By Rev. Eddie Donnally DMin
A study of the maps of the areas in Iraq controlled by ISIS seems to indicate they possess the ancient city of Babylon. Is it possible that the group, known for its demonic cruelty, will rebuild the city? Could they be part of the prophesied rise of the antichrist?
While there is no current evidence that either is true, there are sufficient parallels between ISIS and the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians to suggest it is possible.
Among biblical scholars there is significant agreement that Babylon will be destroyed before the second coming of Christ. While Cyrus II took control of the city in about 600 BC, there is ample historical evident to suggest it flourished for a time after that and gradually degraded. Destroying the city obviously requires its rebuilding.
Babylon is the “Land of Shinar” of Genesis 12:1 and it is widely believed that the Tower of Babel was built somewhere in the country of Iraq in a city formerly called Babylon (derived from the word “babel”), about 55 miles south of Bagdad. It should be noted that the dispersion from Babel happened in 2242 B.C., and the Babylon civilization was born eight years later in 2234 B.C.
The tower of Babel was dedicated to Marduk, a demon of untold powers according to a host of demonologists, and one referred to twice in the Bible as Merodach, “the evil king of Babylon.” Markuk was Babylon’s original and best known god.
Babylon was once ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar who was every bit as evil as ISIS head Al Bagadadi. His army lay siege to Jerusalem so long the Israelites were forced to eat their babies to survive. When his soldiers took the city, they killed King Zedekiah’s sons in front of him, and to make sure that image would be his last, gouged out his eyes before shackling him and taking him to Babylon.
Babylon took thousands of Israelites captive and kept them in slavery for some 70 years. When the city started to decay, some say because of the often flooded Euphrates River, Assyria to its north became the Hebrews chief enemy and much of the land controlled by ISIS would lie in ancient Assyria. Both were descendants of the Semitic race and both worshiped demon gods.
When Assyria conquered Babylon in the 8th-7th centuries BC, Assyrian scribes began to write the name of Ashur with the cuneiform signs AN.SHAR, literally “whole heaven.” The intention seems to have been to put Ashur at the head of the Babylonian pantheon. Ashur replaced Marduk as the supreme Assyrian god, hence the name Assyria, A god of war, their largest city, Assur, was named in his honor. Both deities, Christians believe, were powerful demons.
Besides massacring the enemy soldiers, Assyrians made mass deportations of the rulers (nobles, functionaries, craftsmen), so that the remaining people obeyed with humiliation (the most famous is that described in the Bible, of the Israeli to Babylon). Enemy kings were beheaded, and their heads hanged in trees and cities were destroyed. Women were made slaves. This cunning policy, the army and good administration maintained the empire for centuries. The conquered populations had to pay heavy annual tributes.
Sound familiar? They may have invented beheading, if not they at least popularized the practice. It’s also likely they crucified their enemies long before the Romans. Oh, yes, the Assyrians led the captured Hebrews back to their cities to be slaves with hooks piercing their jaws.
In 721 BC, the Assyrian army under King Sennacherib captured the Israelite capital at Samaria and took the citizens of the northern kingdom into captivity. This left the southern kingdom, Judah, ruled by Ahaz and Hezekiah, to fend for itself. Judah had tried to appease the Assyrian king, Sennacherib by becoming incorporated into their kingdom and paying a yearly tribute that once included the gold from Solomon’s Temple. Six years later Ahaz died and his son Hezekiah became king. He broke the religious idols; re-captured Philistine’s occupied lands, formed alliances with Ashkelon and Egypt, and made a stand against Assyria by refusing to pay tribute. In response, Sennacherib attacked Judah and lay siege to Jerusalem.
They knew the price of losing. An Assyrian war bulletin from a few hundred years earlier read: “I slew two hundred and sixty fighting men; I cut off their heads and made pyramids thereof. I slew one of every two. I built a wall before the great gates of the city; I flayed the chief men of the rebels, and I covered the wall with their skins. Some of them were enclosed alive in the bricks of the wall, some of them were crucified on stakes along the wall; I caused a great multitude of them to be flayed in my presence, and I covered the wall with their skins. I gathered together the heads in the form of crowns, and their pierced bodies in the form of garlands.”
To make matters worse, Sennacherib taunted the Israelites, saying, “Do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like this, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you from my hand? (II Chron 32).”
While Sennacherib took 46 of Judah’s cities, he did not take Jerusalem.
Another parallel is found in Leviticus 16. It tells that the Lord ordered his high priest, Aaron, to ‘place lots upon the two goats, one marked for the Lord and the other sent into the desert on the Jewish Day of Atonement. One goat is sacrificed as a sin offering. Aaron, the priest, placed both hands on the other goat’s head and confessed all the nation’s sins, then sent the “scapegoat” into the desert. So unclean was this goat, its handler had to wash his clothes and body before being allowed back into the camp. In the original Hebrew, scapegoat translates as Azazel. In apocryphal and rabbinical literature, this goat is considered the personification of the impure. Today, a goat head is the best known satanic symbol. The ancient Hebrews considered Azazel the most powerful demon of all and a type of Satan. Thus, the sins of the early Hebrews were sent back to their source.
In the book of Enoch, which is not canon Scripture, but was well respected by the Hebrews and quoted by Peter and Jude, Azazel is leader of the fallen angels of Genesis 6, who came to earth cohabitated with women and produced the Nephelim, a race of giants destroyed by God in the flood. The book of Enoch says Azazel “revealed the eternal secrets which were (preserved) in heaven.” Verses in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6 say those fallen angels are bound in chains until the second coming of Christ. The Book of Enoch said the place they are bound is in the earth beneath Dudael, which many translators say is “Babel,” the site of the Tower of Babel in Babylon.
Yet, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (when Christ returns to take his church to heaven) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. . . .”
We know that Satan’s most personal manifestation will be the antichrist. It’s interesting that ISIS has claimed for their caliphate (government) the very same soil inhabited by the ancient demon worshiping Babylonians and their nearby cousins, the Assyrians. They also replicate their same demonic behavior, even punishing members of their own faith. And within their souls, several thousand years later, is the same deep hatred for the Jews and the same desire to capture Jerusalem.
Could it be they represent Satan’s end time effort to be manifested on earth as the antichrist? Could rebuilding Babylon be a good start?