WE have already discussed the restoration of the literal city of Babylon. It has been our aim to show that the city of Babylon will be literally restored at some time in the the future. In presenting this argument, we have given a great number of Scriptural references touching on the destruction of Babylon; while we have shown that many such prophecies have never been fulfilled, and that they can never be fulfilled without a literal restoration of that city. The reason we have given so much space to this phase of our subject is because there are so few, comparatively speaking, who accept the truth of literal restoration of Babylon. Moreover, this phase of the subject, though it may seem of no importance to many, is of grave importance to a proper understanding of many Scriptural prophecies. Any Bible subject is of importance, and is worthy of our time and study. There are dozens of writers on the Second Coming of Jesus, who have dwelt at length on certain phases of the subject, while merely touching or forbearing to mention other phases. From the first it has been my purpose to dwell at length on those phases of the subject which have been more or less neglected by others; and thus fill a field unoccupied by other writers. So far as I am acquainted with the literature on the subject in question, the phase under present discussion is one generally neglected by the majority of writers. We believe that we are now exploring a field of truth into which the most of modern Bible instructors have failed to enter, or, if they have entered at all, they have been slow to enrich their pupils with the truths of their discoveries. Therefore, we have no apology to offer for dwelling on this subject.
The opposers of the truth I am presenting would have to admit the
Scriptural foundation of my propositions, were it not
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their return to their theory that the Scriptural prophecies we have quoted are
all to be taken in a spiritual sense. Perhaps
no other theory is more misleading and of greater hindrance to a proper
understanding of Bible truth than that one that takes all prophecies of the
Bible in a spiritual sense. That
there are many prophecies from which spiritual lessons can be drawn, no one
can deny; but the fact that a prophecy has a spiritual application does not
destroy its literalness. Many
prophecies are to be taken figuratively; but when such is the case there is
always an intimation of it in the context.
When we read a plain, positive statement in the Word, with no intimation
that it is to be taken otherwise, we may rest assured that it is to be taken
in a literal sense. With the
turning of certain portions of God’s Word into nothing more than poetic
fancy, I have no sympathy. Yet,
this is just what many modern critics are doing.
To take as spiritual every thing the Bible says concerning the future
estate of Babylon, is to fall far short of the true interpretation of such
If all the Bible says concerning the future estate of Babylon is to be
taken spiritually, then we may just as legitimately take all the Bible says
concerning the past estate of that city spiritually; and if we take all that
is said in the Scripture concerning Babylon spiritually, we may just as
legitimately take all the Bible says concerning every subject spiritually.
Thus the whole of Holy Writ is turned into a fable or fancy.
Moreover, this is just what many Bible teachers are seeking to do.
Men now tell us that Adam never fell into sin, that the Book of Job is
an allegory, that the whale never swallowed Jonah, that Jesus never came in
the flesh, and many other mystical assertions.
From such and like interpretations of the Scriptures arise
Spiritualism, Christian Science, and many other doctrines of demons.
It is alarming to notice into how many erroneous ideas and doctrines
this interpretation of Scripture will lead.
It is always dangerous to resist the plain, positive statements of
God’s Word. If we are to take
literally the Bible concern-
any people or place, we have as much reason to take literally those prophecies
that relate to the future estate of Babylon, unless otherwise specified in the
When God says, in speaking of Babylon, “Behold, the day of the Lord
cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and
he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it”
(Isa. 13: 9), why not believe that He means what He says, and that He
says what He means? There is not the least intimation that this verse is to be
taken otherwise than literally. “Land”
in this verse means land as much so as it does in any verse.
“Sinners” means sinners, and nothing more.
“Destroy” means destroy, not to convert.
When God says that He will make the land about Babylon desolate, I take
it to mean that the literal land about literal Babylon will be made literally
desolate. When He says that the
sinners of that land shall be destroyed out of it, I take it to mean
that every sinner in and around Babylon shall be literally cut off, in some
way, from the face of the earth. As
yet, these things have never taken place.
Besides, we are told that these things are to come in “the day of the
Lord.” That day is yet future.
