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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, May 16 2019

Babylon validates Bible prophecy

Around 740 B.C. the prophet Isaiah proclaimed the complete destruction of the mighty city of Babylon by a virtually unknown people called the Medes. Two hundred years later his prophecy was fulfilled in every detail.

Babylon validates Bible prophecy
The ruins of ancient Babylon. (Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson. [Public domain])

At the time of Isaiah’s prediction concerning Babylon’s  destruction, it was famous as one of the largest and most important cities in the world. In spite of this Isaiah claimed God had told him Babylon would be completely destroyed by the Medes, a weak and scattered people of no significance.

“Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there” (Isaiah 13:17-20). 

At the time this prophecy was given its fulfilment just seemed impossible! The Assyrians were the dominant power in the region and it looked like they were there to stay. Then in 689 B.C. after Babylon had attempted to rebel against their Assyrian overlords one too many times, Sennacherib, king of the Assyrians, attacked and captured the city. He was so  angry he decided to destroy the city forever so that it could never rebel again.  He boasted he had made Babylon ‘like a meadow’. 

But Isaiah’s prophecy was not fulfilled by Sennacherib’s destruction. Isaiah had predicted that the Medes would attack Babylon,  not Assyria. Also Sennacherib’s son began to rebuild Babylon again and Isaiah had prophesied it would be destroyed and never inhabited. Babylon continued to grow in strength and by 605 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar became king, the Babylonian Empire was the leading power in the world. Babylon had become greater than it had been in Isaiah’s lifetime. 

In 559 B.C. Cyrus the Great came to power, ruling over the Medes and the Persians. The Greek historian, Herodotus, describes in detail how Cyrus attacked Babylon in 539 B.C and took the city. When Babylon rebelled again in 482 B.C. the city was  once again brutally subjugated by the Medes and, after that this once great city began to decline in importance. 

Alexander the Great had plans to rebuild Babylon, but he died before he could implement them. In time the remaining population was ordered to leave Babylon and settle in a nearby city resulting in Babylon being described by Strabo as a desert. The biblical prophecy made so long ago by Isaiah had been fulfilled. 

The inspiration of the Bible demonstrated by fulfilled prophecy is one of the convincing proofs of God’s hand in the affairs of man.