"The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

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Bobcat
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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#11 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

3. Further Questions About “The Great City” of Revelation 16:19


The scenario above with the imaginary man illustrates why it would be fair for a person of honest heart to question the assertions made in WT publications that "the great city" of Revelation 16:19 is the same as "Babylon the Great." One could rightly ask: When “Babylon the Great” gets “split into three parts,” would not that be when God gives her the cup of his wrath? According to the above cited publications it is. So then, why does the verse next mention ‘the falling of the cities of the nations,’ and then add: “and (or “also” or “in addition”) Babylon the Great was remembered in the sight of God to give her the cup of the wine of the anger of his wrath”? Hadn’t she already been remembered by God before “the cities of the nations fell”? What is the point of adding this last phrase if “the great city,” in this verse, is the same as Babylon the Great? And even if the last phrase were intended to point out that the judgment of “the great city” was from God, then, it should say “for” [Gk γάρ] or “because” [Gk ‘ότι] God remembered her. But certainly not “and.” [Gk καί] (Compare Rev 15:1, 4, 8; 16:5, 6; 17:14, 17; 18:3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, 17, 19, 20, 23, where the apostle John consistently uses “for” or “because,” not “and,” to preface causal phrases.)

Additionally, if the phrase about ‘Babylon being remembered by God’ is explaining the phrase about “the great city being split into three parts,” then, why does it not immediately follow that phrase. What sense does it make to move on to talking about “the cities of the nations,” and then make an explanatory remark about “the great city”? (Compare w73 4/1 p.207 par.2) The explanatory remark should be right after the phrase it is explaining, should it not?

Also, isn’t Babylon the Great supposed to be ‘completely burned with fire,’ and ‘never to be found again’? (Rev 17:16; 18:21; Compare Isa 2:18) By comparison, saying that she is “split into three parts” would be a significant understatement, would it not? No matter how emphatic the “three” (supposedly) is, there are still “parts” left over. That just doesn’t match up with being ‘completely burned’ and ‘never found again.’ In Revelation 17:16 it is the leftover parts of Babylon that get ‘completely burned.’ Thus, the description of Babylon’s destruction in Revelation 17:16 cannot be another way of saying, “was split into three parts.” (By way of contrast, look at John 19:23, where the garment is divided into “four parts.” Yet, splitting the garment into four parts did not automatically mean that the garment was ‘completely destroyed,’ or cause its “parts” to ‘never be found.’ Or, compare Isaiah 6:11–13, where Jehovah removes nine parts in ten. Yet, the tenth part remaining is still “something.”)

Moreover, understanding “the great city” in Rev 16:19a as Babylon in Rev 16:19c, ‘puts the cart before the horse,’ does it not? Logically, God would ‘remember’ Babylon first, then hand her his cup of wrath, and only then would she be “split into three parts” as a result. Revelation 16:19 has it backwards. Backwards, that is, if the Watchtower Society’s published understanding were correct. But, if we understand “the great city” in Revelation 16:19 to be a different entity from “Babylon the Great,” just as the phrasing of the verse clearly indicates that it is, then, all of these problems disappear.


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Bobcat
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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#12 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

Footnote to Part 3:


This is a footnote about the number "three" in Revelation. The WT holds that in the phrase, "was split into three parts," the "three" indicates emphasis. What follows is a survey of how the number three, one third, and repeating something three times are used in Revelation. The purpose of this note is to discount the idea that the "three" in "was split into three parts" was intended as a means for 'emphasis.'


● What about the idea that the number “three,” in Revelation 16:19 ("was split into three parts"), is symbolic of emphasis or intensity? This note breaks down the use of “three” or the idea of three in the book of Revelation to examine and draw conclusions with regard to how it is used there. The uses of “three” in Revelation can be broken down into several main categories.

First, there is the threefold repetition of a word or idea, where the literal number three is not actually used. In each of these cases it does appear that the threefold repetition has some symbolic significance related to emphasis or intensity. For example, in Rev 4:8, each “living creature” has “six wings,” that is, three pairs. (re p.81 par.23) Jehovah is described as “holy, holy, holy.” (re p.81 par.24) In Rev 8:13 the angel declares “woe, woe, woe.” (it–2 p.512 par.1) In Rev 13:18 the number of the wild beast is 666, a three fold repetition of six. (See Rev 13:18 NW footnote.)

Second, there is the idea of “a third,” that is, fractionally 1/3, not third in sequence. In the examples in Revelation it appears to indicate what might be called ‘a significant minority.’ Examples include: Rev 8:7–12 (related to Christendom [per WT]); Rev 9:15, 18 (also related to Christendom [per WT]); Rev 12:4 (the angels who became demons). (Compare re p.179 par.9; w64 4/1 p.223)

Third, there are time-periods that include “three” in them. There is the 3½ times of Rev 12:14. This is an actual time period of 42 months or 3½ years. There is the 3½ days that the two witnesses are dead. (Rev 11:9, 11) According to the WT, this worked out to about 9 months, from June 1918 to March 1919. Based on that interpretation, it appears to indicate a short time, possibly also indicating the shame the two symbolic witnesses would face. (See re p.167 par.21 & footnote.)

