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.
Since the time of Christ, however, Babylon means something completely different.
Babylon is a people. It is all the people of the world who are not in the House of Israel.
Babylon has no geographical borders. It has no physical borders. Every city on earth and every nation on earth holds Babylon's people. It is the east and it is the west. It is the north and it is south the entire world population, except for the House of Israel.
The ruler of Babylon is whoever rules the world. If Rome rules, the ruler of Babylon is Rome. If the west rules, the ruler of Babylon is the west. If the east rules, the ruler of Babylon is the east. Since the time of Christ, the west has ruled the world. During this time it has had many kings. Currently, it is ruled by the United Nations, a democratic coalition of all the world's nations acting together in a body. It was this "king" that allowed the Jews to return to Palestine in 1948.
Spiritually, Babylon represents paganism per se. That is a spiritual concept and it has nothing to do with a reincarnate Roman Empire. It is a term that addresses world secularism.
In the Bible, there are only two spiritual cities on earth, Jerusalem and Babylon. In terms of scripture, whatever on earth is not Jerusalem is Babylon.
At the time of Christ this classification revolved around the people of Israel on one side and the godless society of Rome that ruthlessly governed them on the other. This interpretation stemmed from the ancient prophecies which predicted a Hebrew captivity at the banks of the Euphrates, predictions which came to pass when Nebuchadnezzar marched the tribes of Judah and Benjamine into the fulfillment of those forecasts about 500 years before the birth of Christ.
Consequently, most people at the time of Christ understood 'Babylon' in terms of Rome, the country that threatened to deal with them the same way Nebuchadnezzar had their ancestors. Indeed, Rome turned out to be the country that inflicted the second exile (the Great One), deporting Judah into Roman captivity after the fateful and unsuccessful Jewish war around 70 A.D.
No one gave much thought at the time to the "lost" ten tribes that had been exiled 600 years earlier and never returned. Those tribes disappeared into the fabric of world society so seamlessly that even DNA could not search them out. The Bible tells us that God considered these, too, part of the exile to Babylon. Yet they went to Nineveh and scattered out from there into seeming oblivion. Rome had nothing to do with their exile.
Ezekiel prophesied that these would be the first to return, gathered in mysteriously by God from all the places of their scattering into "Babylon" (i.e., into the populations of the world).
And then there are the Christians. These also abandoned Jerusalem. They, too, went to Rome, exiled at the same time the Jewish people were. In fact, most of the Apostles died there under the iron fist of Nero and his contemporaries. That is why the central church of Christianity is situated in Rome. It symbolizes the exile of both houses of Israel into the world population (Babylon), not just the Jews.
Suddenly the entire nation of Israel, both 'Houses' of Israel, had been whisked away from the Old Testament's "Promised Land", all ending up in a Roman captivity that soon blossomed into a world captivity. The people of God were everywhere on the planet and the minister's charged with finding them were instructed to preach "to all the nations" to search them out. "Babylon" turned out to be the whole sinful world.
Jesus, the Apostles and the Bible all tell us that God has appointed Jesus Christ to be the absolute ruler of mankind. Consequently, the only route out of Babylonian captivity is the Gospel He preached. A time period for that preaching was defined. It is unknown to man, but finite to God. Jesus said it was short. At the conclusion of that preaching, after the entire world has been warned to change its ways and turn to embrace the Lord God gave us, Jesus will suddenly return and gather all mankind into judgment for the way in which we lived our lives, even after hearing God's word preached.
It is for that rescue and that Judgment that Jesus was sent into the world.
The Babylonian captivity is symbolic. It simply gives a name to sin's captivity. God has employed the word "Babylon" to illlustrate our human attachment to wickedness. Sin is a true captivity and we have to escape it, or die in the chains of it.
Christianity is the only road away from "Babylon's" captivity. It is the only way out of sin. Where Christianity rules, therefore, 'Babylon" lies mortally wounded, it's chains broken. But where paganism (secularism) rules, the chains of Babylon are healed and salvation is terminated.
There are no geographical boundaries to Babylon. As the world's people, it stretches from Rome to Tehran to Peking to Antarctica to the North Pole to New York to Moscow and back to Rome. No nation is left out. The only thing that changes is its ruler. Since the time of Christ, the world has been ruled by the west.
Christianity and paganism operate everywhere side by side. What marks the reincarnation of Babylon is the change in balance between these two spiritual forces. Where paganism (secularism) is the dominate philosophy, Babylon can be said to exist. Sin reigns free. Where Jesus is the dominant philosophy, Babylon is doomed. Sin is doomed.
When the Christian "conscience" is alive and operative in a community, the road to salvation is open and easily accessable. If the physical world serves Christ, and allows His preaching to take place unimpeded, then it cannot image Babylon. But if the physical world renounces Christ and embraces wickedness, or, more important, tries to thwart the preaching of Christ, its "Babylonian" image is re-born.
The conversion of the Roman Empire to Christ changed the world. Proving that it doomed "Babylon", the rulers responsible for the official recognition of that conversion, forbid all pagan practices and rituals by official edict. In a single instant, "Babylon" was mortally wounded and Christianity was openly born. The rulers of the world actively promoted sinless behavior by using their royal thrones to encourage conversion to Christ.
This showed that Government approval and acknowledgement of the divinity of Jesus is essential to His work. If Jesus is freely preached and supported by the governing authorities, God's work can be accomplished perfectly. Not by force, but by choice. Forcing people to obey Jesus is wrong and it is unnecessary. The Judgement will determine the saved. What is important is that everyone be given a full opportunity to hear the message of salvation. When the ruling authorities try to block Christ's message by directive or by disdaining it, they resurrect Babylon from the deathbed to which the Word of Jesus relegated it.
