Who/What/Where is Babylon?
Well, I guess it depends on who you’re asking!
If you’re asking any number of modern day authors, they’ll tell you America. But maybe we should, instead, check the Bible out for ourselves.
I’m going to format this article like a Babylon ‘sandwich.’ We’ll begin with our first slice of bread — Revelation 17. Then the meat will be the body of this article – all the Old Testament connections. Then we’ll finish with our top slice of bread — Revelation 18.
Revelation 17 Highlights
The Great Harlot, Mystery Babylon, is the woman who rides the Beast of Revelation 17.
- She receives judgment
- She sits on many waters v.1, which are peoples/multitudes/nations/tongues
- She committed acts of immorality with kings
- She makes drunk with her wine of immorality those who dwell upon the earth (a term for wicked people in the Tribulation)
- She’s clothed in wealth and carries a gold cup full of abominations
- She’s drunk with the blood of the saints
- She’s hated by the 10 horns, which will destroy her through fire
- She’s the great city that reigns over the kings of the earth
- She sits on mountains v.9, which are the seven heads of the Beast. Those mountains are also kings v.10. One of those kings is the Beast; and yet the Beast is the entire ‘animal’!
- In Rev. 16:19 … Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
And For The Meat…
Babylon’s a city, cities, an empire, a system. She’s controlled/led by a man leading an army; this man, a prince, is Satan’s right-hand man, the Antichrist.
Assyria/Babylon/Tyre/Lebanon/Nineveh (and maybe Edom and Egypt) are all part of that ancient ‘worldwide’ Assyrian/Babylonian empire. And I mean ancient, back to the time of Nimrod (see Genesis 10).
In the Tribulation, some areas of this ancient empire will be destroyed, and then re-inhabited. Other areas will be destroyed and never re-inhabited. But they’re all tied together: in the end times battles/wars, in their conspiring/hatred of Israel, in their need of judgment. What’s difficult is that there’s more than one end time war. I also believe there’s more than one ‘army from the North’ (which, by the way, isn’t Russia). I see Joel’s army. I see the Mede army. I see Antichrist’s army. Which war are they in? Ezekiel 38 war? Armageddon?
Babylon herself is overcome by an army from the North found in places like Jer. 6:22 and chapters 50, 51. Is that just the then-current Medo-Persian invasion predicted in Daniel 2:39 & 7:5, or does it also apply to end times? Think about it. The Medo-Persian army did NOT destroy Babylon; they simply killed Belshazzar and took over the kingdom (Dan. 5:30). We’ll look into those verses later.
There’s other battles fought back in Bible times that are recorded, but the authors, while describing it, also look forward to the Day of the Lord. And in other cases, they’re only describing the Day of the Lord (with Isaiah being a prime example).
Zephaniah 2 appears to be one that’s just future, the Day of the Lord. It speaks of judgment on Israel, neighboring nations, and the world. Of Assyria/Nineveh it says in 2:13-15:
13 And He will stretch out His hand against the north
And destroy Assyria,
And He will make Nineveh a desolation,
Parched like the wilderness.
14 Flocks will lie down in her midst,
All beasts which range in herds;
Both the pelican and the hedgehog
Will lodge in the tops of her pillars;
Birds will sing in the window,
Desolation will be on the threshold;
For He has laid bare the cedar work.
15 This is the exultant city
Which dwells securely,
Who says in her heart,
“I am, and there is no one besides me.”
How she has become a desolation,
A resting place for beasts!
Everyone who passes by her will hiss
And wave his hand in contempt.
Nahum chapter 3 speaks of Nineveh’s destruction. Here’s some:
4 All because of the many harlotries of the harlot,
The charming one, the mistress of sorceries,
Who sells nations by her harlotries
And families by her sorceries.
7 “And it will come about that all who see you
Will shrink from you and say,
‘Nineveh is devastated!
Who will grieve for her?’
Where will I seek comforters for you?”
15 There fire will consume you,
The sword will cut you down;
It will consume you as the locust does.
Multiply yourself like the creeping locust,
Multiply yourself like the swarming locust.
19 There is no relief for your breakdown,
Your wound is incurable.
All who hear about you
Will clap their hands over you,
For on whom has not your evil passed continually?
