THE “MYSTERY BABYLON” PARADOX
There are many explanations given by prophetically-inclined, Christian believers about the identity of the “harlot” described in Revelation 17:5. John called her “Mystery Babylon The Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth”. Right after seeing this “prostitute” being drunk on the blood of saints and martyrs of Jesus, the angel who was explaining things to John urged him to calm down, that he would explain this mysterious creature. Here’s how he put it in verse 7:
“Why didst thou marvel? I will tell you of the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns”.
He then goes on to provide us with a word-picture of the harlot’s history. Below I will direct you to my full commentary regarding this “woman” in two chapters of my book, The Two Witnesses, but here let me make a few correlative comments which I have been thinking a lot about lately that relates to this subject.
Geographic location is obviously the first thought that comes to mind when we see the name of a city or nation mentioned in the Bible, as for example “Babylon”, which we know of course was a Biblically-significant, ancient city in the Middle East, today called Iraq. Before his fall, Saddam Hussein was in process of rebuilding the ancient city (of course it wasn’t completed, but pictures of construction work have been shown on television partly confirming this report). Some prophetic authors believe the old city will still be rebuilt someday and will then become the central business office of the Antichrist in his final days. Others believe “Mystery Babylon” is of worldwide proportions and that no single place suffices to describe its location (the Scriptures in Rev. 17 seem to strongly support this belief). Still others believe that New York City is central headquarters of Babylon the Great, that America will eventually become linked with today’s European Union, and that the main leader of the USA will ultimately be the Antichrist.
If you have read my book, The Two Witnesses (available online and in hardback copy), you know that I present the USA and Great Britain as the historical “two witnesses”. When folks first hear this statement, there are invariably, and understandably, several negative responses to my viewpoint. The most common responses go something like this:
(1) “Lance, don’t you know that the two witnesses are clearly described as only two people, the most likely candidates being Elijah and Moses or Elijah and Enoch?”
(2) “Therefore, how can you possibly link two whole nations to the two prophets the apostle John speaks of in Rev. 11?”
(3) “And even if your view of the two witnesses is of large-scale, national proportions, surely the two nations which house the most evil and sinful practices on earth today would not be the ones which John describes.”
I could go on, but skepticism centers around these three arguments. To attempt convincing you of the possibility that the “individuals” described in Revelation 11 also has a long-range, historical-forecast application regarding whole nations, as well as two individuals in the last few years just prior to the commencement of the Millennium, would require a book. And that’s exactly what I have written on the subject. So if you are troubled by what I have said here in this article, please let me invite you to read my book in its entirety before making your final decision as to whether this viewpoint has credibility. But let me make a brief attempt to justify at least one of the above points — # 3.
Whoever, whatever, or however the “two witnesses” are defined, gross sinfulness and anti-God characteristics are exactly what is predicted to exist in the land where the two witnesses are finally killed. Rev. 11:8 puts it like this:
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”
Now immediately most readers of this verse react by pointing out that the Bible clearly tells us where Jesus was crucified, namely Jerusalem, and therefore, the two witnesses must be only two people who will also die in this most important, major city of Israel. Now let me make a statement that, coming from me, will probably come as a surprise: There may indeed be two individual witnesses who “prophesy” in the last of the “last days”. If this is true, the ministry of the two individual witnesses will be a period of 1260 days, or half of the final seven-year Tribulation. Therefore, this would be a literal, day-for-a-day application of this Scripture.
Having said that, though, my studies convince me that in order to interpret this particular Scripture and thus make this and other prophetic passages fit together rightly and sensibly, the Law of Double Reference must be applied. Just as the two individual witnesses will prophesy for a specific time period, i.e., 1260 literal days, the two national witnesses will have already prophesied 1260 years when the two individual witnesses start their prophetic utterances. (See Ezekiel 4:6 for an explanation of how God has historically used literal days to signify years.)
