Throughout the Bible the Kingdoms of Men are symbolised by ‘Babylon’, and the Kingdom of God by ‘Jerusalem’ (the crowning glory of Israel) – cities set in antithesis.
God weighs and measures them –
JERUSALEM BECAME BABYLON
Israel was given the task of being a ‘Light to the Nations’ – the city of God, and they were to separate themselves from the ways of Babylon.
“Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It is time for the LORD’s vengeance; he will repay her what she deserves.” Jer. 51:6
But Israel failed on both her missions -She preferred to keep the nations out –
“We alone will build a temple to our God” Ezra 4:3 See: Last Events of Old Testament – Right or Wrong.
and she didn’t leave Babylon, she became Babylon. The sad irony is that the Jew’s at the time of Ezra thought that keeping Babylon out meant keeping foreigners out. But they should have kept the thinking of Babylon out whilst embracing foreigners who embraced the God of Israel. Jews like Ezra left Babylon physically, but became Babylon spiritually.
At the same time Zerubbabel was re-building the temple, Zechariah the prophet was describing Israel in symbol as a women in an ephah (measure) who was carried back to Babylon –
Thus Israel became the ‘Mystery Babylon’ of Revelation, also described in Zechariah 5:6-11
“A measuring basket is going forth.” Then he continued, “This is their iniquity in all the land.” And behold, the cover of lead was raised, and there was a woman sitting inside the basket. “This is Wickedness,” he said. And he shoved her down into the basket, pushing down the lead cover over its opening. Then I lifted up my eyes and saw two women approaching, with the wind in their wings. Their wings were like those of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth. Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel who was speaking with me. “To build a house for it in the land of Shinar (Babylon),” he told me. “And when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its pedestal.”
It’s worth noting that the murder of Zechariah the prophet is not recorded in the Old Testament. It is left for Jesus to reveal it in Matt. 23:35 – See: Last Events of Old Testament
And so it is, that even though some Jews returned to build up a literal temple, the previous prophecies of Ezekiel still applied to them, they neglected the poor and persecuted foreigners – they were spiritually Babylon –
Israel, described as a harlot of Babylon in Ezekiel 16, sat on the land of 7 nations.
“And He overthrew 7 NATIONS in Canaan, giving their land to His people as their inheritance.” Acts 13:19 (Also Deut. 7:1)
This image is picked up in Revelation 17 – a harlot sitting on 7 hills (nations) with ‘Mystery Babylon’ written on her forehead – she got caught up among the kings of the earth –
“And the woman you saw is the great city that has kingship among the kings of the earth.” Rev. 17:18
Because Israel got caught up in the ways of Babylon, God allowed her to come under the power of foreign nations – the heads of the Beast in Revelation 17
The first foreign nation to take Israel into captivity was Assyria.
The next was Egypt who made Judah a client state when Josiah died.
Then came Babylon.
Followed by the Persians, Greeks and Romans.
It was the Romans who drove Israel from their land – a lengthy period followed while the Jews were scattered. The prophecy resumes in the ‘end of days’ when Hitler (the 7th head of the Beast) drives the Jews back to Israel.
Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem had the same aim – eradicate the Jews. This aim has festered among some of Israel’s neighbours who have tried to drive her from the land since it was granted to Israel in 1948.
Hitler killed 6,000,000 Jews. He was the power who received the fatal wound in Rev. 13:12, yet another rises with the same ideals. The head with the ‘healed fatal wound’ embracing the ideals of Hitler to exterminate the Jews, is extreme Islam.
The 8th Head calls for a ‘Holy War’ which Joel 3:9 describes –
Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for a holy war! (sanctify war) Call out the warriors! Joel 3:9 NET Bible
The judgement of ‘Mystery Babylon’ which the ‘harlot’ got caught up in, is recorded in Revelation 18
“Woe, woe to the great city, the mighty city of Babylon! For in a single hour your judgement has come.” Rev. 18:10
This is a reminder of the judgement that came suddenly on Babylon in 539 BC at the time of Daniel the prophet. Israel/Mystery Babylon is also weighed and found deficient – only those who turn to Christ will be saved.
When the prophet Daniel asked
“How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
He was told
“It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Daniel 12:7
The ‘half a time’ refers to the final ‘7’ of Daniels 70 week prophecy found in chapter 9. Because the Jewish leaders rejected the witness of Jesus (which could have ushered in the New ‘Promised Land’) the completion of the prophecy was delayed – just as the first entry into the Promised Land had been (40 days became 40 years). The final 3.5 years of the 70 week prophecy become representative, they are the ‘Mene Mene Tekel & Parsin’ explained in Revelation.
We have arrived at the ‘End of Days’ – the final generation that has seen the witness of the scattered Jews re-gathered. The writing is on the wall and our days are numbered. Israel is the greatest sign for our generation. But they are still witnesses in disbelief of their Messiah and as such are the witness of the Lawless One described by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 –
See 70 Weeks Prophecy for a fuller explanation of Daniel’s unfolding prophecy