Forth, there is the use of the literal number “three.” Aside from the instance in Revelation 16:19, notice how the use of literal “three” does not seem to have any intrinsic symbolism on its own. Rather, in each case, it appears to be a numerically accurate description of some other factor. For example, in Rev 6:6, “three quarts of barley” is paired with “a quart of wheat,” both of which could be bought for “a denarius.” In this instance, “three quarts of barley” appears to be an accurate estimation of barley’s relative value to “wheat.” Thus, the “three” in this instance has no symbolic value related to emphasis or intensity. (re p.95 par.22; it–1 “Barley” p.256 par.4)

In Rev 8:13, there are “the three angels who are about to blow their trumpets” But these angels are actually numbers five, six, and seven, in a series of seven. So here also, the “three” has no intrinsic symbolism. It is the numerically accurate count of remaining angels from the seven. The “three” of them correspond to “the rest of the trumpet blasts.” (re p.141 pars.41–2)

In Rev 9:18 there are the “three plagues” from the horses of the 200 million cavalry. But that “three” corresponds with “the fire and the smoke and the sulfur which issued forth from their mouths.” So again, the “three” is only an accurate numerical count. If there is any numerical significance in the account, it might be with the idea of completeness with a set of three. “The fire and the smoke and the sulfur” are the complete set of plagues which figuratively kill “a third of the men.” These three plagues also correspond with the ‘red, blue, and yellow breastplates.’ (Rev 9:17; re p.150 par.8)

In Rev 16:13 there are the “three unclean inspired expressions [that looked] like frogs.” But as in Rev 8:13 and Rev 9:18, this “three” corresponds numerically with the three entities that disgorge the demonic expressions, ‘the dragon, the wild beast, and the false prophet.’ Again, there might also be the idea of completeness, since these “three” represent three main characters in Satan’s kingdom, and together, as a complete set, they gather “the kings of the entire inhabited earth.” (Rev 16:14)

The last instances of “three” are in Rev 21:13. Here there are “three gates” on each side of the four sided heavenly city which has “twelve gates.” (Rev 21:12) In the account in Rev 21:9–14, it is the number twelve that is highlighted, not three. Thus, the “three” is simply a result of the division of 12 by 4. The “three” would have no symbolic meaning on its own, but is instead, a numerically accurate distribution of the “twelve gates” throughout the four sides of the heavenly city.

In all these instances so far, the literal use of “three” only represents a numerically accurate designation related to other things that are themselves significant. In each of these instances, there is no hint of emphasis or intensity springing from the number three itself.

So what about Revelation 16:19 and the “three parts” that “the great city” is split into? It has long been promoted in WT publications that this “three” in Rev 16:19 is a number denoting emphasis or intensity. But in fact, it is the WT's assertion that "the great city" of Rev 16:19a is Babylon the Great, it is this false assertion that makes it necessary to believe that the "three" is emphatic in order to harmonize, “was split into three parts,” with the other descriptions of Babylon’s destruction. But a comparison with all the other uses of the literal number “three” in Revelation makes it clear that there is no basis for understanding the "three" in Rev 16:19 this way. This is a case of making an unsupported change in the meaning of "three" so as to try to make “the great city” of 16:19 to resemble Babylon the Great It is an example of ‘making the hand fit the glove,’ and not the other way around, as it should be.

What makes more sense, and is harmonious with the way literal “three” is used elsewhere in Revelation, is that the “three” in Rev 16:19 is a numerically accurate reference to some other related factor. In this case, if "the great city" of Rev 16:19 were instead related to "the great city" of Rev 11:8, then, the "three parts" would be an allusion to the ‘three portions’ of Ezekiel chapter 5. And as such, it could also carry the idea of completeness. Not the “three” itself, but what the “three parts” refer to. In Ezekiel chapter 5, the ‘three portions’ are connected to Jehovah’s complete range of “judicial decisions” involving ‘pestilence, famine, and sword’ that he brings against apostate Jerusalem. (Ezek 5:8, 12)

Understanding the "three parts " in Rev 16:19 this way would also complete the picture of how Christendom and the number three are related to each other in Revelation. Throughout the 6th Trumpet, Jehovah figuratively kills “a third of the men” by means of the judgment messages pictured by the “three plagues” of Revelation 9:18. So how appropriate, when the time for executing justice arrives, Jehovah unleashes his three “judicial decisions” against this apostate “third of the men.”
“ ‘Therefore as I am alive,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘surely for the reason that it was my sanctuary that you defiled with all your disgusting things and with all your detestable things, I myself also am the One that will diminish [you] and my eye will not feel sorry and I myself also will not show compassion. A third of you—by the pestilence they will die, and by famine they will come to their end in the midst of you. And another third—by the sword they will fall all around you. And the [last] third I shall scatter even to every wind, and a sword is what I shall draw out after them. And my anger will certainly come to its finish and I will appease my rage on them and comfort myself; and they will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have spoken in my insistence on exclusive devotion, when I bring my rage to its finish upon them.’ ” (Ezek 5:11-13)

See also posts # 24 & 39 of this thread for further reference to Ezekiel 5.


