A prominent Bible-prophecy teacher claims the true site of the biblical Tower of Babel is in Saudi Arabia and the concept of “Mystery Babylon” actually refers to Mecca, not the Vatican, as some researchers of Scripture claim.

Walid Shoebat, a former PLO operative, tells fellow Christians they’re looking in the wrong place when trying to understand the identity of the people who make up the worldview outlined in Revelation 17:1-5.

The passage from the King James Bible states:

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

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It is from the Revelation passage the concept of “Mystery Babylon” originates.

“When it comes to Mystery Babylon,” said Shoebat, “the common tendency amongst many Protestant theologians is to liken it to Rome. According to them, Rome is the city of seven hills.”

He said others equate it with Iraq, since it was home to the original Babylon.

“Years ago, many books were written about Saddam Hussein, who was allegedly hard at work, rebuilding Babylon,” Shoebat observed. “Christians gobbled up the books without truly examining the evidence. Saddam was simply rebuilding a tourist attraction where Nineveh once stood.”

The project was later abandoned, he noted, “and Saddam died on the gallows along with the prophecy books that included his name.”

Shoebat contends the Bible’s references to cities point to Arabia.

“When it comes to the destruction of end-days Babylon, Scripture makes no mention of any of the ancient Babylonian cities: Nineveh, Ur, Babel, Erech, Accad, Sumer, Assur, Calneh, Mari, Karana, Ellpi, Eridu, Kish, or Tikrit. All of the literal references in Scripture are in Arabia.”

The Bible never refers to “Mystery Babylon,” yet many Bible prophecy students assume that it does. The term is often used when proposing the actual end-times identity of what all agree is a diabolical spiritual and political system. The question is, who or what is referred to in Revelation 17?

Veteran prophecy teacher Thomas Ice, director of the Dallas-based Pre-Trib Research Center, differs with Shoebat’s view that “Mystery Babylon” will be located in Saudi Arabia.

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“I do know that Babel in the Bible is Babel (in Hebrew the same word for Babel is used for Babylon), or Babylon.  Babylon has never been used in the Bible to refer to Rome; it always means the same thing in the Bible,” Ice told WND.  “The proper approach is to study the Bible and see what it says before one is influenced by current events.  Thus, Babylon in the Bible always and only refers to that city on the plains of Shinar,” he said.

“Walid refers to the reference in Rev. 17:5 as ‘Mystery Babylon.’  There is no such thing as ‘Mystery Babylon,’ according to the grammar of the Greek text.  The text says, ‘upon her forehead a name was written, a mystery, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.’  It does not speak of a ‘mystery’ Babylon, which is too often misunderstood to refer to a secret name for some place other than Babylon, i.e., Rome, Mecca, etc. ”

Instead, he said, Revelation 17:5 “discloses the mystery or secret about Babylon, which is that Babylon the Great is the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.”

“In other words, Babylon, where corporate rebellion began after the flood, is the source of ‘harlots and of the abominations of the earth,'” he said.

Traditionally, many scholars have placed the tower built in an attempt to reach God, recounted in Genesis 11, near Baghad, Iraq. Some scholars believe “Mystery Babylon” will be located there. Other Bible prophecy teachers insist “Mystery Babylon” refers to the Roman Catholic Church. Shoebat claims these views are incorrect.

He told WND the key is understanding the ancient place names that correspond to modern sites in Saudi Arabia.

“Isaiah says, the burden against Arabia,” said Shoebat. “They [other teachers] most of the time look at the traditions – it’s a traditional interpretation – that doesn’t encompass the entire oracle of Scripture.”

Shoebat said another factor is in play with regard to the rise to prominence of the Babel site in Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Arabia is concentrating on promoting Mecca, including now in Europe,” he said.

“This public relations campaign is designed to advance Islamic culture and, by extension, Islamic law.”

Shoebat noted he believes that while Islam has made advances in Europe, it will not ultimately succeed in the West.

“I think it will turn around, because Westerners by nature are very loving and open to others’ views of religion … until they begin to encroach on our freedoms,” he said “I don’t think freedoms are going to fly away fast. As these encroachments begin, Westerners will say enough is enough.”

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