posted on Oct, 3 2007 @ 04:19 AM
BABYLON: A MYSTERY
WRAPPED IN AN ENIGMA
And what about "Prophetic Babylon?" It is, of course, every bit as magnificent!
Before we set out on our hunt for this great city, however, let's deal with one of the biggest stumbling blocks to any search: the thought that
"Prophetic Babylon" has anything at all to do with the ancient city or that the verses which deal with this prophecy (i.e., Revelation 17 and 18;
Isaiah chapters 13 and 14, and Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51) were fulfilled when Cyrus took Babylon in B.C. 541.
As strange as it might seem, there are some who insist that the prophecies concerning "Babylon" (again - Revelation 17 and 18, Isaiah chapters 13
and 14, and Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51) were fulfilled when the Medo-Persians captured Babylon in 541 B.C. - and that these verses have, therefore,
nothing to do with events yet future. But there is too much in these chapters which were not accomplished when Cyrus took the ancient city of
Babylon. For example, both the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah, like those of the Revelation, indicate that Babylon [Prophetic Babylon] is to be
destroyed suddenly and catastrophically - "in one short hour," NEVER TO BE INHABITED AGAIN!! But when Cyrus took the city in B.C. 541, he took
it so quietly and with such little commotion that some of the inhabitants did not know until the third day that Belshazzar had been slain and the city
Some years later, it revolted against Darius Hystaspis, and in B.C. 478 Xerxes took the city and plundered it. But he did not destroy it. In B.C. 331,
Alexander the Great prepared to lay siege to the once again thriving and powerful city, but the citizens threw open the gates and received him with
acclamation. During the subsequent wars of his generals, Babylon suffered much and was finally brought under the power of Seleucis. In B.C. 293
Seleucis founded Seleucia in the neighborhood of Babylon, and the rival city gradually drew off a large portion of Babylon's inhabitants so that by
A.D. 15, Strabo spoke of the city as being largely deserted.
Nevertheless, there still existed within the city a large Jewish population left over from the "Captivity." Indeed, we find that the Apostle Peter
wrote his First Epistle from Babylon in A.D. 60 (I Peter 5:13). About the middle of the Fifth Century A.D., Theodoret spoke of Babylon as being
inhabited only by Jews who still had three Jewish schools or "Yeshivas" there. In the last year of the same century, the Talmud was issued from
Babylon and accepted as authoritative by Jews throughout the world.
In A.D. 917 Ibu Hankel mentioned Babylon as still being in existence, and by A.D. 1100 it had again grown into a city of some importance. Shortly
afterwards, it was enlarged, fortified and renamed "Hillah." In 1898, Hillah contained about 10,000 inhabitants and was surrounded by fertile lands
and beautiful groves which stretched along the Euphrates River.
During this entire period (B.C. 541 - to the present) it could never be said that "neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall
shepherds make their fold there" (Isa. 13:20). Nor could it be said of Babylon - "Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land
WHEREIN NO MAN DWELLETH, neither doeth any son of man pass thereby." (Jer. 51:43). Nor could it be said, "... and they shall not take of thee a
stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations, but thou shalt be desolate forever, saith the Lord" (Jer. 51:26), for many towns and cities have
been built from the ruins of Babylon - Seleucia by the Greeks, Ctesiphone by the Parthians, Al Maiden by the Persians, and Kufa by the Caliphs.
Indeed, in Baghdad today (the capital of modern Iraq) Babylonian stamped bricks may be frequently noticed.
But Isaiah is still more specific, for he locates the time when his prophecy will be fulfilled. He calls it the "DAY OF THE LORD" (Isa. 13:9) -
that is to say, at the end of the "Great Tribulation." Moreover, he says that when Babylon is destroyed, "The stars of heaven and the
constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine"
(Isa. 13:19; see also Luke 21:25-27). Surely nothing like this happened when Cyrus took Babylon in B.C. 541.
In the description of the destruction of the city of Babylon given in Revelation 18, we are told that Babylon's destruction will be accomplished in
"ONE HOUR" (verse 19). Again - this is certainly not the description of events which surrounded Cyrus's taking of the city. In addition, we are
told in the same chapter that she is to be destroyed by fire (Rev. 18:8-9, 18) and this is in exact harmony with the words of Isaiah 13:19 and
Jeremiah 50:40. Moreover, in Revelation 16:17-19, we are told that an earthquake will shake the city at the time of its destruction. No such
earthquake ever shook the city when Cyrus took it in B.C. 541.
Obviously, then, the Babylon that is described in Isaiah 13 and 14, Jeremiah 50 and 51 and in the Revelation is not the ancient city of Babylon,
but some great "latter-day" nation which by means of its enormous military and economic might will establish its ascendancy over the world. Lastly,
there are those who insist that the prophecies which deal with Babylon refer to modern-day Iraq. Indeed, prior to the Gulf War, countless numbers of
fundamentalist Christians could be found who were predicting doom for America in its confrontation with Iraq over Kuwait. Such thinking, of course,
was MORONIC - U.S. forces sliced through Iraq like a knife through butter, revealing in the process more about the real identity of Prophetic Babylon
than most American Christians were (are) prepared to admit