The Rise and Continuation of the City-State System

While we’ve described some history about the demonic realm’s influence over the nations on the earth, it’s time to differentiate political and religious power within the human perspective. Mystery Babylon the Great is a symbol in the book of Revelation that depicts the depraved state of earthly leaders. Do we think empires, kingdoms, or city-states get weaker as time goes on, or is it the same system in operation with new clothes?

There have been many iterations of the evil realm that have interacted closely with human rulers. The relationship will amplify towards the end of this age. This is shown through symbology in the book of Revelation. Here, Babylon is described figuratively to mean all self-centered governments, businesses and religions on the globe.

Bible commentators have thought that Mystery Babylon is Rome, Jerusalem, or a restoration of ancient Babylon. Many interpretations have been derived from a vague passage by an angel describing the prostitute in Revelation 17 verse 18 –

the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.

The prostitute is also called Mystery Babylon, or Babylon the Great. The angel does not provide a complete answer in this short verse, so we need to know what the biblical definition of “city” is. Is there a literal city with powerful people working behind the scenes to control rulers over the earth, or is the city symbolic? We will focus our attention on the symbolic.

Throughout history, we notice that many kings and other leaders had unnatural desires to expand their control, wealth, and land regions. It seems that they were never satisfied. This hunger for more power is an important aspect to consider in Genesis 6:1-4 and Genesis 10:8-12. These passages describe the rise of the city-state system before and after the flood. The practices of taking multiple wives or building towers are not necessary like they were long ago, yet the desire for control of territories and people remains.

Scripture records that pagan nations heavily influenced Israel to subscribe to the city-state system in passages like 1 Kings 14:22-24, 2 Kings 17:7-12, and Isaiah 57:3-9. These examples show the worship of false gods, described as demons in Deuteronomy 32:17. We may think that the demonic realm only affected religious practices, but we know the political sphere was integrated with religion through priests and kings. There is a wide range of historical records with priest-kings in Sumer, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

Looking forward, there are only two conclusive cities during the last days of this age and the beginning of the next age, according to Scripture. One is the city that God builds as everlasting, while the other is the city that humanity builds, only to be destroyed toward the end of our age. Obviously, Mystery Babylon is the symbolic city that man builds, since there are no good qualities of the woman who rides the beast in Revelation 17, or any righteous characteristics found in Revelation 18.

We know Christ went to “prepare a place” for us mentioned in John 14:3. We also know this is a dwelling place man will not build from Nathan’s prophecy in 1 Chronicles 17 verses 9 and 10. There is no human effort achievable to build anything of lasting value when compared to what only God can build for us.

We will see this city called New Jerusalem in the future based upon the vision of Revelation 21 verses 2 through 4. It is designed and built by God, with the most wonderful depictions mentioned later in Revelation Chapter 21.

The intent has always been for God to dwell with man using His means, not for people to build their own type of system to please Him (Acts 17:24-25), or to honor themselves. The bad news is that humanity has continually asked for help through alternative means from the demonic, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

What we are concerned with in this study is the figurative city that man has constructed over thousands of years. This concept started with a literal city built by Cain (Genesis 4:17) and grew into a bigger concept after the flood.

Genesis 11:5 – And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.

Many well-documented attempts in history display a theme of establishing self-interest for the elite through development of religio-political systems. Livy provides details in The History of Rome, Book 1. He uncovers how wealthy families got their power through myths and their association with the gods. Ancestral tradition (mos maiorum) then built the war machine.

Book 1[7] Such traditions as belong to the time before the city was founded, or rather was presently to be founded, and are rather adorned with poetic legends than based upon trustworthy historical proofs, I purpose neither to affirm nor to refute. It is the privilege of antiquity to mingle divine things with human, and so to add dignity to the beginnings of cities; [8] and if any people ought to be allowed to consecrate their origins and refer them to a divine source, so great is the military glory of the Roman People that when they profess that their Father and the Father of their Founder was none other than Mars, the nations of the earth may well submit to this also with as good a grace as they submit to Rome’s dominion

The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel tell us the foundational meaning of Mystery Babylon that Rome was involved in. We can trace their inspired words of Isaiah 47 and Ezekiel 27 to clear parallels of the “city of man” in Revelation 18. In these 3 chapters, we notice many attributes that encompass Mystery Babylon being built by humankind’s efforts, but with the help of demons.

There are dual fulfillment prophecies in the Bible that we need to know about concerning past and future kingdoms. For example, Isaiah pointed to a near-term destruction of Babylon in Isaiah 47, but he also envisioned an ultimate destruction of Mystery Babylon. Revelation 18 echoes his vision that applies to the end of our age, when all human attempts are thwarted.

The bookends of Chapter 18 speak of demons in verse 2 and sorcery in verse 23. Humanity’s efforts are throughout the rest of the chapter within this sphere of influence. These city-states, with their financial and military systems could not be built without the help of the demonic realm.

Ezekiel also speaks to this dual fulfillment in Chapter 27 of his book. Tyre is the city-state of reference in this passage. It traces back through ancient Canaanite cultures to the Phoenicians of his period. The important point for end-time prophecy is that this vision is repeated in Revelation 18 with much of the same language.

Tyre is mentioned to be involved with wealth building, slave trade, and other prideful acts of the elite classes that are summarized in Ezekiel 27:33. These attempts by groups of power-hungry people have led to political and religious control over multitudes. Do we see this same type of system in place today? Yes, and this control system will only become more tyrannical in the coming days.

We find the source of the religious-political theme when we compare Isaiah and Ezekiel with Revelation Chapter 18. After the demon reference in 18:2 to set the table, we see leaders drink from the same cup. Please note that sexual immorality is spiritual, not a physical act in these cases. These elites of the earth share the spirit of demons by partaking of their depravity, and from these acts and demonic beliefs, their city-states and armies are positioned to grow stronger through the global networks of the beast system.

