Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Babylon... rebuilt?

Joel Rosenberg reports that funds are being directed towards the rebuilding of Babylon. Yes, that Babylon, the actual city of Babylon.

Saddam Hussein had been very invested in resurrecting Babylon to power and glory, but he's very invested in something else at the present. Nonetheless, the dream hasn't died.

This won't be of any real interest to the I-know-it-looks-like-a-squirrel-but-I'm-going-to-say-"Jesus" crowd, but those of us who think that prophecies about Babylon are about, well, Babylon, find it of at least passing interest.

54 comments:

Trinian said...

While I don't think there's any more need for Babylon to actually be the historical Babylon than there is for Laodicea to be in Turkey, this is still extremely interesting news, and something worth keeping track of.

... and I doubt that it will be Obama's final contribution to building Babylon.

Fred Butler said...

Dan,
You need to look past the squirrel to the greater fulfillment of the squirrel. The squirrel is just a shadow of the reality. You know, that "type-anti-type" thingy.

Becky, slave of Christ said...

I-know-it-looks-like-a-squirrel-but-I'm-going-to-say-"Jesus"

I love that joke.

Thanks for this, Dan. I knew that Hussein had been working on it, but I didn't know the plans were still in place at this point.

Exciting times for those of us who are inclined to call a squirrel a squirrel. (All types and anti-types aside.)

Stefan said...

Surely it's not a stretch, though, to expect a literal (i.e., not allegorical) fulfilment of the prophesies in Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah, Matthew, 2 Thessalonians, Revelation, etc., yet at the same time understand Babylon (in Revelation) to be a metonymy for something greater? (Sorry, Fred.)

Let's put it this way: if the Mesopotamian valley were to become the seat of a new world power, would they build the capital inside a restored, ancient walled city?

It is an interesting turn of events, though.

Stefan said...

Argh, what's with my typing today!?

"Prophesies" ==> "Prophecies"

Stefan said...

Actually, given the way things are developing, it's hardly inconceivable that a new superpower could rise up in that part of the Middle East!

EGC said...

Despite his penchant for sensationalism, Rosenberg often makes me, at least, scratch my head and go, “Hmm?”

When the Bible says “Babylon” it doesn’t really mean “Babylon!” I mean, Micah didn’t really mean “Bethlehem” when he wrote Micah 5:2, right? :-)

DJP said...

Yes, EGC, that's what I hear....

Mr Wizzard said...

You should tag this with 'whatcouldpossiblygowrong'!

DJP said...

Mr Wiz - lol

EGC — actually, I try looking at Micah 5:2 as a decoder-ring guy would in this post, item #9.

EGC said...

Dan -- I love that post. Printed it out when you first posted it and passed it around to my Bible study group.

The problem with the decoder-ring set is that everybody's decoder ring is set differently. Funny how all of us who say that God ment what he said all end up in pretty much the same neighborhood, while those who spiritualize everything end up all over the map.

Stefan said...

There you guys go, challenging my cherished assumptions. Good one, EGC. Your Malachi comment achieved exactly much the effect that Dan's "Next!" series on the other blog is intended to achieve. Just like that!

I do believe that there is a coming great tribulation, and of course in the physical return of Christ, and in the millennial kingdom. Now, I've been led to the point in the last few days to see that the prophecies in Isaiah and Ezekiel (for example) are probably a lot more literal than I had previously assumed: that there will be a physical ingathering of the Gentiles and a revival of faith in Christ among my Jewish cousins (per Ezekiel 37, Jeremiah 31, and Romans 11:15, 26), in the land of our ancestors.

How exactly this will all play out or exactly when is not for us to know (Matthew 24:36 on the "when").

What scares me is the tribulation, because unlike my honorable Dispensationalist brothers in Christ, I fear that we (Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ) will have to suffer through it. God grant us the grace to do so.

EGC said...

Stefan – Like Dan, I’m used to being in the minority. When I’m with my Reformed Brothers I’m in the minority because of my eschatology. When I’m with my Dispensational Brothers, I’m in the minority due to my adherence to the Doctrines of Grace. I’ve never felt the need to “evangelize” fellow Christians, but I am used to explaining myself; mostly by saying, “But, the Bible says…”

I would never be so crass as to point you towards the S. Lewis Johnson Institute, or Dick Mayhue’s session on the Rapture at the 2006 Shepherd’s Conference…

EGC said...

Please add ":-)" to the end of my last comment... :-)

Mr Wizzard said...

Stefan- quick question for you. I'd like to hear what one who believes as you do makes out of 'τηρησω εκ' in Rev 3:10? Is this squirrel more of a chipmonk?

Ian Hall said...

As another one of "those who think that prophecies about Babylon are about, well, Babylon" thankyou for that info.

DJP said...

And you're a Presbyterranean pastor? Is that legal?

