Babylon, the Great City: Here Today? – Part II :: By Wilfred Hahn

We continue with Part II of our quest for the identity of Babylon the Great, which is mentioned in Revelation 14, 15, 17, and 18. Convincingly, what is being described in these chapters is an entity of some type that is hyper-commercialized and with global reach. In Part I, we agreed that the descriptions of Babylon the “great city” showed a vague “mishmash” of characteristics. However, this was deliberately so, according to the “testimony of Jesus [which] is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10 KJV). After all, the entire Bible—every jot and tittle (Matthew 5:18)—is inspired and will not fall to the ground before it is fulfilled. The descriptions of Babylon the Great represent the outworking of an endtime economic/monetary colossus that envelops the nations, its humanistic philosophies and power structures of the world.

Not only is Babylon the “great city” active in global trade, but also it is shown as the nexus point for the wealth and riches of the world. A massive global wealth imbalance is another characteristic of this endtime regime. In fact, this condition aligns with the statements of James. Not only is a last-day wealth imbalance prophesied by James (James 5:1-6), this condition must be a deductive conclusion of Revelation 18:19. To be “rich” is a relative concept. Therefore, if the “merchants” are said to be the world’s wealthy people, then by definition the rest of the world’s population must be relatively poor.


Who Is Babylon the Great?

Many Bible scholars have debated the identity of “Babylon the Great” over the past two millennia. What is it … who is it? There have been many opinions (perhaps tens of thousands). Some have been convinced that it is the Roman Catholic Church (perhaps more narrowly focusing on the descriptions of “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth”: Revelation 17:5).

Others make the case that this Babylon connects with a literal and physical revival of the ancient city of Babylon, at its original site found today in the country of Iraq. We are more inclined to interpret that it is the “spirit of ancient Babylon” (as also the spirit of ancient Tyre) that inhabits the final global financial/religious colossus. Unsurprisingly, many commercial concepts used in the modern world today have their roots in ancient Babylon (this being Babylonia, then later in the period of Neo-Babylonia) … for example, mutual funds and financial contracts. According to the findings of Assyriologists (archaeologists that focus on the Middle East), Babylon was a hyper-commercialized city. More that 90% of the clay tablets that have been uncovered were finance and trading records.

The name “Babylon” appears six times in Revelation, four of these in chapters 17 and 18. It would only be understandable to assume that all of these instances refer to the same identity of Babylon. Yet, each one of the times that Babylon the “great city” is mentioned in these two chapters, a different aspect of this mishmash of trade, idolatry and false religion is shown. Some statements refer to the spirit of Mammon. Some, just to the religious manifestations of the great whore; others to the economic and financial system (commerce and trading).

In essence, what is represented in the 17th and 18th chapters of Revelation is the “adulterous” fusing of Mammon and Apostate Religion. The great final “ecumenicism” of Mammon and worship of a god occurs. Since God cannot be worshiped alongside Money (Mammon), this endtime manifestation (even appearing to have a form of godliness; see 2 Timothy 3:5) well suits those “[…] of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” (1 Timothy 6:5).

Christ said that one cannot serve both God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24). Satan, however, has promoted a different idea. Why not do both—worship God and Money at the same time? Many so-called churches today teach exactly that. You can have your best life now on earth; you can pursue financial success and be godly at the same time; that the Bible is a “how to” book to become prosperous. Such teachings are a big spiritual mishmash.

It is appropriate to again emphasize a key distinction applying to the use of the name Babylon (whether Babylon the Great or shortened to just Babylon). The term is never used alone in the entire book of Revelation. Rather, it is repeatedly—8 times!—called a “great city.” It is never, never called simply a “city.” No, it is always referred to as a “great city” (with one exception, when it is additionally said to be a “mighty city”: Revelation 18:10). This is significant.

Pursuing the grammatical historical approach to the interpretation of Scripture, we can allow that expressions thought to be common today may have had no counterpart thousands of years ago. For example, just how might a prophet of that ancient time have attempted to prophesy about the future emergence of the “smartphone”? This would have been nearly impossible in the vocabulary of that day. One can only imagine how the ancient mind would have described this invention. Most certainly, its modern name would not have been used.

A similar case can be made for the word “system.” We understand this term easily today, commonly referring to a monetary system, a global trading system, the economic system, and in many other applications. Thousands of years ago, there was no concept of a system as we understand it today. The closest concept of an organization that could be most like a system was a city.

