Why are events in Babylon (the present Iraq and Syria) so tremendously significant to the entire world? Because here, under the instigation of Satan, decisions were taken that would affect all people on earth. Decisions on the future of humanity were not only taken here in ancient times but will again, in the near future, be taken here. The three prominent decisions associated with Babylon and its immediate environment are the following:
1. The Fall
The earliest origin of man can be traced back to the Garden of Eden in the Persian Gulf area. According to Genesis 2, four rivers flowed through the Garden of Eden. The first one was the Pishon, which flowed around the land of Havilah. This river, which no longer exists, flowed somewhere to the east of the Jordan through the present Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The second river was the Gihon, which flowed around the land of Cush. This Cush probably refers to the land of the Cassites in the mountains of the present Iran, just east of the Iraqi border. The Gihon no longer exists. The third river is the Hiddekel, or Tigris, which still exists and runs through Iraq. The fourth river, the Euphrates, is also still existing and runs through the entire Syria and Iraq.
One of the earliest names for the present Iraq was Mesopotamia – the land between two rivers. The two rivers are the Tigris and Euphrates which both flowed through the Garden of Eden. One can, therefore, confidently state that Iraq and its immediate environment is the area of man’s creation. The fact that more than a quarter of the world’s oil reserves are in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which are predominantly desert regions, is proof of the fact that there must have been lush vegetation here in earlier times, like that which is associated with Eden. Petroleum oil is, like coal, of organic, vegetable origin. Coal and crude oil are closely related, and oil can be extracted from coal, as is done by Sasol in their plants. It is interesting that the vegetation of Eden is probably responsible for the rich oil deposits of the Gulf region, thereby rendering great economic significance to these semi-desert countries in the last days.
It was in die Garden of Eden that the first tragic decision on the destiny of man was taken under the direct instigation of Satan. Adam and Eve were given over to physical and spiritual death because they broke the laws of God by heeding the advice of a false god, Satan. They were evicted from Eden, and their spiritual darkness and propensity to sin were inherited by their children and thus permeated the entire human race. Romans 5:12 says that through one man, Adam, sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. All of us, as descendants of Adam, are still affected by this tragic decision. The devil achieved a great victory for his kingdom when he succeeded in deceiving the first two people to sin and thereby rebel against God.
2. The tower of Babel
The second tragic decision that would adversely affect humanity was also taken through the intervention of Satan in the environs of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, in the land that would later be known as Mesopotamia, Shinar and Babylonia. After the Fall, rebellion against God was continued by the new generation of people on earth. In Genesis 10:8-10 we read: ”Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on earth… And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel…” After that, Satan established the first apostate world empire in the same area where he originally achieved so much success in deceiving Adam and Eve. Babylon, on the banks of the Euphrates River, was the capital of this empire. On an international conference in Babylon, which was a satanic conspiracy against God and His order of independent nations, a decision was taken which would profoundly affect humanity during the rest of its earthly existence. In Genesis 11, we read:“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there… And they said: Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the whole face of the earth. But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said: Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city” (Gen. 11:1-8).
This evil programme of internationalisation, or globalisation, was based on the idea of a humanistic world empire and a false world religion as well as the economic oppression and exploitation of the nations. Despite the crumbling of the ancient Babylonian empire, Satan never relinquished his plans to establish an alternative world order of international unity in association with a false world religion. The ideology of Babylon established itself among the nations and motivated them to continue their political and religious rebellion against God. Their final objective was always to re-establish a world empire by the use of economic and military power as well as religious deception. For this reason, the Babylonian empire was revived during later centuries and succeeded by the equally evil Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires. The present, anti-Christian new world order is a continuation of the long-establish Babylonian conspiracy against God and His kingdom. It is to be expected that when a world empire is again established, Babylon will be a natural choice as capital. Mystery Babylon as an ecumenical alliance of false religions is presently also regrouping herself.
Babylon never ceased to exist but only went into hiding among the nations. In the light of its evil principles and objectives, God’s judgements still rest upon Babylon. Prophecies that deal with the fall of Babylon are so clearly defined and absolute that no period in the entire history of Babylon and Assyria can be found in which they have been exhaustively fulfilled. Consider the following statements:“And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will caper there” (Is. 13:19-21).
Jeremiah refers to the destruction of Babylon in these words:“They shall not take from you a stone for a corner, nor a stone for a foundation, but you shall be desolate forever, says the Lord… My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the Lord… And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: When you arrive in Babylon and see it, and read all these words, then you shall say: O Lord, You have spoken against this place to cut it off, so that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but it shall be desolate forever. Now it shall be, when you have finished reading this book, that you shall tie a stone to it and throw it out into the Euphrates. Then you shall say: Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her” (Jer. 51:26, 45, 61-64).
Dr. J. A. Seiss stated as far back as 1865 in his Letters on the Apocalypse that it is obvious that the city of Babylon will be rebuilt, for otherwise the Lord cannot finally destroy it like Sodom and Gomorrah, never to be inhabited again. This is clearly an end-time event that will, according to Isaiah 13:6-9, occur on the day of the Lord, probably coinciding with the battle of Armageddon at the end of the great tribulation.