Now, you can’t understand Babylon, the city, cities, empire, false religious system of the Tribulation without looking at its ruler – his battles, his history, his role.
[Important details on this ruler are found in my article My Tribulation Thoughts on churchageisdifferent.com.]
Oftentimes, the Bible speaks of rulers and their empires as one in the same, both in Revelation (future) and in the OT (past). I believe some passages in the OT that discuss then-current kings [king of Tyre, pharaoh, king of Babylon] also look deeper, not only back to Satan’s right-hand man, Nimrod, but a couple even back to Satan himself. It would take writing a book to get all this information to you, which I’m not going to do! I would recommend Peter Goodgame’s book “The Second Coming of the Antichrist.”
We’re now going to look further into Tyre, Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. These four ruling cities/nations all share similar descriptions. You can see that the Bible authors go much deeper than what was happening at the then-current time in the following passages.
Ezekiel 26 seems mostly about its then-current destruction. Mostly.
Ezekiel 28: [Talking to/about its then-current king, yet also going deeper talking about its original ruler/prince, Nimrod, in vs.1-10, and then about Satan in vs.11-19.]
The word of the Lord came again to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, say to the leader [prince or ruler] of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord God,
“Because your heart is lifted up
And you have said, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of gods
In the heart of the seas’;
Yet you are a man and not God,
Although you make your heart like the heart of God—
3 Behold, you are wiser than Daniel;
There is no secret that is a match for you.
4 “By your wisdom and understanding
You have acquired riches for yourself
And have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries.
5 “By your great wisdom, by your trade
You have increased your riches
And your heart is lifted up because of your riches—
6 Therefore thus says the Lord God,
‘Because you have made your heart
Like the heart of God,
7 Therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon you,
The most ruthless of the nations.
And they will draw their swords
Against the beauty of your wisdom
And defile your splendor.
8 ‘They will bring you down to the pit,
And you will die the death of those who are slain
In the heart of the seas.
9 ‘Will you still say, “I am a god,”
In the presence of your slayer,
Though you are a man and not God,
In the hands of those who wound you?
10 ‘You will die the death of the uncircumcised
By the hand of strangers,
For I have spoken!’ declares the Lord God!”’”
And for the king of Tyre, Satan:
11 Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God,
“You had the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 “You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 “You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you.
16 “By the abundance of your trade
You were internally filled with violence,
And you sinned;
Therefore I have cast you as profane
From the mountain of God.
And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the stones of fire.
17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I put you before kings,
That they may see you.
18 “By the multitude of your iniquities,
In the unrighteousness of your trade
You profaned your sanctuaries.
Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you;
It has consumed you,
And I have turned you to ashes on the earth
In the eyes of all who see you.
19 “All who know you among the peoples
Are appalled at you;
You have become terrified
And you will cease to be forever.”’”
We just saw how Ezekiel 28 focused on the ruler/rulers of Tyre. Ezekiel 27, however, is more in regards to the city itself, its wealth and trade. Read this slowly. When we finally reach the end of this article, and put our top slice of bread on – Rev. 18 – you’ll be amazed at the connection. For now, just remember it goes deeper than Tyre’s then-current destruction.
Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2 “And you, son of man, take up a lamentation over Tyre; 3 and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrance to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, ‘Thus says the Lord God,
“O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’
4 “Your borders are in the heart of the seas;
Your builders have perfected your beauty.
5 “They have made all your planks of fir trees from Senir;
They have taken a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you.
6 “Of oaks from Bashan they have made your oars;
With ivory they have inlaid your deck of boxwood from the coastlands of Cyprus.
7 “Your sail was of fine embroidered linen from Egypt
So that it became your distinguishing mark;
Your awning was blue and purple from the coastlands of Elishah.
8 “The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your rowers;
Your wise men, O Tyre, were aboard; they were your pilots.
9 “The elders of Gebal and her wise men were with you repairing your seams;
All the ships of the sea and their sailors were with you in order to deal in your merchandise.
10 “Persia and Lud and Put were in your army, your men of war. They hung shield and helmet in you; they set forth your splendor. 11 The sons of Arvad and your army were on your walls, all around, and the Gammadim were in your towers. They hung their shields on your walls all around; they perfected your beauty.
