A Heavenly Sign: (Part 1)

By: Graham Keelan

“And a great sign appeared in heaven” (Rev 12:1)

Jerusalem has always been portrayed as the woman-in-waiting; clothed with the sun, crowned with the stars, the virgin bride of God. The time of her marriage and coronation, the time of the consummation, the time to take her place in the vaulted heavens, the wreath of refulgent stars resting victoriously on her head, never again to be discarded or relinquished, has been appointed. When the wife deserted in death is swept up again into the everlasting arms of her lovelorn husband. This, though, will be no easy ceremony. It means a reordering of the chaos, of summoning life from death, of the whole world being brought under the rule of God and his covenant people, of the city of God reigning upon the mountain of God. It is the end of time, her time of waiting and banishment, and it requires nothing less than the rebirth of heaven and earth, the restoration of Paradise, the reuniting of Adam with Eve. But there has always been another woman in this story, that jewel-bedecked, scarlet-robed, self-proclaimed Queen of Heaven: The great pretender, that execrable whore of the nations who has polluted the world with her abominations: Babylon

“Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
Sit on the ground without a throne,
O daughter of the Chaldeans!” (Isa 47:1)

The story of Babylon begins at a time long ago. Founded at the dawn of the New Age it would become a city like no other. All civilisations and cultures, languages and religions would flow from it like rivers, as great as the one which banks it adorned. They would meander slowly across the globe carving courses into the bedrock of time, when suddenly for a brief moment, one would burst through its banks in a great surge of unstoppable and uncontrollable energy, swallowing everything before it, all resistance met with a deluge. As with all rivers, though, to reach maturity time would be essential and so, for the most part, time’s erosion would continue unabated – slowly and deliberately – until eventually all the ages would expire, at which moment their courses would converge once again into one single raging torrent at the end of the world.

History records the Babylonians as those peoples for whom the understanding of the passage of time, the observation of the motions of the heavenly bodies, and the divination of the celestial sphere was more important to them than all the other nations of antiquity. They were renowned as accomplished astronomers. The problem though with Babylonian astronomy was that it was inextricably linked with astrology, their orthodox system of belief employed in the divination of a multitude of deities. It had been a system of worship that the people of this culture had followed since they had first started to build permanent dwellings in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia – the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers – about one hundred years after the Flood. Nimrod, whose name appropriately means ‘let us rebel’, was the chief architect and prime mover in the construction of these first cities. His network, Babylonia, consisted of 5 major developments: Babylon, Erech, Accad and Calneh, all strategically situated in the plains of Shinar. In addition, through his expansionist policies Nimrod also successfully colonised the upper Tigris river 200 miles north of Babylon by building the metropolis of Nineveh with its satellite cities; Reheboth, Resen and Calah, the entire conurbation known as ‘a great city’.

Babylon, though, was man’s first post-flood city constructed under the aegis of the angelic hosts and so would become the nomenclature for all human civilisation. Its construction would be slow, laborious and meticulous. A large brick manufacturing industry would need to be established first, with the construction of some very large kilns, of sorts, wherein the bricks could be burned. Also, forges and furnaces would need to be built where the essential metals could be smelted and the necessary tools crafted. Upon their migration from the east, the travelers had brought with them supplies of metals and semiprecious stones mined from the regions of Persia and Afghanistan and these would constitute the foundations of the first city. In addition, the mortar or bitumen would have to be extracted from the vast slime-pits in the region and so some sort of industry would also need to be developed in order to facilitate this. All available hands would be required and drafted into the workforce. As for the great tower? It would stand as the centerpiece of the city, a technological marvel, a magnifying lens which could focus the gaze and ignite the passion of human ambition. It would be lavishly decorated with all manner of precious stones and metals, a great cathedral of worship, its architecture and sacerdotal ordinances mirroring that of the celestial order. The Stars will rule in Babylon through their vassal Nimrod and they alone will determine the fate of its citizens.

Nimrod doubtless anticipated that such a vast capital project would also afford the opportunity to win over hearts and minds. This would be the greatest feat of engineering and construction that post-flood man had dared to contemplate and, as with any shared enterprise, it could cultivate cohesion to counter that which was becoming self-evident: That although a social and gregarious species, mankind was undoubtedly a race of individual explorers. His innate tendency to push out the boat would inevitably drive him further into deeper, uncharted waters. Because the human race had been so fashioned, its development would be achieved through the ingenuity and creativity of the individual. Nimrod knew that stifling this drive would only foster personal frustration and social unrest. He would, therefore, need to advocate a higher call in order to nullify this innate human drive for self-determination; ‘lest we be scattered’ as he so eloquently and slyly articulated. Hence, the construction of Babylon would form the basis of a collective ideal that could replace the parochial aspirations of the individual. It would stand as a monument to humanity, an edifice to collective ambition.

Furthermore, the basic need for security and safety in a hostile post-flood world would also tip the scales in Nimrod’s favor as the herd mentality would prevail. Preservation of the race was paramount. Yet, in reality, the creation of the city was much less a project motivated by Nimrod’s altruistic tendencies, but rather a means to further his own despotic aspirations, to consolidate political and commercial power for his own ends. In Babylonia, the masses would do his bidding. Nimrod would no longer serve humanity; humanity would now serve him. The world’s first dictatorship had been born and Nimrod, like all subsequent dictators, was on a quest for power. Furthermore, he would not be deflected from this task until he had gained the ultimate prize: Absolute power and mastery over the human race. His Babylonian furnaces alone would forge the tools necessary for man’s advancement. The mighty hunter had just cornered his most formidable quarry and with great cunning he would find a way to isolate and exhaust it so that it would eventually stand before him utterly broken and without resistance.

The spirit of Nimrod, the spirit of rebellion, this elevation of humankind over the Creator has prevailed amongst men since the dawn of time. The cleansing of it is, therefore, inevitable. The wedding feast between the Lamb and the Bride stands ready, the guests invited, the wine prepared. Let us then prepare ourselves. Let there be enough oil in the lamps. Let us stay awake!

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