Babylon is one of the oldest cities on Earth. No one knows for sure when it was originally built, but history records it being destroyed (the first time?) in 2300 B.C., so obviously before that. Gen. 10:8-10 records the activities of the first mighty hero in the Bible, Noah's grandson Nimrod (Some scholars believe Nimrod was Sargon the Great, who lived about 2400 B.C.). Anyway, one of his first accomplishments was to establish a kingdom called Babel (Babel and Babylon are the same word in Hebrew.). The ancient city sat between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, about 30 miles southwest of modern Baghdad, Iraq. Situated in a strategically critical area of the Middle East, many world rulers/wanna-be have ruled there or had plans to, including: Hammurapi, Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul in 2 Kings 15:19), Marduk-apal-iddina (Baladan in 2 Kings 20:12), Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great (who planned to make it his capital), and Napoleon I (His plans to make it his world capital are still on file in the Ministry of Defense in Paris.).
What prompted this article is the naming of many nations involved in the Last Days battles, but no mention of the most powerful nation in modern history, The United States. Granted, many of these mentioned nations are unfamiliar to us, but you can usually find an ancient map or some archaeological evidence that lets historians know what we call that nation today. For instance, Chittim (Dan. 11:30) is Cyprus; Lydia (Ezek. 30:5) is Western Turkey. Gog (the leader of?) Magog (Rev. 20:8), a word probably meaning "the northern barbarians," is believed to be Russia by lots of Bible scholars. I could go on-and-on, but I won't.
The name Babylon or variations of it is used about 300 times in the Bible, but it's not always talking about the actual city. Usually the reference is to the city or its ruins in modern Iraq, but sometimes it is speaking about "Spiritual Babylon," and sometimes about "Political Babylon." You can usually tell which by the context.
Rev. Chap. 17 is about Spiritual Babylon, called "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH"(emphasis in orig.). When The Rapture takes place and all "born again believers" are translated to Heaven there will be a lot of "religious" people left on Earth. The devil will have his counterpart to The Holy Spirit, a man called the false prophet (Rev. 16:13, 19:20 & 20:10) who will organize world religion in support of the Antichrist (Rev. 13:11-12).
Now Political Babylon is where I climb out on a very thin limb and hand all of you a saw. Read the 18th Chapter of Revelation. In this chapter a place called, "that great city Babylon, that mighty city," is destroyed "in one hour" (Rev. 18:8). Look at the description of this great city:
- The merchants of the Earth are rich through her abundance (v.3).
- She has a large population of Jewish people (v.4).
- She has glorified herself, and lived deliciously. She says I sit a queen, and am no widow (v.7).
- The kings of the Earth have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her (v.9).
- She imports merchandise from all over the earth (v.11).
- It's a place the merchants can safely stand afar off from (on ships) and watch her burn (v.15).
- These observers are shipmasters, all the company in ships, sailors, those who trade by sea (v.17 & 19).
Political Babylon is a great city/nation that made the rest of the world rich. It was accessible only by sea (The airplane hadn't been invented when John wrote this.). This access feature can only apply to North or South America or Australia, and the only place that fits this description is The United States. Look at a map of The World. You could make a paperclip in Shanghai, China and deliver it to Cape Town, South Africa or anyplace in Asia or on the European Continent on foot. Using a ship would be smarter, but not required. The text of Rev. Chap. 18 implies this place is accessible primarily, if not only, by sea. I think the reason the greatest and most powerful nation in history is not mentioned in the final battles of Armageddon is that the United States (Political Babylon) is destroyed in one hour, probably at the start of that great battle. I'd guess by nuclear weapons.
Do I hear someone yanking the rope on their chainsaw???