2: The Revival Of Babylon
Unfulfilled Prophecies About Babylon
The whole prophetic meta narrative of the Bible is in many
ways a tale of two cities- Babylon and Jerusalem. There are times when
Babylon masquerades as Zion- a false city of God with a false Messiah
leading her. Babylon / Babel was a city built to reach unto Heaven, in
contrast to the true city of God which comes down from Heaven (Gen. 11:4
cp. Rev. 21:2). And there are times when Zion in her apostacy has appeared
as Babylon. But in the final conflict of the last days, these two cities
will be literally pitted against each other. Zion will briefly succumb
under the might and pride of Babylon, to rise again in eternal glory.
It was in Babylon where Nimrod first built the tower of Babel, the first
organized rebellion against God; and it was there that God first entered
into open judgment of flesh and humanity en masse. And it is here
likewise that His purpose with sin and His true people will likewise be
fulfilled. Babylon was also
called Su-anna, “the holy city”. Yet “the holy city” is Jerusalem, thus
making Babylon a fake Zion. Herodotus says the city was square, just as
new Jerusalem. We have shown elsewhere that the events of the Babylonian
invasion are typical of the last days. That invasion was “the time of
[Israel’s] trouble” (Jer. 11:12), clearly typical of Jacob’s latter day
“time of trouble”.
the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride, will be overthrown
by God like Sodom and Gomorrah” (Isaiah 13:19). And yet Babylon was never
suddenly overthrown like Sodom and Gomorrah in their fiery destruction.
It was conquered by the Medes and Persians and fell into decline, but
it was not violently destroyed. Likewise: “The Lord will have compassion
on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and settle them in their own
land....They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors....
On the day the Lord gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel
bondage, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How
the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended! .. . All the
lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing” (Isaiah 14:1-4,
7). When Babylon is ultimately destroyed, Israel will finally be at Peace
and will dwell in safety. Israel has been a nation since 1948, but not
for one day has the nation of Israel known real peace or ease. It has
never been able to claim all the lands God promised the Israelites, and
Israel's Arab neighbours have been a constant threat and danger.
is the assumption by many that all the O.T. prophecies about ‘Babylon’
were fulfilled in the overrunning of Babylon by the Medes. However, there
are many details of those prophecies which didn’t have a total fulfilment,
and this we must see what the Medes did as but a partial, incipient fulfilment
of what is going to come in the last days. This also requires that we
understand ‘Babylon’ as literal Babylon- for it was against her that the
prophecies were uttered in the first place. And quite clearly, the prophecies
of Revelation against ‘Babylon’ are extensions of those of the Old Testament.
We therefore are encouraged to see the ‘Babylon’ of Revelation as the
Babylon of the prophets- i.e., literal Babylon. Jeremiah 51 predicts the
judgment of Babylon, and yet v. 46 says this is a time when ruler will
figh ruler. And this is quoted in Mt. 24:6,7 as being specifically applicable
to our last days.
are some of the unfulfilled details, which require a latter day fulfilment:
Babylon decayed due to the ravages of time, whereas Babylon was to fall
“suddenly” (Jer. 51:8). And Rev. 18 tells us that the fall of Babylon
will be “in one hour”, smiting her down suddenly in her prime. This must
be future in its fulfilment. Rev. 18:22 and 14:8 both speak of “Babylon
is fallen” as applying to a latter day scenario. And yet these words are
lifted straight from Is. 21:9 and Jer, 51:8, prophecies about literal
Babylon being destroyed suddenly- a destruction which is clearly future,
seeing the city was never so suddenly destroyed in the past. The suddenness
of the destruction is a keynote of these prophecies.
51:42 states that Babylon is to be submerged underwater. Maybe this is
yet to come upon a revived Babylon.
Babylon falls, Israel and Judah would repent and unitedly return to Zion
with singing and enter into the everlasting covenant (Jer. 50:4,5). This
didn’t happen when Babylon ‘fell’ before, even if it had the potential
of coming true.
poor and needy would trample down Babylon (Is. 26:6).
is not true that Babylon has been uninhabited “for ever”. “The city of
Babylon has never ceased to exist. Although its name was changed on two
occasions, it has never been totally unpopulated. Hillah presently has
250,000 citizens and was built almost entirely of bricks from the parts
of the old city of Babylon” (Joseph Chambers, A Palace For The Antichrist
p. 146). Note too that the Babylonian Talmud was written by Jews living
in Babylon in the 6th century AD. 1 Pet. 5:13 may well imply
there was even an ecclesia there in the first century.
the Lord will have mercy upon Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set
them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and
they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them
[the Babylonians], and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel
shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids:
and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they
shall rule over their oppressors” (Is. 14:1,2) has never been fulfilled
yet. It will be in the last days; and at this time, as Is. 14 goes on
to detail, Babylon [literal Babylon, in the context] will fall.
prophecies about the sudden destruction of literal Babylon- which can
only be latter day in their application- are also the basis for the words
of Revelation about latter day Babylon. Consider:
that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest
in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me: I shall not sit a
widow, neither shall I know the loss of children” (Is. 47:8)
much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously…for she hath
said in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see
no sorrow” (Rev. 18:7).
these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the
loss of children, and widowhood” (Is. 47:9)
shall her plagues come in one day, death and mourning” (Rev. 18:8)
now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators,
stand up” (Is. 47:13)
by thy sorceries…” (Rev. 18:23)
Therefore we conclude that the Babylon
of Revelation is the Babylon of Jeremiah and Isaiah, literal Babylon,
which awaits her full punishment. This conclusion is strengthened once
it is appreciated how the harlot Babylon of Rev. 17, loud, gaudy, decked
with jewellery and painted face, is replete with reference to Semiramis,
the goddess / mother of Nimrod, and one of the patron gods of literal
We have shown elsewhere that the antichrist
is a mimic of the true Christ; his kingdom is a parody of God’s Kingdom.
