Babylon is the false religion that drives the evil trinity against God.

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

The purpose of the current article is to explain the relationship between Babylon and Revelation’s evil trinity: the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet.  This article will show that Babylon exists always and everywhere, while the evil trinity are specific human organizations or movements that come into existence at specific points in time.

This is an article in the series on the identity of the Harlot of Revelation. Other articles have shown that:

Babylon is false religion and her merchants are her false prophets.

Her name is Babylon, but she is not the reconstructed ancient city of Babylon.

SUMMARY

BABYLON ALWAYS EXISTED WORLD-WIDE

Babylon always existed and is world-wide because she is:

      • The mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth,”
      • Guilty of the death of all of God’s people who have been slain for their faith,
      • Intoxicates all peoples of the world,
      • Reigns over the kings of the earth,
      • Reigns over all seven heads of the beast, symbolizing seven phases of human existence from the 6th century BC to the Return of Christ,

BABYLON IS PART OF THE EVIL TRINITY.

Babylon is, somehow, related to the evil trinity; the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet.  These three are described as the enemies of God’s end-time people, but Revelation later devotes more than two chapters (16:19-19:3) to explain who Babylon is. The point is that, although Babylon is not mentioned as one of the characters in the end-time crisis, she is the driving force behind the evil trinity. Specific indication of this includes the following:

    • Revelation 12 to 14 describes how the evil trinity persecutes God’s people but then three angels proclaim, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.”
    • In the sixth plague, the evil trinity calls on fallen angels to gather together the kings of the world at Armageddon but in the next plague, Babylon receives “the wine of His fierce wrath.” 
    • The evil trinity kills God’s people but Babylon is guilty of their blood.
    • All four of these characters deceive the peoples of the world.

BABYLON IS FALSE RELIGION THAT
DRIVES THE EVIL TRINITY.

Babylon, therefore, is not something distinct from the evil trinity but part of it.  The question is, what is the relationship between Babylon and the other three characters?

While Babylon has always existed everywhere, the evil trinity consists of three specific human organizations or movements that come into existence at specific points in time.

Revelation 17 represents Babylon as sitting on a scarlet beast (17:3), identified as the kings of the world (17:18). As argued in another article, this symbolizes the general principle that false religion, in all ages, dominates the kingdoms of the world.  One example of this principle was when Christ was killed by the Romans on demand of false religion in the form of the rulers of Israel. This principle also applies to the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet:

The Dragon symbolizes the Roman Empire, dominated by false religion. In the first three centuries, emperor worship and other pagan religions encouraged the empire to persecute God’s people.

The Beast from the Sea has been identified as the 11th horn of Daniel 7, which has been identified as the church of the Middle Ages. The Church dominated the nations in the West and persecuted God’s people through the political powers.

FALSE PROPHET

The False Prophet will, in the end-time, convince the people of the world to make an Image of the Beast, which is a copy of the system during the Middle Ages, which is unity of church and state in such a way that false Christianity (the False Prophet) will dominate the political rulers of the western world and lead them to persecute God’s people.

– END OF SUMMARY –

ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE

This first part of this article discusses indications that Babylon always existed and that she is world-wide.

MOTHER OF HARLOTS

Babylon is:

The mother of harlots and
of the abominations of the earth
” (17:5).

In other words, she is the source of all the evil in the world today. Long before the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Moses identified certain practices as abominations (Lev. 7:18; 11 cf. Deut. 18:9-12). Since the Harlot is the mother of the abominations of the earth, she predates Moses. 

Since she is the “mother of harlots,” she has daughters who also are harlots.

BLOOD OF ALL PROPHETS

Another indication that Babylon exists always and everywhere is that she guilty of the death of all of God’s people who died for their faith; from Abel onwards:

In her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth” (18:24; cf. 17:6; 19:2).

SITS ON MANY WATERS

Babylon sits on “many waters” (17:1).

The “many waters” are explained as “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Rev. 17:15). This four-fold phrase, consisting of four words that essentially have the same meaning (“peoples … multitudes … nations … tongues”), is used many times in Revelation and signifies that this includes all peoples of the world (e.g. 7:9; 10:11; 11:9). This is based on the principle that, in Revelation, the number 4 symbolizes the whole world (e.g. 7:1). This means that Babylon’s influence is worldwide:

All the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality” (18:3; cf. 14:8).

Babylon, therefore, has a corrupting and intoxicating influence on the people of the world. They are unable to distinguish right from wrong. In his description of “the day of the Lord,” Paul wrote that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” It is being restrained but, in the end-time:

God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false” (2Thess. 2:1-11).

SITS ON THE BEAST

Babylon sits on the “many waters” (17:1) but she also sits “on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns” (17:3). Revelation 17:18 explains this symbol as that “the woman … reigns over the kings of the earth” (17:18):

The seven-headed beast, therefore, represents “the kings of the earth.

That she sits on (“reigns over”) them means that Babylon is the spiritual force that drives the Beast against God.

For the purpose of the current article, note that none of the kings of the world seems excluded. That also implies that she has always existed and is world-wide.

