7 Reasons Why “Babylon the Great” was Jerusalem

by Tiresias 74 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • designs

    giveme- what the hell kind of a sentence is: "Messiah rule sin his Kingdom with his elect has done since the 1st century"?

  • EdenOne


    I have never read the authors you've mentioned. When I dig into research, I try to be as free as possible from any external influence other than my own thinking. [In my view, this protects me from biased research] Only after I come to my conclusions I peer it with other authors, and may make minor adjustments if I think they're in order, or simply scratch my entire work if I think someone else has already disproved me beyond rebuttal.

    In any case, my own secular work and also family issues have kept me away from any sort of serious research lately.


  • TD

    Rome was personified as a goddess and worshipped in the outer provinces around the 3rd to 2nd century B.C and the cult of Dea Roma flourished even in Rome itself by the 1st century A.D.

    She appears on a number of Roman coins and one of the most striking is on the obverse side of the Vespasian coin:

    In this depiction, she's seated upon the seven hills of Rome (cf. Rev 17:9) with her feet at the edge of the Tiber. (cf. 17:15)

    The Jews absolutely despised Dea Roma; she was the personification of the empire that had subjucated them just as Babylon had. They drew obscene graffiti about her in public places when they could get away with it and they made up all sorts of colorful and sexually derogatory names for her. (cf. 17:5)

    Judea in the first century was just another Roman province. It was not the largest or the most affluent. It certainly wasn't a "Great city" in possession of, "..a kingdom over the kings of the earth" (cf. 17:18) both of which could be said about Rome and the Roman Empire. It was not the commercial nexus of the Empire, it was not glittering with imperial scarlet; it was not the primary center of maritime trade.

    I understand that Christians have a vested interest in interpreting Revelation not just in ways that are more directly relevant to their faith, but in ways that arguably were fulfilled. First century politics, which aren't terribly relevant today and hopes that didn't actually materialize aren't nearly as attractive to Christians, so in that respect, I can sympathize with the late David Chilton.

    As a Jewish person just looking at it from the standpoint of history, I still think he was out to lunch though.

  • Vidiot

    I think the argument that Revelation was written as a coded prediction of the fall of Rome (to comfort persecuted Christians) to be more compelling.

  • Apognophos

    Yes, the mention of seven hills in Revelation really makes the Roman reference clear, and I find the theory of 666/616 = Nero to be convincing as well.

  • stirred but not shaken
    stirred but not shaken

    Thanks Tiresias for starting this topic. I read the "Parousia" by J.S. Russell and was at the same time conducting the Book Study when we last studied "Revelation Climax..." Talk about a conflict. Essentially the book was a jaw dropper for me. It took me places that one would never experience as a JW. I hope this thread continues for a while as I havn't really talked about it for quite some time. When one realizes that this book was written before C.T. Russell, and had he read it, the blunders of his prophetic understanding (especially re: the Revelation by John), might have been avoided. It makes a lot of sense, and will change how one reads and understands the Bible and what to expect in the future. The others who have commented seem to see it that way as well.

    An interesting observation for me, was a comment that the "Insight" book and the "All Scripture.." book, both mention that the book of Jude was likely written in the 60's (if I recall), because the destruction of Jerusalem is not mentioned. Pity they didn't apply that to all the writings of John. No Bible book mentions it, and this event would never have been ignored by any Bible writers if the past recordings is of any value. I think this alone suggests an earlier writing of Revelation. This understanding dovetails with comments made by several of the apostles concerning struggles Christians were having with Jews. Using a cryptic expression for Jerusalem (Babylon) could likely keep them out of harms way. Like all good Bible commentators, if J.S. Russell were still alive, he likely would make some adjustments, especially with the research tools we have today. I kinda think partial preterism is viable.

  • TD
    This understanding dovetails with comments made by several of the apostles concerning struggles Christians were having with Jews.

    Russell (J.S.) was a product of his time and does not appear to have understood how permeable the line between Christianity and Judaism was prior to the destruction of Jerusalem or that many early Christian figures (Like James the Just) were life long observers of the Law. In this respect, I think you would be better served by modern scholars like Eisenman or Wilson.

  • bohm

    Great post TD, I now learned one thing today!

  • Tiresias

    Hello TD,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. With your indulgence, I will quote James Stuart Russell:

    “If, then, ‘the great city’ of chap. 11: 8 means ancient Jerusalem, it follows that ‘the great city’ of chap. 16: 8, styled also Babylon, and ‘the great city’ of chap. 16:19. must equally signify Jerusalem. By parity of reasoning, ‘that great city’ in chap. 17:18, and elsewhere, must refer also to Jerusalem. It is a mere assumption to say that Jerusalem is never called by this name.

    There is no unfitness, but the contrary, in such a distinctive title being applied to Jerusalem. It was to an Israelite the royal city, by far the greatest in the land, the only city which could properly be so designated; and it ought never to be forgotten that the visions of the Apocalypse are to regarded from a Jewish point of view.”

    And as David Chilton observes, "the woman" is "seated" on the wild beast--which confirms that "the woman" and "the wild beast" are separate.


  • stirred but not shaken
    stirred but not shaken

    TD. I've read a lot more on this subject than most JWs, but a lot less than some on this board. I could never be accused of being very sholarly. The subject of who was/is Babylon the Great is intriguing, and as time permits, I will pursue the subject. Reading more on the subject from the likes of Eisenman or Wilson will be interesting and helpful for sure, but for the moment..learning that the WT interpretation of who she is and other related teachings/doctrines is the result of the wild imagination of a self appointed bible scholar. Which includes among other things the ridiculous interpretaion of the bowls and trumpets. This as opposed to what I would call a much better researched and rational conclusion. So as I mentioned earlier, J.S. Russell's work may need adjustments or refining, albeit by later scholars, but the responsible and reasonable reader should be able to conclude that the prophecy was not meant for a 20th (now 21st century) fulfillment. The tail chasing engaged by the present teachers of this org leave little doubt that we've been on the wrong road. I know I was. Anyway thanks for the tip.

    I hope the OP and the other contributors continue, I find it interesting and satisfying.

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