The term “Babylon” is controversial among prophecy students. Babylon, as used in Revelation, refers to two things, primarily: 1) It is a religious system; and 2) it is a political and commercial system. The religious Babylon is found mainly in Revelation, Chapter 17. Commercial Babylon is found mainly in Revelation, Chapter 18.
The controversy comes when the questions arise: Will a city called Babylon be rebuilt on the site of ancient Babylon, to become the greatest city on earth during the tribulation? Or, is Babylon symbolic of a great commercial center or another great city on earth that will be destroyed?
Many good prophecy scholars have different answers to these questions. Some hold to both sides of the controversy simultaneously. One thing is sure, God’s Word considers Babylon a humanistic, rebellious, anti-God entity on the world stage as human history draws to a conclusion.