"As I studied the book, I found that the imagery does not fit well with the destruction of Jerusalem, so I lean toward the later date."
Which imagery in particular do you find not fitting with the destruction of Jerusalem?
This is not an attempt at a complete listing, but it should be sufficient to say why I see the fall of Babylon in Revelation to be a reference to the fall of Rome and not Jerusalem.
- We are told that the great harlot riding on a beast, described in Revelation 17, represents a place. "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits" (Revelation 17:9). Rome was the city on seven hills, but Jerusalem occupies only one mountain.
- The horns on the beast, we are told, represent a series of kings. "There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time" (Revelation 17:10). Rome was ruled by kings. The last king ruling in Jerusalem was Archelaus (Matthew 2:22). The emperor deposed him because of his excessive cruelty and changed that region into a province headed by a governor. At the time Jerusalem fell there had not been a king in Jerusalem for many decades, yet this description says one is and another is about to come.
- Continuing, these seven kings will be followed by ten kings. "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14). Jerusalem had no kings prior to its fall, let alone ten kings who would persecute Christians. Rome, however, did have a long series of emperors who made it state policy to persecute Christians.
- There are frequent mentions of harlotry in Revelation. In the Old Testament prophets idolatry was frequently represented as spiritual adultery and harlotry. Jerusalem in Jesus' day had many problems, but idolatry was not one of them. As predicted in the prophecies, Israel abandoned idolatry (Isaiah 17:7-8; Ezekiel 36:24-25; Zechariah 13:1-2). However, Rome was completely given over to idolatry during this era.
- Revelation begins with seven letters to seven churches in Asia. As catastrophic as the destruction of Jerusalem was, it still was a local event. Jesus even warned people in Judea that they could avoid the destruction by fleeing to the mountains (Matthew 24:16). The churches in Asia would not be greatly impacted by the destruction of Jerusalem. But this region was a part of the Roman Empire; its fall would greatly impact these providences.
- Ephesus, we are told, left its first love (Revelation 2:4). If Revelation was written prior to 70 A.D., then it would mean Ephesus lost their first love within fifteen years of being established, within five years of the letter of Ephesians came to them from Paul, and within a year of Timothy and John coming to work with them (according to tradition). Such might be possible, but a later twenty-five years or so date would make more sense.
- About the beast in Revelation 13, we are told, "It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation" (Revelation 13:7). The Roman empire occupied many tribes and nations. Its citizens spoke numerous languages. The rulers in Jerusalem, however, only exercised authority over their own region and even then that authority was limited. For example, they were not allowed to put someone to death. Thus, we find in the gospels the leaders of the Jews in constant fear that something would happen to bring the wrath of Rome upon them (see John 11:48-49 as an example).
- The fall of the great city caused a world-wide economic upheaval (Revelation 18:9-19). Jerusalem's economy wasn't that strong to make such an impact. In the Roman world, the seaport of Ceasarea was a far more important city than Jerusalem. Jerusalem was not a commercial giant, it gave no power to anyone, and its destruction did not disrupt the world at large. Rome's economy was the cause for prosperity among merchants across the world.