This marks my first mid-week single-story edition covering issues of special interest to my readers. Today, we will look at the controversy surrounding the rebuilding of Babylon.
SINCE YOU ASKED
Rebuilding Babylon Revisited
With the continuing interest in the rebuilding of Babylon, I have decided to follow up on the article I wrote a year ago. A major controversy surrounds Babylon”s rebuilding, and the controversy stems from how one interprets the use of the name “Babylon” in Bible prophecy. Joel Rosenberg and others believe it is being used literally in every case. Chapter 18 of Revelation, for example, talks about the destruction of a great city called Babylon. The previous chapter presents this great city as a woman riding on a scarlet beast (commonly understood to represent the Antichrist). On her forehead is written BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. This name is described as being a “mystery.” Rosenberg and others don”t see much of a mystery. As they see it, Babylon means the city of Babylon, which is in the process of being rebuilt. The U.S. State Department, the World Monuments Fund, and Iraqi experts have committed to a plan to preserve the ancient site while establishing it as a major tourist center complete with hotels, restaurants, and a host of other supporting facilities. The Iraqi government sees the project as a major source of future revenues.
Those in the other camp see the name “Babylon,” as used in Revelation, for example, as a code word for some other city. The most popular alternative is Rome. The Apostle Peter used “Babylon” to refer to Rome in his letters to prevent certain retaliation by Roman officials. For years, those in this camp have pointed to the prophecies of Jeremiah 50:13 & 39, which state that after Babylon is destroyed (Babylon fell to the Persians in 539 B.C.), it would be devastated and would never again be inhabited. Alexander the Great tried to rebuild Babylon as his worldwide capital and he died an “interesting” and premature death. Saddam Hussein tried to pick up where Alexander left off and suffered a similar fate. Those in this camp believe that Babylon will never be rebuilt.
Recent events have raised some interesting questions. Babylon is being rebuilt, and people are now living in the area. Since no Bible prophecy has ever been proven wrong, the conclusion some draw is that Jeremiah”s prophecy is referring to the same “fall of Babylon” (some time in the future and associated the War of Armageddon) as is described in Revelation 18. If this view is correct, Babylon”s ultimate fall will happen only after it is rebuilt, and this process is now underway. Many believe that Babylon will ultimately be the headquarters of the Antichrist, giving further reason for God to destroy it.
Those in the other camp could argue that beginning the process (of rebuilding) doesn”t constitute “rebuilding,” and “inhabited” could mean inhabited as a functioning city. Therefore, just because rebuilding is taking place doesn”t mean it will be successful. Who knows when God will step in? Post 103 offers further arguments against the physical city of Babylon.
There”s a significant consequence if those in the “Rosenberg camp” are correct. Revelation 18 describes the city as a significant one (before its destruction), with a history of commerce, entertainment, and everything that accompanies a city of greatness. This would take a very long time considering that they”re starting with nothing. This does not fit with their view that Christ”s return is imminent. We would not be as close to “the end” as other worldwide events seem to indicate. So, will Babylon be rebuilt? We”ll have to wait and see what
AS I SEE IT
Regardless of whether or not you believe in the Bible, I can guarantee that the future of Babylon will unfold exactly as the Bible says it will. The 100% accuracy record of biblical prophecy sets it apart from all other “prophetic” books. While following current events can be fascinating, they take on a new dimension when seen in light of biblical prophecy.
Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time because you won”t have a leg to stand on.