CHURCH HISTORY IN GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA
A careful check of the history of the Church’s influence in Great Britain and the USA produces some amazing results. (And if you will allow the reality of this historicity to take root in your mind, some amazing results may surface in your thinking, too!) Although one cannot pin it down to a precise year, history clearly reveals that Christianity in Great Britain began its primary role relative to the Great Commission in about the middle of the 8th century. That was the period when the first translation of the Bible from Greek into English began. A man given the title, The Venerable Bede, was the first to do so, translating first the Gospel of John. And thus, it was in England where the most significant, broad-scale spreading of the Word of God through the English language began, first into English, of course, and later into many other languages. Throughout the centuries since then, along with the Bible, England was also responsible for the sending forth of missionaries into much of the world. And, as is well known, many of history’s greatest preachers and Biblical expositors came out of the loins of Great Britain.
Astute readers who resist my perspective do so partly because America wasn’t even discovered until 1492, and therefore argue that the 1260 “days” (years) of this nation’s “prophesying” simply doesn’t balance time-wise with the British witness. This troubled me too for many years, but I couldn’t shake a strong, inner conviction that GB and the USA are the historical “two witnesses” of Revelation 11. The sustaining thought of my conviction was that the paradox would somehow be explained someday.
But then one day, a few years ago, as I supposed was in accord with God’s amazing time schedule of giving us understanding, I learned that there were people who came to America and left their Christian message indelibly carved in stone in a West Virginia cave. A most-noteworthy, English-language scholar and historian, plus other geological scientists who assisted him, dated and translated the ancient-English etchings as having been left by Christian visitors in the 8th century. This man was in no way attempting to link America to the Bible, and certainly not to verify my studies. He simply reported his carefully-deduced, scientific findings. I saw him personally giving his report on television, and in fact still have a copy of the documentary film which also shows the etchings which still remain in the cave.
These etchings were formerly believed to be of American-Indian origin, but according to this documentary report, it was unquestionably ancient English. Gesturing towards the markings with his hand, the ancient-English expert quoted the exact words, which were a testimony of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ to a virgin woman and that He would be the Savior of the world! The discovery was, and is, incredibly convincing that the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ commenced on this continent in the 8th century.
So, my conclusion of this marvelous finding is that God is now allowing us to see a part of how His plan and “anointing” of His called-out nations of GB and the USA has actually worked. It does not overly-stretch my imagination to believe that when the first English translation of the Gospel of John by Bede in the 8th century, coupled with the ancient, English-speaking Christians who came to America and left their “mark” in the 8th century, may very well have coincided the very same day! To me, this screams God’s sovereign control in action.
It is important to realize that the identification of the two witnesses relates primarily to the body of Christ, i.e., all born-again people within the confines of these nations. God has blessed the nations, not because of inherent goodness or anything of the sort, but because of His choice to do so based on His sovereign right to do so. I believe that, from the foundation of the world, God foresaw the God-given righteousness of the collective group of Christians within these nations, just as surely as He did each of you and I who are saved. Therefore, we can take no pride in what we are as set-aside and called-out nations just as surely as we cannot take pride in being in Christ as individuals. It is altogether to God’s glory that we must give praise and thanksgiving for the wonderful, gracious works He has done in GB and the USA, and equally important, that which went out from them to other nations.
SPIRITUAL “SODOM” AND SPIRITUAL “EGYPT”
Now, looking back at the verse quoted above relative to where the bodies of these national witnesses will finally fall when their “prophesying” is completed, i.e., “...in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, ...”, I offer the following explanation:
The “street of the great city...” refers to all the ways of life (we could call these “avenues”) throughout GB and the USA which have become filled and inundated with evils of all kinds. The apostle John gave us strong hints of what this actually means by calling these places spiritual Sodom and spiritual Egypt. Jesus was obviously not crucified in either Sodom or Egypt, nor shall the national witnesses die in literal Sodom or Egypt.
