Jun 2, 2008

The Significance of Iraq in the Bible

By Gary Fisher

It is really fascinating to note how much Iraq is discussed in the Bible! Many questions have arisen about Iraq since the U.S. and her allies invaded Iraq and removed the government of Saddam Hussein. No other nation in the Bible, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated with it than Iraq. However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. That land is known today as Iraq. Many think of Iraq as “only” an oil rich nation, ruled by an evil dictator for 30 years. Here are a few facts regarding the important events and roles this nation has played throughout history:

1. The garden of Eden was in Iraq - Genesis 2:10-14
2. Adam & Eve were created in Iraq - Genesis 2:7-8
3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.
4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq. - Genesis 11:5-11
5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq. - Genesis 11:31 & Acts 7:2-4
6. Isaac’s wife Rebekah is from Nahor which was in Iraq. - Genesis 24:3-4 & 10
7. Jacob spent twenty years in Iraq and met his wife Rachel in Iraq-Genesis 27:42-45 & 31:38
8. Jonah preached one of the greatest revivals of history in Nineveh-which is in Iraq-Jonah 3
9. Assyria which was in Iraq conquered the ten tribes of Israel.
10. Amos cried out in Iraq!
11. Babylon which is now Iraq destroyed Jerusalem.
12. Daniel was in the lion’s den in Iraq!
13. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the “writing on the wall” in Iraq.
14. The three Hebrew young men, Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, were thrown into the fiery furnace in Iraq (it is good news to know that JESUS has been in Iraq too as the 4th person in that furnace !)
15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.
16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.
17. The wise men were from Iraq.
18. Peter preached in Iraq.
19. The “Empire of Man” described in Revelation is called Babylon which was a city in Iraq!
20. Nimrod established Babylon & Tower of Babel was built in Iraq - Genesis 10:8-97 & 11:1-4
21. The first world Empire was in Iraq - Daniel 1:1-2 &2:36-38
22. Satan made his first recorded appearance in the Garden of Eden which was in Iraq - Genesis 3:1-6
23. The events of the book of Esther took place in Iraq - Esther
24. The book of Nahum was a prophecy against a city in Iraq - Nahum
25. The book of Revelation has prophecies against Babylon, which was the old name for the nation of Iraq-Revelation 17-18
26. The confusion of the languages took place in Iraq - Genesis 11:5-11

Perhaps the most interesting of all the mentions of Iraq in the Bible is the one in Revelation (Revelation, chapter 18) which features a city called "Babylon" as a great financial center of the world. The activity of this city of Revelation 18 has puzzled prophecy teachers and students for a long while! According to Revelation 18, Babylon will become the financial capital of the world in the end times.

Since Babylon has laid in ruins for centuries, it was tempting for teachers to conclude that the Revelation 18 Babylon must be an allegorical reference to another city, a modern city like New York, or some other city. Recently however, we have seen the Unites States and allies dismantle the dictatorship government there. What will happen next in Iraq is unclear, but could it be that we are about the see Iraq internationalized and Babylon rebuilt? It has been estimated that the oil reserves of Iraq are greater than those of Saudi Arabia. If developed properly, a lot of money would result! Are we going to see a city called Babylon rebuilt in Iraq to control all this wealth? The average person would conclude that building such a city would take quite awhile, but would it?

In 1942, the U.S. Government searched for a place to extract U235 isotopes from uranium to manufacture a nuclear bomb. They found suitable property in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Army started with three facilities in this project. Added to these were schools, shopping centers, cafeterias, a hospital, a newspaper, entertainment, and other facilities, with a 75,000 population. And here is the surprise. All of this was built and up and running in just eighteen months! Now that was in 1942. Technology of today could make it happen more efficiently!

Many prophecy students are watching the developments in Iraq very closely. Many are asking if a city might be built there called Babylon when the hostilities cease, to control all the wealth that will be there. Building a city and moving the computers there to establish a financial center would be very easy to do with today's technology. To consider that Revelation 18 might be fulfilled literally before long is fascinating to say the least! If we see this starting to develop, it will be just one more among many signs that the return of Christ is near.