And the King of Babylon claiming “I am and none else beside me” are the
very words of Yahweh- the King of Babylon is clearly to be identified
with the man of sin, who sits as God in God’s temple (2 Thess. 2). But
the similarities run deeper. The Babylonian epic of creation is a parody
of the Genesis account; the flood has its’ counterpart in the epic of
Gilgamesh; and the Code of Hammurabi, an early ruler of Babylon, was clearly
an anti-law of Moses. And Saddam Hussein’s supporters used to greet him
as the Messiah of the Arab world (Chambers, p. 45). Now Saddam has passed
off the scene, but the point is that a similar charismatic leader could
arise and be the antichrist.
of the latter day invasion of Israel all feature a single charismatic
individual, who will be destroyed personally by the Lord Jesus at His
coming. This is Paul’s “man of sin”, Daniel’s aggressive king of fierce
countenance, Ezekiel’s Gog, the chief prince. It is also the person referred
to by Micah: “And this man [Messiah] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian
shall come into our land” (Mic. 5:1,2). The Lord Jesus will save His people
in the latter days from an “Assyrian”. It has been shown that Assyria
and Babylon are used almost interchangeably in Scripture (H.A. Whittaker,
). Gog was a Jew who apostatized and went to live in Assyria / Babylonia,
according to 1 Chron. 5. This is why he has the appearance of spirituality;
and he may even be an Arab Christian. I say this because 2 Thess. 2 describes
him as “the son of perdition”, exactly the phrase used about Judas, the
false disciple of Jesus. Notice how Tariq Aziz [Iraqi foreign minister
at the time of writing] and other leading members of the Iraqi cabinet
are in fact Arab Christians, not Moslems.
Evidence That Literal Babylon Has Yet To Fall
up, the following prophecies were given against Babylon by Isaiah and
to be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
to be inhabited.
to be built from generation to generation.
an Arabian to pitch his tent there.
shepherds to make their folds there.
be destroyed suddenly.
be made a desolation.
a stone from ancient Babylon to be used in building.
be a desolation, wilderness; no man to dwell or pass there.
1900 it could be said of Hilprecht, an archaeologist: “Before Professor
Hilprecht left Babylonia, he accepted a cordial invitation from the German
expedition working at Kuwairesh, a small Arab village on the Euphrates,
beautifully situated between the palm groves at the foot of the ruins
which cover Nebuchadnezzar’s palace in ancient Babylon” . This contradicts
prophecies 1–5 above.
“The expectations that interesting treasures of art would be discovered
in the interior of the palace have not yet been realized, the history
of Babylon’s gradual decay being unfavorable to such expectations”
- contradicts 6–7 above.
“The expectations that interesting treasures of art centuries has served
as the almost inexhaustible quarry for public and private buildings, from
the embankments of the Tigris opposite Bagdad to the modern structures
of the Hindiya canal and in the town of Hillah”- contradicts 8–9 above.
[These quotes are taken from an article in Bibliotheca Sacra, July
of Isaiah 13:5–13 seems to be a picture of the final “day of the Lord,”
and not necessarily of Babylon’s fall in 538 B.C. Never did anything like
this destruction occur when Babylon fell. She fell quietly. In fact one
part of the city did not know that the Medes and Persians had entered
the city until sometime later. The invaders dried up the Euphrates’ river-bed
and marched in beneath the city gates. The Babylonians were taken completely
by surprise. Pember says, “After Cyrus entered Babylon with joy and gladness,
he enlarged the royal palace, the seat of royalty; and Merodach, whom
the Babylonians had grieved, daily rejoiced the heart of his followers.
His wide-spreading forces were distributed over the land peacefully; and
he repaired the cities, and made the children of Babylon joyful”. Babylon
has never been without an inhabitant. No violence was done in 538 B.C.,
as already seen. In 516 Darius made a siege to quell a revolt. Only 3,000
were killed. The rest of Babylon he allowed to remain. In 478 Xerxes plundered,
but did not destroy the city. In 331 Babylon received Alexander with open
arms. Strabo says that Seleucia, a city named after the Seleucidae, was
situated near Babylon. It drew many people from Babylon, so that Babylon
became almost, but not quite, deserted. In 450 A.D. Theodoret said that
Babylon was inhabited by only a few Jews- so there was clearly some habitation
there. However other sources say that three universities flourished there.
At this time the Babylon Talmud became widely known. In 917 Babylon was
still in existence, though now a small village. In 1100 Babylon’s name
was changed to Hillah (“rest”). It had two Arab mosques, therefore had
grown a bit. The name Hillah has designated Babylon to the present day.
In 1585 the bishop of Freisingen said that half of the old city of Babylon
was desolate, but the other half was flourishing. He obtained this information
from travellers. In 1888, Pember’s time, Babylon had grown to about ten
thousand in population. In 1920 Hillah had about twenty thousand people,
mostly Arabs. It boasted wool and cotton textile manufacturing, but its
chief occupation was cultivating the date palm. In 1936 the population
had grown to 30,000. The city lies on the Bagdad to Basra rail-line. Pember
also mentions the stone taken from Babylon for building purposes which,
according to Jeremiah, was never to be done after it fell. He claims that
many villages and towns have been built from Babylonian stone. Such cities
as Seleucia, Ctesiphon, Al Modain, and Kufa are some of these.1. The destruction
of the city is a sudden thing. The phrase “in one hour” occurs several
times in Rev. 18. This destruction is like that of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Literal Babylon was not destroyed
“in one hour” in 536 BC. The predicted
fall of Babylon must therefore be in our last days.