Bible Study Notes
Babylonia (Babylonian Bâbili, “gate of God;” Old Persian Babirush) was the ancient country of Mesopotamia, known originally as Sumer and later as Sumer and Akkad, lying between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, south of Baghdad in modern Iraq.
Babylon is the site of the Tower of Babel, which functioned as an apostate temple. It was a ziggurat (a pyramid with a flat top) built high above the surrounding plain to provide a place of safety in the event of another flood. There the temple rites were performed for the unworthy by an apostate priesthood. It was the dissemination of the temple rites—not the height of the building—that gave rise to the statement the people built a tower to get into heaven.
It was in Babylon that astrology was developed. The signs of the Zodiak come from ancient Babylonians beliefs about the heavens determining the fate of man and the movenment of the stars foretelling the future.
At various times Babylon was the largest city in the Middle East, perhaps the entire ancient world. It was one of the most properous. This was a city that typified materialism, and the quest for earthly comforts. The hanging gardens of Babylon, while beautiful, also reflect the deisre of this ancient culture for material comfort. Consequently Babylon was a place of great wickedeness centered around fullfilling the lusts of the flesh.
In 331 B.C., Darius III was defeated by the forces of Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamel, and, in October, Babylon fell to the Greeks. Under Alexander, Babylon again flourished as a centre of learning and commerce.
Following Alexander’s death in 323 B.C., in the palace of Nebuchadrezzar, his empire was divided amongst his generals, and decades of fighting soon began, with Babylon caught in the middle. The constant warfare virtually emptied the city of Babylon. A tablet dated 275 B.C. states that the inhabitants of Babylon were transported to Selucia, where a palace was built, as well as a temple given the ancient name of E-Saggila. With this deportation, the history of Babylon come practically to an end. By 141 B.C., when the Parthian Empire took control of the region, Babylon was in complete desolation and obscurity.
Its ruins were covered by sand and its exact located vanished from history until it ruins were located by Deutsche Orientgesellschaft in 1899. Inscriptions that have been recently deciphered show that the Babylonians had accounts of the Creation and the Deluge in many ways similar to those given in the book of Genesis. Other inscriptions contain accounts of events referred to in the Bible histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judea, and also give valuable information as to the chronology of these periods.
Babylon more than any other city throughout history has symbolized a place where mankind worshiped the lusts of the flesh. A place where the natural man was triumphant. Thus the total destruction of the city of Babylon becomes a perfect representation for destruction that awaits the telestial world and those who above all else seek to satisfy the carnal desires of the natural man.