel’s unfaithfulness to God (Ezekiel 16, 23; see also book of Hosea). Therefore, many theologians believe this represents a false religious system in the end-times. (1)
The theme of religious adultery is also mentioned in chapter 18. There, we learn that the politicians themselves participate in her idolatrous practices:
And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. (Revelation 18:9)
Many theologians go further, saying that the prostitute represents the apostate Church, which will exist in the end-times. (1) The text says that the prostitute is responsible for the deaths of the true followers of Jesus. Jesus also talks about how many people will abandon the faith in the end-times, betraying each other to death.
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. (Matthew 24:9-10)
Mark 13, which parallels the above passage, talks about how persecution will be characterized throughout history, right up until the end:
And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:12-13)
Therefore, many of the apostate Christians in the end-times will betray the true Christians. This closely mirrors how the great prostitute is “drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” (Rev. 17:6) Somehow, the system that represents false Christianity or a large number of false Christians will dwell in one particular city in the last days.
The prostitute apparently has an alliance with the beast, since she rides its back. Usually, the one riding an animal is the leader. Yet as we know, the end-time beast represents the strength that carries her, due to its incredible military power. Yet this alliance turns sour, when the beast turns on her and destroys her.
Somehow, this end-time idolatrous religion will be connected to a city for its home-base. The end of chapter 17 identifies the woman as “the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.” (Rev. 17:18) Chapter 18 goes into detail regarding the fall of Babylon. From the woes and laments of the chapter, we can understand much about what the city will be like.
Characteristics of End-Times Babylon
Babylon is destroyed very quickly:
And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,
“Alas! Alas! You great city,
you mighty city, Babylon!
For in a single hour your judgment has come.” (Revelation 18:9-10)
Here we learn that the city is an economic superpower, with extensive trading of every kind of good:
And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. (Revelation 18:11-13)
The city is likely a very major port city, situated on the coast. Those who got rich from her wealth lament her fall, saying:
“Alas, alas, for the great city
that was clothed in fine linen,
in purple and scarlet,
adorned with gold,
with jewels, and with pearls!
For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”
And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,
“What city was like the great city?” (Revelation 18:16-18)
The city is very ethnically diverse:
And he *said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. (Revelation 17:15)
The city has global political influence:
The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:18)
Earlier in Revelation, God judged Babylon with a very severe earthquake.
The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. (Revelation 16:19)
Yet this earthquake did not annihilate her, as is the case in this judgment. When the beast and the ten kings defeat Babylon, they will essentially wipe her off the map.
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,
“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence,
and will be found no more;
and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,
will be heard in you no more,
and a craftsman of any craft
will be found in you no more,
and the sound of the mill
will be heard in you no more,
and the light of a lamp
will shine in you no more,
and the voice of bridegroom and bride
will be heard in you no more,
for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,
and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.
And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,
and of all who have been slain on earth.” (Revelation 18:21-24)
This is consistent with the opening of the chapter, which says:
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. (Revelation 17:1-2)
It is God who gives them the idea to give their sovereignty to the Antichrist, so that this destruction will be carried out at last.
And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (Revelation 17:16-17)
This is very similar to how God used wicked kingdoms of the past, such as Assyria and Babylon, to punish Israel for her sins. God uses one wicked group (the Antichrist and his ten kings) to destroy another (end-times Babylon). Since this destruction is so sudden, it is probably a surprise nuclear attack. Revelation 18 talks about people lamenting when they see the “smoke of her burning.” (Revelation 18:9b). It is probably a surprise attack, since they were former allies.
To summarize, end-times Babylon has many characteristics:
- Is called “Babylon” by God
- Is a city with global political influence
- Is extremely wealthy, trading every type of good
- Contains many different ethnic groups
- Is probably a coastal city
- Is initially allied with the beast, but is destroyed by him
- Is heavily involved in false religion and idolatry
- Represents a group of unfaithful ex-Christians
- Persecutes and kills the followers of Jesus
As we saw before, Phase 1 of the power transfer to the Antichrist does not involve hatred of Babylon. However, phase 2 does involve hatred of Babylon. If the prophecy where the ten give their “kingdom” to the Antichrist is about to be fulfilled, then the city of Babylon is alive and well today.
Hated by the Beast?
Which leads us to a question. Why is Europe doing all this military unification now? Do they “hate” someone, who was a former political ally?
