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Babylon and Evidence that GOD IS
Written by Webmaster   

Babylon and Evidence That GOD IS

 

Contents of this article:

 

The Prophecy of the End of Babylon

- Isaiah:  A real person who became a prophet of God.

- Babylon to be overthrown by the Medes: Foretold by both Isaiah and Jeremiah.

- Cyrus:  King of the Medo-Persian Empire that overthrew the Babylonians and freed the Jews who had been held captive for 70 years in Babylon.

- Daniel:  A third prophet involved in revealing God’s Word on this subject.

How the Prophecy of the Bible Compares to Secular Historical Records

- Three prophets of God were used to reveal what was to happen to the Babylonian kingdom at the hands of the Medes and Persians.

- Secular history, through sources outside of the Biblical record, can affirm that the prophecies stated in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel about Babylon, and the Mede and Persian empires, have been fulfilled.

 

Conclusion

- Is all of this a great conspiracy to trick us into believing the Bible really does tell the truth?

- There is a connection between the prophecy found in the scriptures and the history that has been uncovered by archaeology.

 

“BUT…”

- What about all the prophecy that hasn’t yet been proven fulfilled?

- What about discrepancies that historians say exist, and scientists challenging the dates, etc.?

-What about the things in the Bible that seem unbelievable?

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(Before reading this article, please have read "What Is Prophecy?")

 

The Prophecy of the End of Babylon

 

Isaiah:  A real person who became a prophet of God. The book of Isaiah is the writings of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, and is about visions and revelations he received from God which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Isaiah 1:1).  Isaiah and the other people mentioned are real people, and they lived in real places during the time of real kings.  Secular historians place the age of the writings of Isaiah at approximately 740-700 BC.  (A complete copy of Isaiah is one of the scrolls found when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the late 1940s.  This copy, for all practical purposes, is exactly the same as the copies already in use today, even though it is dated a full 1000 years OLDER than the oldest copy of Isaiah previously known, further verifying that the book of Isaiah we have today is the same book used over 2000 years ago!)

 

Babylon to be overthrown by the Medes: Foretold by both Isaiah and Jeremiah. At the time that Isaiah was alive, the Assyrian nation was great, and the Babylonian nation was not yet in “full flower”.  One of the visions that God revealed to Isaiah was about the city of Babylon, which was a large city at the time that Isaiah was prophesying about it, but it had not become the great city it was yet to become under Nebuchadnezzar and Babylonian rule.

Beginning in chapter 13 of Isaiah, we can see that God reveals that He is going to bring a large army against Babylon, to destroy the inhabitants for their evils and sins and arrogance.  In verse 17 God says that He is going to “stir up the Medes against them”, and “Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms… will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” (verse 19).

At the time that Isaiah was prophesying, the Medes were not a nation of any consequence, and the mention of such a name would likely have not had any significance, if the Medes were even known to Isaiah (prophets often did not need to understand what it was they were prophesying – they simply said what God directed them to say).  Therefore, it is of some significance that a nation, at the time not great, was indicated to be the one to bring about the downfall of another, much greater nation, and some 150-200 years in the future!

 

Jeremiah, whose writings are dated between 627-575 BC, also records in 51:1-12 a similar prophecy about Babylon being overthrown.  In the writings of both Isaiah and Jeremiah, God continues to reveal that Babylon will come to the point where it will no longer be inhabited by anything but wild animals (Isaiah, 13:20-22, and Jeremiah, 51:24-29).

 

Cyrus:  King of the Medo-Persian Empire that overthrew the Babylonians and freed the Jews who had been held captive for 70 years in Babylon. In addition to the prophecies about Babylon and the Medes besieging Jerusalem and taking the people captive, Isaiah further records that someone named Cyrus will “perform all” God desires and that Jerusalem, along with the temple, will be rebuilt (Isaiah 44:28).  This part of the prophecy is an example of the hope that God would give His people regarding the future.

