Was Peter in Babylon?

micah719

an adopted son of The Most High God John 6:37-40
1 Peter 5:13
13 She [your sister church here] in Babylon, [who is] elect (chosen) with [yourselves], sends you greetings, and [so does] my son (disciple) Mark.


A minor question, but one that has me intrigued...is this Babylon that Peter refers to the literal city of Babylon in what is today Iraq, or was he actually referring to Rome? I read somewhere, sometime, a long time ago, that is was actually Rome, but having just been searching for Scriptural backup for this I came up a blank. Can someone help me out please?
 

readytogo

Well-Known Member
Traditionally, in "modern times", this has been suggested that Peter was talking about Rome. However, JMHO, when scripture says "Babylon" (unless it states otherwise) I take it to mean Babylon. Peter knew where Rome was as did the people to whom he was writing. If he wanted to say "Rome", he would have said Rome.

Note: My Bible doesn't include the notation:

She [your sister church here] in Babylon
 

JC1949

Well-Known Member
1 Peter 5:13
13 She [your sister church here] in Babylon, [who is] elect (chosen) with [yourselves], sends you greetings, and [so does] my son (disciple) Mark.


A minor question, but one that has me intrigued...is this Babylon that Peter refers to the literal city of Babylon in what is today Iraq, or was he actually referring to Rome? I read somewhere, sometime, a long time ago, that is was actually Rome, but having just been searching for Scriptural backup for this I came up a blank. Can someone help me out please?

in my opinion he is talking figuratively....
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
For the record, the Greek literally says ασπαζεται υμας η εν βαβυλωνι συνεκλεκτη και μαρκος ο υιος μου — "Salute you does the chosen together with (you) in Babylon and Mark my son (does, too)." In proper English we could translate it as "The chosen together (or "the elect", that is to say "the Church") with you in Babylon and my son salute (you)."

As to "Babylon", it is possible that Peter did travel to Babylon and write his first epistle from there. But we know from history that Peter was in Rome somewhere around the time Paul was beheaded and himself was executed by crucifixion a year or two later. (Paul escaped crucifixion because he was a natural-born Roman citizen.) The prevalent view among scholars is that Babylon refers here to Rome.

We have historical evidence that there was no Christian community at Mesopotamian Babylon during the first century AD. And then there is also the evidence of Peter's presence in Rome that we can extract from his mention of Mark in the verse in question (1 Peter 5:13). Clearly it tells us that Mark was with Peter at this time. But from 2 Timothy 4:11 we know that Paul had summoned Mark to Rome to be with him prior to his execution. Thus, since these events are only a year or two apart, it is likely Mark was still there and, if so, Rome has to be the "Babylon" Peter is referring to.

There are various reasons why Peter would have used the word Babylon to refer to Rome— first, it was probably safer for Peter not to openly state in writing exactly where he was living; second, Rome was well known as an exceedingly rich, thoroughly corrupt, and completely godless city; third, as Babylon was the oppressor of the Israel, so Rome was the oppressor of the Church; fourth, Jewish writers of the time often referred to Rome as Babylon; and fifth, the early Church Fathers used the term Babylon to refer to Rome.
 

JC1949

Well-Known Member
For the record, the Greek literally says ασπαζεται υμας η εν βαβυλωνι συνεκλεκτη και μαρκος ο υιος μου — "Salute you does the chosen together with (you) in Babylon and Mark my son (does, too)." In proper English we could translate it as "The chosen together (or "the elect", that is to say "the Church") with you in Babylon and my son salute (you)."

As to "Babylon", it is possible that Peter did travel to Babylon and write his first epistle from there. But we know from history that Peter was in Rome somewhere around the time Paul was beheaded and himself was executed by crucifixion a year or two later. (Paul escaped crucifixion because he was a natural-born Roman citizen.) The prevalent view among scholars is that Babylon refers here to Rome.

We have historical evidence that there was no Christian community at Mesopotamian Babylon during the first century AD. And then there is also the evidence of Peter's presence in Rome that we can extract from his mention of Mark in the verse in question (1 Peter 5:13). Clearly it tells us that Mark was with Peter at this time. But from 2 Timothy 4:11 we know that Paul had summoned Mark to Rome to be with him prior to his execution. Thus, since these events are only a year or two apart, it is likely Mark was still there and, if so, Rome has to be the "Babylon" Peter is referring to.

There are various reasons why Peter would have used the word Babylon to refer to Rome— first, it was probably safer for Peter not to openly state in writing exactly where he was living; second, Rome was well known as an exceedingly rich, thoroughly corrupt, and completely godless city; third, as Babylon was the oppressor of the Israel, so Rome was the oppressor of the Church; fourth, Jewish writers of the time often referred to Rome as Babylon; and fifth, the early Church Fathers used the term Babylon to refer to Rome.

I agree with your understanding....:thumbup
 

Sean Osborne

Well-Known Member
Beginning in 312 BC Babylon rapidly deteriorated. The population had been transferred to the new city of Seleucia, which was built with material taken from Babylon. More than 140 years prior to the birth of Jesus Christ the city of Babylon had ceased to exist.