Sodom was noted for being given over to widespread sexual perversions of all kinds, especially homosexuality. I doubt that I need to emphasize to the reader just how perfectly the title of “spiritual Sodom” describes the prevailing characteristics of GB and the USA in our day. In particular, homosexuality and the current talk of it here in America, is of gigantic proportions. One can hardly turn on the television today without seeing this abominable lifestyle being promoted in some way in our nation. Of course we also hear of it on the radio, see it in movies, and read about it in the newspapers and magazines. It’s everywhere. As you know, there is even a worldwide spread of a disease called AIDS that originated primarily within the homosexual community which screams of God’s perspective regarding this lifestyle. I believe this resultant, deadly disease is even plainly revealed in the Bible. It’s right here to see for those “...who have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit of the Lord...” has said:
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and RECEIVING IN THEMSELVES THAT RECOMPENCE OF THEIR ERROR WHICH WAS MEET” (my emphasis). Romans 1:27.
(The “recompence” being “meet” means that the resultant disease is suitably proportioned to the severity of the sin being practiced — namely, sodomy.)
I believe AIDS was present way back in the days to which the apostle Paul was referring to here. Further, I believe the “recompence of their error” was, and is, God’s answer to the abominable practices among homosexuals. The deadly HIV virus has likely been lying dormant for centuries until the time when these kinds of lifestyles would once again prevail, except this time in a widespread fashion, as is occurring in our day. Thus, it appears very rational to believe that male, “gay-life” homosexuality and female lesbianism are two of the main avenues which John was alluding to when he spoke of sodomy “...in the street of the great city...”.
“WHAT IS SPIRITUAL EGYPT”
Then, also staring us in the face to evaluate, is the spiritual “Egypt” characteristic within the confines of where the witnesses fall. How does this name point to GB and the USA?
Well, historical Egypt was known to be the world’s center of false religions and wrong, spiritual allegiances to all sorts and kinds of perversions. Egypt allowed worship of virtually anything that existed — beast, bird, man-made idols, etc. You name it, and it was OK in Egypt to worship it. Everything, of course, except worshiping the God of the Bible.
Well, is this becoming a characteristic in GB and the USA? Absolutely YES! Just as GB commenced their work as God’s first national “witness”, it appears that GB is ahead of the USA on the “spiritual Egypt” trail. Many reports say that Church attendance and worship in GB today involves a very small percentage of the population. There is apparently only a small remnant of true, practicing, Christian believers today in GB. (The reduction of Christian influence is appalling, but praise God for the remnant. God has always done miraculous things through small numbers.)
But thankfully, numbers-wise, there remains in the Church in America significant allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ and the God of the Bible. However, we are losing ground fast in many areas. The media, the government, the courts, public education, and organizations such as the ACLU, etc., and many other forces are all moving at a full-speed-ahead pace in their attempts to sling the Church’s influence off today’s un-Godly, humanistic merry-go-round.
At the same time, false religions and false philosophies are on the rise and all are acceptable in the USA’s new, rapidly-expanding, humanistic arena. The promoters of these old, false religions (being brought in by people from all over the world), plus all the new-age garbage that is now running rampant, love to preach the lie that the USA’s past successes have been due to its multi-cultural nature, rather than what that Bible says, which is that “...Righteousness exalteth a nation...” and that “...sin is as reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34.)
But, typical of Satan’s handiwork, the one “religion” that is not allowable in humanistic thinking is historical, true Christianity. Why is this so? Very simple. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who has already crushed the devil’s head. It’s only a matter of time (and not too long, I think) before God the Father will put everything under the feet of Jesus, whether it be evil or God oriented. In His sovereign control of everything that is happening in the world today, God is simply allowing Satan to run the last mile of his evil course which commenced in the Garden of Eden.
To conclude that the USA’s government was not founded by Christian men — those whose thoughts and ideas were mainly centered on Biblical concepts and principles — is the height of arrogance, willful lack of knowledge, and frankly, stupidity. And yet, this is the mentality of so many people today in positions of high influence in America. Put all this together (and much more not stated) and to call it “spiritual Egypt” is a perfect label. The Holy Spirit of God caused the apostle John to summarize the characteristics of the final days of GB the USA with only a few words. Again I quote Rev. 11:8:
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WHEN AND WHERE JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED?
I believe the special phrase “...where also our Lord was crucified” must also be spiritually appraised in light of the characteristics of the time and place, and not just focusing on the geographic location. If the Holy Spirit had only wanted to convey to the apostle John, and all of the body of Christ, that the city of Jerusalem was the only intended inference, surely there would be no reason not to simply identify the city by its proper name.
