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The Fall of Babylon


The founder of Babylon was Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah, over 2000 years before Christ.

“And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was BABEL (margin Babylon), and Erech and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” Gen. 10:8-10.

Nimrod was a Hamite. Nineveh was founded by Asshur, a son of Shem. Gen. 10:11, 22. Nineveh became the capital of Assyria. About B. C. 1270, the Assyrian kings became masters of Chaldea, or Babylonia, of which Babylon was the capital. For several centuries the history of Babylon was overshadowed by that of Nineveh. In the time of Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, Nabonassar ascended the throne of Babylon in B. C. 747. About B. C. 720 Berodach-baladan became king of Babylon, and sent ambassadors to Hezekiah, king of Judah. 2 Kings 20:12-18. Isa. 39:1-7. A few years later Sargon, king of Assyria, defeated and dethroned Berodach-baladan. Sennacherib completed the subjection of Babylon, which he annexed to the Assyrian Empire about B. C. 690. The conquest of Nineveh and the overthrow of the Assyrian Empire, which was effected about B. C. 625, by Cyaxeres the Mede, and his ally Nabopolassar, the rebellious governor of Babylon, enabled the latter to found the Babylonian Empire. He reigned from B. C. 625 to B. C. 605. He was succeeded by his more famous son Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest king of ancient times, who rebuilt and beautified the city of Babylon until it was the most magnificent city the world has ever seen.

The city of Babylon was built in an exact square of 15 miles on a side, or 60 miles around. It was surrounded by a brick wall 87 feet thick, which, according to Herodotus, was 350 feet high. On the walls were 250 towers, and the top of the wall was wide enough to permit six chariots to drive abreast. Outside this wall was a vast ditch or moat surrounding the city, kept filled with water from the river Euphrates, and crossed by draw-bridges in front of the gates. Inside the wall, and not far from it, was another wall, not much inferior, but narrower, extending around the city. Twenty-five magnificent avenues, 150 feet wide, ran across the city from north to south, and the same number crossed them at right angles from east to west, making 676 great squares, each nearly three-fifths of a mile on a side. A wide avenue also ran around the city inside the walls, and Close to them, into which the cross avenues emptied. At the ends of these cross avenues magnificently burnished two-leafed gates of brass were built in the city walls, that shone, as they were opened or closed, in the rising or setting sun, like leaves of flame.

The city was divided into two equal parts by the river Euphrates, that flowed diagonally across it, and its banks were walled and pierced with brazen gates at the main avenues. Outside these river walls, and between them and the river, splendid wharves lined the river on each. side within the city. Ferry boats crossed the river at each of the main avenues, and at the central avenue a magnificent bridge spanned the river, at each end of which was a beautiful Palace. These Palaces were connected by a subterranean passageway, or “tube,” underneath the bed of the river, in which, at different points. were located sumptuous banqueting rooms constructed entirely of brass. Near one of these Palaces stood the


consisting of eight towers, each 75 feet high, rising one upon the other, with an outside winding stairway to its summit, which towers, with the Chapel on the top, made a height of 660 feet. This Chapel contained the most expensive furniture of any place of worship in the world. One “Golden Image” alone, 45 feet high, was valued at $17,500,000, and the whole of the sacred utensils used in worship were reckoned to be worth $200,000,000. Babylon also contained one of the “Seven Wonders” of the world, the famous “HANGING GARDENS.” These “Gardens” were 400 feet square, and were raised in terraces one above the other, to the height of 350 feet, and were reached by stairways ten feet wide. The top of each terrace was covered with large stone slabs on which were laid a bed of rushes, then a thick layer of asphalt, next two courses of brick, cemented together, and finally plates of lead to prevent leakage; the whole was then covered with earth and planted with shrubbery and large trees. The whole had the appearance from a distance of a forest-covered mountain, which would be a remarkable sight in the level plain of the Euphrates. These “Gardens” were built by Nebuchadnezzar simply to please his wife, who was Amyitis, daughter of Cyaxares, king of the mountainous country of Media, and who was thus made more contented with her surroundings. The rest of the city was, in its glory and magnificence, in keeping with these palaces, towers, and “Hanging Gardens.” It contained many beautiful parks, and there was much unoccupied land that could be tilled, and help support the over 1.000.000 population. The character of its inhabitants, and of its official life at the zenith of its history, is seen in the description of “Belshazzar’s Feast.” Never before or since has this earth seen its equal. The Prophet Isaiah speaks of it as – Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ Excellency.” Isa. 13:19.


“Belshazzar the king made a great Feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the Temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the Temple of the House of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” Verses 1-4.

Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded at his death, B. C. 561, by his son Evil-Merodach, who at once liberated Jehoiachin, king of Judah, from prison and fed him from his own table. 2 Kings 25:27-30. J er. 52:31-34. After a reign of two years Evil-Merodach was put to death by conspirators, headed by Neriglissar, his brother-in-law, who ascended the throne and reigned for about four years, being killed in battle in the year B. C. 556. His son, and successor, Laborosoarchod, an imbecile child, was king for less than a year, when he was beaten to death, and the throne was seized by a usurper, Nabonidus (or Nabonnaid), another son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar, who had married the widow of Neriglissar, and who reigned from B. C. 555 to the Fall of Babylon in B. C. 538. According to Daniel, Belshazzar, and not Nabonidus, was King of Babylon when it fell. But Berosus, a heathen historian. who lived about 250 years after Daniel. in his list of the kings of Babylon, omits the name of Belshazzar, and gives the name of Nabonnaid (Nabonidus) as the last king of Babylon. On account of this the critics attack the truthfulness of the Book of Daniel. But its truthfulness has been vindicated by the deciphering of a number of clay tablets taken from the ruins of Babylonia, on which the name of Belsharuzzar frequently appears as the son of Nabonnaid, and as sharing the government with him. Thus we see that the Belsharuzzar of the tablets is the Belshazzar of the Bible, and that Daniel is historically correct.

As the Prophet Jeremiah had foretold-“All nations shall serve HIM (Nebuchadnezzar), and his SON, and his SON’S SON, until the very time of his land come” (Jer. 27:7), it is clear that Belshazzar must have been a GRANDSON, and a son, not of a daughter, but of a son of Nebuchadnezzar. But as we have seen that his reputed father, Nabonidus, was not a son of Nebuchadnezzar, the only solution seems to be that Belshazzar was a son of a son of Nebuchadnezzar, and was adopted by Nabonidus to conciliate the royal family, and because of his adoption could be legally called the son of Nabonidus.

Belshazzar, at the time the incidents in this chapter took place, was reigning in conjunction with his father Nabonidus, who was away on some military expedition and had left Belshazzar in charge of the city of Babylon. Feasts were not uncommon in Babylon, but the “Feast of Belshazzar” was no common Feast. There is no feast like it recorded in all history. The only feast that approaches it is the Feast given by Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to the Princes of the 120 Provinces of his Kingdom, given in Shushan the Palace in B. C. 521, and recorded in the first chapter of Esther. Belshazzar’s Feast was the turning point in the history of Babylon. It marked the transition from the “Head of Gold” to the “Arms and Breast of Silver” of the “Image,” and from the “Lion” to the “Bear” phase of Gentile rule. Dan. 7:1.5. It took place in B. C. 538, twenty-three years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar. As these years were taken up with events that had no relation to the Jews they are passed over in silence. Even Daniel drops out of sight. But he is not forgotten by God, who gives him “Visions” of coming events.
The Feast of Belshazzar was given in a spirit of contempt and defiance. The city of Babylon was in a state of siege. The armies of the Medes and Persians were encamped outside its walls. But Belshazzar felt secure, for the drawbridges had been drawn up, the brazen gates barred, and Belshazzar knew that the walls of the city were impregnable; and he was confident that his soldiers from their position on the lofty walls would be able to destroy any who should attempt to batter down the gates. The city also was provisioned for several years’ siege, and with the tillable ground within the city walls its capture could be postponed indefinitely. So Belshazzar to show his contempt of the besieging army gave his great Feast. The character of the Feast is seen in the conduct of the guests. “They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron (reminding us of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream), of wood, and of stone.” It was a Feast of licentiousness, drunkenness, and idolatrous worship.

In the midst of the Feast, the King, Belshazzar, his brain befuddled with wine, and desirous of doing something unique and sensational, surpassed all his previous blasphemous and sacrilegious acts by ordering to be brought into the Banqueting Hall the sacred vessels of gold and silver that his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple at Jerusalem, sixty-eight years before. When these vessels were brought in they were distributed among the drunken guests, and they drank wine from them to the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone, and thus desecrated those sacred vessels of the Lord. That was the fatal moment. the turning point of the Feast. It filled Babylon’s “CUP OF INIQUITY” to the brim. Her doom was sealed.


“In the SAME HOUR came forth the fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the Candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the King’s Palace; and the King saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the King’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” Verses 5-6.

No flash of supernatural light, nor deafening peal of thunder, startled the drunken revelers, thus announcing the interference of God in their impious carousal. But out of the “sleeve of the night” the Hand of God appeared, and with its finger silently wrote, in mystic characters, on the wall over against the lighted Candlestick, where it could readily be seen by all the assembled guests, the doom of Babylon. The fact that the writing remained indelibly fixed on the wall showed that it was no hallucination of an intoxicated man’s fancy. It sobered the King, and filled him with fear, and he at once called for the “Wise Men” of Babylon to interpret its meaning.


