Today’s reading: Revelation 16
Today’s reading we see the seven last plagues unleashed. Specifically, the wrath of God falls on one city:
The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found; and great hailstones, heavy as a hundred-weight, dropped on men from heaven, till men cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague. Rev 16:19-21
Remember, that in chapter 11:8 we saw that “the great city” is the city where “their Lord was crucified”. So there is really no doubt that at a minimum “the great city” represents Jerusalem. Whether other cities over the course of history may also be represented as the great city is an open question.
The next question that arises is what city is represented by “great Babylon”. It’s hard to tell from the context whether in this passage whether it also represents Jerusalem, Rome or some other city. In my opinion, at this time in history among the Jewish people Babylon was the code name for Rome and therefore I think that in this context Babylon refers to Rome. Although the case can certainly be made for other meanings I think understanding Babylon as Rome makes later uses of the name in the book of Revelation more understandable.
Tomorrow: Revelation 17