points given in our last chapter we concluded that, apart from Scriptural
prophecies, there are reasons for believing that Babylon will be literally
restored. In this chapter it is
our aim to give Scriptural grounds for this belief.
Before giving a few passages on this subject, I wish to state that many Bible prophecies are two‑fold, some are three‑fold, while still others are manifold. Each fulfilment of prophecy is a type of any succeeding fulfilment, and it is usually so that any fulfilment is a broader and deeper one than any fulfilment preceding it. Many prophecies that have already been partially fulfilled are yet to be fufilled on a grander scale. For instance, the prophecy in Zech. 9: 9, 10, concerning the riding of Jesus into Jerusalem on a colt was partially fulfilled the day of His Triumphant Entry recorded in the Gospels; but anyone can see clearly that it has a greater fulfilment in the future, for His dominion has not yet been established “from sea even to sea, and from the rivers even to the ends of the earth.” Not otherwise is it with prophecies concerning Babylon. The prophecies concerning this city have to some extent been fulfilled, but it is easy to see that they have a greater fulfilment in the future. The Scriptures we bring before you are not so much on the rebuilding of this city, but rather concerning its destruction. We hold that a grander, deeper, and more complete fulfilment of these prophecies than has been in the past is necessarily in order to fill out the Bible picture, and that in order for this to be Babylon must be literally restored.
Let us examine first Isaiah’s prophecy concerning this city, beginning with the 13th chapter. “The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. . . .The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumul-
tuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the hosts of the battle. They come from a far country,” etc. This passage speaks of a multitude of people from a far country gathering about Babylon to take the city by storm; and thus it is a clear prophecy of the capture of that city by the Medes and Persians in 538 B. C. Yet, it is just as clear that the next verse (Ver. 6) does not refer to that capture.
“Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.” Repeatedly have we stated and proven that “The day of the Lord” is a phrase applying to the last judgment only. This fall of Babylon is said to take place in “the day of the Lord;” hence, it can not refer to an event of 538 B. C. Let it be noticed also that this fall of verse six is to come directly “from the Almighty.” The former verse stated that Babylon would be captured by a multitude mustered by “the Lord of hosts,” as was the case in 538 B. C.; but this verse indicates that the destruction will come directly from the Almighty, “as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” Again, verse six tells us that “it shall come as a destruction.” So this calamity is to be a destruction, and farther on in the chapter we learn that this destruction is to be a sudden one, for “they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth” (verse 8). The destruction is farther described as “cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it” (verse 9). Has this prophecy ever been fulfilled? If so, when? Babylon was not destroyed by the Medes and Persians, but only captured. Even the capture was not sudden, “as a woman that travaileth;” for those living near the center of the city did not know when the outskirts were captured (Jer. 51: 31). They did not “destroy the sinners thereof out of it,” for they made it one of their royal cities. In the time of Alexander (355‑323 B. C.) Babylon was the chosen capital of the Graeco Macedonian Empire; and it was at this capital city that Alex-
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
lived and died. Under the Syrian
kings, who succeeded Alexander, it continued to be a populous place.
In apostolic times it was still a populous city, for it contained a
Christian church; and it is evident that Silvanus, John Mark, and Peter all
preached there (1 Pet. 5: 12, 13). As
late as A. D. 250, there was a Christian church there, and five hundred years
after Christ there were Jewish schools there.
So then, Babylon continued in existence for more than a thousand years
after it had been captured by the Medes and Persians.
Even at the present there is, in the middle of the area occupied by old
Babylon, a city containing near 30,000 inhabitants.
The sinners thereof never have been destroyed out of it.
The destruction of Babylon has never been sudden, nor “in pain as a
woman that travaileth.” So we
conclude that the prophecy of verse nine must refer to the future.
“For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not
give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon
shall not cause her light to shine” (verse 10).
This verse comes in the middle of the prophecies of the destruction
of Babylon; and it can refer only to The Great Tribulation.
