As I mentioned in Part Two, there are three main reasons a majority of students of God's Word believe the "great whore" of Revelation 17:1 is Rome. Some believe she represents Rome because it is known as "the city that sits on seven hills" (Rev. 17:9). Others believe she is a symbol for the Vatican, a country, within the city of Rome. A more logical reason to believe John is speaking of Rome is because he has been exiled to the Island of Patmos by Rome (Rev. 1:9). As a prisoner of Rome, he was wise not to name Rome as being the evil city of his vision.
But what if the woman represents a city that resembles ancient Babylon? In the Book of Daniel, Babylon's king, Nebuchadnezzar is told "Thou art this head of gold" (Dan. 2:38). In the Bible, gold always represents deity or authority. Today, our world recognizes the gold standard as the basis for determining wealth. In Revelation 18:2, Babylon is taken over by demonic forces, and is said to have fallen. The result of her fall leaves those who were made rich "through the abundance of her delicacies" (v. 18:3), in economic ruin (v. 18:11-19).
So, what city do you suppose "Babylon" would represent in such a case? The answer may surprise you. Caput Mundi is a Latin phrase taken to mean "capital of the world". (literally: "head of the world"). It originates out of a classical European understanding of the known world: Southern Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. Because of the enduring power of the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic Church, the city of Rome has been known for centuries as Caput Mundi.
However, there has been a relocation of the seat of financial power. New York City is sometimes described by the Latin phrase "Novum Caput Mundi" or the "New Capital of the World." As the home of the United Nations Headquarters, it is the center for international affairs. Numerous national and international private corporations have headquarters in New York City. New York City's financial district, anchored by Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, is claimed to function as the financial capital of the world, and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by total market capitalization of its listed companies. Is it possible that New York is the "Babylon" to which John's vision refers? And, what nation has committed more political "fornication" with the kings of the world than ours? With a fifteen trillion dollar debt hanging over our head, and with our economy in shambles, it is more than possible, it is likely that we are "Babylon."
Why all the mystery? If the true identity of the antichrist, the false prophet, the mark of the beast, and the "great whore" were known, both Satan and mankind would do everything they could to thwart God's plan. Just as God allowed blindness in part for Israel, and just as Jesus taught in parables, God wants some things kept secret. One day, nothing will be secret, and Jesus Christ will be recognized by all as God Almighty (Isa. 9:6).