Is New York Babylon? Will there be an end times army of 200 million? ALAN FRANKLIN looks at what the Bible says.

Those who misunderstand Bible prophecy often try and paint New York as Babylon, the end times city that will be destroyed because of its crimes against Israel. Other confusion centers on the 200 million army mentioned in Revelation 9. Are they real? Are they Chinese? God is not a God of confusion, but of sound mind. Let's look at Scripture. AF
Babylon will be Babylon. America is not, by any stretch of the imagination, in end times prophecy, although I have read many attempts to weave it into the fabric of events. This is sometimes done in order to sell books in America.
There are two Babylons, spiritual and political. Revelation 14:8 proclaims the fall of political Babylon, the capital of Antichrist. Babylon will be rebuilt and there are various straws in the wind concerning this. For example, I saw a news conference after the invasion of Iraq in which there were calls for rebuilding the country's infrastructure. The motif used was - the Tower of Babel.
However, Scripture tells us all we need to know. The prophecies about the destruction of the actual city of Babylon have never been fulfilled, yet we know the Bible is totally accurate. Therefore, for the various prophecies to be true Babylon will have to be rebuilt. The Kings of the East of Revelation, part of the bowl judgement, refer to Mesopotamia (ancient Assyria and Babylonia). This is consistent with scripture and Antichrist's capital city will be on the banks of the Euphrates River, so the kings of the east will be Mesopotamian. This was what the area was called until the British divided it up and created the modern, artificial state of Iraq in the 1920s.
Modern writers and commentators often confuse the kings of the east with a Chinese invasion and mix this up with the 200 million strong army of Revelation chapter 9. However, this is a different judgement to the kings of the east - the 200 million are part of the trumpet judgements and are clearly demonic and not men.
I was editor of a newspaper which, in its circulation area, included many army garrisons including logistics bases. I often met supply chain specialists and any logistics expert would confirm that it is impossible to provide supply lines for 200 million people or even a tenth of that number.
As Scripture continually refers to the kings of the east as from Mesopotamia we can be confident that the end times kings of the east come from the area of Babylon. Although my speciality is "Bible in the News" there is a danger of commentators allowing current events to influence their view of Bible prophecy. We must not allow news items to form the basis of our interpretation of Scripture, rather the opposite.
If you look at the sixth bowl judgement it shows the Euphrates drying up in order for the Babylonian forces of Antichrist to move freely. The order will come from a literal, rebuilt Babylon for the armies of Antichrist and his allies to form up for the final bid to wipe out the Jews.
They will assemble in the Valley of Jezreel, just outside Haifa where our daughter and son in law live. This is in Lower Galilee, but no battle will take place here. The armies will move south to gather against Jerusalem.
There are many references to the fate of Babylon, all of them related to its treatment of Israel, and none of them relating to far off lands like America.
Babylon in the end times will be the economic and political capital of the world. Zechariah 5: 5-111 refers clearly to the land of Shinar, which is Babylonia. The mention of the ephah refers to a weight and was the symbol of economy - a corrupted one - to be placed in the land of Shinar.
The world's finances are already concentrated in the Middle East and, once we have given up on our futile attempt to "introduce democracy" to Iraq, something which will never happen as it is anti Islamic, there could well be a link up between the majority Shi-ites of Iraq and the regime in Iran, giving control of a huge percentage of the world's oil supply. More than enough money to rebuild Babylon, symbol of their ancient culture. All world economic activity will be centered on Babylon and in the second part of the tribulation Babylon will be the world center, the new New York, if you like.
However, Isaiah foretells that its time of dominance will be short. Its destruction is detailed in Isaiah 13: 1-5 when anti-Babylonian forces will gather to go to war with Antichrist. The destruction of Babylon is detailed in Isaiah 13:6-14:23. This prophecy has never happened as described- the city just fell into disuse and can still be visited. Parts were rebuilt by Saddam Hussein, including the Hanging Gardens. Tourists went there in the past decade.
After its final destruction Babylon will be uninhabitable except for wild animals of the desert, wild goats, jackals etc. Isaiah 13: 19-22 describes Babylon, the glory of kingdons, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride and says it shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Giomorrah, "it shall never be inhabited."  In recent times it has been inhabited by  American troops, among others!
Jeremiah in chapters 50-51 describes the destruction of  Babylon by a number of armies and we can see that this is the literal city in Jeremiah 50:1:"The word that Jehovah spake concerning Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, by Jeremiah the prophet."
Babylon will be dstroyed because of their regime's treatment of the Jews. Antichrist will not be in his capital when it is destroyed, as Jeremiah 50;43 tells how he will be scared when he hears of moves against his headquarters while Jeremiah 51: 31-32 reveals something interesting: Antichrist has to be told his city has been destroyed so he cannot have been there. He is elsewhere - mustering his forces for the Campaign of Armageddon. Those Jews still in Babylon are warned to flee to Jerusalem where they tell of the destruction of Babylon.