The kings of the earth have committed fornication” with her (17:2). This means that all the kings of the world have used religion to strengthen their power over the people; just as Babylon’s daughters (17:5) have agreed to support the civil authorities in exchange for physical protection.

SITS ON THE SEVEN HEADS

In addition to sitting on the “many waters” and on the beast, Babylon also sits on the seven heads of the beast (17:9). The article on the Seven Heads identifies these heads as the four beasts of Daniel plus the three phases of the 11th horn that grows out of Daniel’s fourth beast:

The four beasts in Daniel 7 are the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires.

The 11th horn in Daniel is symbolized in Revelation by the Beast that comes out of the sea (13{1), which will only be destroyed at the return of Christ (19:20).

Since the seven heads represent world empires from the 6th century BC to the Return of Christ, Babylon exists for all of that time.  She cannot, therefore, be limited to the Roman Church or even to the Christian church in general.

THE NUMBER SEVEN

Furthermore, in Revelation, just like the number four symbolizes geographical completeness, the number seven symbolizes temporal completeness. For example, the seven trumpets follow one after the other over time, with the last being the return of Christ. The same applies to the seven seals and the seven plagues.

In other words, the number seven means ‘always’ or ‘for the whole time’. From this perspective, the seven heads may also be understood as all the kingdoms of human history. Since Babylon sits on them, it means that she also exists for all of human history.  She cannot be limited to our time or some other specific time.

CONCLUSION

Babylon always existed and everywhere because she is:

      • The mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth,”
      • Guilty of the death of all of God’s people who died for their faith,
      • Intoxicates all peoples of the world,
      • Reigns over the kings of the earth,
      • Reigns over all seven heads of the beast, symbolizing world empires from the 6th century BC to the Return of Christ,

PART OF THE EVIL TRINITY

This second part of this article shows that Babylon is, somehow, related to the evil trinity; the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet. The last part of the article will explain what that relationship is.

Revelation describes God’s end-time enemies as the trinity consisting of:

      • The Dragon (12:3),
      • The Beast (from the Sea – 13:1) and
      • The False Prophet (the Beast from the Earth – 13:11).

These three work as a unit:

The Sea Beast receives his “power and his throne and great authority” from the Dragon (13:2) and makes the world to worship the dragon (13:4).

The Earth Beast (the False Prophet – 19:20) “makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast” (13:12).

Through miracles, the Earth Beast deceives the people “to make an image to the beast” (13:14). This “image” is not a separate fourth organization but is the revived Sea Beast after it recovers from its deadly wound. It is then this Image that persecutes God’s people in the end-time (13:15).

These three are described as the enemies of God’s end-time people, but Revelation later devotes more than two chapters (16:19-19:3) to Babylon’s judgment. The point is that, although Babylon is not mentioned as one of the characters in the end-time crisis, she is the driving force behind the scenes.

REVELATION 12 TO 14

We see this in Revelation 12 to 14. Revelation 12 and 13 describe the end-time persecution of God’s people. They mention the evil trinity but there is no mention of Babylon. In Revelation 14, three angels warn against the evil trinity (14:9). They, therefore, give their message while the Image of the Beast is putting the mark of the beast on people (13:16). But, even though Babylon is not mentioned in chapters 12 and 13, the second of the three angels proclaim, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great” (14:8).

BABYLON’S PLAGUES

Similarly, in the sixth plague, the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet call on the assistance of fallen angels to gather the kings of the world at Armageddon (16:13-16). But in the next and final plague, “Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath” (16:19).  This is another surprise mention because she was not mentioned in any of the previous plagues.

BLOOD OF THE SAINTS

A further indication that Babylon is the driving force behind the evil trinity is that, while the evil trinity persecutes God’s people (e.g. 12:17; 13:7; 13:15), Babylon is guilty of their blood (18:24).

DECEIVES THE NATIONS

A fourth indication that Babylon is part of the Dragon, Beast and False Prophet is that all four of these characters them deceive the peoples of the world:

    • The dragon “deceives the whole world” (12:9).
    • The “whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast (from the sea)” (13:3).
    • The false prophet “deceives those who dwell on the earth” (13:14).
    • Babylon makes the nations “drunk” with “the wine of her immorality” (14:8; 17:2).

THE HARLOT REIGNS OVER THE BEAST.

It is, therefore, clear that Babylon is not something distinct from the evil trinity. Somehow, it is part of the evil trinity.  The question is, what is the relationship between Babylon and the other three characters?

SPECIFIC HUMAN ORGANIZATIONS

While Babylon has always existed everywhere, the evil trinity consists of three specific human organizations or movements that come into existence at specific points in time:

The article – The Seven-Headed Beasts – identifies the Dragon of Revelation 12:3 as the Roman Empire.

The same article identifies the Sea Beast as the 11th horn of Daniel 7. It is a specific entity that comes into existence when it arises out of the sea (13:1).

The False Prophet also comes out of the Earth at a specific point in time (compare 13:11-14 to 19:20).

Babylon, because she always existed, predates them all.  Revelation 17 represents Babylon as sitting on a scarlet beast (17:3), identified as the kings of the world (17:18). As argued in another article, this symbolizes the general principle that false religion, in all ages, dominates the kingdoms of the world.

