Babylon Then and Now

The story of Ancient Babylon’s demise is reflected in the Sixth Trumpet and the Sixth Bowl of Wrath in the Book of Revelation. In Daniel, on the eve of the city’s conquest by the “Medes and Persians,” the crown prince, Belshazzar, gave a feast “for a thousand of his lords” and “tasted wine” from the sacred vessels that Nebuchadnezzar looted from the Temple in Jerusalem, thereby disrespecting the God of Israel while also praising the false gods of Babylon.

In Revelation, this incident is behind the portrayal of the “inhabitants of the earth” who refuse to repent of their sins despite enduring the “plagues” unleashed by the first six of the “Seven Trumpets.”

Moreover, the overthrow of the Neo-Babylonian Empire by the “Medes and Persians” is echoed in the “Sixth Bowl of Wrath” where the “kings of the east” are released from the Euphrates River for the final battle on the “great day of God the Almighty.”

Thus, in Revelation, Ancient Babylon, going back even to the story of the Tower of Babel, serves as the prototype of End-Time “Babylon,” the “Great Whore who sits on many waters… and is drunk with the blood of the saints.” God will use the “kings of the east” to annihilate her, and her allies and vassals, the “kings and merchants of the earth,” will mourn her destruction.


Belshazzar’s celebration was interrupted when a mysterious hand wrote unknown letters on the wall that none of the Chaldean “wise men” and astrologers could read or interpret. Only the prophet Daniel was able to explain the king’s dream. In the process, he issued a stern rebuke to the Babylonian potentate for his blasphemy:

  • (Daniel 5:20-23) – “But against the Lord of the heavens have you uplifted yourself, and the vessels of his house have they brought before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine therein, and GODS OF SILVER AND GOLD, OF BRONZE, IRON, WOOD AND STONE, WHICH SEE NOT NOR HEAR NOR KNOW HAST THOU PRAISED, whereas, God in whose hand your breath is and whose are all your ways, HIM HAVE YOU NOT GLORIFIED.

In contrast to his noble ancestor, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar failed to humble his heart. Instead, he profaned the Lord’s sacred vessels. Rather than honor the “Most-High” as Nebuchadnezzar did, he praised the false gods and idols of Babylon.

The same hardness of the heart is reflected in the Book of Revelation. After the sounding of the “Sixth Trumpet,” four angels are loosed from the Euphrates that then arouse a massive army that slays a “third of mankind.” This is the latest and worst of the series of “plagues” inflicted by the series of “Seven Trumpets.”

But the men who survived all “those plagues” continued to refuse to repent. Rather than acknowledge the God of heaven, they paid homage to “the IDOLS OF GOLD AND OF SILVER AND OF COPPER and of stone and of wood, WHICH CAN NEITHER SEE NOR HEAR NOR WALK.”

And their stubborn refusal more than justified God’s “wrath” when the “Seventh Trumpet” sounded, ushering in the “Day of the Lord,” the time of God’s judgment and wrath on the wicked - (Revelation 9:13-20, 11:15-19).


Verbally, the “Sixth Trumpet” is linked to the “Sixth Bowl of Wrath” by the reference to the “Euphrates River.” Just as the “four angels” were “loosed” from the river to attack men, so the emptying of the “Sixth Bowl” dried up the Euphrates in preparation for the invasion by the “kings of the east,” an attack that culminates in the Battle of “Armageddon.”

And that battle causes the destruction of End-Time “Babylon” when the seventh angel pours out the “Seventh Bowl of Wrath upon the air” - (Revelation 16:12-21).

Similarly, on the night when the army of the “Medes and Persians” captured Ancient Babylon, the attacking force first dammed the Euphrates so that its troops could enter the massively walled city along the newly dried riverbed. Thus, the “great city” of Nebuchadnezzar was conquered in one night, and Belshazzar, the last ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, was slain – (Daniel 5:24-31, Isaiah 44:27-45:1, Jeremiah 50:38-42).

And so, in Revelation, key events from the Book of Daniel become patterns for the final cosmic conflict between the “Lamb” and the “Dragon,” and the victory of the holy city, “New Jerusalem,” over “Mystery Babylon, the Great,” the city that is full of the “abominations of the Earth.”

Thus, the overthrow of the Neo-Babylonian Empire by the “Medes and Persians” foreshadowed the destruction of “Babylon” at the end of the age. Biblically speaking, she is far more than a once great city of the ancient world. The “Great Whore” is a present reality that has stood in opposition to God and His people since the founding of human civilization.


Destruction of Babylon

The Little Horn