End Times Bible Prophecy

Is America Mystery Babylon the Great? Six Objections Answered

Is America, the most dominant and influential nation of the end times, really not found in Bible prophecy as most Christians believe? If that doesn’t sound right to you, then you are not alone. Revelation and Jeremiah talk about a dominant end time power named “Mystery Babylon the Great” which stands in the way of evil but at the same time is so wicked itself that God judges her before the rest of the world. Sadly, there is no better plain literal fulfillment of Babylon than America today. Except...how can God judge a nation who does so much good and not judge so many arguably worse nations like China or Iran? How can Babylon be a nation when it says it’s a “city?” Where is the blood of slain prophets “found in her?” These common objections and more are answered...plus why you do not need to fear being trapped in America when she is burned.

By Tim McHyde

If you ask most Christians where America is in end times Bible prophecy, they will either say that they have no idea or that they were taught that America is not there. When you think about it, this is a reasonable position since the Bible only talks about cities and nations in the Middle East such as Damascus, Nineveh, Egypt and Babylon. How could the prophets possibly be talking about some Western nation when they constantly use names of places we already know of in the Middle East?

Babylon = Babylon. “Mystery” Babylon = ?

For example, Babylon is Babylon, still in Iraq to this day. However, what if such a familiar place were embellished in a prophecy with a modifier to subtly clue you in that it was not really literally that place? Further, what if the prophecy went on to describe distinct characteristics of this place that did not match the biblical location under the same base name? Of course, what I have in mind when I say all this is this prophecy:

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

Revelation 17:5 (HCSB) — On her forehead a cryptic name was written: BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE VILE THINGS OF THE EARTH.

Babylon is Babylon, but what about “mystery Babylon” (KJV)? Or as modern versions render it, “a cryptic name...Babylon the Great?” Mystery/cryptic Babylon must refer to something else or there is no mystery. Further, how can you reasonably describe Babylon, Iraq today as “great,” especially after Iraq has been defeated twice in recent decades by the American-led coalition and occupied by the same?

60 Characteristics of Mystery Babylon

That Mystery Babylon does not refer to Iraq is borne out very well when you look at all the details found in Revelation 17-18 and the parallel prophecies such as Jeremiah 50-51. There are dozens and dozens of details about Mystery Babylon found in those chapters. Thankfully, a researcher by the name of Rick Coombes has put together a book of his research on these prophecies, called America the Babylon. (If you want a brief summary of the points in his book, see his "60 reasons" article. You can also watch a video presentation of America the Babylon.)

Just a little of the evidence he presents is enough to rule out all of the commonly believed interpretations of Mystery Babylon like Iraq, Rome, the Vatican, Jerusalem. For example, the prophecies indicate that Mystery Babylon is a major port city with a deep sea water port:

Revelation 18:17-19 (HCSB) — 17 for in a single hour such fabulous wealth was destroyed! And every shipmaster, seafarer, the sailors, and all who do business by sea, stood far off 18 as they watched the smoke from her burning and kept crying out: “Who is like the great city?” 19 They threw dust on their heads and kept crying out, weeping, and mourning: Woe, woe, the great city, where all those who have ships on the sea became rich from her wealth, for in a single hour she was destroyed.

Coombe's book explains this passage:

This passage tells us that merchant ships are standing off the shoreline of Babylon. These ships have either just unloaded in the port city of Mystery Babylon, or are waiting to dock when the fiery judgment hits. These ship captains, crew and passengers are witnesses to the destruction. Question? Why would these folks be standing on deck of merchant ships unless there were Port facilities in this city? Answer. The city is a port city. In this day and age, especially by virtue of the list of commodities that are traded in "mystery Babylon"… see Revelation 18:11-13… one thing can be noted… this city, to have this kind of merchandise coming in by ships…must be a DEEP WATER SEAPORT CITY. Why? For ships of today to bring such merchandise requires the ships to be large commercial freighters. These ships require deep-water port facilities to dock and unload/load. They must have a harbor with large depths. Now here is the problem for the "Rome = Babylon" theorists. Rome is NOT a deep water seaport, period!!! Ancient Rome, we are told must be the only literal interpretation. However, Ancient Rome was not a Seaport either. Rome is landlocked.

