The Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Grecian empires of today

This is from a comment of one of the readers of our site, on the article, “The One Thousand Year Reign: The events leading up to it“:

You inferred in the article, using the Daniel text, that the following 3 empires will be present during the 1,000 year reign of Christ; Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Grecian. First of all, these empires were destroyed a long time ago. Even if they were still around, would God really do this to them as a form of revenge for what they did to Israel? Who will avenge the other nations of the earth if that is the case?

It is true that these 3 empires did disappear, no longer performing as empires but it is not true that they no longer exist as nations. Take Greece for example, it is still around today and carries the same name. Even if we do not see the names Babylon and Persia on the modern maps, that does not mean that the nations do not exist. The name “Persia” was on the modern map until 1935, when it was changed to “Iran”. In 1949, both names were used on the map. The name “Iran” is used by leaders in the Geo-political realm. “Iran” is related to the word “Aryan” and it mean “land of gold” (source: Wikipedia)

Babylon, or as Genesis 11:1 says “the land of Shinar”, is Iraq today. That is why Saddam Hussein considered himself a direct descendant of king Nebuchadnezzar. When he took part in the reconstruction “One frequent inscription [on the bricks] reads: “This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq”.” (source: Wikipedia) add more about Babylon

During the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1990′s, Saddam Hussein used the city of Babylon as a visual aide to remind the Iraqis about the conflict between Iraq and Iran, and Iran’s territorial ambitions. Look at what Paul Lewis writes in the New York Times international section regarding Saddam’s actions: President Hussein’s decision to rebuild Nebuchadnezzar’s palace in the middle of a war almost lost the war yet it turned out to be the most important piece of the campaign because it strengthened Iraqi nationalism by appealing to their history . . . Mr. Hussein’s campaign also served more subtle purpose, it continued the ancient enmity  between Babylonia and Persia of course depicting Saddam Hussein as Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, the absolute ruler of Babylon. (New York Times International, April 19, 1989, p . 4-Y). The decision to rebuild Babylon (on the old ruins) forced the people to focus on a grand era in their history (Iraq),  that city and kingdom that was destroyed by the same enemy (Persia – Iran) and that they once again are threatening to destroy the Iraqis. It is no accident that Saddam Hussein rebuilt Babylon on the ruins of  Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. In 1986 Michael Dobbs, writing in the Washington Post, noted that the restoration of Babylon had become a political concern (not just archeological). For the Iraqi Government, the Babylonian Empire is a source of national pride and inspiration for continuing the long drawn out war that lasted six years with their neighbors, the Iranians, the ancient enemies of the Iraqis . . . President Saddam Hussein said not to worry about any costs in restoring the city to its former splendor . . . (Washington Post, December 1, 1986, p A-11).

The second question is: “Why will God avenge Israel and not the rest of the Nations?” Israel has a unique position opposed to the rest of the nations. When God entered into covenant with the children of Israel, the Old Covenant of the Law on Mt. Sinai, He gave the Israelites a special position among the nations.

4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” (Exodus 19)

Even if the Israelites broke the conditions and the covenant, God remains faithful to the promises that He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is always faithful to His Word.

28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers ; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11)

The Old Testament overflows with prophecies concerning Israel, specifically that at the end, God will bring the Israelites back to the land that He promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

As far as the Gentiles being judged for the way that they treat Israel, there are many, many passages in the Bible that demonstrate this truth but I will limited us to just one, Joel chapter 3 which speaks of the Judgment of the nations during the Day of the Lord.

1 “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations ; And they have divided up My land. 3 “They have also cast lots for My people, Traded a boy for a harlot And sold a girl for wine that they may drink. 4 “Moreover, what are you to Me, O Tyre, Sidon and all the regions of Philistia ? Are you rendering Me a recompense ? But if you do recompense Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your recompense on your head. 5 “Since you have taken My silver and My gold, brought My precious treasures to your temples, 6 and sold the sons of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their territory, 7 behold, I am going to arouse them from the place where you have sold them, and return your recompense on your head. 8 “Also I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the sons of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a distant nation,” for the LORD has spoken. 9 Proclaim this among the nations : Prepare a war ; rouse the mighty men ! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up! 10 Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears ; Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.” 11 Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones. 12 Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full ; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision ! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision [judgment]. 15 The sun and moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness. 16 The LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel. 17 Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, And strangers will pass through it no more. 18 And in that day The mountains will drip with sweet wine, And the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water ; And a spring will go out from the house of the LORD To water the valley of Shittim. 19 Egypt will become a waste, And Edom will become a desolate wilderness, Because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, In whose land they have shed innocent blood. 20 But Judah will be inhabited forever And Jerusalem for all generations. 21 And I will avenge their blood which I have not avenged, For the LORD dwells in Zion.

It is clear from this text that, at the end of the age during the “Day of the Lord”, God will gather the nations around Jerusalem and judge them according to how they treated Israel. Israel, on the other hand, will be eternally blessed.

Translation by: Erik Brewer