EGC said...

also 1 Thes. 5:9

:-D Your paper should be 500 words or less. Please give 14 examples to back up each point. :-D

trogdor said...

Well, if I can step into those shoes for a second, I suppose I would answer with a question - who is that promise for?

Mr Wizzard said...

The church that remains faithful of course!

trogdor said...

Referring of course to the Rev 3 passage.

I suppose the other positions could very well take the 1 Thes 5 passage to mean "wrath" as in the ultimate, final wrath of hell, not necessarily the seven years of tribulation.

Stefan said...

Mr. Wizzard:

Well, firstly, Jesus Christ is specifically addressing the church in Philadelphia, who "have kept [His] word about patient endurance." Do we know what it is that they endured through, that we may presume to have earned the right to be kept "from the hour of trial" in the same way?

Stefan said...

I mean, even in this era of religious pluralism, etc., has any orthodox church here in this day and age in North America yet had to undergo the trials that, say, believers in China, North Korea, or some countries in the Middle East have to endure on a daily basis?

trogdor said...

I see. So that promise is not to the church of Philadelphia per se, but to an unspecified group of believers from all over the world two thousand years later?

At this point, I would probably ask why Babylon equals literal Babylon, but the church of Philadelphia does not equal the literal church of Philadelphia. I'd possibly get snarky and suggest that your issue isn't with decoder rings per se, but only with decoder rings in certain texts, because it seems like one is being applied here.

I'm fairly new to this whole hermeneutical debate and honestly haven't settled on any side yet, so don't think I pretend to have the answers all figured out here. I just want to make sure you don't try to have it both ways.

Mr Wizzard said...

Are the epistles addressed only to those particular churches, and not to be used as a guide for the Church in general?
Do you also think that an address that only applied to that one particular church in history would have been included where it was, if it werent to be a guide?
Are not the letters to the other churches in Rev 2-3 prime guidelines for healthy/unhealthy churches?
What would be the point of following the narrow way if we would end up in the same boat as everyone else?

I think we may be derailing too far from topic, I was just trying to get a feel for where people draw the line at a squirrel meaning squirrel and it meaning something else.

EGC said...

Trogdor -- That is the usual tact taken by those who reject a pre-trib rapture. Of course, 1 Thes. 5:9 comes right at the end of the clearest teaching on the rapture...

Stefan -- I would differentiate between the persecution of the believer by the unbeliever and the wrath of God that will be poured out on the world during the Tribulation.

DJP said...

Not to fuel an all-out blogwar on the Trib (which I would curtail), but:

Pre-Tribbers do not believe that God will deliver us from the wrath of man, from persecution, from hardship, or from misfortune. Common misunderstanding.

We believe He will deliver us from the specific period during which He pours out His wrath on the earth by supernatural judgment. Not in a Romans 1:18-32 way, but in a Revelation 4—19 way.

EGC said...

Trogdor -- Each of the seven letters to the Seven Churches ends with some variation of, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Implying that the letters address to specific churches are intended as a message to all who will listen :-)

At least none of us are quoting Monty Python or Princess Bride(yet... )

Stefan said...

Mr. Wizzard:

Of course, that letter has application to other churches, but I stand by my last two comments. I also agree we're derailing this thread.

EGC:

Believe me, I'll be very happy to be proved wrong about this! (And if I'm right, none of us will be in any mood to say "I told you so.")

I am not completely settled in my eschatology, but it is premillennialist of one sort or another.

For me, in the end, it comes down to squaring a belief in a literal millennial kingdom to come and the literal fulfilment of God's promises in both the Old and New Testaments, with belief in a single covenant of grace for both Jew and Gentile, from Genesis to Revelation.

And my verification word is "graft" (Romans 11:17-24). What the heck!?

Stefan said...

Dan:

Thanks for clearing that up. Whoops, there goes another misconception....

DJP said...

Yeah — about that single covenant of grace... do you have any verses on that one?

Romans 9:4 looks kind of plural to me.

Stefan said...

The covenants with Abraham, Moses, and David, for example? Could these not be subsumed in (not replaced by, but subsumed in—included in) the covenant God made with Israel through Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 31)?

Stefan said...

I'm still working this through, Dan....

Ian Hall said...

And you're a Presbyterranean pastor? Is that legal?

Oh yeah its quite common for Free Presbyterian pastors to be pre-millenial and usually post-tribulational. Of course we have some a-millenial and post-millenial theorists but on prophecy Free Presbyterians agree to differ.

DJP said...

Wow, that's really cool. I don't think that's very common here in the Colonies; I think it was more so in the 1920's or so, and (IIRC) some early Dispensational leaders were Presbyterian.

Ian Hall said...

It's one of the nice things about being a Free Presbyterian. Of course when ministers meet up it can lead to some fairly intense debates. But that's all good fun and we don't separate from one another over it.

