IN writing concerning Antichrist, the subject of Babylon has necessarily received a prominent place. The greater part if what we have said, however, has been concerning Babylon in Mystery. The restoration of the literal city of Babylon has received a slight mention. Since the restoration of that city holds such a prominent place in the subject of the Antichrist and since there are so few who on first sight will receive this truth, we believe that a special chapter on this division of the subject is necessary. In order to properly understand the subject in hand, a glance at the location and history of Babylon should be taken.
The origin of Babylon was Babel in the land of Shinar.
Shinar is a region in Mesopotamia, the plain between the Tigris and the
Euphrates. The extent of
territory included this title is unknown, but some good authorities whom I
have consulted believe it to have included all the land between the Tigris
and the Euphrates, if no more. Babylon
has always been within the land of Shinar, but the city of Babylon has never
included the whole of Shinar. “Shinar”
is derived from ‘sheni,’ ‘two,’ and ‘ar,’ or ‘nahr,’
‘rivers.’” “The ancient
Greeks gave to the land embraced by the Tigris and Euphrates the name of
Mesopotamia, which means ‘the land between the rivers.’”
Differences in geological structure divide this valley into two
districts. The northern district
comprised ancient Assyria, and became the seat of a great military empire.
The southern part of the valley became known as Babylonia or Chaldea.
There was a time when the lower part of the Mesopotamia valley was
filled with city states. Each
state had its patron god, and was ruled by a king.
Babylon was one of these city states.
This city gradually arose into prominence
the whole valley came to be ruled by it, and from the name of this city the
country was called Babylon.
For more than fifteen hundred years, Babylon continued to be the
political and commercial center of an empire of changing dynasties and
shifting frontiers. In the
meantime another power was slowly developing in the North.
This was the Assyrian Empire. For
a long time Assyria was practically a province of Babylon; but in 728 B. C.,
the latter was conquered by an Assyrian king, and passed under Assyrian
About two centuries after the capture of Babylon by Assyria, the
former arose into prominence again. For
a short time thereafter Babylon filled a great place in history.
This was the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar’s day, of which we read in the
book of Daniel. The glory of this
empire passed away with Nebuchadnezzar. In
538 B. C., Cyrus, king of Persia, defeated the Babylonian army in the open
field. The strongly fortified
capital city was then soon taken by the Persians.
While the risings and fallings of the Babylonian Empire are
historical records yet these points are only mountain peaks of Babylonian
history. Let no one think that
between the fallings and the risings again of this empire, Babylon has been
entirely forgotten. The
chronological tables give records of Babylonian kings for almost the entire
time from the days of Nimrod until 331 B. C.
The capture of Babylon by Cyrus in 538 B. C., did not fulfil the
prophecy of Isaiah and Jeremiah concerning the destruction of Babylon.
(See Isa. 13: l9; Jer. 50:
40.) That is, did not fulfil
these prophecies to their broadest application.
This capture of Babylon was only a partial fufilment of those
prophecies. The prophecies
mentioned speak of complete and eternal overthrow of Babylon while the
capture by Cyrus did not mean all this; for in 1 Pet. 5:13, we read of “the
church of Babylon.” From this
alone, we may learn that as late as A. D. 60 there was a Christian church at
Babylon. Moreover, this city
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
in apostolic days. One historian
says that Babylon in apostolic times was “one of the greatest knots of Jews
in the world.” I have searched
history for one complete and sudden overthrow of the city of Babylon, such as
is depicted in the Scriptures of the destruction of that city, but so far my
search has been in vain. So I am
driven to the conclusion that, in order for the prophecies of the Bible
concerning the destruction of this city, to be fulfilled, the literal city
of Babylon must be rebuilt.
Just here let me say, for the city of Babylon to be rebuilt does not
necessarily mean that the new city will be on the exact spot where
Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon stood. We
have already shown that a large tract of land was once called Babylonia, and
a city anywhere within this tract could with propriety be called Babylon,
and no one can deny that such will be the case in years to come.
As history reveals, Babylon has arisen and fallen at least three times
already, but its site and extensions have not been exactly the same every
Babylon was so extensive that those in the center did not know when the
extremities were captured (Jer. 51: 31).
Herodotus gives the circumference 60 miles, the whole forming a
quadrangle, of which each side was fifteen miles.
