How shall we identify the “Babylon” of Revelation 18?
Only one city qualified to be “Babylon” in the ancient world, for only one city sat on seven hills: Rome. Rome’s condemnation, and therefore the empire’s condemnation, is caused by many things, but you should not miss their importance for our own time.
* Rome was a haven for every kind of behavior God found detestable. It wasn’t just that such behavior was practiced, but that it was tolerated, encouraged, and defended (vs. 2).
* Wherever the influence of Rome spread, her permissive and materialistic culture spread too (vss. 3, 23).
* Her culture prized excessive wealth, and she influenced other cultures to prize it above all things.
* Honorable behavior, like loyalty, was depreciated for the sake of self-enrichment, and that is why Jesus refers to her sins as “adulteries.”
* She exalted herself as the best, greatest, most powerful nation on earth, and her pride led her to the belief that no one and no thing could affect her endurance.
* The consequence of her end would be economic ruin for all who followed her corrupt culture.
I would not want you to think that any nation, adopting such an immoral ethical code, is bound to similar ruin (and therefore serves as a warning for our own), for such a conclusion might lead you to think that the way to preserve a nation is to change its behavior, and that might become your focus too.
God is not interested in the preservation of nations. All stand doomed.
God is interested in His people not adopting the values and behavior of the nations the world admires. The reason is His people are intended to be eternal. The nations of the earth are not.