The obvious answer is the United States of America. The most populous city of that country is New York City, which is an economic superpower. (2,3) The American president, Donald Trump, is from New York City. (4)
Ever since Donald Trump has been elected to office, European leaders have been pretty frustrated with him. (5,6,7,8) Furthermore, top Antichrist candidate, Javier Solana, has even called him a “global problem.” (9) His Twitter feed is full of retweets and comments about the American President, showing his strong disapproval of him. (10) This is unlike him, because he usually opts for more measured diplomatic language. He has written at least six articles in Project Syndicate which criticize Trump’s way of handling things. (11)
Donald Trump has threatened to make NATO “obsolete.” (12) This treaty is composed of the United States and many European countries. If one country is attacked, it is considered an attack on them all. The alliance was originally built to protect Russia. (13) Sadly, it has of late has had to serve that same function.
At the 2018 NATO meeting, he was late and proceeded to interrupt what they were doing. He said that if they didn’t pay more, the U.S. would “go our own way.” This resulted in a panicked emergency meeting to address his concerns. (14) This came right after he had sent a sharply worded letter to various NATO allies, criticizing their lack of defense spending. (15)
European leaders have frequently expressed their concern that they cannot rely on the United States for their protection any longer. (16, 17) As a result, their military unification efforts are showing much faster progress than they otherwise would have. (18, 19) They have tried to build a “European army” or “European defense community” since the 50’s. (20) Yet they have almost always failed. Yet now, it seems we are at a turning point. And their frustration with the United States is the main driver. (19)
Characteristics of New York City
Let’s take the characteristics of end-times Babylon and compare them to New York City.
1. Is called “Babylon” by God
The only city on earth (other than Iraq) that is called "Babylon" is on Long Island. (21, 22) Furthermore, the U.S. has militarily occupied historical Babylon (Iraq) sporadically for the last couple decades. (23)
2. Is a city with global political influence
New York City is the home of many global businesses. It is also the home of the United Nations. (24)
3. Is extremely wealthy, trading many types of goods
According to my late economics professor, New York City is the "financial center of the universe.” It has the second largest GDP of any city, closely behind Tokyo. (25) Furthermore, it is famous for the trading of many goods. Wall Street is home of the NASDAQ, the New York Stock Exchange, as well as a commodities trading market. (3, 26)
4. Contains many different ethnic groups
New York City is a very ethnically diverse city. (27)
5. Is probably a coastal city
New York City is a very major port city, with one of the largest natural harbors in the world. (28)
6. Is initially allied with the beast, but is destroyed by him
The United States and European Union used to be close military allies. (29) America was the natural leader in the relationship, since it had the strongest military. (30) Now, the tides are turning. European countries are going to end up “giving their kingdom to the beast,” out of frustration with us.
7. Is heavily involved in false religion and idolatry
New York City is naturally, very worldly. It is full of greed and sexual immorality. Where there are lots of people, there is lots of sin. However, this may worsen as Christ’s return draws near, if it becomes the headquarters of an apostate religious system.
8. Represents a group of unfaithful ex-Christians
The United States contains some of the largest numbers of self-identified Christians in the whole world. (31) Since a major apostasy event precedes Christ's return, it is safe to say that it will be most pronounced in a country (and large city!) that contains a relatively large number of professing Christians. (32)
9. Persecutes and kills the followers of Jesus
The beast launches a worldwide persecution of Christians during his global reign. However, Jesus seems to place a worldwide persecution before the abomination of desolation, when the Antichrist is revealed. Therefore, the final persecution may be the result of a United Nations decision, wherein all nations agree that they have had enough of the Christians.
New York City meets 6 out of the 9 criteria for end-times Babylon. Just like end-time Israel, the fulfillment of the last few may yet be future.
This is a scandalous proposal. I am suggesting that the European Union, led by the Antichrist, will launch a surprise nuclear attack on New York City in the not-so-distant future. When considering the Antichrist’s military conquests, such behavior would be entirely unsurprising.
- Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. CO Springs, CO: Victor, an Imprint of Cook Communications Ministries, 2004. Old Testament Edition
- “List of United States Cities by Population.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 10, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population.
- “Economy of New York City.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 5, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_New_York_City.
- Haberman, Maggie. “Trump, Lifelong New Yorker, Declares Himself a Resident of Florida.” The New York Times. The New York Times, October 31, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/us/politics/trump-new-york-florida-primary-residence.html.
- Karnitschnig, Matthew. “Why Europe Hates Trump More than Iran.” POLITICO. POLITICO, January 11, 2020. https://www.politico.eu/article/why-europe-hates-trump-more-than-iran/.
