Babylon Then and Now

The story of Ancient Babylon’s demise is reflected in the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl of wrath in Revelation

In the book of Daniel, on the eve of the city’s conquest by the “Medes and Persians,” King Belshazzar gave a feast “for a thousand of his lords” and “tasted wine” from the sacred vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had looted from the Temple in Jerusalem, thereby disrespecting the God of Israel while also praising the false gods of Babylon.

In the book of Revelation, this incident lies behind the portrayal of the “inhabitants of the earth” who refuse to repent of their sins despite enduring the “plagues” unleashed by the first six of the “seven trumpets.”

Dry Riverbed - Photo by Chester Ho on Unsplash
[Photo by Chester Ho on Unsplash]

And the overthrow of ancient Babylon by the “
Medes and Persians” is echoed in the “sixth bowl of wrath” when the “kings of the east” are released from the Euphrates River for the final battle on the “great day of God the Almighty.”

HANDWRITING ON THE WALL


Belshazzar’s celebration was interrupted when a mysterious hand wrote unknown letters on the wall, letters that none of the Chaldean “wise men” and astrologers could interpret.

Only the prophet Daniel was able to reveal and interpret the king’s dream. In the process of doing so, he issued a stern rebuke to the Babylonian potentate for his blasphemy:

  • (Daniel 5:20-23) – “But against the Lord of the heavens have you uplifted yourself, and the vessels of his house have they brought before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine therein, and GODS OF SILVER AND GOLD, OF BRONZE, IRON, WOOD AND STONE, WHICH SEE NOT NOR HEAR NOR KNOW HAST THOU PRAISED, whereas, God in whose hand your breath is and whose are all your ways, HIM HAVE YOU NOT GLORIFIED.

In contrast to his noble ancestor, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar failed to humble his heart. Instead, he profaned the Lord’s sacred vessels. Rather than honor the “Most-High” as Nebuchadnezzar did, he praised the false gods and idols of Babylon.

The same hardness of the heart is reflected in Revelation. After the sounding of the “sixth trumpet,” four angels are loosed from the Euphrates that arouse a massive army that slays a “third of mankind.” This is the latest and worst of the series of “plagues” inflicted on the earth by the “seven trumpets.”

But the men who survive all “these plagues” continue refusing to repent. Rather than acknowledge the God of heaven, they pay homage to “the IDOLS OF GOLD AND OF SILVER AND OF COPPER and of stone and of wood, WHICH CAN NEITHER SEE NOR HEAR NOR WALK.”

And their stubborn refusal more than justifies God’s “wrath” when the “seventh trumpet” sounds, ushering in the “day of the Lord” - (Revelation 9:13-20, 11:15-19).

SIXTH & SEVENTH BOWLS OF WRATH


Verbally, the “sixth trumpet” is linked to the “sixth bowl of wrath” by the references to the “Euphrates River.”

Dark Wave - Photo by Max McKinnon on Unsplash
[Dark Wave - Photo by Max McKinnon on Unsplash]

Just as the “
four angels” are “loosed” from the river to attack men, so the emptying of the “sixth bowl” dries up the Euphrates to prepare the ground for the invasion by the “kings of the east,” the attack that will culminate in the battle of “Armageddon.”

And that battle will cause the destruction of end-time “Babylon” when the and pours out the “seventh bowl of wrath upon the air” - (Revelation 16:12-21).

Similarly, on the night when the army of the “Medes and Persians” captured Ancient Babylon, the attacking force first dammed the Euphrates so its troops could enter the massively walled city along the dry riverbed.

Thus, the “great city” of Nebuchadnezzar was conquered in one night, and Belshazzar, the last ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, was slain – (Daniel 5:24-31, Isaiah 44:27-45:1, Jeremiah 50:38-42).

And so, in the book of Revelation, key events from the book of Daniel become patterns for the final cosmic conflict between the “Lamb” and the “Dragon,” and the victory of “New Jerusalem” over “Mystery Babylon, the Great.”

The overthrow of Ancient Babylon by the “Medes and Persians” foreshadowed the destruction of end-time “Babylon” where “all the abominations of the earth” and the blood of the witnesses of Jesus are found.



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