Home To Tremendous Spiritual History, Iraq Also Stands
As Warning For Future
By Michael H. Brown
U.S. and allied forces are cutting a swath through Iraq that eerily parallels the history of a spiritual hotspot, from the vicinity of Ur in the south -- where Abraham was born -- to the area of Babylon and Baghdad and up through Mosul in the north, where recent apparitions have been claimed and where the ancient city of Nineveh -- made famous by Jonah -- was located.
There are those who believe it is also the land of the Garden.
As we have been saying, this is the old world superpower once known as "Babylonia," and it bears profound relevance to the fate of the world -- for spiritual, not just military, reasons. But it is the war that is bringing to light its remarkable spiritual roots and over the last few days military attention has focused on the mouth of the Euphrates -- where Americans bombed Iraqi jets that were on the ground at Ur itself -- and Karbala, where an American Apache attack helicopter was shot down.
Karbala is 50 miles south of Baghdad, in the vicinity of ancient Babylon -- which once stood as the world's center of commerce just across the Euphrates.
Why do we focus on this? Why is it relevant?
This area demonstrated the kind of lifestyle that evoked God's anger and caused Him to allow the forces of destruction to come against it. Yesterday I delved into Babylon and its potential relevance to future events. Today we should take a look at what Babylonia was like -- and how it eerily parallels our own culture.
We'll start with materialism: Like our own culture, Babylonia was the center of finery. It was a place where merchants brought their gold, jewels, perfumes, ivory, and linen. The finest wine and olive oil were available, as was the most expensive in furniture, flour, sheep, and grain.
Fashion was important, and many signs and logos in our culture -- from clothes to cars -- carry symbols derived from Babylonia. Jewelry often has a Babylonian root (including ankle bracelets, which in ancient Babylon were a sign of prostitution), and our musicians, movie stars, and Mardi Gras revelers often dress in the flamboyant, feathery, lurid manner of ancient Mesopotamia.
It is no coincidence that there was a major movie called Ishtar (an ancient Babylonian god) and that a famous book on the movie business was entitled Hollywood Babylon.
It was the Los Angeles or New York of its day, and like our own metropolises, Babylon served as a well-spring of both good and evil. Under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar the magnificent city was considered the mightiest and most beautiful in the known world, with a highly refined culture. Scientifically and technically Babylon was the most advanced and structurally contained some of the most beautiful buildings in the world -- including stepped pyramids that were later found as far off as South America and Mexico.
There were grand palaces for the many wealthy, and the Tower of Babel.
It was the land of tribes such as the Sumerians, Akkadians, Amorites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Aramaeans. The language of the Chaldean people was Aramaic, a different dialect than that spoken by Jesus Christ. The ancient kingdom of Mesopotamia, which flourished in the region that became Iraq, is what textbooks like to call the birthplace of urban civilization. "The Mesopotamians were the first to record their thoughts in writing, the first to divide the day into 24 hours, the first to eat off ceramic plates," notes a history website.
It was the birthplace of Abraham, yes, but also the place, along with Egypt, where much of our occultism originated. Civilizations in this territory built pyramids as supernatural temples and the "deities" or "demon-gods" they worshipped later surfaced in places like India, Greece, Rome, and northern Europe -- deities dedicated to earth, wind, fire, and other elements, which later turned into various forms of occultism, including witchcraft and what we now call the New Age.
When we look for the root of paganism, druidism, or wizardry (the type of "magic" displayed in Harry Potter), we need go no further than this land now at center stage in a dramatic conflict.
The same was true of Nineveh, which is in the northern part of Iraq near Mosul -- one of the first places hit last week when the air war opened. Both Nineveh and Babylon shared the worship of horned idols and had shrines to earth divinities like Ishtar -- who was portrayed as a serpent in this land where perhaps the serpent tempted Eve.
"Much of the Babylonian worship was carried on through mysterious symbols -- thus the 'Mystery' religion," says the Coalition of Christians. "This system of idolatry spread from Babylon to the nations, for it was from this location that men were scattered over the face of the earth (Genesis 11:9)."
There is thus not just the culture of Babylon but its spirit. Much came through here. It is difficult to summarize. And it now serves as a metaphor. Scripture describes a future Babylon, and that "future Babylon" is no longer confined to Iraq. In fact, one could argue that it left there and took root in the West. We now have finery like Babylon had finery and are the envy of the world as Babylon was the envy of the world and it is our "wine" -- our culture, our commerce, our sensuality -- of which nations now drink.
It was a place of luxury. It was a place of splendor. These descriptions we take right from the Bible. But in that glamour was the evil one and as it is phrased in Scripture, "she has made all the nations drink the poisoned wine of her lewdness. The kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the world's merchants grew rich from her wealth and wantonness."
It is a place of temptation. It is perhaps where the serpent tempted Eve. It ensnares those who engage with it. And as a result, warns Revelation, "the merchants of the world will weep and mourn over her too, for there will be no more market for her imports.
"'Alas, alas, the great city, in which all ship owners grew rich from their profitable trade with her! In a single hour her destruction has come about'" -- a warning that our own culture would do well to heed as we also look to current prophecy that comes from this land, including the claims of a stigmatic woman from Mosul that she has been told by the Blessed Mother of great coming events, including a manifestation of Christ.
[see also: Iraqi seer was asked to endure pains of Crucifixion]
[Resources (SpiritDaily Bookstore): The Day Will Come, The Last Secret]
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