This is a four part series
- Much more surely will those who receive… reign as kings in life
- Understanding the exchange on the cross of Jesus Christ
- God is making His dwelling place amongst us!
- Defeat death, by removing it’s supply of sin (a lesson from the history of Babylon)
I believe the Holy Spirit is showing me visions and talking to me about Babylon (death) and sin. Here is what I see and what it means.
First God was showing me Babylon and how fortified it was. So I looked it up in Eastons and in the ISBE. Here are some extracts…
3. Its Walls and Gates from Herodotus
According to Herodotus, the city, which lay in a great plain, was square in its plan and measured 120 furlongs (stadia) each way – 480 in all. Each side was therefore about 14 miles long, making a circuit of nearly 56 miles, and an area of nearly 196 square miles. As the space enclosed is so great, and traces of the walls would seem to be wanting, these figures may be regarded as open to question. Around the city, Herodotus says, there was a deep and broad moat full of water, and then came a wall 50 royal cubits thick and 200 cubits high, pierced by 100 gateways with brazen gates and lintels. Reckoning the cubit at 18 2/3 inches, this would mean that Babylon’s walls were no less than 311 ft. high; and regarding the royal cubit as being equal to 21 inches, their thickness would be something like 87 ft. Notwithstanding that Babylon has been the quarry of the neighboring builders for two millenniums, it is surprising that such extensive masses of brickwork should have disappeared without leaving at least a few recognizable traces.
4. It Position, Divisions, Streets, and Temple
The city was built on both sides of the Euphrates, and at the point where the wall met the river there was a return-wall running along its banks, forming a rampart. The houses of Babylon were of 3 and 4 stories. The roads which ran through the city were straight, and apparently intersected each other at right angles, like the great cities of America. The river-end of each of the streets leading to the river was guarded by a brazen gate. – ISBE
I can almost see this city, so well fortified that it’s walls are 87ft thick and 311ft high. Incredible! But the palaces within it were even more and better fortified!
6. Ctesias’ Description – The Palaces and Their Decorated Walls
According to Ctesias, the circuit of the city was not 480, but. 360 furlongs – the number of the days in the Babylonian year – and somewhat under 42 miles. The East and West districts were joined by a bridge 5 furlongs or 1,080 yards long, and 30 ft. broad. At each end of the bridge was a royal palace, that on the eastern bank being the more magnificent of the two. This palace was defended by three walls, the outermost being 60 furlongs or 7 miles in circuit; the second, a circular wall, 40 furlongs (4 1/2 miles), and the third 20 furlongs (2 1/2 miles). The height of the middle wall was 300 ft., and that of its towers 420 ft., but this was exceeded by the height of the inmost wall.
9. Nebuchadrezzar’s Account
Among the native accounts of the city, that of Nebuchadrezzar is the best and most instructive. From this record it would seem that there were two principal defensive structures, Imgur–Enlil and Nêmitti–Enlil – “Enlil has been gracious” and “Enlil’s foundation” respectively. The construction of these, which protected the inner city only, on the eastern and western sides of the Euphrates, he attributes to his father Nabonidus, as well as the digging of the moat, with the two “strong walls” on its banks, and the embankment of the Arah̬tu canal. He had also lined the Euphrates with quays or embankments – probably the structures to which the Greek writers refer – but he had not finished the work.
10. Nebuchadrezzar’s Architectural Work at Babylon
Nebuchadrezzar, after his accession, completed the two great walls, lined the ditches with brick, and increased the thickness of the two walls which his father had built.
Nebuchadrezzar also built a wall on the East bank of the river, 4,000 cubits distant, “high like a mountain,” to prevent the approach of an enemy. This wall also had cedar gates covered with copper. An additional defense made by him was an enormous lake, “like unto the broad sea to cross,” which was kept in by embankments. – ISBE
What an impressive array of fortifications. Surely such a city was designed to never fall… surely it would stand the test of history?
14. The Extent of Nebuchadrezzar’s Architectural Work
The amount of work accomplished by this king, who, when walking on the roof of his palace, lifted up with pride, exclaimed “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built?” (Dan_4:30), was, according to his own records and the Greek writers, enormous, and the claim he made fully justified. – ISBE
I can literally see this city with it’s high walls around it, and I can see that the river Euphrates flowed under the city and fed it. No matter how great the city was… without water it would die almost immediately.
Cyrus’ general (Gobryas, Ugbaru) diverted the Gyndes into 7 rivulets and redirected the great Euphrates around the huge city. The result was that this great fortified city gave up without a fight!
A chronicle drawn up just after the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the history of the reign of Nabonidus (Nabunahid), the last king of Babylon, and of the fall of the Babylonian empire. In 538 B.C. there was a revolt in Southern Babylonia, while the army of Cyrus entered the country from the north. In June the Babylonian army was completely defeated at Opis, and immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the conqueror. Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Kurdistan, was then sent to Babylon, which surrendered “without fighting,” and the daily services in the temples continued without a break. – Eastons
… the turning of the waters of the Gyndes into a number of channels in order to cross (Herod. i.189); the siege of Babylon, long and difficult, and the final capture of the city by changing the course of the Euphrates, enabling his army to enter by the bed of the river’ (Herodotus i.190-91). – ISBE
I find it interesting to read this description of what can be seen about the bed of the Euphrates river, as this person is approaching the ruins of Babylon. Note that the original bed was straight and now is filled with sand. The river curves back to it’s original course after the ruins of Babylon… so it seems to me that it indeed was diverted around Babylon.
At the northern end it exists in its original extent, the plain out of which it rises being the old bed of the Euphrates, which, in the course of the centuries, has become filled up by the desert sand. At the period of Babylon’s glory, the river had a much straighter course than at present, but it reoccupies its old bed about 600 meters (656 yds.) South of Babil – ISBE
What I believe the Holy Spirit is showing me is that death is in all aspects of society. It is embedded in all religions, literature, philosophy, business, medicine, law, music and everywhere else. Death has encampments, walls, fortifications, towers, gates and palaces in all industries, in all aspects of life and in all our thinking and reasoning. It is designed to stand the test of time. Indeed it has stood for 8-10,000 years so far!
But as we cut off “sin” (through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross Who died once and once for all – Heb 9:28 AMP) then “death” is deprived of it’s “sting” (1Co 15:53-56 meaning, it’s “judicial process”) and it is very easily conquered with no fight whatsoever.
By cutting off all “sin” throughout the world (through faith in Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross) regardless of death’s size, age, fortifications and it’s ability to intimidate, death is rendered powerless and it is conquered. Cut off from it’s legal lifeblood of sin, it has no “judicial process” and is rendered harmless.
And it is also interesting that the foundation of the temple in Jerusalem began to be laid after Babylon fell and the captives (primarily the Judah and Benjamin tribes) had begun to return.