The Fall of Babylon - Fulfilled in 2001
The Fall of Babylon prophecy divides opinion about its identity, because the original Babylon disappeared long ago. So where is the Babylon referred to in the prophecy in the Book of Revelation?
Some think it is Iraq, where Babylon was originally to be found, others say it is America! But how can it be America?
The prophecy starts at Revelation Ch.18
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor. 2 And he called out with a mighty voice, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird; 3 for all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness."
Babylon was symbolic of money; the world of commerce and banking. It was the first city to develop money as a commodity to be traded and borrowed for commercial gain. So this prophecy at first appears to suggest a possible collapse of the banking system, or at least a very severe recession where “merchants weep and no one buys their goods anymore”.
A few years ago a collapse of the banking system would have been unthinkable but in 2012, with the worldwide financial crisis and some banks already having failed, a complete collapse of the banking system was a frightening possibility. However, as we read further this prophecy, with hindsight, clearly does not refer to the banking system.
We can see from another prophecy, the vision of the "harlot riding the beast", that Babylon was identified there as being America. That does not necessarily mean that the interpretation here is the same, but let's read further with this possibility in mind to attempt to decipher the actual meaning of this prophecy.
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; 5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her as she herself has rendered, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed. 7 As she glorified herself and played the wanton, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning. Since in her heart she says, 'A queen I sit, I am no widow, mourning I shall never see,'
This appears to be calling on the Jewish people to leave America and distance themselves from the iniquities of the USA. But why is the God of Israel apparently turning against the American people, Israel's greatest ally?
This does not make any sense, except of course, if John or any subsequent translators really thought that the fall referred to was actually the fall of the original Babylon. Then the call to “come out of her my people” would make sense.
Babylon was Israel’s great enemy and most of the nation of Israel was taken into captivity, in the original Babylon, in around 600 BC, where they were virtually imprisoned for 70 years.
But from this point on, the emphasis seems to change and Babylon no longer appears to be America as a whole, but just part of it. This also makes sense because John’s only knowledge of Babylon would have been of the original city and he would not have understood any reference where America or any other city was referred to as “Babylon”.
8 so shall her plagues come in a single day, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she shall be burned with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her."
Is it possible that this is a reference is to the destruction of the World Trade Centre, which was effectively “burned with fire” in just one day in 2001? The following seems to quite clearly support this theory!
9 And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and were wanton with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; 10 they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, "Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon! In one hour has thy judgment come."
Remember John said in Revelation Ch: 11v13 that “a tenth of the city fell” when he was actually referring to a building, which we previously identified as the World Trade Centre. So the destruction of the city of Babylon could well be a building, not a city and indeed it seems to be the very same one to which he previously referred!
11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo any more, 12 cargo of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.
It would be quite a stretch of imagination to believe that all of America’s trade with the rest of the world was dependent on, or originated from, the World Trade Centre in New York City. But the inference is quite clear that worldwide trade in many commodities was carried out from there.
14 "The fruit for which thy soul longed has gone from thee, and all thy dainties and thy splendor are lost to thee, never to be found again!" 15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud. 16 "Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, bedecked with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! 17 In one 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?" 19 And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out, "Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! In one hour she has been laid waste.
20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, O saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!"
Often great catastrophes are considered to be caused by “the wrath of God” when they are natural disasters, as in the flood of Noah’s time, when God actually tried to save mankind from the flood, not kill them all!
If John thinks that the original Babylon is the city which has been destroyed, he would be entitled to assume this destruction to be the “wrath of God” as a punishment for enslaving “His People” as they were in the original Babylon.
21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more;
In the attack on 9/11 the Twin Towers were certainly “thrown down and were found no more” which is a good description of what happened to the twin towers but would be a strange metaphor for the destruction of a country.
22 and the sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters, shall be heard in thee no more;
And a craftsman of any craft shall be found in thee no more; and the sound of the millstone shall be heard in thee no more;
23 And the light of a lamp shall shine in thee no more;
And the voice of bridegroom and bride shall be heard in thee no more;
For thy merchants were the great men of the earth;
and all the nations were deceived by thy sorcery. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth."
Now look at all the unique references in the final part of this chapter above. It would be true of all buildings destroyed that: The light of a lamp shall shine in thee no more, but it obviously refers to a building rather than a country. But the most interesting, relevant and convincing quotes which identify the building are the last three listings of what will not be found there anymore. These would all uniquely apply to The World Trade Centre
1) A craftsman and a craft shall be found in thee no more - This is a direct reference to trades/trading companies no longer operating from the building.
2) The sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters, shall be heard in thee no more - The WTC was a famous center for concerts and the reference to harpers, minstrels etc., is obviously very relevant in describing it.
3) The voice of bridegroom and bride shall be heard in thee no more
The restaurant in the World Trade Centre was called “Windows on the World and was famous for its special events, especially weddings.
So, from first being thought of as a collapse of the banking system and then the destruction of America in a coming worldwide conflict, this part of Revelation now appears to be dealing with a prophecy which has already been fulfilled by the events of 9/11 - The destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001.
It's a sort of eulogy/tribute to the late World Trade Center but John, because the name given to it is Babylon, has very different feelings about its destruction. He appears to see it as God's justifiable wrath which has destroyed this evil city, because it imprisioned Israel for 70 Years!