By FRANK V. MILDRED
[* From Is Babylon to be
Rebuilt? 39 Chambers Lane, Willesden Green, London, N.W, 10.]
the words of Augustine: "Babylon is a former Rome, and Rome a, later Babylon; Rome is a daughter of Babylon." The two Babylons are
contrasted in chapters seventeen and eighteen of the Revelation.
of chapter seventeen is symbolical of Rome; it is mystic Babylon. Cardinal
Bellarmine writes :
"St. John in the Apocalypse calls Rome Babylon, for no other city
besides Rome reigned in his age over the kings
of the earth, and it is well known that Rome
was seated on seven hills."
Babylon of the eighteenth
chapter of Revelation is literal Babylon,
which is seen in pride and power after the destruction of Rome,
the mystic Babylon.
The fate of the two cities is different;
(Rome) is destroyed by the kingdom of the
Antichrist; but literal Babylon perishes
instantaneously by the judgment of God (Rev.
18: 17-19). To quote a well-known
expositor: "The Babylon of chapter
17. is a ‘mystery’ ; not so that of chapter 18. Again, the destruction of the one is different
from that of the other. The first will
be destroyed by the ten kings and their emperor (17: 16) the second by the direct
judgment of God (18: 5, 8, 20) the first as the result of human antagonism, the second by
famine, fire, and earthquakes" (W. E. Vine, M.A.). In the
prophecy of Daniel we have an inspired symbol of the four great world-empires
which fill up the times of the Gentiles; and it is remarkable that Babylon was the capital of the first of these three
empires, while Rome
was the capital of the fourth empire.
The rebuilt city Babylon
will be distinguished as the commercial capital of the last world-state and the
metropolis of Antichrist’s kingdom. No student of the
Revelation can miss the characteristic features in the description of Babylon in chapter 18; they are merchandise, merchants,
ships, and great wealth: "Thy merchants were the
great men of the earth." Again and again it is stated that "the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for
no man buyeth their merchandise any more"
(Rev. 18: 11).
The judgment of Revelation 18. is a
double woe for a double iniquity, for the reason that literal Babylon at the last absorbs mystic Babylon. We see this as we compare the prophecy of
Zechariah and the book of Revelation, and especially as we study the fifth chapter of Zechariah,
the Vision of the Ephah. The meaning of the Vision is quite clear, if
we remember the regular symbolism of the Scripture: anything out of place is
symbolical, not literal. The chief
figure in the Vision is the woman seated in an ephah
and being borne along in it to Shinar or Babylon. "Then said I to
the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear
the ephah? And
he said unto me, To build her an house in the land of Shinar: and
when it is prepared, she shall be set there in her own place."
That is, Shinar
or Babylon is
the woman’s original home; she is seen fleeing to her place of origin. The ephah and talent of lead are symbols of commerce. A woman in Scripture symbolism represents a
city. Thus we have a city, enthroned
upon commerce and being transported by the help of two other cities ("the two women" of Zech.
5: 9) to Babylon,
its original home. Rome
came out of Babylon; she is mystic Babylon.
to Rev. 17: 18, we have a picture of the
same woman: "And the woman whom thou sawest is the
great city, which reigneth over the kings of the
mystic Babylon, having risen to
vast power by the help of the princes of this world, is seen at the last being
destroyed by the Antichrist and the ten kings of the revived Roman
empire who are in alliance with him. The Papacy, thus attacked in the Vatican
State, escapes to Babylon, its spiritual home, probably with the help of two
friendly Romanist powers with their fleets of aeroplanes: "The wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the
wings of a stork" (Zech. 5; 9). How significant the symbolism of the stork in
this connection! The stork is native to
Asia, and visits Europe only in summer. It is well known that storks assist smaller birds
in their migrations by carrying them on their backs; how apposite a symbol of
an aeroplane! Moreover, the Hebrew name
for stork is chasidah, which
means pious, and so the bird was known as the pious bird, although reckoned
unclean by God (Lev. 11: 19). How many Popes have fulfilled this analogy in
the title Pius!
system of commerce thus established in Babylon will be an evil monopoly; it is
thus described in Rev. 18: 12-13: "Merchandise of gold and silver, and precious stone, and
pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thynne wood, and every vessel of ivory and every vessel
made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon,
and spice, and incense, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and
fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep, and merchandise of horses and
chariots and slaves; and souls of men." Already
we see the small trader "squeezed out"
by the huge combines and monopolies of our day. Such a system will be a prepared instrument
for the use of Antichrist at the end. "The remnant
escaping from Rome will embrace the faith of Antichrist, for none may buy or
sell except those that have stamped themselves with his mark; and therefore,
the cup of false doctrine being stricken out of her hand, she becomes simply
commercial: the world is caught at last in its Sodom state of godless wealth"
of the three places mentioned in Scripture as a source of gold is in the region
of Babylon, and an American writer, Dr.
W. D. Herrstrom, makes this interesting
suggestion (American Sunday School Times, 8th January, 1933):
"After a careful examination of some five hundred
Scripture passages that speak of gold, I notice that much of the gold came from
the region mentioned above (i.e. the vicinity of the Persian Gulf), and eventually most of it seemed to return to the same
region, especially to Babylon itself. Of
the twenty-eight items of commerce in rebuilt Babylon (Rev.
18: 12), gold heads the list. Surely this gold will be discovered some
day-probably very soon. If that should
occur there would be a great gold rush to the vicinity of ancient Babylon; a city of great
wealth would spring up over night." It is exceedingly remarkable that since these
words were written, a gold mine has been discovered near Mount Ararat, some
hundreds of miles north of Babylon,
the value of which is put at sixty million pounds by the Turkish Minister of
art the head of gold’ may yet be addressed in a new and sinister sense
to the Chaldean Head of an Image once more dominating
rapidly-approaching Babylonian autocracy will show no mercy to the individual,
nor will it have any respect for the Christian Church. The State will be all in all. The leaders of the rising despotisms of our
time are either Marxians, or else have been Marxians - as was Mussolini. These are the words of Karl Marx: "The idea of God is the
keystone of a perverted civilization. It
must be destroyed. The true root of
liberty, of equality, of culture, is Atheism."
Beyond doubt, a period of intense persecution of the Christian Church
is approaching, heading up in the Kingdom of the Antichrist, which will be a
dreadful caricature of the Kingdom
of God. One thing prevents the full manifestation of
Antichrist in our time; it is the Holy Spirit in the Church (2 Thess. 2: 6-8).
When the watchful believers are
caught away by Rapture into the heavenlies, Satan will be cast down to the
earth, where he will be worshipped as a god. Even now there are Devilworshippers
concerning whom a full column was written in The Times of 7th October, 1932.
The Times estimates the number of Yezidis, or
Devil Worshippers, to be about 36,000 in Iraq. The most prominent feature of their religion
is the worship of the Peacock Angel, which represents none other than the
Devil. In the words of Sir George Adam Smith: "Babylon represents civilization; she is the brow of the world’s
pride and enmity to God. Babylon is the Atheist of
the Old Testament, as she is the Antichrist of the New."
Lord has bidden us to observe the signs of the times, and we who are His
disciples should remember that a perfect escape from the coming calamities
is promised to the watchful believer. "But watch ye at
every season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these
things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man"
(Luke 21: 36). And "Seeing that
ye look for these things, give diligence that ye may be found in peace, without
spot and blameless in His sight" (2
Peter 3: 14).*