“The King cried aloud to bring in the Astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the Soothsayers. And the King spake, and said to the ‘Wise Men’ of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the Kingdom. Then came in all the King’s ‘Wise Men;’ but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the King the interpretation thereof. Then was King Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonished.” Verses 7-9.

Again the “Wise Men” of Babylon fail in their office, as they failed in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. Dan. 2; 1-13. They could not interpret the writing. Whether it was in a language with which they were not familiar we are not told. The true reason was that it was a message from GOD, and it takes a “MAN OF GOD” to interpret the WORDS OF GOD. The failure of the “Wise Men” to interpret the handwriting greatly troubled the King, and his countenance was changed. All the mirth and hilarity left it, and it presented the aspect of fear and terror. So marked was the change that the assembled lords were astonished, for they saw that the “handwriting on the wall” was not a part of the program, arranged by the King to entertain them, but was something supernatural and unexpected, and that the King was not needlessly alarmed. At once the boisterousness of the Feast was changed to cries of terror, and so great was the uproar and commotion the Queen came in to find out what it was all about. It is hardly likely that the Queen mentioned was the wife of Belshazzar. If he was married his wife’s place was with him at the Feast. Neither is it likely that the Queen was the widow of Nebuchadnezzar. She probably was dead. Otherwise she would be very ‘old, and indifferent to such an occasion. It would appear therefore that the Queen mentioned was the wife and Queen of King Nabonidus, who was still the “First Ruler” of the land, though away at the time, and who had a perfect right to be living in the Palace at that time, and who as a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar would still have a fresh and vivid memory of the wonderful part Daniel had taken in the affairs of the Empire during her father’s reign. This view is confirmed by the use the Queen made of the word “father.” The use of the word “father,” instead of “grandfather,” in the Queer. calling Nebuchadnezzar the “father” of Belshazzar, is in accord with the usage of Old Testament times, and was made necessary because in the Semitic language there are no words for “grandfather,” or “grandson.”

“Now the Queen by reason of the words of the King and his lords came into the Banquet House: and the Queen spake and said, O King, live forever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: there is a man in thy Kingdom, in whom is the Spirit of the Holy Gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the Gods, was found in him: whom the King Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the King, I say, thy father, made Master of the Magicians, Astrologers, Chaldeans, and Soothsayers; forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the King named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.” Verses 10-12.

While others had forgotten Daniel, not so the “Queen Mother.” At once Daniel was sent for. He could not have been far away, or he could not have appeared so quickly. He was doubtless aroused from his slumbers, for it was far in the night. This would be no light matter, for he was now an old gray-haired man. Sixty-five years had passed by since he had interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream, and if he was twenty years old when taken to Babylon, counting the three years in the “Palace School,” he was now eighty-eight years of age.

“Then was Daniel brought in before the King. And the King spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the Children of the Captivity of Judah, whom the King my father brought out of Jewry? I have even heard of thee, that the Spirit of the Gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. And now the ‘Wise Men,’ the Astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing: and I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts : now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the ‘THIRD RULER’ in the Kingdom.” Verses 13-16.

Daniel knew how empty were all these promises, for he saw by the “Handwriting on the Wall” that the Empire of Babylon was doomed, and that King Belshazzar was powerless to fulfil them. So he replied –

“Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the King, and make known to him the Interpretation. O thou King, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a Kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor: and for the majesty that He gave him, all people, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: and he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the MOST HIGH GOD ruled in the ‘Kingdom of Men,’ and that He appointeth over it whomsoever He will.” Verses 17-21.

Then Daniel, faithful prophet as he was, took advantage of the situation to reprove the King. Hear his fearless and sublime words –


“And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou KNEWEST ALL THIS; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of Heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His House (the Temple at Jerusalem) before thee, and thou and thy lords, thy wives and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: then was the part of the hand sent from Him; and this writing was written.” Verses 22-24.

In this scathing rebuke Daniel charges Belshazzar with knowing all that had happened to his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar as a punishment for his pride. Belshazzar was probably fifteen years old when Nebuchadnezzar recovered from his insanity. Anyway he knew all about it from his mother’s lips, and as heir apparent to the throne had been warned to avoid his grandfather’s sin. But he failed to profit by the lesson, and added to his guilt what his grandfather never dared to do, the sin of the profanation of the “Sacred Vessels” of the Temple, thus mocking and defying God. It is a peculiar coincidence that when Daniel was called, Belshazzar took particular pains to find out if he was a Jew (verse 13), as if his presence had something to do with the King’s desecration of the “Sacred Vessels” of the Temple. It seemed fitting therefore that Belshazzar’s doom should be pronounced by Daniel the Jew. For it was because of the desecration of the “Sacred Vessels” that the “Handwriting” appeared on the wall. and the doom of Belshazzar pronounced, for if he continued on the throne there was little hope of the return of the Jews and the sacred vessels to Jerusalem two years later, as the prophets had foretold.


