Ancient City of Babylon: Conquered, Occupied, Abandoned, Rebuilt and Destroyed, Part 2 of 2
Our previous article sets forth the maxims or “hermeneutics” by which we would seek to understand the prophecies relating to the ancient City of Babylon. Our First and preeminent maxim is the LITERAL reading of Holy Writ as demonstrated by the Lord Jesus Christ in the days of his flesh: the Bible says what it means and means what it says. As a result of the First most important maxim, our Second maxim arises, it being reading the Scripture in the context of the DISPENSATION in which it was written. And again, as a result of the first maxim, our Third maxim is discovered, it being the LAW OF DOUBLE REFERENCE. If necessary, please review Part 1 for further clarification. We shall now proceed to our LITERAL study of the prophecies relating to the past, present and future of the ancient City of Babylon. For more on the rebuilding of the Ishtar Gate (above left) see this link.
CITY OF BABYLON CONQUERED
Because of the rampant sin of Judah and Benjamin, the LORD used His servant Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, to punish Judah and Benjamin, the two remaining southern tribes of the Nation of Israel living on their promised land. Nebuchadnezzar first invaded in 605 BC taking captive certain nobles of Judah including Daniel. But due to the disobedience of Judah’s King Zedekiah to the commands of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar re-invaded in 586 BC, this time destroying Solomon’s temple and the city of Jerusalem. The rest of the Jews were taken into Babylon thus beginning “the desolation” of the land of Judah. This “desolation,” also called “the Babylonian Captivity,” would last for 70 years after which the LORD would punish the king of Babylon and that nation of Babylon for their iniquity (Jeremiah 25:11-12).
As LITERALLY foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah, Babylon was conquered by the forces of the Medes and Persians. As prophesied by Isaiah, Persia’s Cyrus the Great entered into the City of Babylon through its two-leaved gates (Isaiah 45:1-6). The Prophet Daniel, then living in the City of Babylon, records the successful taking of the city by Darius the Median the very night it occurred (Daniel 5:1-31). Thus, the City of Babylon was LITERALLY conquered as LITERALLY foretold by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel. This change of hands of the City of Babylon would commence first with Cyrus, then Alexander the Great and then into the hands of Roman Emperor Trajan.
CITY OF BABYLON OCCUPIED
Upon the Medes and the Persians taking the City of Babylon (539 BC), it was not destroyed. Rather, both the kingdom and City of Babylon were absorbed into the expanding Medo-Persian empire. Again, pertaining to this discussion, it is important to remember that the City of Babylon was not destroyed. It remained a primary commercial city throughout the duration of the Medo-Persian empire as well as the Grecian empire of Alexander the Great, he taking the city from the Persians in 331 BC. In fact, the City of Babylon remained the largest city in the known world from 612-320 BC. Thus, for nearly 300 years Babylon did not fade in its commercial power nor was it destroyed by any human army.
CITY OF BABYLON ABANDONED
With the death of Alexander the Great in the palace of Babylon (323 BC), the ancient city begins its decline. In time, most of its inhabitants move to other cities but Babylon still remains as an inhabited city for another 400 years: it was never permanently destroyed. In the First Century at the time of the First Coming of Messiah Jesus, Babylon was inhabited in which there was a church of the Lord’s elect (I Peter 5:13). (The Babylon of I Peter 5:13 is not “Mystery Babylon” which is Rome, but is the LITERAL city of Babylon, Peter’s epistle having been sent, not to Rome, but to Asia as per I Peter 1:1.) Babylon is later absorbed into the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan (116 AD) and is improved under the subsequent Emperor Hadrian, he building a temple to Jupiter in the city. As a result of Hadrian’s suppression of the Jewish revolt under Bar Kochba, nearly 600,000 Jews were killed, a large remnant fleeing to Babylon. There a large Jewish community thrived and in the 6th Century produced the anti-Christ “Babylonian Talmud.” Again, the city of Babylon has not been totally destroyed by the middle of the 6th Century AD. In time the old City of Babylon was abandoned, to be covered with the dust of the region, but it was never destroyed.
PROPHECY OF THE FINAL DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON
Within the prophecies of the fall of the City of Babylon, we shall read them LITERALLY. We shall take notice the fall of Babylon occurred during the DISPENSATION of the Law of Moses, God dealing with Israel and the Nations, the Church/Body of Christ being non-existent at the time. In reading the prophecies LITERALLY, we shall also be compelled to observe the LAW OF DOUBLE REFERENCE as we behold the immediate fall of the City of Babylon at the hand of Cyrus the Great and the future total annihilation of the City of Babylon to be destroyed by fire as were Sodom and Gomorrah. We shall now review the key points of Isaiah 13.
Verses 1 through 5 foretell of the judgment upon Babylon. That judgment, according to verse 5, involves two things: the invasion of Babylon from “a far country” and the destruction of “the whole land.” Verses 6 through 16 deal with “the Day of the Lord,” entirely a future event in this context. Notice the LITERAL reading of verse 10. “The sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” In verse 13 we read: “Therefore I will shake the heavens and the earth shall remove out of its place . . .” Clearly these LITERAL events have never happened in history. As to the sun being darkened, this is the same LITERAL event recorded in Matthew 24:29 as described by the Lord Jesus Christ immediately prior to His Second Coming in power. As to the earth being shaken, this is the same LITERAL event recorded in Hebrews 12:26.
