Is Babylon in Revelation a Symbol for Jerusalem?

There is an enigmatic reference in Revelation 11:8 (sometimes I think ALL of Revelation is enigmatic!) to “the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.” (ESV) If everything was easy, we would identify this place as Jerusalem because that’s where Jesus was crucified. But, of course, Revelation is a little more complicated than that. You see, “the great city” is referred to elsewhere (17:18; 18:10,16,18,19,21). Assuming that “great city” means the same thing everytime it is mentioned, it is identified with the whore of Babylon (17:18), great wealth (18:16,19) and Jerusalem (11:8).

Most scholars assert a strong identification between they symbolic Babylon and the Roman Empire. Yet a few scholars, including Scott Hahn and Edward Sri, identify Babylon with Jerusalem. I will be studying this today, so I’ll develop the theme in later posts. Developing…

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