Digging Up the Past

Babylon, City Of Gold

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: David Down


Series Code: DUTP

Program Code: DUTP000005

00:01 In the last episode, we talked about the
00:04 Assyrian empire, which terrorizes the
00:07 surrounding nation with it's cruelties for 300
00:10 years. Its last two kings even invaded Egypt.
00:15 But, the Assyrians were eventually conquered
00:17 by the Babylonians. Well, David has visited
00:20 Babylon many times and in fact, even slept
00:23 among stitch ruins. And today he will be
00:26 telling us about the story of the Golden City of Babylon.
01:00 Well, Babylon certainly was a magnificent city,
01:04 Isaiah called its the City of Gold, and gold
01:08 was just about as plentiful as the dust of
01:10 Babylonians today. Nebuchadnezzar, of the
01:13 great king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire,
01:17 was a marvelous conqueror. And he was an obsessed
01:21 builder. He just built palace after place,
01:24 temple after temple in all Babylon. And a visit
01:27 to Babylon today, even now it's lying in ruins
01:30 gives you some idea of what a magnificent city it was.
01:35 We entered by the Ishtar Gate. Ishtar, of course was the
01:39 Babylonian fertility Goodness. And this Ishtar gate
01:43 was dedicated to her. On the wall of this gate
01:47 you can see the Sirrush as they called them.
01:50 They are composite creatures and these
01:53 were molding bricks. In the building museum
01:57 professor Koldewey, who excavated Babylon
02:01 has reassembled part of this gate. It was might
02:04 of glazed bricks, beautiful blue glaze
02:08 colors and it must be an impressive sight to walk
02:12 through this gateway into the great procession street.
02:17 And here the King and his captives were
02:20 brought as they returned from the military
02:23 campaigns. And here is the very procession
02:27 street along which the captives were dragged.
02:30 At the end of the procession street there
02:32 is still standing there a pillar. With the matter
02:35 of fact that's its use by the stocks today to
02:38 build in this upon top of it. But, this was one
02:41 of the mighty pillars of Babylon. Not far away
02:44 is, has been reconstruction of the temple to Nimach,
02:49 one of the Babylonian deities. And this has being rebuilt
02:55 as it was in the days of ancient Babylon just
02:57 one of the many temples that had been
03:00 erected by King Nebuchadnezzar.
03:04 And then there was the palace throne room or
03:07 you can see today is just the floor of this throne room,
03:10 and of course, the great hanging gardens of Babylon,
03:14 one of the seven wonders of the world.
03:16 Do you know what hanging gardens are?
03:18 It doesn't mean now it dangling by rope or
03:20 something like that. It's simply means that these
03:23 gardens were built upon suspended diverted
03:25 water course. And Koldewey, the great Excavator,
03:29 German excavator of Babylon found what he
03:32 can consider to be the foundation of
03:34 this hanging garden. And the conduits
03:37 through which the water came and that would
03:39 drawn up onto the garden. Do you know why he had
03:42 this hanging garden? Let me tell, you see
03:45 when Nebuchadnezzar and his father conquered
03:49 the city of Nineveh in Assyrian in 612 BC.
03:55 The whole campaign was sealed by the marriage of
04:00 Nebuchadnezzar to the daughter of Cyaxares,
04:05 the Median King. Her name was Amytis,
04:08 as she came from the Highlands of median
04:11 up there near Hamadan up to 200 meters above sea level.
04:15 It was pretty cooled, beautiful garden up there.
04:18 And so when Nebuchadnezzar princess was moved down the
04:21 Babylon to live in the sweltering heat there,
04:23 like a good husband he decided to try and make
04:27 her feel at home. And so he built these beautiful
04:30 hanging gardens one of the seven wonders of the world,
04:33 just to make his wife happy. Isn't that malice?
04:35 And so we have the hanging gardens of Babylon.
04:39 And then there were the great residential areas
04:43 and the palace of Nebuchadnezzar or it
04:46 must have been a tremendous city and
04:48 you can walk all around the ruins of Babylon today.
04:51 And get some idea of what an enormous and
