Could Babylon be the Revived Head of the Beast?

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1 Could Babylon be the Revived Head of the Beast? by Rodrigo Silva 12/20/2008 In Revelation 17 we read one of the most mysterious passages in the entire Bible. It goes as follows: And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. (Revelation 17:11) What on earth is this beast that was, is not, is the eighth and is of the seven? You might even raise the question: Seven of what? The two verses prior to Revelation 17:11 tell us what: And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, [and] the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. (Revelation 17:9-11) What is all this symbolism referring to? The passage in telling us that the seven heads of the beast represent seven mountains on which the harlot sits. The seven mountains, we are told, represent seven kings. By John s time five of these kings had fallen, one existed during John's time and another king would come after John's time. The beast, we are told, is the eighth king but is of the seven. How can the beast be the eighth king and still be of the seven? The answer is in Revelation 13 where we read: And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. (Revelation 13:3) According to this verse, one of the seven heads of the beast suffered a deadly wound but this deadly would was healed causing the world to be amazed. This raises the question: Since the seven heads of the beast represent seven mountains which in turn represent seven kings, who are these kings and which king will be represented by the wounded head that is healed and comes back to life? These kings represented by mountains are seven empires, for the Bible in several passages tell us that mountains represent kingdoms. In Jeremiah we read: And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD. Behold, I [am] against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain. (Jeremiah 51:24-25) In this passage God compares the Babylonian Empire to a mountain. In Daniel we also read that when Christ establishes his kingdom, it will be like a great mountain filling the whole earth (Daniel 2:35, 44). We have to remember that a kingdom and a king are seen as one, not as separate from each other. In referring to the Babylonian empire, Daniel told king Nabuchednezzar that he was the head of gold (Daniel 2:38). 1

2 So who are these seven kingdoms that are in view in Revelation 17? These are the seven empires that had and would have influence over the people and land of Israel for you see, from God s point of view, these kingdoms are not about who conquered who such as the Persians conquering Babylon, and the Grecians conquering Persia, but about who has authority over the people or land of Israel. Now we can identify the seven empires that had and will have political authority of the people and the land of Israel. 1. Egyptian Empire which persecuted the people of Israel during the time of the Exodus 2. Assyrian Empire which took the Northern kingdom of Israel into captivity 3. Babylonian Empire which took the Southern kingdom of Judah into captivity 4. Persian Empire which almost destroyed the Jews through Haman according to the book of Esther 5. The Grecian Empire which desecrated the Jewish Temple through the Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes These are the five kings or kingdoms that had fallen by John s time. 6. The Roman Empire which destroyed Jerusalem and scattered the Jews in A.D. 70 This is the king or kingdom that is when John was receiving the vision of Revelation 17. The problem is identifying the seventh that had not yet come, but when he comes, will continue a short space. In my other articles I have identified this kingdom with the Ottoman Empire which controlled the land of Israel. It is possible that this seventh kingdom could also refer to the Arab or Islamic expansion of the seventh century which also controlled the land of Israel. It is also possible that neither the Ottoman nor the Arab Empire is in view, but the coming confederacy of ten nations that are represented by the ten horns of the beast. We cannot know whether this confederacy of ten kings will have influence over the land and people of Israel prior to the rise of the Antichrist. The beast who will be the eighth is also one of the seven. That means that the beast which represents one of the seven kingdoms will return in the future as a revived empire. Some say that the beast is a man but in Daniel 7 we read that a beast represents a kingdom even though the head of the kingdom can also be identified as the beast since he is the ruler of the kingdom. Our task now is to identify which of the seven kingdoms will be revived and return as the eighth beast to go into perdition. Many prophecy teachers say that the healed head of the beast is the revival of the Roman Empire. That is impossible because the angel tells John in Revelation that the beast who is to be revived was not during the time of the revelation, in other words, this beast had already come and gone. The Roman Empire was the sixth kingdom and the beast must be one of the five that had already fallen. Here is the verse again: And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. (Revelation 17:11) 2

