For decades the Jews have been openly praying at the Wailing Wall for their temple to be rebuilt.  And the Moslems, knowing that the only place this temple can be rebuilt is where the Dome of the Rock now stands, have, over the years, expressed grave concern about the Jews praying after this fashion at this particular location.  Sometimes the matter breaks out into open, hostile actions, such as the much-publicised outbreak of violence which occurred October 8, 1990 when several thousand Moslems moved toward the Temple Mount to attack Jews praying at the Wailing Wall.


This, at the centre of the Arab-Israeli dispute over the old city of Jerusalem is the Temple Mount.  Possession and control of this one piece of real estate is at the centre of the intractable problem which exists concerning the old city of Jerusalem as a whole.  This is where the impasse is centered, which makes the Arab-Israeli dispute basically a religious problem.  And until this problem is resolved, very little of the overall dispute can change.


In one sense of the word though, it matters little what Moslems, Jews, or the nations at large do about the matter today, for, according to the Scriptures, during the first year of the Tribulation the Jews are going to build a temple on this mount (Dan. 8: 11-14). …


After all, the temple must stand where the Dome of the Rock now stands, something unthinkable within the framework of the current status of events in the Middle East.  And any move by Israel toward the Temple Mount today, with a view to building a Jewish temple on the spot where the Dome of the Rock stands, would bring the wrath of the Moslem world down upon Israel. …


Daniel reveals that Israel will rebuild the temple during the same year that Ezekiel reveals Russia will come down to help the Moslem nations destroy Israel – during the first year of the Tribulation. …



But in That Day



For Jehovah will have compassion on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the sojourner shall join himself with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.  And the peoples shall take them, and bring them to their place; and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of Jehovah for servants and for handmaids: and they shall take them captive whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.  And it shall come to pass in the day that Jehovah shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy trouble, and from the hard service wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shall take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! Jehovah hath broken the staff of the wicked, the sceptre of the rulers; that smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, that ruled the nations in anger, with a persecution that none restrained.  The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir-trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid low, no hewer is come up against us (Isaiah 14:1-8, ASV).



The first eight verses in Isaiah, chapter fourteen very briefly describe conditions which will exist after “the time of Jacob’s trouble” has passed and the kingdom of Christ has been established.  Gentile rule will have been brought to an end, and the sceptre will have passed into the hands of Israel, established in that coming day back in her land and occupying her God-appointed position at the head of the nations (cf. Exodus 19: 5, 6; Isaiah 2: 1-4; Jeremiah 31: 31-34; Ezekiel 36: 24-28).


Two cities figure prominently in events on earth during the 2,600-year period covering “the times of the Gentiles”: Jerusalem, and Babylon.  And these two cities, both mentioned very early in Scripture (Genesis 10: 10; 14: 19), stand in complete contrast to one another at every point.  Babylon is first mentioned in connection with Nimrod (the name means “rebel,” “one who revolts”), and Jerusalem is first mentioned in connection with Melchizedek (meaning, “King of peace” [Heb. 7:2]), establishing first-mention principles which hold constant throughout Scripture.


The first king of Babylon at the beginning of the times of the Gentile came against Jerusalem, carried the Jewish people into captivity, and destroyed the city and the temple.  And the last king of Babylon at the end of the times of the Gentiles will do exactly the same thing (2 Kings 24:10-25:13; Dan. 9: 26; Luke 21 :20-24; Rev. 11: 2).  The last king of Babylon though, rather than transporting the Jewish people back to Babylon as the first king did, will sell them as slaves throughout the Gentile world (Joel 3: 6-8).  At that time, Babylon’s cup of iniquity will have become full (cf. Gen. 15:16); and, after allowing Jerusalem to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles for three and one-half years, the Lord will then step in and bring conditions to pass as described in Isaiah 14:1-8:


“How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! ...”


This is the fate awaiting Antichrist, Babylon, and those individuals ruling with the last king of Babylon - a fate which was set the day Nebuchadnezzar moved against the Jewish people almost 2,600 years ago.






