The Four Main Views of Revelation 18:1-24

 

The Preterist view: This camp is split as to whether the passage refers to Jerusalem or to Rome. Thus, one side sees this passage as the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. while the other viewpoint sees this as another judgment oracle on Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Being a home for demons is seen as the unclean practices of Jerusalem or the pagan practices of Rome. The luxury oracle seems to only fit Rome in this view, but those who ascribe it to Jerusalem say it refers to compromise and comfort over honoring God, and uses the same language Isaiah did for the Babylon siege and captivity in 586 B.C.  Come out of her is seen as a warning to Christians to flee Jerusalem before its destruction (Luke 21:20). Piled up is seen as how fast God acted on sin against Jerusalem or how devastating it was to Rome. The laments are seen as the loss of everything in Jerusalem or the economic impact of Rome’s destruction upon world trade.  

The Futurist view: Most in this camp see this passage as the Lord Himself coming down (some say it is an angel), announcing that the fake teaching of the antichrist is finished, either by actuality or by reputation. Some see it as an actual built or rebuilt city in Rome or Iraq (or both places), and used by the antichrist. Then, after the reign of the antichrist, that city, which becomes the commercial and political hub of the earth, will be destroyed by a nuclear hit. The mourns of this passage represent the impact loss of profit-making upon the world’s trade and economic systems, such as the stock market crash or total economic collapse. Come out of her is seen as the people who survived the Great Tribulation. Others have seen this as a warning not to compromise the faith by being seduced by the sins of Babylon. The Blood of prophets is the angel saying the faithful can not rejoice, as God and the faithful have been avenged. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as oracles of judgment upon apostasy, from Rome to the papacy, to church failings, to personal failings, and the lamentations of loss as a result of it. The reason is the seeking of sin, apostasy, and things not of God or goodness—its natural consequences and judgment from God. For the Jews, it was seeking what was unclean and craving it. For the Church, it was discord, rivalry, and apostasy. And, for cities such as Rome, it was paganism, greed, and corruption. Come out is a warning to God’s people to flee the corruption and pending doom, and not to compromise our faith. This could be applied to the fall of Jerusalem, Rome, or corruption in general. Some see this as being separate from the pagan practices of the culture or separating ourselves from evil people. Babylon is compared to the tower of Babel and how God judges pride and corruption, whether it is social or spiritual. Blood of prophets is seen as God’s pay-back to those who oppress the innocent, and engage in perjury. Millstone is seen as a representation of a capital city’s destruction; some see this as the end of the world as we know it. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as a declaration from God that Babylon is finished, as in His judgment upon papal Rome. The earth being illuminated by God’s splendor is seen as enlightenment to the truth of Christ over the previous apostasy. Some have suggested this has not occurred yet, while others point to the Reformation and the down fall of the papacy influence over the Church and world affairs since.  Others take a more literal approach to splendor as a light-show at the end of days. Come out of her is seen that the pagan practices are deranged, odious, and loathsome, and calls the faithful out of it. Again, this view sees it as papal Rome who is pagan and will be ruined because of unfaithfulness and false teachings. Blood of prophets is seen as the blood the Catholic Church has spilt over the centuries, killing those who wanted to reform the Church. Thus, most of the people in this view have vast and convoluted theories of how and when Papal Rome will fall—by earthquakes or fire—and how the world will mourn.

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