Thus verses 6- 16 describe future events during “the Day of the Lord” preceding the Second Coming. But verses 17 and 18 describe the LORD bringing the Medes against Babylon and their mass-killing of Babylonians which occurred when Darius the Mede conquered Babylon in 539 BC. Thus, verses 17 and 18 were prophecies that were LITERALLY fulfilled with the fall of the City of Babylon in 539 AD. But now behold prophetic verses 19 through 22 all which are yet future. The key is found in verses 19-20: Babylon “shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited . . .”. And how did God overthrow Sodom and Gomorrah? by fire! According to Jeremiah 50:40: “As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.” Clearly, if we are to read these prophecies LITERALLY, Babylon is to be destroyed by fire after which no man will live therein and which city shall never be rebuilt. It is most telling that the City of Babylon of Revelation 18 is LITERALLY destroyed by fire (18:8, 18) after which the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth at his Second Coming (Revelation 19). Thus, we behold the LAW OF DOUBLE REFERENCE in Isaiah 13: the near fulfillment of the prophecy of the Medes conquering Babylon and the distant fulfillment of the prophecy of Babylon being destroyed by fire never to be inhabited again. It is for these two reasons that the City of Babylon must be rebuilt so that it may be destroyed by fire, so that it will never be rebuilt or inhabited during the Millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ after which this present earth will be destroyed by fire (Revelation 20:9; II Peter 3:10).
CITY OF BABYLON BEING REBUILT
Plans for the rebuilding of the City of Babylon have been in the making for over 200 years. Jesuit Temporal Coadjutor Napoleon Bonaparte I had planned to rebuild Babylon to make it his capital it becoming a governmental and commercial center. It was the dream of Jesuit Temporal Coadjutor Kaiser Wilhelm II to build a transcontinental railroad which included linking Baghdad to Babylon. Clarence Larkin concludes:
“With these facts in mind it can readily be seen that it is the purpose of European capitalists to revive the country of Babylonia and rebuild its cities, and when once the time comes the city of Babylon will be rebuilt almost in a night and on a scale of magnificence such as the world had never seen. . . .
“Babylon the Great will be an immense city, the greatest in every respect the world has ever seen. It will be a typical city, the London, the Paris, the Berlin, the Petrograd, the New York, the Chicago of its day. It will be the greatest commercial city of the world.”
Clarence Larkin, Dispensational Truth or God’s Plan and Purpose of the Ages, (Philadelphia: Rev. Clarence Larkin Est., 1918). pp. 143, 144.
Beginning with a 1910 quote from an unnamed source, Bible-believing Hebrew Christian David Baron wrote in 1918:
” ‘Noteworthy in this connection,’ observes another writer, is the watchful eye of the German Imperial Government upon the railway in course of construction from Konia (the biblical Iconium) to Baghdad. Some six hundred miles of the Anatolian, or Euphratean, line have already been opened to traffic.’ In short there is a general impression that this region, the highway between Asia and Europe, and contiguous to Africa, is about to become a great ‘commercial centre of gravity.’ The new Turkish Government (in contrast to the old regime) is very keen on the development of the resources of that ancient and naturally fertile region, and alive to the very important aid which Jewish capital and energy could render in that direction. Very recently, therefore, they engaged the services of a distinguished English hydraulic engineer, Sir William Willcocks, K.CM.G., to survey the district and report on the establishment and development of irrigation works. He returned full of enthusiasm, declaring that his ‘future hopes, ambitions, and work are bound up with the re-creation of Chaldea.’ ”
David Baron, The Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1918), p. 169.
Clearly, not only the City of Babylon, but the entire region of what was once Babylonia in the land of Chaldea is to be rebuilt. The LITERAL reading of the Word of God demands it and historical events substantiate the intent of men of immense power—serving the Jesuit Papacy—to pursue it. It is also most noteworthy to observe in the above quote that Israel—Rome’s Revived Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem—will commercially benefit from the rebuilding of the region and City of Babylon. Thus, we are not surprised that the City of Babylon and its sister city of Baghdad is now being rebuilt.
THE FINAL DESTRUCTION OF THE CITY OF BABYLON
This is our last and final point. The LITERAL destruction of the rebuilt City of Babylon can be found in Isaiah 13:18-19; Jeremiah 50:13, 40. After that destruction detailed in Revelation 18, the whole earth will be at rest (Isaiah 14:7) and the iniquity of Israel shall be none (Jeremiah 50:20); for it will be the time of the risen Son of God’s rule over all the earth—on earth—from his Millennial Temple in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-4). Concerning the Jews and Jerusalem, their sins shall be at “an end” and the “vision and prophecy” shall have been fulfilled in accordance with Daniel 9:24.
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