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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#13 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

4. Which "Great City"?


Well then, given the fact that the immediate context of Revelation 16:19 indicates that "the great city" and "Babylon the Great" are two different things, the next question is: Does the book of Revelation allow for the possibility that “the great city,” in this verse, is something other than “Babylon the Great”? To answer that question, note the listing below of all of the verses in Revelation using the phrase, “the great city.” There are eight in all:

Occurrences of “The Great City” in Revelation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Identified As

Rev 11:8 And their corpses will be on the broad way of . . . . . . . . . . . Resembles Jerusalem
the great city which is in a spiritual sense called Sodom and
Egypt, where their Lord was also impaled.

Rev 16:19 And the great city split into three parts, and . . . . . . . . . . . Subject of this study,
the cities of the nations fell; and Babylon the Great was . . . . . . . . . . . . but context indicates
remembered in the sight of God, to give her the cup of the . . . . . . . . . . different from Babylon
wine of the anger of his wrath.

Rev 17:18 And the woman whom you saw means the great . . . . . . . . . Babylon the Great
city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth.”

Rev 18:10 while they stand at a distance because of their . . . . . . . . . .Babylon the Great
fear of her torment and say, ‘Too bad, too bad, you great city,
Babylon you strong city, because in one hour your judgment
has arrived!’

Rev 18:16 saying, ‘Too bad, too bad—the great city, clothed . . . . . . . . Babylon the Great
with fine linen and purple and scarlet, and richly adorned with
gold ornament and precious stone and pearl,

Rev 18:18-19 and cried out as they looked at the smoke from . . . . . . . .Babylon the Great
the burning of her and said, ‘What city is like the great city?’ And
they threw dust upon their heads and cried out, weeping and mourning,
and said, ‘Too bad, too bad—the great city, in which all those having
boats at sea became rich by reason of her costliness, because in one
hour she has been devastated!’

Rev 18:21 And a strong angel lifted up a stone like a great . . . . . . . . . . Babylon the Great
millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying: “Thus with a swift pitch
will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be
found again.

You will note from this listing that Revelation describes two different entities that are referred to as “the great city.” The one in Rev 11:8 resembles Jerusalem ("where their Lord was also impaled"). The other one is definitely linked to Babylon the Great. (Rev 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21) Thus, it is undeniably possible for “the great city” in Revelation 16:19 to be understood as something different from Babylon the Great, just as the phrasing of Rev 16:19 itself indicates that it is.

In fact, because of the phrasing of Rev 16:19, that is, its most immediate context, it would be required to understand “the great city” (in Rev 16:19) as something different from “Babylon the Great,” unless . . . unless there was found some strong overriding evidence to understand it otherwise. In other words, instead of matter-of-factly saying that this “great city” is Babylon, as the above Watchtower publications do, we should be matter-of-factly saying that it cannot be Babylon, unless there was found some substantial proof elsewhere that would outweigh the phrasing of the verse and force us to conclude that way. And since the only other possible explanation for “the great city” is Revelation 11:8, then, we only have two choices. It either has to be Babylon the Great, or, it has to be "the great city" of Rev 11:8. And just going by the phrasing of Rev 16:19, where you would normally begin the process of understanding, "the great city" of Rev 11:8 would be the hands down favorite, would it not?

Here is something else that is equally curious: Numerous Bible reference works mention the possible link between “the great city” of Rev 16:19 and the one in Rev 11:8, specifically because of the phrasing of Revelation 16:19. Yet, WT publications make no effort at all to prove that it cannot be "the great city" of Rev 11:8. They simply ignore that possibility altogether. And we’re talking about WT publications that span a more than sixty year period (1955-2017), going back to the Babylon Has Fallen book. Are WT publications so lacking in academic integrity, so afraid that their asserted conclusions can be proved wrong, that they have to consistently resort to thought controlling tactics such as hiding alternative possibilities?
Notice how the "b" question for paragraph 38 on page 234 of the Revelation Climax book gives the appearance of a deliberate attempt to prevent the reader from even considering an alternate possibility for "the great city" of Rev 16:19. The question reads, "What is symbolized by ... (b) the fact that “the great city,” Babylon the Great, is split into “three parts”?" Note how the publication cannot simply say, "'... the great city is split into three parts." Instead, it inserts "Babylon the Great" with the apparent intention of preventing the reader from even contemplating any other possible understanding. This is the sort of underhanded writing style employed by WT publications and the so-called "faithful and discreet slave."

Fortunately, and despite the WT's efforts, there still exist Christians who do as the Beroeans of old did.(Acts 17:11; Pr 1:5, 6; 2:3–5; 4:5, 7; Mt 7:7–11; Mr 13:33, 37; be p.255 par. 1)


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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#14 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

5. What Are the Arguments That Favor Babylon?


So, when someone questioned the WT on this topic, what reasoning did they use to say that “the great city” of Revelation 16:19 is the same as Babylon the Great. Two lines of reasoning were used.