ROMAN EMPIRE

As stated above, the Dragon, when it has seven heads and ten horns (12:3), symbolizes the Roman Empire. That Empire consisted of two parts:

The political rulers, and

False religion that drove the empire to persecute God’s people.  In the first three centuries, emperor worship and other pagan religions encouraged the empire to persecute God’s people. Later, in the fourth century, after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, the emperor appointed the bishops and they were accountable to him. Christianity then slowly evolved and began to take on the nature of the Roman Empire. 

CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF THE MIDDLE AGES

The Beast from the Sea has been identified as the 11th horn of Daniel 7, which has been identified as the church of the Middle Ages. After the Western Roman Empire divided into the kingdoms of early Europe in the fifth century, the Christian Church remained behind as the remnant of the Roman Empire. It eventually, during the High Middle Ages, dominated the nations in the West. The factors that contributed to its dominance include the following:

Its strong organization and administration, compared to the weak systems of the ‘barbarian’ nations of Western Europe.

Initially, it was opposed theologically by the Arian nations that assumed control of Europe in the fifth century, but Justinian conquered the major Arian nations in the sixth century.

Justinian was followed by the Byzantine Empire, during which the Eastern Emperor effectively ruled the nations in the west through the Church.

In the High Middle Ages, the Pope dominated the kingdoms of Europe and persecuted God’s people through the political powers. Several articles on this website explain that history.  See, for example, the Catholic Church authorized the massacres of the Waldensians. The partnership between church and state during the Middle Ages was one example of the general principle on the woman (false religion) sitting on (reigning over) the beast (the kings of the world) (17:3, 18). 

Another example of this principle was when Christ was killed by the Romans on demand of false religion in the form of the rulers of Israel.

That the Christian Church of the Middle Ages was a form of false religion does not refer to specific doctrines, but the proud and arrogant spirit of persecution; completely dissimilar to that of the humble Servant (Phil. 2). 

However, certain doctrines promote this proud and cruel spirit. Some doctrines present God as a cruel tyrant. For example, the doctrine of an eternally burning hell, and the doctrine that God unilaterally decides who should be saved and who will go to hell. Such doctrines affect the people that hold such views, for people become like their gods. 

IMAGE OF THE BEAST

The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the resultant world view of religious freedom in the Western World made an end to the persecution of God’s people during the Middle Ages.  But the Bible predicts that, in the end-time, the fatal wound of the Beast will be healed. The False Prophet will be allowed to convince the people of the world to make an image of the Beast. This will be a copy of the Beast; a copy of the system during the Middle Ages, which is unity of church and state in such a way that false Christianity will dominate the political rulers of the western world and lead them to persecute God’s people. The spirit of Babylon, lurking in all people, will once again be allowed to use Christianity to oppose God.

As a general principle, any time that we see Christians persecuting other Christians, then the persecuting Christian body is doing the work of the antichrist. The clearest characteristic of the Beast-power is that it persecutes God’s people. The Beast is not identified by one or other doctrine. It is identified by Satan’s character, which is to intimidate and a complete lack of humility. Persecution takes many different forms. Emotional persecution can sometimes be worse than physical persecution.

THE REAL ENEMY

To return to the structure of the book of Revelation: Through Daniel’s prophecies and the earlier parts of Revelation, God informs us of the specific empires and movements that will dominate His people on earth. But in chapters 17 and 18, God draws the curtains a bit wider open to allow us to see the real culprit as the false religion that has always existed and always dominated the civil and political rulers of this world to direct them against God and against His people.  Babylon does not represent a specific entity that is limited to one specific time or place.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

Babylon always existed and is world-wide.

Babylon sitting on the scarlet beast (17:3) symbolizes the general principle that false religion, in all ages, dominates the kingdoms of the world. 

While Babylon has always existed everywhere, the evil trinity (the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet) consists of three specific human organizations that come into existence at specific points in time.

Although Babylon is not mentioned as one of the characters in the end-time crisis, she is the driving force behind the evil trinity.  

AVAILABLE ARTICLES ON REVELATION

INTRODUCTORY
   Why is the title of this website Revelation BY Jesus Christ?
   Are events described in chronological sequence? 
   Is a consistently literal interpretation appropriate?
   Does Revelation present Jesus as God?
   God’s throne – the center of the universe.
BABYLON
   Babylon; the mother of harlots
   Babylon’s merchants are her false prophets.
   Babylon is not the reconstructed ancient city of Babylon.
   How does Babylon relate to the beast?
SEVEN-HEADED BEASTS
   The Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation
   The three beasts are three of the seven heads.
   The Seven Heads Identified
REVELATION 13
    13:1-2 – The Beast relates to Daniel 7.
   13:3-4 – The fatal wound
   The identity of the beast
SEVEN SEALS
   Introduction to the Seven Seals – What book is this?
   Seven seals explained
   Does the seventh seal include the seven trumpets?
SEVEN PLAGUES
   The Plagues of Revelation – 16 articles

For further reading, Jon Paulien’s commentary is recommended. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.