“And this is the writing that was written, ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.’ “This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy Kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy Kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Verses 25-28.

In the interpretation Daniel changes the word “UPHARSIN” to PERES, which is the singular of “Upharsin.” The change helps the interpretation, because the consonants written P-R-S on the wall were the same as those used for “Persians,” showing where Daniel got the words, the “Medes” and “Persians,” the Medes and Persians at that time being a dual Kingdom. The words “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN,” translated into English, mean-“Numbered,” “Numbered,” “Weighed,” “Divisions.” Daniel interpreted them thus –

MENE – “God hath numbered thy Kingdom, and finished it.”
TEKEL – “Thou (Belshazzar) art weighed in the balances and art found wanting.”
PERES – “Thy Kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”

The writing was in Aramaic, and the letters may have been arranged in Acrostic style, and so mystified the “Wise Men.” The illustration below, taken from the Talmud. will show how this could have been done,


The Chaldeans (Wise Men), reading the letters from right to left, as in Hebrew and Aramaic, or from left to right, as in other languages, could make no sense of the words: but Daniel read from top to bottom, beginning at the right. That Belshazzar did not believe the Prophet, or that while he believed him, he did not expect the prophecy to come true in his day, is probable from the fact that –

“Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the ‘THIRD RULER’ in the Kingdom.” Verse 29.

Belshazzar had to make Daniel the “Third Ruler,” because he himself was the “Second,” for his father Nabonidus was the “First.” But the honor for Daniel was an empty one, for if God’s word was true Belshazzar had no Kingdom to share with when he clothed him in scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, for that Kingdom had already been given to the Medes and Persians, for we read –

“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took (received) the Kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” Verses 30-31.

Darius the Mede did not take Babylon. It was captured by Cyrus. But as an act of courtesy, and because Media was the older of the two Kingdoms Media and Persia, and because he had some other military campaigns to finish, Cyrus committed the governorship of Babylon to his uncle Darius, the king of Media, who ruled for two years.


Two years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar a war broke out between the Babylonians and the Medes that continued off and on for over twenty years. At last Cyaxares, king of the Medes, who ~s called “Darius” in verse 31. summoned to his aid his nephew, Cyrus, of the Persian line. And in the seventeenth year of Nabonidus, and the third year of Belshazzar, Cyrus laid siege to the city of Babylon. The Babylonians entrenched behind the impregnable walls of the city, with provisions to last them for years, and sufficient tillable soil to supplement the supply, scoffed at Cyrus, and made light of the siege. Hence they breathed as freely and slept as soundly as though no foe was waiting and watching for their destruction. But it was a false security, for God had decreed over 175 years before that the city should be taken by a man not then born, Cyrus (Isa. 44:28-45:1-4), who was then knocking at its gates, and when God sets the time for the fulfilment of His word, the most impregnable fortress must fall.

Realizing the futility of taking the city by siege, Cyrus decided to use strategy. He decided to drain the river Euphrates, that flowed through the city, and march his soldiers in on its bed. To this end some say he constructed a large ,artificial lake, miles above the city, into which he drained the river. Others say, and it seems the most likely, that he constructed a new channel for the river, far away and invisible from the tops of the Towers on top of the walls, and into this new channel he diverted the water of the river above the city, so that the water that flowed through the city flowed away and left the river bed through the city dry. Having made all arrangements to carry out his plan, Cyrus waited a suitable occasion. Hearing of the Feast that Belshazzar was going to give to a thousand of his lords. and knowing the character of such Feasts, and that Belshazzar’s soldiers would be off their guard, Cyrus divided his army into three Divisions. One Division was to divert the water of the river Euphrates, at the proper time, into the new channel. The second Division was stationed where the river entered the city on the north. And the third Division was stationed where the river left the city on the south. The second and third Divisions were instructed to enter the channel of the river as soon as the water was low enough, and march toward each other until they met in the centre of the city where the Palace was located. The plan worked to perfection. But it would have been a failure if the city had not been given over to debauchery. Through the carelessness of the guards, the brazen gates in the walls that lined the banks of the river inside the city were left unbolted, thus giving easy entrance to the soldiers of Cyrus, who quickly took the city. If it had been otherwise Cyrus’ soldiers would have been trapped, or had to march out again. But the Hand of God was in it. God had said that Cyrus should take the city, and as its time was come, the plan of Cyrus was doubtless inspired of God, and He saw to it that the gates on the river’s banks were not closed. If the guards of the river gates had been on duty, and had noticed the subsidence of the water of the river, they could have given the alarm, and probably saved the city. But God had ordered otherwise. The soldiers of Cyrus immediately took possession of the city, stormed the Palace, and slew the King. That night’s revelry cost Belshazzar his life, and the Fall of Babylon.