Babylon is referred to by name six times in the Book of Revelation (14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18: 2, 10, 21), and the manner in which Babylon is presented in this book must be consistent with the way Babylon is presented in the Book of Daniel, or elsewhere in the Old Testament.  The Babylon of Revelation, as the Babylon of Daniel, must refer to a kingdom centered in a city on the Euphrates in the Middle East.  It cannot be understood any other way.


Then, something else must be borne in mind about Babylon in the Book of Revelation.  There are not “two Babylons” in this book (a religious and a political), but only one.  There is only one in Daniel, and the same must hold true for the Book of Revelation.  There must be this correspondence between the way Babylon is presented in both books.


There is a religious power in Revelation, chapter seventeen called, “Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth,” which some expositors have identified as “religious Babylon,” opposed to “political Babylon” in chapter eighteen.  However, this is not really the way Scripture presents the matter.  Scripture does not make such a separation.  Rather, in Scripture, there is an inseparable identification, one with the other.  The religious power is identified in synonymous terms with the literal, physical city of Babylon (verse 18), leaving only “one” Babylon in view.






This false religious system is identified after a fashion which would not be correct for identifying any other false religious system in the world “the Mother of Harlots  Though all false religious systems can trace their roots, after some fashion, back to an origin in Babylon (all false systems operate in opposition to God’s true system, something which had its beginning in Babylon [cf. Gen. 11: 1-5), there can be only one “Mother”; and she appears at the end of the age in Babylon.


The one thing which allows this false religious system to be looked upon as the “Mother” is her inseparable identification with Babylon ‑ identified in synonymous terms with the city.  “Babylon” alone is the Mother, and any false system emanating from Babylon, apart from possessing the identity in Rev. 17:18, would be an offspring of the Mother, not the Mother herself.


Even the false religious system in view in Rev. 17:1ff, apart from possessing this direct association with Babylon, would have to be looked upon the same way as any other false system (an offspring rather than the Mother).  But the Harlot in this chapter is identified with the city of Babylon (in the same sense that the bride of Christ is identified with the New Jerusalem later in the book [cf. 17: 1‑7, 18; 21: 9, 10]), after a fashion which places this false religious system in a category different from all other false religious systems.


This is one thing which will prevent anyone from identifying the false religious system in Rev. 17: 1-7 with the Church of Rome, as so many expositors attempt to do.  Rome lacks the necessary direct identification with Babylon, which leaves this particular religious system in the position of being an offspring, not the Mother.


And using Rev. 17: 9 as a verse locating this false system in Rome, or using this verse to identify the city in verse eighteen as Rome, is completely invalid.  The “seven heads” of the beast in this verse are said to be “seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth Rome was built on seven hills, and some individuals erroneously associate the seven mountains of Rev. 17:9 with the seven hills of Rome, making the woman and the Church of Rome to be one and the same.


But Scripture clearly teaches something entirely different.  The verse immediately following (v. 10) goes on to state, “And there [lit., ‘they’ (the ‘seven heads,’ symbolized by ‘seven mountains’)] are seven kings A “mountain” is often used in Scripture to symbolize a kingdom (Isa. 2: 24; Dan. 2: 35, 44, 45), and in Rev. 17: 9 this word is used to symbolize a succession of kings in the kingdom (Antichrist will be the seventh ‑ the seventh head, mountain).


There can be no allusion whatsoever to Rome or Roman Catholicism in Rev. 17: 9.  The entire seventeenth chapter has a Middle East setting centering around Babylon (it must in order for the “Mother of Harlots” to be revealed).  This chapter has to do with Middle East rulers, the city of Babylon on the Euphrates, and a false religious system associated with Babylon: after the fashion revealed in verse eighteen.


Once this dispensation is over and God resumes His dealings with Israel, attention in Scripture then focuses on the Middle East ‑ upon, Israel and the surrounding nations.  And the religion of the nations surrounding Israel is Moslem, not Christian.