Peter's reference to 'Babylon" was an allegorical reference to the city of Rome.
 

jswinkpe

New Member
For the record, the Greek literally says ασπαζεται υμας η εν βαβυλωνι συνεκλεκτη και μαρκος ο υιος μου — "Salute you does the chosen together with (you) in Babylon and Mark my son (does, too)." In proper English we could translate it as "The chosen together (or "the elect", that is to say "the Church") with you in Babylon and my son salute (you)."

As to "Babylon", it is possible that Peter did travel to Babylon and write his first epistle from there. But we know from history that Peter was in Rome somewhere around the time Paul was beheaded and himself was executed by crucifixion a year or two later. (Paul escaped crucifixion because he was a natural-born Roman citizen.) The prevalent view among scholars is that Babylon refers here to Rome.

We have historical evidence that there was no Christian community at Mesopotamian Babylon during the first century AD. And then there is also the evidence of Peter's presence in Rome that we can extract from his mention of Mark in the verse in question (1 Peter 5:13). Clearly it tells us that Mark was with Peter at this time. But from 2 Timothy 4:11 we know that Paul had summoned Mark to Rome to be with him prior to his execution. Thus, since these events are only a year or two apart, it is likely Mark was still there and, if so, Rome has to be the "Babylon" Peter is referring to.

There are various reasons why Peter would have used the word Babylon to refer to Rome— first, it was probably safer for Peter not to openly state in writing exactly where he was living; second, Rome was well known as an exceedingly rich, thoroughly corrupt, and completely godless city; third, as Babylon was the oppressor of the Israel, so Rome was the oppressor of the Church; fourth, Jewish writers of the time often referred to Rome as Babylon; and fifth, the early Church Fathers used the term Babylon to refer to Rome.
What historical evidence do we have that Peter was in Rome? Paul never mentions this in any of his epistles. Are we relying on Roman Catholic literature? We do know that Babylon was part of the Roman Empire at that time, and that there was a sizeable Christian population there that was persecuted and expelled later. Could not Peter have been part of that group?
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Could not Peter have been part of that group?
Yes, he certainly could have been. But, based on the facts I gave earlier, I lean toward Babylon being an epithet for Rome. But it could have meant Babylon itself.

Btw, welcome to Rapture Forums. I hope you drop by the new member forum and introduce yourself. It's always nice to get to know new brothers and sisters.
 

Wings Like Eagles

Well-Known Member
What historical evidence do we have that Peter was in Rome? Paul never mentions this in any of his epistles. Are we relying on Roman Catholic literature? We do know that Babylon was part of the Roman Empire at that time, and that there was a sizeable Christian population there that was persecuted and expelled later. Could not Peter have been part of that group?
There were still Jews living throughout Asia Minor, in Peter's day (as evidence, look at Peter's salutation in 1 Peter). And it is quite likely that there were also Jews living in what was left of Babylon in that day as well, because Babylon was a province of the Persian Empire till 650 A.D. Babylon was the seat of the bishop of the Church of the East until well after the Arab/Islamic conquest. Since the Apostle Paul mentions that he had the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, while Peter was given the responsibility for preaching it to the Jews, (see Galatians 2:7) it is very possible that Peter established the church among Jewish believers in actual Babylon.

I always believed that the RCC was correct in their insistence that Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome, but now I'm not so sure. Some other extra-biblical accounts give evidence that it was the sorcerer, Simon Magus who was executed on the hill known as Vaticanus, not Simon Peter. Mark was a very common name in those days and it is entirely possible that Peter was not referring to John Mark but rather his own grown son, Mark. Just giving another point of view. :) :idunno
 

jswinkpe

New Member
What historical evidence do we have that Peter was in Rome? Paul never mentions this in any of his epistles. Are we relying on Roman Catholic literature? We do know that Babylon was part of the Roman Empire at that time, and that there was a sizeable Christian population there that was persecuted and expelled later. Could not Peter have been part of that group?
 

jswinkpe

New Member
I agree. I adhere to the first rule of Bible interpretation from the 1880 Chautauqua Conference of Fundamentalists:
"If the plain sense of Scripture makes good sense, seek no other sense."
Peter could well have said Rome, if he had meant Rome.
And certainly Paul would have mentioned him in his prison epistles, had he been there.
 

Wings Like Eagles

Well-Known Member
If memory serves, the Talmud was compiled in Babylon in the first few centuries AD, so there was a jewish community there.
Yes. Their antecedents were those who did not return with the group that went back to the Land after the Babylonian exile. It is thought that at least one of the Three Wise Men (maybe all three) were exposed to Jews in Babylon, who were teaching on the Kingdom.
 

Wings Like Eagles

Well-Known Member
I agree. I adhere to the first rule of Bible interpretation from the 1880 Chautauqua Conference of Fundamentalists:
"If the plain sense of Scripture makes good sense, seek no other sense."
Peter could well have said Rome, if he had meant Rome.
And certainly Paul would have mentioned him in his prison epistles, had he been there.
Yes--the Apostle Paul certainly wasn't shy about speaking of Rome.
 

katt

Well-Known Member
It depends on when he wrote this, Paul did go to Mesopotamia, which is the Babylon/Persian area..the names weren't changed to Iraq/Iran til 1935..
 
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