- Dempsey, Judy. “What Trump Means for Europe.” Carnegie Europe, January 8, 2019. https://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/78075.
- Taylor, Adam. “83 Not-Very-Flattering Things Foreign Officials Have Said about Trump.” The Washington Post. WP Company, December 7, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/12/07/not-very-flattering-things-foreign-officials-have-said-about-trump/.
- Erlanger, Steven. “Embattled at Home, Trump Finds Himself Isolated Abroad, Too.” The New York Times. The New York Times, June 2, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/world/europe/trump-merkel-allies.html?auth=login-google.
- Solana, Javier. “Trump Es Un Problema Global!!” Twitter. April 15, 2020. https://twitter.com/javiersolana/status/1250414114641448961.
- Solana, Javier. “Javier Solana's References to Trump.” Twitter. Accessed July 2, 2020. https://twitter.com/search?q=trump%20(from%3A%40javiersolana)&src=typed_query&f=live.
- Solana, Javier. “Javier Solana.” Project Syndicate, June 18, 2020. https://www.project-syndicate.org/columnist/javier-solana.
- “Trump Worries Nato with 'Obsolete' Comment.” BBC News. BBC, January 16, 2017. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38635181.
- “NATO.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 19, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO.
- Herszenhorn, David M., and Lili Bayer. “Trump's Whiplash NATO Summit.” POLITICO. POLITICO, July 13, 2018. https://www.politico.eu/article/trump-threatens-to-pull-out-of-nato/.
- Rfe/rl. “Trump Warns NATO Allies Over 'Growing U.S. Frustration'.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, July 3, 2018. https://www.rferl.org/a/trump-warns-nato-allies-over-growing-u-s-frustration-/29334865.html.
- Gotev, Georgi. “Merkel: Europe Can No Longer Rely on US to 'Protect' It.” www.euractiv.com. EURACTIV.com, May 11, 2018. https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/merkel-europe-can-no-longer-rely-on-us-to-protect-it/.
- Vandoorne, Saskya. “Macron Says Europe Can't Rely on US for Security.” CNN. Cable News Network, August 27, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/27/europe/macron-eu-security-intl/index.html.
- Brattberg, Erik, and Tomáš Valášek. “EU Defense Cooperation: Progress Amid Transatlantic Concerns.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 21, 2019. https://carnegieendowment.org/2019/11/21/eu-defense-cooperation-progress-amid-transatlantic-concerns-pub-80381.
- Haddad, Benjamin. “Trump Is Getting the European Army He Wanted.” POLITICO. POLITICO, April 18, 2019. https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-army-angela-merkel-emmanuel-macron-donald-trump-getting-what-he-wanted/.
- The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “European Defense Community.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., February 13, 2014. https://www.britannica.com/topic/European-Defense-Community.
- “Babylon (Disambiguation).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, May 29, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon_(disambiguation).
- “Babylon, New York.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 16, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon,_New_York.
- “2003 Invasion of Iraq.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 22, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_invasion_of_Iraq.
- “New York City.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, July 2, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City.
- “List of Cities by GDP.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, July 2, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_GDP.
- “New York Mercantile Exchange.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 29, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Mercantile_Exchange.
- “Demographics of New York City.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 5, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_New_York_City.
- “Port of New York and New Jersey.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, May 20, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_of_New_York_and_New_Jersey.
- Whineray, David. “U.S. Relations with Europe Likely to Remain Strained Regardless Who Wins November Election.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 4, 2020. https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/04/04/u.s.-relations-with-europe-likely-to-remain-strained-regardless-who-wins-november-election-pub-81493.
- “United States Military Strength (2020).” Global Firepower - World Military Strength. Accessed July 2, 2020. https://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.asp?country_id=united-states-of-america.
- “Religion in the United States.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 30, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States.
- Lipka, Michael. “Major U.S. Metropolitan Areas Differ in Their Religious Profiles.” Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, July 29, 2015. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/29/major-u-s-metropolitan-areas-differ-in-their-religious-profiles/.
- Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
- Europa riding bull: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Statue_of_Europa_outside_Council_building_in_Brussels.jpg
- Nuclear explosion: https://pixabay.com/photos/nuclear-atom-bomb-atomic-science-2136244/
- Donald Trump: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/49567616357
- New York City skyline: https://pixabay.com/photos/new-york-skyline-america-skyscraper-4582500/