04:54 magnificent city it was do you know it was ten
04:58 miles that's about 16 kilometers in circumference.
05:02 Therefore, those days that was a huge city.
05:04 What you think that Jericho city, on the 350
05:07 meters long by 150 meters wide.
05:09 And here it was Babylon 16 kilometers in circumference,
05:13 a huge doubled wall. You can see the
05:15 foundation of the wall lay today. And so this
05:19 doubled wall was right around Babylon to protector.
05:23 And Nebuchadnezzar thought that he was
05:24 building a city that would last for all
05:27 eternity, and starting a dynasty
05:30 that would never die. And how disappoint
05:32 that he would be weaken after die and
05:34 see what's happened to his beautiful city of Babylon.
05:38 Well, Babylon started off a long time ago.
05:42 You know, I believe it's the oldest city in the world.
05:46 And we found the reference to its origins
05:48 in Genesis chapter 11; If you heard of the
05:52 tower of Bible, well we told here that as the
05:57 people travel down from Mount Ararat
06:00 along the river Euphrates they came to
06:02 this place called Babel or Babylon. And they
06:06 said, one to another, come let us make bricks,
06:09 and bake them thoroughly and they had
06:12 brick for stone and they had asphalt for mortar,
06:16 you know, that's historically very accurate,
06:18 because there are lots of temple towers all
06:21 like call them Ziggurats in Mesopotamia or what
06:25 we called Iraq today. And do you know what
06:28 they've made up bricks that have been burnt
06:31 very, very thoroughly. They are so toughed you
06:34 drop them on the ground or smash them
06:36 against each other. You can hardly break them
06:38 open. And another thing is by struck together with
06:42 asphalt just exactly as the Bible builders built
06:47 their tower of Babylon. Now when was this tower?
06:51 Well for long time, a place called Berossus Nimrod,
06:54 was regarded as the traditional tower of Bible.
06:58 But, this was only because of it was tallest
07:00 standing ziggurats in Mesopotamia.
07:03 And so the early Christians and for that matter the early
07:07 Jews thought that Berossus Nimrod was the tower of Bible.
07:11 It is a temple tower. It is a ziggurat and it goes up in
07:13 stages. And it was very high. Right upon top later
07:17 on Nebuchadnezzar built a tower that is not the tower.
07:20 What you are looking at is the great huge man made
07:25 mountain of bricks. And that is Berossus Nimrod.
07:29 But, however, the tower of Bible or the Babylonian
07:34 tower was not here. It was naturally in Babylon itself.
07:39 And just because it can't be seen there today people
07:41 think well let can't be it. But, you see when
07:44 Alexandra, the great came to Babylon he decided to
07:48 make that his headquarters, the capital city of his Great
07:50 Empire. And he saw this temple tower on Ziggurat,
07:56 which is become into a state of disrepair and so
07:59 told his engineers, get busy and rebuild this.
08:02 They said, well they can't do anything to patch this thing
08:04 up. There is only one thing to do and that is remove the
08:07 whole thing, brick part break and then lets rebuilt it
08:10 from the foundation up. So, he said, go ahead
08:13 and do that. And so they removed this Ziggurat and
08:18 put it over nearby place but before like its start
08:22 rebuilding it, Alexander died while he was just a
08:25 young man, only 32 years of age.
08:28 And so it never got rebuilt. But, Professor Koldewey
08:33 excavated the foundation of it. You can see them their
08:35 today. What's under the water is the first stage and
08:40 this must have been the huge temple tower.
08:44 And so the early Bible builders
08:46 were the first city builders. And they built this
08:50 great city of Babylon, which you know the story,
08:53 how their languages were confused. They all spoke one
08:56 language. Naturally being all descedant from Noah, but their
08:59 language was miraculously confused and by started
09:03 speaking different languages they couldn't
09:05 understand each other. And so like gave up and
09:08 I just went up in different directions according to their
09:10 language groups. And so Babylon virtually fell into
09:14 disrepair and it was left for the greatest Assyrian empire
