Originally Babylon was a city-nation that occupied much of the southern part of what is present day Iraq. It's capital city lay close to the Euphrates river a few miles south of present-day Baghdad. The ruins of this city are still visible.
The country worshipped the 'dragon', Bel as its god, and gained notoriety when its most famous king, a man named Nebuchaddnezzar, led his troops to Judea and conquered Jerusalem. Burning down Solomon's temple and destroying all the buildings there, Nebuchaddnezzar enslaved its citizens, the Jews, and led them back to Babylon as captives. There the Babylonians kept the Jews in slavery at the banks of the Euphrates for about 70 years. The deportation occurred in 598 B.C., about 600 years before the birth of Christ.
Jeremiah had foreseen this calamity before it occurred and wrote extensively about it in words that are now contained in the Bible. The theme was picked up by many other prophets and as the centuries passed, the concept of 'Babylon' became an omen of a future event that all these circumstances had somehow presaged.
It was in the air of this expectation that Rome appeared. Many Jewish scholars and citizens were convinced that the Roman occupation of their nation was the likely fulfullment of these prophecies. They began to voice the idea that Rome, transposed from the Euphrates half-way across the Mediterranean Sea was, in fact, the true 'Babylon' of scripture.
This transposition imparted a world concept to the idea of Babylon. This global view had scriptural roots. The Bible taught that the entire human race, early in its history, had gathered near the Euphrates river in a place called 'Babel', and there, began to build a tower that was to reach all the way to heaven. God interefered with this plan by imparting into the people hundreds of foreign tongues so that they could not understand one another, and then He scattered them to the four quarters of the earth.
The city of Babel and the original location of Babylon are one and the same.
When Titus burned down Herod's temple and began exporting massive numbers of Jewish citizens into slavery throughout the Roman empire, the 'Babylon' prophecies seemed to reach their zenith. Rome and 'Babylon' became one.
Yet Jesus had taught that all the prophecies of scripture had spiritual fulfillments that far transcended their physical likenesses. Jerusalem was not in Palestine, it lay hidden in a third heaven, far from this earth. Babylon was not just Rome, it was the entire world -- a world actively living and working in opposition to God.
The whole concept of the people of God blossomed far beyond Jewish ranks to incorporate every person on earth who committed themself to live in the righteousness of the Gospel Jesus preached.
Bel, the dragon of Babylon was actually Satan, the great red dragon of the Book of Revelation. The dragon's seven heads were the seven nations whose national agenda was the persecution of the House of Israel. These seven heads stretched far beyond the borders of Israel, from Egypt to Germany and from Rome to Persia.
The dragon would have us believe that Babylon is a church. That is in keeping with his committed agenda to destroy the work of Christ on earth. It is not a church that is Babylon but the secular and atheistic philosophies of the world.
In fact, Babylon received a mortal wound, John said, when the Church arrived. The growth of the Church on earth committed Babylon to the grave. Since the crucifixion of Christ, His Church has flourished, spreading to the farthest reaches of the earth, converting everyone who has faith in the righteousness Jesus preached. This age of the Church on earth is the millenium, the thousand-year reign of Christ on this planet.
At the end of the age of the Church, after all the pagans meant to be saved have been preached to, the mortal wound will heal, John said. Babylon will rise from the grave in which the Sword of Christ (the Word of God) long ago committed it. It will come to life and attack the Church. This event will occur because the world, which once had believed in Jesus, will recant that belief in what Paul described as a 'Great Revolt'.
In the final stages of that Revolt, a Rebel will rise up, the eighth head of the dragon. He will burn down all the worlds churches and attempt to murder every person on earth who still believes in Jesus. Blocked from some of his efforts by a western power called 'Kittim', he will go completely mad and burn down the planet. His end will come in an assault from heaven that will be without precedent.
God and Jesus will suddenly appear. A great trial will be held, a Judgment of all mankind. Those chosen worthy to be with Christ will be given new bodies to wear in a new Jerusalem in a new heaven, far away from here where there is no evil and where evil can never exist. And they will live forever.
1. 'The Clock of God', Chapter 3, 'The Return of God'
2. 'Eden and Babylon'
3. 'A Temple for Wickedness in Babylon'
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