Although Rome is indicated by Coombes, his argument would also apply to the Vatican (inside Rome), Jerusalem, and Babylon, Iraq. All are without sea ports and do not fit the description of Mystery Babylon the Great as a great commercial center accessible from the sea by ships.

Other famous candidate cities that may be port cities like Dubai are still ruled out by the details of Mystery Babylon's great military and financial power over all the kings of the earth (Rev 17:18, 9; Rev 18:18). Bear in mind that whoever Babylon is, its sudden disappearance is devastating to the world economy to the point that no one buys the merchants' goods anymore (Rev 18:11).

Common Objections

The information about Mystery Babylon is exhaustive. However, because the prophecy is so long and complicated, it is easy to find a verse that does not make sense or seem to fit America at first glance. Here are the most common objections that people seem to raise:

Objection 1 — “Babylon Is a Religious/Political/Economic System”

Some think that Babylon is a “religious or political or economic system” that we need to “come out of,” such as the Vatican, the headquarters of the Catholic Church could be seen as. The following verse about what happens after Babylon falls could be used to argue that it is more than just a city or nation but must be a global system:

Revelation 18:11 (HCSB) — The merchants of the earth will also weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their merchandise any longer

Why would no one buy the merchants' goods anymore if it is just America that goes away and not a “global system?” It's not hard to explain this. When America is gone, the US dollar will no longer have backing, becoming worthless paper. Keep in mind that the US dollar is a main reserve currency of the world. If all these dollars most nations are holding suddenly lost their value overnight, it would turn the financial order upside down, causing a panic and a sure global economic collapse.

Under those conditions, naturally no one will be buying the luxury goods that the merchants are getting rich on. They will be ruined (along with everyone else fighting to survive the ensuing chaos). The global financial collapse will make the Great Recession and Great Depression look like the good old days.

Turning Mystery Babylon into a global system of whatever kind is simply unnecessary to make sense of the prophecy literally. It also creates many more problems than it solves. It require you to ignore dozens of plain passages specify a nation from which people will physically have to move out of before physical fire falls there. Notice how many times it says this:

Revelation 18:4 (HCSB) — Then I heard another voice from heaven: Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues.

Jer 50:5 — They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to God in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.

Jer 50:28 — The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of God our God, the vengeance of his temple.

Jer 51:6 — Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of God's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.

Jer 51:49-50 — 49 As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth. 50 Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember God afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.

Leaving a global system of any kind does not protect you when fire is falling on the land. Just ask the people who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah—which Babylon's destruction is compared to (Jer 50:40). Lot had to physically leave Sodom to be safe from her fiery judgment. If Lot had stayed in Sodom to witness to the Sodomites, he would have been a crisp no matter how righteous he was because he disobeyed instructions. The righteous will also be physically fleeing Babylon in the future, just as Lot physically fled Sodom.

Objection 2 — “Babylon Is A City, Not A Nation”

By far the most common objection I hear about America being Babylon comes from a fixation on how it is described as a city by Revelation no less than seven times. For example, this verse calls it a city twice:

Revelation 18:10 (HCSB) — They will stand far off in fear of her torment, saying: Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the mighty city! For in a single hour your judgment has come.

How do we answer this? Well, first read another one of the “city” verses and notice what the city has:

Revelation 17:18 (HCSB) — And the woman you saw is the great city that has an empire over the kings of the earth.”

Could a mere city rule the world today without a large, major country behind it? Of course, not.

As it turns out, other details point to Babylon as a chief city of a “nation” (Jer 50:12) with farmland (Jer 50:16), and other cities (Jer 50:32; 51:43).

Then why does Revelation call it a city? It seems to be using a common convention in both ancient and modern times to refer to a nation by its chief city. The media today often uses Moscow or Washington to refer to Russia or USA, respectively.

Shouldn't the prophecy refer to Washington, then? Washington may be America's capital, but New York City is America's biggest and most important city for commerce, finance, advertising, etc. It is more distinctive. It is not so strange that a prophecy about America identifies her by her greatest and most distinctive city.

