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5.3.4. City of Babylon

It appears that Babylon, on the banks of the Euphrates, will be rebuilt and become a commercial power at the time of the end. It may function for a time as the location of the throne of the Beast (Rev. Rev. 16:10+), but will be destroyed as part of the Campaign of Armageddon during the seventh bowl judgment (Rev. Rev. 16:19+).1 Fruchtenbaum believes Antichrist to be the king of Babylon who is away at war when the city is destroyed:2

The very fact that messengers must be sent out to inform the king of Babylon that his city is destroyed [Jer. Jer. 50:43; Jer. 51:31-32], is a clear-cut indication that he will not be there when it happens. . . . So where is he? . . . it would appear that while the Antichrist is meeting his forces in the Valley of Jezreel, his enemies take the opportunity to gather and destroy his capital city.3

Unger assumes these texts describe the delivery of the news of the surprise capture in the day of Cyrus: “Couriers and messengers scurried to report Cyrus’s surprise capture of the city to the king of Babylon.”4 But the king of Babylon at the time of Cyrus was Belshazzar who resided in Babylon on the night of its capture and was slain (Dan. Dan. 5:30-31)) See The Identity of Babylon.

Notes

1 The gathering in preparation for the Campaign takes in response to the pouring of the sixth bowl (Rev. Rev. 16:12-16+), but the destruction of Babylon and the Second Coming are probably associated with the seventh bowl (Rev. Rev. 16:19+). Perhaps the Campaign begins during the sixth bowl judgment and ends at the seventh. Or perhaps only the gathering takes place during the sixth bowl with the actual warfare occurring during the seventh.

2 The passages cited by Fruchtenbaum could also find fulfillment in the events of the capture of Babylon by Cyrus in 539 B.C. At that time, Belshazzar was ruling as a co-regent king in Babylon (cf. Dan. Dan. 5:29), while the primary king, Nabonidus, was absent: “The new evidence confirming the theory that Nabonidus was absent is found in the statement in the ‘Prayer of Nabonidus’ that Nabonidus was at the oasis of Teima in Arabia at this time.”—John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1971), 115n. If so, Jeremiah may be describing the runners which journeyed from Babylon to Teima in Arabia to notify Nabonidus concerning the capture of Babylon. Either way, it is clear that in the fall of Babylon to Cyrus, it was not destroyed as it will be at the time of the end. See The Destruction of Babylon. See commentary on Revelation 17:16.

3 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 327.

4 Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002), Jer. 51:30.