The Bible and Iraq
Greetings precious people, I hope you are doing well and resting in the Goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ. In today’s article I would like for us to look at what the Bible, God’s Word, has to say about what part if any, Iraq has to play in what the Bible calls "The End Times". Many people like to say that the Bible is outdated and irrelevant for our lives today. I have found that the majority of people that make this statement have never read or studied the Bible, they have merely taken what someone else has said and adopted for themselves. The remainder of the people that hold to the idea that the Bible is outdated and irrelevant, do so because of the issue of sin. They have come across verses in the Bible that address the sin issue and in an attempt to lessen the feeling of conviction, they say the Bible is not for today, it is irrelevant.
Now you might be wondering what this has to do with what the Bible has to say about Iraq. From our study today, we will see from just one of many aspects, the Bible is not outdated and it is relevant for today.
Modern day Iraq is known in the Bible as Babylon. The Bible has much to say concerning the past, present, and future of Babylon. You may be familiar with the first time that Babylon is mentioned is in Genesis 10. It was a city that a man by the name of Nimrod built and there in this city the people built what would become known as the Tower of Babel. The people, at the direction of Nimrod had built the tower in an attempt to get closer to the stars in order to gain insight and direction from them. This was in rebellion to God who had said that He would lead and guide the people as they submitted themselves to Him. Not wanting to humble himself before the Almighty God, man chose to do things his own way and create his own way to heaven.
This is a common characteristic of all religions. Religion is man made and is his attempt to reach God by his own works and doings. It should be noted that ancient Babylon is the seat of all religions. Babylon was also at one time the greatest kingdom upon the face of the earth. Its ruler was a man by the name of Nebuchadnezzar (just a note of interest, Saddam Hussein had said on a number of occasions that he believes that he is the modern day Nebuchadnezzar and that he will rebuild ancient Babylon). During the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, God gave a number of prophecies concerning Babylon, through prophets like Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. These prophecies had to do with both the near and distant future of Babylon.
One of the near future prophecies (in regards to the time of Daniel) was that of the overthrow of the Babylonian kingdom by the Medes. This was done just as God had said it would be. In overthrowing the kingdom of Babylon, there would not be the complete destruction of the city and its kingdom, rather if you would, merely a "change of ownership". This is important in view of the prophecies given concerning the total and utter destruction of Babylon. To this date, Babylon has not yet suffered total and complete destruction.
Lets take a look at some of the Scriptures that speak of the complete destruction of Babylon. In Isaiah 13:1-5, "The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. "Lift up a banner on the high mountain, Raise your voice to them; Wave your hand, that they may enter the gates of the nobles. I have commanded My sanctified ones; I have also called My mighty ones for My anger-- Those who rejoice in My exaltation." The noise of a multitude in the mountains, Like that of many people! A tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts musters The army for battle. They come from a far country, From the end of heaven-- The LORD and His weapons of indignation, To destroy the whole land." And in Isaiah 13:19-20, "And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, The beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, Nor will it be settled from generation to generation; Nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, Nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there."
Also in Jeremiah 50:14-16, "Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around, All you who bend the bow; Shoot at her, spare no arrows, For she has sinned against the LORD. Shout against her all around; She has given her hand, Her foundations have fallen, Her walls are thrown down; For it is the vengeance of the LORD. Take vengeance on her. As she has done, so do to her. Cut off the sower from Babylon, And him who handles the sickle at harvest time. For fear of the oppressing sword Everyone shall turn to his own people, And everyone shall flee to his own land."
Why would God bring Babylon, modern day Iraq to complete destruction? There are a few reason that I can see from the Scriptures, first: mentioned a number of times within the context of these prophesies is the heart and mindset of the people, Jeremiah 50:24 & 29, "You have indeed been trapped, O Babylon, And you were not aware; You have been found and also caught, Because you have contended against the Lord." "Repay her according to her work; According to all she has done, do to her; For she has been proud against the LORD, Against the Holy One of Israel." Continued, ongoing, relentless pride toward the Almighty God will always bring the judgement of God.
Another reason is for what they did to the temple of God when Babylon came against Jerusalem. In Jeremiah 50:28, "The voice of those who flee and escape from the land of Babylon Declares in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, The vengeance of His temple."
Also because of how they have treated the people of Israel, the Hebrews. In Jeremiah 50:33, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: "The children of Israel were oppressed,
Along with the children of Judah; All who took them captive have held them fast; They have refused to let them go." This hatred of the Jewish people has persisted from the time of the Babylonian kingdom to the present day. It is no secret that Saddam Hussein has a deep hatred for the Jewish people. He has made it known on a number of occasions that he would like to see the Jewish people annihilated. It should be understood that this hatred of the Jewish people is not an isolated instance held only by the present leader of Iraq. All of the surrounding nations of Israel, some two and three deep, have a great hatred of the Jewish people and want them destroyed, (we will cover this in greater detail in next week’s article).
Is what we are seeing in Iraq today, the fulfilling of Bible Prophecy? Is the destruction of modern day Babylon ready to happen before our very eyes just as God said it would? I believe it could very well be. I believe the Bible gives everyone who would care to know, a number of sure tell tale signs of the events that will mark the last days before the return of Jesus Christ. The question is, do you want to know and do you want to be ready when He does return? The Bible tells us that this day, the Day of the Lord will take many by surprise. Not because it was something secret and unable to be known, rather it will be because people choose to not believe what God has to say in the Bible. People will choose to carry on as if everything is and always will be the same.
The Apostle Peter had this to say about the mindset of the day. In 2 Peter 3:1-7, "Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."
Dearly beloved, whether or not what is going on in Iraq is the fulfilling of prophesies of the Bible, I am not absolutely certain. I am certain that ALL of what God has said in His Word will take place. It is not a matter of "If" rather of "When and How". Are you ready? Are you living your life as if the end were going to happen today?
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine