A New Identity of Babylon!
We are examining the fact that Dispensationalists are constantly changing their interpretation of Bible prophecy, based on “current events.” What they assured the world was “the end” in one generation, is suddenly, with no acknowledgment of the error of the previous predictions, changed and, once again, with total confidence, we are told “this is it, the end is near, for sure!”
These radical changes in the Dispensational world when it comes to end times prophecies is appalling. But, over and over again, their fear mongering predictions fail, and disappoint, because they are overlooking, denying or ignoring what the Bible truly says about when the end was to be: in the first century, Jesus’ generation.
Hal Lindsey got it wrong. Grant Jeffrey got it wrong. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice got it wrong. John Hagee got it wrong, (and has it wrong) with his newest predictions concerning the Four Blood Moon predictions. (See my earlier article in response to John Hagee’s claim). So, with all of these failed predictions, we now have yet another false prediction, that changes the face of Dispensationalism.
In our previous installments, we shared how a former PLO activist, Walid Shoebat, has proposed another, radical change to the Dispensational view of Revelation– and eschatology.
Mr. Shoebat radically re-defined “Babylon” of Revelation. Babylon is not, as the huge majority of Dispensationalists claim, the literal city of Babylon in Iraq. No, Babylon is Mecca, in Saudia Arabia and is to be identified as Islam, says Shoebat.
To say that this is upsetting to the Dispensational world is an understatement. We shared with you in the last installment how Thomas Ice flatly rejects Shoebat’s new take on Babylon. And why is that? It is because Dispensationalists as a general rule are tied to the woodenly literalistic hermeneutic that says, in effect, that if Revelation says Babylon, then it must mean literal Babylon in Iraq, period!
What Shoebat’s new take suggests however, is that Babylon is to be interpreted figuratively, not literally, and this strikes at the very foundation of Dispensationalism. This cannot be allowed! Of course, Dispensationalists are hugely inconsistent in the application of their “literal” hermeneutic, but that does phase them. And this in spite of the fact that Revelation specifically says that it is a book of symbols, which by the very nature of the case, is a rejection of the woodenly literal hermeneutic of Millennialism.
Thomas Ice realizes that if Shoebat’s take is allowed to take root, and that we should see figures, symbols, and non-literal language in Revelation, that it could well spell the doom of Dispensationalism. If we are to seek a non-literal identification of Babylon, this opens the door to all sorts of attacks– successful ones– against Premillennialism. Let me illustrate.
Properly Identifying Babylon of Revelation
In my book, Who Is This Babylon?, I take note that Babylon in Revelation was guilty of certain crimes:
She had killed the OT prophets (Revelation 16:6f).
She is “where the Lord was slain” (11:8).
She had slain the apostles and the prophets of Jesus (18:20, 24).
As a result of her internecine history, “Babylon” had not filled the cup of her sin (17:6f), and judgment was about to fall on her.
What is so significant is that literal Babylon in Iraq did not do any of these things! Period!
Furthermore, Mecca, in Saudia Arabia did not do any of these things! Period!
Only one city was ever guilty of these crimes, and that was Old Covenant Jerusalem.
She had slain the Old Covenant prophets (Matthew 23:29f; Acts 7).
She is where the Lord was slain (Matthew 27).
She is the city to which Jesus sent his apostles and prophets, and that killed those servants (Luke 11:49f; cf. 13:28f).
In killing Jesus’ apostles and prophets, Jerusalem filled the measure of her sin (Matthew 23:33f).
Judgment was to fall on Jerusalem in that generation (Matthew 23-24).
These indisputable facts establish that Revelation was written prior to AD 70, and that it was predictive of that awful catastrophe.
Mr. Shoebat’s proposed new identity of Babylon may garner some excited followers, because it identifies radical Islam as the end times adversary. And there is plenty that needs to be said about this very real danger. However, the fact that radical Islam is a present day terrorist threat does not mean that it is the object of Bible prophecy! It does not mean that Mecca is Babylon of Revelation!
The one thing that Mr. Shoebat’s new view has done, however, is to show the abject failure– once again– of the Dispensational view that identified Saddam Hussein as the anti-Christ and literal Babylon in Iraq as Babylon in Revelation. Dispensationalists are now in “panic mode” with the dissolution of Babylon in Iraq. Their confident assurances that what Hussein was doing was to usher in the end, have been definitively falsified for all to see.
Unfortunately, what Mr. Shoebat’s view does, is simply “re-align” and re-direct” the Dispensational faithful, who seem to be interested only in making the latest most “relevant” application of Bible prophecy– “Just look at the newspapers!! Some will undoubtedly jump on that band wagon. It is certain that the folks at World Net Daily have – or seem to have– enthusiastically embraced Mr. Shoebat as their go to “prophecy expert.” Unfortunately, he is wrong, and no amount of promotional propaganda can change that.
It is high time for serious Bible students to exercise some saneness, solid hermeneutic, and sound exegesis. When we do, we will no longer see and experience the tragic and on-going reality of failed predictions of the end that bring shame on the name of Christ. We can then honor the fact that the Bible invariably posits the end for the first century, and those prophecies were fulfilled in the fall of the Old Covenant world in AD 70.
Be sure to order your copy of my book, Who Is This Babylon? for an in-depth, powerful demonstration that Babylon of Revelation was none other than Old Covenant Jerusalem.