|Q366 : The Time Needed to Rebuild Babylon
Your view on Babylon as being both the great city and the harlot was new to me but it does make a lot of sense. I was always under the impression that the “city” was a reference to world wide commerce in general and not the literal city of Babylon and the church was the one world religion that worshiped the beast.
The only thing that gives me pause about this view is the doctrine of imminence. To reconstruct such a mammoth city would take many years if not decades. If the rapture were to happen tonight, would the people left on earth have to wait until Babylon is rebuilt before they could realistically expect the Tribulation to begin?
|A366 : by Tony Garland
Yes, that "two Babylons" view is a very-common teaching. Myself, Andy Woods, and others are convinced that there is only one Babylon in viewa, not two.
Several points to consider:
It is worth reiterating: it is the Rapture which is imminent, after which the Day of the Lord follows—which, in my view, requires the literal city of Babylon occupying center-stage as a commercial hub. The time between the two events is not specified by Scripture. My view is that the time period may be longer than some expect, but shorter than others assume (time required for literal Babylon to rise in prominence).
- The doctrine of imminenceb concerns whether there are preconditions that must occur prior to an event in question. In this context, imminence concerns the arrival of Jesus to take the Church in the Rapture—not His Second Coming (which has clear preconditions spelled out by Scripture itself). I'm not aware of any passage within Scripture which specifies the amount of time after the Rapture when the events of the Tribulation begin to unfold. Many assume they are near-in-time, but it would appear that cannot be established from clear statements within Scripture.
- Once the "restrainer" is removed, which I take to be Spirit-indwelt Church at the Rapture, we can expect the godless agenda among the nations of the earth to progress ever-more rapidly. Just how long it might take for the literal city of Babylon to become the major economic hub on the earth is difficult to predict, but massive construction projects can be undertaken rapidly in our day-and-age. Andy Woods discusses the possibility of rapid construction in one of his presentations on Revelationc.
Don't forget that there can also be overlap—Babylon can begin its economic rise in advance of the departure of the Church.
I'm not among those who assume the Rapture is "just around the corner." Do I know that to be the case? No—because of imminence. But imminence does not say something is necessarily near—only that it could be. There is no known preceding event that must occur first. This has been true of the Rapture since the NT was written, but the time period has spanned nearly 2,000 years so far.
The Bible's stance on imminency is to have a worldview informed and motivated by an intentional tension: 1) be ready for Christ’s arrival "at any time," but 2) "do business" until then (Luke 19:13). If we preserve this Scriptural tension in our Christian living, we can be assured God will work out the details which correspond to a straight-forward reading of His Word, even though we can't see from our vantage-point how it will all come together.