Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, April 2010
'Babylon, the Great' Is Israel
By Rev. Ted Pike
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, April 5, 2010
In the mystical book of Revelation, the apostle John sees a scarlet woman called “ Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.” She is drunk on the blood of Christians and rides a many-horned and -headed beast. John was told this woman symbolized a city that would one day rule and corrupt the world. Who is this woman? Does she exist today?
The answer lies thousands of years in history, in a story of redemption, love and betrayal – recounted in Ezekiel 16. This stern yet tender allegory tells how God rescued Israel from death as a rejected infant and chose her for His spiritual bride – not because of her goodness but out of His compassion. From the furnace of Egyptian bondage, the tiny Hebrew nation burst forth. She plagued Pharaoh, crossed the divided sea and finally lived under Moses’ leadership in the desert of Sinai. There God entered the covenant of spiritual marriage with His bride. But that happiness was so brief!
[Israel] you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame and poured out your harlotry on every passer-by who might be willing… (Ezekiel 16:15).
From Moses through the prophets, Israel is repeatedly characterized as an imperious whore. In more than 80 instances, she is specifically denounced as a harlot or lewd woman. Isaiah and the other pre-exilic prophets aimed their wrath at Jerusalem: “How the faithful city has become a harlot!" (Isaiah 1:21) Isaiah denounced apostate Jews as “sons of a sorceress, offspring of an adulterer and a prostitute” (Isaiah 57:3).
Did Israel’s evil ways end in the dusty annals of the Old Testament? No. Israel rejected Jesus Christ, her Messiah. She has never yet repented. This compels an inevitable conclusion: Israel of today and tomorrow is the same symbolic woman once chosen as God’s unique bride but ultimately divorced and cast away because of her spiritual adultery.Israel is that “Mother of Harlots” John saw on the beast of Revelation 17 and 18.
Israel was the first to marry God (Christ) and be spiritually one with Him. Thus the position she enjoyed as a spiritual bride was unique to her. Likewise, only apostate Israel can be the “mother” of spiritual whoredom. When she was chosen as Christ’s bride, other nations were disobedient like a child to its parent. Only Israel was made capable of a wife’s infidelity. As a result, when she became a spiritual whore, she was indelibly marked, “Mother of Harlots.” Jeremiah said, “You had a harlot's forehead, you refused to be ashamed.” (Jer. 3:3) Other apostate systems may be spiritual harlots but only Israel is “mother” of that scarlet sorority. And without repentance, neither time nor wanderings can remove that epithet from her. When Israel shouted, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” her resurrected spouse banished her. The Jewish people were condemned to wander like a woman divorced for adultery, perpetually looking for that substitute husband (anti-Christ) who would take the place of the One she killed.
The Great City
What has happened to that rejected unfaithful wife today?
Revelation 17 confronts us with the specter of a city “which reigns over the kings of the earth.” It has physical power—more wealth and importance than any other city—but also spiritual power, embodying the full potentiality of human degeneracy. “What city is like this great city?” the merchants of the earth will wail. This city is so commercially important that when she falls, world trade also comes crashing down. The title “the great city” is exclusive. There will doubtless be other powerful cities in the end time but John witnesses “the great city,” an unequaled center of trade, political power, culture and human bondage.
And to whom does that term refer? In Revelation, “the great city” (hey polis megaley in Greek) is used to clearly refer to Jerusalem, capitol of the Jewish people! When the two witnesses are killed, their dead bodies lie in the streets of “the great city (hey polis megaley). "... Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8). This unmistakably implies that powerful, corrupt Babylon and the great city “ Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified,” are the same city… Jerusalem.
The apostle Peter, bishop of Jerusalem, also calls Jerusalem “ Babylon.” He sends greetings from the church in Jerusalem saying, “She who is in Babylon…sends you greetings” (1 Peter 5:13). Peter never visited Babylon. He is clearly identifying the moral cesspool of antiquity, Babylon, with the city where Christ was killed.