First, the Revelation Climax book (p.234 par.38) and the Insight publication were cited. (Vol. I p.670) These are the same quotes as were mentioned in the scenario above with the imaginary man. (See this post, paragraph 8.) In fact, there are no other explanations in these two publications that identify “the great city” of Revelation 16:19. What is the problem with these quotations? It is this: They do not provide any reason why. They simply assert that "the great city" of Rev 16:19a is the same as "Babylon the Great" in Rev 16:19c. (Compare sg p.93 par.11) But really, if one is trying to understand why something is so, merely stating that it is does not constitute proof or help to understand why, especially in this case when the phrasing of the verse is strongly indicating a different conclusion. Citing or quoting these references, which only assert a position on this subject, does not answer the question that a person is “fully justified in asking.” (be p.255 par.1) Nor does it prove anything, other than what the WT itself has chosen to believe.

As for the second line of reasoning, it was pointed out that the phrase “the great city” occurs in Revelation 17:18, 18:10, 16, 18, 19, and 21. And, in all six of these verses the context shows, beyond any doubt, that they refer to Babylon the Great. So in other words, by this line of reasoning, since these six verses all definitely identify “the great city” as Babylon the Great, then, it must be concluded that “the great city” in Revelation 16:19 also refers to Babylon the Great.

But does that sort of reasoning really prove that? For example, if someone produced 50 verses that said that Jehovah was a king, would that in itself prove that He was “the king” in Proverbs 24:21? (For a listing of 55 such examples, see the first part of this post.) Would that number of occurrences elsewhere override the logic in the phrasing of Proverbs 24:21? It wouldn’t, would it? And the footnote to that verse in the New World Translation agrees with that very conclusion. The immediate context takes precedence.

Another example of this is “our Lord” in Revelation 11:15, mentioned earlier. The great number of references to Jesus as “our Lord” does not force “our Lord” in Revelation 11:15 to be Jesus, does it? The only way this second line of reasoning might be possible is if those six verses (in Revelation 17:18, 18:10, 16, 18, 19, and 21) were the only other verses referring to “the great city.” The phrasing of Revelation 16:19 would still seem strange. As if the apostle John were trying to make us think that “the great city,” in that verse, was something else besides Babylon. But there would be no basis for identifying "the great city" any other way.

But the fact is, there is another way to understand “the great city,” other than as Babylon the Great. That would be as something resembling Jerusalem, based upon Revelation 11:8. Thus, the existence of two different ‘great cities’ in Revelation invalidates this second line of reasoning. The only thing that is proved by Revelation 17:18, 18:10, 16, 18, 19, and 21, is that those verses themselves refer to Babylon the Great. Other than that, they only provide one of two possible explanations for “the great city” of Revelation 16:19. But those verses would not prove anything about “the great city” of Revelation 16:19, any more than they would prove that “the great city” of Revelation 11:8 also refers to Babylon the Great, which, of course, it doesn’t.

And that leaves us right back at ‘square one,’ with the phrasing of Revelation 16:19 clearly indicating that “the great city,” in that verse, is something different from Babylon the Great. Only, we also know that, if it is not Babylon the Great, then, it can only be “the great city” of Revelation 11:8.


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jo-el
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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#15 Post by jo-el » 3 years ago

Get out of her wrote:
3 years ago
There is unquestionably a religious aspect of the "great city" or "Babylon the Great" based on the fact alone that a third "part" of her is identified as a "false prophet." (Re 16:13, 19) Also assuming I am correct in my understanding that this "false prophet" is actually Jehovah's own adulterous woman during the times that she forms political alliances with satan's world, this would certainly point to a religious facet of this "great city" as well. However when I think of Babylon the Great in terms of "having a kingdom over the kings of the earth," (Re 17:18) there are actually three things that come to my mind. The first of these would be that on all of the occasions recorded throughout the scriptures of the times in which Jehovah's nation formed an adulterous political alliance with a foreign kingdom, the kingdom in question was invariably the world power of its day. In this sense alone it always would have "a kingdom over the kings of the earth."
I am just sort of "moving" this part of the conversation into this thread (from "Can people obtain salvation if they choose") because it seems appropriate being the same chapter.

Sorry I know I seem to keep "sniping", but at this point in time I need to restrict it to individual points which I feel need clarification. Again I am having great difficulty insofar as reconciling that a "third part of her" is the "false prophet".
For me, the beast from the sea, the false prophet and the image are all defined
and Babylon is described as "riding" the beast, not as being the amalgamated sum of these 3 parts.