It certainly can not apply to any day in the past; but these signs
belong only to “the day of the Lord.”
Therefore, we must necessarily conclude that Babylon is to be destroyed
in connection with “the day of the Lord.”
“And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their
iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay
low the haughtiness of the terrible” (verse 11).
Here it is revealed that the punishment inflicted upon Babylon touches
not that city alone, but that the world is affected thereby; and while there
is no statement to show that the whole world is included, yet the language is
such as can apply to the whole world, and such as necessitates an application
to a great part of it. This as
yet has never taken place, and it never will until The Great Tribulation.
The arrogancy of the proud has not yet ceased, neither has the
of the terrible been laid low; yet such is the promise of God in connection
with the destruction of Babylon. This
will never be done until all the proud, haughty hearts be humbled at the
battle of Armageddon.
“Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out
of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce
anger” (verse 13). Thus it is
prophesied to be at the downfall of Babylon.
We know that such has not yet taken place.
In many places of the Bible do we read of this shaking of the heavens,
but always in connection with “the day of the Lord.”
In so many places do we read of the overthrow of Babylon in connection
with that day. Hence, we must
believe that there will be an overthrow of that city in the future.
Verses 14 to 18 seem to refer more directly to the capture of Babylon
by the Medes and Persians, which capture, as we have said already, was just a
foreshadow of that which is to come. Two‑fold
prophecy often speaks of each fulfilment in close connection with each other.
As when Isaiah prophesies of the coming of Christ, he says, “For unto
us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon
his shoulder,” there is a reference to both His first and second coming in
one sentence; even so in this chapter there are prophecies of both the
capture of Babylon by the Medes and Persians and of its fall at the last
Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency,
shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
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.
But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall
be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall
dance there. And the wild beasts
of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their
pleasant palaces; and her time is near to come, and
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
her days shall not be prolonged” (verses 19‑22). These verses clearly prophesy of both falls of Babylon. Today Babylon measures up to certain parts of this prophecy, but not to the full description. Arabians do pitch their tents there, and shepherds do make their folds there. It has not yet been destroyed as Sodom and Gomorrah. The description of the desolations of the place are such as describe the present condition of a great part of old Babylon. Jeremiah’s prophecy corresponding to this one of Isaiah is: “Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited forever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorah and the neighbor cities thereof, saith the Lord: so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein” (Jer. 50: 39, 40). This prophecy of Jeremiah and the prophecy last quoted from Isaiah are much alike. Let us notice a difference in the order given. Isaiah speaks of the sad desolations of Babylon in verses below his prophecy that Babylon shall be overthrown as Sodom and Gomorrah; but Jeremiah speaks of the desolations first, and this prophecy is a picture of the present ruins of Babylon; and then he speaks of the overthrow of the city as Sodom and Gomorrah, and this prophecy is a picture of an overthrow of that city that is necessarily future.
shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the
oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!
The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the
rulers. He who smote the people
in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is
persecuted, and none hindereth. The
whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing, yea, the
fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art
laid down, no feller is come up against us.”— Isa. 14: 4‑8.
This prophecy certainly is not applicable to any past event.
It states that after the fall of Babylon the whole
will be at rest, and will be quiet, and that this will be followed by a
rejoicing of the world, and a deliverance such as the Millennium alone can
bring. Babylon has fallen before,
but, after the fall of the city, there has always been some one to rise up to
oppress. Here it is stated:
“Since thout art laid down, no feller is come up against us.”
This fall of Babylon and her wicked king, therefore, refers to the fall
of Babylon at the close of The Great Tribulation.
Let us look at the forty‑seventh chapter of Isaiah.
In the main, the prophecies in this chapter may be applied to the
capture of Babylon by the Medes and Persians; but there are certain phrases
proving that the whole chapter is applicable to the future also.