12 “Tarshish was your customer because of the abundance of all kinds of wealth; with silver, iron, tin and lead they paid for your wares. 13 Javan, Tubal and Meshech, they were your traders; with the lives of men and vessels of bronze they paid for your merchandise. 14 Those from Beth-togarmah gave horses and war horses and mules for your wares. 15 The sons of Dedan were your traders. Many coastlands were your market; ivory tusks and ebony they brought as your payment. 16 Aram was your customer because of the abundance of your goods; they paid for your wares with emeralds, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and rubies. 17 Judah and the land of Israel, they were your traders; with the wheat of Minnith, cakes, honey, oil and balm they paid for your merchandise. 18 Damascus was your customer because of the abundance of your goods, because of the abundance of all kinds of wealth, because of the wine of Helbon and white wool. 19 Vedan and Javan paid for your wares from Uzal; wrought iron, cassia and sweet cane were among your merchandise. 20 Dedan traded with you in saddlecloths for riding. 21 Arabia and all the princes of Kedar, they were your customers for lambs, rams and goats; for these they were your customers. 22 The traders of Sheba and Raamah, they traded with you; they paid for your wares with the best of all kinds of spices, and with all kinds of precious stones and gold. 23 Haran, Canneh, Eden, the traders of Sheba, Asshur and Chilmad traded with you. 24 They traded with you in choice garments, in clothes of blue and embroidered work, and in carpets of many colors and tightly wound cords, which were among your merchandise. 25 The ships of Tarshish were the carriers for your merchandise.
And you were filled and were very glorious
In the heart of the seas.
26 “Your rowers have brought you
Into great waters;
The east wind has broken you
In the heart of the seas.
27 “Your wealth, your wares, your merchandise,
Your sailors and your pilots,
Your repairers of seams, your dealers in merchandise
And all your men of war who are in you,
With all your company that is in your midst,
Will fall into the heart of the seas
On the day of your overthrow.
28 “At the sound of the cry of your pilots
The pasture lands will shake.
29 “All who handle the oar,
The sailors and all the pilots of the sea
Will come down from their ships;
They will stand on the land,
30 And they will make their voice heard over you
And will cry bitterly.
They will cast dust on their heads,
They will wallow in ashes.
31 “Also they will make themselves bald for you
And gird themselves with sackcloth;
And they will weep for you in bitterness of soul
With bitter mourning.
32 “Moreover, in their wailing they will take up a lamentation for you
And lament over you:
‘Who is like Tyre,
Like her who is silent in the midst of the sea?
33 ‘When your wares went out from the seas,
You satisfied many peoples;
With the abundance of your wealth and your merchandise
You enriched the kings of earth.
34 ‘Now that you are broken by the seas
In the depths of the waters,
Your merchandise and all your company
Have fallen in the midst of you.
35 ‘All the inhabitants of the coastlands
Are appalled at you,
And their kings are horribly afraid;
They are troubled in countenance.
36 ‘The merchants among the peoples hiss at you;
You have become terrified
And you will cease to be forever.’”’”
Again, don’t write off these passages about Tyre just because someone tells you “Oh, it’s just about Satan,” or “Oh, it’s just describing the ancient city’s wealth from trading.”
God used Assyria to punish the northern tribes of Israel. Nineveh later was destroyed. But look deeper. He’s also speaking about end times and about the infinitely proud Assyrian ruler who’ll be back. [Sound crazy? Ezekiel 37:24 says David will be king in the Millennium! And as you know, the Bible records other resurrections too.]
So once again, the proud, original ruler of Assyria; Nimrod, is at the heart of this passage. ‘It’ as in Assyria is ‘he’ Asshur/Nimrod.
5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hands is My indignation,
6 I send it against a godless nation
And commission it against the people of My fury
To capture booty and to seize plunder,
And to trample them down like mud in the streets.
7 Yet it does not so intend,
Nor does it plan so in its heart,
But rather it is its purpose to destroy
And to cut off many nations.
8 For it says, “Are not my princes all kings?
9 “Is not Calno like Carchemish,
Or Hamath like Arpad,
Or Samaria like Damascus?
