Guest Article– Ken Hawkins on the Identity of Babylon

We are glad to present for your study and article by our friend Ken Hawkins. Ken is a fine student of the Word, as evidenced  by his article below. 

While the evangelical world continues to proclaim that Bayblon was / is the Roman Catholic church, a literal, restored Babylon in Iraq, or some othe entity, it is vital that we take a fresh look at the actual evidence. When we do, we will quickly discover that there is virtually no evidence for the popular identifications of Babylon! We appreciate Ken’s contributions to this important study.

Don K. Preston


(Revelation chapters 17 & 18)
By Ken Hawkins

Revelation 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
Many have interpreted the woman to be the Roman Catholic Church springing from Roman rule.  They claim that she is the Roman Catholic Church because she gave birth to denominationalism.  Yet others interpret the woman as Rome.  They allude to this by comparison of Rome sitting on seven hills and the woman sitting on seven mountains (17:9).  However, let us look at the Bible’s own interpretation of this woman.

The Mystery of the Great Whore:
The woman is the great whore of Revelation 17:1 for she carries the title “Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.” A harlot is another reference for a whore.  This woman is referred to as the “great whore” because she is the mother of harlots and abominations.  
Also the woman is bearing the name “Babylon the Great.”  Later in verse 18, it is revealed to the apostle John that the whore that sits on many waters (v. 1, 15) is a great city. Revelation 17:18 “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city…”  Again, it is revealed to the apostle John in Revelation 14:8 that Babylon is the great city.

Things to Notice:
Jerusalem, once a faithful city, became a spiritual harlot as noted in Isaiah 1:1, 4, 21.  The identity of the great city is actually revealed earlier in Revelation chapter 11.  Jerusalem is “the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom (abominable corruption) and Egypt (oppression & bondage {to sin Gal. 4:25}), where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8).  Just like during Isaiah’s time, Jerusalem had become evil-hearted like Sodom and Gomorrah (Is. 1:9-10).  The moral conditions of Jerusalem were not in keeping with God’s will, but He has always reserved a small remnant of the faithful (Is. 1:9).  Here unfaithful (those faithless in Christ) and rebellious Jerusalem is a “spiritual” Babylon… “the great whore.”

Another Key Scripture to Note:
Revelation 18:24 And in her (Babylon) was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Here is another solid indication of who is that great city Babylon (the harlot / whorish woman).  She was held responsible for the blood of prophets, saints and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Jesus while speaking to the scribes and Pharisees foretold that the unfaithful and rebellious Jerusalem would be held accountable for the righteous blood of God’s prophets. Matthew 23:34-37 “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee…” Also see Mt. 23:29-38; Lk. 11:47-51; 13:34.

The woman (“spiritual” Babylon, the great city, the great whore, Jerusalem) had become drunk with the blood of God’s faithful servants.  She was guilty of the murdering God’s prophets (Rev. 18:24) and apostles (Rev. 18:20).  Jesus states that all prophets perish in Jerusalem (Luke 13:33).  God avenged their blood upon her (Rev. 18:20; 19:2).  In addition, many prophets long ago warned of how Israel/Jerusalem as a faithful city would become a harlot through spiritual fornication (Is. 1:21; Jer. 3:6-8; Ez. 16:1-39).

The great city, Jerusalem, was arrayed in fine apparel as alluded to by the luxuriously dressed woman of Revelation 17:4.  God took Jerusalem (Ez. 16:2-7) and clothed her with the very best garments and jewels.  
Ezekiel 16:10-13 “I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.  Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.”  
Yet she later went on to harlotry (Ez. 16:15-17), which she continually repeated throughout her history.

Again some attribute Babylon, the Mother of all Harlots to the Roman Catholic Church because it is associated as giving birth to denominationalism.  However, departure from God’s Word began long before the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church in 606 A.D.  The apostle John reveals that false teachings and false prophets existed during his 1st century days (1 John 4:1; 2:18).  Peter also confirms this in 2 Peter 2:1-3 as well as the apostle Paul (Romans 16:17-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:7).  Mankind seeking God’s guidance was led astray from Christ’s and the apostles’ teachings long before the rise of the Roman Catholic Church.  This was the spirit of error at work.  1 John 4:6 “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”

Questions to Ask
1.    In Isaiah 1:1 & 21, what city did Isaiah say was a faithful city that became a harlot?
2.    In Jeremiah 2:2 & 20, what city did Jeremiah say played the harlot?
3.    In Ezekiel 16:2, 15-17, 22, 25-26, 28-36, what city did Ezekiel say was a harlot and with abominations?
4.    In Ezekiel 16:2, 10-13, what city did Ezekiel describe as beautiful, decked with fine clothing and jewelry?
5.    What city did Jesus say stoned the prophets sent unto them? (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34).  What city did Jesus say the prophets perished in? (Luke 13:33).
6.    Who did Jesus say would be held accountable for the blood of the prophets? (Matthew 23:31-38; Luke 11:48-51; 13:33-35).
7.    What city did Jeremiah prophecy would cease to have the voice of mirth, the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, the voice of the bride and the light of a candle as mentioned in Revelation 18:22-23? (Jeremiah 7:34).

All of the evidence presented above, and there is much more, leads us to the conclusion that Babylon of Revelation was Old Covenant Jerusalem.

See Don K. Preston’s book Who Is This Babylon for more in-depth discussion of this important topic. The book is available from this website.