On the Fundamentalist Notion of Babylon Destroyed - Forgot to Tell Ancient World

by kepler 11 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • kepler

    Among puzzlements of sitting down with JW reps with "What the Bible Really Teaches", was the assertion that Babylon was destroyed - forever - just like it says in these here chapters and verses. Then the NWT claims that Peter I & II were written from Babylon. But beside that, ancient Greek, Hebrew and Roman writings are full of reference to Babylon as an important center. Alexander the Great entered it in 331 BC - and eventually died there from fever caught on campaigns. He meant to make it his Capital.

    Still with me on this? The first couple of books of Herodotus' Histories describes Babylon life in detail. These were written about a century after the unopposed entry of Cyrus into Babylon after defeating Babylonian armies farther afield. Xenophon and the 10,000 were headed there to serve as mercenaries in the late 5th century. And Alexander - well, when he wasn't chasing Darius III, apparently made a stopover there too.

    How do we know? Well, for a start, did our ancestors seriously doubt the matter? A few days ago, I saw a notice in the papers about the work of a 17th century master: "Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis IV at the Getty Center through May 1st". The illustration was the work of Charles Le Brun, a 16' x 26 foot tapestry titled, :Entry of Alexander into Babylon."

    A search on line provided several more images. Additionally there were at least one film depiction (Oliver Stone's Alexander) and accounts of the event from classical writers, principally Roman writer Quintius Curtius Rufus (History of Alexander) and Greek writer Arrianis ( the Anabasis). Both evidently drew from earlier sources.

    While the film Alexander sold well overseas, in the US, hardly anyone took note. Perhaps if I had seen the film, five years later I would had more to say to the JWs who would visit my house Saturdays trying to convince me that everything they had read or were required to quote from was incontrovertible and entirely true.

  • millie210

    This is so interesting kepler.

    So that picture they used to show of an abandoned looking "whistle stop" - was it in the Babylon book?

    Was that another spot altogether?

  • StephaneLaliberte

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but the JWs don't deny this.

    *** it-1 p. 237 Babylon ***
    From that memorable date, 539 B.C.E., Babylon’s glory began to fade as the city declined. Twice it revolted against the Persian emperor Darius I (Hystaspis), and on the second occasion it was dismantled. A partially restored city rebelled against Xerxes I and was plundered. Alexander the Great intended to make Babylon his capital, but he suddenly died in 323 B.C.E. Nicator conquered the city in 312 B.C.E. and transported much of its material to the banks of the Tigris for use in building his new capital of Seleucia. However, the city and a settlement of Jews remained in early Christian times, giving the apostle Peter reason to visit Babylon, as noted in his letter. (1Pe 5:13) Inscriptions found there show that Babylon’s temple of Bel existed as late as 75 C.E. By the fourth century C.E. the city was in ruins, and eventually passed out of existence. It became nothing more than “piles of stones.”—Jer 51:37.

  • StephaneLaliberte

    One way or another, when you read the prophesy of Jeremiah (51:37), it prophecies that God would dry up Babylon's water and turn it to ruins in order to avenge the Israelites. Well, things didn't happen this way. The level of the water was lowered, not dried up. And the city did not turn to ruins. Unless you believe that what happened a 1000 years later, after the Israelites were rejected as God's people (according to Christians), could count as a result of executing that incredibly slow vengeance.

    That's not what I call a truthful,
    accurate prophecy.

  • Vidiot

    Kinda like the city of Tyre being desolated forever (as prophesied in Ezekiel)?


    Fun story... at the start of my fade, the congo I was in had a map of the Biblical lands on the back wall of the second school.

    Tyre was clearly marked, and - remembering that Bible passage - I circled it in ink and put "???" next to it. :smirk:

  • steve2
    Another "prophetic" Scripture down the gurgler - or so loose, it can be interpreted untold ways.
  • kepler

    Regarding burst bubbles:

    Check out the pamphlet "What the Bible Really Teaches", pp. 22 to 25, a section called "A Book of Prophecy".

    Whether the right hand knows what the left is doing and which is which in this case, this book claims that Isaiah prophesied the complete destruction of Babylon (chapter 13 and 14) and that Cyrus performed the deed ( 44 & 45).

    As I said, I had looked at Herodotus prior to that. Babylon looked like it was still in good shape. Then there was Ezra chapters 7 and 8... Somewhere I made the connection that what Isaiah was talking about was the work of his contemporary, the Assyrian Sennacherib who deported Babylon's population, sacked the temples and diverted the river to flood and wash away its remains, circa 690. Cyrus, on the other hand, occupied the city with hardly a fight and swore he was going to fix the shortcomings of Nabonidus when it came to observing religious festivals.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Kepler thanks for bringing the Babylon history to the surface. JWs are so gullible they cannot even imagine that a factual, coherent understanding of history exists... just their own narrow viewpoint.

    The painting of Alexander’s entry to Babylon by Charles Le Brun (from which a copy was made for a grand tapestry) is a stonking example of Baroque art, it focuses on the unbridled and worshipful homage to a classical leader hero and by deliberate implication; to the “Sun King” Louis. No wonder Le Brun became Louis XIV’s favourite painter. Baroque art in this painting is serving the interests of total political power. (If you like paintings; look her up and enjoy being charmed by Le Brun’s great-great nephew’s wife Louise Vigee Le Brun).

    Getting back to your main point; the JW trolley men ask, ”What does the Bible really mean?” This question is loaded! It implies that the Bible has a meaning but is a puzzle which requires explaining.

    Put this in context: with what; thirty or forty thousand sects each claiming that their particular interpretation is the only one which presses God’s button. What a mess, what a disaster!

    The Bible HAS NO MEANING! It was second hand to start with... Its eclectic nature precludes it having a meaning since it is drawn from the established literature of most of the significant powers of the Middle East where Israel was and ever remained a pip-squeak tribal non-entity. It is full of nationalistic romance and dreams and is far from factual... it contradicts itself...it is not divine.

    The Bible has every semblance of pathetic human weaknesses such as misogyny, hate, retribution, homophobia, xenophobia and an insistent streak of masochism and it majors in genocide. Even psychopaths tend not to be so comprehensive in their hate for their fellowmen compared to the leading characters in the Bible and especially Jehovah!

    But JWs don’t think for themselves. They don’t generally realise that the most compelling Biblical commentary on the downfall of Babylon was written not long before the Christian era in the book called Daniel.By using historical precedents it made portentous prophecies written four centuries after the events had already occurred! Some prophecy! Like the destruction of Babylon, prophecy is a delusion and the Bible is a fraudulent.

    This is the meaning of the Bible: A book written for the gullible who do not think for themselves and who cannot live without a fantasy hope to maintain their grip on life.

  • steve2

    I simply love jw.org's simplistic headlines such as "Is the Bible Really the Word of God?" and "What Does the Bible Really Teach?" - trap-questions for the uneducated and gullible.

    The Bible can be made to teach whatever you want it to, as JWs history clearly shows. This nonsense of teaching "only" what the Bible teaches is what every "Christian" fundamentalist religion on the face of the earth claims.

  • StephaneLaliberte
    You know, thinking about this, I remember, when I was about 18 years old, I made a comment during a meeting where I said that Babylon was destroyed by Cyrus. Having read the prophecy, I had assumed that it had came true than. But the brother conducting the study corrected me: "Actually no; there were next to no damages done to the city - the doors were open and they didn't torch the city". I remember being in shock at that statement. Still, it was one of those things that my cognitive dissonance pushed me to ignore. Overtime however, little things like this brought me here.

Share this