Babylon (Symbolic)

A cryptic designation in Revelation ( Rev. 14:8 ; 16:19 ; 17:5 ; 18:2 , 10 , 21 ) for apostate religious organizations in opposition to Christ and His people on earth, especially during the closing phase of the agelong conflict between good and evil. Babylon is variously identified as “that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth,” as “the great whore” and a “mother of harlots” ( Rev. 16 ; 17:1 , 5 , 18 ). Adultery is a common OT metaphor for apostate religion (for example, Eze. 16:15 ff. ; 23:2 , 3 ff. ; Hosea 4:15 ). The revelator declares that Babylon has “fallen” ( Rev. 14:8 ; 18:2 ), has seduced “the kings of the earth” to commit fornication with her ( Rev. 17:2 ), has enticed “the inhabitants of the earth” to become “drunk with the wine of her...

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Published with permission from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.

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