When Jesus was crucified, He was surrounded by all aspects of the enemies of God. These consisted of both spiritual beings and human beings. The spiritual beings were of course demonic in nature, Satan being the chief among those evil powers. Satan had been given a promise by God Himself, as stated in Genesis 3:15, that he would have the privilege of “bruising the heel” of Jesus, which alluded to both the physical mutilation of Jesus before the crucifixion, as well as the crucifixion itself. And we can be sure that Satan was there both to inspire what happened and to actually watch it all occur. Satan thought this would be the end of Jesus. He believed he had won the battle against the Son of God. But, all the action Satan was gloating about was actually the spiritual blow which would ultimately totally crush his own head, which God Almighty also promised in the same verse (see Genesis 3:15.)
“And I will put enmity between thee (i.e., Satan) and the woman (Israel) and between thy seed and her seed (this seed is believed to be the first reference to Jesus in the Bible); it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.
Of course, there was also the human side of the forces which led up to the beatings and crucifixion of Jesus. What God’s ultimate judgement will be against those individuals is His own business. However, in essence, every sinner in the universe has his/her own part in what put Jesus to death. In terms of sin and its consequences, you and I are just as responsible as those who were there doing the dirty work. But we, as believers in Christ, can thank God for the grace He has extended to us. This grace included giving salvation and eternal life to those of us who would believe, through the giving of His life and the shedding of His blood at Calvary, that Jesus became the perfect, sacrificial, Lamb of God. The above verse from the first book of the Bible, explains what the last book of the Bible, Revelation, tells us in chapter 13, verse 8, that Jesus was actually “...slain from the foundation of the world”.
Yes, all the evils present in the universe were spiritually present at the crucifixion of Christ. Again, the apostle John summarized the location and situation like this: “...the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified”.
Again, I believe the above comments are the kinds of things God wants us to focus on as we evaluate this passage of Scripture, rather than concentrating only on the specific, geographic location itself. Let me reiterate that I believe there may very well be two individual witnesses who “prophesy” in the end-times, and in their case, the specific location of reference will likely be — Jerusalem. But this truth in no way eradicates the concept of two national witnesses who have already left their indelible, Christian “prophesying” marks on this planet for more than 12 centuries now.
BUT, WHAT ABOUT THE “WOMAN”?
I haven’t forgotten where I was headed at the beginning of this article. But it’s impossible for me to discuss the harlot, Mystery Babylon, of Revelation 17 and 18, without tying in what I believe to be the reality of the Historical “two witnesses”. As I said earlier, many “prophets” (i.e., those who consider themselves experts in the field of Bible prophecy today) believe the USA is Babylon The Great. If this is true, and if my beliefs concerning national witnesses is also true, then the question must be asked as to how it would be possible for America to be considered both Mystery Babylon The Great and one of God’s primary Historical “two witnesses” as described in Revelation 11.
First of all, I’m not saying that I even agree that the USA is Babylon The Great. I tend to believe this harlot is of greater proportions than a single nation. I think of Mystery Babylon more in Global terms than a single nation. It would be fruitless to go into all the possibilities here that could be considered. But let’s just assume that the USA in its final stages of decadent existence does in fact end up being the “home office” of Mystery Babylon. Could it be possible that within the total structure of America she could house both Babylon The Great and at the same time be one of God’s primary national “witnesses”? I’m not saying I strongly believe this is true, but I have no problem at all believing in the possibility. Let me present an indisputable parallel:
Let’s go back to John’s statement again where he describes where the bodies of the “two witnesses” will fall at the completion of their mission:
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Rev. 11:8.
There were two powers present in Jerusalem at the same time when Jesus was crucified. The ultimate power and presence of God was there on earth in the form of a man, the Son of God. There was a Godly remnant of believers there too, of course. Simultaneously, according to the Gospels and the book of Revelation, we see also present there the epitome of evil forces, described by John as spiritual Sodom and spiritual Egypt (which we have already discussed at some length).