EGC said...

A Pre-Millenial Presbyterian? Inconceivable!

:-) Sorry, couldn't resist...

Gotta work on that "fleeing temptation" thing...

DJP said...

Now, if we could just deal with that water-thingie with little bitty kids, I think we could deal!

(c;

Ian Hall said...

I know you are really not to going to believe this but here's our position on baptism.

Baptism -- The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, under Christ the Great King and Head of the Church, Realizing that bitter controversy raging around the mode and proper subjects of the ordinance of Christian baptism has divided the Body of Christ when that Body should have been united in Christian love and Holy Ghost power to stem the onslaughts and hell-inspired assaults of modernism, hereby affirms that each member of the Free Presbyterian Church shall have liberty to decide for himself which course to adopt on these controverted issues, each member giving due honor in love to the views held by differing brethren, but none espousing the error of baptismal regeneration.

In other words some Free Presbyterian pastors believe in baptizing the children of believers and some don't.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the vast majority of members do not get their kids baptised.
I didn't get my son baptised.

Stefan said...

Wow.

Aaron said...

"What scares me is the tribulation, because unlike my honorable Dispensationalist brothers in Christ, I fear that we (Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ) will have to suffer through it. God grant us the grace to do so."

Stefan: I have this same belief, but I hope I'm wrong and my dispensationalist brothers are right on this one.

EGC said...

The perspicuity of Scripture, the timing of the rapture, the nature of the covenants, and infant vs. believer’s baptism; not bad for a post on an archaeological dig! :-)

Great post & great discussion.

Stefan said...

We know this: no matter what happens, God will be glorified.

Libbie said...

*Brain melts*

Argh! I really should avoid comment threads on squirrels in Babylon while I'm still processing this. I read one comment and go 'Hmm, good point'. Then I read another and go 'Hmm, good point'.

At this point, I would very much like eschatology to be like a game of Fruit Salad, where someone else tells me I'm a strawberry, and then just calls 'Fruit Salad' before they get to call out 'Strawberry'. I'm rather weary of having to decide if I'm a strawberry or an orange by conviction.

*wimp*

JackW said...

I’m a Pan-millennial … I think it will all pan out in the end.

DJP said...

Ugh. I hope I live to see the day when no one uses that one anymore.

Stan McCullars said...

Out of the four primary methods of viewing Revelation, I hold to idealism rather than futurism, historicism or preterism.

A semi-brief description from Kim Riddlebarger follows:

"A fourth view is called idealism, a modified form of which I will be presenting throughout this series. This view emphasizes the apocalyptic nature of the book and understands the various visions throughout Revelation as depictions of the struggle which takes place during the entire period of time between the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Each vision is describing the same period of time but from a different perspective or vantage point, each vision with a different theological theme or emphasis. As Dennis Johnson from Westminster Seminary California puts it, each of these visions is like looking at the same scene from a different camera angle. This means that we must not see Revelation as depicting strictly future or historical events. Nor does Revelation exhaustively map out the history of the church age. Instead, we must see the visions and symbols in them as pictures of the on-going struggle between Christ and Satan and his agents, the beast and the dragon, a struggle which Christ will inevitably win on behalf of his people. This is the way apocalyptic literature works."

JackW said...

Sorry Dan, but somebody HAD to do it if for no other reason than to spell millennial correctly.

Everyday Mommy said...

Dan:

What do you think of this?

http://www.templemount.org/komsky/

Solameanie said...

Awwwwm! Dan's talking eschatology. I'm gonna tell . . . I'm gonna tell . . .

(Just kidding!) You can't get voted off the island when you own the island (except in Obamaville)

DJP said...

My keepers allow me to talk prophecy and politics and Maine Coons over here.

EGC said...

Libby -- I just took "A Squirrel in Babylon" as the title for my upcoming blog. Thanks! Hope you don't mind :=)

Solameanie said...

I know I shouldn't be tempted to chuckle, but the Saddam line almost did it. Someone likely spending eternity in Hell isn't a laughing matter. I suppose it could be a Psalm 2 kind of thing with God laughing at His enemies.

Interesting I should see this post today - I was just reading up on the Ayatollah Khamenei's plan to eliminate Israel. He's been Tweeting about it for a while. I think he's going to have a problem carrying it out.

Solameanie said...

There's a story that often flies around on discussions on eschatology and interpretation of end-time events, but I'm not sure if it's true or apocryphal. Pun intended.

Supposedly a scholar who advocates an amillennial view made the statement that if you approached Scripture with a literal hermeneutic, you would come out with a premillennial view. If indeed it is true that this was said, the question I have is: How can you change your hermeneutic given the literal fulfillment of prophecies on Christ's first coming, only to adopt an allegorical or symbolic hermeneutic on the second coming? I never have been able to quite grasp that.