As proof of the inspiration of the Scriptures it is worthy of note that the “Fall of Babylon” was foretold, and the manner of its capture described, and the name of its captor given, 175 years before the event took place. The Prophecy is found in Isa. 44:28- 45:1-4.

“That saith of CYRUS, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to JERUSALEM-Thou shalt be built; and to the TEMPLE-Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the Lord to His anointed, to CYRUS, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings (as those of Belshazzar) to open before him (Cyrus) the TWO LEAVED GATES (of Babylon); and the gates shall not be shut (which was true of the inner gates of Babylon, in the river walls on the night of the siege) ; I will go before thee (Cyrus), and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the GATES OF BRASS (of Babylon), and cut in sunder the bars of iron. And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou (Cyrus) mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy NAME (over a hundred years before he was born), am the GOD OF ISRAEL. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee (Cyrus) by thy name: I have SURNAMED THEE (given him his name), THOUGH THOU HAST NOT KNOWN ME.”

The last sentence may mean that Cyrus was not a believer in God when he besieged the city of Babylon, and was not aware that he was chosen of God as His agent in the downfall of the city. From this Scripture we see that Cyrus was foreordained, over one hundred years before he was born, to do two things. First, to besiege and take Babylon, and secondly, to issue an Edict, two years later, when the term (70 years) of the Babylonian Captivity had expired (B. C. 536), for the return of the Jews to Jerusalem.


That the ancient city of Babylon restored is to play an important part in the startling events of the last days of this Dispensation is very clear. This is seen from what is said of it in the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of the Book of Revelation. At first sight the two chapters, which contain some things in common, are difficult to reconcile, but when we get the “Key” the reconciliation is easy. The seventeenth chapter speak of a “WOMAN,” called “MYSTERY, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.” The eighteenth chapter speaks of a CITY, a literal city, called “Babylon the Great.” That the “WOMAN” and the “CITY” do not symbolize the same thing is clear, for what is said of the ‘Woman” does not apply to a city, and what is said of the “City” does not apply to a woman. The “WOMAN” is destroyed by the TEN KINGS, while the’‘’Kings of the Earth” in the next chapter, “bewail and lament” the destruction of the “CITY,” which is not destroyed by them, but by a MIGHTY EARTHQUAKE AND FIRE. Again, the “WOMAN” is destroyed THREE AND A HALF YEARS BEFORE THE CITY; and the fact that the first verse of chapter eighteen says- “After these things,” that is after the destruction of the “WOMAN” what happens to the “CITY” occurs, shows that the “WOMAN” and the “CITY” are not one and the same.* [*For a description of “Ecclesiastical Babylon” of chapter seventeen, see the author’s book on Revelation, pages 149-153.] That the two chapters refer to different things is further verified by the fact that they are announced by different angels. The events of chapter seventeen are announced by one of the “Vial” Angels, while those of the eighteenth are announced by “another” angel; probably the “Second Angel Messenger,” who by way of Anticipation, announced in Rev. 14:8, the “Fall of Babylon,” that is there called-“That Great City.”

If “Mystical Babylon” was destroyed in chapter seventeen, she cannot appear in chapter eighteen, therefore the “CITY” described in chapter eighteen must be a literal city called BABYLON. As there is no city of that name on the earth today, nor has been since the ancient city of Babylon was destroyed, the reference must be to some future city of Babylon. The city of Babylon is so intimately connected with the history of the God’s People, the Jews, that the Scriptures have much to say about it. A large part of the book of Daniel has to do with it; and it is mentioned in twelve other books of the Old Testament, and in four of the New Testament. And that the Book of Revelation is a continuation of the Book of Daniel is proven by the fact that the city of Babylon is again spoken of in it, and its prominence in the affairs of the world at the “End Time” disclosed, and its final and complete destruction foretold.

That the ancient city of Babylon was destroyed there can be no question, but when we affirm that it is to be rebuilt and again destroyed we are met with two objections.

1. That all the Old Testament prophecies in reference to its destruction have been literally fulfilled, and that it cannot be rebuilt.
2. As there is no city of Babylon now in existence, the references in the Book of Revelation to the destruction of such a city must be symbolical and not refer to a literal city.

Let us take up the first objection that all the prophecies in reference to its destruction have been literally fulfilled. For a description of Babylon and her destruction we must turn to Isaiah, chapters 13 and 14, and Jeremiah 50 and 51. In these two prophecies we find much that has not AS YET been fulfilled in regard to the city of Babylon. This will appear as we proceed. But first we will review the history of Babylon from its capture by Cyrus, B. C. 538, until the present time. So quietly and quickly was the city captured by Cyrus that some of the inhabitants did not know until the third day that the King had been slain and the city taken. There was no destruction of the city at that time. Some years after it revolted against Darius Hystaspis, and after a fruitless siege of nearly twenty months was taken by strategy. This was in B. C. 516. About B. C. 478 Xerxes, on his return from Greece, plundered and injured, if he did not destroy, the great “Temple of Bel.”

