Apostolic Preterist

Mystery Babylon

Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots

Now, what does Revelation say about the Great Whore? Look at the following verses:

"How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers."

"For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot."

"They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed."

"But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so. Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them, And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them."

OK, so I tricked you. Those verses aren't from Revelation; they are Isaiah 1:21, Jeremiah 2:20, Jeremiah 3:1-3, and Ezekiel 16:15-18 respectively. And the identity of the harlot? It is Jerusalem.

And this is really what Revelation says about the Whore:

Revelation 17:15-18
And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. and the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

"Great city"? Which city is "the great city"?

Revelation 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..

Now, was Jesus Christ crucified in Rome -- or in Jerusalem?

But -- but -- it says stuff like "jewels" and "golden cup" and "scarlet" and "purple" -- that's just gotta be the "Romish Church"! Well, considering that Catholicism is the Old Covenant fulfilled, it shouldn't be too surprising to find in it liturgical colors, vestments, and implements that are partly rooted in the Old Testament (see Exodus 28). But the Jerusalem Temple is undoubtedly what Revelation is referring to, and Flavius Josephus left us writings that tell us what the Jerusalem Temple looked like at the time of its destruction by pagan Rome in A.D. 70. Here are a few tidbits:

The holiest part of the Temple:
"Its front was covered with gold all over... But that gate which was at this end of the first part of the house was, as we have already observed, all over covered with gold, as was its whole wall about it; it had also golden vines above it, from which clusters of grapes hung as tall as a man's height. But then this house... had golden doors of fifty-five cubits altitude, and sixteen in breadth; but before these doors there was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a contexture that was truly wonderful."

The exterior of the Temple:
"...the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men's minds or their eyes; for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun's own rays."

The priests' vestments:
"But that girdle that tied the garment to the breast was embroidered with five rows of various colors, of gold, and purple, and scarlet, as also of fine linen and blue, with which colors we told you before the veils of the temple were embroidered also. The like embroidery was upon the ephod; but the quantity of gold therein was greater. Its figure was that of a stomacher for the breast. There were upon it two golden buttons like small shields, which buttoned the ephod to the garment; in these buttons were enclosed two very large and very excellent sardonyxes, having the names of the tribes of that nation engraved upon them: on the other part there hung twelve stones, three in a row one way, and four in the other; a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; a carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire; an agate, an amethyst, and a ligure; an onyx, a beryl, and a chrysolite; upon every one of which was again engraved one of the forementioned names of the tribes."

You can read the entire 5th Chapter of the 5th Book of Josephus' War here.

Exodus 28:36-38 tells us that the Temple High Priest was to have worn on his forehead an insignia:

"And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD."

But Jerusalem apostasized and failed to recognize and then killed (with Roman power) the Messiah of prophecy. St. John the Divine tells us what "the woman," Jerusalem, came to have upon her forehead:

"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." (Revelation 17:5)

But -- but -- it says something about seven mountains! Glad you noticed. Because:

"Rome" is used as shorthand for the Roman Catholic Church, even by Catholics, Vatican City is its own city state and isn't "Rome";

Rome isn't built on seven mountains, anyway; it's built on seven hills, as are Constaninople, Edinburgh, San Francisco, and Cincinnati, for that matter. Mountains are big, hills are small. There are two separate words for them and Scripture is familiar with both (see Luke 3:5 and Luke 23:30). Rome's seven hills are Palatine, Aventine, Capitoline, Quarinal, Viminal, Esquiline and Caelian (hey, how come Vatican Hill is never listed?).

Jerusalem’s 7 mountains

Jerusalem, however, is built on seven mountains: Mt. Goath, Mt. Gareb, Mt. Acra, Mt. Bezetha, Mt. Zion, Mt. Ophel, and Mt. Moriah. There are even Psalms about them, "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever." {Psalms 125:2)

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