 

Daniel:  A third prophet involved in revealing God’s Word on this subject. Daniel (yes, the Daniel of the Lion’s Den), is a real person who, much later after Isaiah and Jeremiah had prophesied, was taken captive from Judah (in the third year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah) by the Babylonians as a youth when Jerusalem was besieged, and lived and served in Babylon during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, kings of Babylon, as well as Darius the Mede and perhaps a bit of Cyrus, king of Persia (see Daniel 1).  Therefore, Daniel was alive and observed (and suffered!) when some of the prophecies regarding Jerusalem came true.  In the book of Daniel we also have the prophecy (given through Daniel by God) that the Babylonian kingdom (of which Daniel is now a part as a captive) is going to be given over to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:28).

Furthermore, it is recorded that the very same night that God revealed through Daniel that the Babylonian kingdom was going to be given over to the Medes and Persians, that the Babylonian king Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Mede received the kingdom (Daniel 5:31).  While this event was prophesied as early as the time of Isaiah, this occurred, and is recorded as historical fact, in the book of Daniel.

 

How the Prophecy of the Bible Compares to Secular Historical Records

 

Three prophets of God were used to reveal what was to happen to the Babylonian kingdom at the hands of the Medes and Persians. From our place in history, a discussion of the chronology of it all can get a bit confusing, because as of today ALL of the prophecy regarding Babylon, and the Medes and the Persians has been revealed, written down, and fulfilled.  So to recap, we have three different books of the Bible (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel), written over a period of about 200-250 years, and to some extent they each contain some revelation from God that He was going to use the Medes and Persians to overthrow the king of Babylon and destroy the Babylonian empire.  At the time of the earliest of the prophecies/writing (Isaiah, 740-700 B.C.), Jerusalem had NOT yet been besieged, the Jews had not yet been taken into captivity, and the nations mentioned were not seen as a threat or perhaps even known.

In addition, the person Cyrus that Isaiah mentions, and later Daniel is subject to, had not been born at the time of Isaiah’s vision, and it cannot even be claimed that he was a descendant of a long line of “Cyruses” from a great nation (as can be said of the Pharaohs of Egypt or the Caesars of Rome).  And, the fact that a ruler named Cyrus did come on the scene, was king of Persia when Babylon was taken, and brought about the rebuilding of Jerusalem that was foretold by Isaiah cannot be denied, as we have discovered physical evidence to this fact, some of which can be observed in the British Museum.

 

Secular history, through sources outside of the Biblical record, can affirm that the prophecies stated in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel about Babylon, and the Mede and Persian empires, have been fulfilled. Let us turn away from the Biblical accounts now and look at some of what secular historians tell us about this event, based upon archaeological findings.  What is provided here is NOT a complete account of all that has been found, but it is a glimpse into some of what has been found:

In the British Museum one can gaze upon the “Cyrus Cylinder”.  This is what the museum has to say about this item:  “This clay cylinder is inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform with an account by Cyrus, king of Persia 549-530 BC, of his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC and capture of Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king.”  (The Bible in the British Museum; T. C. Mitchell; The British Museum Press, 2004; page 92.)

When we investigate the name of Nabonidus, we find that he was the king of Babylon when the Medes and the Persians overthrew the Babylonian empire.  At a glance that fact seems to conflict with the Biblical account in Daniel that Belshazzar was the king (Daniel 5).  However, another cylinder on display at the British Museum (“Cylinder Inscription of Nabonidus”) records Nabonidus himself referring to his son, Belshazzar.  Commentary about this “discrepancy” by the museum is stated in this way:  “It is clear from other inscriptions that Nabonidus spent several years of his reign in north-west Arabia during which Belshazzar ruled in Babylon in his place, and though he is not included in the king lists he was king in all but name during that time, and the Biblical statement may be understood in that light.” (The Bible in the British Museum; page 89).  Therefore, this is consistent with the Biblical account, as Daniel 5:29 has Belshazzar making Daniel third in authority in the kingdom of Babylon (Nabonidus the king first, Belshazzar his son and the king in his absence second, and Daniel third).

