Isaiah 13 and 14: Babylon Near and Far, Part 1 :: By Mark A. Becker


According to my calculations, research, and Scripture studies, there are four Babel/Babylons mentioned in the Scriptures.

The first is Nimrod’s Babel which is of an unknown location. We do know that Babel was located somewhere in the Land of Shinar (Genesis 10:10). Best-guess estimates put this location somewhere in northern Iraq or possibly around the area where Iraq, Syria, and Turkey meet.

Nimrod’s Babel, in my studies, is a perfect representation of Antichrist’s Babel/Babylon Mark of the Beast religious and economic system. Just as Nimrod had immense control and was deified at the Tower of Babel, so, too, will Antichrist, no matter where he will locate his Babel/Babylonian base of operations. I purposed in Revelation 13 – The Antichrist that this location could very well be at the original location of Babel – a location that Satan most assuredly knows.

Of course, we know that Antichrist will also “plant the tabernacles of his palace” – probably a reference to the image of the beast and a second headquarters – in Jerusalem after the Abomination of Desolation in the Tribulation Temple (Daniel 11:45).

Nimrod’s Babel will not be mentioned in the Scriptures we are about to study because Babel is – and was to Isaiah – history past. Yet, we should always consider Nimrod’s Babel when we are making mention of Antichrist’s Great Tribulation Babel/Babylon kingdom, as there is a strong correlation between the two.

The second, historically and biblically, is ancient Babylon which destroyed Judah and Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar in approximately 586 BC. This Babylon, and her worship of many gods, also has a connection with the Antichrist.

The third Babylon I have written on extensively and is known as Mystery Babylon, or the Whore of Babylon that sits on many waters (Revelation 17:1), and is identified as the Roman Catholic Church stationed in Rome/Vatican City.

The reason I believe that this Babylon is not mentioned in this section of Scripture that we are about to study is because Isaiah 47 is wholly dedicated to her there. In Isaiah 47: The Daughter of Babylon, we show that this chapter in Isaiah is completely devoted to the Roman Catholic Church and its relationship to Revelation 17 and 18.

[For more on Mystery Babylon and Revelation 17 and 18, please see A Combined Interpretive Scenario of Revelation 17 & 18.]

The fourth and final Babylon I identify as the Antichrist’s Babel/Babylon, which will rule the world from the middle of the Tribulation until Christ’s Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation – a timeframe of 1,260 days.

In this two-part series – a study of Isaiah 13 and most of Isaiah 14 – we will be analyzing Isaiah’s blended prophecies concerning Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon that fell under Belshazzar to the Medes and the Persians and Antichrist’s Babel/Babylon during the Great Tribulation (the final three and one-half years of the seven-year Tribulation).

Through this study, the reader should also appreciate our attempt to rightly divide the prophetic Word of God using an understanding of the chronology of the prophetic past and prophetic future. While I am never dogmatic on my predictive interpretations, I do hope the reader will see how this technique is employed and will be able to apply this method in their own studies of future prophecy.

When one understands the order of events and their revealed characteristics, then the Bible student should be able to begin making reasonable and logical deductions – when rightly cutting straight the Scriptures – ascertaining what the Prophet’s vision is concerning, and deducing where it fits into the prophetic timeline.

As we get started, we should keep in mind that when it comes to future Bible prophecy, there often tends to be a blending of near and far in relation to the prophet himself; and this portion of Scripture is an excellent example of this truth.

Underlined Scripture passages are my own emphasis.

Antichrist’s Babel/Babylon Defeated by Christ: Tribulation Conditions and the Second Coming

“The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.”Isaiah 13:1-3

The Lord “has commanded [His] sanctified ones.”

The Hebrew word for “sanctified ones” is 6942 קָדַשׁ “qadash” and means to be set apart, sanctified, holy, or consecrated. [All definitions]. This word was almost exclusively used for the people of Israel, the priests, and the holy items of the Temple. In the modern vernacular, it would be applied to God’s people, the bride of Christ.

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” – Hebrews 10:10

The Lord has “also called [His] mighty ones.”

The Hebrew word for “mighty” is 1368 גִּבּוֹר “gibbor” and means strong, mighty, and powerful. This word is often applied to God’s people during warfare or mighty warriors in general. The word is also descriptive of the Lord Himself and is also attributed to God’s holy angels.

“Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord.” – Joel 3:11

The Lord has called His sanctified ones, His mighty ones, “them that rejoice in [God’s] highness” – which only the holy angels and God’s people can do – because of His “anger.”

I don’t know about the reader, but we should see – with these descriptive words – God’s anger and judgment being administered by His “sanctified ones” (His church), and His “mighty ones” (His holy angels). And, of course, we know from the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) that it will be the Lord Himself that will lead the charge!

The next passage clearly expounds for us on when this battle will occur!

“The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.”Isaiah 13:4

This is clearly Christ’s Second Coming to destroy His enemies with His church and holy angels, commonly referred to as Armageddon, and this event of God gathering the nations together for battle against the Lord is mentioned frequently in the Tanakh (Old Testament).

“Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” – Joel 3:13-16

“They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.”Isaiah 13:5

Here is our confirmation that “even the Lord” will lead the host of heaven.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war… And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” – Revelation 19:11, 14

“Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.”Isaiah 13:6-8

“The day of the Lord is at hand!”

“And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” – Zechariah 14:12

[Please see A Study of Zechariah 14:12-21 for more on this plague that Christ personally administers on His enemies at His Second Coming.]

“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”Isaiah 13:9-10

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” – Matthew 24:29

“And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”Isaiah 13:11-13

“Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” – Isaiah 24:6

“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” – Matthew 24:22

“And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.” – Isaiah 24:18

“And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” – Revelation 16:18

“The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” – Isaiah 24:19-20

Then the narrative appears to change to ancient Babylon.

Belshazzar’s Ancient Babylon Falls: Compare Daniel 5

“And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.”Isaiah 13:14

Ancient Babylon was notorious for bringing into their realm the choice men of the nations they conquered (Daniel 1:3-7).

Once ancient Babylon was conquered, those they had taken captive were, for the most part, allowed to go back to their homelands. This would soon be the case for the captives of Israel once their 70-year prophesied captivity was complete (Daniel 9:2, Jeremiah 25:11, and Jeremiah 29:10).

“Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.”Isaiah 13:15-18

As we shall see, not everyone in Babylon was killed in this battle within the ancient city of Babylon.

The key is that the Hebrew word translated “who is found” is 4672 מָצָא “matza” and is a primitive root; properly, to come forth to, i.e. Appear or exist; transitively, to attain, i.e. Find or acquire; figuratively, to occur, meet or be present — + be able, befall, being, catch, X certainly, (cause to) come (on, to, to hand), deliver, be enough (cause to) find(-ing, occasion, out), get (hold upon), X have (here), be here, hit, be left, light (up-)on, meet (with), X occasion serve, (be) present, ready, speed, suffice, take hold on. (emphasis mine)

When I read this passage, along with the definitions of “to come forth, appear to exist, find or acquire, meet or be present,” it seems obvious to me that it was those people who came out to fight against the invading Medes and Persians who were to endure this prophetic fate.

The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon concurs with this idea of “to attain to, find.” In their subheadings of particular note are: 1. find a. thing sought; c. meet, encounter, with accusative of person (one expected); d. find a condition, find one in a situation; 2. find out a. find out thoroughly, explore. f. of persons sought.

Also included with those who would come out to fight the Medes and the Persians would certainly be the kings of Babylon and the king’s seed royal, whom would be sought out and found. All these individuals and their families would be killed in the battle or, if any survived the battle, would be put to death afterward – which was the modus operandi of war when taking a city or a nation, particularly in those days.

The citizenry who stayed put within their own houses and did not rebel against the invading forces were allowed to live.

Let us look at those verses again, and we can see the context of “everyone that is joined unto them” – that is, joined unto the Babylonian kings, military personnel that engaged in the battle, their allies, and all their families who rebelled against the invading forces.

Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.”Isaiah 13:15-18

Thus, Isaiah 13:15-18 was to be a targeted slaughter and not a wholesale massacre of all the Babylonian population.

It is only those who would fight against the Medes and the Persians – along with the kings of Babylon and the seed royal – with their entire families who would have succumbed to such a fate. Yet, the overall restraint of the Medes and the Persians against the Babylonian citizenry who did not rebel was very impressive, as we shall see.

We observe this prophecy as fulfilled in Daniel:

“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” – Daniel 5:30-31

The entire fifth chapter of Daniel recalls the events that preceded Babylon’s fall with the famous “writing on the wall” – “And this is the writing that was written, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.” – Daniel 5:25

What Babylon had done to the lands and the people they conquered came back upon their own heads.