How can these predictions be literally fulfilled without a literal
restoration of literal Babylon?
When God says in connection with the destruction of Babylon, “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), I take Him to mean just what He says.
Any other interpretation of this verse is a perverting of the
Scriptures. Many Bible
interpreters, however, spiritualize at this point until this whole
prophecy is turned into a mere poetic fancy.
There are cases in the Bible where “stars” are to be taken
figuratively, but where such is the case there is always an intimation of it
in the context. When I read from
the Word of God a plain, positive statement that the stars of heaven shall not
give their light, I take it to mean that the literal stars shall
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to shine. When God says that the
sun and the moon shall fail to shine, I take it that “the sun” means the
shining orb that crosses over our head every day, and that “the moon”
means the literal satellite that revolves about the earth.
It is difficult for me to see how reasonable minds can take it otherwise.
Moreover, if “stars” means literal stars, if “the sun” means
the literal sun, and if “the moon” means the literal moon, then
“Babylon” means literal Babylon, and we have a right to expect Babylon to
be literally restored.
When God says, “Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the
Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah”
(Isa. 13: 19), I take His words literally.
I see no reason for taking them otherwise.
If there ever were such cities as Sodom and Gomorrah, and if the Bible
account of the destruction of those cities be true, then we may look for a
literal destruction of literal Babylon by literal fire.
One of the great efforts of the devil today is to get people to
disbelieve the literalness of the Bible.
Many Bible critics would try to make you believe that the
literal facts concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were untrue.
They would be glad to do away with the Bible entirely, or to turn it
into a fancy or wild imagination. Those
who teach that Babylon will not be literally restored, help towards the spread
of unbelief in the literalness of God’s Word.
Taking the 47th chapter of Isaiah, we find figurative language all
through it; and yet, there is not an intimation in the whole chapter that we
are here dealing with anything save literal Babylon.
As we showed in our last chapter, many of the phrases of this chapter
may apply to the capture of Babylon by the Medes and Persians; and if the
Medes and Persians captured a literal city of Babylon, then those phrases of
this chapter which apply to a future destruction of that city speak of
a literal destruction.
In the 25th chapter of Jeremiah’s prophecy, as we have shown in our
last chapter, it is distinctly prophesied that Baby-
lon is to be the last of all the nations to drink of God’s wrath. However, the opposers of this truth tell us that this refers to spiritual Babylon. If this be true, how are we to take the other nations mentioned in this connection? Take them spiritually also, I presume! When we undertake to spiritualize all the nations mentioned in this chapter from Jeremiah’s prophecy, we shall have a great task at hand. However, I have never seen it fail yet that those, who try to spiritualize all the Bible, omit all phrases that will not bend into their theory, and leave out entirely a great portion of God’s Word. If Babylon in this chapter is to be taken spiritually, then all of the nations mentioned should be so taken. If we are to treat Scripture in this way, then it will be hard indeed to ever determine what God means by anything He says. It will be difficult to tell when to take God at what He says, and when to believe that He means something else. Oh, that men would abandon this method of Bible interpretation! I repeat, there are passages in the Bible that are to be taken spiritually, but in such cases there is always a clear intimation of the same. When there is no such intimation, it is always the safer plan to take God’s Word as it is.
“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth
over the kings of the earth.”—Rev. 17: 18.
In the 18th chapter of Revelation we have a detailed description
of the destruction of that city. There
is nothing at all in this description to indicate that this city is anything
other than literal Babylon. The
whole description goes to show that we have here to do with a literal city.
In connection with her we read of “the kings of the earth,” and of
“the merchants of the earth,” and of “the merchandise of gold, and
silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and
silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and
all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
and cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, frankincense, and wine, and oil, and
fine flour, and
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and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of
men,” and of shipmasters, sailors, and those who trade by sea.
It is foolishness to try to spiritualize all these things.
If these sailors, merchants, merchandise, etc., are to be taken
literally, then the city in which these things shall be is a literal city.
If you take the above reasonings as at all logical, you must conclude
that Babylon will be literally restored.