(Aside from viewing the matter after this fashion, God’s dealings with the Church on earth at the time of the rapture will have been completed.  And it would, accordingly, be dispensationally incorrect to have God complete His dealings with the Church on earth, resume His dealings with Israel, but yet single out the pseudo-Church [the Church of Rome in this case] as an entity to occupy a special place within His dealings at that time.)


The last king of Babylon will arise in the Middle East and reign from a city located in the midst of Moslem nations in that part of the world (his rise and activity in a Middle East setting is the consistent teaching of both Daniel and Revelation); and ten of these nations, forming his ten-kingdom confederacy, will “have one mind” and give unto Antichrist “their power and strength” as he sits on Satan’s throne in Babylon (Rev. 13: 2; 17:13).


These ten nations will undoubtedly be OPEC nations in control of particularly the Gulf oil, for Antichrist will possess a power-base of such a nature that he will be able to exert practically unlimited control over the nations of the world; and controlling the Middle East oil supply is the one thing which could provide him with such power.


(One other thing which will undoubtedly fit into Antichrist’s power-base is the fact that over the past several decades the OPEC nations have converted a large part of their oil profits into Western holdings ‑ real estate, numerous business enterprises, etc.  This has occurred on such a large scale that, even today, some individuals in high positions of state in the West have expressed concern.)


A) Islam and Government


Since the harlot is associated with Antichrist in this Middle East setting, there would be no possible way to identify the harlot after a fashion other than Moslem.  The entire scene presented in Rev. 17: 1ff fits perfectly with the Moslem mind-set, the goal of Islam, and the way this religion is related to the government.


In Moslem countries there is no separation between the government and the religious faith of the people, as in the West.  Islam permeates every aspect of society, becoming an integral part of life within that society, including the government.  Religion encompasses everything, and the Moslem clerics, resultingly, find themselves inseparably linked with state government.


In a Moslem state such as Iran, this has been carried to the point that there is really no secular governmental authority with which to contend.  When the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979, he established a religious state in which the Moslem clerics exerted absolute control, and this same form of government continues under another Ayatollah today.


Religious dominance within government is something which already exists to some degree in all Middle East Moslem countries, and this same situation will exist after the fashion described in Rev. 17:1ff within these same countries during the days of Antichrist.  The harlot will, in that day, not only be carried by the Beast (Antichrist) but will also be seated “upon many waters,” identified as “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (vv. 1, 15).  That is, the harlot will exert control over the entire system of that day through the central political leader; which is to say, the real governmental power will reside in the Moslem clerics in the ten-kingdom Middle East confederacy as they exert control over Antichrist’s movements and actions while he reigns as the last king of Babylon.


They will be instrumental in controlling his movements at the time he breaks his covenant with Israel, envisioning, through his power, to at last be able to reclaim the land of Palestine for “Allah And not only this, but these Moslem clerics will also envision using Antichrist’s power to realize the ultimate goal of Islam ‑ that of bringing the entire world under subjection to “Allah” through Islamic dominion and control.


But such will not occur.  Sometime during the last half of the Tribulation the “great whore” is going to be destroyed by the very ten-kingdom confederacy over which she exerted control.  The religious system will be destroyed (allowing all worship to be directed toward the Beast alone), but the city of Babylon itself will continue throughout the remainder of the last half of the Tribulation as the capital of Antichrist’s kingdom (Rev. 18: 1ff).


B) Islam and Anti‑Semitism


Islam is the most anti-Semitic religious system the world has ever known; and, along with its anti-Semitism, this religious system, immediately before it is destroyed, is also presented as being “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17: 6).  The harlot, along with seeking to do away with Israel through Antichrist (being the power behind the power as Antichrist and his ten-kingdom confederacy seek to cut Israel off from being a nation, “that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” [Psa. 83: 41), will apparently also have a part in Antichrist;s martyrdom of innumerable individuals saved under the ministry of the 144,000 Jews proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom during the Great Tribulation.


