A pastor who I respect greatly for his faithfulness and God given ability to teach, once discussed the Babylon contradiction with me and as time and circumstances develop I believe that he was close to the answer or at least a possible explanation.
On Rev 17 and Zech. 5 two points seem to be in conflict until one thing is taken into consideration, the way literal and symbolic seems to travel in parallel track.
Babylon on the plains of Shinar might point to a political or military center of power. Babylon over the seven hills might be pointing to a religious center of power. What do you think?
Almost every attempt to explain Revelation 17-18 begins with the opinion that it can’t be taken literally. I believe that it can. The Mystery Babylon of Rev 17 is a religious power in a city on seven hills. It’s the one-world church of the end times. At the beginning of Rev 17 it is shown in control of the one world government (riders control horses) but by verse 17 the anti-Christ strips away its power, and moves it from Rome to Babylon (Zech 5:5-11). The Babylon of Rev. 18 is the surviving entity, no longer a mystery but an obvious world dominating governmental, commercial, religious entity of which the anti-Christ is both chief executive and object of worship.