The Rebirth of Babylon
A 1975 Special Prophetic Report
by Dr. Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D.
revised by David Sielaff, October 2002
Read the accompanying Newsletter for October 2002
The rebirth of Babylon is destined to play one of the leading roles in the end-time fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Its influence will be worldwide—affecting all people. Yet the majority of people today have little conception of the prophecies concerning the rebuilding of Babylon. The Bible not only shows that a literal Babylon will exist at the end of our age in majestic glory, but it will be resurrected in the same location as its ancient predecessor in the Middle East.
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Rome Not Babylon
The city of Rome is not the Babylon of prophecy. Rome has wrongly been associated with Babylon because of an erroneous identification of Daniel’s fourth beast with the Roman Empire. The Book of Daniel contains very little information about the Roman Empire as many theologians and historians in the top universities know. The fourth beast of Daniel is clearly shown to be an extension of the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great. It is particularly identified with the Seleucid Empire which existed from 312 to 165 B.C.E. Those who claim that the Babylon of prophecy represents Rome make a fundamental mistake in interpretation. There is not any evidence in the Book of Daniel which will remotely substantiate their claim.
A Significant Prophecy
Many people feel the prophecies about Babylon in Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50–51 pertain only to the ancient city. However, not one of those prophecies was fulfilled in the 6th century B.C.E. when the empire of Babylon handed over power to the Medes and Persians. These prophecies will happen at the end of our age. There must be a new, rebuilt Babylon on the Euphrates in order for God to bring those prophecies to pass. There is much proof to demonstrate this fact. Notice the second chapter of Daniel.
The dream of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in Daniel 2 should be reviewed carefully. When Daniel interpreted the dream for the king, he recounted the image whose "head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, and his legs of iron, but his feet part of iron and part clay" (verses 32–33). Daniel further told the king that he witnessed a stone cut from the top of a mountain, which rolled down its slope hitting the image on its ten toes—on the base of the image. It "brake them [the ten toes] to pieces" (verse 34). But not only that, the stone went on to accomplish something else.
"Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces TOGETHER, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain [the Kingdom of God], and filled the whole earth."
Notice a significant point overlooked by so many. Daniel said that the parts of the image (from the gold down to the iron and clay) were all destroyed TOGETHER. This needs to be emphasized!
Daniel said that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, represented the head of gold, and another kingdom (silver) would arise after Babylon, followed by a third kingdom (brass), then a fourth (iron), and finally there would be a fifth kingdom of iron and miry clay (the ten toes). Yet Daniel said all these kingdoms would be destroyed at the same time. How could this be if ancient Babylon was destroyed in 539 B.C.E., Persia in 330 B.C.E., Greece in 323 B.C.E., and Daniel’s fourth empire of the Seleucid’s in 165 B.C.E.? Still, Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that all the kingdoms would be destroyed together as anyone can plainly read in the Bible. "It [the stone] shall break in pieces and consume ALL THESE KINGDOMS [represented by the composite image], and it shall stand forever" (verse 44). How can the stone destroy the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and that of the Seleucid’s, if all of them were successively destroyed and obliterated centuries ago? This factor has always been a problem with prophetic commentators over the years, but it need not be if one will simply believe all the teachings of Scripture.
More Information from Daniel
Look at Daniel 7. The prophet in that chapter is given a vision of four great beasts. The first is like an eagle, the next like a bear, the third a leopard, and the fourth is a non-descript beast "dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly" (verse 7). Daniel refers the eagle to Babylon, the bear to Medo-Persia, the leopard to Greece, and the non-descript beast to the Seleucid Empire which existed from 312 to 165 B.C.E. The ten horns are equated with the ten toes of Daniel Two and they will be in existence at the end of the age.
Daniel describes a "little horn" which will arise among the final ten horns. He beholds this little horn prospering "till thrones were cast down, and the ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow" (verse 9). This "little horn" exists (along with the other ten horns) up to the establishment of God’s Kingdom on this earth under Christ. The "little horn" will be destroyed by Christ. "I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame" (verse 11). The "little horn" and the ten horns (kings) which came from the fourth beast, are destroyed by Christ at His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8–10).