In B. C. 331 Alexander the Great approached the city, which was then so powerful and flourishing that he made preparation for bringing all his forces into action in case it should offer resistance, but the citizens threw open the gates and received him with acclamations. After sacrificing to “Bel,” he gave out that he would rebuild the vast Temple of that god, and for weeks he kept 10,000 men employed in clearing away the ruins from the foundations, doubtless intending to revive the glory of Babylon and make it his Capital, when his purpose was defeated by his sudden death of marsh fever and intemperance in his thirty-third year. During the subsequent wars of his generals Babylon suffered much, and. finally came under the power of Seleucus, who, prompted by ambition to build a Capital for himself, founded Seleucia in its neighborhood about B. C. 293. This rival city gradually drew off the inhabitants of Babylon, so that Strabo, who died in A. D. 25, speaks of the latter as being to a great extent deserted. Nevertheless the Jews left from the Captivity still resided there in large numbers, and in A. D. 60 we find the Apostle Peter working among them, for it was from Babylon that Peter wrote his First Epistle (l Pet. 5:13), addressed to “The strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bethynia.”

About the middle of the fifth century Theodoret speaks of Babylon as being inhabited only by Jews, who had still three Jewish Universities, and in the last year of the same century the “Babylonian Talmud” was issued, and recognized as authoritative by the Jews of the whole world.

In A. D. 917 Ibu Hankel mentions Babylon as an insignificant village, but still in existence. About A. D. 1100 it seems to have again grown into a town of some importance, for it was then known as the “Two Mosques.” Shortly afterwards it was enlarged and fortified and received the name of Hillah. In A. D. 1898 Hillah contained about 10,000 inhabitants, and was surrounded by fertile lands, and abundant date groves stretched along the banks of the Euphrates. Certainly it has never AS YET been true that – “neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.” Isa. 13:20. Nor can it be said of Babylon-“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.” Jer. 51:43. Nor can it be said – “And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations, but thou shalt be desolate forever, saith the Lord” (Jer. 51:26), for many towns and cities have been built from the ruins of Babylon, among them four Capital Cities: Seleucia, built by the Greeks; Ctesiphon, by the Parthians; Al Maiden, by the Persians; and Kufa, by the Caliphs. Hillah was entirely constructed from the debris, and even in the houses of Bagdad, Babylonian stamped bricks may be frequently noticed.

But Isaiah is still more specific, for he locates the TIME when his prophecy will be fulfilled. He calls it the “DAY OF THE LORD.” Isa. 13:9. The “Day of the Lord” takes in the “Tribulation Period” and the “Millennium.” See the chart of the Prophetic Days of Scriptures. Isaiah says when Babylon shall be destroyed –

“The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” Isa. 13:10.

None of these things happened when Babylon was taken by Cyrus in B. C. 538. Nor have they happened since. This darkening of the “Heavenly Bodies” locates the TIME of the destruction of Babylon as at the close of “The Great Tribulation,” as foretold by Christ in His “Olivet Discourse” (Matt. 24:29-30), and at the pouring out of the “Seventh Vial” of the Book of Revelation. Rev. 16:17-19.

In the description of the destruction of the city of Babylon given in Rev. 18, we read that her judgment will come in ONE HOUR (verse 10), and that in ONE HOUR she shall be made desolate (verse 19), and as an illustration of the suddenness and completeness of her destruction, a mighty angel took up a stone like a “Great Millstone,” and cast it into the sea, saying – “Thus with VIOLENCE shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all.” Rev. 18:21. We are also told in the same chapter that she is to be destroyed by FIRE. Rev, 18:8, 9, 18, This is in exact harmony with the words of Isa, 13:19-22.

“And Babylon, the glory of Kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees excellency, shall be as when God overthrew SODOM AND GOMORRAH.”

The Prophet Jeremiah makes the same statement. Jer. 50:40. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah ‘did not extend through many centuries, their glory disappeared in a few hours (Gen. 19:24-28); and as ancient Babylon was not thus destroyed, the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah cannot be fulfilled unless there is to be a future Babylon that shall be thus destroyed.

In Rev. 16:17-19, we are told that Babylon shall be destroyed by an EARTHQUAKE, attended with most vivid and incessant lightning and awful thunder. It would appear then, that as Sodom and Gomorrah were first set on fire and then swallowed up by an earthquake, that the rebuilt city of Babylon will be set on fire, and as the site of ancient Babylon is underlaid with Bitumen (Asphalt), that an earthquake will break up the crust of the earth, and precipitate the burning city into a “Lake of Fire,” and the city, like a MILLSTONE (Rev, 18:21) sink below the surface of the earth as into the sea, and be swallowed up so that it will be impossible to ever take of her stones for building purposes, and the land shall become a Wilderness where no man shall ever dwell.

