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I've been reading through a diverse set of commentaries on Revelation and I saw something in Walvoord's that I wanted to ping the community here about. Walvoord interprets Babylon the Great, the Prostiture of chater 17, as the whole system of false religion and likely the apostate Christian church (like the RCC and/or EO). I don't find his interpretation very convincing, myself, but he goes on at length discussing how false religion originates from Babylon and something about a virgin birth of Tammuz and images of a woman and child and how Babyloinian religion infiltrated the RCC, etc, etc. Amazingly, he had no footnotes or references concerning this information at all. Wasn't this line of thinking debunked, regarding Babylon being the source of all false religion and RCC "error"? Didn't that info come from some book in the 19th century that has been largely debunked?
I am very familiar with this argument. Most of my family is JW, and the whole "RC is the Whore of Babylon" line of reasoning is popular with them. They have claimed from this book that the 40 days of Lent come from the 40 day "Weeping of Tammuz" and that Catholics eat fish on friday because we actually worship the fish god Dagon as indicated by the popes "fish hat".
In fact, I have been given "The Two Babylons" by family members. That is the book which you mentioned from the 19th century, and yes, it has been debunked by scholars and is rife with error.
Unfortunately, this line of reasoning has not been debunked in the minds of the lunatic fringe. Chick tracts play well with this group of people.
Most of the argument from "A Woman who Rides a Beast" and other books comes from wrenching scripture out of context, and foisting it onto the RC. For example, Rev 18 indicates that there will be merchants of the earth who will weep when the whore cannot buy their things anymore, and a list of goods follows. I have asked this question to many "Whore of Babylon is the RC" believers: When was the last time you saw the Roman Catholic Church buying cinnamon sticks and sheep from merchants in such great numbers as to cause them to weep when they cant sell them anymore?
There is also this to consider. Babylon is referred to as "the great city" several times. One of those times is (Rev 11:8) when it is allegorically called Sodom and Egypt, where the Lord was crucified. I believe this refers to to the city of Jerusalem (in 70 A.D.) which was still the actual city where the Lord was crucified. Another clue is that Jerusalem was also symbolically called "Sodom" in the OT (Isa 1:9-10) (Ezek 16:1-3) (Ezek 16:46-56).
I believe Revelation 17 was fulfilled in the first century. Could it recapitulate in the future and not refer to Jerusalem? It's possible, but I believe Jesus was speaking to that particular wicked generation who rejected their Messiah in Mt 23-24.
The harlot is "drunk with the blood of the saints" echoes the words of Jesus when he spoke the seven woes upon the religious leadership of Jerusalem and said the city would be forsaken and desolate (Mt 23: 37-38). I believe St. John subtly reflected those seven woes of Jesus in the seven bowls.
As for political connections, Jerusalem rode the back of Rome to persecute the Christians up until the Jewish-Roman war broke out.
Many modern people do not know that Jerusalem was also built upon seven hills. Josephus recorded the names in Wars of the Jews: "Zion, Acra, Moriah, Bezetha, Millo, Ophel, and Antonio"
Dun. Dun. Dah! I'm not making fun of the topic but only that you can twist and spin a tale once you go too far outside the boundries of scripture. I came across this video reviewing "The Mystery Babylon" topic. It's humorous and entertaining though I think the biggest cover up is that they stole the History Channels logo and they lay claims that the video is high definition. It just ruined their credibility :) . If they put the same effort into comparing scripture to scripture and biblical study on the topic they could have presented it in text without all the production costs :)
Jack if the Illuminati exists, Yes I would suspect he might be a member. :P
I think one of the primary reason the harlot is linked to Rome is because of prophecies in Daniel particularly the colossal image where the interpretation is given that the head being Babylon and on down through the history to the toes, well you know the shtick. But I'm not sure why the 10 toes need to be geographically in the same place. Babylon was east of the Medes and the Persians , right? It was definitely east of the Roman empire , if so then the image showing one power taking over the previous and breaking down in strength does not necessarily mean the powers overlayed each other geographically.