After I published my recent article sharing my thoughts on whether New York City has potential to be Babylon the Great City I was asked whether I have considered the possibility of Babylon, Iraq representing Babylon the Great City. I have considered the possibility recently, and today I share some of my thoughts on the potential for Babylon to be Babylon the Great City. Like in my article assessing whether New York City has potential, I offer several things to consider with regards to Babylon.
Babylon is a candidate that merits a lot of consideration. Here are some of the reasons why I think Babylon is a candidate that merits a lot of consideration:
1. Babylon’s name appears in Revelation 17 and Revelation 18. The text does not say “Nineveh the Great” or “Tyre the Great” The text says “Babylon the Great”.
2. I do not believe the prophecies concerning Babylon’s destruction like Isaiah 13, Jeremiah 50, etc are completely fulfilled yet. The destruction of Babylon prophesied in these chapters and others suggest the destruction of Babylon will be so severe that no one will inhabit the city ever again. The following table illustrates that Babylon’s destruction is supposed be like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“(19) And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. (20) It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.” (Isa 13:19-20)
(39) Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. (40) As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.” (Jer 50:39-40)
There are people currently working on the preservation and restoration of Babylon in hopes of making it a site that Iraqis can exploit in the future.
- I have collected some information concerning the effort to preserve and restore Babylon which I may share in an upcoming article.
3. An important item that Babylon has in its favor is the parallel between the Old Testament’s description of the city and its destruction and the Book of Revelation’s description of Babylon the Great and its destruction. The following tables are examples of the closeness between the description of Babylon and its destruction in the Old Testament and the description of Babylon the Great and its destruction in the Book of Revelation.
|Rev 17:15, 18: (15) And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues…(18) And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.|
|Isa 47:5: Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.|
|Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.|
|Jer 51:6, 45: (6) Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence…(45) My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.|
|Rev 18:7: How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.|
|Isa 47:7-8: (7) And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. (8) Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:”|
|Burned With Fire|
|Rev 18:8: Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.|
|Jer 51:58: Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.|
|Rev 18:21-23: (21) And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. (22) And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; (23) And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.|
|Isa 13:19-20: (19) And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.|
(20) It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.
The close parallel in several verses is something that should not be ignored. I think the parallel makes Babylon a candidate that merits a lot of consideration.
4. Zechariah 5:5-11 depicts a wicked woman inside of an ephah. The angel tells Zechariah that the ephah is being carried to the land of Shinar (a location that many believe is around Babylonia) where a house will be build for it:
(5) Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. (6) And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. (7) And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. (8) And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. (9) Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. (10) Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? (11) And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.” (Zec 5:5-11)
Zechariah prophesied after the Babylonian Empire fell to the Medes-Persians. Some cite Zechariah 5:5-11 as an indication that the city of Babylon will be restore as Babylon the Great.
Although I see Babylon as a possibility that merits a lot of consideration, there are some issues that I think proponents of Babylon = Babylon the Great need to consider. Here are a couple of the issues that come to mind immediately
1. The harlot’s title is “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5). Some believe the “mystery” portion of the harlot’s title is a textual clue that indicates Babylon the Great City may not be the literal city of Babylon, but instead another city that could fit the description given in Revelation 17 and Revelation 18.
- Here is my article on the subject: Link
2. The Old Testament identifies multiple cities including Jerusalem (Isaiah 1:21), Tyre (Isaiah 23:15-16), and Nineveh (Nahum 3:4) as a “harlot”. However, Babylon is not a city identified as a “harlot” in the Old Testament. Some may argue that this detail argues against the possibility of Babylon qualifying a harlot.
Nevertheless, I think Babylon is a candidate that merits a lot of consideration.