Life-Study of Isaiah, by Witness Lee

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Babylon in the Old Testament

The divine revelation always has its own principle, and according to the principle of the divine revelation, the first nation used by Satan to frustrate God from accomplishing His eternal economy was Babel in Genesis 11. Babel was an ancient name for Babylon. At Babel rebellious people built a tower and a city in order to make a name for themselves (Gen. 11:4). Eventually, after many centuries, Babel was enlarged to become Babylon. According to the Old Testament, all the Gentile nations used by Satan against God began from Babylon. This human opposition to God is signified by the human image in Daniel 2. This image includes Babylon (the head of gold), followed by the Medo-Persians (the breast and arms of silver), the Greeks (the belly and thighs of brass), and the Romans (the legs of iron).

History shows us that the center of many of the wars fought between nations has been the Middle East, in particular the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates River. The land of Immanuel (Isa. 8:8) is in this area. This is the land which Christ will inherit for the establishing of His millennial kingdom with two peoples—chosen Israel as His earthly people and the chosen believers as His heavenly people. The fighting over this land is still taking place, for in the twentieth century the world situation has been centered in the Middle East.

Babylon in the New Testament

In the Old Testament, those who invaded the land of Immanuel were physical invaders, such as the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. In the New Testament, the invaders, although still from Babylon, are spiritual invaders. The Babylon in the Old Testament was physical, but the Babylon in the New Testament is spiritual. Toward the end of the New Testament, there is a revelation of this Babylon in its two aspects—the religious aspect (Rev. 17:1-18) and the material aspect (Rev. 18:1-24).

If we read the New Testament carefully, we will see that the warfare between Satan and God will be ended by the fighting between Christ with His faithful followers and Antichrist with his followers (Rev. 17:12-15). Antichrist, the coming Caesar of the Roman Empire, will be the one who will form an alliance with the ten toes of the image in Daniel 2 and be their leader. In a spiritual sense, Antichrist will be a part of Babylon. The head is Babylon, and the leader of the toes is also Babylon. This indicates that the opposition to God began with Babylon and that it will end with Babylon. When Babylon has been terminated and destroyed, the kingdom will come. This kingdom will be composed of the two elect peoples of God, Israel and the believers.

We need to see clearly that the sign of a virgin conceiving and bearing a son covers the Bible from Genesis 11 to Revelation 22. Today we are still in the stage of the fulfillment of this sign, the sign of a son consummating in Immanuel. As this sign continues to be fulfilled, the war between Babylon and Jerusalem is still raging. Today’s Babylon has two sides: the spiritual, or religious, side, which is the Roman Church, and the material side, which will be the city of Rome.

(Life-Study of Isaiah, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)