"The Great City" of Revelation 16:19

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

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

Hello again Bobcat:

Thanks for getting back to me and please understand I am not trying to give you a hard time here. I genuinely appreciate anyone who cares enough about Jehovah God, his written word and his fellow brothers and sisters to put themselves through things like getting grilled by Sol on a regular basis. That alone is probably a test. (LOL)

I realize that you are essentially itemizing the "great city," the cities of the nations," and "Babylon the Great" as three separate things here in Revelation 16:19. What I am actually inquiring about is exactly how you would individually define each of these three things scripturally since you view them as distinct from each other and particularly since you already acknowledged that Babylon the Great has ALSO been directly identified as the "great city" in the scriptures. From the word go that would seem to demand two distinct scriptural definitions of two distinct "great cities" alone if it were actually the case. This would not even be to mention a distinct scriptural definition of the "cities of the nations."

Agape love;

Sol

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

#22 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

Hey Sol,

Rev 16:19, by itself, would not tell me what "the great city" was or who "Babylon the Great" is. It WOULD tell me that "the great city" is a "what," and that "Babylon the Great" is a "who." In Rev 16:19 the great city is described as a thing that "becomes" or is "split" into three parts, whereas, Babylon the Great is a woman who is 'given a cup to drink.' Remember, in Rev 15 & 16 John is hearing and seeing the action. (Rev 15:1, 2, 5; 16:1, 5, 7, 13) From his vantage point he would be seeing this difference between "the great city" and "Babylon the Great" in Rev 16:19.

As I already pointed out, Rev 16:19 would also indicate that "the great city" and "Babylon the Great" were two different things simply by virtue of their being listed as separate items in the same list. But the verse itself would not tell me how they are different (other than the WHO vs WHAT issue discussed above).

So, just to start with, HOW they are different or what they each might symbolize is irrelevant. It is enough to know that, in this verse, they ARE different. HOW they are different or what they each might symbolize will come later. But we start out with the fact that they ARE different. This is how you build a case, step by step.

If I seem to be delaying on the identification of each, you are right, I am. Because, to begin with, the immediate context takes precedence. If you neglect seeing this immediate context, then, any conclusions you reach will be heading off in the wrong direction. Those conclusions, on their own, might sound plausible. But you would be heading down a false path because of neglecting the immediate context.

In one of my earlier posts on this thread I used several examples:
1. Acts 15:2 "The apostles and older men"

2. Pr 24:21 "Fear Jehovah and the king."

3. Rev 11:15 "Our Lord and of his Christ"

In each of these examples is a phrase with a conjunction ("and") connecting the two halves in the middle. In any other setting the second half of the phrase could refer to or be applied to the first half. The "apostles" could be referred to as "older men." "Jehovah" could be referred to as "the king." "Christ" could be referred to as "our Lord." But, in each of these specific verses such a conclusion would be logically impossible. The immediate context requires that the two halves of each phrase be viewed as two different things.

Only if you see this foundational logic can you then begin to branch out to form an identification of both "the great city" and "Babylon the Great" of Rev 16:19.

The verses that refer to "the great city" in Revelation are:
Rev 11:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21 (Eight total - the best mss do not have "city" in Rev 14:8, only the TR does.)
Of these eight:
Rev 18:10, 16, 18, 19, 21 are definitely referring to Babylon. They refer to her in passing, as if the audience already knows that Babylon is being talked about.

Rev 16:19 lists "the great city" and Babylon as separate items, but otherwise provides no further identification.

Rev 11:8 describes "the great city" as being "symbolically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was also crucified." (ESV)

Rev 17:18 describes "the woman you saw" (in Rev 16:19c and 17:1-5). She is "the great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth."

Thus, Rev 11:8 and 17:18 are the two verses that provide a positive identification of "the great city." The one in Rev 11:8 describes "the great city" in terms that bring to mind Jerusalem. ("where our Lord was crucified.") Rev 17:18 describes "the woman you saw" also as "the great city," but in a way that Jerusalem never was. As having "a kingdom over the kings of "the earth."