Objection 3 — “America Does Too Much Good / Other Nations Are Far Worse”

America is a Christian nation full of churches and Bibles. It sends out more Bibles and missionaries into the world than any other nation. It shares it wealth in the form of aid to the world. It hosts the United Nations. With all these good works, how could it be that God is going to judge her so harshly?

Further, how can this happen when there are so many other nations that by comparison are so much more deserving of God's wrath? Look at the dictatorships in the Middle East that have gassed and slaughtered their own people. Or how China represses her citizens and encourages the genocide of many girls under the one-child policy. Certainly if God is going to judge America for her sins, he would have to judge these nations first, no?

But that is human reasoning and judgment. God uses different criteria than we do. There is a key principle that guides God's judgment which must be considered if we are to understand how America could be judged before all these other nations. Jesus expressed it well:

Luke 12:47-48 — 47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

You could call this the principle of accountability. God judges people and nations individually based on their unique situation. He holds them accountable for their actions based on what they have been given in wisdom and wealth. This is the only fair way. If a nation collectively “knows better” through their rich Christian, Bible-literate heritage but does not act accordingly, then a severer judgment is reserved for them than a contemporary nation that does wickedness but has not been given the same advantages.

In other words, the fact that American has this Christian heritage (leading to most homes having a Bible) is a liability if America as a whole does not adhere to the values taught by the legions of Bible teachers found in the land. Russia, China and every other communist or Islamic nations keep out the Bible and persecute all Christians that try to proselytize. Israel was similarly held accountable for having the oracles of God delivered to her by “angels” and prophets. This is the reason ancient Israel was judged and virtually eradicated from remembrance until 1948.

Revelation 18 talks about Babylon heavily influencing the rest of the world to sin and live for luxury (Rev 18:3, 9). She deceives them into doing this with her “sorcery” (Rev 18:23). It is hard to appreciate how global America's wicked influence is until you live overseas as I have. Everywhere you go, American culture is desired and imported. The violent, sexual and immoral themes of American TV, movies, music, pornography reached nearly everywhere, even before the Internet America invented which now only made it worse. America is imitated like no other nation and this brings wrath (Rev 18:3).

When you consider how much this ugly scenario is the opposite of how a Christian nation should be influencing the world, then you can understand why God says he will judge America for her wickedness and depravity.

Objection 4 — Missing Merchandise: Slaves, Chariots, Ivory, etc.

Another type of objection comes from the list of goods that end time Babylon trades:

Rev 18:11 — And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thy wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

For the ancient world, this list represents “every luxury the heart could desire” as the New American Commentary characterizes it. But when some look at this list of ancient luxuries they have trouble matching it up with modern American goods. You would be hard pressed to find a trade in “chariots” today anywhere, but you will find their modern equivalent of automobiles, airplanes, trains and even bicycles traded heavily in America. It seems reasonable to concede that the ancient prophets would have no concepts or words for such modern inventions and would be given the word chariots and horses to cover modern transportation goods.

Often it is pointed to that certain products have nothing to do with America or are not made there. For example, America is not known for precious woods as, say, Africa is. Many other goods on the list are not common today either. The point to remember here is that it does not say that the goods are made in Babylon, but rather that they are imported or traded by her. America is well known as the greatest importer and consumer of fine goods in the world. Through the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and other commodities, futures and stock exchanges, America is a leader in the trade and marketing of such goods. America does not have to produce the goods listed to fulfill the prophecy, she only has to trade them.

But some will say that not all the goods listed there are traded. Although there were slaves in the past, that was abolished 150 years ago, so it does not describe end time America. Ivory trade is also banned by the US since 1990, so how could that fit America when she falls as Babylon? It can fit—if we leave behind our law-abiding mindset for a minute and consider the real world. America, like all nations, has modern day slavery. There is human trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labor, despite the laws against it. If you follow the news regularly, you will occasionally read the tales of survivors or those who owned slaves. Similarly, ivory trade may be illegal, but there is the black market for this, too, in the US.

Objection 5 — How Does America "Sit On Seven Mountains?"