In 1918, Clarence Larkin indicated in his famous book, Dispensational Truth, that Babylon was never completely destroyed or uninhabited. Jeremiah's prophecy that after the final destruction no stones from the ruins of Babylon will be used, must yet be fulfilled. Various towns and cities have in fact been built with bricks recovered from the ruins of Babylon. Before the present rebuilding of Babylon started in 1978, Iraqis removed thousands of bricks for construction purposes elsewhere. Since the official building programme started, several impressive structures have risen on the foundations of ancient Babylon. These developments underscore the biblical view that the great fall of the city is yet to occur.
3. A covenant with the Antichrist
The third fatal decision that will be taken on behalf of the whole world in Babylon will be a covenant which the nations will conclude with the Antichrist in the end-time. Two of the Antichrist’s titles specifically indicate that he will rise from the ancient Assyrian/Babylonian region and also establish his headquarters there. In Isaiah 10 he is called the Assyrian, and in Daniel 11 the king of the North. Both these titles are associated with a region to the north and north-east of Israel, to which the names Assyria and Babylon applied during different periods. The heartland of these empires was in Iraq, where the Garden of Eden originally was.
From other Scriptures it is also evident that Babylon will be rebuilt as a wicked, global centre. The false world religion, mystery Babylon of Revelation 17, will, according to Zechariah 5:5-11, be resettled in the land Shinar, which is one of the ancient names of Babylonia. According to Revelation 18, Babylon will also be revived as an international trade centre.
The end-time Babylonian, the Antichrist, will conclude the history of the rebellious nations in the way in which Nimrod started it – as a violent person who deify himself and who will also build the city of Babylon. Revelation 13:3-4 says that the Antichrist will be followed and worshipped by the whole world. He will be the sole ruler of the world (Rev. 13:7). Daniel 9:27 says that he will conclude a covenant with many nations for seven years. This will be the third decision of world-wide significance that will be taken in Babylon. The Lord Jesus emphasised the fact that even the Israeli nation will also fully accept the false messiah (Jn. 5:43).
The ideology of the Antichrist’s new world order will, as Satan’s third big Babylonian lie, have a close connection with the first two lies. As he told Eve in the Garden of Eden, he will again allege that man, in his own right, is immortal and divine. As at the tower of Babel, the ideology of international unity in association with idol-worship will also be pursued.
The final fall of the rebuilt Babylon will occur suddenly at the end of the great tribulation. John describes it as follows in Revelation 18:“After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority… And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying: Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling-place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury. “…her plagues will come in one day – death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. And the kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying: Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgement has come! …And every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning… “Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying: Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore… for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth” (Rev. 18:1-5, 8-10, 17-18, 21, 23-24).
From these Scriptures it is evident that there will not be a gradual decay and decline of the city over a long period of time. The destruction of Babylon will occur in one hour. As with Sodom and Gomorrah, it will be consumed by fire. At the same time a great earthquake with continuous thunder and lightning will occur, as described in Revelation 16:“And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth… And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath” (Rev. 16:18-19).
When this earthquake occurs a huge crater will appear, from which flames of burning pitch will emanate. The city will subside into a lake of fire, never to be restored or inhabited again. The smoke of her burning will form dark clouds across the plains of Shinar and be clearly visible from ships in the Persian Gulf. The merchants and the seamen will weep and mourn over the destruction of this city with its riches, pomp and glory.
Where Babylon once was, will be a desolate crater in which the remains of some of its buildings will still be visible. A frightening atmosphere will prevail midst the scene of destruction, and the silence will be ominous. During the millennium, no one will want to stay or overnight in its vicinity (Is. 13:19-20). This scene depicts the downfall and destiny of a kingdom and a society that revolted against God and scorned His mercy.
It is frightening and almost incomprehensible that in spite of the historical facts at their disposal, as well as biblical prophecies, modern world leaders are proceeding with their plans to establish a Babylonian new world order. In the process they are creating structures for the world government, world religion and world economy of the coming Antichrist. The European nations are eagerly participating in this Babylonian empire by relinquishing a significant degree of their sovereignty and transferring it to the European Union.
The history of the nations started with a Babylonian conspiracy against the kingdom of God, as described in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, a description is given of how the history of the nations will end in this dispensation – with a repetition of that early Babylonian conspiracy against the kingdom of God. Modern technology and the proliferation of evil will render the present conspiracy exceedingly more fierce and destructive. With every passing day, the world is more and more unified in accordance with the principles of the ancient Babylonian empire. The final and formal institution of this new international order will coincide with the dramatic revelation of the Antichrist, who will be the undisputed leader and god of the emerging new world empire.
The area in Babylon where Satan deceived Adam and Eve to commit an act of rebellion against God, and where he later instigated the nations to build the tower of Babel and thereby exalted themselves and rejected God, will also be the general location of the last, big, international rebellion under the leadership of the Antichrist. But this place will also be the scene of God’s terrible judgement of Satan’s Babylonian conspiracy which cast such a dark shadow over the history of humanity.