Now notice a very significant statement by Daniel in the verse immediately after the verses speaking about the "little horn’s" destruction at the Second Coming. Notice verse 12:
"As concerning the rest of the beasts [Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and the Seleucid Empire], they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time."
Daniel categorically states that all these beasts in Daniel 7 will be in existence at the Second Coming of Christ! Their dominion was taken away (and this is a fact of history), but their existence is somehow prolonged! Indeed, in the interpretation Daniel gave, he distinctly prophesied the existence of these four kingdoms in a time prior to him.
"These great beasts, which are four, are four kings [representing four kingdoms], which SHALL ARISE out of the earth."
Daniel saw this vision in the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon (Daniel 7:1). The ancient Babylonian kingdom (which was the head of gold) was already a fact when Daniel said all four—including Babylon—were to arise sometime in the future (verse 17).
The eagle (Babylon), bear (Medo-Persia), leopard (Greece) and the non-descript beast (Seleucid), are prophesied to be in existence at the end of the age. Babylon must emerge once again. "Their dominion was taken away. yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time" (verse 12). Though ancient Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and the Seleucid Empire had their dominions taken away generations ago, they have been subliminally in existence, hidden among the political states of the Middle East and Greece from 165 B.C.E. until the time just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. All four of these kingdoms will once again arise in the areas of their ancient glories.
Jeremiah Prophesies the Same Thing
The prophecies about the destruction of a literal Babylon on the River Euphrates mentioned in the Bible have never yet occurred. People who say they have, are avoiding all the truth of history. Ancient Babylon was in no way destroyed as the Scriptures prophesy that Babylon must. However, the prophecies of God have not failed. They refer to a Babylon destined to exist at the end of the age. This is shown by Jeremiah the prophet.
In Jeremiah 25 are his prophecies about the destruction of various kingdoms which occurred in the 6th century B.C.E. He begins in verse 17 by saying that Judah would become a desolation and an astonishment. This exactly occurred about six hundred years before Christ. Egypt was to experience the same desolation (verse 19) and according to Ezekiel 29:8–12 the desolation was severe. Jeremiah then mentions that the Philistines would also drink the wine cup of desolation (verse 20), as well as the kingdoms east of the Dead Sea (verse 21), the Phoenicians of Tyre and Sidon (verse 22), the Arabians (verse 24), all the kings of Elam and finally the Medes (verse 25). All of these kingdoms lost their independent rule back in the 6th century B.C.E. As history makes clear, the Medes and the others became dominated by the Persians. Actually, not only did Middle Eastern nations see the overthrow of their governments, but Jeremiah’s prophecy of destruction reached out to "all kings of the north, far and near, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth." All earthly nations were to drink of the wine cup of desolation by the hand of God (verse 26). A worldwide political disruption was prophesied to occur in the 6th century B.C.E., and it happened. 1
There was only one kingdom on earth which was not then judged with fierce punishment. That kingdom was Babylon. Though Jeremiah mentioned that all the kingdoms of the world would be in desolation by drinking of God’s wine-cup of judgment, yet he prophesied that "the king of Sheshach shall drink AFTER them" (verse 26). 2
A Brief History of Babylon
The city of Babylon in the 6th century B.C.E. was the queen city of the world. Its hanging gardens and multitude of buildings and temples were the envy of all. Yet Isaiah had prophesied its utter destruction (Isaiah 13). Jeremiah living about 150 years after Isaiah at the time of Babylon’s greatest ascendancy, also said it would have a sudden, violent, and total destruction (Jeremiah 50–51). Yet none of those prophecies were accomplished in the 6th century B.C.E. Nor did they happen in the 5th century, or the 4th—indeed, Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s prophecies have never yet been fulfilled!
