At the time of Daniel, Rome was not yet powerful and known, but at the time of St. John at Patmos. So why it is referred to as Babylon by many Christians.

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    Why do you think this is Rome that John is referring to ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 19:08
  • @NigelJ, what other city has committed so many abuses?can you offer an alternative?Jerusalem does not sit on many waters, and it would be inexplicable what is sait in 18 "give her the double ...." poor Jerusalem has only been the victim. Constantinople sits on waters but what said in 18 doesn't apply either
    – user157860
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 7:14
  • The point is that at the end of first century there was no kingdom of babylon.
    – user157860
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 8:03
  • @user157860 Jerusalem saw the killing of Jesus Christ, St. James the Apostle and many Prophets!
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 0:12
  • Babylon point to America..there's a lot of written articles and comprehensive videos that study why America fit the Babylon descriptions. Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 1:33

5 Answers 5


Why is Rome referred to as Babylon in Revelation chapters 17 and 18?

If people think Rome is Babylon then I suggest that some people look up which nation is called Babylon the most in the Bible. It is quite an eye opener indeed.

Basically, it comes to pointing out that Rome in built on seven (7) hills. But this just one interpretation.

6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.

When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 7 Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

9 “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. - Revelation 17:6-11

The problem with prophecies in general is that it is almost impossible to know the correct interpretation(s) to them until the actual time of fulfillment is upon us. Thus, The Prophecies of the Popes is no exception.

The original Greek text of this particular prophecy does not name the city of Rome as being the city of seven hills. Its interpretation as to which city is the actual one is still an open question.

Nevertheless it is almost safe to believe that it may be one of the three following seven-hilled cities: Rome, Constantinople (Istanbul) or Jerusalem. Given the very eschatological nature of this prophecy, Jerusalem could very well be the city in question.

This question focuses on Rome, but I simply suggested other possibilities as well. Besides, did not Jerusalem see the the killing of many Prophets and Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jerusalem's seven hills are Mount Scopus, Mount Olivet (Mount of Olives) and the Mount of Corruption (all three are peaks in a mountain ridge that lies east of the old city), Mount Ophel, the original Mount Zion, the New Mount Zion and the hill on which the Antonia Fortress was built.

It was common custom, years before the New Testament, for people in the Roman world to refer to Rome itself as the "city of seven hills." Tradition states that when Romulus and Remus, who founded Rome, wanted to build a city in the area of the Tibur (Tiber) River, they specially chose a site that had this unique characteristic. The city of Jerusalem, as it existed in Jesus' time, was also reckoned a "city of seven hills."

Jerusalem is not the only city in the world considered or historically believed to be built on seven hills. Others include Babylon, Moscow, Mecca, Lisbon, Tehran and Amman.

Jerusalem's Seven Hills

For those interested here are the maps of the three “seven-hilled” cities.



The seven hills of Istanbul

Constantinople: The seven hills of Istanbul

Jerusalem and its Seven Hills

Jerusalem and its Seven Hills

What did Christ mean when He said in Luke 13:33: “… it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”?

  • Jerusalem does not sit on many waters, and it would be inexplicable what is sait in 18 "give her the double ...." poor Jerusalem has only been the victim. Constantinople sits on waters but what said in 18 doesn't apply either
    – user157860
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 7:13
  • 1
    @user157860 I beg to differ in thought. Look at the maps.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 20:25
  • you are focusing on the hills, how do you think Jerusalem can be the whore, mother of harlots and abominations?
    – user157860
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 6:54
  • @user157860 The question focuses on Rome,I simply suggested other possibilities as well. Besides, did not Jerusalem see the the killing of many Prophets and Our Lord Jesus Christ.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 12:23

Prophecies in Daniel cover some of the same events as those in Revelation. These prophecies normally refer to kingdoms as beasts of various kinds. The prophecies are centered on Israel, so all these beasts are empires that will conquer Jerusalem for a time. In Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 2), Babylon is the head of Gold and is a synedoche for all the kingdoms that would conquer Jerusalem and Israel. Since Rome is one of those empires, Babylon is prophetically its head.

Revelation also speaks of eight empires:

Rev 17:9-11: “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.

What are the five empires that have fallen?

  1. Israel
  2. Assyria
  3. Babylon
  4. Medo-Persia
  5. Greece

Rome is the sixth empire, the one that still exists in John's time. The next empire to conquer the Holy Land was Islam, making it the seventh empire. The eight and final empire will be assembled from some of the pieces of the preceding seven empires, which is why it is called the "leopard-bear-lion":

Rev 13:2: The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.

