Some say that the references to Babylon were really references to Rome. Since the authorities would have considered it treason to refer in this way to Rome, it was safer to use the name of Babylon, while Christians would have privately known what was meant.
Another view is that when the Book says Babylon, it means Babylon. This view sees the Book of Revelations as consisting of two layers: a more ancient, spiritual layer that was merged into a Christian book with messages to the early churches. On this view, the more ancient layer could have been from Judaic mysticism, or from a form of proto-Christianity.

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