The beast is given the throne of Satan and rises "from the Sea"
The false prophet is a 2 horned "beast" whose "horns" or authority feign that of a lamb and it rises "from the Earth"
The image of the beast we are told is a "manufactured" kingdom and an "eighth" king - the purpose of building an image in this sense I would take to be that of a "proxy" kingdom. That is, the worship directed toward the image is by proxy directed toward the 7-headed beast, which is by proxy sitting on the throne of Satan. So the world presented with the image may not necessarily "see" directly the influence of the original beast authority who is further shielded by a proxy spokes-person - the false prophet. If we are maintaining a consistent hermeneutic between Daniel and Revelation (which seems explicit in the text of Revelation itself) then to me at least this describes what we might call a "shadow government" of sorts. That is, the object of worship - the image - is a means to an end. The actual authority is obscured. This is as-distinct from the previous beasts which all employed "direct rule" of kings and emperors who are even specifically named for us. Again, just to perhaps reinforce this point, we have "10 kings" who do not "yet" receive a kingdom - all of them "kings" in waiting, not described as direct rulers. Those 10 kings will rule with the beast for "1 hour" (Dan 7:24, Rev 17:12)

This also makes sense because we are told that the seven heads are 7 "kings" which have preceded him. The beasts from Daniel and in Revelation represent kings/kingdoms. The horns I also understand tend to represent kings or at least "ruling authorities", such as in the case with the single-horned He-goat, or the "little horn" which speaks great things and indeed the aforementioned "ten horns"

As an aside: There are also 3 frogs which proceed from the mouth of the Dragon, we are told these are spirits that go out to mislead the inahbited Earth and gather the "kings" together for the great day. It has been pointed out that a frogs particular trait is that it catches prey with its "mouth" using a large sticky "tongue" - persuasive spirits. The fact there are 3 indicating completeness is probably intended among other things to convey that this represents a completed work. Also, since the same chapter contains several parallels to the plagues on Egypt, I can't help thinking about the description of the frog plague on Egypt, in that the land was in the end first of all "filled" with frogs, which then caused the whole land to "stink". Also, it is interesting that God allowed this to be the last plague which the magicians of Egypt were able to replicate, when compared with what frogs actually represent in Revelation. Definitely a message in there.

Babylon the Great is simply described as the harlot who says she is rich and no one's widow and who drinks the blood of martyrs - she "rides" on the back of kings.
We have probably all considered, discussed and hold various views of the interpretation of these events, so I do not (necessarily) ask for an interpretation or offer one.
My question at this point is just - How would we be asked to understand that Babylon the Great somehow subsumes these 3 roles?

Get out of her
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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#16 Post by Get out of her » 3 years ago

jo-el states:
Babylon the Great is simply described as the harlot who says she is rich and no one's widow and who drinks the blood of martyrs - she "rides" on the back of kings.
We have probably all considered, discussed and hold various views of the interpretation of these events, so I do not (necessarily) ask for an interpretation or offer one.
My question at this point is just - How would we be asked to understand that Babylon the Great somehow subsumes these 3 roles?
Hello everyone: I think this is a good question, and I personally believe the answer becomes manifest by focusing on the "harlotrous" aspect of this "great city" anomaly while comparing this concept with scriptures such as Revelation 11:8.

Here in this scripture we yet again are pointed in the direction of there being a direct connection with this "great city" and Jehovah's own people in a context of them being in a state of spiritual uncleanness that is equated here not simply with "the great city," but simultaneously "Sodom and Egypt WHERE THEIR LORD WAS ALSO IMPALED."

We of course realize that Jesus was impaled in Jerusalem as opposed to Sodom or Egypt, so consequently we are left to deal with the fact that at the time that Jesus was impaled, Jerusalem had BECOME (just as it directly states right here in this verse) the "great city" or what "in a SPIRITUAL sense is Sodom and Egypt..." (Re 11:8)

Both the scriptural accounts of ancient Sodom as well as Egypt of course involved situations in which Jehovah's own people were not simply represented as being in proximity with these entities, but even as at some point actually becoming a PART of them. This particular aspect I believe is better represented with Sodom actually which I'm sure is exactly why Jehovah included it here. Nevertheless in both cases this was the exact moment that the proverbial crap hit the fan so to speak. (Zec 2:8)

If we take a closer look at the account of Lot and his dealings with ancient Sodom, we might notice that initially he and his family were simply dwelling in the "region" of these demonic cities since he had observed some rather lush pasture grounds for his flocks and herds in that area. (Ge 13:10, 11) Gradually however this situation began to change in a manner that while Lot and his family may not have recognized as significant, Jehovah most definitely did.

After some time had passed we find that Lot had actually "pitched his tent NEAR Sodom." (Ge 13:12) As alarming as this might have been we can discern here that it still did not present any real problem for either Sodom or Lot. At some point however, we actually find Lot and his family dwelling DIRECTLY INSIDE ancient Sodom with both his daughters ("Oholah and Oholibah"?) (Ez 23:2-4) actually promised in marriage to two SODOMITES! (Ge 19:1, 14)

I will absolutely insist that this was one of many ways the scriptures have somewhat cryptically represented the when and the how of Jehovah's own people becoming a third part of the "great city." Rest assured it was no coincidence that it was at this exact moment we are not only dealing with a prophetic representation of God's people "getting out of her" or "fleeing to the wilderness," but also an accompanying and extremely tremendous destruction upon an entity that Jehovah viewed as getting just a bit too familiar with his "woman." (Ge 19:12, 13)

