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The Book Of Signs has a good history of how Babylon developed. It does fail to mention that Nimrod was its founder and that it was one of the centres of his kingdom [Gen. 10:8-10]. As a mighty warrior/hunter, Nimrod was probably the first brutal dictator after the flood. This city was founded in blood and rebellion against God.
But The Book Of Signs moves from history to speculation, theorizing a rebuilt Babylon like the rebuilt Rome. We have previously looked at the claim of a revived Roman Empire. The rebuilt Babylon theory is based, at least in this chapter, on Revelation Chapter 18. I suggest you take a few minutes and read that chapter now. Note: Even IF The Book Of Signs is correct, this does not provide one of the ’31 undeniable prophecies of the apocalypse’ since able, conservative Bible expositors - past and present - have disagreed on the meaning and application of the Book of Revelation. If the author wants to use this as undeniable proof, he must do more than assume that he is right.
We will come back to this in later chapters, but I want to point out something very interesting about the Book of Revelation.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place…Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Rev. 1:1,3 NKJV
This is the revelation of Jesus Christ [His unveiling of the divine mysteries], which God [the Father] gave to Him to show to His bond-servants (believers) the things which must soon take place [in their entirety]…Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and who keep the things which are written in it [heeding them and taking them to heart]; for the time [of fulfillment] is near. Rev. 1:1,3 Amp.
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book…And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” Rev. 22:7,12, NKJV
As we read this, there seems to be a sense of urgency and immediacy about the Book of Revelation. In our self-focused society, we tend to apply this to ourselves. One of the foundational rules of Bible study is to consider how the original readers/hearers would have understood this. If you were sitting in a church in the 1st Century and heard these words, would you say, “Well, I guess we don’t have to worry about it 2,000 years”?
Also, compare these two Scriptures:
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Dan. 12:4, NKJV
And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. Rev. 22:10, NKJV
In Daniel’s case, he was prophesying about events that were future to him; therefore, he was told to ‘seal the book’ until the appropriate time. John, however, was told, ‘Do not seal the words…the time is at hand.’ This is strong evidence that John and his readers expected most of the Book of Revelation to be fulfilled in their lifetime or shortly after that - not 2,000 years later. IF this is true - and there is much disagreement - then every application of Babylon to a revived Babylon in this chapter of The Book of Signs cannot be true.
Before we look at Revelation, I would like to make one more point. The book quotes Isaiah 13:20-12 and references Jeremiah 51:26, 37,43. It uses these Scriptures to prove that the hypothetical revived Babylon will be destroyed, never to rise again.
It will never be inhabited,
Nor will it be settled from generation to generation;
Nor will the Arabian pitch tents there,
Nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there.
But wild beasts of the desert will lie there,
And their houses will be full of owls;
Ostriches will dwell there,
And wild goats will caper there. Is. 13:20-21, NKJV
Babylon shall become a heap,
A dwelling place for jackals,
An astonishment and a hissing,
Without an inhabitant. Jer. 51:37, NKJV
The Book Of Signs accurately sees that these verses predict the destruction and abandonment of Babylon. However, it ignores that Isaiah and Jeremiah were written when Babylon was THE major world power and before the Israelites returned from the Babylonian Captivity. No one in that day would have thought that Babylon could have been defeated and destroyed. These prophets prophesied that it would happen. Question: Did it happen?
The present site [of Babylon], an extensive field of ruins, contains several prominent mounds. https://www.britannica.com/place/Babylon-ancient-city-Mesopotamia-Asia/The-ancient-city
As foretold by Old Testament prophets, the grand ancient city fell to the Persians in 539 B.C.E. and slowly crumbled over centuries of foreign invasions and occupations…If you took a trip to Babylon today, located 55 miles (85 kilometres) south of Baghdad, you'd see a tacky recreation built by Saddam Hussein in the 1970s that's been partially destroyed by decades of war. It's a sad ending to such a fabled city. https://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/babylon.htm
Babylon today is basically just a pile of ruins, as the prophets said it would be. In other words, it has already been destroyed. Please pay special attention to these words from Isaiah: It will never be inhabited, Nor will it be settled from generation to generation…
Since we know for a fact that Babylon has been destroyed, as Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted, and we know from Scripture that part of their prophecy included that Babylon would never be inhabited again, how can we have a revived Babylonian Empire? I don’t see how it is possible unless the Scripture is wrong - a conclusion no conservative Christian would make. The Book Of Signs does not even attempt to explain this discrepancy. Instead, it simply propels the Isaiah and Jeremiah prophecies into the future and applies them to a supposed revived Babylonian Empire. Again, if the dispensational prophetic system cannot explain this, then every application of Scripture to a revived Babylonian empire in this chapter cannot be accurate.
The Book Of Revelation is written in a prophetic style. The prophetic style often uses images and symbols to communicate Truth. The images enhance our understanding better than literal statements.
For example, we could simply say: “Because of His death on the cross, Jesus was worthy to have authority and release the judgment of heaven.”
How does the Book of Revelation put it?
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Rev. 5:5-7, NKJV
Do we expect to see a literal Lion Who turns into a blood-stained Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes that somehow manages to grasp a scroll between its hoofs? Of course not! We know this is an image of Jesus, and the images give us more rich detail than a bare recital of facts ever could.
Sometimes, we are told what the symbols mean in the Book of Revelation. For example:
…The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw
are the seven churches. REV. 1:20, NKJV
…having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Rev. 5:6, NKJV
…and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Rev. 5:8, NKJV
…The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Rev. 17:9, NKJV
Many times the symbols are not directly explained. John expects us to understand them because they have been used previously in Scripture. To properly understand the Book of Revelation, a person must be very familiar with the Old Testament and how prophetic language is used.
Jezebel appears in Revelation [Rev. 2:20], but she died way back in the days of Jehu [2 Kings 9]. Are we expecting a reincarnation? Of course not; we recognize that it is talking about the spirit of Jezebel or what her life represented.
Sodom and Egypt and mentioned in Revelation [Rev. 11:8]. Do we think it is talking about a revived Sodom or Egypt? No. We recognize that it is talking about something that embodies the essence of what Sodom and Egypt stood for.
Why, then, would we think that Babylon, in the Book of Revelation, is a revival of the historical, literal Babylon that was destroyed hundreds of years previously? Should we not then be looking for some place with the same anti-God, rebellious, bloodthirsty attitude that Babylon had?
I present this to you as food for thought. Is Babylon in Bible Prophecy? Of course, but not in the literal way it is presented in The Book Of Signs. And, yes, I believe I know what Babylon represents, but that will have to wait for another article. Whether you accept what has been presented here or not, I do not think anything in this Book Of Signs chapter can count as “undeniable” evidence.
Return To The Book Of Signs.
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