“These two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss
of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for
the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine
enchantments” (verse 9). A city
or state is said to be in widowhood when it has lost its king; it is said to
be childless when it has lost its inhabitants.
The destruction of Babylon will come in close connection with the
battle of Armageddon. In verse
eight it is stated that Babylon will boast, saying, “I shall not sit as a
widow, neither shall I know the loss of children.”
Antichrist is her king; and she has no idea that any one can overcome
and take him. She says: “Who is
able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13: 4).
“I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow” (Rev. 18:
7). “I shall be a lady
forever” (Isa. 47: 7). Her
walls are strongly fortified: her coffers are filled with gold.
Her merchants are the rich men of the earth (Rev. 18: 3‑15).
She sees no possible way for destruction to come to her and her
children: she has the utmost confidence in the strength of her empire.
Then God speaks and says: “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin
daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the
Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate”
(verse 1). “Sit thou
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no
more be called, The lady of kingdoms” (verse 5).
This calamity of the loss of children and widowhood is said to come
suddenly, in a moment, in one day. This
was not the case when the city was captured by the Medes and Persians, as we
have clearly shown above. The
description of the downfall of Babylon in the 18th chapter of Revelation fully
accords with this verse. The
downfall of Babylon at the last day will be sudden.
“For in one hour so great riches is come to nought” (Rev. 18: 17).
Her widowhood comes to her as suddenly as does the loss of her
children. In Rev. 19: 19, 20, we
read: “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies,
gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against
his army. And the beast was
taken. “The beast, or the Antichrist, king of Babylon, leader of earth’s
armies against Christ, will be taken. He
is unable to enter into a great conflict with the Christ, for he is at once
taken. He will be as helpless
before the Mighty Conqueror as a kid in the paw of a lion.
The inhabitants of Babylon will be brought down to the dust in one
day, and there will be no more throne in that city forever.
This verse states that these calamities will come upon the inhabitants
of Babylon in their perfection. Under
the Medes and Persians Babylon was not suddenly brought into a perfect
state of destruction and widowhood; this Scripture, therefore, must have a
future application. In order for
it to have a future application, Babylon must be restored.
“And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished,
that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for
their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual
desolation”. And I will bring
upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that
is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the
nations.”—Jer. 25: 12, 13. Many
take this passage as conclusive that all Jeremiah’s pro-
against Babylon were fulfilled at the close of the seventy years of Jewish
captivity. Just a glance at the
above quotation will give such an impression; but a closer study of this
passage will reveal differently. God
said when the seventy years should be accomplished He would bring against the
land all that He had pronounced against it.
Taking the prophecies of God against Babylon, we have already learned
that certain phases of them apply alone to the capture of Babylon by the Medes
and Persians, that other phases can apply only to a destruction in some future
time, while still other phases apply to both events.
So the simple, plain, only reasonable explanation of the above
Scripture text is, that at the end of the seventy years’ captivity God would
bring upon that land all that He had promised to bring upon it at that time.
I say that this is the only reasonable explanation of this text for
these reasons: 1st, The text itself alone will permit of such an explanation;
2nd, The text, taken in connection with others on the subject, necessitates
such an explanation; and 3rd, The literal facts concerning the present
condition of the land of Babylon prove that such can be the only meaning of
the above prophecy. Moreover,
this interpretation is farther confirmed by the statement in the same
passage that God would at that time bring to pass all that Jeremiah had
prophesied against all the nations. It
is just as clearly stated that at the end of the seventy years’ captivity
God would bring to pass all that Jeremiah had prophesied against all the
nations, as it is that He would bring to pass at that time all that he had
prophesied against the land of Babylon. Taking
all that Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations, we shall learn that much
of it has never been fulfilled, and that it can relate to the future only.
If all that Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations was not
fulfilled at the end of the seventy years’ captivity, then we may
legitimately conclude that the above text only means that at the end of
those seventy years God would bring upon Babylon that which had been
prophesied to come against it at that time.
