Symbolism: Women as Cities

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Nations are typically represented by cities and women in the Bible. Examples include:

Jerusalem and Judah, the Bride of Christ, the Church[edit]

Jesus' Bride represents the Body of Christ, the Church. Women typically represent cities in the Bible; the Church is represented by the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 21:9-10) Jerusalem in the Old Testament was one of two adulterous brides referred to, one Judah (represented by Jerusalem), the other Israel (the older sister-Ezekiel 16:45); representing Leah and Rachel respectively, the wives of Jacob (Israel). (Ezekiel 23:4; Jeremiah 3:6-20; Hosea 4:15) They were named Aholah and Aholibah. (Ezekiel 23:44) Their mother was symbolized by the Hittites, their father as the Amorites, and their younger sister as Sodom. (Ezekiel 16:3,45-46)

In the Old Testament, both brides combined as the nation of Israel in a 'United Monarchy,' which was divided into the two nations of Israel and Judah. (1 Kings 12:16-20) Jerusalem was described as a baby left to die that Jesus saw, picked up, and raised. When she was grown, He married her, and gave her numerous gifts and blessings symbolized by fine clothing, jewelry, and elaborate foods. However, Jerusalem then betrayed Him, going after foreign lovers and bribing them to seek her with the gifts Jesus had given her. (Ezekiel 16) Jerusalem sinned far more than even Judah or Sodom, allowing them to justify their own evil actions. (Ezekiel 16:49-56)

Jesus punished them for their adultery/idolatry repeatedly by sending the nation into slavery and destruction again and again, but kept rescuing them and having mercy repeatedly when the nations would cry out for help. (Ezekiel 16:53-55; Judges 10:10-16) Israel and Judah as nations sinned by committing idolatry, practicing mass sexual immorality, harming the righteous and poor, violating GOD's holy temple/residence, and sacrificing their children alive to Baal and Molech. (Ezekiel 23:36-46; Jeremiah 3:2; 32:32-37) Their punishment was symbolized by Jesus delivering them into the hands of their lovers, the Assyrians, Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians, who publicly stripped them naked, humiliated them, and tortured them while killing their children. (Ezekiel 23:22-49; 16:37-43,57-59)

Jesus came down to Earth to save His Bride, and was tortured to death to pay the penalty for her sins, redeeming her from the grave with His own blood. He did so to to purify and cleanse her, as a perfect Church. This is the example husbands are to follow in loving their wives, sacrificing themselves for them. (Ephesians 5:22-33) He went into Hell and took the powers of death and Hell from Satan to gain the power needed to rescue His bride, overcoming thanks to help from the FATHER. (Hebrews 2:14-15; Revelation 1:18) Contrary to the claims of some theologians who insist that the Church is not the Old Testament Jerusalem, it was prophesied that Jerusalem would be Christ's Bride, just with a new marriage covenant or agreement, i.e. the New Testament. (Ezekiel 16:60-63; Jeremiah 32:37-43) Indeed the Bride of Christ is crowned with the sun, moon, and 12 stars which represent Jacob, Leah, and the 12 tribes, each represented by a son. (Revelation 12:1; Genesis 37:9-10)

In the last days, the Bride of Christ will be persecuted by the Devil, surviving in a wilderness refuge for three and a half years from persecution by the Antichrist while Michael and the angels fight against the Devil and his angels. (Revelation 12:1-6) Christians during that time will be persecuted under the Antichrist. (Revelation 13)

Ezekiel 23:1 ¶ The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother: 3 And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity. 4 And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah. 5 And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours,

Ezekiel 23:11 ¶ And when her sister Aholibah saw this, she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her sister in her whoredoms.

Jeremiah 3:6 ¶ The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. 7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. 9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD. 11 And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.

Ezekiel 16:44 ¶ Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. 45 Thou art thy mother's daughter, that lotheth her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, which lothed their husbands and their children: your mother was an Hittite, and your father an Amorite. 46 And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.

Hosea 1:2 ¶ The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

Hosea 2:2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; 3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. 4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. 5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.

Hosea 3:1 ¶ Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.

Hosea 4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall. 15 Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth. 16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

Rome, the Harlot of Babylon[edit]

See also Catholicism

The most explicit reference to Roman Catholicism is found in Revelation chapters 17-18 which discuss a "great city" which would fall away from God, persecute Christians across all ages, and ultimately be destroyed by God at the last. The city's name? Babylon, what the early Christian Church called Rome. (Revelation 17-18) It may be represented by Jezebel, the false prophetess whose children will be executed in punishment. (Revelation 2:20-23) Rome is symbolized by an adulterous woman who has all GOD's prophets and saints murdered while conspiring with all the merchants and wealthy of the Earth to create evil. (Revelation 17-18) Rome is the daughter of the Chaldeans who pridefully says in her heart she will always be a lady and never a widow. She will be cast into Hell and punished, humiliated, and her children killed before her eyes. (Isaiah 47)

Verse Analysis[edit]

If there's any doubt, it is specifically said to be a great city in 17:18 ("And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.") built on 7 mountains as specified in 17:9. ("And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.") Rome of course is worldwide recognized for "The Seven Hills of Rome". It is symbolized by a great whore with fancy clothing, a cup full of abominations, and on whose forehead is written, "Mystery: Babylon The Great - The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth". (17:1-6)

Other features of Babylon mentioned are:

  • Drunk with the blood of saints, martyrs of Jesus, prophets, and all those slain upon the earth. (17:6; 18:20,24)
  • Rules over peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. (17:15; 18:3) By its sorceries were all nations deceived. (18:23) Rules over the kings of the earth. (17:2,18; 18:3,9)
  • Out of it will come the Beast, more commonly called the Antichrist, which will be worshiped by all non-Christians on the earth in the final world empire. (17:8) The Beast will be the 8th in a lineage (kings?) and ten previously kingdomless kings will receive power as kings under the Beast, to serve him, only to be destroyed by the returning Christ. (17:9-14)
  • It is a great merchant city by the sea to be mourned by merchants and shipmasters for their loss of trade in gold, silver, jewels, pearls, clothing, thyine wood, ivory, bronze, iron, marble, spices, ointments, wine, oil, flour, wheat, cattle, chariots, slaves, and souls of men. (18:3,11-19)
  • Said to be the home of devils, foul spirits, and cage to every unclean and hateful bird. (18:2)
  • Christians are a part of it, and commanded to "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." (18:4-5)
  • Known for its harpers and musicians, including pipers and trumpeters, as well as for its craftsmen. (18:22)
  • To be utterly destroyed with death, mourning, and famine; burned by fire (which Rome was in A.D. 64) and no more found at all. (17:16; 18:8,21)


Sodom is also described as a wicked, adulterous woman who betrays her husband, and is described as having similarly evil daughters. Sodom was described as sinning through pride, gluttony, and laziness that resulted in neglect of the poor and idolatry.

Ezekiel 16:46 And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. 47 Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways. 48 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. 49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. 51 Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done. 52 Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters. 53 When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them: 54 That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them. 55 When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate. 56 For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride,

Syria, Philistines[edit]

Syria is similarly described as a wicked, adulterous woman that betrays her husband. She too is described as having daughters, presumably smaller states. The Philistines are similarly described.

Ezekiel 16:57 Before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of thy reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all that are round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about.