The Historical Account of Ancient Babylon’s Fall

The historical account of the fall of ancient Babylon is somewhat vague regarding the actual battle within the city, with just a few accounts available to us that only confirm that there was war within the city.

Below are two items of interest concerning this event.

Fall of Babylon – WikipediaIn 539 BCE, Cyrus invaded Babylonia. Historical reconstruction of the fall of Babylon to Persia has been problematic due to the inconsistencies between the various source documents. Both the Babylonian Chronicles and the Cyrus Cylinder describe Babylon being taken “without battle” [actually, the text reads: “Gubaru (Darius the Mede) the leader of Gutium along with the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without any opposition” – but this is only upon their entrance into the city], whereas the Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon report that the city was besieged. The biblical Book of Daniel notes that the king was killed.

  • Mark’s note: It should also be noted that both the Medes and the Persians were involved in the overthrow of Babylon, which, of course, resulted in the ensuing Medo-Persian empire, as highlighted below.

Belshazzar and Darius the Mede (

According to historical records, a man named Gubaru, a Mede, was appointed by King Cyrus to be ruler in Babylon at this time (539 BC). Gubaru was born in 601 B.C., which would make him 62 years old when he invaded Babylon. Exactly the age found [in] Daniel 5:31.

The Babylonian record of Darius the Mede’s conquest of Babylon is given below:

“In the month of Tashritu, at the time when Cyrus battled the forces of Akkad in Opis on the Tigris river, the citizens of Akkad revolted against him, but Nabonidus scattered his opposition with a great slaughter.

On the 14th day, Sippar was taken without a fight. Nabonidus then fled for his life. On the 16th day, Gubaru (Darius the Mede), the leader of Gutium, along with the army of Cyrus, entered Babylon without any opposition. Later they arrested Nabonidus when he returned to Babylon.

On the third day of the month of Arahshamnu, Cyrus marched into Babylon, and they laid down green branches in front of him. The city was no longer at war, Peace being restored. Cyrus then sent his best wishes to the residents living there. His governor, Gubaru, then installed leaders to govern over all Babylon.” BM35382

  • Mark’s note: Notice that, according to this account, “Darius… along with the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without any opposition.” Yet, in the very next paragraph, we read, “… Cyrus marched into Babylon, and they laid down green branches in front of him. The city was no longer at war, Peace being restored.” Obviously, there was war in the city. It appears that Darius entered Babylon “without opposition,” and war broke out in the city, which would validate the prophecy of Isaiah 13:15-18.

This account says that Darius the Mede installed sub-governors in Babylon. The Bible says the same thing, and the prophet Daniel was one of them:

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss.

“Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So, the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.” Daniel 6:1-4

This was the same Darius the Mede who had the prophet Daniel thrown into the lion’s den mentioned in Daniel Chapter six.

As far as his name goes, historians believe that the name Darius was not a proper name at all but a title of honor meaning “Holder of the Scepter.” In other words, “The Scepter Holder (King) of the Medes.”

The Jewish historian Josephus also recorded that: “Darius the Mede, who along with his relative, Cyrus the King of Persia, brought an end to the Babylonians empire. Darius was the son of Astyages.”

Two Final Notations

There are also two very important reasons why this cannot be associated with Antichrist’s Babylon.

  1. Satan will have absolute authority and worship from the entire world during the Great Tribulation (the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation) as he indwells the Antichrist.

“And it was given unto [Antichrist] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” – Revelation 13:7-8

  1. As “all that dwell upon the earth shall worship [Antichrist],” the Antichrist will have no earthly enemies that would seek to destroy his kingdom. In fact, all the nations of the world – the very few people left at the end of the Tribulation – will unite with Antichrist in an attempt to defeat Christ at His Second Coming to Jerusalem.

[Please see The Kings of the East: Mission Impossible for more information on this subject.]

In any case, despite the lack of secular historical documentation of the war within the city after Darius entered, we can be fully confident that the prophecy of Isaiah 13:15-18 occurred just as God said it would.


We will conclude our study of Isaiah 13 & 14: Babylon Near and Far in Part 2, where we will examine Isaiah 13:19 through Isaiah 14:27.

May we all keep Answering the Call of The Great Commission, and giving an answer to every man and woman who so desperately needs Jesus and asks us, “Why Am I Here and What Is It All About?

Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!

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