BOOKS: BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) / EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD50-1000) / FREE ONLINE BOOKS (AD1000-2008)
Rome or Jerusalem?
"In her was found the blood of prophets and
of saints," and of all to doubt that this blood of prophets and saints
was shed by the covenant people? Didn't Jesus Himself point out
that no prophet dies outside Jerusalem?"
For on his appearance the whole creation was shaken and kings perished, and those in whom sovereignty remained destroyed a great city and righteous people. . . . (5: 150-154 OTP 1:396.)
For murder and terrors are in store for all men because of the great city and righteous people which is preserved throughout everything which Providence held in special place. . (5:225-227; OTP 1:398.)
But now a certain insignificant and impious king has gone up, cast it down, and left it in ruins with a great horde and illustrious men. He himself perished at immortal hands when he left the land, and no such sign has yet been performed among men that others should think to sack a great city" (5:408-413; OTP 1:403.)
G.R. Beasley-Murray (1993)
J. W. Roberts
If ever, they are passed off as a troublesome but relatively insignificant minority occupying a strange and ancient city at the brink of a distant desert. Their Messianic prophecies were considered so mystic and arcane by philosophers and so unrealistic by politicians that none but the most curious bothered to record the ripple which their religious unrest made in the stream of contemporary events." 1
"The overwhelming influence in the first century of the Christian era was the Roman empire. At the time of Jesus the Romans controlled southern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. The legions and navies of the empire had made the Mediterranean a Roman lake." (Sarno, The Cruel Caesars, Their Impact on the Early Church, Preface, x, 3.)
N. Turner (1967)
"Babylon is Jerusalem" (Revelation, p. 209, H.A.W.)
"The influence of Jerusalem throughout the Roman Empire was amazing. Every city of any size had its colony of Jews, and through the synagogue these all gave allegiance to Jerusalem, making direct annual payments to the temple and accepting the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrin" (Revelation, page 210, H.A.W.).
Alexander Campbell (1841)
James M. MacDonald (1870)
John David Michaelis
Johann Philip Schabalie
"And because this city was the cause of the shedding of the innocent blood, she was suddenly visited with judgments -- as sudden as the coming of lightning. (The destruction of Jerusalem was sudden. In a very short time, not less than eleven hundred thousand perished. See Josephus, de Bell, Ind. lib. 6, c. 9, § 3. - trans." (The Wandering Soul, p. 401)
"In order that God might show that he was determined utterly to destroy Jerusalem; and to that end, he gave them several signs, to warn each one in the city of the coming destruction." (p. 411)
"O! how these surpass all other calamities that ever befell Jerusalem. S.C. Are you speaking of Jerusalem? Yes, that ever befell all the world besides ; for the greatest sins that ever were committed were perpetrated here, in this city." (p. 444)
David Chilton (1987)
Adam Clarke (1837)
James Stuart Russell
Milton Terry (1898)
"One chief trouble with those interpreters who try to explain away this obvious reference to Jerusalem is that they consider it impossible to identify this "great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt," with "the holy city" of verse 2. These, they insist, cannot be the same. But others will incline to think that half the ingenuity employed on their own visionary expositions of the place where the Lord was crucified might have shown them that, in strict accord with Old Testament usage, both designations suit Jerusalem. How is it that Isaiah could call this same Jerusalem a "faithful city" and a "harlot" in one breath? The answer is very simple: Once 'righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers (Isa. i, 21)." (ibid., p. 372)
C. Vanderwaal (1978)
Jesus Christ spoke the same language to the rabbis in Matthew 23:29ff, calling them "sons of those who murdered the prophets" (v. 31). "Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.. that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth (vs. 32,35). The "earth" referred to can better read as a reference to the land of the covenant people.
The same theme appears at the end of Revelation 18: "In her was found the blood of prophets and of saints," and of all to doubt that this blood of prophets and saints was shed by the covenant people? Didn't Jesus Himself point out that no prophet dies outside Jerusalem? (Luke 13:33).
Yet, interpreters insist on reading Revelation 18:24 apart from the Old Testament and the words of Jesus recorded in the "gospels." We are told that the killing of prophets and saints is a reference to what Rome or some anti-Christian world power will do.
L.A. Vos has pointed out that there are words of Jesus behind certain passages in the book of Revelation, and that these words can help us with the interpretation of Revelation.. This is hardly a reason for surprise, for the Apocalypse is a "revelation of Jesus Christ," a revelation in which more of His words are recorded. We hear echoes of Matthew 23-24 in the book of Revelation." (Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy; St. Catharines, Canada: Paideia Press; pp. 135-136)
"Judah deserves to be called the "faithless one." When we consider the fact that the prophets repeatedly speak of forsaking the covenant as harlotry and adultery (Is. 1:21; Ezek. 16:22; Hos. 1-3), the pattern in Revelation falls into place. Revelation 17 carries on the line of Jeremiah 4:30 by speaking within the framework of the covenant. Thus the subject is not "Rome" but "Judah." (Ibid., p. 134)
Foy Wallace (1966)
"There was no basis for a symbol or an analogy in which Rome could have been depicted as having become a harlot, for Rome never stood in the spiritual relation to God as a faithful city, turned to harlotry. The harlot was a city once faithful to God, and only Jerusalem can fulfill the symbolic descriptions." (ibid., p. 364)
The Seven Hills of Jerusalem
By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 2000
It was common custom in the centuries before Christ for people in the Roman world to refer to the City of Rome itself as the "City of Seven Hills." The references are numerous and consistent. And indeed, when Romulus and Remus wanted to build a city in the area of the Tibur River (just inland from the coast to afford a greater protection for the city from sea pirates or from the naval warfare of hostile powers), it was divinely selected, in Roman parlance, that the city had to be on "seven hills." The number "seven" was a universal symbol that signified "completion" or "perfection," and the ancients who founded Rome wanted people to know that this particular city was destined to have a world influence and fame, and that it was no ordinary city that was being constructed in the eighth century B.C. The very fact, that Rome was designated "The Seven Hilled City" was significant enough to render it as a sacred and holy city that was designed to have world power and authority. This is one of the reasons the ancient people of the world always respected the City of Rome, whether they were its arch defenders and supporters or its enemies and were alien to its political and religious concepts. Even when the city in the time of the Empire finally grew beyond the strict limits of the "Seven Hills" (and reached out to embrace other hills in the vicinity and even hills on the other side of the Tibur River, such as Vatican Hill), the people for nostalgic reasons still retained the name of the city by its original designation: "the City of Seven Hills."
But strange as it may seem, the City of Jerusalem as it existed in the time of Christ Jesus was also reckoned to be the "City of Seven Hills." This fact was well recognized in Jewish circles. In the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, an eighth century midrashic narrative (section 10), the writer mentioned without commentary (showing that the understanding was well known and required no defense) that "Jerusalem is situated on seven hills" (recorded in The Book of Legends, edited by Bialik and Ravnitzky, p. 371, paragraph 111). And, so it was. Those "seven hills" are easy to identify. If one starts with the Mount of Olives just to the east of the main City of Jerusalem (but still reckoned to be located within the environs of Jerusalem), there are three summits to that Mount of Olives. The northern summit (hill) is called Scopus [Hill One], the middle summit (hill) was called Nob [Hill Two], the highest point of Olivet itself, and the southern summit (hill) was called in the Holy Scriptures the "Mount of Corruption" or "Mount of Offence" [Hill Three] (II Kings 23:13). On the middle ridge between the Kedron and the Tyropoeon Valleys there was (formerly) in the south "Mount Zion" [Hill Four] (the original "Mount Zion" and not the later southwest hill that was later called by that name), then the "Ophel Mount" [Hill Five] and then to the north of that the "Rock" around which "Fort Antonia" was built [Hill Six]. And finally, there was the southwest hill itself [Hill Seven] that finally became known in the time of Simon the Hasmonean as the new "Mount Zion." This makes "Seven Hills" in all.
This does not end the significance of "Seven Hills" for the urban areas that the ancients looked on as being the centers of divine sovereignty on this earth. We are all familiar with Babylon on the Euphrates (which became the capital of the world in the time of Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century B.C.) as being the "Seven Hilled City." And, it may be surprising for some to learn this, but when Constantine the emperor wanted to build a "new Rome" in the eastern part of the Roman Empire (because most of the economic life of the Roman Empire in the fourth century was centered in the eastern half of the Empire and he felt he needed a capital city much nearer the economic center of the Empire), he finally selected a spot on the Bosporus called Byzantium. The reason he selected this spot to be the "New Rome" was because it was a small village also located on "Seven Hills." This made "New Rome" as a City of Seven Hills.
What we observe is the fact that the ancients symbolically looked on the various capitals of the world as having "Seven Hills." The significance of this fact even had a meaning for the apostle John who, under the influence of Christ Jesus himself, wrote the Book of Revelation. We find that the last world capital would be "Mystery Babylon" and that it would have "seven mountains" (Revelation 17:9) associated with it. The fact that history has "Seven Hills" (or "Mountains") associated with FOUR world kingdoms: Babylon, Rome, Byzantium, and Jerusalem, there has been some confusion about which of these (or, perhaps, another "New City") was the intention of the apostle John who was writing for Christ Jesus in the Book of Revelation. The truth is, however, when one looks at the subject of the Book of Revelation carefully, there is only one of those "Cities of Seven Hills" that could possibly be the subject of the End-Time revelation. That is the City of Jerusalem. The "Mystery Babylon" of the Book of Revelation is none other than Jerusalem!
The last world kingdom will be headquartered in Jerusalem, not in Rome, Babylon on the Euphrates or in Byzantium, or anywhere else. The Antichrist will come to Jerusalem. He will look in all appearances as though he is none other than Christ Jesus himself. Remember, Satan and his angels will be expelled from heaven and come to earth (Revelation 12). The world will make a big mistake and think that Satan and his angels are none other than Christ and His angels returning from heaven at the Second Advent. This is the "great lie" the world will believe that the apostle Paul spoke about it Second Thessalonians 2:8-12. The world will think that Satan is none other than Christ. However, I have been telling you readers for over thirty years that the first person who claims to be the returned Christ to earth (even if great miracles are associated with him) IS the false Christ, called in other parts of the Holy Scriptures by the title of Antichrist. The false Christ will come to Jerusalem (the "City of Seven Hills") in order to rule the world, NOT to Rome in Italy!
The false Christ will come to a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and his image will be placed in the Holy of Holies. He will point out that this is lawful to do in the Mosaic legislation (Exodus 25:18-22; 26:31; 36:8). [For more information on what will occur in this New Temple in Jerusalem, see my new book "The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot" which has just gone to the printers and will be offered to you in mid-April. The book is complete, but I have so much more historical information to give you that I will first publish the book, then I will have a new article each month explaining various aspects of the research on the Internet for the next twelve months or so. This is because the important and significant information on the history of the Temples is so extensive that even after the publication of the book, I will have much, much more evidence of a prophetic nature to present that it will require at least a year for me to record it all for you. This research involving the full extent of the true knowledge concerning the Temples will be presented on the Internet.]
After three and a half years of the rule of the Antichrist, the Second Advent of Christ Jesus (our Elder Brother) will occur. All of us will then triumph during those traumatic days on the horizon (without us having to hoard food). In the meantime, we have a big job to do in teaching the Gospel to the world. I hope all of us will be about our Father’s business in showing the world these vital truths of the Gospel.
"Babylon" as Rome
Steven J. Frierson
1) The only references to great <3173> city <4172> in the Greek are in the Revelation. The first reference definitely refers to Jerusalem "where their Lord was crucified."
Revelation 11:8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great <3173> city <4172> which is allegorically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.
Check out the others.
Revelation 16:19 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.
Revelation 17:18 And the woman that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth."
Revelation 18:10 they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, "Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon! In one hour has thy judgment come." 16 "Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, bedecked with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, "What city was like the great city?" 19 And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out, "Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! In one hour she has been laid waste. 21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more;
2) Jerusalem is guilty of all of the blood of the righteous, saints, and prophets...
Matthew 23:34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 that upon you may come ALL the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechari'ah the son of Barachi'ah [A to Z], whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation. 37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 38 Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" (see also Luke 11:49-51)
while it is Babylon who is found drunk with the blood of the saints, prophets, and all slain upon the earth.
Revelation 17:5 and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations." 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her I marveled greatly.
Revelation 18:21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more... 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of ALL who have been slain on earth."
Revelation 19:2 for his judgments are true and just; he has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants."
3) Because of her guilt, Jesus warns Jerusalem of her house being left desolate, and tells His disciples of it's destruction.
Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 38 Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. Matthew 24:1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down."
The disciples first question to Him... WHEN will this [destruction of the temple] occur?
Matthew 24:3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"
Luke 21:20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand. 21 "Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the midst of the city depart, and let not those who are in the country enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 "Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people, 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
I am continually astonished when people view Luke 21:20-24 as a past occurrence. Considering the fact that the preceeding verses as well as the following verses are nearly identical to the accounts in Matthew and Mark, and considering the fact that Dan 11:45 has the Antichrist camped out "between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain" around the time of the beginning of the great trib (see 12:1), and considering Rev 11:2 says the outer court of the temple is given to the nations (Gr. ethnos) who"will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months," I think it is entirely probable that Jerusalem's desolation is yet future, and she "will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles (Gr. ethnos) until the times of the Gentiles (Gr. ethnos) be fulfilled."
Could this desolation Jesus warns of be a part of the destruction of Mystery Babylon the Great?... initiated by the abomination of desolation?
4) The Lord, through the prophet Jeremiah, warns "the daughter of Zion", pictured here as a harlot, and describes her desolation.
Jere 4:27 For thus says the Lord, "The whole land shall be a desolation, Yet I will not execute a complete destruction. 28 "For this the earth shall mourn, And the heavens above be dark, Because I have spoken, I have purposed, And I will not change My mind, nor will I turn from it." 29 At the sound of the horseman and bowman every city flees; They go into the thickets and climb among the rocks; Every city is forsaken, And no man dwells in them. 30 And you, O desolate one, what will you do? Although you dress in scarlet, Although you decorate [yourself with] ornaments of gold, Although you enlarge your eyes with paint, In vain you make yourself beautiful; [Your] lovers despise you; They seek your life. 31 For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, The anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, The cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, Stretching out her hands, [saying,] "Ah, woe is me, for I faint before murderers."
