News from Babylon in 2003

 Jamma Mokhriby


In Chapters 50 & 51 of the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah we find the Bible's most comprehensive prophecy revealing the final fate of Babylon, Iraq.
Two common teaching errors refuted by the Scriptures regarding this extensive prophecy is first, that this prophecy had already been fulfilled during the days of the Old Testament and secondly, that this prophecy does not deal with the literal land of Babylon, Iraq, but is just symbolic of some other city and nation.
When reviewing Jeremiah 50:3-5 & 17-20 we find the plain language of the Word of God dispel the notion that this prophecy had its time of fulfillment in days gone by. We are told that since the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the days when this prophecy is to be fulfilled, Israel would be a nation once again. Israel did not become a nation again until 1948 after 2553 years had passed.
We are told also that it will be during this time of Babylon's final destruction that Israel will inhabit Carmel and Bashan (which is the Golan Heights) and they will be stirred to join themselves to the Lord in a covenant which will put away their iniquity and pardon their sins.
We find in Daniel 9:24-27 that the days in which this glorious promise of forgiveness and restoration is to be obtained by Israel is to be at the end of the age after Christ will have come and offered Himself as a sacrifice for others. The Jews as a majority rejected the provision of their Messiah's own blood as an eternal atonement for sin almost 2,000 years ago and thus lost this earlier opportunity to have their nation restored at that time.
It is therefore conclusive by God's Word that the destruction of Babylon prophesied of in Jeremiah Chapters 50 & 51 could not possibly have been fulfilled in the past and still awaits the fulfillment in the not too distant future.
The second errant teaching about this prophecy, is that this prophecy about Babylon is only an allegory for some other end time city or nation. This error is also thoroughly refuted by God's Word as can be verified by reading Jer. 51:59-64. There we are told in simple, precise language that Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah to deliver the prophecy against Babylon when he arrived there. The instructions given to Seraiah are so specific and descriptive that one can almost assume that God purposefully made provision for negating the incorrect teaching in these last days that Jer. 50 & 51 is not prophesying against the geographic Babylon of modern- day Iraq. In Jer. 51:61 Seraiah was told the prophecy was for when he literally saw the land of Babylon and arrived there.
In verse 62 God tailors His exact meaning even more so, leaving no room for ambiguity as to the targeted location for His words when Seraiah is told to prophesy, "...O Lord, You have spoken against this place to cut it off..."
Babylon has never before in history been destroyed as is demanded by the prophecy of Chapters 50 & 51 of Jeremiah. Only during Operation Desert Storm did the world witness any resemblance to the confederacy of nations prophesied to bring about the final destruction reserved for Babylon in these last days.
Since the days of Jeremiah there have been inhabitants in this area in blatant contrast to the absolute desolation and absence of people prophesied for geographic Babylon in Jer. 51:62-64. God's pronouncement is that Babylon will never recover from this catastrophe.
Once more in obvious contrast, during the 1980's Iraq's Saddam Hussein had been restoring the ancient city of Babylon. Along with its inhabitants Babylon still remains in defiant existence of fulfilled prophecy. Saddam Hussein had even began to restore the ancient Tower of Babel which provoked God back in the Book of Genesis. The modern tower's construction was abruptly halted by the Persian Gulf War.
When reading verse by verse through the 50 & 51st Chapters of Jeremiah it is fascinating to recognize that what has taken place since Iraq invaded Kuwait corresponds with the panorama of events foretold in the prophetic Scriptures for the end of the age, just before the return of Jesus Christ.
Verses 45-47 of Ch. 51 of Jeremiah makes it known that the fall of Babylon will be extended over a period of years before the final conclusion. We are of the firm opinion that God's final year for Babylon is almost up.
Verse 44 of Jer. 51 warns that God will one day stop the nations from visiting the land of the god Bel and Bel will meet his fate in Babylon, Iraq.
