Signs of the End Times? – Rebuilding Babylon
By Dianne E. Butts -
Zechariah 5:11 and Isaiah 13 talk of prophecies against Babylon. But Revelation 14:8, 16:19, and chapters 17-18 talk about the fall of Babylon in the End Times. It seems the literal city of Babylon will again exist in the land of Shinar for these prophecies to take place. The remains of ancient Babylon are found in present-day Iraq about 55 miles south of Baghdad.
Saddam Hussein was the fifth President of Iraq, serving from July 16, 1979 to April 9, 2003. According to an About.com article, “Saddam Hussein said that Babylon’s great palaces and the legendary hanging gardens of Babylon (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) would rise from the dust.” During his more than twenty years in power, Saddam worked toward rebuilding the ancient city of Babylon.
Babylon flourished in 1894 BC under the Amorite king Hammurabi who created the short-lived Babylonian Empire, but it quickly dissolved after his death. It rose to power again and was the seat of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 612 to 539 BC. Nebuchadnezzar II ruled from 605 BC to 562 BC and, according to the Bible, conquered Judah and Jerusalem and sent the Jews into exile in Babylon. According to Wikipedia, “He is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.”
The About.com article says Saddam’s workers began reconstructing the 600-room palace of King Nebuchadnezzar II in 1982. Saddam’s reconstruction took place right on top of the ancient ruins which horrified archaeologists and historians, but they were powerless to stop him. The About.com article says, “The original bricks, which rise two or three feet from the ground, bear ancient inscriptions praising Nebuchadnezzar. Above these, Saddam Hussein’s workers laid more than 60-million sand-colored bricks inscribed with the words, ‘In the era of Saddam Hussein, protector of Iraq, who rebuilt civilization and rebuilt Babylon.’ The new bricks began to crack after only ten years.”
That’s not all Hussein set out to build. About.com says, “Adjacent to Nebuchadnezzar’s ancient palace and overlooking the Euphrates River, Saddam Hussein built a new palace for himself…a monstrous hill-top fortress surrounded by miniature palm trees and rose gardens. The four-storey palace extends across an area as large as five football fields. Villagers told news media that a thousand people were evacuated to make way for this emblem of Saddam Hussein’s power.”
Ceilings and walls in the palace depicted 360-degree murals from ancient Babylon, Ur, and the Tower of Babel. Plumbing fixtures appeared to be gold-plated and pediments were engraved with Hussein’s initials “SdH.”
About.com continues: “When American troops entered Babylon in April, 2003, they found little evidence that the palace had been occupied or used. Saddam’s fall from power brought vandals and looters. The smoked glass windows were shattered, the furnishings removed, and architectural details – from faucets to light switches—had been stripped away. During the war, Western troops pitched tents in the vast empty rooms at Saddam Hussein’s Babylonian palace.”
U.S. Marine Daniel O’Connell, Gunnery Sergeant, took photographs of many of these sites in 2003 and you can see 26 of his photos in a photo gallery on About.com.
So what do you think? Is Saddam’s rebuilding of Babylon a sign of the End Times? Or do you think the city of Babylon will be rebuilt to a greater degree and occupied by the Antichrist?