When Babylon was taken over by Cyrus the Persian in 539 B.C.E., he did not destroy the city as some thought might happen. In fact, he restored many of the temples which had been proscribed from functioning near the close of the Neo-Babylonian period. 3 In the ensuing years, Babylon was furnished with even more important buildings. 4 When Herodotus, the Greek historian, visited the city in the 5th century B.C.E., he found it in a most glorious condition. His eyewitness account shows its splendid situation. He said it was built exactly square, each side being 120 stadia (13 miles) long, with a broad and deep trench around it. The wall surrounding the city was about 300 feet high and 75 feet wide. 5 A hundred bronze gates opened into the city, which was divided in two by the River Euphrates. All its streets were at right angles to each other and many of the houses were three and four stories high. It was an gorgeous city and had not in any way suffered the destructions prophesied by Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Babylon continued in prominence until a time near Alexander the Great (330 B.C.E.). Some decay then set in, but Alexander was so taken with the political, economic, and religious significance of the city that he decided, just before his death in 323 B.C.E., to make it the capital of his new "Greek" empire and to refurbish it.
The gradual demise of the city came when Seleucus, the first emperor of Daniel’s "Kingdom of the North" (Daniel’s fourth beast), decided to build a new city in a different area than Babylon. This new city was built on the River Tigris about 50 miles north soon after 312 B.C.E. Seleucus forcibly moved all of the inhabitants (except some priests who attended the national shrines) to this new "Babylon." The old city, from that time forward began a gradual decay into ruins. When Strabo, the Greek geographer of the 1st century B.C.E., mentioned Babylon, he said it was an area where certain Chaldean priests still made observations of the heavens but there was no population of any account at that time. In the time of Trajan, the Roman Emperor in 115 C.E., it was still barely inhabited, but by 199 C.E. the city was reported by eyewitnesses as being completely deserted and in ruins. Babylon then ceased to be. 6 Its remaining walls collapsed. The temples disintegrated. The priests retreated to other areas. It was all over!
Ancient Babylon had by degrees come to an end—some 750 years after the time of Jeremiah. Thus history abundantly proves that the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah which spoke about its sudden and violent overthrow never occurred! But before we consign the prophets to the classification of false seers, better pay close attention to what they really said would occur to Babylon and when. If one notices what they actually said, it can be seen that they were not false prophets at all. They prophesied what will happen to the city of Babylon some two and a half millennia in advance, when the "Sheshach" of prophecy was to drink the fury in the wine cup of God’s wrath!
Notice Isaiah and Jeremiah Carefully
Isaiah prophesied that Babylon would be overthrown so completely and so suddenly that its destruction would only be compared to that of Sodom and Gomorrah (Isaiah 13:19). Those former Canaanite cities were demolished by God at the time of Abraham with such absolute destruction that every vestige of them has been obliterated from the face of the earth. So shall Babylon be destroyed. Yet the Babylon of ancient times gradually decayed over the centuries and some of its ancient buildings are still buried under fallen walls, only partially intact.
Isaiah also said that once the Babylon of his prophecy was destroyed, no Arabian would dare pitch his tent within its confines (Isaiah 13:20). Yet Arabians have long pitched their tents and even built their houses, right in the middle of the ruins of ancient Babylon. When my wife and I visited the ruins of ancient Babylon in 1972, we were led near an Iraqi (Arab) military camp situated just north of the main ruins (still within its ancient walls). Though we could not find out how many soldiers were there (it was a military secret), there were certainly no fewer than 100 men living in the very area—and all of them were Arabs! Besides this, we saw encamped right east of the ziggurat which modern historians identify with the Tower of Babel, two Bedouin tents of itinerant Arabs and I have photographs of them. These Arabs were not one bit afraid of staying within the precincts of old Babylon. We had lunch in a small hotel built alongside the famous ruins of the Hanging Gardens. I asked the manager if he and his Arab staff were afraid to live in ancient Babylon. He said, "Of course not." He told us that seventeen of his staff stayed in Babylon all the time. He further said that the people of Hillah (a city of about 50,000 people some six miles to the south) often came to the area of Babylon to picnic because there were numerous shade trees and it was a pleasant park-like area. Almost all the inhabitants of Hillah are Arabs.
When my wife and I were being shown by our Arab guide over the main ruins of Babylon, I asked him where all the noise of the goats, sheep and the children were coming from. He took us to a small village called Querish which was located right in the middle of ancient Babylon directly between the Hanging Gardens and the River Euphrates. This was a very old walled village of mud houses in which about 300 native Arabs lived. Old maps show that the village has been there for hundreds of years! There was another Arab village directly across the Euphrates as well.
