Cover image for The rise of Babylon : sign of the end times
Title:
The rise of Babylon : sign of the end times
Author:
Dyer, Charles H., 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Wheaton, Ill. : Tyndale House, [1991]

©1991
Physical Description:
236 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 21 cm
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780842356183
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library BS649.B3 D93 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Many people are curious-what does the Bible tell us about today's headlines from the Middle East? Is Armageddon just around the corner? What should Christians do? This book shows how Babylon and Iraq fit into the Bible's prophecies of last-day events. It brings understanding of God's plan in our perplexing age. It points readers to Jesus, the only source of security in today's tumultuous world.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Babylon: Rising from the Ashes of Time The dry, blistering heat was oppressive,and the last thing I wanted to do was hike alone along a sandy road and scale a dusty wall. But I had traveled from my home in Texas to Babylon, Iraq, and now that I was here, nothing short of an armed guard would stop me from exploring the ruined city that had always fascinated me. Finally I was alone, for the moment, in a city that was nearly as old as civilization itself. Perhaps I was standing a few feet from the spot where Alexander the Great died or where Nebuchadnezzar once mused over the greatness of the city he had built. Maybe the young prisoner Daniel had absently run his fingers along this very wall and wished that he were back home in Jerusalem. Or perhaps somewhere in the sand under my feet was a fragment of the symbol of man's rebellion against God, the Tower of Babel. I snapped several pictures of this bleak, undeveloped section of ruins and then slipped back over the wall to join the official party of foreigners of which I was a part. Saddam Hussein had invited us to Iraq for a cultural festival, to see the beauty of the new Babylon that was rising from the ruins. Like the other visitors, I clapped and smiled for my hosts at the appropriate times. But something arose from within my soul-a feeling part thrill, part chill. The Bible forecasts the rebuilding of Babylon, and here, before my eyes, was another thrilling proof that Bible prophecies are infallible. But the Bible also reveals that the rebuilt Babylon will be brutally and suddenly destroyed with such force that not even one stone will ever be used again. I looked down at the Babylonian ruins and saw twenty-five-hundred-year-old bricks that were ordered into place by Nebuchadnezzar. Over the centuries, thousands of his bricks have been taken out of the rubble and used to build nearby villages. Today the rebuilders of Babylon are laying additional bricks inscribed, "Rebuilt in the era of our President Saddam Hussein." These bricks, too, should last through the ages. What act of destruction could prevent their reuse? Nuclear war, perhaps. But the Cold War is a fading memory. The United States and the other civilized nations of the world have never been more eager for peace and disarmament. Then my eyes fell upon a chilling twenty-foot portrait of Saddam Hussein, the self-described Knight of the Arab World, a man whom some call "the Butcher of Baghdad." What does the future hold for Babylon? I wondered. Whatever terrors lie ahead, they are sure to affect the entire world. Everything Old Is News Again "Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Madman from Mesopotamia threatens the stability of the Middle East! World prepares for war!" Are these headlines from today's New York Times , or are they the cries of a prophet who lived twenty-five-hundred years ago? History, it seems, is repeating itself. Descriptions of Iraq's threat to world peace today parallel descriptions of Nebuchadnezzar's rise to power in 605 B.C. Once again, the eyes of the world are riveted on the Middle East and the threat of one man. Once again, the world is painfully aware of Babylon. At the heart of the current crisis is Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq. Well-known for atrocities, tortures, and ruthlessness, he seems bizarre and unreasonable to Western minds. What are his plans and ambitions? What relationship do his actions have with biblical prophecies and God's plans for the world? Is Saddam Hussein a link to Armageddon, or is he only the latest bead on a long string of would-be world conquerors? Hussein has baffled both his own countrymen and Western foreign policy analysts. While the world struggles to penetrate the enigma of Saddam Hussein, we can find an important, God-given clue in the Bible. The key to the mystery of Saddam Hussein is Babylon . From Genesis to Revelation, Babylon occupies a unique position in God's Word. Today the once-dead city is being revived by Saddam Hussein, who seeks to establish and lead an international power paralleling the glory of ancient Babylon. Parade of Pride and Power It is a cloudless September summer