(The preceding reveals that the harlot will still be present and very active during at least a part of the last half of the Tribulation, for it is during this last half that the 144,000 will proclaim their message worldwide.  There will be “Beast-worship” throughout the last three and one-half years [Rev. 13: 4, 5], but the most intense “Beast-worship” [Rev. 13: 15] will probably occur after the harlot has been destroyed.)


In the final analysis, there is always a price which must be paid for acts such as the harlot will commit; and God is going to extract that price by putting it within the hearts of the ten rulers giving “their power and strength” unto Antichrist to fulfil His will by destroying the harlot.  These ten rulers will, supernaturally, be caused to “hate the whore,” resulting in their bringing about her utter destruction.  As described by John, they will “make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire” (Rev. 17:16, 17).


Insofar as Islam is concerned, the outworking of the God‑ordained principle surrounding anti-Semitism in Gen. 4:15; 12:3 will be brought to pass after this fashion; and Islam, identified in synonymous terms with Babylon, will then cease to exist.






After disposing of Babylon in its religious form, then the physical city of Babylon on the Euphrates comes into view, for this city must also experience a similar destruction.  This is a destruction foretold in minute detail by several Old Testament prophets.  Isaiah foretold this destruction, placing it within the future Day of the Lord (Isa. 13: 1ff); Jeremiah foretold the same destruction, stating that it would occur after a fashion similar to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jer. 50, 51); and Daniel, dealing with the complete history of the kingdom of Babylon, prophesied of a coming day when the Stone (Christ) “cut out of the mountain without hands” would smite the image (representing Babylon) upon its feet, breaking the image to pieces ‑ a smiting which will occur through Divine power upon Babylon in its final form during the days of Antichrist (Dan. 2: 34, 35, 44, 45).


Then, the Book of Revelation, in somewhat brief form, describes this destruction at the time it occurs during the coming Day of the Lord.  This book does not go into great detail concerning Babylon’s destruction, for the Old Testament prophets have already provided the details.  That which is revealed about Babylon’s destruction in the Book of Revelation is merely the record of the Lord bringing to pass that which the prophets previously foretold.


The matter is similar to that which the Book of Revelation records about Christ’s return and millennial reign (19:11-20:6).  These events actually take up very little space in this book, though they form a central subject of Old Testament Scripture, beginning with Genesis.  And the reason very little space is given to this overall subject in the Book of Revelation is evident.  All of the information surrounding Christ’s return and millennial reign has already been provided by the prophets.  The Apostle John, as in the account concerning Babylon’s destruction, merely records the Lord bringing to pass that which the prophets previously foretold.


Some things about Babylon in its two forms and corresponding destruction are spoken of after such a fashion in Rev. 17, 18 (also Rev. 19: 2, 3) that there appears to be little or no separation between the two.  And this is exactly as it should be, for only one Babylon is in view within this overall destruction ‑ the same one which the prophets foretold would be destroyed.  The religious form, destroyed first, is inseparably identified with the city itself, allowing Scripture to deal with the matter after this fashion.


That a destruction upon Babylon in its two forms occurs at two different times is clear.  The harlot is destroyed first, through the actions of the ten kings ruling under Antichrist (17: 16, 17); but later, when the city itself is destroyed ‑ through direct, Divine intervention, as in the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain (Isa. 13: 19, 20; Jer. 50: 40) ‑ these same ten kings appear to be among those who “bewail her, and lament for her” (18: 9, 10).  These two destructions are simply not the same.  They occur at different times and are carried out in different fashions.


The city itself appears to be destroyed very near the end of the Tribulation.  And when this city is destroyed ‑ when the Stone “cut out of the mountain without hands” smites the image upon its feet ‑ the “kings of the earth” are not the only ones who wail and lament.  The “merchants of the earth” do likewise (vv. 11‑19). Babylon will not only be the centre of world government during the Great Tribulation but also the centre of world commerce as well (Zech. 5: 5‑11).


Everything will be controlled from this one central place by one man through ten kings, as they “have one mind” with the Beast and give their “power and strength” unto him.  And this control will extend worldwide to the extent that no man will be able to “buy or sell” unless he possesses “the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev. 13: 17).


