Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Final Justice

Revelation 18:20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!"

20 Εὐφραίνου ἐπ᾽ αὐτῇ, οὐρανὲ καὶ οἱ ἅγιοι καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ προφῆται, ὅτι ἔκρινεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ κρίμα ὑμῶν ἐξ αὐτῆς.

This comes at the end of chapter 18, which describes the ultimate fate of Babylon. Babylon is portrayed as a city of great wealth, but also of great sin. It is ultimately judged and will be destroyed. One could even conceivably make a parallel of what happened with New York on 9/11, but I don't think that is what this passage refers to. It is possible that is what John was predicting, but it is highly unlikely.

I do, however, suspect that Babylon is a metaphor of some kind. John and his audience would think of the actual city of Babylon. After all, it was Babylon that led to their captivity. But here we get a vision of Babylon falling some time in the future. At least, that's what we get if we take Revelation to be a continuous story speaking of the future.

Basically, we are left with three interpretive options:

  1. The futurist view of Revelation is wrong and this speaks of a judgment already past from our perspective
  2. The city of Babylon will be rebuilt, will regain its former splendor, and will then be destroyed
  3. It is symbolic for a great city that is a hub of sin and rebellion
I'm inclined toward the third view. This is something that I need to study more deeply before I make any kind of final decision though. What do you think?

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