night, and the moon casts its shining image on the banks of the gentle Euphrates River. Thousands of guests and dignitaries walk by torchlight to Babylon's Procession Street and enter the city from the north. Instructed to line the streets along the massive walls, the guests obediently follow orders. When the audience is in place, the dark-eyed man in charge nods, and the procession begins. Rows and rows of soldiers parade in, dressed in Babylonian tunics and carrying swords, spears, and shields. Interspersed among the ranks of soldiers are groups of musicians playing harps, horns, and drums. Clusters of children carry palm branches, and runners bear bowls of incense. Then come soldiers and still more soldiers in a seemingly endless line of men and weapons. After the procession, the guests attend a ceremony paying tribute to Ishtar, the mother goddess of Babylon. Have I just described a scene of pagan worship from the time of Daniel? Perhaps, but it is also exactly what I witnessed when I returned to Babylon a second time to attend the International Babylon Festival held under the patronage of Saddam Hussein. Imagine, if you will, a ruler determined to stamp his name on the pages of history. His goal is complete dominion of all surrounding nations, and he has spent vast sums of money to outfit an army capable of carrying out his wishes. He holds absolute power, and he does not hesitate to execute those who pose even a remote threat to his leadership. People have been arrested and imprisoned for the simple crime of not revering his image. Yet his military might is not his only claim to fame. He also sees himself as a patron of culture: of poets, artists, and architects. Even the bricks in Babylon bear his name as the personal overseer of its construction. Is this a fair description of Saddam Hussein? Yes, but it also accurately describes Nebuchadnezzar II, the Babylonian king whose empire once stretched from sea to sea. In his day, the lands of what are now Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Kuwait were all under Babylonian control. In August 1990, Saddam Hussein tried to reclaim a portion of that early empire when he invaded Kuwait. A coalition of nations, led by the United States, pushed back the Iraqi army, but Hussein remained in control of Iraq. Could he still ever hope to reclaim the entire kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar? The Bible Predicts a Reborn Babylon Because Babylon was built in ancient times, and was a great city, it must be a great city again in the time of our new great leader, Saddam Hussein. SHAFQA MOHAMMED JAAFAR, Babylon's chief archaeologist Babylon will be a great city again. The Bible mentions Babylon over two hundred and eighty times, and many of those references are to the future city of Babylon that is rising from the fine sands of the desert today. Consider the following biblical prophecies: Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. ISAIAH 13:19 Babylon was never suddenly overthrown like Sodom and Gomorrah in their fiery destruction. It was conquered by the Medes and Persians and fell into decline, but it was not violently destroyed. An oracle concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw: ... Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. ISAIAH 13:1, 6 "The day of the Lord" described by Isaiah refers to the tribulation period that is still to come. Babylon's destruction, then, will come in the time of the Tribulation-a short period of time just before the second coming of Christ. The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel will and settle them in their own land.... They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors. On the day the Lord gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended! ... All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing. ISAIAH 14:1-4, 7 When Babylon is ultimately destroyed, Israel will finally be at peace and will dwell in safety. Israel has been a nation since 1948, but not for one day has the nation of Israel known real peace or ease. It has never been able to claim all the lands God promised the Israelites, and Israel's Arab neighbors have been a constant threat and danger. The House Built for Wickedness Then the angel who was speaking to me [Zechariah] came forward and said to me, "Look up and see what this is that is appearing." I asked, "What is it?" He replied, "It is a measuring basket." And he added, "This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land." Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman! He said, "This is wickedness," and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed the lead cover down over its mouth. Then I looked up-and there before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth. "Where are they taking the basket?" I asked the angel who was speaking to me. He replied, "To the country of Babylonia to build a house for it. When it is ready, the basket will be set there in its place." ZECHARIAH 5:5-11 Zechariah was a product of the Babylonian exile of the Jews in the sixth century before Christ. Born in Babylon, he returned to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. Zechariah was from a priestly family, and he watched his people begin to rebuild the temple in 536 B.C. The work in Jerusalem languished, however, and God spoke to Zechariah and Haggai and called them to deliver his message to the people: Rebuild the temple! While this was their immediate message, God also gave them a glimpse of His future plans for the nation of Israel. Zechariah had this vision about Babylon on February 15, 519 B.C. He saw a measuring basket, with a cover, that was said to contain "the iniquity of the people throughout the land." The woman Zechariah saw was wickedness personified, as though all the evil deeds and actions done by humanity were represented by one character. The heavy lead cover was designed to keep the woman, or wickedness, from escaping. After showing Zechariah this scene, the angel pushed the woman into the basket and shut the lid. Obviously Zechariah was not implying that God had removed all wickedness from the world. Rather, he had confined and limited it. God was restraining wickedness and keeping it in check so that it would not run free in the world. The basket was carried away by two angelic beings to the country of Babylonia, or Babylon. Wickedness would be deposited in the land where humanity first rebelled against God, where a rebel named Nimrod ordered his followers to build a tower whose top would reach God. Later, Babylon was the city that had threatened God's land of promise and sacked and burned Jerusalem. Wickedness, said the angel, would again reside in Babylon. But how? Zechariah had been living in the land of Babylon when it fell to the Medo-Persians. Could Babylon rise again? Yes. Zechariah's vision shows that the "house" of Babylon will rise again "when it is ready." The time and place have not been right for thousands of years, but when God's prophetic plan is ready, Babylon will be rebuilt. Wickedness will again reign from the plain of Babylon. The city where humanity's rebellion against God began will be the site where that rebellion will return to take up residence. Every day that passes brings us closer to the end times, and every day the eyes of the world focus more closely on events in the Middle East and Mesopotamia. One key element in God's program of end-time activities will be the reestablishment of Babylon as a world power, when wickedness will again occupy the "city of man." Babylon takes its place in the center of the world stage, time to open our eyes. Chapter Two A Royal Mandate When King Nebuchadnezzar ran things around here some 2,500 years ago, he left clear instructions for the future kings of Babylon that are finally being carried out. Writing in cuneiform script on tablets of clay, the royal scribes urged their master's successors to repair and rebuild his temples and palaces. Today, in a gesture rich in political significance, President Saddam Hussein, Iraq's strong-armed ruler, is sparing no effort to obey that now-distant command. PAUL LEWIS in the San Francisco Chronicle For nearly two thousand years, Babylon was the most important city in the world. It was the commercial and financial center for all Mesopotamia, the center of a geographical "X" that linked the Orient with the Mediterranean and Egypt with Persia. Its scribes and priests spread its cultural heritage throughout the known world. The arts of divination, astronomy, astrology, accounting, and private commercial law all sprang from Babylon. Still, Babylon declined in importance as the major routes of commerce and trade shifted from the shores of the Euphrates to those of the Tigris. First Seleucia, then Ctesiphon, and in turn Baghdad rose to become the center of power and influence. Babylon was still inhabited, though the city retained only a shadow of its former glory. It had not yet fallen in the way predicted by the prophets, but its glory had been eclipsed by others. By the beginning of the twentieth century, as Babylon crumbled into the shifting sands of the desert, it seemed unlikely that it would ever rise from the mounds that had entombed it for so long. In 1980, all that existed on the site of ancient Babylon were dusty ruins, or ruins of ruins. Babylon's walls, made from clay bricks, were not as strong as the still-imposing stone structures of Egypt. Barely a wall was intact. But during the next two decades, over sixty million bricks were laid in the reconstruction of Nebuchadnezzar's fabled city. Saddam Hussein ignored the objections of archaeologists who considered it a crime to build over ancient ruins. He scrapped a plan to rebuild Babylon on a nearby site across the Euphrates River. On the exact site of ancient Babylon, he has reconstructed the southern palace of Nebuchadnezzar, including the Procession Street, a Greek theater, many temples, what was once Nebuchadnezzar's throne room, and a half-scale model of the Ishtar Gate. Continues... Excerpted from The Rise of BABYLON by Charles H. Dyer Copyright © 2003 by Charles H. Dyer Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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