10 “As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols,
Whose graven images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11 Shall I not do to Jerusalem and her images
Just as I have done to Samaria and her idols?”
12 So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He [God] will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.”13 For he has said,
“By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this,
For I have understanding;
And I removed the boundaries of the peoples
And plundered their treasures,
And like a mighty man I brought down their inhabitants,
14 And my hand reached to the riches of the peoples like a nest,
And as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered all the earth;
And there was not one that flapped its wing or opened its beak or chirped.”
15 Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?
Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it?
That would be like a club wielding those who lift it,
Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.
16 Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors;
And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.
17 And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame,
And it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.
18 And He will destroy the glory of his forest and of his fruitful garden, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 And the rest of the trees of his forest will be so small in number that a child could write them down.
[Also remember the earlier Zephaniah and Nahum passages that were about Assyria.]
Remember what we said earlier that Babylon’s ultimate destruction is still future. [No inhabitants perpetually: Jer. 50:3, 13; 51:26, 29, 37, 43, 62 and many more.]
You really need to read Jeremiah 50. Jeremiah speaks of the impending Babylonian invasion into Judah and then its judgment to follow and yet goes into the future as well: v.4 “in those days and at that time” v.5 “join themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten” V.20 In those days and at that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.’ [Obviously end times!]
V.23 23 “How the hammer of the whole earth
Has been cut off and broken!
How Babylon has become
An object of horror among the nations!
v.29-32 29 “Summon many against Babylon,
All those who bend the bow:
Encamp against her on every side,
Let there be no escape.
Repay her according to her work;
According to all that she has done, so do to her;
For she has become arrogant against the Lord,
Against the Holy One of Israel.
30 “Therefore her young men will fall in her streets,
And all her men of war will be silenced in that day,” declares the Lord.
31 “Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one,”
Declares the Lord God of hosts,
“For your day has come,
The time when I will punish you.
32 “The arrogant one will stumble and fall
With no one to raise him up;
And I will set fire to his cities
And it will devour all his environs.”
39 “Therefore the desert creatures will live there along with the jackals;
The ostriches also will live in it,
And it will never again be inhabited
Or dwelt in from generation to generation.
46 At the shout, “Babylon has been seized!” the earth is shaken, and an outcry is heard among the nations.
Same for Chapter 51.
20 He [God] says, “You are My war-club, My weapon of war;
And with you I shatter nations,
And with you I destroy kingdoms.
21 “With you I shatter the horse and his rider,
And with you I shatter the chariot and its rider,
22 And with you I shatter man and woman,
And with you I shatter old man and youth,
And with you I shatter young man and virgin,
23 And with you I shatter the shepherd and his flock,
And with you I shatter the farmer and his team,
And with you I shatter governors and prefects.
24 “But I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all their evil that they have done in Zion before your eyes,” declares the Lord.
25 “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
Who destroys the whole earth,” declares the Lord,
“And I will stretch out My hand against you,
And roll you down from the crags,
And I will make you a burnt out mountain.
26 “They will not take from you even a stone for a corner nor a stone for foundations,
But you will be desolate forever,” declares the Lord.
52 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“When I will punish her idols,
And the mortally wounded will groan throughout her land.
53 “Though Babylon should ascend to the heavens,
And though she should fortify her lofty stronghold,
From Me destroyers will come to her,” declares the Lord.
54 The sound of an outcry from Babylon,
And of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the Lord is going to destroy Babylon,
And He will make her loud noise vanish from her.
And their waves will roar like many waters;
The tumult of their voices sounds forth.
56 For the destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon,
And her mighty men will be captured,
Their bows are shattered;
For the Lord is a God of recompense,
He will fully repay.
17 Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against them,
Who will not value silver or take pleasure in gold.
18 And their bows will mow down the young men,
They will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb,
Nor will their eye pity children.
19 And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride,
Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
20 It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation;
Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there,
Nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there.
21 But desert creatures will lie down there,
And their houses will be full of owls;
Ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there.
22 Hyenas will howl in their fortified towers
And jackals in their luxurious palaces.
Her fateful time also will soon come
And her days will not be prolonged.