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
If we desire a detailed description of Babylon’s final destruction,
we can find it in the 50th and 51st chapters of Jeremiah’s prophecy.
If all the prophecies of these two chapters have been completely
fulfilled, Babylon will never rise again; while, on the other hand, if there
are prophecies in these two chapters that have never been fulfilled, they can
never be fulfilled until Babylon shall be restored.
It is difficult to see, so far as history and present facts go, when
and under what circumstances all these prophecies have ever been fulfilled.
In fact, it is impossible to apply many of them to any past event
without greatly drawing in their meaning and application.
Let us note just a few such passages in the above mentioned chapters.
“Cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be
left. Slay all her bullocks; let
them go down to the slaughter” (Jer. 50: 26, 27).
This certainly was not fulfilled when Babylon was captured by Cyrus.
Above we gave Scriptures to the effect that Babylon is to be
destroyed suddenly. (See Jer. 51:
8). We search history in vain for
the account of a calamity suddenly and utterly destroying all her bullocks,
and so on.
“And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him
up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round
about him” (Jer. 50: 32). “The
most proud” in this verse refers to the king of Babylon.
God says that He will kindle a fire in the cities of this king, and
that it shall devour all round about him.
Here again we meet a prophecy which has not been fulfilled as yet.
It can relate to the future only.
Babylon has not yet been wholly destroyed by fire; but, according to
other prophecies, the final destruction of this city will be by fire.
It is to be destroyed as Sodom and Gomorrah (verse 40); and again we
read: “She shall be utterly burned with fire” (Rev. 18: 8).
This total destruction of Babylon has not yet taken place.
“Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord,
which destroyeth all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee,
and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.”—Jer.
51: 25. This is another verse
comprehending far too much to be applicable to any past event.
It can be understood only with reference to the future.
Babylon has never been made a burnt mountain: but the word of prophecy
is that she will be destroyed as were Sodom and Gomorrah, i.e., by fire.
“I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like lambs with
he goats” (Ch. 51: 40). This is
another verse inapplicable to the past, because it has never been fulfilled.
Let us now turn back to the 25th chapter of Jeremiah, and there we
shall find many other phrases that are also inapplicable to any past event.
“For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me: Take the wine cup of
this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink
it. And they shall drink, and be
moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them” (Ch.
25: 15, 16). The cup of God’s
wrath is to pass from nation to nation as follows: Jerusalem, Judah, Egypt, Uz,
Philistines, Ashkelon, Azzah, Ekron, Ashdod, Edom, Moan, Ammon, Tyrus, Zidon,
Dedan, Tema, Buz, Arabia, Zimri, Clam, and Medes.
And after all of the nations named above have drunken of this cup, it
is prophesied: “And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with
another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of
the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them” (verse 26).
So we see that the cup of God’s wrath will pass from one king to
another until, not only the nations expressly mentioned have drunken, but
“all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth;” and
then, “the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.”
All Hebrew scholars agree that Sheshach is only another name for
Babylon. Any one, by reference to
a good Bible dictionary, can determine this for himself.
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
we have the positive statement that the king of Babylon is to drink of the
wrath of God after all the other kings of the earth have drunken.
Again, it is stated in Jer. 50: 12, that Babylon shall be the
“hindermost of the nations.” Now,
how can Babylon be the last of all the nations to drink of God’s wrath,
unless she be rebuilt? Thus far
she has always been the foremost of the nations in experiencing the judgments
of God. Viewing Scriptural
prophecies and historical facts as they are, I, therefore, take it that
Babylon will have to be rebuilt in order to ever be the “hindermost of the
nations,” and to be the last of all the nations of the earth to drink of the
wrath of God.
After we have cited to you so many prophecies, all pointing in the same
direction, I know not what your decision on this question may be; but I claim
that the only reasonable, logical, natural conclusion is that the city of
Babylon will some day be restored. Otherwise
these prophecies seem nothing more than poetic fancy.