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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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9-2 The judgment of Babylon

The detailed descriptions and repetitions concerning Babylon's punishment given in Jer. 50, 51;  Isa. 47 and many other passages must be for a reason.   In the light of this, the purpose of Babylon's destruction must be understood.   The real significance of her fall is that the false claims of her gods and her conscious blasphemy of Israel's God, in short her epitomy of sin's manifestation, is to be finally destroyed.   She is called " the seed of evildoers" (Isa. 14:20), suggesting that her defeat will be the political victory of the seed of the woman over the serpent.

For this reason, the religious motive behind Babylon's invasion of Israel, both historically and in the last days, must be appreciated.   The Arab use of Islamic fundamentalism as their reason for attacking Israel is evident to all at the present time;  we should therefore be able to discern a corresponding religious motive behind the aggression of earlier 'Babylon'.   The following are clear indicators of this:-

-  " The Chaldeans...shall...possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs" (Hab. 1:6) sounds like Ps. 83:12, concerning the latter-day Arab confederacy saying, " Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession" .   The implication is that Babylon, too, wished to possess the holy places of Jerusalem for religious reasons.

-  Thus the king of Babylon wanted to place his throne in the temple, thinking, " I will be like the most high" (Isa. 14:13,14), mocking the claim of Yahweh to be 'most high' above all other gods.   The latter-day " man of sin" says likewise (2 Thess. 2:4).

-  The rejoicing at Babylon's fall is therefore because " Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces;  her idols...her images are broken in pieces" (Jer. 50:2).

-  The prophecies of Babylon's judgment emphasize that it is the judgment of her idols (e.g. Jer. 50:38;  51:18,47).

- We saw in Chapter 8 how the Assyrians likened captivity in their land to the wonders of being in God's Kingdom. Babylon is likewise depicted as a fake Kingdom of God. All the  nations flowed together unto her (Jer. 51:44), as they will to the true Kingdom of God (Is. 2:2). She is called " that great city, which reigneth (Gk. 'basilia') over the kings of the earth" (Rev.17:18). 'Basilia' is normally used about God's Kingdom. When Jesus described His Kingdom as a tree " greater than all herbs" with " great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it" (Mk.4:32), He was actually quoting from the description of the kingdom of Babylon in Dan.4. By doing so, He was pointing out that Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom, legendary as it might be, was but a fake replica of His.

-  The Babylonians taunted the captive Jews with requests to sing them the temple songs, " Yahweh's song" (Ps. 137:3,4).   This conscious mocking of Yahweh-worship shows how the Babylonians conceived of the conflict with Israel in terms of their gods being opposed to Yahweh, whom they claimed to have vanquished.   Today's Arabs see their struggle within the similar construct of Mohammed against Israel's God, Yahweh.

Thus strong religious motivation of latter-day 'Babylon' can be expected to grow.   Babylon caused the nations around her to drink her wine of fornication, making them " mad" (Jer. 51:7;  Rev. 14:8).   Wine being a symbol of doctrine, this must point to 'Babylon' spreading the idea of Islamic fundamentalism to the nations around Israel (as " the nations" seem to normally refer to), making them " mad" in their hatred of Israel.   Iran and Iraq, geographical Babylon/Assyria, are already noted for this.   As Sennacherib relied heavily on propaganda and religious rhetoric, so Nebuchadnezzar and his latter-day equivalent will do even more so.   Jer. 51:55 speaks of Babylon as " the great voice" , referring to her religious propaganda.   This will be quite complex, carrying with it all the power and persuasion of a pseudo-intellectuality:  " Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee" (Isa. 47:10).

As Sennacherib described captivity in his kingdom as being better than having a place in God's future Kingdom (2 Kings 18:31,32), so Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon are exposed by the language of the record as being an anti-Christ and false kingdom of God respectively.   Nebuchadnezzar and the nations he leads are described as " the shepherd and his flock" (Jer. 51:23), in pointed contrast to Christ, the good shepherd, and His flock, comprised of natural and spiritual Israel.  

The stones of Babylon being used as corner stones and foundation blocks (Jer. 51:26) seem to request contrast with Christ as the true foundation and corner stone (Ps. 118:22).

