Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
This month’s articles are "The Rebirth of Babylon" written by Dr. Martin in 1975 and a related article, "Will Babylon be Rebuilt?" by F.E. Marsh. I spoke to Dr. Martin about the Marsh article in January 2002 on the Saturday before he died. He had not heard of the article or the writer and he wanted me to send it to him. I present this article to you now because it supplements information in Dr. Martin’s own excellent article on a topic highly relevant to current events, and the future.
As political tensions between the United States and Iraq continue to build, and potential armed conflict is possible (and most probable in my view), Scripture gives us a glimpse of a prophetic benchmark to occur in the future (perhaps very soon) the rebuilding of the ancient city of Babylon.
Babylon is some 50 miles southwest of Baghdad adjacent to the Euphrates River. Dr. Martin has written and spoken several times on this subject, updating the information over the years. Additional information relevant to this topic will be presented in future "Breaking News" articles.
The second article by F.E. Marsh was presented at a conference on prophecy in 1925. It looks at the same topic of Babylon from a different direction, yet comes to the same conclusion. In discussion after Marsh’s presentation comments were offered by a Leonard W. Kern 1 who observed,
"[T]he strongest argument in favor of a future rebuilding of Babylon is Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation in Daniel 2. The context is familiar to us, and we are doubtless unanimous as to the four kingdoms referred to and the identity of the "stone cut out without hands." In verse 45 we are distinctly told that "the stone ... brake in pieces ... the gold," and if as is generally believed, this is to take place at the Revelation of our Lord at the end of the Tribulation, then all four empires must then be in existence to receive their final doom. ...
In case this should not be sufficient evidence, the same fact is reiterated in different words earlier in the chapter, viz., "a stone was cut out without hands which smote the image" (v. 34) [a single act], and "then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together" (v. 35) [a simultaneous event].
What further need have we of witnesses?"
We cannot know at present what circumstances will bring about Babylon’s rebirth, why the world community of nations will think its reconstruction necessary, or how long the rebuilding will take. One possibility will be that Baghdad will be damaged so severely in a future war that rebuilding Babylon will be both desirable and necessary as a new capital of the country or region to be used. We will all watch and see together. One thing for sure, Babylon will be rebuilt.
Keep in mind that as "Rome was not built in a day," neither will Babylon be built in a year. As noted in the article, Babylon has a high water table that makes construction problematical. An infrastructure must provide for city services and sanitation. Water treatment and sewers facilities must be newly constructed. Electricity will be needed. Housing, communications and transportation systems must be built. Even a boomtown takes time to be built. Once built, it will take time to populate the city, not just with ordinary citizens but with the merchants and financiers of the world who will bring their wealth to be stored and invested in Babylon. Think of all the infrastructure and detailed preparations necessary for the city of Babylon to occupy its great position as a major center of world commerce, as described in Revelation 18 just prior to its destruction. It appears that a large portion of the world’s wealth will pour into this economic powerhouse now called Iraq. It will be built to be destroyed, in fulfillment of God’s prophecies.
While it will not be built in a day, the Bible makes clear that Babylon will be destroyed in one day (Revelation 18:8). God’s people (whether slave or free, we cannot know) will be present in Babylon at that time, and are warned to leave the city (verse 4).
Mr. Kern made another interesting observation that he put into a stylistic format.
"It is not without significance that,
PAUL PETER who was the apostle to the GENTILES CIRCUMCISION should be last heard of at ROME BABYLON the great enemy of THE CHURCH ISRAEL
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Everything ASK produces is for the purpose of expanding and clarifying your understanding of the Bible. If you then neglect to open your Bible—not just to verify the information from Dr. Martin and ASK, but to learn what it can teach you—then you are neglecting a golden opportunity to learn directly from God the Father and Jesus Christ. Consider the possibility that what you do not know can hurt you because you might make ill considered choices and actions not done out of love. Such mature love can only be learned from the words of Scripture; such love can only be learned from our mediator between God and man—the man Jesus Christ, the living Word of God.
Business and history often talk about the concept of a "key man" in an organization or a "key man" in historical events. Often the importance of the key man is overstated. However, in the case of Ernest Martin, his keen understanding, his productivity, and his precision in getting to the heart of a biblical subject, truly made him a "key man" in the hearts of many of us. God truly graced him with insight that he did not waste, but worked with diligence and hard study of the Word of God to make the most of God’s gifts to him.
You supporters of ASK have been so gracious during these past 9 months of difficult reorganization. We have been assured and greatly heartened by your continued support. Our gratitude goes out to each of you.
We can continue only with your support of ASK, support that is most appreciated by Ramona and me. We often hear from many of you that you pray for us individually and for the labor of ASK to continue. Such prayers and expressions of support are truly humbling, reassuring and very special for us to hear. Such prayers are something that everyone can do to help us (and yourselves!) regardless of circumstance. I have no doubt that after our resurrection we will be surprised to learn the true effect our prayers had on the world around us through God’s graciousness toward us, his children who understand the Mystery of God.
David W. Sielaff
1 Responses were given following Dr. Marsh’s lecture. Mr. Kern’s comments were highly relevant. I do not know his background.
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