With the recent suggestion that Istanbul, Turkey become the world capital, I wonder if it fits into the Theology of the end times in the book of Revelation. I always believed that the great city spoken of in Revelation was Rome, but now I’m not so sure. The question is, does this city fit the description given in Revelation as Babylon (code word for apostate religion), which will be the headquarters of the future antichrist/false prophet? Revelation 17 and 18 gives us a good picture of what this city will look like. I have bolded some of the important phrases.17 [1-7] And one of the seven angels came, which had the seven dishes, and talked with me, saying, “Come here; I’ll show you the judgment of the great whore that sits on the great waters, with whom the rulers of the earth have falsely worshiped, and the people of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of its false worship.” So I was carried away in the spirit into the countryside, where I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet red creature, full of names that were disrespectful of God, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was dressed up in the colors of purple and scarlet, and wore jewels of gold, precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of the evils and filthiness of her false worship. On her forehead was a name written, Secret, Rome the Great, The Mother of Whores and Disgraces of the Earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Christians, and with the blood of the martyrs of Yeshua: and when I saw her, I was greatly amazed. [7-14] And the angel asked me, “Why are you so amazed? I’ll tell you the secret of the woman, and of the creature that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The creature that you saw was, but isn’t now; and will come up out of the bottomless pit, and go on to be finally destroyed: and those who live on the earth will wonder, whose names weren’t written in the Book of Life from the beginning of the world, when they see the creature that was, but isn’t now, and yet still is. And the mind that has wisdom will know this: The seven heads are the seven mountains of Rome, on which the woman sits. And there are seven rulers: five have fallen, and one rules now, and the other hasn’t come yet; and when that ruler comes, that reign will be short. And the creature that was, but isn’t now, is the eighth, and is the clone of one of the seven, and will go on to be finally destroyed. And the ten horns which you saw are ten more rulers, which haven’t gotten their place of rule yet; but they will get power as rulers for one hour with the creature. These will all have one mind, and will give their power and strength to the creature. These will fight against Christ, the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them, who is the Savior of saviors, and the Ruler of rulers: and those who are with the Christ are called, and chosen, and faithful. [15-18] Then the angel told me, “The great waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are crowds of peoples, nations, and languages. And the ten horns which you saw on the creature, these will come to hate the whore, and will strip her naked of everything, and will destroy everything she has, and burn her with fire, because God has put it in their hearts to do what God wants them to do, and to agree to give the rule of their countries to the creature, until the Words of God happen. And the woman which you saw is Rome, that great city, which reigns over the rulers of the earth.” Rome Falls 18 [1-10] And then I saw another angelic messenger come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth shown with its brightness. And it cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, “Rome, the great, has fallen, has fallen, and has become the place of demons, and every evil spirit, and a prison for all those evil and hateful birds, because all nations have drunk the wine of the judgment of its false worship, and the rulers of the earth have taken part in this sin with it, and the merchants of the earth have became wealthy through all of its riches.” And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, My people, so that you don’t share in her sins, and that you don’t get punished with her horrors, because her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her unmerciful actions. Give back to her just as she gave to you, and give her double for what she’s done. Pour her double into the cup which she’s filled. Give her as much suffering and sorrow as she’s given praise to herself, and lived richly, because she said in her heart, ‘I am a queen, and not a widow, and I will see no sorrow.’” So will the horrors of death, crying, and hunger come in one day; and she will be completely burned with fire because Yahweh God is a powerful judge.And the rulers of the earth, who shared in its sin and lived richly with it, will mourn, and cry, when they see the smoke of its burning. And standing far off for the fear of its judgment, they’ll say, “How sad! How sad! That great city of Rome, that powerful city! In one hour you have been judged.” [11-20] And the merchants of the earth will cry and cry over the city of Rome because no one can buy its sales goods any more: The sales goods of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linens of purple, silks of scarlet, all kinds of citrus trees, all kinds of things made from ivory, precious woods, brass, iron, marble, all kinds of cinnamon and spices, scented oils, perfumes, incense, wine, oil, fine wheat flour, wild animals, farm animals, horses, vehicles, workers, and even the souls of human beings. And everyone will say, “All the things that it wanted are gone now, and everything that was rich and beautiful are gone now, and will never come in it again.” The merchants of this city, which were made rich by her, will stand far off for fear of its judgment, and they will cry and cry, saying, “How sad! How sad! That great city of Rome, that was clothed in fine linens of purple and scarlet, and wore jewels of gold, precious stones, and pearls! In one hour such great riches has come to nothing.” And every ship owner, and all the ships’ companies, and sailors, and whoever traded by sea, stood far off, and called out when they saw the smoke of its burning, saying, “What city is like this great city of Rome!” And they put dust on their heads, and called out, crying and crying, saying, “How sad! How sad! That great city, in which everyone who had ships in the sea was made rich because of its riches! In one hour it’s been left empty.” [20-24] Celebrate over it, all who are in heaven, and all you holy followers and great preachers, because God has taken revenge on it for you. And a powerful messenger took up a stone like a great millstone, and threw it into the sea, saying, “With this same violence that great city of Rome will be thrown down, and will never be found again. And the sound of harpers, and musicians, and flutists, and trumpeters will never be heard in you again; and no craftsman of any kind will ever be found in you again; and the sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again; And the light of a candle will never shine in you again; and the voices of a bridal party will never be heard in you again, because your merchants were the great people of the earth from all the nations who were tricked by your evil sorceries.” And that city was punished for the blood of all the great preachers, and of all the Christians, and of all that were put to death on the earth.