In this case the spiritual adultery or political alliances that are common to the "seven times" this event was foretold for Jehovah's nation appears to be represented symbolically with the marriage contracts formed with the Sodomites and Lot's two daughters along with references to sexual intercourse in verse 5-8 of Genesis 19. What is more, in this same account we appear to find a representation of not only a division in Lot's own household ("discreet and foolish virgins"?) with both his wife and sons in laws ultimately being destroyed right along with Sodom, but in the case of Lot's wife perhaps even a representation of the atoning "sacrificial lamb" or "harvest of the firstfruits" (resurrections) that are always required in these cases to restore legal ruling authority to God's adulterous nation. After all, Christ's "brothers" were also referred to as the "salt of the earth" or what ultimately preserves it from being annihilated altogether when Jehovah expresses his wrath upon wicked mankind. (Mt 5:13) (Ge 19:26)

We often think of the destruction of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah as being strictly associated with the gross level of wickedness its name has become synonymous with while overlooking the fact that its destruction was directly connected to the relations it had with Jehovah's people. This brings me back to this "SPIRITUAL" place mentioned in Revelation 11:8 "where their lord was also impaled."

Please consider this question: What exactly constituted the entity that literally "impaled" Jesus Christ in ancient Jerusalem? Was it simply comprised of the spiritually adulterous "Jews" that were now "harlotrous" bedfellows with the Roman Empire? (Joh 19:15) Or was it not rather a conglomerate that at the very least was comprised of both of these entities now that they were allied with each other? Was the Roman government not also involved in the torture and execution of Jesus? In turn, particularly in view of the fact that when these alliances occur we know Jehovah abandons his "house" and the demons immediately rush in and occupy this "sanctuary," I have to wonder why we would have a problem with the idea that the "dragon" comprises the third "part" of this "great city." (Mt 23:38) (Re 18:2) (1 Sa 16:14) (Da 11:31)This would seem all the more evident to me upon reading scriptures such as Re 16:13.

Particularly since it is after all the "dragon" that gives the "wild beast" its "authority" in the first place, do we really imagine for even one moment that satan and the demons were not also involved in the torture and execution of Jesus? (Re 13:2) Would this really be "rendering our sacred service with our power of reason?" (Ro 12:1)

When we consider this "woman" pictured on top of the "wild beast" here in Revelation 17 and we are inclined to see her as an entirely distinct entity from the beast she is sitting on. Let's not forget that she bears the name Babylon directly on her forehead. Ancient Babylon after all was not strictly a religious entity but simultaneously a political one. Since we know that the "wild beast" itself is used to represent this very same political system of satan, should it not be evident to us on this basis alone that the name on the forehead of this "woman" applies to more than just herself? After all, it takes more than one party to commit adultery or harlotry does it not?

Yes when Jehovah expresses his vengeance against his rebellious and unfaithful nation, this "bowl" of his anger is not simply dished out to his unfaithful woman, but also to the two entities that dared to crawl into bed with her when she formed an alliance with the "wild beast." (Re 16:17) The primary reason that Jehovah's people must now accept the "two wings of the great eagle" (Compare Da 4:33b 7:4) and "fly to the wilderness" is so that the repentant portion of this "woman" can now be "away from the face of the serpent." (Re 12:14b) This is because this "dragon" is part of the "disgusting thing" that is now "standing in the holy place." (Mt 24:15, 16) (Da 11: 31)

In my case I will insist that when these spiritually adulterous alliances occur, Jehovah's "woman" becomes a third part of a "three part great city" that is actually assigned several names throughout the scriptures including "Babylon the Great." Just as demonstrated throughout the history of Jehovah's nation, the repentant portion of God's people must now go into exile until the time this broken marriage covenant is one again renewed. That is unless they wish to be destroyed right along with the "great city." (Re 18:4)

Agape love;

Sol

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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#17 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

6. Additional Contextual Indications


[The reader may note that in part 5, as well as this part, we are moving "outwards" in our examination of the context, looking at the wider context to see how it agrees with the idea that "the great city" and "Babylon the Great" in Rev 16:19 are being presented as two separate things.]


That "the great city" of Revelation 16:19 refers to the one at Revelation 11:8 can be seen from another viewpoint. Compare Revelation 11:8 and 17:18. Those two verses have a similarity about them. They are similar in a way that contrasts with Revelation 16:19. In what way? They do not refer to the same entity. Rather, both Revelation 11:8 and 17:18 include additional explanatory phrasing to help the reader to identify each respective "great city" being spoken about. Thus, the apostle John says in Rev 11:8 that the corpses of the two witnesses were laid out on the broad way of the great city which is in a spiritual sense called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was also impaled. That made good sense to add that additional explanation. Otherwise, the reader would have no way of knowing which "great city" John was referring to. Revelation 17:18 does basically the same thing. It adds the necessary phrasing or explanation in the verse to help definitely link that great city to Babylon the Great. If it didn’t, then, the reader of Revelation would likely think that "the great city" in Rev 17:18 was the same as the one in Rev 11:8. (Incidentally, the five occurrences of "the great city" in chapter 18 are spoken by third parties, not necessarily to John, but overheard by him. This makes Rev 11:8 and 17:18 the key verses for identifying both ‘great cities’ in Revelation.)