This verse about Babylon causes many to stumble in regards to America:

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

From this verse almost alone, people claim that Babylon is Rome because Rome is the "city on seven hills." The problem with that is the Greek word for hill (buonos) is not used here, but the word commonly translated mountain (oros) is.

The seven heads of the beast represent seven mountains and also seven kings (Rev. 17:9-10). The woman is Babylon (Rev. 17:5) The woman (Babylon) sits on the seven mountains or literally reigns over them. What are these mountains?

In a macro sense, continents are mountains. The earth is full of mountains and canyons under the sea and only the large masses that push out of the water are continents. Importantly, there are seven continents to the earth (North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica). This mirrors how the woman sits on many waters/nations (Rev 17:1,15) and "reigns over the kings of the earth" (Rev 17:18) as the seven continents encompass the entire earth.

America's dominant military and financial power gives her a global hegemony or rule through influence and threat of force. The nations that dare defy or threaten America get unilaterally invaded or have their funding or resources cut off. The power exerted by the dollar is immeasurable. If you doubt America's control of the world that Babylon is said to have, again, it's important to think outside the box of the official stories and legal channels and consider what happens that the politicians cover-up. A good book to start with in this regard is Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

Objection 6 — “Slaughtered Prophets and Saints” in America?

The Bible's very last verses on the complete destruction of Babylon are quite profound and perplexing. They speak of what will not be found there again (namely any sign of life or human activity) and what will be found instead:

Revelation 18:23-24 (HCSB) — 23 the light of a lamp will never shine in you again; and the voice of a groom and bride will never be heard in you again. ⌊All this will happen⌋ because your merchants were the nobility of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery, 24 and the blood of prophets and saints, and of all those slaughtered on earth, was found in you.

Given America's history and reputation as the place of religious freedom and a destination for those (like the Puritans) fleeing religious persecution, this verse seems like an epic fail for America as Babylon. Certainly, this objection is the most difficult to explain and understand. But it can be handled adequately with the right verse.

When speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus set a strange precedent that makes this blood guilt for America possible in God's eyes:

Matthew 23:34-35 (HCSB) — 34 This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and hound from town to town. 35 So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

In other words, in the reckoning of God, all that is needed is for one prophet or apostle to be killed in America for the blood of all the prophets and saints to be blamed on or found in America. Who can say that has not happened in America's history already or will not happen in the future to one of the prophets God must be sending to warn the people to leave the nation (Rev 18:4)?

Conclusion – Don't Leave Yet and Don't Worry

Despite objections based on misunderstandings of certain passages, the overwhelming evidence best fits America as the dominant end time nation of Mystery Babylon the Great. As such, the sad truth is that America will one day be destroyed through fire, probably at the hands of enemy nations in the same way that God judged and exiled Israel and Judah. This is an upsetting and even depressing realization for most of us, but it is fair according to how God judges those who have been “given much.”

The only good news about this prophecy is that we are assured that God plans to call out the righteous before the destruction happens. However, I cannot stress enough that nobody needs to leave the USA early, now that they know about America's destruction in prophecy and the command in the prophecy to “come out of her.” To do so now would probably be a mistake for most people given how it is much harder it is for Americans to make a living and get by outside their home country. We must realize that the prophecy of a command to flee is not the same as a command to flee for all Bible readers in America. The prophecy does not include how to know when to flee or where to flee to exactly. However, when the prophecy is being fulfilled, it implies that someone will come to convey what that “voice from heaven” in the prophecy says right before the destruction happens. We have such end time prophets and messengers of God predicted in several passages (Rev 7:1-8=Rev 14:1-7; Mal 4:5-6). These messengers must tell us all the missing details at that time, including how to get the help most of us will need in order to accomplish such a disruptive and costly undertaking.

As I always say, if God could get millions of slaves out of Egypt in the exodus and get them paid back wages in the process, then God's poor faithful servants today have nothing to worry about. Just be ready to listen and obey (in faith) when the time comes and you will get the help you need. And if you doubt your faith, follow Jesus advice and pray for the strength now to escape all these things then (Lk 21:36).

(For more on God's plan to save all his servants from America's destruction and the other events leading up to and including the Great Tribulation, see this article or my book.)

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