So, we see here an example that with God there is no problem at all having the fullness of God and the fullness of evil sitting alongside each other at the same time and in the same place. The same thing could be true relative to God’s national “two witnesses” being in the same geographical location as Mystery Babylon The Great.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS:
I offer the concepts in this article, not as un-swerving, dogmatic truth, but simply what I believe to be reasonable conclusions arrived at based on Biblical and historical facts. Frankly, I am not at all yet fully convinced that the USA is the main seat of responsibility of Mystery Babylon. I’m not yet persuaded that the final “home office” of this “mother of harlots” can’t be in Rome, or perhaps Brussels, or maybe even ancient Babylon restored, or even some other unsuspected city. I think the body of Christ needs to keep all these possibilities in mind and leave the final outcome up to God’s sovereign control.
I think what is important for Christians today is to be alert and vigilant to all possibilities. The characteristics of the coming, final Antichrist forces are becoming increasingly evident every day. Example: I purchased a new cell phone yesterday. I thought going “digital” rather than analog would bring me right up to the highest level of wireless electronic sophistication. Not so. I was informed that my new phone would operate under the newest Global System method (GSM), which operates via satellites rather than ground towers. The “experts” told me that America is way behind European technology in this arena, but that within a year or so we would catch up to the worldwide telephone communications system.
I point this out because well known is the fact that in order for the Antichrist system to operate according to Biblical predictions (see Rev. 13), there would need to be communication potential with all individuals throughout the whole earth, including identification “marks” on virtually everybody (all the unsaved at that time). It is also a well-known fact today that there are microchips becoming available which can be inserted into human flesh that will contain a myriad of information about the individual, such as personal history, health, wealth, etc. This chip will also have the capacity of telling the “powers that be” where this individual is located at all times!
It is not difficult to see that current conditions, communications-wise and identification-wise, are already being prepared for the Antichrist to come on the scene.
However, I do not wish to leave the reader with a negative outlook. The remnant body of Christ is still here in America. We have a job to do until Jesus comes. When Jesus spoke to His disciples concerning His return, which is today primarily meant for you and me, Christian friend, here’s what He said:
“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” Matt. 24:46.
Jesus was referring to what He had just said, which was:
“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?”
Dear reader, do you want to know exactly what the Lord wants you to be doing right now? He tells you right here in this passage:
Be His servant. This means loving those around you, your family, and other Christians; it also means to preach to the lost which God brings your way., etc.).
Be faithful. This refers to exercising your beliefs; studying the Bible, showing yourself approved, etc.).
Be watchful. How do we do this? It means to study the prophecies; study writings such as this article; pray for discernment regarding whose insights are of God, etc.
Be wise. This means to exercise your Christian beliefs daily, based on Biblical convictions rather than worldly influences.
Be found “so doing” these things when Jesus comes. Do you want to know what Jesus promises will be yours if you are found “so doing” when He comes? Here it is: You will be ...
“...made ruler over his household”.
What a promise from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! WOW! How I so desire to be in that number! I don’t say this arrogantly, my friend. Nor am I being prideful in the thought of being a “ruler”. But it would be wrong for us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ not to recognize the reality of the promises concerning rewards. We are commanded to lay good things on the foundation which has been laid, which is Christ Himself. The apostle Paul adds further instructions to Jesus’ promises regarding servant-hood. According to 1 Corinthians 3, we have the choice of placing “wood, hay or stubble” on what Christ did for us, or we can put “silver, gold or precious stones” on the perfect foundation. The choice is yours to make if you are a child of His. Be wise, dear reader. The “wood, hay and stubble” will all be burned up. Works which are of high value only will remain. Choose “silver, gold and precious stones”, and in addition to our eternal destiny, we are promised certain rewards. God is not a liar. There will be “bonuses” for good works. Count on it. These are not mere ideas of mine. The Bible clearly makes these declarations.
Love, in Christ’s Grip,
The “harlot”, Mystery Babylon The Great, is discussed in two chapters in the book of Revelation, chapters 17 and 18. Here are my commentaries on these two chapters: