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Revelation 17 speaks about a woman, but it seems likely that it is figurative rather than literal. She is attributed with the name "Babylon the Great". However, Matthew Henry and other commentators suggest that this is actually referring to Rome rather than Babylon.

What is the reasoning behind considering the woman to represent Rome?

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Dave Hunt in his book "A Woman Rides the Beast," goes into exhaustive detail on this one subject. –  Steve Jul 12 '13 at 13:15

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The basis of this identification comes from Revelation 17:9-10.

This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while.

The "seven mountains on which the woman is seated" of verse 9 appears to be a reference to the Seven Hills of Rome, while the seven kings of verse 10—in particular the one currently in power when Revelation was written—appears to refer to the Roman Emperor.

Supporting this identification of Rome with Babylon is 1 Peter 5:13 in which Peter, writing from Rome, refers to his city as Babylon.

Your sister church in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark.

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Not that I reject your statement, but where does it say he was writing from Rome? I haven't read through it recently, so I may have missed that. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Jan 22 '13 at 23:10
    
The evidence that Peter was in Rome comes from other Christian writings of the late first and early second century: Irenaeus, in Against Heresies, book III, Chapter 3, has Peter as one of the founders of the church at Rome; 1 Clement, chapter 5 begins his account of Nero's persecutions with remarks about Peter's persecution and death. –  Bruce Alderman Jan 23 '13 at 5:35
    
Oh, okay. I thought you deduced it from the epistle itself. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Jan 23 '13 at 5:36

Revelation 17:9 (KJV) - "And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth."

Since Rome has seven mountains, people "mistakenly" thinks that it is Rome.

But it must be noted that Jerusalem also has seven mountains. Mt. Goath, Mt. Gareb, Mt. Acra, Mt. Bezetha, Mt. Zion, Mt. Ophel, and Mt. Moriah are seven mountains of Jerusalem.

But Revelation contains prophecies about Jerusalem and it's destruction in 70 AD. Not Rome. Let me give you examples from the bible itself.

Revelation 17:5-6 (KJV) - "And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour.

God commanded that the priests' vestments be made with purple and scarlet yarn (Exodus 28:4-8, 15, 33, 39:1-8, 24, 29).

Notice that the woman is drunken with the blood of saints and with blood of martyrs. This can refer to only one city - Jerusalem. Here are the verses said by Jesus Christ in Gospels.

Luke 13:33-35 (NIV) - "In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day--for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

We read that Jerusalem is the city that killed the prophets and stone those that sent you. We also read that "for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem." This means that it can only be Jerusalem.

Let's look at Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 23:29-39 (NIV) - "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started! You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

So we see that Jerusalem is the city that killed the prophets and the stone those sent to Jerusalem. So Revelation can refer to only one city - Jerusalem.

We see Jesus Christ prophesizing the destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. In Luke 19, we also see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 (NIV) - "For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

Revelation 16:5-6 (NIV) - "Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”

Revelation 16:19 (KJV) - "And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath."

During Jewish Wars, it must be noted that Jerusalem was divided into 3 parts by 3 corrupt leaders - One part was under Eleazar, the son of Simon, Second part was under John of Gischala, and the third part was under Simon, the son of Giora.

Revelation 16:21 tells how huge hailstones fell from heaven weighing a talent which is about 100 pounds. Josephus describes 100 lb. white stones coming from Roman catapults down on the Jews in Jerusalem (Jewish Wars, Book 5.6.3).

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This reasoning is confusing. It appears that you are using Revelation (written after 70A.D.) to predict what will happen to the fall of Jerusalem (which occurred in 70A.D.). –  Steve Jul 12 '13 at 13:14
    
Steve, you may read my post in this link - christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1823/… –  konwayk Jul 14 '13 at 4:19

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