Compare this account to the description of Mystery Babylon in the Revelation.
Reve 16:19 And the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.. 17:4 And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality... 16 And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.
Could this merely be a coincidence?
5) Both Jerusalem and Babylon are destroyed by forces coming from the north.
Jer 1:14 Then the Lord said to me, " Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land. 15 "For, behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north ," declares the Lord; "and they will come, and they will set each one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about, and against all the cities of Judah... 7:34 "Then I will make to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land will become a ruin... 26:2 ...'Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, who have come to worship [in] the Lord's house... 9 ...'This house will be like Shiloh , and this city will be desolate, without inhabitant'
Jer 50:1 The word which the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, through Jeremiah the prophet...3 "For a nation has come up against her out of the north ; it will make her land an object of horror, and there will be no inhabitant in it.
6) Jerusalem and Babylon both drink from the cup of the Lord's anger.
Isai 51:17 Rouse yourself! Rouse yourself! Arise, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk from the Lord's hand the cup of His anger; The chalice of reeling you have drained to the dregs.
Reve 16:19 And the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
7) One angel with a bowl said, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great HARLOT..." (Rev 17:1-19:4.) Immediately after that (Rev 19:5...) the BRIDE is ready! Then in Rev. 21:9..., another angel who had a bowl says "Come, I will show you the BRIDE, the wife of the Lamb..." Is it merely a coincidence that the bride has made herself ready only after (and immediately after) the harlot is judged?
8) Jerusalem is referred to as both a harlot and the Lord's bride.
Isaiah 1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem... 21. How the faithful city has become a harlot, she that was full of justice! Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. Ezekiel 16:2 "Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations..." (read whole chapter)
Jeremiah 2:2 "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown... 20. "For long ago you broke your yoke and burst your bonds; and you said, 'I will not serve.' Yea, upon every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down as a harlot. (see Jer.3.)
Revelation 21:9..."Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10 And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem...
9) Just before the 7th trumpet, the two witnesses/prophets are slain in Jerusalem (see Rev. 11:8 above.) Just after the 7th trumpet is sounded, an angel declares, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great..." (Rev. 14:8.) Is it just a coincidence, or are the two events (prophets being slain and Babylon being judged) related, possibly being a fulfillment of Matt. 23:34-35?
Matthew 23:34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 that upon you may come ALL the righteous blood shed on earth...
10) It seems that Jerusalem and New Jerusalem have a lot in common, or perhaps they are one and the same.
Isai 52:1 Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city. For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no more come into you... 7 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news... 60:3 "And nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising... 11 "And your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, So that [men] may bring to you the wealth of the nations, With their kings led in procession.
Nahu 1:15 Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; Pay your vows. For never again will the wicked one pass through you; He is cut off completely.
Reve 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God (Rev 13:6) is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them... 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God... 24 And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it. 25 And in the daytime (for there shall be no night there) its gates shall never be closed; 26 and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
It almost seems as if Jerusalem herself is "born-again"!
11) Why have a "New Jerusalem" if the old one is still around?
12) What is the big mystery in "Mystery Babylon" if it really is the same as historical Babylon?
13) Zechariah 14:3-5 describes a day when Jesus goes to fight the enemies of Israel (Armageddon;) the Mount of Olives is split in two (earthquake?) after His feet touch it; and "you shall FLEE ..." Could this flight be in response to His command to "Come out of her, my people..." (Rev. 18:4) or "Depart, depart, go out from there" Isa 52:11? Could this earthquake be the same as the earthquake which divides the "great city" into three parts after the pouring out of the seventh bowl (Rev. 16:17-19) which also makes mention of the demise of Babylon?
14) Compare Ezekiel 16 and Revelation 18!!!!
I don't really know who Mystery Babylon is. That takes wisdom (Rev.
17:9.) Jerusalem would politically need to become a world capital of sorts
(17:18), maybe moving the U.N. there. It would also need to become more of a
religious capital (18:9), perhaps moving the Vatican there. Maybe that is
how the mother-child worship (thus refering to her as "Babylon") comes to be
included in her harlotries. I can't be sure yet, but I just don't feel
comfortable with the other explanations I've heard. Just as there were
prophecies of Jesus which were only understood in hind sight (Ps 22:16-18;
34:20; 69:21 etc), my guess is that there are other prophecies in the
scriptures (maybe even in Psalms) pertaining to Mystery Babylon which will
point to her true identity in time for us to heed the Lord's command in Rev.
Email PreteristArchive.com's Sole Developer and Curator, Todd Dennis
(todd @ preteristarchive.com)
Opened in 1996