But now, notice the contrast with "the great city" in Revelation 16:19. The first part of the verse simply says: "And the great city split into three parts." No additional identifying information is given. In other words, as John writes what he has seen in Rev 16:19, he is assuming that the reader already knows what he means by "the great city," because he has already explained that. Yet, he could not be referring to "the great city" in Revelation 17:18. At the point in time where John is seeing what happens in Rev 16:19-21, the angel has not yet described that for him. (Compare Rev 17:1, 3, 18) By speaking in a familiar way about "the great city" in Rev 16:19a, John, logically, must be referring back to the only "great city" he has already described, the one in Rev 11:8. It would not make sense for John to speak to his readers in such a familiar way about "the great city" (of Rev 16:19a) as Babylon, when the Revelation account shows that he himself has not yet been told that Babylon is "the great city." (Compare Rev 17:1, 18) For example, it would make no sense to write about "the car" or "the man" unless you have first identified for your readers what "car" or "man" you were referring to. In Rev 11:8 John has already given a description of "the great city." So in Rev 16:19 there is no problem referring to it as simply "the great city." But in Rev 16:19 he cannot yet speak in familiar terms about Babylon the Great, because he has not yet heard the description of Babylon in Rev 17:18.

Conversely, if John's readers already understood "the great city" of Rev 16:19a to be "Babylon the Great," there would be no reason in Rev 17:18 to identify Babylon as "the great city." John and his readers would already know that. If Rev 16:19 were the start of the references to Babylon as "the great city," then, logically, there is where the additional explanation should be given to connect the two. Up to that point in the scroll of Revelation the reader is expecting "the great city" to refer to the one in Rev 11:8. And in Rev 16:19 the apostle John does nothing to change that expectation. Rather, he mentions both "the great city" and "Babylon the Great" in the same context as if they were separate things.

Keep in mind also, that, unlike Revelation 17:18, Revelation 16:19 is not being told to John. He is seeing it in a vision. (Contrast Rev 15:1, 2, 5 with 17:15, 18) And so, he sees "the great city" split into three parts. He sees ‘the cities of the nations fall.’ And then he sees God remember to hand a cup full of anger to a woman ("her" in Rev 16:19c, and referred to by the angel in 17:1 as "the great harlot"); a woman who is, in some respects, mysterious to John, since the angel has to then show him why she is receiving this cup. (Rev 17:1, 2) But there is nothing in the account of Rev 16:19 that indicates John was mystified about what happened to "the great city." And thus, the angel explaining things to John in chapter 17 also makes the difference clear, saying in Rev 17:18, "And the woman whom you saw (in 16:19c and 17:1, 7) means, not just "the great city," which John is already familiar with from Rev 11:18, but, "the great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth." Having "a kingdom over the kings of the earth" is something ancient Jerusalem never had. The angel is telling John that this "woman" is a different "great city" from the one in Rev 11:8 and 16:19a.

Looking at it again from the opposite perspective, if John already understood Babylon to be "the great city" of 16:19a, then, there is no need for the angel to tell him that "the woman whom you saw means the great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth." John would already know that she "means the great city." All the angel would have to say is that "the woman whom you saw has a kingdom over the kings of the earth." Telling John that the woman whom he saw "means the great city" is a clear indication that John did not know she ‘meant’ this before the angel explained it in Rev 17:18.

The fact that John "saw" and "heard" the vision that includes Revelation 16:19 is an important piece of the puzzle. John’s assignment was, "what you see write in a scroll and send it to the seven congregations." (Rev 1:11) He was, therefore, in a position to relate ‘what he saw’ in a way that could be best understood. If John believed that "Babylon the Great" in Rev 16:19c was the same as "the great city in Rev 16:19a, then, John was in a position to word the verse to clearly indicate that. But he didn’t. He worded it as if they were two different things. Logically, he did that because he meant them to be understood as two different things.


Bobcat

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Get out of her
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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#18 Post by Get out of her » 3 years ago

Greetings Bobcat:

I am genuinely trying to read through all of this writing you have been doing on this Great City topic if for no other reason than the fact that I have great respect for any and all input on a Bible subject that reflects the degree of time and work you have obviously put into this. But I have to confess I am continually becoming distracted and frustrated particularly due to the fact that you continue to refer to JW teachings on the subject.

Please try to understand these following things in my case. First of all I do not even happen to recall that the JWs ever taught that the "great city" and Babylon the Great were the same thing. But even if they did (which apparently is the case) I can assure you it had no effect whatsoever on the conclusions I personally reached on this Bible topic. I'm assuming it is rather evident that my personal views on this are RADICALLY different from theirs. Secondly I hope you can understand that particularly in view of the fact that I actually view this apostate organization as the modern day manifestation of the third "part" of this demonic entity, I am honestly always appalled on some level to find their teachings AT ALL in a place such as this. This is the case even if these teachings are presented in a context that is intended to expose how false they are. I don’t even want to "touch" what I recognize to be part of the "unclean thing." (2 Cor 6:17)

I of course realize at this point that you have come to the conclusion that there are actually two "great cities." Also I am TRYING to understand why you see it this way. So if it is not asking too much, could you please simply produce two distinct scriptural definitions of these "two great cities" side by side or back to back as you understand them without referencing any JW teachings (or for that matter ANY extra-Biblical sources) for starters.

