V RaptureChrist Newsletter
Oct - Nov, 2004

Ancient Babylon

The ancient Fertile Crescent housed some of the oldest non-nomadic civilizations; of these the most spectacular was Babylon. Named after the Tower of Babel, Babylon was the place where God confused men's tongues after they tried to build a tower to the heavens.  The name Babylon means "confusion."

Genesis 11:5
Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. 

Genesis 11:6
Yahweh said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do. 

Genesis 11:7
Come, let's go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 

Babylon remains as one of ancient history’s most profound mysteries.  It rose from obscurity to become the capital of the Babylonian empire (in present Iraq), and later Babylon fell and became covered by the shifting sands of the desert.

But how did Babylon fall?

The Bible relates that the King of Babylon, Belshazzar, saw the writing on the wall the night before Babylon fell to the invading Medo-Persians.

Daniel 5:1
Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 

Daniel 5:2
Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines, might drink therefrom. 

Daniel 5:3
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines, drank from them. 

Daniel 5:5
In the same hour came forth the fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 

Daniel 5:6
Then the king's face was changed in him, and his thoughts troubled him; and the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees struck one against another. 

The king brought all his Chaldean soothsayers, but none could give him an interpretation.  Then the king's wife told the King about Daniel.

Daniel 5:13
Then was Daniel brought in before the king. The king spoke and said to Daniel, Are you that Daniel, who are of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Judah? 

Daniel 5:14
I have heard of you, that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 

Daniel 5:15
Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known to me the interpretation of it; but they could not show the interpretation of the thing. 

Daniel told
Belshazzar how wrong it was to defy YHVH, the Lord of Heaven, and how wrong it was to use something sacred (the golden vessels from the temple) for something profane. 

Daniel 5:23
but have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which don't see, nor hear, nor know; and the God in whose hand your breath is, and whose are all your ways, you have not glorified. 

Daniel 5:24
Then was the part of the hand sent from before him, and this writing was inscribed. 

Daniel 5:25
This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 

Daniel 5:26
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God has numbered your kingdom, and brought it to an end; 

Daniel 5:27
TEKEL; you are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting. 

Daniel 5:28
PERES; your kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. 

That night, as Daniel was telling Belshazzar the interpretation of the writing on the wall, Emperor Cyrus was on his way.  The Chaldeans inside the city walls felt safe, as they did not think there was a way in which the city walls could be breached.  Gobryas, Cyrus' general, did something the Chaldeans did not expect.  He diverted the waters of the great River Euphrates causing it to dry up, allowing his troops to crawl under the walls of Babylon during the night.

In 539 BC, Cyrus's forces marched triumphantly into the walled city of Babylon. They took over without much bloodshed, as the Chaldeans were not expecting an attack. 

Babylon did not disappear as an important center of commerce overnight; the city continued on for
many years.  Many Jews left Babylon after Emperor Darius, who followed Cyrus the Great, let Jews leave for Jerusalem to rebuild YHVH's temple.

Since the Euphrates river no longer passed through Babylon, the once great city began to stagnate. People started to move away to other cities such as Persepolis and Susa, the new capitals of the MedoPersian Empire.  Susa was the place where
Queen Esther lived.

Babylon, once the capital of the world's greatest empire, lay wasted under the sands of time. 

Modern Babylon

we have stated that modern Babylon (Babylon the Great, as referred in the Bible) is NYC.  The fall of modern Babylon will be gradual, just as the fall of ancient Babylon was.  Ancient Babylon did not disappear in a day, but slowly, over a period of years.  It lost its influence and eventually became uninhabited.

New York and Ancient Babylon Compared

1) Both are the Capital of the World at a  moment in history.

2) Both are banking, entertainment, and commercial capitals of the world during their reign.

3) Both are close to water, New York on the Hudson River, and old Babylon on the Euphrates River.

4) Both are depraved and immoral.

5) Both of them have people of God inside, and God warns them to get out. 

