Great Babylon

(Part I)

The Eagle

In July, 1970, Prince Charles of England, 21, and his sister, Princess Anne, 19, made a state visit to the United States. Among other events their itinerary included a Camp David barbecue and a Washington Senators baseball game. They also visited a medical laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, where autopsies were being performed on bald eagles. The eagles were in danger of extinction from the use of DDT. (With discontinued use of the chemical pesticide the eagles have since recovered.) This caused Prince Charles to remark that it was too bad the United States had chosen the bald eagle as its national symbol. It would have been better that we had chosen Ben Franklin's wild turkey. Eagles had long been associated with empire, a form of government Franklin was strongly against. Furthermore the character of the cowardly behavior of the eagle compared with the brave conduct of the turkey strongly appealed to Franklin's sense of honor.

The reason Prince Charles made a point of the bald eagle was its notorious symbolism from biblical prophecy.

Dan 7:4-5
The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand upon two feet like a man; and a man's heart was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side; it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, 'Arise, devour much flesh.'

The United States grew out of England, and rebelled against England. Since the national symbol for England is the lion, it was natural to understand the eagles wings growing out of the lion as the United States growing out of England. The plucking off would then be the independence the United States gained from England.

The bear, of course, is understood to be Russia. She would devour much flesh.

Some may feel these symbols are not true representations of the nations, but an official designation is not what people commonly understand.

The implication is that Russia would devour the United States in a nuclear holocaust. This is the implication Prince Charles understood in his mention of the biblical passage.

Great Babylon

The use of Babylon to represent a future nation is found throughout OT prophecy, and in John's Revelation. Babylon is a code word for the United States. The United States receives such important attention because of her role in unfolding planetary destiny. The Unites States is a key element in national relationships today, and, in spite of her military rampages, is still held in high regard by the other nations of the world.

The word Babylon is Greek. The Hebrew word is Babel. The word Babel was used because she is a land of Babel: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Chinese, Hindi, and numerous other tongues were spoken in her land. I am descended from German stock, mixed with genetic blood from England and Scotland. My forefathers spoke Pennsylvania German (Dutch), but I never learned it.

The most intensive prophecy on the land of Babel is found in Jeremiah, Chapters 50 and 51, and in John's Revelation, Chapters 17 and 18. Explicit details are offered for us to find identification of the land of Babel with the United States.


The Great Harlot

Rev 17:1-6 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who is seated upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the dwellers on earth have become drunk." And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations." And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the consecrated ones and the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her I marveled greatly.



The apostle John could not have expected this revelation to mean ancient historic Babel. He would not provide revelation for a nation which had long since passed out of existence. Nor could he have expected it to mean a Church, or other social institution. He would have been acutely aware of its future application. He would have known that the setting was geographical, not institutional. He would design his symbolism in order that his audience sense the geographical application. Every person giving serious attention to the revelation has recognized that the tone is cosmic; the depiction vast.


(The depiction of ten horns and seven heads has to do with Europe, and her division into the Eastern and Western blocks, democratic and communist forms of government. For a little while she was divided by exactly that number of nations, until the expansion of the European union and the fall of communism. The prophetic depiction is also found in the statement about one of the heads being healed, which was the healing of the division of Germany into two parts after WWII, Rev 13:3.)


The location of Babel is marked by intense persecution of God's people. John saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the consecrated ones and the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. These are individuals who are truly dedicated to God.  They have given themselves to new revelations.  They who are willing to engage in reaffirmation of the old covenant. In this land arises a bloodlust for the slaughter of countless people devoted to God. This is a prophecy for the end of the age. It shows attempts by Caligastia to wrest planetary control from his Creator.


John was carried away in the spirit to a wilderness where he saw this Great Harlot. She was not located in the Near East, nor in some neighboring land, nor distributed around the world through some institutional organization. John's used the word "wilderness" to denote a place then unrecognized to the Roman world.  


Her name is one of mystery; the name is not openly evident that all may see. The symbolism of Great Babylon, a great nation, portrays her nature. 


She was bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, arrayed in the royal colors of purple and scarlet, all symbols of great wealth. 


The textual difficulties may be discerned by noting that in 17:7 the beast with seven heads and ten horns carry the Great Harlot.  In 17:12 the ten horns are ten kings whose relationship to the Harlot are not identified. In 17:16 the ten horns hate the Harlot and will destroy her. These seemingly incompatible statements are John's attempt to portray the unfolding of events at the end of the age. (We do not know how much the text was corrupted by a later Christian editor.)