The Bible, therefore, may be expressing the notion of an economic system as a type of “city.” As such, the phrase “great city” could be used to describe a much larger system … perhaps a global system spanning the world. If so, then in fact, Babylon the “great city” depicts the global hyper-commercialism that has developed over the past decades and centuries.

Could Babylon the Great then be identified as a commercial colossus—a humanistic, materialistic, self-confidence system of commercialism? We are inclined to take this view. Why? For one, no other Scriptures in the Bible would nullify this position. Rather, quite the opposite in our perspective; there are many other confirmations and alignments in the Bible, pointing to the occurrence of a crass materialism and imbalanced wealth skew engulfing the world in the last days.

Some important confirmations are found in Zechariah, Isaiah, James, and in some of the prophecies concerning Tyre. We will review a few of these.

As an example, consider the Lord’s word spoken through Isaiah. He speaks of the various conditions of the world at the time of the “day of the Lord,” the term he uses for the last days (likely, meaning the entire seven-year period of the Tribulation).

In the prophecies of Isaiah 24:1-3, we notice a heavy emphasis upon commercial activities. “See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants—it will be the same for priest as for people, for master as for servant, for mistress as for maid, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor. The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word.”

One-half of the twelve-named earth’s “inhabitants” in these verses, representing the people living at that future time—i.e. the time of the “day of the Lord”—are directly involved in economic or financial activity. Specifically identified in this way are sellers, buyers, borrowers, lenders, debtors and creditors.

That is a very high concentration of “money” occupations. Were today’s labor force in North America to be that highly concentrated in such activities, we would witness five times the number of people working in the FIRE sector (Finance, Investment and Real Estate) today.

It also is not a coincidence (after all, there are no coincidences found in the Bible) that the subject of debt is mentioned four times in one form or another in this passage. A creditor is the same as a lender; a borrower the same as a debtor. It would therefore not be surprising to discover that a debt-based financial and economic system might play a prominent role during the last days. While this passage does not provide conclusive evidence of this last statement, it certainly offers a compelling mirroring of the prophecies about Babylon, the Great City and Tyre.


Points to Ponder

Revealingly, the Bible says that the “merchants were the world’s great men” (Revelation 18:23) during the time of Babylon the Great City.

Just what societies down through history have considered “merchants” the world’s great men? This confirms an interesting phenomenon of the last-days era upon earth. The world’s greatest men are no longer kings, philosophers, priests or political leaders. Here they are now shown to be merchants … business people, in other words.

When has this ever been true in human history—at least on a global scale? Generally, down through history, philosophers and religious heads have been considered the most accomplished and important of men. Commerce was regarded as a lower caste activity … something earthly and not heavenly. Many cultures actually despised the merchant classes. The pursuit of truth and virtue was held as the highest calling in these religious cultures. Yet, in this endtime system, it is merchants who are the heroes and great men of the world.

Why would being a successful businessperson offer a candidacy for the status of world-class greatness? Obviously, a globalized economic and financial system must have emerged during the last days. If this were not so, merchants could not be the world’s “great men.” Today, the leaders of this commercial economic system accumulate enormous luxuries, are given high visibility, and are honored and idolized. In our media-saturated times today, the rich (these being mainly business people … traders and sellers, therefore) are highly venerated. Everyone knows of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates … and so on.

The adulation that the world and its news media pour out on the world’s business titans today surely fits this image. In fact, we would make the case that the entity Babylon the Great City is already here today. It is a “system”—Babylon being the spiritual name for that expression and not a specific city (though a city could certainly represent this system’s center).

There were indeed times and situations where merchants were highly influential. The Bible mentions Tyre and Assyria as great traders. For example, it describes a major seaport city “whose merchants are princes, whose traders are renowned in the earth” (Isaiah 23:8).

We see that possessions are the rewards of the elites conspiring with the Antichrist. He (the Antichrist) “[…] will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price” (Daniel 11:39).

Here we find a possible parallel or connection to the wealthy elites that are mentioned in Revelation 18. This may not be surprising, as there are many links between the books of Daniel and Revelation.

In the list of the twenty-eight commodities or “costly gifts” mentioned in Revelation 18, the first three mentioned are gold, silver, and precious stones. These are the very same three—even in the same order—mentioned in Daniel 11:38. There, Daniel tell us that the last world regime (headed by the Antichrist) and its rulers will honor a god unknown to his fathers—the “unknown god”—with “gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.” Nowhere else in the Bible are these same precious metals and jewels mentioned together, let alone in the same order. This is likely not a coincidence.