So, what do we have now? We have Rev 16:19 listing "the great city" and Babylon the Great" as two different things. We have Rev 11:8 referring to a "great city" in a way that is reminiscent of Jerusalem. And we have Rev 17:18 letting us know that Babylon is also called "the great city." But she isn't just "the great city." She is "the great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth," something Jerusalem never had/was.

So, we have a verse that differentiates "the great city" from "Babylon the Great." (Rev 16:19) And we have two verses in Revelation (Rev 11:8, 17:18) that give us reason to believe there are two different 'great cities,' just as Rev 16:19 led us to understand.

So Sol, if you see all this so far, then, with regard to Rev 16:19, it is immaterial what Rev 11:8 and Rev 17:18 might symbolize. At least not to begin with. What is important is to recognize first that, in Rev 16:19 "the great city" is the one in Rev 11:8, and "Babylon the Great" is "the great city" of Rev 17:18.

I will get to more detail later. But it is first important to recognize that "the great city" and "Babylon the Great" in Rev 16:19 are two different things. If you can't see that point first, there is no reason for you and I to get into who or what each one might symbolize. We would be wasting each others time.

BUT, since you showed such interest I will give you a clue that leads in the right direction: Rom 2:6-9 and 1Pe 4:17 both correctly indicate the order that the events of the great earthquake must follow. And that order also helps identify the fact that "the great city" of Rev 16:19a is different from "Babylon the Great" of Rev 16:19c.


Bobcat

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

#23 Post by Jerome » 3 years ago

Bobcat,
I am absolutely on the edge of my seat!
Jerome

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

#24 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

7. How the Order of God's Judgment Helps Identify "the Great City" of Rev 16:19


How do Rom 2:6-9 and 1Pe 4:17 relate to "the great city" of Rev 16:19? They relate in this way: Both passages describe an order in which judgment from God gets handed out. 1Pe 4:17 says that 'judgment [by God] starts with the house of God.' Afterwards the judgment expands to those outside the house of God. Similarly, in Rom 2:6-9, when God causes 'tribulation' for those who resist His will, it is meted out in this order: "To the Jew first, and also the Greek."

In both passages judgment starts with those who claim to be in a relationship with God. And thus, in identifying "the great city" in Rev 16:19 (which is listed first in that verse) as something resembling Jerusalem, this would also fit the order of judgment described in Rom 2:6-9 and 1Pe 4:17. Conversely, knowing how the judgment of God is ordered, with those in a relationship with Him first in line, this in itself would also help us to see that "the great city" of Rev 11:8 and 16:19 is in some way associated with God, just as the Jews who executed Jesus were in a relationship with God.

Here is another passage that follows this same pattern as indicated by Rom 2:6-8, 9 and 1Pe 4:17. The 'pattern' involves the order in which judgment/wrath is handed out. This additional passage is Jer 25:15-26, 29. In that passage God's 'cup of rage' gets passed around to everyone in the ANE of that time. But the passage specifically points out that it starts with Jehovah's own disobedient people. (Jer 25:29)

Thus, if one understands "the great city" in Rev 16:19 to refer to the one in Rev 11:8, the one that resembles Jerusalem, then, that understanding is further confirmed by its being first in line for the effects of the "great earthquake" of Rev 16:18. In this case, the first position in the list in Rev 16:19 becomes an identity clue, especially if one sees God's established pattern of judgment from past times.

Still another piece of evidence that further establishes the identity of "the great city" in Rev 16:19 is the phrase, "was split into three parts." (NWT) The verse in Greek actually uses the verb ginomai (to become) so that it would literally read, "became into three parts." (Ginomai is a versatile verb so that "was split" in this context would not necessarily be a mistranslation.) When "the great city" in that verse is understood as the one in Rev 11:8 (resembling Jerusalem), this phrase ("became into three parts") becomes an allusion to what Ezekiel chapter 5 describes. (See also paragraph 12 in this post.)

