Babylon in the New Testament
Jump to: ISBELibrarySubtopics
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Babylon in the New Testament

BABYLON IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Babylon Babulon, is used in New Testament in at least two different senses:

1. Mesopotamian Babylon:

In Matthew 1:11, 12, 17 Acts 7:43 the old Mesop city is plainly meant. These all refer to the captivity in Babylon and do not demand any further discussion.

2. Symbolic Sense:

All the references to Babylon in Re are evidently symbolic. Some of the most important passages are Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:2, 10, 21. In Revelation 17:5 Babylon is designated as musterion. This undoubtedly in dicates that the name is to be under stood figuratively. A few interpreters have believed that Jerusalem was the city that was designated as Babylon, but most scholars hold that Rome was the city that was meant. That interpretation goes back at least to the time of Tertullian (Adv. Marc., iii. 13). This interpretation was adopted by Jerome and Augustine and has been commonly accepted by the church. There are some striking facts which point to Rome as the city that is designated as Babylon.

(1) The characteristics ascribed to this Babylon apply to Rome rather than to any other city of that age:

(a) as ruling over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18);

(b) as sitting on seven mountains (Revelation 17:9);

(c) as the center of the world's merchandise (Revelation 18:3, 11-13);

(d) as the corrupter of the nations (Revelation 17:2; Revelation 18:3; Revelation 19:2);

(e) as the persecutor of the saints (Revelation 17:6).

(2) Rome is designated as Babylon in the Sibylline Oracles (5 143), and this is perhaps an early Jewish portion of the book. The comparison of Rome to Babylon is common in Jewish apocalyptic literature (see 2 Esdras and the Apocrypha Baruch).

(3) Rome was regarded by both Jews and Christians as being antagonistic to the kingdom of God, and its downfall was confidently expected, This conception is in accord with the predicted downfall of Babylon (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:2, 10-21). As Babylon had been the oppressor of Israel, it was natural that this new power, which was oppressing the people of God, should be designated as Babylon.

3. In 1 Peter:

In 1 Peter 5:13 Babylon is designated as the place from which 1Pe was written. Down to the time of the Reformation this was generally under stood to mean Rome, and two cursives added "en Roma." Since the Reformation, many scholars have followed Erasmus and Calvin and have urged that the Mesopotamian Babylon is meant. Three theories should be noted:

(1) That the Egyptian Babylon, or Old Cairo; is meant. Strabo (XVII, 807) who wrote as late as 18 A.D., says the Egyptian Babylon was a strong fortress founded by certain refugees from the Mesop Babylon. But during the 1st century this was not much more than a military station, and it is quite improbable that Peter would have gone there. There is no tradition that connects Peter' in any way with Egypt.

(2) That the statement is to be taken literally and that the Mesop Babylon is meant. Many good scholars hold to this view, and among these are Weiss and Thayer, but there is no evidence that Peter was ever in Babylon, or that there was even a church there during the 1st century. Mark and Silvanus are associated with Peter in the letter and there is no tradition that connects either of them with Babylon. According to Josephus (Antiquities, XVIII, ix, 5-9), the Jews at this time had largely been driven out of Babylon and were confined to neighboring towns, and it seems improbable that Peter would have made that his missionary field.

(3) That Rome was the city that was designated as Babylon. The Apocalypse would indicate that the churches would understand the symbolic reference, and it seems to have been so understood until the time of the Reformation. The denial of this position was in line with the effort to refute Peter's supposed connection with the Roman church. Ancient tradition, however, makes it seem quite probable that Peter did make a visit to Rome (see Lightfoot, Clement, II, 493).

Internal evidence helps to substantiate theory that Rome was the place from which the letter was written. Mark sends greetings (1 Peter 5:13), and we know he had been summoned to Rome by the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 4:11). The whole passage, "She that is in Babylon, elect together with you, saluteth you," seems to be figurative, and that being true, it is natural that Babylon should have been used instead of Rome. The character of the letter as a whole would point to Rome as the place of writing. Ramsay thinks this book is impregnated with Roman thought beyond any other book in the Bible (see The Church in the Roman Empire, 286).

