The Fall of Babylon-Historical or Future? A Critical Monograph on Isaiah 13:19–20 -- By: Harry Goehring

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 02:1 (Winter 1961)
Article: The Fall of Babylon-Historical or Future? A Critical Monograph on Isaiah 13:19–20
Author: Harry Goehring

The Fall of Babylon-Historical or Future?
A Critical Monograph on Isaiah 13:19–20

Harry Goehring

Winona Lake, Indiana
Abridged by the Author

“And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there” (Isa 13:19–20).

While the writer was reading through the Book of Revelation, his attention was drawn to the extensive references to the city of Babylon, especially in chapter 18. The question was raised in his mind as to whether or not all of this description was symbolic, for this had been the earlier teaching given to the writer.

This question led to a more thorough study of the prophecies pertaining to Babylon in the Old Testament, and it was at this time that doubt arose that these prophecies had been literally fulfilled in the historical destruction of Babylon. The Old Testament passage which so forcefully confronted the writer was Isaiah 13. The apex of this prophecy is verses 19 and 20 which give the important statement concerning Babylon’s fall.

A more specific statement of the problem as it confronted the writer in these verses would be: Is the fall of Babylon as prophesied in Isaiah 13:19–20 an historical event of the past, or does it await a future fulfillment?

In the writer’s attempt to achieve a proper conclusion to the problem, he has not limited himself to the text and its context alone, but has attempted to gather the most important truths from all of the various passages dealing with the fall of Babylon. His interpretation will be set forth under three main divisions: The Argument from History, The Argument from the Present, and The Argument from Eschatology.

The Argument from History

Explanation of the phrasethe fall of Babylon and a historical sketch of its decline—Although Babylon has been conquered many times in history, the phrase “the fall of Babylon” is generally understood as referring to the capture of Babylon by the armies of Cyrus the Great in the year 539 B.C. John C. Whitcomb states concerning Babylon: “Its capitulation to Cyrus in 539 B.C. was so important as compared to these other disasters, that it alone is called ‘The Fall of Babylon’ in history.”1...

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