By Nathan Jones
Where will the headquarters of the Antichrist be located during the Great Tribulation? Will it be Rome, Jerusalem, New York, Babylon, or some other city? Twelve different Bible prophecy experts were asked this question. The following five answered that it would be some place else other than a rebuilt Babylon, or that it could be Babylon but they were not entirely convinced. Here are their responses.
I honestly don't know. I do believe that the Antichrist will rise from Rome. When it talks about the people destroying the Temple in 70 AD, the Romans destroyed Israel and the Temple. The Antichrist has to come out of Rome. Whether his capital, his actually physical capital building is in Rome, I am not sure. Babylon would be logical because if he has a peace treaty with Israel and it is all about the resources of the Middle East. It would be very smart to have a capital in the oil fields where you can defend it well.
I believe it will be Rome. It may start off there and eventually go on to Jerusalem. I go back to 2 Thessalonians 2. I believe that it will end in Jerusalem because the heart of God is Jerusalem. I believe that Antichrist will eventually move his capital there because again he wants what God wants and Jerusalem is the apple of God's eye. But, I believe that it will start in Rome and eventually end up in Jerusalem.
There are so many ways to look into that question. It says it will be destroyed and all the merchants of the world will mourn after it. That could be America or it could be Rome because of the revived Roman Empire. It could be Israel because the Antichrist will rule out of there. It could be Babylon and Iraq being rebuilt as some people propose. So, pick your choice there.
I personally believe that it will be Rome. I do not believe that it will literally be Babylon. I think that John is obviously using the term "Babylon" as a code word for Rome in the Book of the Revelation. The city that sits on seven hills in the ancient world was always understood as Rome. He is talking about a place where the martyrs of Jesus have been persecuted. He is talking about a place that has stood against the prophets of God and the people of God throughout the generations. I think he is making a very strong case for a great End Time system that will encompass the entire world.
The question is where will it be headquartered? Not likely in Babylon in Iraq. You are going to move the headquarters of the United Nations to Iraq and endure suicide bombers, Islamic threats, terrorism, etc? The Iraqis themselves have no real regard for Babylon. It is a pagan city, not an Islamic city. It is 50 miles from Bagdad. It's never been successfully rebuilt and it will never be successfully rebuilt according to Isaiah's prophecy. Alexander the Great tried to rebuild it and failed, Antiochus Epiphanies tried to rebuild it and failed, Saddam Hussein tried to rebuild it and failed, and if you try to rebuild it you'll fail.
I would agree that there are many prophecies in the Old Testament about Babylon that have not yet been fulfilled. And, I would agree that these prophecies apply to the End Time headquarters of the Antichrist. But, there is a problem with applying them to ancient Babylon. That problem is rooted in the fact that End Time Babylon is defined in the New Testament and the Book of Revelation, and I think those passages make it clear that the End Time Babylon will be Rome. For example, the End Time Babylon is identified in Revelation 17 as a "mystery" or as "Mystery Babylon" depending on the translations. But, either way, it seems to me to be a clear tip off that the author, the Apostle John, is speaking symbolically of some other city then ancient Babylon. In fact, John uses this very same literary technique a few chapters earlier in Revelation 11:8 when talking about the two witnesses of God that the Antichrist will kill in the middle of the Tribulation. The passage states that their bodies will lie in the streets of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt. He then goes on to identify the city as Jerusalem. He referred to it as Sodom because of its immorality, and he referred to it as Egypt because of its idolatry.
Returning to Revelation 17 where the End Time headquarters of the Antichrist is referred to as "Mystery Babylon," the rest of the chapter makes it clear I think that he is talking about Rome. In verse 9 he refers to it as the "city on seven mountains" which in that day and time could only refer to Rome. And, in verse 18, he refers to it as the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. At the time John wrote this in the First Century, that could only apply to Rome. Further evidence that he was speaking of Rome is to be found in 1 Peter 5:13 where the Apostle Peter ends his epistle with the greetings from "the church that is in Babylon." Well, there was no church in Babylon at that time, and Peter was writing from Rome. This passage makes it obvious that Christians in the First Century used Babylon as a code word for Rome.
Finally, there is a prophecy in Isaiah that seems to me to state clearly that Babylon will never be built again once it falls to the Medes and the Persians. Here is how it reads, it reads, "Behold I am going to stir up the Medes against them, against the Babylonians, who will not value silver or take pleasure in gold and their bows will mow down the young men, they will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb, nor will their eye pity children, and Babylon the beauty of kingdoms the glory of the Chaldeans pride will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation."
Now some people respond to this passage by saying it was not fulfilled in the time of the Medes because they did not destroy the city suddenly with fire the way Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. But, the context makes it clear that it is talking about the conquering of Babylon by the Medes. And furthermore, it does not say Babylon will be destroyed in the same manner as Sodom and Gomorrah. Rather, it says that after the Medes conquer the city it will become like Sodom and Gomorrah. In another words, it will become desolate, and that is exactly what happened. The city went into a long decline and by 141 B.C. when the Parthian Empire took over the region, Babylon was in complete desolation and obscurity and that is the way it has remained ever since.
Today, rumors abound that Babylon is being rebuild for habitation, but those rumors are not true. Saddam Hussein built one of his many presidential palaces on the edge of the ancient city and rebuilt some of the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar's Palace complex, but all of this was built for tourism, not for habitation. You can see from aerial photos that the ancient site of Babylon stands barren to this day.
So, my conclusion is that just as Isaiah says ancient Babylon will never be rebuilt again, and the headquarters of the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation will be Rome.
Regardless of the Bible prophecy experts' differences over the location of the Antichrist's headquarters, all agree that the Bible teaches there will be an Antichrist who will rule the world from either Rome or Babylon. And, at the end of the Tribulation, his headquarters will be destroyed suddenly by fire from God in one hour of one day just as was the case with ancient Sodom and Gomorrah.
You can watch this Q&A at our website on Christ in Prophecy.