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The ‘Vision of the “Ephah,” seen by the Prophet Zechariah (Zech. 5:5-11) is further confirmatory evidence that the ancient city of Babylon is to be rebuilt and become the COMMERCIAL CENTRE OF THE WORLD. The “Ephah” is the largest of Hebrew dry measures, and is often used as a symbol of Commerce. In the vision the “Ephah” is seen being carried by two women who had the wings of a stork, and flew with the swiftness of the wind, and the Prophet was told that they were transporting it to the “LAND OF SHINAR,” where a “House” would be built for it. Now the “Land of Shinar” is the place where the “Tower of Babel” was built (Gen. 11:1-9), and the site of Babylon. The inference is that the “HOUSE” that is to be built for the “Ephah” in the “Land of Shinar” will be the rebuilt city of Babylon, and that Babylon is to become the great “Commercial Centre” of the world. The fact that the occupant of the “Ephah” was a “Woman” called WICKEDNESS implies that the “Commercialism” of those days will be characterized by all manner of dishonest schemes and methods, which surely will be the business methods of those who only can buy or sell who have the “MARK OF THE BEAST.” Rev. 13:16-17.

As to the probability of the ancient city of Babylon being rebuilt, we have only to consider the events that in recent years have been happening in that part of the world looking to just such a thing. China, Japan, and India have risen from their sleep and isolation and become world commercial nations. There must therefore be some transcontinental means of transportation between the East and the West of the Eastern Hemisphere, and the logical route is through Mesopotamia, with rebuilt Babylon as the “Commercial Centre.” In the “Department of War” of France, at Paris, there are to be seen the records of valuable surveys and maps made, by order of Napoleon T, in Babylonia, and among them is a plan for a New City of Babylon, thus showing that the vast schemes of Napoleon contemplated the Rebuilding of the Ancient City of Babylon, and the making it his Capital, as his ambition was to conquer the whole of Europe and Asia, and he recognized to that end the strategical position of ancient Babylon as a governmental and commercial centre. The same was the dream of the late Emperor William of Germany. It was that desire that made him and Abdul Hamid, of Turkey, the closest of political friends, and he secured from Abdul Hamid a concession to build a railroad from the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, by way of Aleppo, to the Tigris River, and from there to Bagdad, and from Bagdad via Babylon (via Babylon, mark that) to Koweit on the Persian Gulf, and most of the road has been built to Bagdad. And if the truth was known the Kaiser’s precipitation of the “World’s Great War” was largely due to his desire to carry out his plans for a “Trans-European-Asiatic-Indian Air Line” that would connect Europe with India, China, and Japan, and would have necessitated the building of a city on the site of ancient Babylon. But his and Napoleon’s plans were premature, and were brought to naught by God, until His time arrives for the rebuilding of Babylon.

The whole country of Mesopotamia, including Assyria and Babylonia, only needs a system of irrigation, such as it once had, as revealed by the unearthing of numerous irrigation canals, to make it again the most fertile country in the world. As early as 1850 the British Government sent out a military officer, with his command, to survey and explore the river Euphrates at a cost of $150,000, and when the European war broke out the great English Engineer who built the “Assouan Dam” in Egypt was engaged in making surveys in the Euphratean valley for the purpose of constructing a series of irrigation canals that would restore the country and make it again the great grain-producing country it once was. With these facts in mind, it can readily be seen that it is the desire of European capitalists to revive the country of Babylonia and rebuild its cities, and when the time comes in the purpose of God the city of Babylon will be rebuilt almost in a night, and on a scale of magnificence such as the world has never seen.

But I hear a protest. How, you say, can we be expecting Jesus to come at “any moment,” if the city of Babylon must be rebuilt before He can come? We reply that Jesus’ “Second Coming” will be in “Two Stages.” At the “First Stage” He will not come all the way to the earth but will stop in the “Air,” and all believers who have been “Born Again” will be caught up to Him. 1 Thess. 4:13-18. They will then be judged for their “Works,” that they may receive a proper reward, at the “Judgment Seat of Christ.” 2 Cor. 5:10. 1 Cor. 3:11-15. This will take some time. Then the Church will be married to Christ, after which He will come WITH the saints (the Church) to “Judge the Nations” (Matt. 25:31-46) and set up His Millennial Kingdom. This will be the “Second Stage” of His Coming, and will be visible. Between these “Two Stages” there will be a “Time Space” of at least SEVEN YEARS, the last “Week” of Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks.” (See chapter 9.) But there is not a word in Scripture that says He cannot come before the beginning of those “Seven Years.” He may come five, ten, or even twenty-five years before, which would give ample time for the rebuilding of Babylon before the rise of the last Gentile Ruler, the ANTICHRIST. Some claim that Babylon will be rebuilt during the first three and a half years of the “Seven,” and Antichrist will make. it his Capital during the last three and a half years. And when we consider how rapidly cities spring up in these days, or are rebuilt, as were Chicago and San Francisco, from the catastrophes that overtook them, it would take but a very few years to rebuild the city of Babylon when once the capitalists of the world decide to do it.