That Ezekiel chapter 5 represents a divine pattern of judgment can be seen in that, not only did that pattern take place in Ezekiel's time, it also was repeated in the first century. And thus, the same pattern could be expected to be repeated in a yet future judgment. Ezekiel 5:5 specifically identifies the object of God's wrath as "Jerusalem." She has become worse than the nations around her. So they (the nations) get to witness God's wrath expressed against her. (Ezek 5:5, 6, 8) Ezekiel is told to cut off some of his hair and divide it into three parts. These three parts suffer Jehovah's judgment. (Ezek 5:1, 2, 12) But a few strands of hair are to be saved in Ezekiel's belt representing those few Jews who still had God's favor and protection. (Ezek 5:3)

Finally (for this post), we have the passage at 2Th 2:3-12 which describes the "man of lawlessness." This "man" is related to God in that he has 'taken a seat in God's Temple.' (2Th 2:4) 2Th 2:8 NET says that, "the Lord [Jesus] will destroy [him] by the breath of his mouth and wipe [him] out by the manifestation of his arrival." This "man of lawlessness," if understood as being related to the institutional form of Christianity with its elevated clergy that has arisen after the death of the apostles, would certainly resemble something similar to the first century Jerusalem and its religious leaders who killed Jesus and persecuted his faithful Jewish disciples.

For the phrase, "manifestation of his arrival" (2Th 2:8; literally, epiphany of his parousia) the NAC-Thessalonians commentary (D. M. Martin, p. 243) says, "The term implies a visible demonstration of the presence of a formerly unseen deity." Similarly, The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary (Acts-Phile, p. 632) says, "The appearance of his coming connotes a more hostile and confrontational sense than merely coming." (2 Macc 2:21; 3:24; 12:22; 14:15; 3 Macc 5:8; cf. Joel 2:11; Mal 3:22) [Bolding theirs.]

The phrase "manifestation of his arrival" would also hint at an initial event, something that would take place at the start of his "arrival." This initial event in the "great earthquake" would also be what Jesus was referring to at Mt 7:22-23. The double vocative ("Lord, Lord") would give a sense of desperation or alarm among professed followers of Jesus, something that would take place on "that day." All of this corresponds with Rev 16:19a when "the great city" of that verse is understood as "the great city" of Rev 11:8.

Just as a side note to the above: If "the manifestation" of Jesus' parousia is taken as coinciding with the first events of the great earthquake of Rev 16:18, then, the WT's sequence of events for the upcoming great tribulation and the parable of the sheep and goats is very much off. They have Jesus 'arriving' somewhere af(Compare with this post.

Related to this post are this post, this post, and this one.


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

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

Bobcat states:
So, just to start with, HOW they are different is irrelevant. It is enough to know that, in this verse, they ARE different.
I mean no disrespect when I say that I think you should have worded this to say that this "difference" is irrelevant to YOU. In my case at least and likely many others, ANYTHING we might possibly be able to glean concerning this "great mystery" of the Bible would seem VERY relevant, particularly since this might help us to resolve this "mystery." (Re 17:7)
If I seem to be delaying on the identification of each, you are right, I am. Because, to begin with, the immediate context takes precedence. If you neglect seeing this immediate context, then, any conclusions you reach will be heading off in the wrong direction. Those conclusions, on their own, might sound plausible. But you would be heading down a false path because of neglecting the immediate context.
With all due love and respect Bobcat, I hope you don't mind me pointing out that since I personally do not view ANYTHING about scriptural topics to be irrelevant, I for one intend to patiently and eagerly wait for you to cease in "delaying" the identifying of all three of these things about the "great city" which you view as distinct in Revelation 16:19. I suppose this would be four things actually since you understand there to be two "great cities."
Thus, Rev 11:8 and 17:18 are the two verses that provide a positive identification of "the great city." The one in Rev 11:8 describes "the great city" in terms that bring to mind Jerusalem. ("where our Lord was crucified.") Rev 17:18 describes "the woman you saw" also as "the great city," but in a way that Jerusalem never was. As having "a kingdom over the kings of the earth."
In my own case I actually have no problem at all in understanding what was symbolized by Jerusalem as "having a kingdom over the king of the earth" in ANY context, whether it be an entity that was now part of an adulterous alliance with the world power of its day and by extension Satan, (who of course for millenniums was essentially given authority over the entire earth), or whether it be in a clean and favorable standing with Jehovah. In fact I would recognize the authority of Jerusalem as being all the more elevated above the "kings of the earth" during the periods in which the source of its power and authority was that of Jehovah himself. (1 Joh 5:19)