Revelation 18:3 For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.

18:7a As she glorified herself and lived in luxury

18:9a And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her

We can surmise that John’s vision in Revelation draws from the same source as Ezekiel’s and Isaiah’s visions. It is the Holy Spirit. We can learn from all three chapters that the city-state system has been in operation for a long time and that it is called by different names. However, the details remain the same as shown in Appendix 5. Wealth building and luxurious living for the elite are common themes that are associated with the demonic realm.

The background of Mystery Babylon is also mentioned in Revelation 17. A prostitute is presented as the symbol for the city-state. This does not reflect literal adultery between her and the nations of the earth, since it is spiritual harlotry. It is likened to a wife selling herself when it is not needed because she has a husband. The Bible often uses prostitute terms for people bonding with demons (false gods – see Psalm 106:28-39). This is unnatural since the bond was meant for God and His bride (see Isaiah 49:14-18, Isaiah 62:1-5, Revelation 19:7-9, Revelation 21:2-9).

The table in Appendix 6 compares Revelation 17 verses related to the wicked-state with other referenced passages. Like Revelation 18, John’s vision is shared by the Holy Spirit as He did with Jeremiah, Daniel, and others.

A common theme of Revelation chapters 17 and 18 is the mother city-state’s association to the demonic realm bonding with the nations of the earth. This is a merger of an unholy church and state that has been occurring since the time before the flood. The religion used can vary. The common thread is that there have been leaders to control the masses and amass wealth.

Why would humans knowingly consult demons? Demons were often considered the good spirits of gods or ancestors in ancient times (see Hesiod. Works and Days, Lines 109-139). People believe the lie that has developed since Genesis 3’s first lie.

Christianity has demonized demons in the West, so they now hide in the open hearts of people. There is no necessity for a king or president to join the occult and make a sacrifice on an altar to false gods. Alignment with the spirit realm can be through a person’s heart that has selfish desires. This has always been the case, even though demons have gone “underground.”

Humans and demons share the same selfish ambitions.

Mark 7:21-23For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery… All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

James 3:14-16 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual [opposite of good spirits], demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

There is direct or indirect contact with demons, deliberate or unknowing. However, in all cases, it boils down to selfish desires. Whether it be greed, lust, immoral ambition, or hunger for power, all leaders who have sought control over people for their own gain will be castigated in the end.

Today, we have global conglomerate corporations, an industrial-military complex, a pharmaceutical-medical complex, centralized global banking, and many corrupt governments around the world. It looks like the prostitute has been doing exactly what the Bible predicted. Nations that rely on these means of wealth generation will see an abrupt halt according to several passages in Revelation, including the 6th seal.

Revelation 6:15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,

6:17 for the great day of their [God’s] wrath has come, and who can stand?

We should notice that the 6th seal has similar language to Revelation 18. This is the end of the corrupt city-state and time for the wrath of God to come during the Day of the Lord period. Isaiah 2 also links these two chapters together with the same prophecies in verses 17 through 21.

And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,

and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,

and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

And the idols shall utterly pass away.

And people shall enter the caves of the rocks

and the holes of the ground…

In that day mankind will cast away

their idols of silver and their idols of gold,

which they made for themselves to worship…

from before the terror of the LORD,

and from the splendor of his majesty,

when he rises to terrify the earth.

The prostitute city-state system will end as predicted in Revelation 17:16 – And the ten horns [kingdoms] that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute [Mystery Babylon]. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire.

Even though the beast of Revelation with its 10 kingdoms destroys the city-state system, it is because of God’s judgment.

Revelation 18:8b and she [prostitute] will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.

We then notice the Babylon city-state beneficiaries mourning the death of their gravy train (Revelation 18:16-19). The loss of control and wealth will be immense. Perhaps now we better understand why God’s judgments will be so severe. The evilest people on the planet will be brought low by His just measures.

The timing of Armageddon and other Day of the Lord events mentioned in Revelation have not yet occurred when Mystery Babylon is destroyed. In the end, it is the beast vs. God. We know who wins.

While the truth about when Armageddon will occur is joined to the second coming, we can’t overlook the significance of the other relationship between the beast and the harlot city-state prior to this age event conflict. The relationship is reflected by the beast and its symbolic heads.

The prostitute of Revelation is not a city-state like Rome because of the 7 heads on the beast she is identified with. She was active at all stages of the “high places” in history. The timing for her and one of the beast heads is visible during the 1st century.

The Relationship of the Beast to Mystery Babylon

  • The beast, in its entirety, was not active when John wrote the book of Revelation. Chapter 17 verse 8 – The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about [going] to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction.
  • Only one head of the beast was active when John wrote Revelation. Chapter 17 verses 9 and 10 -… the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated;they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come…

This shows us that the 6th head of the beast is the demonic link to the city-state of Rome, but the beast in its entirety does not have complete authority on earth until the end of the age (Revelation 13:4).

We also see in Revelation 17:9-10 that Mystery Babylon the Great has been active for a long time, since she has been part of the relationship with the devil during each of the heads of the beast. Rome was only one period that she was connected to. Her being seated on the beast with the 7 heads depicts her continued affiliation to the demonic realm throughout history.

The last head of the beast is the completion of spiritual interaction to the city-state system of man. The human race will lose all “control” when the 10 kingdoms of the earth hand their authority over to the beast. Then the devil will not need a “middle-man.” He will have direct access to people towards the end of this age we live in. However, we must remember that God allows this to happen for His plans to be fulfilled.

Revelation 17:17 for God has put it into their hearts [10 kingdoms] to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.


Revelation Explained Copyright © 2022 by K.J. Soze. All Rights Reserved.

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