3 The angel tells John that the beast was and is not, that is, it is already past history. The Roman Empire was the kingdom currently in power therefore the beast that was past history comes back again as the eighth kingdom. This leaves us with five choices since five kingdoms had already come and gone when John was receiving the vision. These five choices would be: 1. Egyptian Empire 2. Assyria Empire 3. Babylonian Empire 4. Medo-Persian Empire 5. Grecian Empire One of these five kingdoms must be the beast who will be the eighth king who was of the seven. The text in Revelation says that the beast that is the eighth, goes into perdition. The word translated perdition is the Greek word apolea (Strong s 684) which literally means utter destruction and destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell according to the Strong s definition. This means that this revived kingdom and its ruler will suffer eternal destruction never to be heard of again. Egypt is not promised eternal destruction for in Isaiah 19 we read that despite God s judgment upon Egypt, this nation will still exist in the Millennium according to Isaiah 19: In my other articles I have presented Assyria as the revived head since the Antichrist is called the Assyrian. Although God promises to destroy the Assyrian Antichrist in Isaiah 14:25, destroy the pride of Assyria according to Zechariah 10:11 and waste the land of Assyria with the sword according to Micah 5:5-6, Assyria itself will not suffer utter and eternal destruction since it will also be a nation in the Millennium according to Isaiah 19: Persia is mentioned as one of the enemies of Israel in the last days as one of the allies of the Antichrist but Persia is not promised eternal destruction. Since the Grecian Empire was divided into four heads as seen in the leopard of Daniel 7, it is hard to conclude that the Grecian Empire will return to suffer eternal destruction. We can presume that the Seleucid dynasty could be revived in some form since the Antichrist is said to come out of the Seleucid dynasty of the Grecian Empire. The Antichrist is called the king of the north in Daniel 11:21 45 and the king of fierce countenance in Daniel 8:23. These passages refer to an end time ruler of the Seleucid division of the Grecian Empire. The problem is that the Seleucid division of the Grecian Empire occupied a very large territory including modern day Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Therefore, we cannot point to a very specific region. Antiochus Epiphanes who was a type of the Antichrist ruled the region of Syria but ancient Syria comprised more than modern Syria including parts of Turkey and Northern Iraq. The only choice we have left now is the Babylonian Empire to come as the eighth beast which was one of the seven who will go into perdition (apolea in Greek), that is, utter and eternal destruction. This is exactly what the Bible says will happen to Babylon. In Isaiah 13-14, Jeremiah and Revelation 18 we read that Babylon will suffer such a devastating destruction that no human being will ever live there again. These prophecies do not refer to the fall of Babylon to Cyrus the Persian in 539 B.C. because Babylon was not destroyed back then. 3

4 Babylon was conquered without a battle and the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah found no fulfillment at that time. Below are some of the passages that talk about the utter destruction of Babylon: And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in [their] pleasant palaces: and her time [is] near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged. (Isaiah 13:19-22) This destruction will happen at the time of the Tribulation: 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. For 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. (Isaiah 13:9-10) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. (Matthew 24:29) Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell [there], and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor [cities] thereof, saith the LORD; [so] shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein 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 And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.'' (Jeremiah 50:13, 39-40; 51:26) These passages say that Babylon will be destroyed forever never to be inhabited again. These prophecies have not yet been fulfilled for there are people living in Babylon today. These predictions refer to a future time in history when Babylon will be the political capital of a kingdom. These passages also say that Babylon will be destroyed as Sodom and Gomorrah, that is, by fire. This is what we read in Revelation 18: And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come. (Revelation 18:9-10) 4

5 If all these passages refer to the future, it is clear that Babylon will once again be very influential in the last days. Babylon will be nothing more and nothing less than the kingdom of the Antichrist himself who is called in Isaiah 14:4 the king of Babylon. This chapter of Isaiah follows the description of the destruction of Babylon in Isaiah 13 and starts with the restoration of Israel to their own land when they will sing a proverb against their oppressor who will be the Antichrist: And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee (Israel) rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased! (Isaiah 14:3-4) This king of Babylon who oppresses Israel is also referred to as Lucifer in verses who wishes to be like to most high God when he says: For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:13-14) This is the Antichrist declaring that he is God as we read in 2 Thessalonians 2: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4) The passage in Isaiah 14 is not only talking about Satan as many assume, but is talking about the king of Babylon who will be possessed by Satan and claim to be God. God also refers to him as the Assyrian in the same passage without changing subjects: The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, [so] shall it stand: That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. (Isaiah 14:24-25) It is interesting that both the heart of Assyria and the heart of Babylon are within the confines of the same country today. That country is Iraq and as we can see, Iraq has become the center of world attention for the past two decades and that will increase even more so Bible prophecy can be fulfilled. In all of my articles I wrote about Assyria being the revived head of the beast but I cannot ignore the evidence pointing to Babylon as the beast that was, is not during the time John was receiving the vision concerning the beast that was, is not and is the eighth. As I pointed out earlier, the beast goes into perdition, that is, it will suffer utter and eternal destruction. Assyria is not promised eternal destruction since it will be a nation alongside Israel and Egypt in the Millennium (Isaiah 19:23-25). Babylon on the other hand will suffer eternal destruction as clearly seen in Isaiah 13-14, Jeremiah and Revelation 18. The fact that Babylon will be revived in some form or another is clear from the passage in Revelation. This could be a revival of Babylon as the beast kingdom that was not and returns as the eighth who was one of the seven. 5