The destruction of Babylon as described never happened in the past with ancient Babylon. All this can be confirmed by books of ancient history. This destruction comes when the Jews are seeking God and is associated with the restoration of Israel- Jeremiah 50: 19-20. This is certainly not true of anything that happened in the time of ancient Babylon.
Revelation 18: 1-3 starts with the fall of Babylon, which becomes the place where demons will be held during the Millennium. It is clear that at the time this happens Babylon is the global economic and political center and the kings of the earth will weep over her destruction (Revelation 18: 9-10.)
The kings referred to are the kings who submitted their authority to Antichrist - seven rulers of world regions.
The fall of Babylon is a signal that the Second Advent is close and also the restoration of Israel.
As for America and the other world empires that rose after Babylon, they will long since have lost power and influence. This is fast taking place today. America is finished: Bankrupt, financially and spiritually. That's why we called our book: Goodbye America, Goodbye Britain, (available from our web shop.)
Not only will America play no role in end times affairs, long before the climax America will be out of the picture. This is clearly shown in the Russian-led invasion of Israel described in Ezekiel 38;1-39:16. This pre tribulation event, involving a small group of nations and not the armies of the world as  in the  final campaign at the end of the seven year tribulation, is notable for many things. One factor is that nobody does anything, other than mutter muted protests. No America!
In fact it is necessary for America, which many see as a defender of Israel, to be out of the picture so that God alone can deal with the invaders, who will be destroyed on the mountains of Israel.(The King James' reference to a sixth of the armies being left is a mistranslation from the Hebrew. The New American Standard Bible and others have the correct translation.)
The Rapture,  the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets, clearly takes place before the tribulation, and this is shown in various scriptures. The most obvious one is that nowhere during the tribulation is there any mention of the church - after chapter three of Revelation the church is gone. Up until chapter three the church is there in pre-trib events. It is next seen in chapters 19 onwards- after the tribulation.
Even outside Revelation not one passage about the tribulation mentions the church. Ist Thessalonians 1: 9-10 shows that Jesus: "Delivereth us from the wrath to come." This is general wrath against sin and the believer is delivered from the wrath of God . It's a guarantee, see Romans 5:9 and Ist Thessalonians 1;10.
1st Thessalonians 5:1-10 again shows clearly that we are not appointed unto wrath. The meaning of the word wrath is in verse two, "The Day of The Lord." This ALWAYS refers to the tribulation period.
Revelation 3:10 also refers to the timing of the rapture, in which the church has the promise that it will be kept from "the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." In the context of Revelation, the tribulation is the period of trial that will fall upon the whole earth. The text makes clear we will not be kept safe during this trial but we will be kept from the hour of it. This would mean a removal befoe it starts - it cannot mean anything else.
There are other excellent scriptural reasons why the rapture is pre-trib, but a particular point to bear in mind is that the Lord could return at any time. This could only be true if He comes before the tribulation. If He comes mid-trib, then His coming could be three and a half years off - far from imminent. Similarly, if He comes at the end, His coming could be seven years off. That's not imminent.
The Lord could come today, and we must be ready. The seven year tribulation starts when Antichrist signs the peace treaty with Israel, which he will do as leader of the Revived Roman Empire, the subject of my first book.
I think that to write meaningfully about Bible prophecy you need a full knowledge of Hebrew. I do not speak Hebrew and do not class myself as a Bible scholar, although I have studied prophecy in particular for 25 years. However, our daughter has an MA in Oriental Languages and Theology from Cambridge University and is a fluent Hebrew speaker, as is our son in law - they sometimes translate works by Hebrew preachers/scholars. They have reviewed the scriptural text - not the King James translation, which has flaws, but the original Hebrew - and  are agreed that our books are Biblically accurate and that there is no doubt that the rapture is pre-trib and that Babylon means just that- the rebuilt city of Babylon, in Iraq.
I do not get into arguments with Christians over the timing of the rapture, which makes for too much division. Although I believe it is clear that the rapture is pre-tribulation and that this is not a recent teaching, I have good friends who are pre-trib and mid trib, but we agree to disagree. The main thing is that we are fast running out of time - the time of the Gentiles is passing.
Our time must be used in saving people off the rocks - I do not believe there will be a great end times revival, rather scripture teaches of a falling away. This is the Laodicean church, lukewarm and without power.  The main denominations seem to have largely gone astray, certainly in Britain. There are few churches here I could recommend people to attend, apart from some Brethren assemblies and independent evangelical churches. However, there is the remnant church here and around the world - those who see through the money preachers and false prophets on "godless" so-called Christian television.


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'Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.' Two million Christians martyred in recent years in Sudan now have this crown.
Revelation 2:10

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