Genesis chapter 10 verse 10 states that the origin of Babylon and Nimrod’s rise to dominance over the people are connected. Nimrod was the first world leader and is a type of the Man of Sin who will dominate the nations at the end time. In chapter 11 verses 1-3, Nimrod led the people eastward, that is, toward the rising of the sun where he built the city and the tower in the land of Shinar. It is here that Babylon becomes the centre of heathen worship, for the tower would relate to the desire to establish a form of worship that is for the people, but not for God. In these actions we have the first attack of the adversary on the truth of God, and this was to prevail right through all time as the Babylonish system was carried across the world through the dispersion of the people who came under the judgement of God.
In addition to confounding their language, the Lord scattered the people over the broad acres of earth in the days of Peleg, Gen. 10. 25. Initially the population was in one place, Gen. 1. 9, but it would seem that in Nimrod’s day the people were scattered across the earth and took with them their Babylonish doctrines and idolatry. Babylon is indeed ‘The Mother of Harlots’, Rev. 17. 5.
The Ominous Warnings
There are two major prophecies that relate to the final doom of Babylon, both of which are very plain in their teaching: these are Isaiah chapters 13-14, and Jeremiah chapters 50-51. These prophecies set out the future judgement that will be brought upon Babylon in the closing days of the tribulation period, and both confirm what is detailed in the book of Revelation chapters 17-18. A cursory reading of Isaiah’s prophecy relative to Babylon makes it very clear that the events recorded are those that will take place during tribulation days, for it refers to the ‘day of the Lord’, 13. 6, 9. This judgement extends beyond Babylon to the whole world, v. 11, when a man will be ‘more precious than fine gold’. This reminds us of the words of the Lord that ‘except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved’, Matt. 24. 22. Again, in verse 19, Babylon’s overthrow is detailed further and is confirmed by that which is recorded by John in Revelation chapter 18 verses 21-23.
It is interesting to note that chapter 14 speaks of Babylon as ‘how is the golden city ceased’. When Saddam Hussein commenced the rebuilding of Babylon he used golden bricks to seek to re-establish it in its former glory as it was in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. It stands on the banks of the Euphrates in readiness for the time when the Lord will act against it. The book of Zechariah, chapter 5, also prophesies of the day when the restoration will take place, see verses 5-11. One day Babylon will become the financial centre of the world, for an ephah is the largest measure in Israel’s units.
Jeremiah’s prophecy brings before us the judgement of Babylon, not against the background of the tribulation as Isaiah does, but against the recovery of both Israel and Judah together, 50. 4-5. As far as the nation of Israel is concerned verse 20 states ‘the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve’. There are a number of verses that the Lord brought to John when he wrote the book of Revelation that quite evidently came from chapter 51. The people are told to flee out of the midst of her in verse 6. She is a golden cup, v. 7, and she dwells upon many waters in verse 13.
Babylon’s overthrow is the same as that revealed in the book of Isaiah and confirmed in the book of Revelation, when, in chapter 50 verses 39-40, ‘it shall be no more inhabited for ever’, and will be ‘as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah’. As we compare these verses with Revelation chapters 17-18, it is evident that they speak of the same time period and the same events that will take place under the hand of God. At no time in its former history did Babylon ever suffer the fate that is recorded in these prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and today she stands again in the present Iraq, which is the ancient Babylon, in preparation for the final judgement of God against it. These scriptures make it evident that what is recorded in Isaiah and Jeremiah is not history but still prophetic to us, the fulfilment of them will be at the end times in God’s dealings with this world.
Its Final Obliteration
The destruction of Babylon in the book of Revelation begins the third vision that John had. Each of these visions begin with the words, ‘I was in the Spirit’ – see 1.10; 4.2. The third reference is in chapter 17 verse 3 when the Lord brings before us the great truth that those who have opposed Him and His ways will be finally dealt with and removed from the earth. It begins with Babylon because that was the source of all spiritual opposition to the will of God. It was here that the complete rejection of His thoughts and desires for humanity, originated. It was here that a global idolatry commenced.
In Revelation chapter 19 we see the fall of the Man of Sin and the false prophet and in the following chapter we have the final end of Satan. In addition, all the wicked unsaved dead are brought to account at the great white throne for their rejection of the truth that has been revealed. After these judgements, the Lord can bring in the new heaven and earth. We have the final use of the phrase ‘in the spirit’ in chapter 21 verse 10, and this vision reveals that once all that has set itself against the Lord has been judged, a glorious future can be seen for those who are redeemed.
Revelation chapters 17-18 present to us the future destiny of Babylon. In chapter 17 we have her flagrant rebellion, and in chapter 18 her fall is recorded. It is evident that only one judgement is before us – dealing with the tower of Babylon in chapter 17 and with the city itself in chapter 18. The first of these chapters sees the fall of a religious system, whereas chapter 18 speaks of Babylon, as a commercial centre that will be destroyed. With the fall of this city both aspects of what Babylon stands for comes under the wrath of God.
We are confronted in chapter 17 with a city that has had control throughout the whole world, and she is seen to have superiority over the Man of Sin in verse 3, as she rides on the scarlet-coloured beast. Evidently, her power is world-wide for all the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, v. 2, and every nation of earth has been corrupted by her teachings, as all hold her doctrines in some form. In verse 15, she is sitting upon many waters, where the interpretation is given as being ‘multitudes and nations and tongues’. Though some would link this with Rome, we must notice that this prophecy is recorded years before Rome comes to the fore and these features marked the nations even in John’s day.
Her Destruction is Divine
Although her destruction is definitely of God, He uses the ten kings and the beast to fulfil His will, 17. 17. We can observe that in His sovereignty the Lord uses men to bring to completion His desires. We also notice how that the time will come when the Antichrist, who is under her authority in chapter 17 as she rides him, will brook no rivals, as he enters into the temple at Jerusalem and announces that he is god.
The judgement of Babylon will be swift, coming in one day, 18. 8, 10, it will be violent, 18. 21, ‘thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down’, and it will be complete, 18. 21-24, for it will never rise again to trouble the earth.
It is evident that the commerce of the world will be centred in Babylon for when it’s fall is recorded the other world rulers not associated with the Man of Sin bring their lament to bear upon it. In chapter 18 verses 9-19, we have the monarchs, the merchants and the mariners who all have made great profit out of the existence of Babylon now lamenting her destruction. All cry, ‘Woe woe’, - what is obnoxious to God is the means of gain for the world, and with its fall their gain is lost. Well might they cry as they do!
The Delight of Heaven
We have the thoughts of heaven expressed in chapter 18 verse 20 where we are told, ‘Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her’. It is in chapter 19 that we have the four ‘Alleluia’s’ that are raised at the fall of this corrupt thing that has opposed God down the centuries from its first rise back in Genesis chapter 11. The praise begins with ‘much people in heaven’; it is taken up by the associates with the throne, the four beasts and the four and twenty elders, and finally by a great multitude, and as the sound of many waters, verses 4 and 6. This delight is turned into worship, for that which God has been robbed of as a result of the idolatry of Babylon can at last be given unreservedly to Him, and, thankfully, this will ultimately be eternal, with no opposition to His rightful claims and to the honour He deserves.
It is not for any Christian to be happy with any system that has it’s origins in Babylon, where the truth of God has been discarded, and satanic doctrines have usurped the mind of God. Nor to support those who have been responsible for the casting out of any who would stand for the Lord, even to the point of martyrdom.