Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at email@example.com.
So much of the world is focused on what is happening right now in the Middle East--especially in Iraq. Does the Bible have anything to say about Iraq?
Yes, the Bible has a lot to say about Iraq and its impact on world events in the last days. In fact, the only city mentioned more times in the Bible than Babylon is Jerusalem.
The History of Babylon is intertwined with that of Israel.
1. The Garden of Eden was in Iraq (Genesis 2:10-14).
2. Adam and Eve were created in Iraq (Genesis 2:10-14).
3. Satan made his first recorded appearance in Iraq (Genesis 3:1).
4. Sin originated in Iraq (Genesis 3:1-6).
5. The first murder occurred in Iraq (Genesis 4:1-16).
6. Noah built the ark in Iraq (Genesis 6:1-22).
7. While living in Iraq, Nimrod, developed false religious systems that today circle the globe (Genesis 11:1-10).
8. The tower of Babel, which instigated the development of the many languages throughout the earth, was in Iraq (Genesis 11:7-9).
9. The actual nation of Babylon, which destroyed Jerusalem and took many Jews into captivity in 603--586 BC is present day Iraq (Daniel 1:1-2).
10. The wise men were from Iraq (Matthew 2:1-2).
11. St. Peter most likely preached in Iraq (1 Peter 5:13).
12. Jonah preached to the lost people of Nineveh, that was located in Iraq (>Jonah 1:1-4-11).
13. What started in Babylon (sin) will end in Babylon (destructive judgment).
Revelation 18:8-10: “Therefore in one day her (Babylon’s) plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!'”
According to biblical prophecy, Babylon is destroyed just before the return of Christ.
There is much discussion as to the nature of Babylon as portrayed in the book of Revelation. Some look at it as being symbolic of a political-spiritual-economic system that engulfs the world in the final days.
Others consider Babylon to be secret code for the city of Rome.
Some think of Babylon as being the physical, spiritual expression of Rome with New York City being the center of economic Babylon. I find that rather far-fetched.
Then, others identify Babylon as the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope in particular.
No matter how we interpret Babylon, the Bible makes it clear that the land of Babylon—not Rome, not the United States, not Germany, not Russia and not China—will be a focal point of all prophecy in the last days.
Literally, Babylon is portrayed in Revelation as an actual place built on the same foundation as ancient Babylon.
Many wonder how this insignificant, out-of-the-way place, could be the Babylon revealed in Revelation. The answer may revolve around oil, the Antichrist, and Satan. Some are calculating that Iraq has larger oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. By 2030 Iraq could be the world’s leading oil producer.
In the last days a Western coalition will defeat the Islamic nations and usher in 42 months of peace and security. At that point, the devastating events of the last three and half years of Great Tribulation will commence.
There is no doubt that Islamic terrorists are doing all they can to secure nuclear weapons. We may be the generation that sees the rise and fall of “Babylon the Great.”
So we watch what goes on with Iraq. It may give us a tip-off that the “Signs of the Times” are underway.
So, Stacy, I hope that some of these thoughts have stimulated your thinking about the relationship of Iraq and the Bible.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
Publication date: August 10, 2016