Prophecy Sign 11: Mystery Babylon
Two full chapters in Revelation are devoted to the identity and the destruction of Mystery Babylon. It seems to be a combination of a religious/political system. The Antichrist will ride her to power, establish himself as world ruler, and literally destroy her in a single day. Lots of thoughts on this prophecy, but it remains the most difficult mystery in the Bible for most students of prophecy. I believe that Joel Richardson in his book Mystery Babylon sufficiently demonstrated that Mecca/Saudi Arabia seems to fulfill all of the scriptural requirements of the Harlot Babylon. His excellent summary notes are provided below.
by JOEL RICHARDSON
IN THIS CHAPTER I WILL SUMMARIZE all the ways that Mecca/ Saudi Arabia match the scriptural criteria and descriptions of the harlot city in the book of Revelation.
A LITERAL PLACE: The last-days harlot Babylon is a very real and identifiable geopolitical entity. So are both the city of Mecca and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A DESERT CITY: The harlot city sits specifically in a desert. Mecca/ Saudi Arabia obviously match this description perfectly.
A PORT OR COASTAL CITY: The Bible seems to indicate that the harlot city is a port city, or at least close to the sea. Mecca sits fifty miles inland from Jeddah and the emerging King Abdullah Economic City, which are both presently being built specifically to become the world’s most technologically advanced and active seaports. These three cities form a triangle in relative close proximity to one another and will be linked together by a high-speed train system allowing travel from any city to the other in about thirty minutes.
A CONSUMER, NOT A PRODUCER: Harlot Babylon imports everything. She does not appear to be a great producer in terms of manufacturing or agriculture. The earth’s merchants have grown rich from all of the goods that she purchases. This is a perfect description of Saudi Arabia. Other than its oil, it produces very little and must import nearly everything.
THE GREATEST CITY OF IDOLATRY: Babylon “the great” is called “the mother of harlots and . . . abominations” (Rev. 17:5). She is the greatest source of false religion and idolatry ever known. Because Islam is the world’s second-largest religion, with 1.61 billion Muslims, the city of Mecca is absolutely the unqualified greatest city of idolatry that has ever existed. No other city in human history can compare.
A RELIGIOUS CAPITAL AND MISSIONARY CENTER: The last-days Babylon is specifically a missionary-sending force, spreading her false religion all over the world and holding sway over “kings, . . . peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (Rev. 17:2, 15). Over the past forty years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has spent well over $100 billion to spread Islam all over the world. No religious, political, or national evangelistic or propaganda campaign in human history has ever come close to equaling this.
MYSTERY BABYLON A SEDUCER OF KINGS AND PEOPLES. That the harlot “reigns over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:18) and that they in turn “commit acts of immorality with her” (Rev. 18:3) makes it clear that the influence of this city is indeed global. Saudi Arabia exerts its influence over much of the world either through Islam or through outright bribery and oil blackmail. For the past few generations, no corporation, nation, or bank in the world has given a fraction of the money that the Saudi royal family has given to the past several American presidents.
A CITY OF EXCESS LUXURY. The last-days harlot is a city of extreme luxury and material excess (Rev. 17:4; 18:7). Saudi Arabia, unlike any other nation on earth, is specifically known for its absolutely excessive materialism and luxury. From gold-plated toilets to fleets of custom-made Rolls-Royces, the Saudi royal family’s over-the-top excess is unparalleled and world renowned.
AN ECONOMIC SEDUCER. The harlot Babylon’s material excess serves to greatly amplify her seduction and influence far beyond what she can accomplish through her religion alone. Both “merchants” and “shipmasters” have “become rich through the abundance of her luxury” (18:3, 9). All of this material wealth is directly responsible for the kings of the earth joining in with her spiritual corruption and bloodshed (17:2; 18:3). Needless to say, Saudi Arabia has not only corrupted the “kings of the earth,” but she has also seduced innumerable banks, corporations, “great men of the earth” and, in fact, “all the nations” (18:23).
A CITY OF SLAVERY. The last-days Babylon is an importer of “slaves and human lives” (Rev. 18:13). Literally one-third of the entire population of Saudi Arabia are foreign workers, many of whom are treated worse than slaves. Secular human rights groups report endless stories of poor treatment, abuse, imprisonment, and rape that affect the roughly nine million foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia.
A CITY THAT MURDERS BOTH JEWS AND CHRISTIANS. The Scriptures state that the Harlot is “drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. . . . In her was found the blood of prophets . . . and of all who have been slain on the earth” (Rev. 17:6; 18:24). Saudi Arabia is not only the single greatest financier of the Palestinian Intifada, and the greatest lobbying power at the UN against the State of Israel, but it is also the primary ideological and financial fountainhead of nearly every radical Islamist jihadi organization in the world. ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other jihadist groups that murder Christians, are all the fruit of Saudi Arabia’s global Wahhabi influence.
SHE REPRESENTS ROYALTY. The harlot is “clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls” (Rev. 17:4). These colors and adornments speak of the woman as royalty. Saudi Arabia is not a nation in the traditional sense; rather, it is a kingdom. The House of Saud is indeed a royal monarchy.
SHE IS HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT. The harlot brags, “I sit as queen” (Rev. 18:7). This is a direct allusion to Isaiah 47, which reflects the attitude of the last-days Babylon, who in her wickedness also says, “No one sees me” (Isa. 47:10). The picture is of a city governed by both arrogance and secrecy. Despite all of her abundant sins, she somehow manages to fly under the radar of most. This describes Saudi Arabia nearly perfectly. Even as the Saudi royals have bought nearly every major American politician, they now also control various media outlets. Thus the Saudis have corrupted the most powerful nation in the world, and then they have bought that nation’s silence.
THE SPIRITUAL AND FINANCIAL CAPITAL OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD:
The Scriptures reveal that Babylon is the capital of the seventh and eighth beast empires, which arguably is a reference to the Islamic empire, the only empire to have followed the Roman Empire. If the Islamic end-time theory is true, then identifying the final Babylon is as simple as identifying the spiritual and financial capital of the Islamic world. Mecca is the religious heart of the Islamic world, and Saudi Arabia is the financial heart of the Muslim world, providing over 90 percent of the global funding of Islam.
CONCLUSION As I stated at the beginning of this book, my most sincere hope was that this work would contribute to the larger discussion concerning the great harlot. Having both carefully assessed the prophecy and considered the primary interpretations that have been offered, I believe I have sufficiently demonstrated that Mecca/Saudi Arabia seems to fulfill all of the scriptural requirements of the harlot Babylon. To be clear, this is not to say that another option, a new city entirely, could not emerge in the future. For now, however, the view that Mecca is the last-days Babylon is not only a very legitimate view, but it would also seem to be the best option. Of course, even if the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not the ultimate last-days Babylon, it is clearly one of the greatest fulfillments in human history, and the greatest “Babylon” of this present time. Needless to say, the eschatological, pastoral, and missiological implications are profound.
On a personal note, if you’ve read this whole book, then it is probably obvious that in writing it, I’ve taken on a very real beast and likely exposed myself to all sorts of potential repercussions, whether spiritual, financial, or otherwise. Of course, I wouldn’t have written any of these things if I didn’t think it was critical for the church to understand. I am firmly convinced that we are living in a moment where remaining silent is simply not an option. There are some issues that no one is speaking about, yet they truly need to be shouted from the rooftops. I believe this is one such issue. That said, I do ask for your prayers for both myself and my family. I genuinely appreciate them.
Until the Day of Christ Jesus, may the Lord bless you and keep you!