Isaiah also said that the wild beasts of the desert, doleful creatures, owls, and satyrs, shall inhabit the desolate houses of Babylon after its prophesied destruction (Isaiah 13:21–22). Yet there are no such evil beasts dwelling in the ruins of ancient Babylon today. What we saw were many domestic water buffalo, goats, chickens, and other tame animals. I asked the hotel owner if snakes and other evil beasts dwelt in Babylon. His answer was: "We have never seen any such creatures." There are no doubt some venomous creatures around, as there are in all areas of the Middle East, but none of the wild animals inhabit Babylon like Isaiah prophesied.
Jeremiah said that Babylon after its destruction will have a "drought upon her waters; and they shall be dried up" (Jeremiah 50:38), and "I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry" (Jeremiah 51:36). However, the Babylon of today, like the city of ancient times, has an abundance of water. One of the main reasons why it is difficult for archaeologists to excavate in Babylon is because of the high water table.
"Remains of earlier occupation in the Old Babylonian period were uncovered only in a limited area owing to the high water table."
- vol. 1, p. 440
Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible,
A new excavation is planned for 1976 to unearth ancient Babylon, but the professional excavators say their problems in digging up old Babylon are mainly caused by the water table being so high in the area (Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1975). However, when the prophecies of Jeremiah come true, her waters "shall be dried up."
The destruction of the Babylon that Jeremiah predicted also shows that none of its bricks or stones would ever be re-used again in the building of other structures.
"And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the Lord."
The prophecy said that not one stone was to be taken from Jeremiah’s Babylon in the rebuilding of any other city. Yet, it is a known fact that the ancient Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar has been a reservoir of countless stones and bricks used in the building of numerous new towns up and down the Euphrates. 7 In fact, many of the buildings in Hillah, the city of 50,000 located some six miles south of Babylon, have been built from re-used material from ancient Babylon. 8 Other villages up and down the River Euphrates have also re-used bricks from Babylon. These facts have been well known for generations. Benjamin Newton wrote in 1859 that many of the modern cities around Babylon were constructed by using materials from old Babylon.
"It is certain that Hillah and various other cities in the neighborhood are built of materials taken from the ruins of Babylon, and that the ruins are still continually resorted to for this purpose, as is proved by the testimony of every traveler in the district."
- Second Series, vol. 1, p. 29 9
Aids to Prophetic Enquiry,
Mr. Newton quoted a gentleman who visited the site in the year 1835.
‘‘It is said that they shall not take of thee ‘a stone for a corner, nor a stone for a foundation’ (Jer. 51). But the ruin of the buildings at Babylon has been mainly accelerated by the removal of the materials with which she was built, for the construction of other towns in the neighborhood.’’
This same traveler also commented on the prophecy that no Arab would ever pitch his tent there. "In 1835, when I was there, I saw marks of an Arab encampment which must have halted there for several weeks." Not only did Arabs regularly encamp at Babylon, he also saw "two villages besides, together with several gardens and date plantations within the limits of the ruins" (p. 45). Those two villages were still there when my wife and I were at the ruins of Babylon in 1972.
Seeing that the prophecies had not been fulfilled in the manner described by Isaiah and Jeremiah, this early traveler made these final remarks:
"I believe then, that Babylon will be rebuilt ... and that she will then suddenly and finally be brought to ruin.’’
- Second Series, vol. 1, p. 45
Aids to Prophetic Enquiry,
B. W. Newton, the great prophetic writer from England whose works were well known in the last half of the 19th century also showed numerous biblical evidences that Babylon on the Euphrates had to be rebuilt. In fact, much of the essential teaching of Newton centered around the prophecies of the renewed Babylon to arise at the end of the age.
Many prophetic teachers of the last century saw that Babylon had to have a new birth—and this was long before petroleum (the mainstay of the modern industrialized world) was found in gigantic quantities in the Middle East which presently makes the specter of a renewed Babylon a very real thing.