References outside the Bible seem to suggest Nimrod spent much time in Egypt as well. If you’re not willing to believe that, then at least you can see in Ezekiel 31 and 32 how God is telling Pharaoh to watch out if he wants to be as proud and haughty as the Assyrian king.
2 “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes,
‘Whom are you like in your greatness?
3 ‘Behold, Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon
With beautiful branches and forest shade,
And very high, and its top was among the clouds.
10 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Because it is high in stature and has set its top among the clouds, and its heart is haughty in its loftiness, 11 therefore I will give it into the hand of a despot of the nations; he will thoroughly deal with it. According to its wickedness I have driven it away.
15 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “On the day when it went down to Sheol I caused lamentations; I closed the deep over it and held back its rivers. And its many waters were stopped up, and I made Lebanon mourn for it, and all the trees of the field wilted away on account of it. 16 I made the nations quake at the sound of its fall when I made it go down to Sheol with those who go down to the pit; and all the well-watered trees of Eden, the choicest and best of Lebanon, were comforted in the earth beneath. 17 They also went down with it to Sheol to those who were slain by the sword; and those who were its strength lived under its shade among the nations.
18 “To which among the trees of Eden are you thus equal in glory and greatness? Yet you will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth beneath; you will lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with those who were slain by the sword. So is Pharaoh and all his hordes!”’ declares the Lord God.”
Ez. 32:21-23 21 The strong among the mighty ones shall speak of him and his helpers from the midst of Sheol, ‘They have gone down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’22 “Assyria is there and all her company; her graves are round about her. All of them are slain, fallen by the sword, 23 whose graves are set in the remotest parts of the pit and her company is round about her grave. All of them are slain, fallen by the sword, who spread terror in the land of the living.
v.24-25 same for Elam.
V.26-28 same for Meshech and Tubal. Notice: not Russia.
V.29 same for Edom.
Notice again where ‘the North’ is in v30. “There also are the chiefs of the north, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who in spite of the terror resulting from their might, in shame went down with the slain. So they lay down uncircumcised with those slain by the sword and bore their disgrace with those who go down to the pit.
[Nations don’t go to Sheol; people do.]
Isaiah is a fascinating book that ties much of this together. In it we see that God is not pleased with Israel’s continual sin. We see in 5:25 that He’s got punishment in store for them.
25 On this account the anger of the Lord has burned against His people,
And He has stretched out His hand against them and struck them down.
And the mountains quaked, and their corpses lay like refuse in the middle of the streets.
For all this His anger is not spent,
But His hand is still stretched out.
We see this punishment will come through another nation/nations in v.26-30.
26 He will also lift up a standard to the distant nation,
And will whistle for it from the ends of the earth;
And behold, it will come with speed swiftly.
Israel was invaded in the past by both Assyria and Babylon, but notice, as with many other cases, there’s a future aspect as well, which we know is coming. It’s called the Tribulation or Daniel’s 70th Week or the Time of Jacob’s Trouble; Israel’s final refinement wherein only a believing remnant will survive.
30 And it will growl over it in that day like the roaring of the sea.
If one looks to the land, behold, there is darkness and distress;
Even the light is darkened by its clouds.
Throughout Isaiah we see that God’s righteous anger isn’t satisfied, even after punishing Israel time and again [9:12-14, 17-21; 10:4]. Finally, in the future at the end of the Tribulation, God turns His anger to ‘the hammer of the whole earth’ (Jer. 50:23), His ‘war club’ or ‘weapon of war’ (Jer. 51:20) or ‘the rod of My anger’ and ‘the staff in whose hands in My indignation’ (Is. 10:5) – the Antichrist, that ancient leader of the Babylonian/Assyrian empire, and destroys him. Look back to the ‘Assyria’ section and read again Isaiah 10:5-19.
[There’s quite a bit more to this in My Tribulation Thoughts.]
20 Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
[The Tribulation will start with Israel confirming a covenant with the Antichrist – The Assyrian! It will end with Jesus destroying him (Is. 10:33-34; 14:24-25; 31:6-8; 33:1, 10-12).]
21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
22 For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea,
Only a remnant within them will return;
A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.
