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Babylon, the Ancient Land of Israel

05 Jan
Babylon Is Israel

from Google Images

I find it interesting that Revelation 14:8 mentions that Babylon has fallen. The context of her fall seems to be the appearance of the 144,000 with the Lord on Mt. Zion (Revelation 14:1), and they are the firstfruits, redeemed among men for the Lord (Revelation 14:4). Moreover, the first time we meet with the 144,000 is in chapter seven of the Apocalypse. There, they were sealed from among the 12 tribes of Israel.[1] What seems interesting is that the city of Babylon is mentioned with the Lord’s covenantal people. Why would that be so? The Lord never had a covenant with Babylon, so why is this city mentioned alongside of the 144,000, who are the firstfruits for the Lord?

The text also tells us that Babylon “made all nations drink the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” The word fornication is used in Scripture to describe how Israel broke their covenant with the Lord (cp. 2Chronicles 21:9-15; Ezekiel 16:1-2, 24-26). Therefore, the use of this word in Revelation 14:8 presumes Babylon was in a covenantal relationship with the Lord. Yet, literal Babylon was never in such a relationship. So, how should we understand the use of Babylon in the text?

Notice that the judgment of Babylon is placed in the context of the harvest season (Revelation 14:14-15), and in that season a vine was reaped (Revelation 14:18). In Isaiah 5:1-7 the Lord describes Israel and Judah as his vine, but instead of good grapes they brought forth wild grapes. Thus, Babylon is put for the vine of the Lord in the text, and is cast into the winepress of the Lord’s wrath (Revelation 14:19), where the Lord crushes under his feet the young men of Judah (cp. Lamentations 1:15). Moreover, the blood coming out of this winepress overflowed to a distance of sixteen hundred furlongs (Revelation 14:20), which happens to be the length of Israel from about Beersheba to Dan.[2] So, in the destruction of Babylon, the blood flowed throughout the land of Israel! How can that be, unless Babylon is apocalyptic language for Jerusalem?

Notice, as well, that the winepress was outside the city (Revelation 14:20). All that was unclean (Leviticus 13:45-46), and all that was defiled, and all that was cursed (Leviticus 24:14) were taken outside the city. The unclean dwelt there, and those who were cursed were slain there. Once more, covenantal language is used, showing this Babylon of chapter fourteen of the Apocalypse had a covenantal relationship with the Lord. Yet, literal Babylon had no such relationship. In fact, no other city in the world, whether in Biblical times or beyond up to our modern era, had a relationship with God, other than ancient Israel.[3] Therefore, the city of Babylon (Revelation 14:8) must refer to Jerusalem in the first century AD. It was upon her and her ancient rulers that the Lord laid the bloodguilt of all the righteous who had ever lived from Able to those whom Jesus would send to her (see Matthew 23:29-38).

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[1] See my study: Sealing the Israel of God.

[2] See commentaries by Utley, Robertson, Jamieson Fausset & Brown, Ironside etc.

[3] Even modern Israel has no covenantal relationship with the Lord. The Old Covenant passed away in the first century AD (Hebrews 8:13), and is no longer in effect, whether or not a new temple were built in the Middle East.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2020 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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