Conditions on earth under this man’s reign will rapidly deteriorate, as described under the opening of the second, third, and fourth seals in Rev. 6: 3‑8.  Peace will first be taken from the earth (vv. 3, 4), an apparent reference to the time when this man breaks his covenant of peace in the Middle East.  Then the main human requirement in the commercial realm is the next thing mentioned.  The price of food will begin to skyrocket (vv. 5, 6).  And the next thing which would then naturally follow, and it will, is death (vv. 7, 8).  One-fourth of the earth’s population will die as a direct result of this man’s handling of matters.


“The merchants of the earth” though, through their association with Babylon, will become rich and not be adversely affected by the lack or price of food (cf. Rev. 6: 6b; 18: 15‑19).  And “the kings of the earth,” likewise through their association with this city, will prosper and not be adversely affected (Rev. 18: 9).  But for the man on the street, it will be an entirely different matter.


This will all occur during the time Jews are being sold as slaves throughout the Gentile world.  And who could afford to buy a Jewish slave during that day, outside of those prospering as a direct result of their association with “that great city Babylon”?  No wonder the final and complete destruction of Babylon is given after such a graphic fashion:


“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all…” (Rev. 18: 21ff; cf. Jer. 51: 63, 64).


And it is no wonder that the next thing which will occur, according to that which John was allowed to see in the future Day of the Lord, will be rejoicing in heaven over the destruction of this city:


“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore ...” (Rev. 19:1ff).






Israel’s darkest hour will occur immediately before the dawn of the millennial day, during the reign of Antichrist, immediately prior to that time when the “Sun of righteousness” arises “with healing in his wings” (Mal. 4: 1, 2; cf. Matt. 24: 15‑22).  Israel is to pass through the furnace, heated “seven times more than it was wont to be heatedseven times hotter than usual,’ NIV]” (Dan. 3:19); and while in the furnace, the Israelites, “in their affliction,” will seek the Lord “early” (Hosea 5: 15).  The Lord will, at that time, hear their cry, remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, come down, and deliver them from the hand of the oppressor (Ex. 2: 23-3: 10).


This will occur “after two days [after two thousand years],” dating from the time Israel crucified her Messiah; and it will be “in the third day [in the third one-thousand-year period],” dating from the crucifixion, that Israel will be raised up to live in God’s sight (Hosea 6: 1, 2).  This third one-thousand-year period will be the seventh millennium dating from Adam’s creation, which will be the Sabbath rest presently awaiting the people of God (Heb. 4: 4-9; cf. Ex. 31: 12-17).




The day is coming when it will no longer be said, “The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt Rather, in that day it will be said, “The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all lands whither he had driven them” (Jer. 16: 14, 15).


There are two great deliverances of the Israelites in Scripture.  One deliverance is past, and the other is future. The first deliverance was under Moses, and the second will be under the One greater than Moses, the Lord Jesus Christ.


The past deliverance constitutes an overall type of the future deliverance.  “Moses” is a type of Christ, and “Egypt” is always a type of the world in Scripture; and the deliverance from Egypt under Moses is a type of the future deliverance from a worldwide dispersion under Jesus the Christ.


Then events on both sides of the actual deliverance from Egypt complete the overall type.  There was the death of the paschal lambs in Egypt immediately prior to the deliverance of the Israelites, and there was the destruction of the Assyrian and his armed forces in the Red Sea immediately following their deliverance (Ex. 12-14).


The type has been set, and the antitype must follow the type in exact detail.  Israel has slain the Passover Lamb, Jesus the Christ, but Israel has yet to appropriate the blood.  A two-thousand-year period separates these two events in Israeli history, but just as surely as Israel appropriated the blood of the paschal lambs which the nation slew in the type (Ex. 12), Israel is going to appropriate the blood of the Passover Lamb which the nation slew in the antitype (Zech. 12: 10-14; cf. Isa. 53: 1 ff).