A. W. Fortune

Library

In the Last Chapter we Confined Ourself to the Old Testament, in ...
... we have seen, the term "mystery" has two significations in its New Testament usage,
and ... this, the name given to the Woman is a dual one " "Babylon the great ...
//christianbookshelf.org/pink/the antichrist/in the last chapter we.htm

Inseparable Connection Between the Old and the New Testament.
... in the days of Pharaoh, nor in Nineveh, or Babylon, or Greece ... attempt to dissever
the revelations of the Old Testament from those of the New appears most ...
/.../barrows/companion to the bible/chapter viii inseparable connection between.htm

The Earlier New Testament Writings.
... the teaching of our Lord more strongly than by any other portion of the New Testament. ...
in one of the concluding verses: "She that is in Babylon, elect together ...
/.../gladden/who wrote the bible/chapter viii the earlier new.htm

Remaining Books of the Old Testament.
... be fulfilled," Luke 21:24, marks both the Old Testament and the New as given ... the
predictions of the utter and perpetual desolation of Babylon, uttered ages ...
/.../barrows/companion to the bible/chapter xi remaining books of.htm

New Testament History and Prophecy.
... one of the books of the New Testament without carefully ... seven hills whose mystic
name is Babylon) will all ... then to the purified earth the New Jerusalem shall ...
/.../gladden/who wrote the bible/chapter x new testament history.htm

Faustus Denies that the Prophets Predicted Christ. Augustin Proves ...
... from Abraham to David; the fourth, from David to the captivity in Babylon; the fifth ...
the Church His holy bride, that in the peace of the New Testament they two ...
/.../faustus denies that the prophets.htm

List of Authorities
... Auerbach: Berith Abraham. Bacher: Die Agada der Babylon. Amoräer. ... Creizenach: Shulcan
Aruch. Cremer: New Testament Dictionary. Cureton: Syriac Gospels. ...
/.../edersheim/the life and times of jesus the messiah/list of authorities.htm

The Christian View of the Old Testament
... Authorship, of Pentateuch, 88 f.; other books, 89 f. Babylon, fall of, 141. ... New
Testament, superiority, 229 f., 254 f.; estimate of OT, 10 f. ...
/.../eiselen/the christian view of the old testament/index 2.htm

Appendix. The Apocryphal Books of the Old Testament.
... it makes Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned in Babylon long before ... remaining in herself
[unchanged] she makes all things new. ... the basis of the Old Testament he holds ...
/.../barrows/companion to the bible/appendix the apocryphal books of.htm

The Catholic Epistles.
... It is probably the oldest of the New Testament books, meagre in doctrine, but rich ...
The First Epistle of Peter, dated from Babylon, [1125] belongs to the later ...
/.../history of the christian church volume i/section 87 the catholic epistles.htm