The ruins of Babylon, as seen today, do not cover such a vast
territory. A city coming within
this circumference of 60 miles certainly could with justice and propriety be
“Five miles above Hillah, on the left bank of the Euphrates,
enormous mounds mark the site of the capital of South Babylonia. . . .
Scattered mounds of the same date with the general mass upon the river exist
throughout the region. The Birs
Nimrod (by Smith regarded as the tower of Babel) six miles S. W. of Hillah,
and six from Euphrates, is the most remarkable.”—Fausset.
Just here I desire to give you a copy of a letter which I received in
1911 from Washington, D. C., in answer to my
enquiry concerning the present condition of Babylon. This letter will help us in determining facts concerning the subject in question.
Dear Sir: The Commissioner
of the Bureau of Education has referred to this Library your request of
January 18, for information concerning “the exact condition of Babylon,”
From a recent traveler’s account of a visit to the city of Babylon we
take the following:
“We wandered through the huge ruin, balancing ourselves on the edges
of low remaining walls and clambering from one court yard to another.
A jackal darted from under our feet with a shrill bark, he was answered
from behind distant walls by innumerable hidden companions; an owl flew out of
a dark corner and perched blinking a little way off; a great black crow
hovered. The broad walls of
Babylon were indeed utterly broken, and her houses were indeed full of
doleful creatures. We sat down
and listened to the wild beasts crying in her desolate houses; it was indeed a
dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment and an hissing without an
There is a small town not far distant from Babylon, which has a
population variously estimated from 10,000 to 30,000.
Regarding this “The Times Gazetteer,” 1899, says:
“Hille, or Hilla, Asiatic Turkey, on the right bank of the Euphrates,
Vilayet, and sixty‑three miles south of Bagdad, sanjak H., nearly
opposite and a little to the south of the ruins of Babylon.
It is enclosed by earth ramparts and a ditch; entered by four gates,
and has a citadel. Manufactures
of silks and tanneries. It is
comparatively healthy. Population
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
The above letter giving present facts concerning Babylon is very
instructive and helpful in studying the case before us.
Hillah, mentioned in the above quotation from Faussett’s Bible
Cyclopedia, is the same city mentioned in the above letter as Hille, or Hilla.
Notice that Fausett locates Hillah five miles south of the present
ruins of Babylon, and six miles north of what is supposed to be the site of
Nimrod’s tower. So whether
literal Babylon will ever be rebuilt or not, we here have the facts that at
present there is a town of perhaps 30,000 inhabitants, just half way between
the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon and the exact spot where Babylon had
its origin, and not over six miles from either place.
Notice that the above letter states this town of Hilla has
“Manufactures of silks and tanneries.”
If you will compare this statement with Revelation 18: 12, 13, you
will see that the merchandise of Hilla corresponds very closely with the
prophecy concerning the merchandise of Babylon.
“The merchandise of . . . . fine linen, and purple, and silk, and
scarlet . . . . and beasts, and sheep and horses.”
Perhaps every article spoken of in Rev: 18: 12, 13, is not now
manufactured in Hilla, but several of them are; and anyone knows that every
industry mentioned in said Scripture could be introduced into that city in
less than twelve months. Indeed
it seems that Hilla is just so situated, and has just such industries as to
make it in future time Babylon restored.
Suppose men of wealth should give their attention to the building up
and enlargement of the city of Hilla, as they are doing in thousands of other
cases, how long would it take a few millionaires to make that city all that
prophecy reveals concerning the capital city of Antichrist?
If there should be a sudden turn in affairs today, as will be when once
the Bride is caught away, and all the rich men of the world should heap their
treasures together, as seems to be the indication of prophecy concerning them
in the last days (James 5: 3), and should put forth special effort to
establish one grand commercial world center, as will have been done before the
of Antichrist, and let this center be Hilla, it would take described in the
18th chapter of Revelation; and whether this city should ever include the
ruins of ancient Babylon or the site of the Babel tower or not, it could with
all propriety be called Babylon. If
we take in consideration what has been said in previous chapters concerning
the identity of Antichrist, and remember that the beginning of his kingdom was
Babel, and accept the literal teachings of prophecy concerning the kingdom of
Antichrist, we are almost driven to the conclusion that this position
concerning the restoration of literal Babylon is the true one.
Thus, aside from Scriptural references, of which we could give many, we
see indications that Babylon will be literally restored.