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Home » Daily Readings, New Testament Writers

Babylon the Whore

Submitted by on Thursday, 27 November 2008No Comment
  • Reading I: Revelation 18:1-2,21-23; 19:1-3,9
  • Resp. Psalm: Psalm 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5
  • Gospel Reading: Luke 21:20-28

harlotbeast

The high point of the series of frames depicting the last judgment is the Fall of the whore Babylon.  "Babylon" is the label that the author of Revelation puts on the organization that powers every resistance against God and the Lamb.  The name itself recalls the empire that subjected the people of Israel to difficulties that reached its climax in destruction.  In Rev. 18-19, its fall is described; the last bastion of resistance against God and the Lamb is destroyed.

Fundamentalist anti-Catholics following the lead of Savonarola, Luther, Calvin and the other Germanic "protestants" of the 16th century identify the whore of Babylon as the Catholic Church.  A typical argument is found in an article like this one:  What does the word Vatican mean?  The article is decidedly misleading; it isn’t a philological article on the meaning of the word "Vatican" but an article meant to disparage the Catholic Church.  Its main purpose is to show that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon.   The allegation has been answered in different ways in the following articles:

A history of the interpretation of the word is given in WikiPedia (WikiPedia: Whore of Babylon).  In any case, no serious bible scholar would identify the Whore of Babylon (or the Whore that is Babylon) with the Catholic Church.

Revelation 18:1-2,21-23; 19:1-3,9
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
181And after these things, I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power: and the earth was enlightened with his glory.
2And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen; and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every unclean spirit, and the hold of every unclean and hateful bird:
21And a mighty angel took up a stone, as it were a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying: With such violence as this shall Babylon, that great city, be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
22And the voice of harpers, and of musicians, and of them that play on the pipe, and on the trumpet, shall no more be heard at all in thee; and no craftsman of any art whatsoever shall be found any more at all in thee; and the sound of the mill shall be heard no more at all in thee;
23And the light of the lamp shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth, for all nations have been deceived by thy enchantments.
191After these things I heard as it were the voice of much people in heaven, saying: Alleluia. Salvation, and glory, and power is to our God.
2For true and just are his judgments, who hath judged the great harlot which corrupted the earth with her fornication, and hath revenged the blood of his servants, at her hands.
3And again they said: Alleluia. And her smoke ascendeth for ever and ever.
9And he said to me: Write: Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith to me: These words of God are true.
Psalm 100:1
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1A psalm of praise.
Luke 21:20-28
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
20And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army; then know that the desolation thereof is at hand.
21Then let those who are in Judea, flee to the mountains; and those who are in the midst thereof, depart out: and those who are in the countries, not enter into it.
22For these are the days of vengeance, that all things may be fulfilled, that are written.
23But woe to them that are with child, and give suck in those days; for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24And they shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led away captives into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled.
25And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves;
26Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved;
27And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty.
28But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.

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