7 Reasons Why “Babylon the Great” was Jerusalem

by Tiresias 74 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Tiresias

    Hello StirredButNotShaken,

    Thank you for your contribution--a refreshing Zephyr in contrast to the typhonic responses I'm accustomed to. Your post underscored the value of examining the internal evidence of the Revelation versus the tradition passed down through men like "Saint" Irenaeus.

    For me, Russell's Parousia was a paradigm shift. Years of mental conditioning gave me 'paradigm paralysis.'

    Let's discuss further!


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

    I would say that like many Christian theologians, Russell was forging a sword that cuts both ways inasmuch as the more Jerusalem is built up to fit the superlatives with which Babylon the Great is described politically and commercially, the less likely it becomes that any Jewish person living at the time would have made the connection.

    If you find Russell and Chilton's interpretation to be compelling, than I'm happy for you. But I would point out that even among preterists and amillennialists, there are many who disagree with that view with Summers, Hough, Rist and Charles being just a few of them

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

    Rome proper was not identical with the Roman empire as a whole and in that sense, they were separable. I find the symbolism of a woman riding a vicious wild beast to be extremely appropos, inasmuch as the Roman empire was an amalgam of conquered kingdoms with competing interests and therefore inherently dangerous and unstable politically. Rulership of the empire was frequently a balancing act.

  • kaik

    I agree with designs that this is partial diatribe agaisnt Jews and Judaism. Additionally there is always a deep interest for the evangelical extremists to prove that Revelation talks about Jerusalem, Jews, Judaism, and rejection of Jesus by own people; therefore, Jews got punished in 70AD. Nothing of this is true and it is rather a wishfull thinking to integrate various anti-semitics ideas of early Christian fathers like Paul and others with modern anti-semitism to show that Christian faith is the right one while Judaism is a dead branch.

    Jews as a whole nation/ethnicity/race/faith do not bear any responsibility for the death fo Jesus. Majority of Jews were not even aware of his existence as only 1/4 of Jews in the whole world lived in Judea. For diaspora stretched from Britain to Persia, the event surrounding of Jesus life and death was totally unknown to him. Jesus was executed by Roman Government. Jesus did not fill any prophecy that Jews were expecting for their Messiah. When Jewish war started, it again only trashed and destroyed rebellious provice of the Roman Empire. Jews as culture, ethnnicity, faith, and people were NOT punished throughout the Roman empire in 70A.D. When various Greek provinces rebelled against Roman rule, Romans did not singled out entire Greek civilization. Jews got singled out only during Trajan, who banished them from Jerusalem, and forbade religion through the empire. This happened 90 years after death of Jesus. Jews were allowed back during Julian Apostate reign.

    Whatever is written in Revelation, it is anyone wild guess for interpretation. I do not see Jerusalem, which was unimportant for Roman empire as place that was floating with wealth, had sailors (yeah it is landlocked), and its destruction caused merchants to weep. I could see dozen other cities of antiquity including Rome matching this description. Pagels identify it with Rome. So did other schollars as back as in 18th century.

  • Tiresias

    Hello Kalk ,

    So many assertions; so little scriptural or secular evidence to support! If I may address but two of your claims: 'Jerusalem was not a place floating with wealth' and 'the Jews did not bear any responsibility for Jesus' death.' Really?

    Even a cursory reading of the scriptures says otherwise. The following is from James chapter 5 (New International Version):

    Warning to Rich Oppressors

    5 "Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you."

    Sounds like a rich Establishment to me. And they oppressed and murdered the innocent one. Again, if not the ancient Jewish Establishment, then whom?

    Edersheim reports: “In these streets and lanes everything might be purchased: the production of Palestine, or imported from foreign lands– nay, the rarest articles from the remotest parts. Exquisitely shaped, curiously designed and jewelled cups, rings, and other workmanship of precious metals; glass, silks, fine linen, woolen stuffs, purple, and costly hangings; essences, ointments, and perfumes, as precious as gold; articles of food and drink from foreign lands – in short, what India, Persia, Arabia, Media, Egypt, Italy, Greece, and even the far-off lands of the Gentiles yielded, might be had in these bazaars. Ancient Jewish writings enable us to identify no fewer than 118 different articles of i mport from foreign lands , covering more than even modern luxury has devised.” (Days of Vengeance, Chilton)(Italics mine).

    "More than once the Jewish historian [Josephus] speaks of the magnificence and vast wealth of Jerusalem. It is very remarkable that the inventory of the spoils taken from the treasury of the temple contains almost every one of the articles enumerated in this lamentation over the fallen city,---‘Gold, silver, precious stones, purple, scarlet, cinnamon, odours, ointments, and frankincense.’ No less striking is the description given by Josephus of the spoils of the captured city, which were carried in procession through the streets of Rome in the triumph of Vespasian and Titus, and which fully justify the picture of profusion and magnificence drawn in the Apocalypse."(The Parousia, James Stuart Russell)

    Jesus' Betrayal and Arrest

    The following texts from John chapter 18 confirm that Jesus did not mysteriously turn up at Pilate's door, slap him in the face, and demand to be impaled. "2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees . They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons."

    Certainly, Jesus was executed by the Roman Government." But Jerusalem orchestrated his demise. A fact which is scripturally incontrovertible. Thus, as Jerusalem used the Roman government to execute Jesus, so God used that same Roman government to destroy Jerusalem.


