Ecclesiastical and Commercial Babylon (Rev. 17-18)
by Larry Cockerham


Ecclesiastical and Commercial Babylon

By Larry Cockerham

Most writers interpret chapter 17 as being ecclesiastical Babylon and chapter 18 as commercial Babylon. The harlot of chapter 17 is identified as the corrupt religious system of the first-half of the Tribulation period. After the true church is taken out at the Rapture, the professing Christians left behind will compose the apostate church of Revelation 17.

It will be an amalgamation of Protestant and Catholic, atheist, and all those involved in various cults and "isms" that have not had a true experience of regeneration. The beast will support the harlot in the beginning, yet when he has no further need, he will destroy her (Rev. 17:16-17). The false prophet will then institute an idolatrous and satanic system of worship of the first beast (Rev. 13:12).

Chapter 18 concerns commercial Babylon that represents the economic capital of the beast. Some view commercial Babylon as a world system rather than a rebuilt city on the Euphrates. Merrill F. Unger relates "the Babylon of ch. 18 is the Satanic world system in its godless commercial and economic aspects. This system honeycombs all phases of the life of unregenerate mankind organized as a system under Satan." This system or city will be destroyed at the return of Christ; whereas, the "harlot" of Rev. 17 is destroyed in the middle of the Tribulation period. God Himself destroys commercial Babylon, while the beast and his ten-nation federation destroy religious Babylon.

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