There are other reasons to believe “ Babylon the Great” means the Jewish city. When she is destroyed, Revelation describes the fall of this city as different from that of “Gentile” (ethnos) cities. “And the great city was divided into three parts and the cities of the nations (Gentiles) fell…” (Revelation 16:19) A city which is not Gentile must, of course, be Jewish.
Also, Rev. 18:24 says that the great city is guilty for having shed the blood of the Hebrew prophets and righteous from the beginning of history. Jesus said the same concerning the rulers of Jerusalem, the Pharisees: "that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar" (Matt. 23:35).
Yet even from earliest post-apostolic times, Christians have misread Revelation’s prophecy. They thought Babylon the Great meant Rome, which has traditionally been described as sitting on seven hills. Yet the city of Rome encompasses many more than seven hills. This is not true of Jerusalem. Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D. points out:
the City of Jerusalem as it existed in the time of Christ Jesus was also reckoned to be a 'City of Seven Hills.' This fact was well recognized in Jewish circles. In the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, an 8th century A.D. midrashic [Talmudic] narrative (Section 10), the writer mentioned without commentary (showing that the understanding was well known and required no defense) that, "Jerusalem is situated on seven hills." ("The Seven Hills of Jerusalem” http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p000201.htm)
Armenian Christians, living for centuries in Palestine, taught their schoolchildren that the seven hills are: Mt. of Olives, Mt. Scopus, Mt. Zion, Mt. Moriah (the Temple mount), Golgotha, Hill of Moses, and Mt. Herzl.
Scripture also describes only one city as center of world rule in the last days, and that is Jerusalem. Paul states clearly that the anti-Christ will declare his one-world authority from the temple at Jerusalem, where he proclaims he is God. (2 Thess. 2:4) When the two witnesses resist him, they do not battle a papal anti-Christ but “the wicked profane prince of Israel” in Jerusalem. (Ezek. 21:25) These scriptures point to Jerusalem as the epicenter of one-world rebellion against God; Jerusalem and Babylon are one!
Modern Judaism is Babylonian
There is more depth to the metaphor. Judaism literally is Babylonian, more than nearly any other religion or culture. Most of its religious laws and traditions, including the Babylonian Talmud and Zohar (Kabbalah), come from nearly 1,600 years Jews spent on the fertile plains of Shinar. Few religions have a deeper tradition of occult. Revelation describes Babylon the Great deceiving the world through her “sorceries” and the Jewish encyclopedias tell us it was Judaism which carried Babylon’s black arts, demonology and astrology to the West.
This is as true today as ever. Jewish supremacism today is not only erecting a political, financial, commercial world empire but spewing filth on the nations through their movie and TV media. (link to Jews in media article) They spearhead freedom-destroying, pro-homosexual hate crimes laws worldwide and abet all forms of left-wing and anti-Christ radicalism through their “civil liberties” fronts such as ADL, ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
And just as “Babylon the Great” will deceive the world, so Jewish leaders today present a whitewashed façade to Christians and the world – an illusion of goodness that has never been more convincing or scrupulously maintained. The Jewish lobby deceived Christians into unquestioning support of Israel’s ambitions and atrocities in the Mideast; this is awesome evidence of the manipulative influence Jewry will enjoy as we draw even closer to the end. When Christ warned that the delusions of the end time would be so irresistible that “even the very elect” could be deceived, He was speaking of our day!
In our day we witness the continuing and monstrous complications of that great divorce of Christ from his chosen bride millennia ago. We are not simply approaching the foothills of anti-Christ. We are in them. Through intrigue and deception, the control and commercialism of “ Babylon the Great” has come surround us. Yet we have not perceived it. We have, in fact, assisted it.
Babylon is now.
How should Christians respond to the fact that Israel and Babylon are one? Jesus tells us the answer. "Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues, for her sins have piled up as high as heaven…" (Rev. 18:4-5)
(Adapted from Israel: Our Duty Our Dilemma by Rev. Ted Pike, 345 pages, illustrated, available for $24.90 post-paid from NPN, P.O. Box 828, Clackamas, OR 97015)
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.
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