The leopard is Greece (part of whose ancient empire is occupied by present day Turkey), the bear is Medo-Persia (Iran and the Kurdish people), and the lion is Babylon (Iraq), so it is possible that some collection of middle eastern countries will form a new empire, but that does not rule out the inclusion of some parts of Europe.

  • 1
    Revelation does not say seven empires. It says seven kings. With no judgement intended towards your interpretation/evaluation of that passage, I would encourage you to build that interpretation around the actual reading rather than something supposed in the text that isn't actually there. You can have seven kings within one empire, and even within one dynasty. The beast with seven heads and ten horns is a final beast made up of the former beasts, and this final beast has seven heads. That implies seven kings of one empire, not seven empires. Just my two cents.
    – AFrazier
    Commented May 14 at 9:27
  • i do not agree that the last empire is Islam. There is no evidence for that to be true. The last empire in Revelation is more likely one that has world wide influence at a political level. Remembering the feet of iron and clay exist at the same time. The big change in the latter part of the Roman Empire was the combination of Church and State with Constantine. This is where the last one comes from and that is not Islam. Islam was hundreds of years later...too late in the prophecy fulfillment timeline. Also, if you are going to argue Islam, I'm going to argue communism!
    – adam
    Commented May 14 at 21:03
  • Perhaps my wording was confusing. I believe the seventh empire in John’s list is Islam, but the eighth is not. It is some reconfiguration of parts of previous empires, likely a syncretistic philosophy. Commented May 15 at 16:18
  • My reasoning is based on the work of Ellis Skolfield. His rule was that a beastly empire had to occupy Jerusalem at some point. Communist nations have not done so (yet). Commented May 15 at 16:20

The preponderance of the evidence appears to show that in the New Testament, "Babylon" is a reference to Rome.

John AT Robinson provided a helpful summary of supporting evidence (see p. 136 here):

The 'greetings from her who dwells in Babylon, chosen by God like you' (5.13) is almost universally agreed to be a disguise for the church in Rome. The pseudonym is indisputable in the book of Revelation (14.8; 16.19; 17.5; 18.2, 10, 21) as it is in other late-Jewish and Christian writings (II Bar.10.1f; 11.1; 67.7; II Esd.3.1f., 28, 31; Orac. Sib.5. 143, 159f.), and it was so understood here as early as Papias. [Eusebius, HE 2.15.]

This includes not only Papias, who was acquainted with 1st generation Christians, but also shows the wealth of Jewish literature supporting the conclusion.

That "Babylon" was a type or symbol for wickedness, wicked people, or wicked places has a long history in Jewish writings. See, for example, Isaiah 14, which compares the king of Babylon to Lucifer himself.

We have 1st & 2nd century sources that indicate that Peter, Mark, and John spent time in Rome (e.g. 1 Clement for Peter, Pauline epistles for Mark, Tertullian for John). We have no such evidence that they were ever in Babylon.

Christian use of Babylon to describe a wicked place is influenced heavily by Isaiah, even if the Babylon-wickedness theme is not present throughout the Old Testament.

  • The problem with naming any location symbolically as Babylon, is that it speaks of future events. Is Rome to be wicked at the time foreseen? Maybe? But so might other cities!
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Apr 25, 2022 at 12:15

Glorifies a woman, uses a cup for worshiping, is full of idols, and is guilty of killing millions... Roman Catholic Church in Rome, a type of church-state.

There is only one religious and political system that identifies itself with a cup, the "Holy Mother Church". The mass has roots in paganism, "the transubstantiation" comes from Babylon. They baked cakes for their Babylonian "Sun God" Nimrod and ate him too. They also worshipped his wife, Semiramis. Semiramis was called the "Queen of Heaven" Roman Catholic Mary was also referred to as the "Queen of Heaven." Roman Catholicism has many doctrines. Their "pope" is recognized by many as a "world leader," and thus also a political system. Oh, and they are guilty of murdering millions.

The "seven mountains" are also known as the "seven hills." A Roman coin minted under the emperor Vespasian (ca. 70 AD) depicts Rome as a woman sitting on seven hills.

It can't be Jerusalem or any other city because of Revelation 17:6 and 18:24. Yes Jesus was nailed on the cross in Jerusalem, but no Jew beat him and nailed him on the cross, it was Rome that was responsible. Rome also killed James and Paul and exiled John.

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Revelation is always a touchy issue. Everyone has an interpretation.

Rome is traditionally, and popularly, referred to as the city on the seven hills. There are also other factors that would contribute to Rome being a likely candidate.