In 17:1 the Great Harlot is seated on many waters. This passage has no condition that would prevent us from assuming that the waters are literal, composed of oceans, lakes, and rivers.


Verse 17:15 then offers an interpretation of the many waters of 17:1. This is part of the textual difficulty. The symbolism of 17:15 has been viewed by many as the notion that the sea represents humanity, and that peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues, scattered across the planet, rise up out of this symbolic sea. Unfortunately, these many interpreters have not considered the possibility that the Harlot herself is composed of many differing peoples, nationalities and tongues gathered in one nation.


The sense of specific geographical location, rather than a general symbolism for mankind, is denoted by other phrases in both Chapters 17 and 18.

"All the nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion . . ."
"The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her . . ."
"The merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness."
"Her destruction comes in a single day."
"She shall be burned with fire."
"In one hour her judgment has come."

These statements do not imply the general body of mankind; they imply a specific national identity.


The list of merchandise in 18:11-13 shows a great commercial enterprise; one would expect this for a specific nation who leads the world in mercantile exchange.


The Jeremiah Prophecies

Jeremiah gave a detailed list of the characteristics of this great land of Babel.


Many Waters

51:13 O you who dwell by many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come, the thread of your life is cut.


This compares directly with Rev 17:1; the phrase "many waters" is used in both. Here this Babylon "dwells by many waters"; in Revelation she "sits on many waters." This does not agree with the traditional interpretation of Rev 17:15.


Geographically the United States sits among many waters. These are the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes, as well as many rivers, including the Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Potomac, James, Savannah, Alabama, the Great Mississippi with its many branches draining major portions of her land through the Red, Ohio, and the Missouri, as well as rivers draining her western lands, the Colorado, Sacramento, and the Columbia.


Praise of the Whole Earth

51:41 How Babel is taken, the praise of the whole earth seized! How Babel has become a horror among the nations!


Great Babylon was the praise of the entire earth. Never, in all of human history, did a nation enjoy such fortune. Her bountiful land provided the natural resources for great wealth and luxury. She was the land of golden opportunity, the shining beacon of economic freedom. Unfortunately, she permitted that freedom to be exploited through the greed of those who selfishly perverted her natural profusion and abundance.



A Golden Cup

51:7 Babel was a golden cup in Yahweh's hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine, therefore the nations went mad.


Rev 17:4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication.


What was the wine by which the nations went mad? What were the abominations and impurities of her fornications?


They were her scientific discoveries and technological inventions. They were also her social techniques for economic power.


Never, in the history of mankind, has one nation contributed so exclusively to scientific and technological developments, and to new social methods.


The history of mechanical inventions is complex and blends into the mists of the past. The United States cannot claim originality to many important technological discoveries. This complex history was illustrated in a fascinating book by the Frenchman, Gerald Messadie, Great Inventions Through History, published in English by W. & R. Chambers, Edinburgh, 1991. On the other hand the United States was unique in its development of mechanical inventions, shaped by the lack of social inhibitions in the new society, and the spirit of discovery kindled by the vast wilderness of the new continent. This spirit is captured in descriptive phrases like, "Frontier self-reliance, foundation for an inventive future." The blending of more adventurous European genetic elements also contributed to this amazing phenomenon. The unique contribution of the United States to the new technological world order has been described in many books and reviews. One example is Those Inventive Americans, published by the National Geographic Society, Washington, 1971.


The United States was a golden cup in the hand of God. She had the greatest opportunity for righteousness of any nation in historic times. She was isolated from the Old World. She defined her own way. She had a gift of highly intelligent and perceptive men who founded her social order, with Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, and many others in a rare assembly of social insight. But she filled that cup with the impurities of her fornications. She traded indiscriminately with all the merchants of the world. What industrial baron did not want his name emblazoned on the pages of history? What Rockefeller, or Carnegie, or Morgan did not view his financial and commercial power with pride? The commercial kings of the United States went to bed with anyone, for greed, personal gain, and self-aggrandizement.


