Mystery Babylon: Old Testament Study Part 1
There are many believers who are convinced that Mystery Babylon is Jerusalem/Israel. I fully understand why they hold this position. To be sure, the analogies of Israel's prostitute-like behavior in the Old Testament are tempting comparisons to the Harlot of Revelation chapter seventeen. However, I do feel that the single easiest way to discern between the Harlot and Jerusalem, is to look at their prophetic futures: future Babylon will be uninhabited, and conversely, Jesus will reign from Jerusalem for one thousand years. One city will be utterly ruined beyond hope, and the other, though bruised, will be healed. I won't develop this idea further here, since I have already addressed this in my video here. The purpose of this study today is to look at Old Testament prophecies regarding Babylon that clearly have future Babylon in mind, and then showcase how it is impossible to conclude Babylon is code language for Jerusalem. Today, we are only exploring Isaiah 47, but I hope to address other prophecies in the future. First, carefully read this portion of Isaiah 47 and see if you notice anything surprising.
“Go down, sit in the dust,Virgin Daughter Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, queen city of the Babylonians.No more will you be called tender or delicate.Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil.Lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams.Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered.I will take vengeance;I will spare no one.” Our Redeemer—the Lord Almighty is his name—is the Holy One of Israel.“Sit in silence, go into darkness, queen city of the Babylonians; no more will you be called queen of kingdoms.I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance;I gave them into your hand, and you showed them no mercy.Even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke.You said, ‘I am forever—the eternal queen!’But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen.“Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure, lounging in your security and saying to yourself,‘I am, and there is none besides me.I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day:loss of children and widowhood.They will come upon you in full measure ,in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells.You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself,‘I am, and there is none besides me.’ (Isaiah 47:1-9)
First, we need to establish that this prophecy is talking about future Babylon. Now, historical Babylon was not overthrown in one day, yet, this passage indicates it will happen "in a moment, on a single day." Now, check out Revelation 18:6-8.
"Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done.Pour her a double portion from her own cup.Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.In her heart she boasts,‘I sit enthroned as queen.I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:death, mourning and famine.She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her."
Can you believe the similarities of these prophecies? The comparison is so striking, because it's not talking about historical Babylon here, Isaiah's prophecy is a prophecy regarding future Babylon, the same Babylon of Revelation chapter seventeen. Next, we need to go back and look closely in the Isaiah passage and see if the Jerusalem theory fits. If future Babylon, is really a code word for Jerusalem, would it say this?
"I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance;I gave them into your hand, and you showed them no mercy.Even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke."
For absolute clarity, let's insert the word Jerusalem, when when the prophecy refers to future Babylon, to see if this theory is plausible. Here's how it would read: " I was angry with my people (Israel) and desecrated my inheritance (Israel), I gave them (Israel) into your hand (Jerusalem) and you (Jerusalem) showed them (Israel) no mercy." In this light, can Jerusalem be the Babylon of the future? It's entirely illogical to suggest Jerusalem is Babylon because, Babylon, in prophetic literature, as it is here, is usually compared and contrasted against Jerusalem/Israel. And thankfully we have this juxtaposition in the scriptures, so that we can know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that future Babylon is not Jerusalem.