Subtopics

Babylon

Babylon in the New Testament

Babylon in the Old Testament

Babylon was Called: Desert of the Sea

Babylon was Called: Lady of Kingdoms

Babylon was Called: Land of Merathaim

Babylon was Called: Land of Shinar

Babylon was Called: Land of the Chaldeans

Babylon was Called: Sheshach

Babylon with Media and Persia Divided by Darius 120 Provinces

Babylon: A Type of Antichrist

Babylon: Ambassadors of, Sent to Hezekiah

Babylon: Armies of, Described

Babylon: As a Power Was: An Instrument of God's Vengeance on Other Nations

Babylon: As a Power Was: Arrogant

Babylon: As a Power Was: Covetous

Babylon: As a Power Was: Cruel and Destructive

Babylon: As a Power Was: Grand and Stately

Babylon: As a Power Was: Oppressive

Babylon: As a Power Was: Secure and Self-Confident

Babylon: Babylon the Capital of Called Babylon the Great

Babylon: Babylon the Capital of Called Beauty of Chaldees

Babylon: Babylon the Capital of Called the City of Merchants

Babylon: Babylon the Capital of Called the Glory of Kingdoms

Babylon: Babylon the Capital of Called the Golden City

Babylon: Babylon the Capital of Enlarged by Nebuchadnezzar

Babylon: Babylon the Capital of Its Antiquity

Babylon: Babylon the Capital of Surrounded With a Great Wall and Fortified

Babylon: Babylon the Chief Province of

Babylon: City of Built by Nimrod

Babylon: City of Capital of the Kingdom of Babylon

Babylon: City of Gates of

Babylon: City of in the Land of Shinar

Babylon: City of Peter Writes From

Babylon: City of Prophecies Concerning

Babylon: City of Splendor of

Babylon: City of Tower of

Babylon: City of Walled

Babylon: Composed of Many Nations

Babylon: Destroyed by the Medes

Babylon: Empire of a Limited Monarchy

Babylon: Empire of Armies of, Invade Ancient Canaan

Babylon: Empire of At the Time of Ahasuerus

Babylon: Empire of Called Land of Shinar

Babylon: Empire of Colonists From, Sent to Samaria

Babylon: Empire of Conquest of Egypt By

Babylon: Empire of Divisions of

Babylon: Empire of Extent of, at the Time of Nebuchadnezzar

Babylon: Empire of Founded by Nimrod

Babylon: Empire of Jews Carried To

Babylon: Empire of Judah

Babylon: Empire of Merathaim

Babylon: Empire of Prophecies of Conquests By

Babylon: Empire of Prophetic Denunciations Against

Babylon: Empire of Samaria

Babylon: Empire of Sheshach

Babylon: Empire of Tyrannical

Babylon: Figurative

Babylon: Formerly a Part of Mesopotamia

Babylon: Founded by the Assyrians, and a Part of Their Empire

Babylon: Governed by Kings

Babylon: Grief of the Jews In

Babylon: Inhabitants of Addicted to Magic

Babylon: Inhabitants of Idolatrous

Babylon: Inhabitants of Profane and Sacrilegious

Babylon: Inhabitants of Wicked

Babylon: Languages Spoken In

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Besieged and Took Jerusalem

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Besieged Jerusalem

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Burned Jerusalem

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Made Jehoiakim Tributary

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Made Zedekiah King

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Rebelled Against by Zedekiah

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Spoiled and Burned the Temple

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Spoiled the Temple

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Took Jehoiachin Captive to Babylon

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar King of Took Zedekiah Captive to Babylon

Babylon: Origin of

Babylon: Origin of the Name

Babylon: Predictions Respecting: Captivity of the Jews By

Babylon: Predictions Respecting: Conquests By

Babylon: Predictions Respecting: Destruction of

Babylon: Predictions Respecting: Perpetual Desolation of

Babylon: Predictions Respecting: Preaching of the Gospel In

Babylon: Predictions Respecting: Restoration of the Jews From

Babylon: Presidents Placed Over

Babylon: Remarkable For: Antiquity

Babylon: Remarkable For: Commerce

Babylon: Remarkable For: Manufacture of Garments

Babylon: Remarkable For: Military Power

Babylon: Remarkable For: National Greatness

Babylon: Remarkable For: Naval Power

Babylon: Remarkable For: Wealth

Babylon: Remarkable For: Wisdom of Senators

Babylon: Represented by a Great Eagle

Babylon: Represented by a Head of Gold

Babylon: Represented by a Lion With Eagle's Wings

Babylon: Restoration of the Jews From

Babylon: Revolt of the Jews From, and Their Punishment Illustrated

Babylon: Situated Beyond the Euphrates

Babylon: The Gospel Preached In

Babylon: The Jews Exhorted to be Subject To, and Settle In

Babylon: Treatment of the Jews In

Babylon: Watered by the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris

Links
Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus


Baby
Top of Page
Top of Page