No Person Ever to Dwell in Babylon
Let us recall one point. There are about 300 Arabs today living in the village of Queirsh right in the middle of ancient Babylon. An equal amount live directly across the Euphrates. And if anyone has any doubt about it, all one has to do is take a trip to the area and see for himself. The predictions in Isaiah and Jeremiah cannot, in any way, be referring to ancient Babylon. Note what the prophets say:
[for the ages—Hebrew], neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation."
"So shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein."
"It shall be no more inhabited for ever
"It shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate."
Jeremiah 50: 13
"And none shall dwell therein."
"It shall be: ‘without an inhabitant’."
Jeremiah 51: 37
"It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation."
Isaiah 13: 20
"Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby."
Jeremiah 51: 43
Yes, not only will the Arabian refuse to pitch his tent in the ruins of this prophesied Babylon of the future, but no human of any race will dwell in its midst. Even all the land of Babylon, not only the city, will be utterly depopulated. Indeed, the Bible says that no man will even pass by the site (Jeremiah 51:43). It shall become the haunt of wild beasts, doleful creatures, and satyrs (Isaiah 13:21). This has never happened in history. But it is soon to occur.
Judgments on Babylon to Occur in the Day of the Lord
The reason the prophecies about Babylon in Isaiah and Jeremiah have not yet happened is because they are reserved for the Day of the Lord—a time still future to us. This is what Isaiah said about the destruction of the Babylon he was referred to,
"Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. ... Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the [Babylonian] land desolate.’’
Isaiah 13:6, 9
Isaiah said this demise of Babylon will occur when the stars of heaven refuse to give their light and the sun shall be darkened (verse 10). These heavenly signs have not yet occurred, but they will happen in the Day of the Lord when God’s judgment upon Babylon arrives. This is the same "Day" into which John the Apostle was taken to see the events recorded in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 1:10). All nations will then be judged when Christ returns again. This is also the same time that Babylon on the Euphrates will receive the divine judgments prophesied against her in Isaiah and Jeremiah. lf there is still any doubt about this, let us look at the next proof.
The prophecies against Babylon as recorded by Jeremiah do not only speak about the destruction of the city of Babylon, but Jeremiah also says that all the LAND of Babylon (the province of Babylon) will be a total desolation.
"Out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her LAND desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast."
Not only the city, but all the land will become desolate. This is future to us. The next verse in Jeremiah explains what this desolation means to Israel and when it will occur.
"In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come. and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten."
This covenant that both houses of Israel are destined to make is the New Covenant referred to by Jeremiah in chapter 31 verse 31. It can be no other covenant because the land of Babylon has never been made empty of men yet—nor has the land seen the complete desolation which Jeremiah prophesied. There can be no doubt about it, these scriptures await a future fulfillment in the Day of the Lord. Only in the wake of that period will all Israel return to Zion, weeping as they go—all of them unitedly saying: "Let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall never he forgotten."
The Ominous Signs Around Us
As a last attempt to show man’s defiance to God, Babylon and also ‘‘Mystery’’ Babylon will be built. After all, it was at Babel that man first began his rebellion to God right after the Flood (Genesis 11), and it is also there that man’s final attempt to overthrow God will occur.
Christians should ask themselves if they wish to support the rebuilding of "the Lady of Kingdoms"—"the Virgin Daughter of the Chaldeans"? Is this helping to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Is the restoring of the Tower of Babel assisting the proclamation of Jesus Christ and Him crucified? If it is, I would like my readers to point out the chapters and verses where it says it is.
Those who provide funds for the reconstruction of Babylon and the Tower of Babel should just as well make the bricks, mix the mortar, and bind the bricks together. All are equally responsible. 10 Yet, whether one helps or not, the building will be accomplished according to the prophecies of the Bible. The only thing that Christians should keep in mind, if they wish to participate in rebuilding the areas where rebellion first began, is a scripture of the Bible. "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4).
Bible Prophecies Coming to Pass
A literal Babylon on the Euphrates, known for her "sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments" (Isaiah 47:9), is prophesied to arise. There will also be a "Mystery" Babylon emerging as well. 11
When Benjamin Newton and others in the 19th century proclaimed that God’s prophecies showed the revival of Babylon on the Euphrates, most of the people of England and America failed to listen. Dr. Bullinger who wrote the notes and articles for the Companion Bible said the same thing in the early part of this century. Few took him seriously. Why? Simply because those areas were for the most part sparsely inhabited regions known primarily for the vast deserts which impinged upon a few fertile areas. It was then looked upon by most people as a complete impossibility for these areas to come back into world prominence. However, people are no longer saying that. Look at what has happened in the last few years.
