This Paper was published January 12, 2002
A SUMMARY OF BABYLON REFERENCES IN THE PROPHETIC BOOKS
I shall now consider the remainder of the Babylon prophecies before proceeding with those from Jeremiah. The Jeremiah content provides highly specific details for the identity of Babylon, but those details are reflected in the other prophecies. In order to integrate the prophecies it is better to first consider the following.
Ezekiel on Babylon
Ezekiel used allegory to provide his prophecies of the future. This use is different from the Jeremiah images. As Ezekiel wrote:
Son of man, propound a riddle, and speak an allegory to the house of Israel.
And utter an allegory to the rebellious house and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD:
Therefore his references to Babylon are more difficult to follow. For example, Chapter 17 appears to refer to the historic Babylon, while the remainder of the prophecies provide allegorical allusions. Refer to Ezek 17:12, 16, 20.
Now consider an allegorical statement about Tyre, modern Lebanon:
Ezek 26: 5
She shall be in the midst of the sea a place for the spreading of nets.
This shows that the prophecies pertained to the far future and the great geological upheavals that will now come to the planet. Lebanon, as we know it, will sink into the sea. Therefore we should recognize that the references in Ezek 26 refer to the prophetic Babylon, and not the historic one.
I list here all the references not mentioned above:
Ezek 12:13, 19:9, 21:19, 21:21, 24:2, 26:7, 29:18, 29:19.
Egypt was one of the countries listed in Jeremiah 25 for destruction. Consider how those prophecies find parallel in Ezekiel.
Thus says the Lord GOD: I will put an end to the wealth of Egypt, by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon.
While we might view this as an historic reference we can see that it is the modern Babylon who will bring this destruction to Egypt. This reinforces the idea that parallels with the events of ancient times provided a context for prophecies of the future.
Verse 30:24 through 30:25 continue this prediction of the destruction of Egypt. Verse 26 then says:
I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
This statement suggests that some Egyptians shall flee their country before the nuclear missiles strike.
Verse 32:11 continues with the promise against Egypt.
The Daniel Babylon Statements
All Babylon references in Daniel are historic.
Dan 1:1, 2:12, 2:14, 2:18, 2:24, 2:48, 2:49, 3:1, 3:12, 3:30, 4:6, 4:29, 4:30, 5:7, 7:1.
The book of Daniel presents a curious difficulty for modern interpretation. As the Oxford RSV says in its introductory statement:
The author was a pious Jew living under the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, 167-164 BC.
Since the other prophetical books are dated to the era of the Babylonian conquest, because of their contextual references, this book is torn out of that context for a very peculiar reason. Modern scholars and many students believe the Abomination of Desolation described in Daniel 11:31 and 12:11 is a desolating sacrilege introduced into the Jerusalem temple by Antiochus. The above date seems supported by Daniel’s choice of words, while other references in the book seem to be later than the Babylonian conquest. But this view is strictly speculative, based on the weird interpretation of the Abomination of Desolation. Refer to previous discussion. No one in historic times could reasonably be expected to understand an extremely loathsome object bringing total desolation and destruction. Only since the development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles, post 1960, did we have opportunity to perceive the true meaning of the revelation.
Miscellaneous Babylon Prophecies
Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail; for now you shall go forth from the city and dwell in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued, there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.
This passage is difficult to classify. The statement is in the context of the far future. Consider verse 1:
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it.
This verse is almost identical to that in Isa 2:2. This is a very famous passage about the future of this world, repeated in Micah:
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
That is the time when this world will no longer know war.
Thus we would expect the remark in 4:10 to be part of that context, but we do not have sufficient information on this “future” Babylon to bring meaningful interpretation.
Ho! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon.
This passage appears to be an appeal for God’s people to escape from this “daughter of Babylon.” The Zion here means the future Zion, after the world settles down. Refer to discussions in following Paper.
This is an historic reference.
The Book of Revelation on Babylon
Because of the scholarly view that the Babylon passages in the prophetic books refer to the historic entity, they must deduce that the Revelation passages were borrowed from Jeremiah, and other Old Testament books, and given their own peculiar twist by the Apostle John.
Such interpretative position completely voids their prophetic value.
All the references to Babylon in the Book of Revelation are prophetical.
Even though the Book of Revelation was highly corrupted, still it contains many profound truths. The passages on Babylon are among those.
Another angel, a second, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of her impure passion."
The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath.
And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations."
And he called out with a mighty voice, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird.
They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, "Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon! In one hour has thy judgment come."
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more.”
I shall discuss these forecasts in the following Paper on the Jeremiah prophecies.
I discuss the corruptions in the Book of Revelation in my Paper entitled Seven Heads and Ten Horns.