SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Sunday August 11, 1996

ANCIENT BABYLON (Gen. 10:8-11).

When was the city of Babylon first built? Who was the builder? Gen. 10:8-11. What motivated the efforts of the earliest inhabitants of ancient Babylon? Gen. 11:1-9.

"Babel.... According to Gen. 11:9, the name means 'confusion,' based, evidently, on the fact that the Hebrew verb balal means 'to confuse.' . . . The temple tower of Babylon, mentioned in historical records from the beginning of the 2d millennium B.C., which was the highest and largest of all such structures which stood in historical times in Mesopotamia, has completely vanished. Excavators found no more of it than its foundations and a few steps of its stairway. However, an ancient cuneiform tablet describes this tower, and Herodotus mentions it; hence it is possible to get a fairly accurate picture of this famous structure. We know that it was about 300 ft. (c. 91 m.) square at its base, and more than 300 ft. (c. 91 m.) high, and that it was built in 7 stages., having on top as its 7th stage a shrine dedicated to the god Marduk.

"The tower was repaired from time to time, the last time by Nebuchadnezzar, who said that he received a command from his god Marduk to build it so that 'its top might rival heaven.' . . . It was destroyed by Xerxes."-Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary (revised edition), pp. 108, 109.

Nimrod and his successors fostered false religion, spiritual confusion, moral and ethical decline.

To what period of Babylon's history does the book of Revelation allude in predicting the events of the last days? Rev. 7:2; Rev.16:12, 19; Rev. 17:3-6; Rev.18:1-4.

The sealing angel mentioned in Revelation 7:2 and the kings who destroy modern Babylon (Rev. 16:12) come from "the east" (KJV), from "the rising of the sun" (Isa. 41:25, RSV); Greek anatoles heliou). The background to this is that Cyrus, who destroyed ancient Babylon, came from the east. The Lord said through Isaiah: "I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, and he shall call on my name" (Isa. 41:25, RSV; compare Isa. 44:28-45:6). Cyrus, who came from Persia, east of Babylon, entered Palestine from the north, near Carchemish, at the bend of the Euphrates. As he and his army destroyed ancient Babylon, making possible the return of God's people to their own land, so Christ will destroy modem "Babylon" and take His people to the heavenly Promised Land (John 14:1-3).