Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Religion, New Testament PhD

First Advisor

Jon K. Paulien

Second Advisor

Abraham Terian

Third Advisor

Richard M. Davidson


This study observes in the book of Revelation the motif of a Great City which was variously characterized as Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon. It sets out to determine the significance of this characterization by tracing the Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon traditions in the OT, the NT, and the relevant extrabiblical literature. Then it seeks to learn how John used the motif throughout the book of Revelation and to understand the implications of the motif for John's theology.

Chapter 1 is an introduction to the dissertation, to the book of Revelation, and to the literature relevant to the dissertation.

Chapter 2 outlines the evidence for the Sodom/Egypt/Babylon motif in Revelation, then explores the three traditions in the background literature to observe the significance which these traditions may have contributed to John's use of the motif. Several significant features shared by the three traditions emerge, which shed light on John's choice of Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon to characterize the Great City.

Chapter 3 shows first how the key elements shared by the three traditions were used by John in highlighting certain features of the Great City and its impending judgment in Revelation. A broad study of the book follows, to determine the extent of the motif in the book. Elements of the motif may be found throughout the book, but are particularly prominent in the latter half of the book, beginning with chap. 11. The limits of the motif are considered, with special focus on the role of Jerusalem in John's theology. Finally, some theological implications of the Sodom/Egypt/Babylon motif are discussed. The OT record of God's dealings with people and nations in the past seems to have become, for John, a key to understanding His present and future dealings.

Chapter 4 presents the conclusions of the study.

Subject Area

Symbolism in the Bible, Bible. Revelation--Criticism, interpretation, etc


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