23 For a complete destruction, one that is decreed, the Lord God of hosts will execute in the midst of the whole land.
24 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, “O My people who dwell in Zion, do not fear the Assyrian who strikes you with the rod and lifts up his staff against you, the way Egypt did. 25 For in a very little while My indignation against you will be spent and My anger will be directed to their destruction.”
26 The Lord of hosts will arouse a scourge against him like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and His staff will be over the sea and He will lift it up the way He did in Egypt. 27 So it will be in that day, that his burden will be removed from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be broken because of fatness.
Once that final battle is over, notice carefully what Isaiah says in 14:
3 And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you [Israel] rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, 4 that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say,
“How the oppressor has ceased,
And how fury has ceased!
5 “The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,
The scepter of rulers
6 Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes,
Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution.
7 “The whole earth is at rest and is quiet;
They break forth into shouts of joy.
8 “Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
‘Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.’
9 “Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come;
It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth;
It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones.
10 “They will all respond and say to you,
‘Even you have been made weak as we,
You have become like us.
11 ‘Your pomp and the music of your harps
Have been brought down to Sheol;
Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you
And worms are your covering.’
12 “How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
13 “But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit.
16 “Those who see you will gaze at you,
They will ponder over you, saying,
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
17 Who made the world like a wilderness
And overthrew its cities,
Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?’
18 “All the kings of the nations lie in glory,
Each in his own tomb.
19 “But you have been cast out of your tomb
Like a rejected branch,
Clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword,
Who go down to the stones of the pit
Like a trampled corpse.
20 “You will not be united with them in burial,
Because you have ruined your country,
You have slain your people.
May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever.
21 “Prepare for his sons a place of slaughter
Because of the iniquity of their fathers.
They must not arise and take possession of the earth
And fill the face of the world with cities.”
22 “I will rise up against them,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and survivors, offspring and posterity,” declares the Lord. 23 “I will also make it a possession for the hedgehog and swamps of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the Lord of hosts.
24 The Lord of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand, 25 to break Assyria in My land, and I will trample him on My mountains. Then his yoke will be removed from them and his burden removed from their shoulder. 26 This is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. 27 For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?”
Did you see how one passage is about the king of Assyria (Isaiah 10:20-27) and the other (Isaiah 14:3-27) is about the king of Babylon? Yet they’re both talking about the same man!! It’s the Antichrist (I believe Nimrod resurrected) who will be destroyed by Jesus at the end of the Tribulation!
Earlier under the ‘Tyre’ section we saw Ezekiel 27’s detailed description of that city. Here in Isaiah 23 we’ll see it again. Same theme.
The oracle concerning Tyre.
Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
For Tyre is destroyed, without house or harbor;
It is reported to them from the land of Cyprus.
2 Be silent, you inhabitants of the coastland,
You merchants of Sidon;
Your messengers crossed the sea
3 And were on many waters.
The grain of the Nile, the harvest of the River was her revenue;
And she was the market of nations.
4 Be ashamed, O Sidon;
For the sea speaks, the stronghold of the sea, saying,
“I have neither travailed nor given birth,
I have neither brought up young men nor reared virgins.”
5 When the report reaches Egypt,
They will be in anguish at the report of Tyre.
6 Pass over to Tarshish;
Wail, O inhabitants of the coastland.
7 Is this your jubilant city,
Whose origin is from antiquity,
Whose feet used to carry her to colonize distant places?
8 Who has planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns,
Whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth?
9 The Lord of hosts has planned it, to defile the pride of all beauty,
To despise all the honored of the earth.
10 Overflow your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish,
There is no more restraint.
11 He has stretched His hand out over the sea,
He has made the kingdoms tremble;
The Lord has given a command concerning Canaan to demolish its strongholds.
12 He has said, “You shall exult no more, O crushed virgin daughter of Sidon.
Arise, pass over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest.”
13 Behold, the land of the Chaldeans—this is the people which was not; Assyria appointed it for desert creatures—they erected their siege towers, they stripped its palaces, they made it a ruin.
14 Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
For your stronghold is destroyed.
15 Now in that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot:
16 Take your harp, walk about the city,
O forgotten harlot;
Pluck the strings skillfully, sing many songs,
That you may be remembered.
