(Reposted from the author's web site, with the author's permission.)
The definition of "Babylon" in the dictionary is: 1. An ancient city on the Euphrates River: capital of Babylonia and later of the Chaldean empire. 2. Any city regarded as a place of excessive luxury and wickedness."
Those are good definitions, because in ancient times Babylon was an important city on the Euphrates River in the land now known as Iraq. It is written about in eleven of the books of the Judaic Scriptures (Old Testament), and in the last book of the Christian Gospels, Revelation, written by the apostle John.
Now, however, it is important to understand that Babylon is not a specific place, but merely the symbolic term for a military empire that lives by the sword (gun and bomb) and is ruled by men who seek and fight for worldly power, wealth and domain, and live luxuriously while many of its citizens and subjects live in poverty. And the Judaic "Old Testament" Scriptures in the Bible even foretell that there would now be many "pieces" of Babylon.
On this page I will discuss the meaning of the prophecies about Babylon in the book of Daniel, as well as prophecies about "Babylon" in John’s book of Revelation. I’ll also discuss the meaning of the biblical references to the "Antichrist," the "beast" and the "whore" of Babylon, and the "number of the beast, 666."
Many kingdoms and empires throughout history have fit the description of "Babylon." But the ancient Roman Empire (which ruled during the time of the original Christians and persecuted them), and the succeeding "Holy" Roman Empire that brought about many centuries of theocratic tyranny and oppression during the "Dark Ages," are among the most well known to Western civilization. And Nazi Germany was surely the worst and most infamous. But today, as you will see, the United States of America probably most represents and epitomizes the Babylon foreseen by the apostle John in his book of Revelation, and it also most represents the biggest piece of the "divided fourth kingdom" foreseen by the prophet Daniel.
But, even though the U.S. Government in Washington D.C. most represents Babylon (particularly under the Reagan and Bush regimes), in the wider sense Babylon refers to many nations in the world, since so many are plagued with so much inequity, injustice, corruption, conflict, division, militarism and violence. And the term "Great Whore of Babylon" mentioned in the book of Revelation illustrates how much John and other apostles kept in mind how the Christ Jesus criticized and rebuked the rich. That’s why it’s written that the rich have "fallen into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful desires," not realizing that "the love of money is the root of all evil and those who desire it have erred from the faith."
I wouldn’t put it that way, but I would say that the lust for money, and the selfish and inequitable gaining of it at the expense of others, is indeed evil. And I must say that many citizens of "Babylon" are consumed by the lust for money, and they gain it unfairly at the expense of others. And I’m not talking only about those who commit crimes like robbery and fraud. I’m also talking about ALL those profiteers who unfairly raise the prices of the goods or services they provide, and exploit and take advantage of all those who need those goods or services.
Now, I need to tell you that Babylon will indeed fall, as John foresaw and wrote in the book of Revelation. However, that fall will not be as many believe it will be, and I will try to explain why by first discussing what is written in the book of Daniel.
The Prophet Daniel was a seer and chief advisor to the court of the king of ancient Babylon, King Nebuchednezzar. Daniel was asked to interpret a dream that the king had, and it turned out that the dream represented a symbolic pattern and sequence of rulership from that time right up to our time.
Before he interpreted the king’s dream, Daniel described it in this way: "There was an image with a head of fine gold; his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. A stone struck the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold was broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away and no place was found for them. And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." (Daniel 2:32-35)
Daniel also gave us some very good clues as to what that means, even though most religious people have not and still do not understand it. In fact, very few have understood it.
To paraphrase, Daniel interpreted the dream saying that his king at that time was the head of gold. After his kingdom there would arise another, inferior kingdom, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over the earth. And a fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as iron breaks in pieces ... it shall break in pieces. And, because the feet are part iron and part clay, the fourth kingdom shall be divided ... but the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And finally, the God of heaven shall set up a (new) kingdom, which shall never be destroyed. And the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms (and nations), and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:38-45)
By the way, it should be noted that the new all-encompassing kingdom that will stand for ever is the same one foreseen by John in the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, which states: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)
This speaks of the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy, when all the "pieces" of the "divided fourth kingdom" are encompassed by a new kingdom (comprised of all the united nations) that shall last forever. It is the new kingdom in which God and "His" Christ (who is with God in heaven) will reign in spirit forever, and all the people shall be equal joint heirs to the throne of the new kingdom because the son of man rejects or abdicates the throne. (Daniel 2:44, Jeremiah 33:15-17, Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:29, James 2:5)