Will Babylon Be Restored? Part 2 -- By: W. Glyn Evans

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 107:428 (Oct 1950)
Article: Will Babylon Be Restored? Part 2
Author: W. Glyn Evans

Will Babylon Be Restored?
Part 2

W. Glyn Evans

(Concluded from the July-September Number, 1950)

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition were numbered 11–17, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–7 respectively.}

The entire problem of the restoration of Babylon is hermeneutical. The factor of literality is a major one here, major enough to have divided irreconcilably two schools of eschatalogy. In the last analysis literality must be decided by the individual. Suffice it to say that there is danger in advocating any extreme, especially in the realm of Biblical prophecy. No one can possibly take the nakedly literal interpretaticn and retain common sense, it would seem.—Even such a strong literalist as G. N. H. Peters is careful to admit this.1 Instead, he advocates the “grammatical” interpretation of prophecy, i.e., taking the kind of grammatical language involved and then making due allowances. For example, language which is poetical must be interpreted poetically; that which is symbolical, symbolically; that which is literal, literally. Instead of making the literal cloak fit Scripture everytime, let Scripture itself suggest what cloak it shall wear. Thus we avoid the subjective weakness of a purely literal or purely spiritual hermeneutics. Since prophetic imagery is a fact, especially with Isaiah, where such imagery exists we need not worry about details. To “suck the breast” of Israel need not become a perplexing physical impossibility, but an indication of Israel’s supply of blessing to all nations in the kingdom (Isaiah 66:11).

Let us apply the so-called grammatical system of interpretation to the problem of Babylon’s restoration and see what the results are. We propose to examine the separate

passages which contain a reference to Babylon’s destruction and “restoration” in order to determine what kind of language is used. After determining what kind of language is used we shall examine what the language says about Babylon, from all of which we shall draw conclusions. The simplest method of undertaking this is to isolate everything that is unmistakably literal, organize it, and draw a conclusion. The remainder of the passage will then be symbolical, and this will be treated in like manner, i.e., organized and a conclusion drawn.

Taking the Jeremiah section we notice the following literal statements: (1) The word “Babylon” is specifically used to designate the Babylon that existed in Jeremiah’s day. This word occurs 50 times in the two chapters. Each reference is a specific designa...

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