Jer. 51:25 calls Babylon a " destroying mountain" which is to be judged by fire to become " a burnt mountain" .   The use of identical language in Rev. 8:8 must make that passage have some reference to the fall of latter-day Babylon.   " Destroying mountain" is the language of Dan. 2:44 concerning the little stone destroying the image and growing into a mountain, symbolizing God's Kingdom.   Jer. 51:20-23 stresses no less than nine times how 'Babylon' is to be " broken in pieces" , which is another connection with Dan. 2:44 concerning the breaking in pieces of the nations who are confederate with 'Babylon', the head of gold.  

As the image stands erect in the last days, it follows that its latter-day application must be to the Arab powers around Israel who become confederate under the king of 'Babylon', " the head of gold" .   Some of these powers with Babylon are called " mingled people" (Jer. 50:37), connecting with the " mingled" feet of the image (Dan. 2:43).

Babylon's description as " the praise of the whole earth" (Jer. 51:41), connects with Jerusalem during the Millennium being spoken of in similar language (e.g. Ps. 48:1,2;  Isa. 62:7).   As the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar was a fake kingdom of God, so the city of Babylon was a pseudo-Jerusalem.  Likewise the nations 'flowing together' unto Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon (Jer. 51:44) seems a parody of how they will flow to Christ in Jerusalem (Isa. 2:2).

9-3 The Babylon confederacy

The prophecies against Babylon have many similarities with those against the smaller Arab nations around Israel, showing that they were and will be confederate with Babylon in the latter-day attack upon Jerusalem.   Thus Jer. 44-49 concern the judgment of these nations, as a preface to Jer. 50,51 which concern Babylon.   As Babylon had made Israel and Jerusalem " desolate" (Isa. 24:12;  Zeph. 1:13;  Jer. 4:7;  Zech. 7:14), so she would be " desolate" (Jer. 50:3).   This same word is used in the preceding chapters concerning the judgments on Moab (Jer. 48:9), Bozrah (Jer. 49:13), Edom (Jer. 49:17), as well as concerning Assyria (Zeph. 2:13) and the Philistines (Zeph. 2:4).   The clear implication is that all these Arab allies of Babylon will have an identical punishment.   The time period in which this occurs in the time of the end will be relatively short - the Arab powers firing nuclear weapons at each other almost simultaneously, would neatly overcome this problem.Ps. 137:7 and Obadiah v.12 speak of Edom as being with Babylon in her taking of Jerusalem.   'Edom' seems a name for several Arab powers.

Is.34 describes the judgments of " all nations" around Israel, notably " upon Idumea" , in language which is clearly taken from the prophecies of Babylon's doom (v.9,10=Rev.14:11; 17:16; 18:9; v.11=Is.14:23). Indeed, all God's prophecies against Israel's enemies have marked points of contact with each other. Thus the prophecies against Tyre in Is.23 are shot through with links with those against Babylon in Revelation; and " as at the report (prophecy) concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre" (Is.23:5). Is.14:3 says that Babylon treated Israel like the Egyptians did; they too gave them " sorrow...fear, and...hard bondage wherein (Israel) wast made to serve" . Because of these similarities in how they treated and will treat God's people, their judgments will be similar. Yet a number of these nations, notably Egypt and Tyre, are described as being judged and destroyed by Babylon (e.g. Ez.26:7). However, there is good reason to think that Babylon's own judgment will be at the hands of nations like these, who come under her umbrella during their invasion of Israel. The resolution of this apparent contradiction lies in the prophecies concerning the Arab powers destroying each other in the final conflict, thus fulfilling all these prophecies concerning their judging of each other.

The close association of these other Arab powers with geographical 'Babylon' in the last days is shown by Jer. 42:11 encouraging latter day Israel against Babylon in the very language used to inspire Joshua against the Arab tribes of his day: " Be not afraid of the king of Babylon...for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you" (cp. Josh. 1:5). Hab. 2:5,15,16 describes the king of Babylon in language reminiscent of both Lot's daughters (mothers of Moab and Ammon), and Canaan, father of the Arab / Canaanite tribes (cp. Gen. 9:22-25; 19:31-37). Isa. 13:14,15 also shows the connection of the Arab peoples with Babylon; people of these areas are urged to " flee every one into his own land (because) every one that is...joined unto (Babylon), shall fall by the sword" in the day of Babylon's judgment.   This sounds like another hint that the Arab peoples will be given the opportunity to repent and avoid God's judgments.   Their previously being " joined unto" Babylon is the language of marriage/intercourse, showing the brief intensity of their association (remember Babylon is called a whore in Rev. 17:5).   The intensity of their joining together is shown by the fact that Babylon is spoken of as the 'hire of the north', although " the north" can refer to other Arab powers apart from Babylon (Jer. 1:14,15;  25:9;  46:24).   Passages where " the north country" is Babylon include Jer. 3:18;  6:22;  10:22;  16:15;  23:8;  31:8; 46:10.   The conclusion to be drawn from this is that these powers became part of 'the king of the north' for the purposes of Israel and Jerusalem's invasion and judgment.

Note, too, how Jer. 51:20-23 speaks of Babylon as an individual controlling others, i.e. the other Arab nations - e.g. a rider of a horse, a shepherd over a flock, a plowman over his oxen.   This paves the way for Babylon being the whore who rides the beast (Rev. 17:3).   In similar vein Isa. 49:26 speaks of Israel's Arab enemies being fed " with their own flesh" , whilst Babylon's flesh will be eaten by the powers confederate with her (Rev. 17:16).   This shows their close association.

However, Babylon and the beast with which it is associated is said to have power over the nations of whole earth (Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:12). This is referring back to the way in which historical Babylon was praised by the whole earth (Jer. 51:41), and had an army which included men from " the whole earth" (Jer. 34:1). As Babylon of the last days will influence all nations of the earth with her wine, so Babylon of old is spoken of in the same way (Jer. 51:7 cp. Rev. 17:2,4). Thus several prophecies speak of how Babylon's fall had effects on the whole earth (e.g. Jer. 50:46); and latter day Babylon likewise (Rev. 18:9,10). If we are correct in interpretting " Babylon" as a revived Arab power of the last days, based on the prototype of historical Babylon, then we must look for a nation like Iran or Iraq to gather together the surrounding Arab powers for an assault on Israel, and to somehow bring the whole world under the control of this confederacy. An Arab-dominated UN or other global political power could bring this about. " The Charter of Allah" makes it clear that Islam aims for world domination, within which " co-existence is possible with other religions, but only on Islamic terms and under Islamic domination" . Thus the control of the Western world may not be as difficult in practice as it may seem; if, for example, the Pope makes some suitable defference to Islam on behalf of all 'Christians', such a situation would come into existence. As we have often said, we need to cocnentrate more on interpretting the prophecies on a purist level, rather than examining them only within the constructs of what seems politically feasible at the present time.

The Arab nations in this confederacy will turn against 'Babylon' in the ultimate 'time of the end';  through them God's judgment against her is administered. Babylon " gathereth unto him all nations" , but " shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him...shall they not rise up suddenly (and) bite thee...and thou shalt be for booties unto them?" (Hab.2:5-8). First of all the islands (nations) flee away from Babylon (Rev.16:20), the birds and animals scatter from under the big tree as it starts to totter. This may well speak of those Arab individuals who repent and 'come out of' Babylon.  Yet seeing that all these nations on a national level drink the same cup of judgment as Babylon (Jer. 25:19-26, cp. Rev. 16:19), it follows that their destruction must be through their judging and desolating Babylon.   A hi-tec war situation in which they all desolate each other with missiles urges itself upon us as the likely fulfilment of this.   Note that Babylon's king drinks the cup slightly after this (Jer. 25:26), in the same way as the Arab leaders of earlier invasions were singled out by Gideon for especially symbolic destruction (Jud. 8:12-21), which we are informed will have its latter-day counterpart (Ps. 83:11).

" An assembly of great nations from the north country...shall set themselves in array against her" (Jer. 50:9).   The Hebrew word translated " assembly" is also rendered " company" , and is used concerning the Babylon-led confederacy which attacks Israel in the last days (Eze. 16:40;  23:46,47).   It is used four times to describe Gog's " company" that invades Israel (Eze. 38:4,7,13,15).   As that invasion was to come out of the north (Eze. 38:15), so would Babylon's judgment.   Their " array" against Babylon is the same word used in Joel 2:5 concerning their " array" against Jerusalem.   " Their arrows (against Babylon) shall be as of a mighty expert man:  none shall return in vain" (Jer. 50:9) is the language of Joel 2:7 concerning how they attacked Jerusalem.   Their being in array against her and firing arrows sounds like a siege of Babylon, akin to that of Jerusalem.   Cyrus literally encircled historical Babylon (cp. Jer. 50:14).   This suggests that this prophecy focuses on what will be done to 'Babylon's' homeland and perhaps her capital at the time of Israel's invasion.