  1. The Beast of Revelation is made up of the previous empires that came before it, the lion, the leopard, and the bear (Rev. 13:2), and is identified in Daniel as the fourth kingdom upon the earth (Dan. 7:23). Rome was the fourth major empire of the known world, and was, in fact, made up of the regions and territories formerly held by the Lion (Babylon), the Bear (Medo-Persia), and the Leopard (Greece).

  2. The Beast has three representations throughout Revelation. In all cases, it has seven heads and ten horns.

    a) In the first representation, it has seven crowns upon its seven heads (Rev. 12:3). These are the seven kings of Rome; Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Lucius Tarquinius, Servius Tullius, and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.

    b) In the second representation, it has ten crowns on the ten horns (Rev. 13:1). The provinces of the empire were constantly changing and evolving, so it's hard to say what the specific kingdoms are that comprise the ten, but it might be something, for example, like Africa, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, Gaul, Germania, and Spain. Although each is broken up into multiple minor provinces, the provinces of a nation as a whole make up that nation. The second beast, furthermore, receives his power, his seat, and his authority from the dragon. The dragon is Rome (as in the city, or Italian State), the beast is the empire, headed by the Caesars and empowered by the provinces, and has authority because it speaks and acts in the name of Rome. And although the first head was wounded unto death, the beast nevertheless survived.

    c) In the third representation, the beast has no crowns at all, and is given to us during a time of turmoil (Rev. 17:3). At the time of Jerusalem's destruction, Rome was going through civil strife during what they call the year of four emperors. Nero had died, and the empire was without a proper emperor. So the beast has no crowns at all.

  3. The horns of Daniel's beast also coordinate very nicely with the Caesars. Daniel gives us a beast with ten horns, and then an eleventh, before whom three others fell and were plucked up by the roots (Dan. 7:7-8, 20). The enumeration would be as follows:

    1. Julius Caesar (the head that was wounded unto death)
    2. Marcus Antonius
    3. Octavian Caesar (Augustus)
    4. Tiberius Caesar
    5. Caius (Caligula) Caesar
    6. Claudius Caesar
    7. Nero Caesar
    8. Galba
    9. Otho
    10. Vitellius
    11. Vespasian

After the death of Nero, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius were all proclaimed emperor. But all three fell, and Vespasian ultimately ended up being the new emperor, founding the new Flavian line of Caesars. Ergo, there were ten, and three fell before the eleventh. That eleventh, who was also the eighth, brought destruction. Although most would miss or discount Marc Antony (which is why most attempts to coordinate the beast with Rome have difficulties), it is important to note that some of the emperors came from his bloodline via his marriage to Octavia. Furthermore, following Julius Caesar's assassination and the later victory over Brutus and Cassius at Philippi, Octavian and Antony divided the empire. Antony controlled the east (including the Palestinian region), while Octavian controlled the west. Antony is a legitimate Roman king in the enumeration from a Jewish perspective.

  1. Vespasian is the eighth recognized king, sent by one of the seven (Rev. 17:11), and it was under his reign, via his son Titus, that Jerusalem was destroyed.

  2. The seven heads are also given an interpretation by the angel. They are seven kings. Five had already fallen. One was. And one was yet to come. The seven, as already addressed, are Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, Octavian (Augustus), Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. At the time of the vision, that would suggest that Claudius was in power, and Nero was the one yet to come.

To this, we can find some confirmation from Paul. Writing in 2 Corinthians, prior to his captivity, and therefore still during the reign of Claudius, Paul says:

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Cor. 12:2-4)

Unless they were having a sale at Prophecy-Mart, I don't expect that too many people were having experiences of being caught up to paradise and the third heaven, to hear words not lawful to utter. It is my opinion that Paul is referring to none other than the Revelation itself, and this during the reign of Claudius, which would be consistent with the sixth king still being in power according to the interpretation given. While Revelation is often dated to near the end of the first century, the internal evidence suggests a much earlier date. Kenneth Gentry in Before Jerusalem Fell makes a number of substantial arguments in support of this.

Anyhow, there is a strong case that can be made for Rome being Babylon, while Israel is the whore who rides upon Rome's back. If God called Israel a whore once, he called her a whore a thousand times throughout the prophets.

BUT, there is also a strong case for identifying Babylon as Jerusalem as well. Especially when you consider that Babylon the great is fallen. She says in her heart, "I sit a queen, and am no widow," with the blood of Christ, God in the flesh, Israel's husband, still fresh upon the ground. Therefore, in one day, death, and mourning, and famine would be delivered to her, and she would be utterly burnt with fire.

But your question is why Rome is referred to as Babylon. The above is a large part of that explanation.

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