The Rebuilding and Destruction of Babylon -- By: Kenneth W. Allen

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 133:529 (Jan 1976)
Article: The Rebuilding and Destruction of Babylon
Author: Kenneth W. Allen

The Rebuilding and Destruction of Babylon

Kenneth W. Allen

[Kenneth W. Allen, Author and Bible Teacher, Heathmont, Victoria, Australia.]

Dispensationalists have always been among the foremost advocates of the grammatical-historical method of interpretation. This method with its resulting literalism is, of course, essential to their doctrinal system. But one area in which they have not consistently applied this principle is in relation to certain prophecies concerning Babylon. Scofield, whose influence has been extensive, is representative of those who state that the literal city has no future prophetic history. He writes, “The notion of a literal Babylon is in conflict with Isaiah 13:19–22.”1

In contrast, it is the contention of the present writer (who is also a dispensationalist) that the city of Babylon will be rebuilt, will become one of the centers of operation of the coming Antichrist, and will be destroyed during the day of the Lord. It is further maintained that this doctrine honors the literal method of interpretation and tends to strengthen the position of dispensational

premillennialism against its ever-present contender, namely, the nonliteral method of interpretation. In support of the writer’s position the following claims are made.

The Judgment Of The City Of Babylon Is In The Context Of The Day Of The Lord

While taking up the “burden of Babylon” the prophet Isaiah describes the movement of armies as they converge on Israel during the second half of the “week” to participate in the campaign of Armageddon (Isa 13:2–5). A possible parallel passage is Revelation 16:12–21, which mentions the drying up of the River Euphrates, the gathering of the armies of the earth by demons, and the destruction of Babylon by God. In this prophecy Isaiah associates the troop deployment with the day of the Lord. He writes, “Wail, for the day of the Lord is near! It will come as a destruction from the Almighty” (13:6).

This passage refers to God punishing the world, men’s hearts failing them for fear, disturbances in the heavenly bodies, and a vast reduction in the world’s population (13:7–16). The conditions Isaiah is describing will occur during the tribulation period (Matt 24; Rev 6–19), when God’s wrath will be poured out on t...

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