17 It will come about at the end of seventy years that the Lord will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot’s wages and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Her gain and her harlot’s wages will be set apart to the Lord; it will not be stored up or hoarded, but her gain will become sufficient food and choice attire for those who dwell in the presence of the Lord.
And the same with Babylon in Isaiah 47.
“Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
Sit on the ground without a throne,
O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no longer be called tender and delicate.
2 “Take the millstones and grind meal.
Remove your veil, strip off the skirt,
Uncover the leg, cross the rivers.
3 “Your nakedness will be uncovered,
Your shame also will be exposed;
I will take vengeance and will not spare a man.”
4 Our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name,
The Holy One of Israel.
5 “Sit silently, and go into darkness,
O daughter of the Chaldeans,
For you will no longer be called
The queen of kingdoms.
6 “I was angry with My people,
I profaned My heritage
And gave them into your hand.
You did not show mercy to them,
On the aged you made your yoke very heavy.
7 “Yet you said, ‘I will be a queen forever.’
These things you did not consider
Nor remember the outcome of them.
8 “Now, then, hear this, you sensual one,
Who dwells securely,
Who says in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one besides me.
I will not sit as a widow,
Nor know loss of children.’
9 “But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day:
Loss of children and widowhood.
They will come on you in full measure
In spite of your many sorceries,
In spite of the great power of your spells.
10 “You felt secure in your wickedness and said,
‘No one sees me,’
Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you;
For you have said in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’
11 “But evil will come on you
Which you will not know how to charm away;
And disaster will fall on you
For which you cannot atone;
And destruction about which you do not know
Will come on you suddenly.
12 “Stand fast now in your spells
And in your many sorceries
With which you have labored from your youth;
Perhaps you will be able to profit,
Perhaps you may cause trembling.
13 “You are wearied with your many counsels;
Let now the astrologers,
Those who prophesy by the stars,
Those who predict by the new moons,
Stand up and save you from what will come upon you.
14 “Behold, they have become like stubble,
Fire burns them;
They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame;
There will be no coal to warm by
Nor a fire to sit before!
15 “So have those become to you with whom you have labored,
Who have trafficked with you from your youth;
Each has wandered in his own way;
There is none to save you.
Did you see how Tyre’s description in Isaiah 23 connects to Babylon’s description in Isa. 47? Two different ancient cities yet both describe the one future Mystery Babylon! And just wait till you see Revelation 18!
But first let’s check out Jeremiah 25:12-38. Though this passage begins in v.12 with Judah’s 70-year captivity by Babylon back in Daniel and Jeremiah’s time, keep reading. You’ll see he’s moved into end time judgment.
12 ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the Lord, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation. 13 I will bring upon that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. 14 (For many nations and great kings will make slaves of them, even them; and I will recompense them according to their deeds and according to the work of their hands.)’”
15 For thus the Lord, the God of Israel, says to me, “Take this cup of the wine of wrath from My hand and cause all the nations to whom I send you to drink it. 16 They will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.”
[Look at the list of nations]
17 Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand and made all the nations to whom the Lord sent me drink it: 18 Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and its kings and its princes, to make them a ruin, a horror, a hissing and a curse, as it is this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his princes and all his people; 20 and all the foreign people, all the kings of the land of Uz, all the kings of the land of the Philistines (even Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron and the remnant of Ashdod); 21 Edom, Moab and the sons of Ammon; 22 and all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon and the kings of the coastlands which are beyond the sea; 23 and Dedan, Tema, Buz and all who cut the corners of their hair; 24 and all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the foreign people who dwell in the desert; 25 and all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam and all the kings of Media;26 and all the kings of the north, near and far, one with another; and all the kingdoms of the earth which are upon the face of the ground, and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.
27 “You shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Drink, be drunk, vomit, fall and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you.”’ 28 And it will be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “You shall surely drink! 29 For behold, I am beginning to work calamity in this city which is called by My name, and shall you be completely free from punishment? You will not be free from punishment; for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth,” declares the Lord of hosts.’
30 “Therefore you shall prophesy against them all these words, and you shall say to them,
‘The Lord will roar from on high
And utter His voice from His holy habitation;
He will roar mightily against His fold.
He will shout like those who tread the grapes,
Against all the inhabitants of the earth.
