And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.”
Revelation 18:9-10 (ESV)
For centuries, Bible scholars and other pundits have debated the identity of Babylon depicted in such cataclysmic detail during the Tribulation period in the Book of Revelation. It was once the most powerful kingdom in the ancient world. The Babylon which is mentioned in this Bible prophecy is describing the destruction of a city during the time of the Tribulation, a city or even a group of nations that may not have existed at the time the prophecy was written. Whatever the answer, it is clear this city will be of great financial importance and there are many locations that would fit this description. London, Hong Kong and Singapore are major financial centers and then there are places off the radar, like Cyprus, home to one of the largest money laundering operations in the world, controlling massive amounts of undocumented wealth.
Although cities like New York and San Francisco would certainly qualify, the United States is not mentioned or even directly alluded to in the Bible. Thus, pundits and theologians have asked the question, why not? Some say that a catastrophic event will eliminate America as a world power during the time of the tribulation. Others have suggested an even darker possibility and aver that the United States is Babylon and the Bible is prophesying its horrific destruction in one hour.
The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.
Revelation 16:9 (ESV)
When we read of a terrible judgment upon a city or group of people, we may be reluctant to recognize our own judgment is being declared. I, like many others, may be consumed by an ethnocentric worldview. How could America, the shining beacon of freedom for billions in the world, be despicable and reviled Babylon? I sincerely pray that any city in America or the world is not Babylon for God’s judgment will be swift and complete. Yet, God’s Word cannot be broken and destruction will someday arrive. Will I or my loved ones be living in that city?
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…
Romans 3:23-24 (ESV)
Why is it so difficult for me and other Americans to realize that we may be living in a Babylon? It is difficult to be honest with ourselves because we are all sinners and unwilling and incapable to see ourselves as we truly are, hopelessly lost in our sins and depraved in our behavior. In America, we cloak and justify our actions behind the noble terms of democracy and freedom, yet our lives and actions belie this truth. America is one of the greatest countries on this earth founded upon Judeo-Christian values. Yet relative moralism and liberalism have eroded this once great country. Poverty has not been eliminated; racism still exists; religious intolerance against Christians and Jews exponentially grows under the banner of diversity and inclusiveness. No political party or leader can save us. No socialist or capitalist economic theory can redeem us. We need a supernatural intervention. We need someone not beholden to political or economic ideologies.
If we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will have salvation and eternal life. Before the start of the Great Tribulation, all believers in Jesus Christ will be raptured, their physical bodies are taken up to Heaven to meet Jesus Christ. When this occurs, the seven years of the Tribulation will begin on earth and the identity and meaning of 666 will be revealed. It will be a period of unimaginable horror and suffering. If we truly love our neighbor, we, who are believers in Jesus Christ, should do everything possible to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, so that they may rest in eternal peace and comfort with the God of all Creation.
Wherever Babylon may be, only Jesus Christ can save us from the certain destruction of our lives and our souls.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.