" Chaldea shall be a spoil" (Jer. 50:10) may just have reference to the historical taking of Babylon;  if it has a latter-day application, this would suggest that the repentant Arab peoples take some of her wealth for themselves during the Millennium.   Note how her spoil will be taken in the same way as she came to take a spoil from Israel (Eze. 38:12).   It would appear that the powers with Babylon were coerced into support by previous military defeat, as well as by religious rhetoric (Isa. 14:6).  This helps explain how easily the coalition falls apart once Jerusalem is captured, and supports our previous conclusion that there will be major inter-Arab wars going on, especially between 'Babylon' and the smaller Arab powers right up to Jerusalem's invasion.

The subsequent hate of these nations for Babylon is foreshadowed by the Medes, who conquered historical Babylon, disregarding silver and gold in order to kill the women and children of Babylon (Isa. 13:17,18).   This may indicate that some of them are doing this on Christ's behalf, having previously repented, or, alternatively, it may just indicate the extent of inter-Arab hatred that will exist.   The destroyers of Babylon will rise against her like the sunrise (Isa. 47:11 A.V. mg. cp. Jer. 50:9), which is the language of Christ's return (Mal. 4:2).  This may indicate that they are acting on Christ's behalf, or that Christ returns at this point.   It may be that 'Babylon' will have offered them some reward for co-operating in the attack on Jerusalem which she fails to realize.   The suddenness of Babylon's judgment indicates a very quick, united turning against her (Isa. 47:9).   There is copious other evidence that 'Babylon' of the last days is punished by the Arab powers that were once confederate with her:-

-  " Wild beasts of the desert" occupying Babylon is probably a figurative reference to the Arab tribes (Isa. 13:21).

-  Babylon will be " filled with men, as with caterpillers" in judgment (Jer. 51:14).   This is recalling Joel 1:4, speaking of the Arabs who come against Jerusalem as " caterpillars" .

-  " The spoilers shall come unto her (Babylon) from the north" (Jer. 51:48) - as Israel's Arab invaders are termed " spoilers" in Jud. 2:14;  1 Sam. 13:17;  2 Kings 17:20.

-  Babylon's " sea" , i.e. the Arab nations she had power over, will be dried up from her - i.e. she will no longer control them (Jer. 51:36; Rev. 17:1,15), but " the sea" (those Arab powers) will then come up against Babylon to destroy it (Jer. 51:42).

The physical presence of the Arab armies in the geographical homeland of 'Babylon' will therefore make that the place of judgment for the nations, as well as just outside Jerusalem, where other armies of those same powers will also turn against each other.   Thus Babylon becomes " like a threshingfloor" , another place of Armageddon (Jer. 51:33, cp. Isa. 21:9,10).   As Babylon took Jerusalem by house-to-house fighting, so this will happen to the city of Babylon (Jer. 50:30);  as she burnt Jerusalem with fire, so a fire will be 'kindled' in her (note the similarity between Jer. 17:27 and 50:32);  as she robbed the treasures of Jerusalem, so will hers be (Jer. 50:37, cp. 2 Kings 24:13).   " Her young men...all her host" will be destroyed (Jer. 51:3) - referring to the Iranian/Iraqi habit of fielding huge armies composed of fanatical Muslim schoolboys?

In the same way as " the king of Babylon heard the report" of the Medes' invasion and was troubled (Jer. 50:43), so the latter-day " king of the north" , while personally present conducting the campaign against Jerusalem, will be troubled by " tidings" of this massive Muslim mutiny against him, and will therefore go ahead in a furious rage to try to exterminate every Jew left in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:44,45).   Jer. 51:31,32 stresses how the report of the attack on Babylon will spread like wildfire.   This relates to the beast launching a final burst of persecution against God's people, " having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Rev. 12:12).   " The earth helped the woman" (Rev. 12:16) might refer to the Arabs indirectly 'helping' Israel by turning against Babylon. 

One final point.   Those who judge Babylon are told, " As she hath done, do unto her" (Jer. 50:15).   This is quoted in Rev. 18:6 concerning the saints as the judges of Babylon.   It would appear from this that there must be two stages in Babylon's judgment:-

1)  The Arab armies attacking her armies, both near Jerusalem    

    and in geographical 'Babylon'.   They are themselves

    largely destroyed while doing this.

2)  The saints possibly directing some of the repentant Arab peoples, complete the judgment, giving some of the spoils to these Arabs.   Several times in our studies we have shown the likelihood of a minority Arab repentance.