A lengthy article from the New York Times which was reprinted in the Aug. 28, ‘03 Denver Post revealed how Babylon, Iraq remains intact and inhabited. The article titled, "With Hussein's re-creation, Babylon's history repeated" revealed how Babylon stands waiting and ready for the discovery of what lies deep under her sands. A discovery that will stop the nations from streaming to her any more.
It is our firm belief that Saddam Hussein has hidden weapons of mass destruction deep under the foundations of Babylon and that those who are dwelling in her midst will soon discover this fact to their peril.
Quoting we read, "Babylon, Iraq - In the realm of Saddam Hussein kitsch, it is hard to compete with Babylon.
The Iraqi leader found the squat, khaki-colored nubs of earth and scattered stacks of bricks left over from one of history's glorious empires somehow lacking, far too mundane to represent the 2, 500-year sweep of Mesopotamian history that was to be reborn through his rule.' So he ordered one of the three original palaces rebuilt...Once the $5 million replica was finished, though - at lightning speed, with construction crews working in three shifts toward the end - everybody could see that it was a palace...Donny George, assistant curator of the Baghdad Museum, well remembers the day Hussein came through the ruins, demanding that the palace be rebuilt in time for the start of the first Babylon arts festival in September 1987.
Hussein did not talk much - he mostly listened - but he did ask how the curators knew when the original had been built. George showed him one of the original bricks stamped with the name of Nebuchadnezzar II and the construction date, which was around 605 B.C.
The Iraqi leader instantly suggested that bricks used in the re-creation bear some similar inscription. His suggestions had a way of sticking...The results are now laced throughout the walls, with scores of bricks stamped with the legend: "In the reign of the victorious Saddam Hussein, the president of the Republic, may God keep him, the guardian of the great Iraq and the renovator of its renaissance and the builder of its great civilization, the rebuilding of the great city of Babylon was done in 1987."
It goes on to mention the name and the date of the earlier despot, inexorably linking the two. (The Arabic script is very small.) George, who was then field director of the ruins, also well remembers the difficulty involved in re-creating the palace, one that rivals the Louvre in Paris for size, without any of the original plans..."It was just like his building massive palaces everywhere; it's to be remembered forever," said George.
Actually the site has become something of a project for the U.S. Marines, whose main base in central Iraq incorporates the ruins and the palace that Hussein had built for himself after 1991 on an artificial mound overlooking the whole thing.
The American troops restored the looted gift shop and museum, replacing the roof, laying new linoleum floors and installing a new air-conditioning system...Sometimes the juxtaposition of the ancient - even re-created - and the modern can seem a little jarring, like watching huge gray Marine transport helicopters hover over the airfield just beyond the walls.
Art and archaeology experts joke about history repeating itself, about how the Babylonians, tired of their oppressive leaders, cooperated with the Persians to help toss them out.
Garish reminders of the excesses of Hussein's era have been brought crashing down all over Iraq. But experts touring these historic ruins recently concluded that Babylon stays. Even a folly has its place.
"Nebuchadnezzar was a despot, and Saddam Hussein was a despot," said Gayklani, the art historian. "Would you take away what Nebuchadnezzar built? No. It's part of history; you have to accept it."
For those who wonder why Babylon's destruction keeps being delayed the answer lies in II Peter 3:9 where we are told, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Proof of this Scripture is found in the Aug. 25, ‘03 Colorado Springs Gazette article which headlined from Tikrit, Iraq, "Rebirths in cradle of civilization, troops baptized in Tigris River." The article went on to report that 16 soldiers had been baptized for Christ in the past few weeks.
Yes, Babylon still stands, experts tour her historic remains and Americas main marine base in central Iraq stands within her gates. The Word of God remains ready to be fulfilled. Something lurks under this city that Saddam Hussein had construction crews working on since the early 1980's. When it is found the experts will come no more, the dwellers will be gone and Babylon will become no more than a contaminated ruinous heap.
The Lord will be calling His Church home to heaven one day soon at the event commonly referred to as the Rapture (I Thess. 4:15-18). Today is the day to have your sins forgiven by trusting in faith in the Risen Savior Jesus Christ, who shed His blood on the cross almost 2,000 years ago. Time is short, don't put if off.