31 ‘A clamor has come to the end of the earth,
Because the Lord has a controversy with the nations.
He is entering into judgment with all flesh;
As for the wicked, He has given them to the sword,’ declares the Lord.”
32 Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Behold, evil is going forth
From nation to nation,
And a great storm is being stirred up
From the remotest parts of the earth.
33 “Those slain by the Lord on that day will be from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be lamented, gathered or buried; they will be like dung on the face of the ground.
34 “Wail, you shepherds, and cry;
And wallow in ashes, you masters of the flock;
For the days of your slaughter and your dispersions have come,
And you will fall like a choice vessel.
35 “Flight will perish from the shepherds,
And escape from the masters of the flock.
36 “Hear the sound of the cry of the shepherds,
And the wailing of the masters of the flock!
For the Lord is destroying their pasture,
37 “And the peaceful folds are made silent
Because of the fierce anger of the Lord.
38 “He has left His hiding place like the lion;
For their land has become a horror
Because of the fierceness of the oppressing sword
And because of His fierce anger.”
And to put our top slice of bread on our Babylon sandwich, we’ll now close with Revelation 18. I’ll be breaking that chapter up with inserts from the Old Testament, some of which I’ll write out, some were quoted earlier, and others you can look up if interested.
If you’ve read this entire article and picked up on all the connections between Rev. 17 and the OT, this should seal the deal for you!
18 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. 2 And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.
Jer. 51:7-9 [applies to all Rev. 18]
7 Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord,
Intoxicating all the earth.
The nations have drunk of her wine;
Therefore the nations are going mad.
8 Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken;
Wail over her!
Bring balm for her pain;
Perhaps she may be healed.
9 We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed;
Forsake her and let us each go to his own country,
For her judgment has reached to heaven
And towers up to the very skies.
Jer. 51:49 Indeed Babylon is to fall for the slain of Israel,
As also for Babylon the slain of all the earth have fallen.
3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”
Jer. 51:13 13 O you who dwell by many waters,
Abundant in treasures,
Your end has come,
The measure of your end.
Ezekiel 27 (quoted earlier)
4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; 5 for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
Jer. 50:8 “Wander away from the midst of Babylon
And go forth from the land of the Chaldeans;
Be also like male goats at the head of the flock.
Jer. 51:6 Flee from the midst of Babylon,
And each of you save his life!
Do not be destroyed in her punishment,
For this is the Lord’s time of vengeance;
He is going to render recompense to her.
Jer. 51:45 “Come forth from her midst, My people,
And each of you save yourselves
From the fierce anger of the Lord.
6 Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. 7 To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.’
Isaiah 47:3-9 (Quoted earlier)
8 For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
Isaiah 10:17 And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame,
And it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.
Isaiah 47:9 “But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day:
Loss of children and widowhood.
They will come on you in full measure
In spite of your many sorceries,
In spite of the great power of your spells.
9 “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’
11 “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more — 12 cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, 13 and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives.
14 The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them.
15 The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; 17 for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’
And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, 18 and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’
19 And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’
Ezekiel 27, Isaiah 23
20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”
21 Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. 22 And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; 23 and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.
24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.”
So who/what/where is Babylon? The Bible’s answer is neither short nor simple, is it? What exactly she’ll look like is impossible to sort out at this time, but at least you can see she’s NOT America, our towers, our RFID chip, our president, our Statue of Liberty…
As you know, the Tribulation period has nothing to do with the Church or with the Church Age we presently live in. It is the last seven years of God specific plan regarding Israel. So expecting life after the Rapture to just continue on as it is now with the exception of us being gone is ludicrous.
I believe the only aspect of Babylon that we can see today is the religious side. Our modern-day Catholicism, Islam, and every other false religion are all offspring of this empire/system.
Somehow someway, once we’re Raptured I’m guessing, the entire empire/system will once again headquarter back where she began. Maybe all the current day ‘great power’ nations like the US, Russia, China, etc., will have annihilated themselves. Who knows.
Revelation’s Babylon has an inseparable connection back to her ancient, Old Testament beginning: her land, her religious system, and her ruler. Remember, God’s been oh, so patient in waiting for this time of judgment. It’s been a long time coming.
Rev. 16:19 … Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.