Damascus and Babylon. These two cities have their destruction highlighted in Scripture. Damascus exists today but has never been fully demolished like Isaiah foresaw.
- An oracle concerning Damascus: "See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. (Isaiah 17:1)
The other city, Babylon, once existed, was slowly eradicated and is now being rebuilt. It was a literal city and is spoken of in Scripture as a literal city. "When John wants to indicate that a geographical location is symbolic, he does so clearly (Revelation 11:8). Otherwise, the geographical places in Revelation are literal: Patmos, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Philadelphia, Sardis, Laodicea, and Armageddon. With this established pattern of literal interpretation for places, I believe Babylon should also be taken literally." (p. 363, The End, Mark Hitchcock) The city has a quick end forecasted.
- Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: " 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!' (Revelation 18:10)
- In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!' "Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. (Revelation 18:17)
- They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: " 'Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! (Revelation 18:19)
"Henry Morris highlights the advantages of Babylon as a world capital:
'Babylon is indeed a prime prospect for rebuilding, entirely apart from any prophetic intimations. Its location is the most ideal in the world for any kind of international center. Not only is it in the beautiful and fertile Tigris-Euphrates plain, but it is near some of the world's riches oil reserves. Computer studies for the Institute of Creation Research have shown, for example, that Babylon is very near the geographical center of all the earth's land masses. It is within navigable distances to the Persian Gulf and is at the crossroads of the three great continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. Thus there is no more ideal location anywhere for a world trade center, a world communications center, a world banking center, a world educational center, or especially, a world capital! The greatest historian of modern times, Arnold Toynbee, used to stress to all his readers and hearers that Babylon would be the best place in the world to build a future wold cultural metropolis." (p.364, The End, Mark Hitchcock)
"Arnalod Fruchtenbaum identifies Babylon the Prostitute in Revelation 17:
'Babylon the Harlot represents the one-world religious system that rules over the religious affairs during the first half of the tribulation. She rules over the nations of the world (the many waters) fully controlling the religious affairs and has the reluctant support of the government. The headquarters of this one world religion will be the rebuilt city of Babylon, the 'mother' of idolatry, for it was here that idolatry and false religion began (Genesis 11:1-9).'" (pgs. 367-368, The End, Mark Hitchcock)
"For the first half of the Tribulation, the woman will ride the Beast (Revelation 17:3), which seems to indicate that false religion will exercise some degree of control over the Antichrist. Since the Antichrist rules the world for the final 31/2 years of the Tribulation, the woman cannot be in control of him during that time. Therefore, at the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist and the ten kings will destroy the religious system of Babylon (Revelation 17:16). The Antichrist will replace the false religious system of Babylon with his own blasphemous system that defies Him. Babylon itself, with its political and commercial influence, will continue under the rule of the Antichrist for another 3 1/2 years until it is destroyed in the seventh bowl judgment near the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:19; 18:16-24). Babylon will fall, never to rise again, just as the Scripture says." (p.369, The End, Mark Hitchcock)
I believe Christ Jesus said He is coming back For us Before He comes back With us (John 14:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). I also believe that when He comes back He will save His true believers from the coming wrath, not through it (1 Thessalonians 1:10). Christ said about one part of His coming that nobody would know when He would appear to snatch believers dead and alive away to Him in mid-air (Matthew 25:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). Then Christ said all would behold Him in another coming to travel with Him and behold His victorious march into Jerusalem (Revelation 1:7; Revelation 19:14). Both of these are still future because we are not with Christ to witness His rightful seizing and ruling of the earth. Although we cannot know the day or hour of Christ's snatching away of the saints, I believe we can know the season - But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:4). And part of that season is keeping an eye and an ear open for the Tale Of Two Cities.