That is why Supreme Court decisions over the last 40 years are so important. Not only have they directed the ruling authorities to ignore Christ in favor of secular principles; these decisions, stemming as they do from the highest and most honored officials in the land, have promoted the unstated implication that there is something inherently flawed in the Christian message. In other words, they blaspheme the Holy Spirit by implication.
This disdainment of the honor of the Bible cannot help but impact public opinion and lead astray many people that would otherwise choose God. That is not theoretical. We have already witnessed the enormous negative impact on our country of that very implication. One cannot turn on the evening TV without being bombarded by the proof of it. Even worse, in the public theatre these judges have blocked even the mere mention of the names of God and Christ by official directive. That is a direct assault on God in favor of a secular Constitution. Is this not the resurrection of Babylon?
Is this not governmental madness? Who is so foolish to think that such a blatant national rejection of God and Christ would not carry with it ominous repercussions? What nation can stand up to God and order Him to get out of it's halls and still expect prosperity in return?
We talk of the "resurrection" of Babylon because the world embraced Christianity as it's dominant religion in the fourth century A.D. In that embrace, Babylon seemed to die. Any national reappearance of paganism, then, would constitute a re-birth of Babylon, something scripture has predicted for the end of the world. The Soviet Union was a striking example.
Scripture prophesies that the fatal wound Jesus delivered to Babylon will appear to heal in the last days. That simply means that the world will reject the words of Jesus Christ, renounce its Christian heritage and embrace wickedness. There are no rules in secularism to combat wickedness. Just the opposite as homosexuality and pronography show. As it makes this conversion (as it is doing now), the image of Babylon will re-emerge among the nations. That will destroy the shield of God's grace it will destroy the divine protective shield that keeps the nations and its people safe from catastrophe.
That catastrophe and its implications were graphically inscribed on the wall of Babylon when the sons of the east carved their message into the heart of New York. The United States, as the military rampart of the world's people, the policeman of the earth, is the wall that protects Babylon from mass destruction. As the wall of Babylon, it is divinely ordained by Daniel to be the billboard of God advertising future events soon to appear.
As far as the WTC (World Trade Center) disaster is concerned, it was a flashing red light to the world. The WTC event, much like Pearl Harbor before it, signaled the beginning of a war between east and west. The significance of the New York attack was even more profound, however, because it brought biblical prophecy into the equation. It was a sign from God written in the ancient text. It announced the arrival on the world stage of the 'Fourth Persian Empire', the fearsome iron-toothed beast foreseen by Daniel (Dan.7:7).
That is a world-ending vision.
Daniel's prophecies indicate that at the end of time (as the mortal wound heals), a fourth "Persian" empire will emerge. It's first attacks against the west will be thwarted. But only twice.
With the 9/11 assault, prophetic notice was served on the world that wickedness had damaged the shield of grace to such an extent that a different outcome could soon be expected. According to the scripture of Daniel, this second "Gulf War" will be the last western victory. Unless the world repents and reinstitutes Christ as the compass guiding its national affairs, the outcome of future eastern invasions will be different, bringing the kind of catastrophe to the world that wickedness guarantees.
It is in this sense that 9/11 is a foretaste of the world destruction foreseen by prophecy. The burning of New York and the burning of Babylon in the Book of Revelation (Rev.18:8-19) resembled one another so closely, they could be seen as bookends of the same prophecy.
It is not just the attack that defines this coming destruction, but, more importantly, the nature of the people launching it. No "Fourth Persian Empire" was visible in the case of Japan. In the case of the WTC attack, however, the visibility of such an empire is overwhelming. Moreover, we have watched that empire grow exponentially in all directions, just as Daniel predicted it would (Dan.8:4) and, concomitant with that growth, an appetite for warmongering has lately emerged from within it.
The WTC disaster is a stop sign. Destruction can only procede from 9/11 if the world fails to heed the warning it represents. It is the "Great Revolt" (2Thes.2:3) which Paul foresaw that actually powers the re-birth of Babylon. The international revolt against Christian rule in the world represents the polar opposite of those early church decrees, not 9/11.
Both the revolt (a falling away into spiritual wickedness) and the political upheaval associated with it have now started. With this sign we must consider the millenium to have reached its end. The events of 9/11 signalled a pivotal moment between east and west politically. The attack of 9/11 produced a war between east and west that set the boundaries between earth's two rival powers at the Euphrates River. That is the exact location predicted by the Bible in its documentation of the warfare of the last days.
All this points to the end of Babylon. The time has come for the travail Jesus predicted. Babylon's mortal wound will heal only momentarily. Then it will die forever. The wickeness that is now consuming the people, has put mankind to the test. It has sealed the Judgment soon to come.
It shows that the rescue has almost been concluded. We are at the end of the line. There are few behind us. Instead, we have begun to hear the sound of hoofbeats, the symbolic equivalent of Pharaoh's army galloping after us into the river bottom with towering walls of water on each side.
The fall into spiritual wickedness by the people of the world who used to worship Christ is the hidden engine that secretly powers the political chaos. If that fall is not stemmed, Daniel tells us the chaos will crescendo, nations will be conquered, and, at the conclusion of this turmoil, a "beast" of Satan will appear and wrest control of the political armies of the east, taking them out of the hands of their leaders and generals.
He will rise out of Parthia (the Middle East), not Rome. Probably somewhere near the Black Sea. After he takes power, he will change the focus of the warfare from political to spiritual. To prove that he is truly the pirnce of Babylon, he will target specifically Christians and Jews and try to erase their existance from the earth. The House of Israel will be his enemy.
In his fury, he will launch an enormous number of missles, attempting to destroy the entire world as well. In short, he will be a madman. Prophecy indicates that he will announce to the world that he is Nero reincarnated. Just as he is preparing to assault Israel with a massive army, God will intervene, and Jesus will return.
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