When Babylon the Great fell, it took all the world by surprise.  Just like old Babylon, it was attacked in a way that was not expected.  Most people looked in disbelief when they saw the first building burning.  People felt dazed when the second building was hit.  The whole complex fell down in one hour.

Revelation 18:10
standing far away for the fear of her torment, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For your judgment has come in one hour.'

The World Trade Center was like a city within a city. Built by the New York Port Authority starting in 1966, it was completed April 4, 1973 and housed the world headquarters of many giant corporations.  This hub of humanity was responsible for many financial decisions for the whole world.  It really was the World trade center and New York was the Capital of the World.

After the fall of the twin towers, September 11, 2001, the fate of the city was determined. God prophesied that Babylon would fall like a millstone.

Revelation 18:21
A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down, and will be found no more at all. 

Even though the deterioration of the city is gradual, the handwriting is on the wall. 

When the towers were hit, the entire city started a downward spiral. Many left the area because the air was contaminated with asbestos. Then many left because the breadwinners had died. Others left because many downtown businesses failed.  By early 2003 Manhattan, a leader in high tech, had lost over 20% of its information technology jobs. 

For many establishments, proximity to the fallen towers was the biggest challenge. "For ground zero businesses, there's nobody to serve," said Duane Anzalone, a co-owner of St. Charlie's Restaurant and Bar. His business was dependant on the twin towers.  "We're talking about probably 100 percent of our clientele gone," Mr. Anzalone said, "How do you recover from that?"  The situation was less severe for firms with customers elsewhere.

The departure of many huge companies such as American Express and Lehman Brothers caused many small businesses to fail because they were dependant on them for business.

Lehman Brothers moved 6,000 people out of the area to a Midtown building it purchase several weeks after the attack.  Before 9/11, Lehman considered selling its Jersey City, NJ building. "If we'd gone down that path we'd probably be out of business." - Lehman CEO, quoted in CIO Magazine, September 1, 2002.

Many businesses that did survive relocated to other areas such as New Jersey and Boston.  In fact, "81% of finance, insurance and real estate tenants whose buildings were damaged or destroyed on Sept. 11 have abandoned Downtown." NY POST 7-8-02 

Rebuilding NYC is unlikely because of insufficient infrastructure (power, sewers, bridges, railroads, subways, etc).  New York has frequent blackouts and there are no new power plants being built or planned for the near future.  In fact, the Indian Point  nuclear reactor might close if they refuse to approve evacuation plans. Lack of additional power will seriously threaten NYC growth. 

Another problem hindering growth is that NY subways are antiquated, as they were built in the 1930's.  They cannot sustain a modern city. The proof is that when remnants of Hurricane Frances came through NYC in 2004, three inches of rain fell, and  part of the New York subway system was closed due to flooded tunnels. 

Another problem is that NYC does not have rail from the port, so they are forced to use trucks.  In comparison, New Jersey has a railroad from the port, and is adding a new rail system. A much better set up to attract new businesses.

Companies are complaining that taxes in New York are increasing.  A new hotel tax [$1.50 a night or so] -plus- 5 percent airport car rental tax for convention center expansion makes NYC unable to compete with neighboring cities for new firms and tourism. 

Prices in real estate have not gone down.  This is because a flood of poor third world immigrants have caused NYC housing costs to increase to prohibitive levels.  Across the Hudson River, NJ is growing at a much faster rate than NY and has lower rents.  

The federal government has told stock brokerages to decentralize and move hundreds of miles away from New York City -- proof that this city is on the way down.

As the downward death spiral continues; New York City is becoming bankrupt and forced to raise taxes, increase fines, and cut services. This is a vicious circle because more businesses will have to either relocate or fail.  NYC does not lend itself to growth.  In fact, Europe is doing more trade with Detroit, Toronto and Montreal than with NYC.

This is what happened in old Babylon. Other cites grew and Babylon shrank.  Remember, the shrinkage is gradual. You will not notice it from one day to the next, but things will continue to get worse.



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