Readers may recall earlier columns discussing the possible evidence for the identity of this “unknown god.” A conclusion we had offered was that the “unknown” god was the false idol represented by the collective faith of mankind in modern day economic and financial systems—a god we dubbed MOFI (monetary/financial).

Looking ahead to Part III of this series, did you know that a large number of prophecies—a total of twenty-one, as many as ten of these yet to be fulfilled in the future—refer to Tyre and its Phoenician trading sisters in the Old Testament? Why should this city receive such emphasis? Interestingly, the accounts and future prophecies of Tyre given by Ezekiel and Isaiah bear a strong likeness to the last-day emerging of Babylon, the Great City.

In the next issue, we will examine whether the prophesied return of Tyre to the world stage is the same manifestation as Babylon, the Great City depicted in Revelation.

About the Author: Wilfred J. Hahn is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst, research director for a major Wall Street investment bank, and head of Canada’s largest global investment operation, his writings focus on the endtime roles of money, economics and globalization. He has been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other publications and languages. You can contact him at

Shadows of Babylon, the Great City, Here Today? – Part I :: By Wilfred Hahn

Readers may be aware of yet another global financial bubble recently unfurling across the world. It was only a little more than a decade ago that the last outbreak of speculative distortions culminated in the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

The periodic speculative manias that occur, ultimately act to push the world step by step to a globalized financial system—one that is becoming ever more centralized. Previous columns have outlined the implications of these trends for us earthdwellers.

Viewing these unprecedented developments in light of the cosmological timeline of mankind, we have called it the “Endtime Money Snare.”

Both economic/financial crisis and frothy financial booms play their part in moving the Endtime Money Snare forward. Most people have little idea about this plot line. Many participants are co-opted through greed and the lure and pleasurableness of rising wealth and comforts. Indeed, today’s alluring images of wealth may prove to be false—and not real wealth. But that distinction seems not to matter to most people.

Author Edward Balleisen in his 2017 book Fraud, notes a characteristic of mania: “The most powerful means of getting people to view a fraudulent scheme as legitimate is the manufacture of upward price movements.” In other words, as long as wealth gains are imagined, people will willingly believe any mania.

During speculative financial booms, the most unimaginable and comical beliefs can emerge. Wealth gains are thought to be infinite and without any risk. Not to be denied is that some very useful technologies or developments may play a role in these booms. These provide the so-called “hook” for participants and investors. However, expectations of future prospects are then taken to absurd extremes. The new technologies and surging “humanist” confidence promote the belief that future prosperity will be boundless … perhaps even forever.

While the names, beliefs and contributing actors may change, the pattern of boom/bust remains remarkably the same. For example, the latest technological catalyst that has captured imaginations is the concept of “cryptocurrency” (the most well-known of these being the Bitcoin). Two decades ago, it was the “Dot-Com” bubble that played the catalytic role for that earlier manic financial boom.

While the original rationale for the invention of cryptocurrency may not be entirely without merit, greed and speculative fevers have since emerged. Says one well-known analyst: “Bitcoin is an old-fashioned fraud clothed in the new-age wonder of technology. Promoting Bitcoin is not so much about a new asset class as it is a class of felony, yet civil authorities have so far been unwilling to shut it down.”

We can conclude here that financial bubbles play an indelible role in the endtime whirlwind of money. The cycle of boom and bust, manic speculation and depressive crisis, work toward creating the urgency and agreement to form a centralized global financial control system. In fact, one can make the deductive argument that the Bible prophesies that this will occur in the later days. If there were no centralized monetary system, how would it be possible to limit the buying and selling of all earthdwellers at some point in the Tribulation?


The Prophesied Emergence of a Commercial Colossus

In Revelation 18, we find an account of Babylon the Great, an entity that appears to be involved with global trade. It certainly shows a worldwide impact. What is it … who is it? There are more than a few interpretations. Respected Bible scholars hold different views. In fact, there is so much debate on this question that many simply choose not to take a position. On our part, we will propose an interpretation that appears logical to us. Can we defend it? You will be the judge.

Let’s first look at the large number of identifiers for Babylon the Great found in verses 2-16.

‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’ She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries. Then I heard another voice from heaven say: ‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: ‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!’ The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more—cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men. They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out: ‘Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!’

Before we begin to examine the many obvious connections to wealth and commerce presented in the quoted verses above, we must point out a key distinctive.