Israel’s appropriation of the blood of the Passover Lamb will be the first thing occurring within the framework of God’s dealings with the nation at the time of His Son’s return.  Israel, as the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road when Christ appeared to him in his unsaved condition (Acts 9: 1-6), will look on the One “whom they have pierced”; and, as the Apostle Paul, the nation, through believing, will experience the birth from above (Isa. 66: 8; cf. 1 Cor. 15: 8; 1 Tim. 1: 15, 16).  Only then can God (according to the type) re-gather the nation and destroy the kingdom of Antichrist.


God will deal with His people in relation to the sin problem first.  This is the way it was done in Egypt during Moses’ day, and this is the way it will be done in the day of the coming of the Son of Man.


The seven feasts of the Lord in Lev. 23 constitute the prophetic calendar of Israel and provide a chronology of the order in which God’s dealings with His people will occur at the time of His Son’s return.  The first two of these festivals ‑the feast of the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread ‑ were kept by Israel prior to the Exodus from Egypt.  In the type, the Israelites first applied the blood of a slain lamb (Passover then the matter of sin in the lives of those who had applied the blood came into view (unleavened bread).


(Note the brazen altar and brazen laver in the courtyard of the tabernacle, or the two washings [the complete body, and parts of the body] in John 13: 5‑11.  The thought is the same in the first two festivals of the Lord.)


When Christ returns, Israel will not only look on the One Whom they pierced in an unsaved condition but also in an unclean condition.  Israel is presently unclean through prior contact with the dead body of God’s Son. The Israelites will first appropriate the blood of the Lamb which the nation slew 2,000 years ago (through receiving the One Whom they presently reject), and they will then acknowledge their sin in the presence of the very One Whom they offended (cf. Gen. 45: 1ff; Hosea 5: 15; Zech. 12: 10-14; 13: 6).


Atonement will be provided for Israel’s sin (the sixth of the seven feast days), but events set forth by the intervening feast days must first be brought to pass.


Prior to Israel’s day of atonement, the resurrection of Old Testament saints will occur (the feast of firstfruits [1 Cor. 15: 23]), the Spirit of God will be poured out on all flesh (the feast of Pentecost [Acts 2: 1, 15-21]), and the Israelites will be regathered from a worldwide dispersion (the feast of trumpets [Matt. 24: 30, 31]).  Then cleansing will be provided for the nation (the day of atonement [Ezek. 36: 24ff]) immediately prior to the fulfilment of the feast of tabernacles (the seventh and last of the feasts of the Lord).


The feast of tabernacles was a time of rest in the camp of Israel following the termination of all activity surrounding the previous six festivals, pointing to that future day of rest (the Sabbath rest) awaiting Israel following the termination of all activity surrounding the first six festivals.




The present Arab-Israeli dispute is “the most intractable problem that there is(James Baker, U.S. Secretary of State March, 1991.)


The leaders of nations worldwide recognize that Middle East peace must centre around a solution to one problem ‑ the Arab-Israeli conflict.  And many also recognize, as the U.S. Secretary of State, that this is “the most intractable problem that there is


This problem has its roots buried 4,000 years in human history, and it is a problem which man will never be able to solve.  There though is a solution, which will be brought to pass when Israel’s Messiah returns.


In the chronology of events in typology, Ishmael died after Abraham remarried (Gen. 25: 1, 17).  Abraham’s remarriage, in the chronology of events in Gen. 21-25, points to that future time when Israel will have been restored to her proper place, positioned back in her land at the head of the nations.  Then, and only then, did Ishmael die in the type; and then, and only then, will Ishmael die in the antitype.  Until that day, Ishmael will continue as described in Gen. 16: 12 ‑ a “wild man” whose “hand will be against every man


But in that coming day, when the antitype of Gen. 25: 1, 17 comes to pass, Israel will be “the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land” (Isa. 19: 22-25).  Only in that coming day will the present “intractable problem” no longer exist in the Middle East.



ARLEN L. CHITWOOD: (Focus on the Middle East, pp. 49-60.)