6 All of this information goes against what I wrote in my other articles concerning Assyria being the revived head of the beast but when something presented in the Biblical text seems to go against my position concerning a subject, I have to put aside all of my presumptions and submit myself to the authority of Scripture. The fact that the Babylonian Empire could be the wounded head of the beast to be healed and go into eternal destruction cannot be ignored even if it goes against what I believe. I would like to point out that this article is not a contradiction to my position concerning Assyria being the revived head of the beast. It is a different perspective which could happen to be the correct one for the reasons presented above. Since the Antichrist is called the Assyrian and the king of Babylon in the same passage of Isaiah, it is also plausible to conclude that the eighth head could possibly be a combination of Assyria and Babylon since the Assyrian Empire dominated Babylon and the Babylonian Empire dominated Assyria and since the heart of both kingdoms are within the borders of the same country today, namely Iraq. If Assyria is not the revived head of the beast as I presented in my other articles, Babylon will most likely be that revived head. The beast is said to go into perdition, that is, utter destruction and Babylon has been promised the same destiny in the Bible. If the view presented in this article is correct, we are going to see major political and economic changes in Iraq in the years ahead. This nation will rise from chaos to political and economic prominence in the Middle East and will be the nation to give rise to the Antichrist who will be the king of Babylon. This poses a problem because the Antichrist is called the king of the North in Daniel 11 and Babylon in Iraq is west of Israel, not north as required by Daniel 11. The possible solution to this problem could be as follows: The Antichrist is called the Assyrian and the heart of ancient Assyria is north-west of Israel. Since the Bible does not use the term north-west, the Antichrist will be from that region which interestingly enough is within the borders of Iraq. That is confirmed in Micah 5:5-6 as the land of Nimrod which according to Genesis 10:8-11 is primarily Nineveh and Babel located in ancient Mesopotamia which is within the borders of Iraq. The other problem is that we read in Daniel 8 and 11 that the Antichrist comes from the Seleucid division of the Grecian Empire. The solution to this problem could be as follows: Babylon and Assyria were under Seleucid dominion, in other words, it sounds like there is to be a simultaneous revival of the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Seleucid kingdoms all absorbed into the one regional kingdom. This is actually the picture that Revelation 13:2 seems to paint because the beast has the body of a leopard which speaks of the Grecian kingdom (the Seleucid division is what is in view in light of Daniel 8 and 11), it has the mouth of a lion which speaks of the Babylonian Empire of Daniel 7, the feet of a bear representing the Persian Empire of Daniel 7 (Persia was absorbed into the Seleucid kingdom) and the Assyrian Empire which besides being a sovereign kingdom itself, was absorbed into the Babylonian, Persian and Seleucid kingdoms as well. 6

7 Below is a map of the Seleucid Empire in 198 B.C. Note that Assyria and Babylon, which are within the borders of modern Iraq, were absorbed into the Seleucid Empire. It is really hard to describe in words how these things will come to pass but one thing is clear; the Antichrist and his kingdom will is some way or another be a combination of the Assyrian, Babylonian and Seleucid kingdoms all at once. If the perspective presented in this article is correct, the Babylonian Empire will be resurrected and as this takes place, Iraq will rise to prominence in such a way that it will possibly have more influence than any other nation in Middle East politics. As this scenario becomes reality, the city of Babylon will be chosen to be the political and economic capital of the region in order to fulfill biblical prophecy. The Babylonian Empire will return and will cause the world to wonder after the beast that was and comes back to life. This beast will be Israel s deadly enemy, for in Micah chapter 4, which is an end time passage, it says that the people of Israel will once again be taken captive to Babylon. No wonder we see God s voice saying: Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues (Revelation 18:4). This is a reference to the Israelis who will be captive in Babylon during the time of her destruction. Read our related article entitled A Second Babylonian Captivity Caused by the Antichrist. 7

8 Conclusion I have presented in many of my articles that Assyria would be the revived head of the beast that was wounded to death but was healed in order to be the beast that was before John s time, was not during John s time, and will return in the future. The beat kingdom that was, and will be the eighth, which was also one of the seven, will go into perdition, that is, utter destruction. Assyria is not promised this utter destruction in the Bible but Babylon is. The Scriptures, not my articles, are the final authority. I must submit to them and consider that Babylon, not Assyria as I have presented in my previous writings, could be the revived head of the beast. As Revelation 18 tells us, Babylon will be the center of the Antichrist s political and economic affairs. 8

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