Agape love;

Sol

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

#26 Post by jo-el » 3 years ago

Get out of her wrote:
3 years ago
I mean no disrespect when I say that I think you should have worded this to say that this "difference" is irrelevant to YOU. In my case at least and likely many others, ANYTHING we might possibly be able to glean concerning this "great mystery" of the Bible would seem VERY relevant, particularly since this might help us to resolve this "mystery." (Re 17:7)
Just interjecting, but I think to be fair Bobcat's point is that within the sentence structure he considers that the 3 actors are "logically" different. He did not say the "difference is irrelevant" - he is saying the exact opposite of that, that the difference is "marked" or "pronounced".
Bobcat wrote:
52 years ago
Thus, Rev 11:8 and 17:18 are the two verses that provide a positive identification of "the great city." The one in Rev 11:8 describes "the great city" in terms that bring to mind Jerusalem. ("where our Lord was crucified.") Rev 17:18 describes "the woman you saw" also as "the great city," but in a way that Jerusalem never was. As having "a kingdom over the kings of the earth."
Getoutofher wrote:
52 years ago
In my own case I actually have no problem at all in understanding what was symbolized by Jerusalem as "having a kingdom over the king of the earth" in ANY context, whether it be an entity that was now part of an adulterous alliance with the world power of its day and by extension Satan, (who of course for millenniums was essentially given authority over the entire earth), or whether it be in a clean and favorable standing with Jehovah.
That may be legitimate, but it is perhaps difficult to see how. The reason I say this, is that if you view Jerusalem as the esteemed kingdom over all because it is in a favourable standing with God, you surely can hardly maintain the same view when Jerusalem is fallen away in apostasy? Even in the Law their status as a kingdom and priests was pre-requisite upon obedience and disobedience carried with it the curse of slavery. This is spelled out in the Law of Moses, so to maintain that Jerusalem always maintains this higher status when enthralled in acts of harlotry seems a bit of a stretch. Also, an "alliance" is not a "kingdom over" it is an agreement, or treaty made out of some perceived necessity, very often with a STRONGER party.

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

#27 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

Hey Sol,

When I said "just to start with," I meant the same thing as I said in paragraph 3 on post #2 of this thread where I said, "on this initial examination. . ."

And frankly, that is exactly where your view and mine start to head in two different directions. And that is exactly why I put so much effort into that aspect of the subject in my response to you (as well as my intended letter to the Society).

Until you understand that most basic aspect (that the wording of Rev 16:19 is presenting "the great city" and "Babylon the Great" as two different things), any questions about deeper symbolisms are rather pointless. We would be speaking two different languages to each other.

I went to elaborate lengths to make my point about how the verse is phrased. And then I repeated myself, albeit, a little more concisely, when you raised your points and questions. And where has that gotten us? We are still at square one, you and me, that is.

We are just going to have to agree to disagree on this one.


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

#28 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

8. The Order of God's Judgment (Continued)


Continuing on the subject of "the great city" of Rev 16:19 being first in line in the effects of the great earthquake. . .

The 3 parables Jesus gives related to his return in Matthew 24 & 25, namely, the Faithful/Wicked Slave (Mt 24:45-51), the 10 Virgins (Mt 25:1-13), and the Talents (Mt 25:14-30). Each of these parables expresses the idea of the disciples being first in line for scrutiny upon the master's return.

In all three parables the unfaithful ones are cast outside the Master's household or left in the 'darkness outside' so as to share the fate of the 'hypocrites' (indicating that the "hypocrites" have not yet been dealt with at that point). (Mt 24:50-51; 25:10-12, 30) When compared with the other examples in the previous part above it seems to parallel with the idea of an unfaithful segment of Christianity being first in line for judgment just as the "great city" of Rev 16:19 is first in line for the effects of the great earthquake of Rev 16:18.

In the case of the 5 foolish virgins, it is significant that they are rejected prior to the marriage feast. In Rev 19:11-21 the marriage feast is equated with the war that takes place against the nations. And thus, the foolish virgins are rejected prior to that war.

So in connection with the Faithful/Wicked Slave, the 10 virgins, and the Talents parables, Jesus correctly describes the order in which events take place. And that order corresponds with the understanding that "the great city" of Rev 16:19 represents Christianity and the great city of Rev 11:8. (Similarly, the parable of the minas in Lu 19:26, 27 also has this same order of judgment. Those within the Master's household first, outsiders to follow.)


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

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

Bobcat states:
Until you understand that most basic aspect (that the wording of Rev 16:19 is presenting "the great city" and "Babylon the Great" as two different things), any questions about deeper symbolisms are rather pointless. We would be speaking two different languages to each other.
Hello again Bobcat:

Once again, not to be arbitrary or argumentative. While I admittedly see things differently than you on this topic, I most definitely "understand" you personally recognize "that the wording of Revelation 16:19 is presenting "the great city" and Babylon the Great" as two different things." Perhaps I can better articulate however why I do not at all understand how or why you would endeavor to insist that this viewpoint of yours would in any way seem "basic" when you have already admitted that the scriptures directly identify "the great city" as Babylon the Great. If anything this factor alone would appear to therefore make your understanding of Revelation 16:19 CONFUSING as opposed to basic.

I realize that by claiming there are actually TWO "great cities" you are respectfully taking these scriptures like Revelation 17:18 and 18:10 into account, which I greatly appreciate. Nevertheless If we are to understand that there are indeed two distinct "great cities" being spoken of here in Revelation, I am simply suggesting that at the very least it would seem reasonable that you should be able to produce a distinct scriptural definition for the second "great city." This would not even be to mention the idea of then explaining how one or even both of them would now either be or not be distinct from the "cities of the nations" or "Babylon the Great." You see from MY perspective at least, NOTHING about this would now appear as "basic" if we are to understand Revelation 16:19 in the way that you do.

Agape love:

Sol

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

#30 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

Hi Sol,
Nevertheless If we are to understand that there are indeed two distinct "great cities" being spoken of here in Revelation, I am simply suggesting that at the very least it would seem reasonable that you should be able to produce a distinct scriptural definition for the second "great city."
Why, Sol? I don't need to identify "Babylon the Great." Not that that doesn't interest me or that I don't already have a viewpoint. But, as it is, I am able to identify "the great city" of Rev 16:19 without specifically identifying "Babylon the Great." (Which, incidentally, in case you haven't noticed, this thread is not about Babylon the Great.) The fact that the two appear separately in the same list differentiates them. Even if I don't know who or what Babylon the Great is, I know this much: It isn't "the great city" of Rev 16:19.

And if you have been following the last couple posts of mine you will also know that I think "Babylon the Great" in Rev 16:19 is not referring to Jesus' professed disciples due to "the great city" being first in line for the effects of the "great earthquake" and Babylon the Great being listed third.

I could push that what-it-isn't definition of "Babylon the Great" even further: It isn't the various "merchants" who mourn her destruction. (Rev 18:11, 15) And it isn't "the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies" as well as "the false prophet" since they all survive the destruction of Babylon the Great. (Compare Rev 19:1-2 with Rev 19:19-20) It also isn't Satan and his demons since they also survive the destruction of Babylon the Great. (Rev 20:1-3)

Like I said Sol, it is probably best for you and I to just 'agree to disagree.'


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