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What Does Babylon Represent in the Bible?

In the Bible, Babylon represents an evil world system and worldview. This picture or symbol of Babylon representing evil is woven throughout scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

Babylon represents a corrupt world system that is anti-God and anti-Christ. The spirit of Babylon is a satanic spirit that hates God and all things God-like. 

Historically, Babylon was one of the most wicked cities in all of human history.

What Does Babylon Represent Historically?

Babylon's beginnings are found in Genesis 10 and are connected to Nimrod, which means “rebel,” a descendant of Noah. 

  • “Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.' And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”—Genesis 10:8-11 (emphasis added)

Nimrod was not a hunter of wild game but a hunter of men. He ruthlessly killed and ruled. He used his corrupt power to acquire the city-states in the Euphrates valley. 

The verse above says he was a mighty hunter before the Lord. This means he was rebellious and offensive, killing before the face of God. 

Painting of a dark and cloudy Tower of Babel, helping to show that Babylon represents everything that is anti-God.

Is the Land of Shinar the Same as Babylon?

Yes. Genesis 11 describes a humanity that shared a common language, and they found “a plain in the land of Shinar.” The land of Shinar is the ancient land of Babylon. 

As Nimrod ruled, he set his mind on building the tower of Babel in direct defiance of God. The people of this ancient civilization wanted to build a tower out of bricks and mortar, reaching the heavens–all attempting to dethrone God and exalt themselves. 

This caused God great concern. He came down and confounded the language. He divided the human race because their hearts were rebellious, defiant, and prideful. They attempted to do exactly the same thing Lucifer attempted to do, exalt himself.

  • “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’”—Isaiah 14:13-14 

The city of Babylon came from the very site of the building of the tower of Babel. 

Historically, Babylon was one of the largest cities of the ancient world, and it was established on the Euphrates River in the modern-day nation of Iraq. 

Babylon's ruins are about 50 miles south of the modern city of Baghdad.

Click here to download a Free Book of Daniel Bible guide.

Are the Chaldeans and Babylonians the Same?

In short, yes. The Chaldeans refer to anyone living in Babylon, specifically the southern part. The book of Daniel references the Chaldeans. They are those who lived in the Plains (lands) of Shinar and descended from Nimrod.

The Chaldeans were knowledgeable and aggressive people—as you can imagine, taking after their ancestor Nimrod. They became known as influential and highly educated at the pinnacle of the Babylonian Empire. They were considered “wise men”—magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers.

As mentioned above, in Genesis 11, Nimrod led a rebellion similar to Lucifer’s by building the tower of Babel. This building of the tower of Babel was more than primitive men and women slapping bricks and mortar together. 

Here’s the thing: These “primitive” people—who became known as the Chaldeans mentioned in the book of Daniel—were not primitive at all. They knew the secrets of the universe.

They had the demonic knowledge left over from before the floods. Genesis 11:6 reads…

  • “And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.’” (emphasis added)

Did you catch that?

God was not in the least bit threatened by their ability and capacity to build a high tower. Rather He understood they were capable of doing anything they put their mind to, which would result in significant harm to themselves.

Remember, Babylon represents evil—anything anti-God and anti-holy. The ancient people of Babylon, the Chaldeans, were brilliant, not because they were tapping into the knowledge of God but because they were dabbling in the demonic. Anyone tapping into the demonic is doomed for destruction. Because of God’s great mercy, He confounded the language.  

So then, Babylon represents evil, yes, and it is also the seat of Satan. Though the Babylonian Empire fell in 539 B.C. at the hands of the Medo-Persian Empire, the Bible clearly uses Babylon to represent wickedness and evil throughout time. The spirit of Babylon is alive and well in our world today. 

What Does Babylon Represent Prophetically?

We know what Babylon represents historically, so let’s examine what it means spiritually, biblically, and prophetically.

At the end of Revelation, the spirit of Babylon and the Babylonian world system will control the entire globe. The Bible says the wickedness of Babylon is thriving during the Tribulation. 

Revelation 17:5 calls this spirit of wickedness, “MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

This corrupt world system is against all that God is, and we're seeing it pick up momentum in American society.

Second Timothy 4:3-5 says this…

  • “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

The apostle Paul is writing prophetically. He is describing the influence of the Babylonian “mystery” religion that will surface in the last days, just as stated in Revelation. The Babylonian religion—one that rebels against God’s authority and declares, “I have authority. I will decide truth.”—gradually wears down the Church’s influence and leads individuals off according to their desires. 

As a result of the wearing down, there is a giving in. The Church is no longer mainstream in today’s culture. We have “given in” to the wearing down of world systems and views. 

Revelation 14:8 says this…

  • “And another angel followed, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’”

Here, Babylon is described as a woman. As we've said, Babylon represents a world system, a worldly religion. Just as it is described as the Mother of Harlots in Revelation 17:5, Babylon is a counterfeit “church.” In other words, this worldly religion itches the ears of many who will turn, no longer listening to the truth (2 Timothy 4:3-5).

This is not to say Babylon is a church, but rather a worldly set of morals and values that people start to live by, rather than the biblical values God outlines in His Word. 

Can you see how many are trading biblical truth for a counterfeit in our nation? And we can look at biblical history to give us a clue about how it will roll out….

When we, once a godly nation, commit spiritual adultery, we fall into idolatry and are led into captivity. 

But you must keep reading through the books of Daniel and Revelation. You will discover those the Holy Spirit seals, the Bride of Christ, will rule with Him when all the other Kingdoms fall.

Now What?

In the meantime, let us come before the Lord, not as hunters of men, but as humble servants—ready to surrender our thoughts and ways to Him and be filled with the fruits of the Spirit. Jesus said in Matthew 7, “You will know them by their fruit.” He is talking about false prophets here, but He continues saying, “every good tree bears good fruit.”  

Rather than being fearful and angry about the Babylonian culture of today, let us be bold and loving. Let us bear good fruit and be living proof of a loving God to a watching world