Another common suggestion for the identity of Babylon the Great is Jerusalem. The argument goes a little something like this. In John’s vision, Jerusalem is called “the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8). Well, Babylon the Great “is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18). In addition, the Lord frequently called Israel a prostitute, which certainly fits Babylon the Great’s profile as the biggest prostitute of all time. What’s more, Jesus publicly declared that Jerusalem killed the prophets of God, and Babylon the Great will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets and the saints (Revelation 18:24).
On the surface, these points seem intriguing. That said, Jerusalem couldn’t possibly be Babylon the Great. First, the cities have completely different futures. Babylon the Great will be wiped off of the face of the map, while Jerusalem will be where Jesus reigns as King. That’s a pretty significant difference. Likewise, Jerusalem isn’t a port city. It’s also not the world’s financial superpower, and it’s hard to imagine it ever could be.
Additionally, although the Lord repeatedly called Israel a prostitute, Tyre and Nineveh were called prostitutes too. In other words, Israel doesn’t have a monopoly on being a prostitute in God’s eyes. Sure, Jerusalem will be called the great city, prophetically known as Sodom and Egypt, but that’s because Israel will make a covenant with the Antichrist instead of trusting in the Lord. Yes, Jerusalem killed the prophets sent to her. Without question, all of the righteous blood shed on earth came upon the Jewish leaders of Christ’s day. The good news is that all of the Jewish people alive when Jesus physically returns will be saved (Romans 11:26).
While the Antichrist is going to invade Jerusalem and desolate the Temple, he will burn Babylon the Great with fire to the point where the city is pretty much destroyed. The Lord will finish the job at a later date (Revelation 18:21-24). Why would the Lord warn the Jewish people to flee from Jerusalem, when that’s where He is coming back to save them and rule as King? There is redemption for Jerusalem and Israel, but there will be no redemption in Babylon the Great’s future. Its judgment is permanent (Revelation 18:21-24; 19:3).