 

Referring back to the “Cyrus Cylinder”, the museum further describes the cylinder as recording that Cyrus provided measures of relief which he brought, including the restoration of homelands and temples of the displaced peoples inhabiting Babylon.  (The Bible in the British Museum; page 92.)  Remember the prophecy of Isaiah some 200 years earlier before Cyrus was born that one named Cyrus was going to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple?

 

Conclusion

 

Is all of this a great conspiracy to trick us into believing the Bible really does tell the truth? Are the writings in the scriptures a hoax, created after the evidence was found?  No. To discuss the revealing and careful writing down and copying of the scriptures is beyond the scope of this article.  However, there is more than enough evidence to fairly accurately date the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel – even if they are not treated as Biblical writings but simple records for a time gone by.

Is the physical evidence in the British Museum fabricated?  No.  As archaeological evidence is found, it is recorded, catalogued, stored, and dealt with when the time, funds, personnel, and knowledge allows a full study of the artifact.  It is only after the item is clearly identified, and any message translated, that anyone can even begin to make a connection to any other historical artifacts and writings that may be known to be in existence.  Therefore, people 200 years ago, for example, did not have any way of confirming if the prophecy about Babylon really did happen.  Today we do have the means to do this.  What ELSE will we continue to find as we continue to search?

 

There is a connection between the prophecy found in the scriptures and the history that has been uncovered by archaeology. The purpose of this article is not to convince you, based only what has been discussed here, that all of this is true.  The purpose of this article is to spur you on to investigate for yourself, using some of the tools that you can find on this website.  This has been a non-scholarly argument that the prophecy in the Bible CAN be trusted, but we hope that this is just the beginning for you to search out sources that can show you that things revealed in the scriptures – that were foretold for a future time – can be corroborated by evidence since discovered by archaeologists.

 

“BUT…”

 

What about all the prophecy that hasn’t yet been proven fulfilled?  Not every prophecy that can be identified as coming from God has been proven, or even can be proven, to have been fulfilled from our place in history.  If you need everything in the Bible to be proven by things outside of the Bible BEFORE you begin to entertain the possibility that GOD IS, you will never be satisfied, for we can never know all of these things in our lifetime, if ever.

 

What about discrepancies that historians say exist, and scientists challenging the dates, etc.?  Keep in mind that human beings are not perfect and that some of the conclusions historians and scientists have reached in the past have since been proven to be in error and so other conclusions are likely to contain some error somewhere, we just haven’t uncovered the problems or figured everything out yet.  However, if after reading this article you can begin to see that a strong case for God’s Word being confirmed as true is possible, because at least this prophecy that He foretold did happen, then you might continue to be open to look at other things, and you might begin to reason through some of things that are harder to understand, finding reasonable answers to many things.

 

What about the things in the Bible that seem unbelievable?  There is no question that there are difficult things for us to understand that are written in the scriptures.  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t true or that God doesn’t exist.  It does mean that we don’t understand.  Remember, if GOD IS who He says He is, He can function at a higher level than we might be able to grasp.  The larger issue is whether we will take a the time, and make a reasonable effort, to see if anything in the scriptures has merit, and in so doing help to gather evidence that GOD IS.

Think about it – what is the possibility of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel all getting something like the destruction and rebuilding of kingdoms right WITHOUT help from an ALL-KNOWING, ALL-POWERFUL Being outside of time and greater than themselves or the history that each of them was a part?  And, in case you are still ready to disregard all of this as rubbish, can you explain how it was that Alexander the Great died at the ruins of Babylon, while trying to rebuild it into a great city?  Read Jeremiah 50:1-13.  Or better yet, how Babylon hasn’t been rebuilt even today, even when folks like Saddam Hussein have/had plans to do so?