Babylon the great is called a “city.” But is it really a city? To be more specific, we note that it is always called a “great city”—not just “city,” but “great city.” (There is one exception: It is also called “city of power” in addition to “great city” in Revelation 18:10.) So, we must keep in mind that Babylon is not a mere city—whether large or small, or of great repute or not—but rather a “great city.” The term “great city” is found exactly 7 times in the book of Revelation. What does the Bible mean to say with the term “great city”? We will come back to this question in the next part of this series.

Let us now review the activities of Babylon the Great cited in the referenced quote. We observe the heavy use of economic terminology. No less than 45 terms of commercial meanings are used in this passage, some of them numerous times. Many references are made to luxuries and precious items. Clearly, the functional essence is that of a great global trading entity that deals in both physical goods and money. By my count, a total of 28 commodities and products are mentioned.

There is more to note about this commercial/economic entity called Babylon the Great. First, it is both a source and distributor of great wealth. The merchants of the earth “grew rich from her excessive luxuries” (verse 3) and “gained their wealth from her” (verse 15), yet they also are identified as being part of this system. In verse 23 they are referred to as “your merchants.”

Furthermore, we note that this Babylon is the very embodiment of riches. Though it is called a “great city” (verse 16), it is figuratively dressed as a person in the most expensive clothes; glittering with gold and jewelry. Her luxuries, “maddening wine” (verse 3) and “magic” (verse 23) prove to be intoxicants for the world’s kings and merchants. Tellingly, there is no mention of the poor or the middle class. Strangely, the common person seems not to be mentioned. It appears that only the wealthy merchants and elites are benefiting from this system … apparently, an economy of plutocrats. Every nation and king has relations with it, committing “adulteries.”

Adulteries? Several interesting characteristics emerge here. First, why is Babylon the Great cast as a woman? Second, how is it possible that the entire world of elites has adulteries with her? For one, committing adultery is only possible if one is already married or betrothed. Then, what should we understand to be “adulterous” in a world trading system? It must be a spiritual adultery … a systemic worldwide abandonment of God and His Son … a rebelliousness claiming a “heaven-on-earth” humanism. It is the choice of Mammon over God. Mankind’s smug “elite” have developed a self-dependent worldwide economic (and monetary) system that suits them just fine.


Points to Ponder

How can we escape the clutches and temptations of the Endtime Money Snare … carried along on the great false wave of a global wealth explosion … being oppressed by the suffocating commercialism of ancient Tyre (of which there are many prophecies that we will explore in the next parts of this series)? As we always must answer: It is not possible to escape … at least physically. But spiritually, we need not fall into the blinded subservience as do most earthdwellers.

Most certainly, we should all be careful (including this writer) not to be swept away by worldly pied-pipers and popular delusions. Humans are easily persuaded to ignore facts and logic, and instead to pursue fantasy. The annals of history are chock full of examples of human delusion. As mentioned, most often these departures from good sense were either goaded by greed or pressured by economic fears. Both the educated and the uninformed can be susceptible when running with the herd. The psychology of crowds is powerful.

Accounts of human folly written by various authors testify to mankind’s vulnerability to deceit. Two books that document this history that I often recommend are as follows: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, an early study of crowd psychology by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay (first published in 1841). And later, Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises by Charles P. Kindleberger (1978). Accounts found in these two books about the actions and beliefs of maniacal human crowds test believability.

Human beings—especially so, crazed crowds of them—have the most incredible capacity for delusion. Does the Bible have any perspective on these challenges?

Yes. First, the Bible does not venerate crowds or popular majorities or a consensus of beliefs. It cares nothing for these. God says “[…] beside me there is no other” (Isaiah 45:6). When it comes to Truth, God represents 100% of the majority. God says that He is not a “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34 KJV). Therefore, the crazed pull of the human throngs should have no hold upon us.

As for our anxieties and concerns in regard to the recent “financial bubbles” … the humanist beliefs … the lure to plunge into speculation, the Bible has this to say: “For the pagans run after all these things” (Matthew 6:32). “They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you” (1 Peter 4:4).

The Lord knows what we need, “So do not worry” (Matthew 6:31).

In Part II, we will complete documenting the Bible’s prophecies of an endtime boom in commercialism and the associated Endtime Money Snare. And, we will address the question of whether the prophecies regarding ancient Tyre align with the manifestation of Babylon the Great City in Revelation 17—18.

The Lord approaches ever nearer!


About the Author: Wilfred J. Hahn is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst, research director for a major Wall Street investment bank, and head of Canada’s largest global investment operation, his writings focus on the endtime roles of money, economics and globalization. He has been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other publications and languages. You can contact him at