Now, let’s take a look at Istanbul and see how it compares to these biblical passages. İstanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, a city in northwestern Turkey, is the only city in the world that sits directly between two continents, both Europe and Asia. İstanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the country’s most important commercial and cultural center. With the best natural harbor in the area, it is one of the most important trade hubs in the world. The city is the capital of İstanbulProvince, which is bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the south and southwest by the Sea of Marmara. The Bosporous, a narrow strait that links the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, separates İstanbul’s European and Asian sections.
İstanbul was founded in the 7 th century B.C. as Byzantium. In the 4th century A.D. it was renamed Constantinople by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. The city was the capital of the Byzantine Empire until it was captured by the Ottomans in the 15th century and made the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans called the city İstanbul for centuries, but it was not until 1930 that İstanbul became its official name.
According to legend, İstanbul was founded in 667 B.C. by a Greek colonizer, Byzas the Megarian, from whom the city’s original name, Byzantium, is derived. Because of the city’s strategic and economic importance, Athenians, Persians, Spartans, Macedonians, and Romans all fought over it for centuries. In 324 A.D. Roman emperor Constantine the Great defeated rival emperor Licinius and became the sole Roman emperor.
Constantine soon thereafter began rebuilding the city as his new capital, a New Rome (Nova Roma). Constantinople (İstanbul) replaced Rome as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and Christianity was made the state religion. Constantine made Byzantium his capital in 330, expanding the city until it rested on seven hills, just like the original Rome. Byzantium was subsequently renamed Constantinople (present-day İstanbul) and was by far the largest and richest city in Christendom during the Middle Ages.
Constantinople, meaning “city of Constantine” became the capital of the eastern part of the Holy Roman Empire, which survived the fall of Rome in the 5th century and later became the center of the Greek Orthodox Christian world. After the Western Roman Empire fell to invading Germanic groups, giving place to a series of Germanic kingdoms, the church in many ways preserved the Roman heritage. What remained of Roman political authority became centered in Constantinople.
The only representative of power in Rome was no longer the emperor or the senate but the pope, holder of the chair of St. Peter. The pope at Rome had the claim of being the direct heir of Saint Peter, who was considered the first bishop of Rome. It was due, initially, to a series of activist Roman popes that the papacy grew in influence. As the political authority of Rome disintegrated, the bishops of the Roman Catholic church filled the void.
Scholars have called the empire Byzantine after the ancient name of its capital, Byzantium, or the Eastern Roman Empire, but to contemporaries it was simply Roman, and its subjects were Romans (Rhomaioi). Its emperors regarded the one-time geographical limits of the Roman Empire as theirs, and they looked to Rome for their traditions, symbols, and institutions. The empire, ruled by an emperor without any formal constitution, slowly formed a synthesis of late Roman institutions, orthodox Christianity, and Greek language and culture.
Constantine the Great established a synthesis between church and imperial authorities that lasted throughout the history of the empire. These included his creation of a successful monetary system based on gold. During this time the Roman church acquired vast landed estates and, along with the emperor himself, was the largest landholder during most of the empire’s history. Rigorous imperial regulation of the purity and supply of precious metals, as well as the organization of commerce and artisanship, characterized economic life. The power of the new state (which came to be called the Holy Roman Empire), the organization of the church, the ancient traditions of Rome were all one and the same.
So as we can see, Istanbul rests on seven hills or mountains like the original Rome, and was actually called the new Rome. It’s also a great commercial area with a natural harbor that brings many ships in and out of the area and fits the description in Revelation perfectly. One thing I found interesting was the statement that Athenians, Persians, Spartans, Macedonians, and Romans fought over it for centuries. This fits the “five are fallen, one is (Turkey) and one is yet to come pretty well.
And seeing that it was actually the seat of the Roman empire for a time, until the Ottoman’s took it over, it could fit the description of being a place of false worship and religion. The Roman Catholic Church had control over this city for centuries, making it in essence the same as Rome. As we can also see, there was a world power, world religion, and world monetary system while the Roman Empire lasted.
Then we see that the Ottoman’s gained power and the Roman Empire fell. If we look at other passages of Scripture in Revelation we see that the power of the antichrist is essentially dead and revives. If the Roman Empire gains political power once again, and makes it capital in Istanbul, with the Roman Catholic Church Pope as it’s false prophet, then we can see how all the prophecies may work out. Are we seeing them come to pass right before our very eyes. I believe so.
Situated on the BosporusStrait, İstanbul is a major port and the largest city in Turkey. The walls seen here are remnants of the original city, built in ad 324 by Constantine the Great of Rome. Turkish Tourism Office
Hagia Sophia, İstanbul
Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) was built in Constantinople (now İstanbul) between 532 and 537 under the auspices of Emperor Justinian I. Innovative Byzantine technology allowed architects Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus to design a basilica with an immense dome over an open, square space, pictured. The original dome fell after an earthquake and was replaced in 563. The church became a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of 1453, and is now a museum. Woodfin Camp and Associates, Inc./Roland and Sabrina Michaud
Hagia Sophia, also Church of the Holy Wisdom, the most famous Byzantine structure in İstanbul), built (532-37) by Emperor Justinian I, is now a museum. Its huge size and daring technical innovations make it one of the world’s key monuments.
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- U.N. Rep Calls for World Capital (gofishministries.wordpress.com)