  • kaik

    Tirasias, whatever was written by crazy mind of John of Patmos, has no whatsoever any meaning to me, nor to the persons of Jewish faith. Again, you even did not bothered to read my post, yet I hear bible thumping in the background as you would be at the field service. But I am long out from KH to get annoyed by it. Lets analyze your diatribe against my post:

    I wrote that Jews as people do not whatsoever bear responsiblity for killing of Jesus. This is also taught at university level in Europe and USA. You trying to say that Jews are responsbile; and population of Judea got punished 37 years later by it? Only fascist, nazist, or anti-semitic individuals woud say that. Jesus was executed by Roman government. Jesus was not messiah for the Jews, because he did not fullfill anything what Jews would expect from real Messiah. No person of Jewish faith could ever reconcile these two. Several millions of 1st century Jews scattered accross the world, were not even aware of existence of Jesus and his follower. How Jews that lived in Alexandria, Rome, or Persia bear responsibility for event in 33 A.D.? Even Roman government in 70 A.D. did not singled out entire Jewish faith for a revolt in one of its distant province.

    In 1st century A.D., the city of Jerusalem was a provincial seat of backward corner of the vast prosperous Roman Empire. There is no whatsoever comparision of Rome and dozens other large cities of the Antiquity to Jerusalem. Alexandria was the largest Jewish city. Ephesus, Athens, Carthage, Antioch were much larger, wealthier, and far more important for Roman administration than any city in Judea. This was also reason why majority of Jews lived outside of it for better social and economic opportunities. Ordo Urbium Nobilium, a Roman poem written about the most important cities of the Roman Empire had mentions 20 cities, but it does not mention Jerusalem: Rome, Constantinople, Carthage, Antioch, Alexandria, Trier, Milano, Capua, Aquileia, Arles, Seville, Cordoba, Tarragona, Braga, Athens, Catania, Syracuse, Toulouse, Narbonne, Bordeaux. Nowhere is any word on Jerusalem. Even Persia had big cities like Seleuceia. Jerusalem was not very wealthy, did not have an economy to support it, nor it was significant center of the Roman world. In Roman times, you can purchase luxurious items anywhere within this empire, even in distant provinces like Britian and Germania Superior.

    The issue of Jerusalem in Revelation was not settled in past 250 years. Scholar that I mentioned here and one the best on this topic. E. Pagels identifies it with the imperial city of Rome. If you disagree with her and other scholars, than you should teach it instead of her at the Princeton University.

  • Fisherman

    Consider this one reason why it is not:

    The Bible book of Revelation was written after the year 70 destruction of Jeruralem. Now read Rev1:1

  • stirred but not shaken
    stirred but not shaken

    Fisherman..Are you stating that revelation was written after 70 and then support that by reading Rev. 1:1? Just not sure what you mean to say..

    kaik..You appear to have done a fair amount of reading and research. I've appreciated some of your other posts. I defer to scholarship and evidence for I am but an upstart even at my age. I think the OP wanted to draw attention to who Babylon the Great is NOT according to Wt. theology. Those who come to this board, if they're like me, are looking for reassurance that they're making the right decision that they've been misled and want to pursue answers that replace flawed teachings. It's fascinating and exilerating to at least realize with some confidence that the decision to leave the org is based on some merit.

    I have a couple of observations and questions that perhaps you and TD can address. At the risk of being a Bible thumper..I don't think that Jesus or the apostles were what we now call anti semetic. It appears they had to deal with some radical factions of Judaism and were often in fear of their lives because of it. Jesus made the comment to the Samaritan woman that the "truth originated with the Jews" and that he himself kept the law. Peter's letters appear to be addressed to the Jews in the diaspora. He likely was aware that there were many Jews throughout the land(s) and had been there for at least 700 years. His letters were to comfort and assure them. Jude seeems to have done the same. Could it be that the apostate representative of that faith, represented by Jerusalem and it's priesthood, was the target and not the Jews? It seems to parallel what happened to Jerusalem in Nebuchadnezzar's time. Some of the tribal lands were not affected by the destruction of Jerusalem i.e., tribe of Benjamin was alive and well. So you would appear to be correct that those in the Diaspora were mostly unaffected.

    How do you see it and how might it help those lurking or wanting confirmation?

  • Apognophos

    My take on Fisherman's comment (and I think it's a good point) is that 1:1 is saying that we are going to be told of things shortly to come, so if Rev. was written after Jerusalem's fall, it wouldn't be in reference to that, but rather to the future fall of something else, like Rome.

    What do you think of the fact that Nero equals 666/616, stirred?

  • Tiresias


    Well said!

    I will respond to your post shortly.


  • stirred but not shaken
    stirred but not shaken

    Apog..Could be that's what Fisherman meant, or not. Maybe he'll clear it up. As I commented earlier, evidence just in scripture seems to indicate that Revelation was written prior to 70, maybe in the early 60's, because, for one, no Bible writer refers to the catostrophic event as having taken place. Rev. 1:1 "...to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place". So if he gave the Revelation to John of Patmos at an earlier time, those things would be happening shortly, soon, imminently, which I don't think equate to 2000 years future. J.S. Russell also discusses why the writing date of 96 or 98 has it's problems. Since most of end time religions depend on things like the GT and Armageddon as being future, this conclusion really turns things around and certainly challenges those who have set dates for those things happening in our time..or in my Dad's time or his Mom's time..whatever.

    Regarding 666/616 equaling Nero, it is fascinating or at least intriguing as well. J.S. Russell comments on that in the book "Parousia" with a similar conclusion. That particular part isn't that important to me..it could very well be..but it sure is more reasonable than 6 to the 3rd power being short of 7 (perfection) that is found in Wt literature.

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