Vast quantities of petroleum interlace the whole region around Babylon. The whole eastern part of the Middle East is the greatest reservoir of oil known anywhere in the world. Persia (Iran) has it in abundance. Practically all of Kuwait has oil underneath its sands. Iraq (where ancient Babylon is) is very blessed with oil. Saudi Arabia has so much that it staggers the imagination. In 1974 those "desert" countries of the Middle East flexed their economic muscles by causing mighty America and Europe (the rest of the world) to practically get on their knees when those countries embargoed the export of their oil. It has even been said that the Middle East may well control much of the economics of the world in the years ahead. No longer are people saying it is impossible for Babylon to rise again. Indeed, since the government of Iraq has already made plans to rebuild the city to its ancient splendor, and funds from America will be used to accomplish it, is it not time to look once again at what the prophets of old have said?
We are living in momentous times. There is much prophecy that needs to be brought to the attention of God’s people. Scores of prophecies have for years lain dormant within the pages of the Bible and have not been taught from many pulpits in the land. It is our intention to bring these to the knowledge of all.
Keep in contact with us. Though we do not have a perfect knowledge, there are still many prophecies of which you need to be cognizant. The knowledge of them will help you to see God’s hand as He guides the nations of the world in the fulfillment of His end-time prophecies.
"For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof."
Ernest L. Martin
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1 See the ASK July 2002 article, "The Prophetic Birth of our Civilization" http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p020701.htm for details.
2 Who is the "king of Sheshach"? This is a cipher which really meant Babylon. The Hebrew alphabet has twenty-two letters. The word BABEL (signifying Babylon) is made up of two "B’s" (bet) and one "L" (lamed)—the vowels are not reckoned in Hebrew. The "B’s" represent the second letter of the alphabet, and the "L" is the twelfth letter. But if one reverses the numbering and counts backwards through the Hebrew alphabet, the second letter becomes a "SH" (sheen) and the twelfth letter is "CH’’ (chaf). By reading the Hebrew in this manner, B-B-L (Babel) becomes SH-SH-CH (Sheshach). The technical name of this linguistic feature is atbash. The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary says about Sheshach: "The name is formed according to the Canon Atbash in virtue of which the letters of the alphabet were put one for the other in reverse order; thus שׁ would correspond to ב and כ to ל" (Jeremiah, vol. 1, p. 383). This linguistic device was used by Jeremiah as a cipher to signify the empire of Babylon. This prophecy showed that Babylon will be the last nation of Jeremiah’s prophecies to be judged by God. Babylon was not judged back in the 6th century B.C.E. as were the other nations in Jeremiah’s list. Its judgment is reserved for the future—just ahead of us. History clearly shows Babylon was not dealt with as prophesied back in ancient times. The "king of Sheshach shall drink AFTER them" (verse 26).
3 Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible, vol. 1, page 446.4 Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible, vol. 1, p. 448.
5 Herodotus, Bk. 1, ch. 178–179. It was as wide as a modern freeway.6 Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible, vol. 1, p. 448.
7 The "stones" of Jeremiah are identified as "bricks" in the city of Babylon. See Genesis 11:3.
8 Hachette, The Middle East, p. 732. I have not been able to track down this book and verify this reference. DWS
9 London : James Nisbet, c1850, 1881. For additional information see also his Babylon, Its Future History and Doom: with remarks on the future of Egypt and other Eastern countries 3rd ed. (London: Houlston & Sons, c1890). It has some 642 pages. I have not seen this volume, but I presume Dr. Martin knew about this volume. DWS
10 Why would anyone today want to rebuild Babylon? Viewing the international political situation as of October 2002, that reason seems impossible. However, apparently the world community will have a compelling reason to do so.
11 If one wishes to know who "Mystery" Babylon represents, see the article on the ASK website "The Deceptions of Satan the Devil" http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d950201.htm.
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