It may be that the similarities between the judgments of Babylon by the saints and by the nations of the Babylon confederacy may be because those Arab nations repent- an idea mentioned elsewhere in our studies. At this stage it may be appropriate to catalogue some of the passages which speak of this latter day Arab repentance:

- Gen. 12:3 LXX speaks of how all the tribes of the land of Israel will be blessed (i.e. forgiven) due to Abraham's seed, the Lord Jesus. This has yet to be fulfilled- but it will be if the tribes of the land (i.e. the native Arab peoples living between the Nile and Euphrates) repent and accept Messiah's forgiveness. The picture of Christ's Millenial rule in Ps. 72:8,9 is similar: " He shall have dominion from sea (the Meditterranean?) to sea (the Persian Gulf?) from the river unto the ends of the earth (land). They that dwell in the wilderness (the Arab peoples) shall bow  before him" .

- " The remnant (i.e. repentant remnant?) of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel" at the time of Syria's latter day judgments (Is. 17:3 RSV).

- When Moab receives her judgments in the last days, " Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh" (Jer. 48:13)- they will renounce their false religion (cp. Islam).

- When Edom receives her judgments, Yahweh will plead with the poor, humbled remnant: " Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alivel and let they widows trust in me" (Jer. 49:11)- all very much the language of God's mercy to a not unspiritual Hagar (Gen. 21:17).

- Even Babylon itself will be encouraged to repent through her latter day judgments. In this context we read: " Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her (cp. Rev. 18:2,9); take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed" (Jer. 51:8). Truly God does not willingly afflict, but in judgment remembers mercy, and His ultimate aim of achieving His glory.

- Some of the latter day Philistines who repent will be given positions of authority in the Millennium on a par to natural Israel: " I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth (as if the Philistine tribes were a beast of prey): but he that remaineth (the spiritual, repentant remnant), even he, shall be for our (Israel's) God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and (a man from) Ekron as a Jebusite (Jew born in Jerusalem)" (Zech. 9:6,7).

We can now summarize the broad theme presented by our studies of latter-day typology so far:-

a)   Israel under Arab domination for an extended period (3.5 years?) after an initial time of prosperity.   Arab wars all around, with 'Babylon' emerging as leader.   No Arab army of occupation;  wealth of Israel raided;  land physically destroyed.   Division amongst Jews;  possible turning to Islam.   Jewish false prophets.   Elijah ministry during this period resulting in a righteous remnant developing.   Some Jews go into captivity.

b)   Arabs call a truce, and, under the leadership of 'Babylon' and its charismatic leader, attack Jerusalem.

c)   Great suffering of Jews.   Jerusalem captured, although righteous remnant still manage to survive.   Simultaneously, righteous remnant develop in their captivity in Babylon (in extermination camps?)

d)   Smaller Arab powers turn against 'Babylon'.   Inter-Arab fighting.   Final desperate rage against the Jews until only the righteous remnant remain alive among Jewry.   Arab powers destroy themselves.

e)   Christ with saints;  repentant Jews and Arabs complete the judgment of Babylon. The prophecies concerning Israel destroying Babylon which have never had a previous fulfilment (e.g. Jer. 51:19,20) thus come true.

It should be remembered that there have been hints in our studies that Christ could return at any of these stages.   It is not for us to be able to pinpoint exactly when.


(1) There is a strong theme throughout Scripture that all that is untrue, apostate from the true God, of the flesh etc., is in fact a false Kingdom of God, a pseudo-Jesus, a fake God. Any human ruler is to some degree an incarnation of sin; all the kingdoms of men are to be seen as offering an alternative to the true Kingdom of God. Through recognizing the extent to which this is true, we will be better able to see and resist the temptations to associate ourselves with them rather than the things of God's Kingdom. The beasts of Daniel and Revelation are an epitome of the flesh and rebellion against God. It is to be expected, therefore, that they and the powers they represent will have many such characteristics. The record of the kings of north and south in Daniel 11 are shot through with Kingdom language:

" His dominion shall be a great dominion" (v.5; cp. 6:26; 7:27)

" Out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up" (v.7; cp.Is.11:1)

" There shall many stand up" (v.14; cp.12:1)

" Upright ones with him...he shall give him the daughter of women" (v.17; cp. Zech.14:5; Ps.45:9)

" the prince of the covenant" (v.22; cp. 9:25,27)

" at the time appointed he shall return" , as will Christ.

The whole principle of Antichrist is discussed in more detail in Appendix 3.