Let us take the description of “Babylon the GREAT” as given to us in Rev. 18:1-24, and try to visualize it. It will be an immense city, the greatest in every respect the world has ever seen. It will be a typical city, the London, the Paris, the Berlin, the Petrograd, the New York, the Chicago of its day. It will be the greatest “Commercial City” of the world. Its merchandise will be of gold and silver, and precious stones and pearls, of purple, and silk, and scarlet and costly wools. Its fashionable society will be clothed in the most costly raiment and decked with the most costly jewels. Their homes will be filled with the most costly furniture of precious woods, brass, iron and marble, with the richest of draperies, mats and rugs. They will use the most costly of perfumes, cinnamon, fragrant odors, ointments and frankincense. Their banquets will be supplied with the sweetest of wines, the richest of pastries, and the most delicious of meats. They will have horses, and chariots, and the swiftest of fast-moving vehicles on earth and in the air. They will have their slaves, and they will traffic in the “souls of men.” That is women will sell their bodies, and men their souls, to gratify their lusts.

The markets will be crowded with cattle, sheep, and horses. The wharves will be piled with goods from all climes. The manufactories will turn out the richest of fabrics, and all that genius can invent for the comfort and convenience of men will be found on the market. It will be a city given over to pleasure and business. Business men and promoters will give their days and nights to’ scheming how to make money fast, and the pleasure-loving will be constantly planning new pleasures. There will be riotous joy and ceaseless feasting. As it was in the days of Noah and of Lot, they will be marrying and giving in marriage, buying and selling, building and planting. The blood will run hot in their veins. Money will be their god, pleasure their high-priest, and unbridled passion the ritual of their worship.

It will be a city’ of music. Amid the noise and bustle of its commercial life will be heard the music of its pleasure resorts and theatres. There will be the sound of “harpers and musicians, of pipers and trumpeters” (verse 22). The world’s best singers and players will be there. Its theatres and places of music will be going day and night. In fact there will be no night, for the electric illumination of the city by night will make the night as bright and shadowless as the day and its stores and places of business will never close, night or day, or Sunday, for the mad whirl of pleasure, and the absorbing desire for riches will keep the wheels of business constantly moving. And all this will be easy because the “God of this World” (Age)- SATAN, will possess the minds and bodies of men, for we read in verse 2, that Babylon at that time will be the “Habitation of Devils,” and the “Hold of Every Foul Spirit,” and the “Cage of Every Unclean and Hateful Bird.” The city will be the seat of the most imposing “OCCULTISM,” and mediums, and those desiring to communicate with the other world, will then go to Babylon, as men and women now go to Paris for fashions and sensuous pleasures. In that day “demons,” and “unclean spirits” will find at Babylon the opportunity of their lives to materialize themselves in human bodies, and from the atmospheric heavens above, and from the Abyss below, they will come in countless legions until Babylon shall be full of demon possessed men and women. And at the height of its glory, and just before its fall, Babylon will be ruled by SATAN HIMSELF, incarnate in the “Beast”– ANTICHRIST.

But before its destruction God will mercifully deliver His own people, for a voice from Heaven will cry –

“Come out of her, MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4.

As Sodom and Gomorrah could not be destroyed until righteous Lot had escaped, so Babylon can-not be destroyed until all the righteous people in it have fled.
The destruction of the city will be sudden and without warning. A fearful storm will sweep over the city. The lightning and thunder will be incessant. The city will be set on fire and a great earthquake will shake it from centre to circumference. The tall office buildings and apartment houses, the “Hanging Gardens” and the great towers will totter and fall, the crust of the earth will crack and open, and the whole city with its inhabitants will sink like a MILLSTONE (verse 21) into a lake of burning bitumen, and the smoke will ascend as of a “burning fiery furnace,” and the horror of the scene will be intensified by vast clouds of steam, generated by the waters of the river Euphrates pouring into that lake of fiery asphalt, and when night comes on those clouds of steam will reflect the light of the burning city so it can be seen for miles in all directions in that level country. And the kings of the earth, and the merchants, and the shipmasters, and sailors, and all who have profited by her merchandise, will stand afar off and cry, and wail because of her destruction, but the heavens will rejoice, for God will have rewarded her “Double” according to her works, and Babylon will be NO MORE.


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