Thomas Lawson, a Rockefeller lieutenant who organized a major commercial operation for those men, published his personal experiences under a title, Frenzied Finance, The Crime of Amalgamated. It was an informative series of articles published in 1904 that later became a book. He recounted his experiences with men who used the trappings of civilized manners, calm speech, and manipulation of the financial system to rob other human beings. The spiritual concerns of mankind were far from the minds and hearts of men who went to church on Sunday morning and spent the rest of their days devising means to satisfy their greed and power hunger through the physical labors of other human beings. The philanthropy of those men were afterthoughts, means of assuaging their feelings of guilt.


And then, in concern for preservation of such an adulterous system, that social order devised methods for ultimate human destruction.


The list of inventions created and developed in the United States is long. I shall illustrate only a few.


1. The development of steam power goes back to the beginning of the eighteenth century and Thomas Newcome in England. Although the first steam engines were crude and cumbersome in comparison to later developments they greatly enhanced the employment of mechanical power over those of water wheels and wind mills. A few of these engines were introduced into the Americas before the War for Independence, but that war shut off communication from the developments then taking place with James Watt in England. As a consequence parallel developments were undertaken in the New World by such men as John Fitch, James Rumsey, John Fulton and Oliver Evans.

2. The cotton gin was improved by Eli Whitney in 1792. This permitted high volumes of cotton processing. In 1795 southern planters grew eight million pounds; by 1807 they were growing eighty million pounds per year.

3. The reaper by Cyrus McCormick and Obed Hussey revolutionized grain harvesting. With the first model introduced for sale in 1840, by 1851 McCormick received world publicity through the London Crystal Palace Exhibition. By 1861 the reaper had spread into eastern Europe, Russia, the grain lands of Siberia, and throughout the world.  

4. The telegraph came into existence through much labor and exploration, in Europe and the United States. But it was the work of Samuel Morse who brought it into practical reality with first transmissions from Washington, DC to Baltimore in 1844. His encoding technique was used around the world for a hundred years until advances in radio made it obsolete in the mid-twentieth century.

5. The work of Benjamin Franklin, Michael Faraday, Joseph Henry and others led to developments in the control and transmission of electric energy. These techniques were then used by Alexander Bell, and others of his day. The telephone, patented in 1876, became a miracle of communication which eventually entered well-nigh every home in the civilized countries of the world. It was long considered the single most important invention of modern civilization.

6. Thomas Alva Edison was the most famous and most productive of all inventors, with nearly a eleven hundred patents to his name. His gift of insight into mechanical processes and relationships, despite a lack of formal education, was the genius behind his amazing abilities. The list of his inventions is nearly a recount of modern western civilization, with the light bulb, phonograph, motion picture techniques, power generators, transmission of electricity, and a host of other famous inventions.


The list could go on and on, from the development of mass production techniques, air flight, vacuum tubes, radio, television, transistors, integrated circuits, satellite communication, computers, the internet, and, regrettably, nuclear weapons.


Why is this such a bitter wine?


The answer is materialism. It carried the seeds of ultimate destruction. Technology emphasized material developments over spiritual growth. The drive for physical survival in the new world, and the natural bounty of the land, led to concentration on material gratifications over spiritual relationships. 


Technology also opened the doors for social perversions. As mechanical advantage increased, manpower could be directed to other avenues. If the grain reaper could replace twenty men those men could engage in other activities. They could be placed into factories. Industrialization then had a base for expansion. 


As a result human beings more and more lost contact with the natural world. In increasing numbers they entered the artificial world of city environments. 


Industrial complexes, with their abuse of child and female labor, were used for the concentration of wealth into the hands of a few.  

Stock markets, mercantile exchanges, and other financial systems were used to manipulate investment methods and then perverted into avenues for personal wealth accumulation.


Increasing industrialization and abuse of natural resources created mass pollutions of the world.


The economic philosophy of free enterprise was used as a psychological weapon to justify personal greed and abuse of social equity.  


Political philosophies could be prosecuted with intense technical power. Warfare became more deadly. Human value declined, until, by the mid-twentieth century, millions upon millions of human beings were slaughtered in gas chambers and by firing squads.


Concentration of production, of energy, and of communication pushed the social order to ever more precarious positions. A small trigger event could cause disruption and breakdown of the entire system.


The ultimate of this deadly wine was nuclear weaponry. Now the will of any nation or any distorted personality could be imposed upon the world.


What began as bright promise and sublime hope ended in terror and horror.


The nations drank of this wine, and the nations went mad.



To be continued.

Paper 14 of a series.

For a list of papers in this series see