Believe me when I say that if you or ANYONE can do this along with at least a reasonably respectable degree of scriptural support and sound reasoning, I for one am more than happy to seriously consider it. I would genuinely be interested in seeing you do so because to be perfectly honest, it appears to me so far that as opposed to actually explaining or simplifying things here, you are effectively taking a relatively deep and even "mysterious" Bible topic and unnecessarily making it even MORE complicated and confusing.

Agape love;

Sol

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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#19 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

Greetings to you, Sol,

Let's see if I can address the points you bring up:

Firstly, as I pointed out in the opening post of the thread, this was research I had amassed some time before our brief discussion on this topic which started here. I also deliberately chose not to link to that discussion in this thread because, as I said in my opening post on this thread that that discussion merely reminded me that I had all this research on "the great city" of Rev 16:19. So, I was not intending anyone to get the idea that this thread was somehow a rebuttal of your comments on that other thread. As far as I am concerned, you are free to believe what you want about the topic.

I also pointed out in my original post on this thread that, originally, this material formed part of a letter that was going to go to the Society. Thus, it included numerous WT publication references, many of which are, in themselves, well written. The intent, in most of them, was to show the WT that the same logic I was using in this research, they themselves use to prove various points. At the same time they disregard that same logic when it comes to this topic. But I did point out in my opening post that if the reader wished to disregard those references he/she was free to do so. (As if anyone needed my permission! :D )

Myself, I have no problem quoting and/or citing WT publications. The king in Jesus parable of the minas does the same thing with the evil slave. (Luke 19:22) Even Satan is quoted in the Bible. (Job 1:6-8; 2:1-2) So I have no problem citing the WT's own words. Nor do I hold that everything the Society says is wrong, not by any stretch.

First of all I do not even happen to recall that the JWs ever taught that the "great city" and Babylon the Great were the same thing.
The WT's current view on "the great city" of Rev 16:19 stretches back to 1955 in the Babylon the Great Has Fallen book. (Which I read when I was just starting to study the "Truth" book. The couple that studied with me were quite studious.) The interesting thing about the WT's view is that, in all four locations where they refer to it they simply assert, without any explanation, that "the great city" of Rev 16:19 is "Babylon the Great." They use no sort of reasoning or logic to try to prove that assertion. (The four references can be found in paragraphs 8 and 9 of this post.)

There are a few other references to "the great city" of Rev 16:19 that predate the Babylon The Great book. (One of which I referred to here.) Finding this material is a story in its own right.

Your views on the topic that I saw on the other thread have pieces of old and new WT positions (plus many original ideas that I never saw the WT express). But just remember that this thread was not started as a rebuttal of your views. It was a rebuttal of WT's view. I tried to be careful to leave you out of the discussion.

I of course realize at this point that you have come to the conclusion that there are actually two "great cities."
That is true, and long before we ever discussed it. All you need do is compare Rev 11:8 with Rev 17:18 to see that there are two different "great cities" in Revelation. There is actually a third 'great city' in Revelation, but it is never described in such terms. (Rev 21:2, 10-13)


Also I am TRYING to understand why you see it this way. So if it is not asking too much, could you please simply produce two distinct scriptural definitions of these "two great cities" side by side or back to back as you
Here is my argument in a nutshell:
And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. 19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. Rev 16:18-19 ESV
By way of explanation, verse 18 refers to,
"a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake."
In verse 19 the results follow:
[And] The great city was split into three parts

and the cities of the nations fell

and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.

I honestly don't see what you find "complicated" about that Sol. "The great city" is referred to first in this list of earthquake results, and Babylon the Great is listed third.

What if I changed this into a shopping list? "Sol, could you go to the store and get some eggs, and get some bread, and get some milk."

So now, how many different items did I just ask you to get? It's that simple, Sol. "The great city" and "Babylon the Great" are being treated as separate items in the same list. All the stuff you said about Sodom and Egypt and Rahab and Ezekiel, etc. You are simply ignoring the immediate context (which I illustrated in some detail in my posts on this thread).

Anyways, I'll leave it at that. I do respect your right to view things differently.


Bobcat

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Re: "The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

#20 Post by AmosAU » 3 years ago

Hi Bobcat,

An excellent reply.

You have just cemented your studies in my mind....thank you very much!

I had laboured over this very passage for decades without a clear & proper result until now. :thumbup:

This makes a whole lot of other things fall into place. I have recently (some months back) become aware that we have been fed a whole lot of rot by so called Christianity.
Simply put, the bible from Genesis to Revelation is written by, to & for, those of Israel, both natural & those who are grafted in. It was not written to the world at large, or any of what I call mainstream Christianity---those who are not called & chosen into the body of Christ.

I believe that mainstream churches & constituents are an extension of the Romish variety. They are neither called or chosen, but rather were born into whatever faith they are in, or choose to become a part of. They choose to be a part of whatever denomination it may be & are NOT called by God.

So the great city here is Jerusalem. It was Jerusalem that murdered the prophets & anyone who got in the way of the devilish worship system that they had devise, after rejecting the pure worship that Father had given them.

Regards, Amos.

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