In other words the past = the future. Perhaps, usually. But NOT necessarily
You are somewhat correct. Here's an analogy for you. If I prophesy 2,000 years ago that, "This generation will not pass without seeing giant pink unicorns encircling the Earth." Well, 2,000 years pass and not a single unicorn is seen you can pretty much figure I was full of shit. Well take that and apply it to the Bible. There are enough trends of failure in the Bible to say that the probability is very high that failure will continue. Since it is the Bible that makes such bold claims it is up to the Bible/believer to provide evidence for the claims. In 2,000 years there has been no evidence from anywhere to show that the Bible is anywhere being prophetic much less accurate. In fact, the works of Homer are more accurate to time and location. However, he never made the claim that his stories were non-fiction and neither has anyone after him.
Babylon the great is Rome. Notice the word IS. As John wrote the book of Reveleations Rome was the current power at that time. Also the Revived Roman Empire is about to be born with a new constitution this year, Dec 2003.
Re 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
I would agree that Rome was definitely in John's mind. There is nothing he says that doesn't fit Rome, and there are a few things that could fit nothing else (at the time). It fits his experience (especially if imprisoned on Patmos) and the time. It was the concern of all Christians in his audience. It explains the need to speak cryptically yet in such a way that no Christian could miss his point.
It used to bother me that John used so many expressions that had previously been used as references to Jerusalem however. Jerusalem can also be made to fit with just a little more trouble, and by ignoring a few of the hints (7 hills, etc.) that could only have fit Rome. A lot of commentators have spent a lot of energy "proving" that BTG is Jerusalem.
Apparently the explanation is that John wanted to see Rome pay for what they had done in 70 to Jerusalem. John believed that what happened to Jerusalem was also a punishment from God (for killing the prophets, etc.) and he knew that if Jerusalem deserved it, then how much more would Rome deserve it?