The Rise of Babylon, by Charles H. Dyer with Angela Elwell Hunt (Tyndale House Publishers, 1991), 236 pp.
Of the multitude of books recently released on Iraq and the Persian Gulf, none is as provocative as Dr. Charles H. Dyer’s The Rise of Babylon.
Says Dyer, associate professor of Bible exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary:
Every day that passes brings us closer to the end times, and every day the eyes of the world focus more closely on events in the Middle East and Mesopotamia. One kkey element in God’s program of end-time activities will be the re-establishment of Babylon as a world power. As Babylon takes its place in the center of the world stage, it is time to open our eyes.
He continues, While the world struggles to penetrate the enigma of Saddam Hussein, we can find an important God-given clue in the Bible.” If, as the author says, the “key to the mystery of Saddam Hussein is Babylon,” one cannot neglect the prophetic significance of Jerusalem, for the destinies of the two cities have been compared and contrasted. The author comments,
Babylon is destined for destruction but Jerusalem is destined for deliverance. When God’s final curtain falls on the world stage, only one of these cities will remain, and she will remain forever throughout history, today, and on into the future.
Dyer has no pretense of neutrality regarding support for Israel. “The minute the United States turns its back on the state of Israel, we have made ourselves an enemy of God?Çªwe must never cease to affirm the right for Israel to exist as a nation in the land God has promised her.”
Readers journey back to the ancient city as Dyer traces Babylon’s unique position in Bible prophecy. He narrates scenes from Jeremiah 50 to illustrate that the utter destruction of Babylon described centuries ago has yet to take place. And how is it to take place when the former opulence of Babylon has been lying in ruins for centuries? Dyer quotes the governor of modern Babylon, Arif Gita Suheil, as saying, “The president (Saddam Hussein) has signed an open check to reconstruct the ancient city and revive the marvelous shape it had before the Persian aggression which destroyed it more than twenty centuries ago.”
Dyer points out Saddam Hussein’s own plans to emulate King Nebuchadnezzar as evidenced in a commemorative medal he had cast with the ancient king’s profile and his own side by side. In addition to the hanging gardens of Babylon and the unification of the surrounding nations, King Nebuchadnezzar is perhaps most noted for the sacking of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jewish people.
The author reveals how Hussein’s followers already recognize him as today’s equivalent of that ancient king:
The tour guide at a reconstructed palace in Babylon described with enthusiasm the restored monument of the ancient city?Çªshe got to the throne room and pointed to the empty platform. “This is where the leader Saddam Hussein had his throne. This is where Saddam Hussein sat,” she said, voice rising in pride.
The short, stout woman looked around at the quizzical faces, then caught herself with a nervous laugh. “I mean Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar had his throne here.”
If readers are looking for a book that neatly connects each and every world event to a specific Bible prophecy, this book will be a disappointment. However, Dyer’s overview of what has happened in the Middle East and what we can expect to happen is quite plausible.
The Rise of Babylon is punctuated with quotes from a wide variety of sources: Iraqi officials (including Saddam Hussein himself), Palestinian refugees, Israeli officials, U.S. journalists, as well as ancient inscriptions and the Bible. As eclectic as these sources may seem, Dyer points out that they all converge in support of biblical prophecies. Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, he says, corroborate one another. Included in the book are fascinating photographs of ruins, reconstructions and other reminders of how history repeats itself.
This book is a fast read and a must for those who have not yet investigated the spiritual dimension of world events.