09:18 to take over and for fifteen hundred years, the Assyrian
09:22 dominated the Middle East and Babylon was just the
09:26 second right city. In the year 701 BC, the Assyrian
09:32 kings Sennacherib invaded Israel.
09:36 And surrounded Jerusalem, and he posed
09:40 a very serious threat to it. I tell you everyone there
09:43 was scared to death. You fall into the hands of
09:45 the Assyrians and you face the risk of being
09:48 impaled or skinned alive, and so king Hezekiah
09:52 and his courtiers and the people were terrified?
09:56 But, they were in Jerusalem at this time, their Prophet
10:00 Isaiah, and Isaiah might have
10:03 very interesting prophecy. You will find here in
10:06 Isaiah, chapter 13 and in Verse 19, strange to say the
10:11 prophecy verse not about Assyria but about Babylon.
10:16 You see Isaiah was looking down the centuries.
10:20 And looking at something that was
10:22 to happen a lot lighter. It says here, "And Babylon,
10:25 the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans'
10:28 pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and
10:31 Gomorrah." It will never be inhabited, Nor will it be
10:36 settled from generation to generation; Nor will the
10:39 Arabian pitch stench there, Nor will the shepherds
10:42 make their sheepfolds there. Now that's a remarkable thing.
10:47 Remember this was 701 BC when Sennacherib was
10:51 besieging Jerusalem. And here we have this prophecy
10:55 by Isaiah who is living at the time, saying Babylon is
10:59 going to be destroyed. Wonder it's only a few
11:02 years later, 689 BC when Sennacherib decided to
11:07 destroy Babylon. He completely rise it to the
11:11 ground. In fact, even flooded the river Euphrates is
11:16 into it and might be just a big swamp. And I supposed
11:19 people living back there thought, they know how,
11:21 just what the prophet said. He said, it was going
11:24 to be destroyed. But, Babylon might come back.
11:28 Under Sennacherib son Esarhaddon,
11:32 Babylon was rebuilt. You see it was futile act
11:35 to destroy it. And so Esarhaddon, rebuilt
11:38 Babylon and it once more became a great city.
11:44 The fonder of the Neo-Babylonian Empire or new
11:48 Babylonian Empire was King Nabopolassar.
11:52 He came to this throne in the 626 BC and
11:55 immediately set up that, establishing an independent
11:58 kingdom. Of course, Assyrians didn't like this but
12:01 Nabopolassar marched an army and started out on the march.
12:05 It took him a long time but finally in the 614 BC, he felt
12:12 strong enough to match on Assur was the great
12:16 religious city of the Assyria. And Nabopolassar
12:19 conquered that city. In the year 614 BC, then next
12:24 move, of course, was the mighty Nineveh.
12:28 And to attack this city he formed an alliance with
12:31 Cyaxares, king of the Medes and together by
12:37 launched an attack in the year 612 BC on the city of
12:41 Nineveh. That was successful, conquered it
12:45 and destroyed it, burnt it down to the ground.
12:48 And the last king of the Assyria died with his
12:51 harem in the flames. And so Nabopolassar, became
12:55 the master of the Middle East. Now there were few
12:59 aims to be tight up and so he had to march against
13:05 some reminisce of the Assyrian army and it
13:08 wasn't until the years 605 BC that ultimately he had
13:13 undisputed ruled over fall of what was once Assyria.
13:18 Then in the battle of Carchemish, he defeated
13:20 not only the reminisce of the Assyrian army but also
13:24 the Babylonians who had come to try and put up
13:27 some resistance with him and so he became master of
13:30 Middle East. It was also in the year 605 BC that
13:34 Nabopolassar, died. Now his son Nebuchadnezzar
13:40 was incharge of the military operations at that time
13:46 against Jerusalem and when he heard that his father had
13:49 died in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar hastily
13:52 rode back over the Assyrian desert to claim the throne,
13:56 and so Nebuchadnezzar mounted the throne in the
13:59 year 605 BC and began a very prosperous ruler for 43
14:04 years. And so began the great Neo-Babylonia Empire.
14:11 Well, Nebuchadnezzar was a brilliant military leader.
14:14 He was a good politician too. And he was a
14:17 compulsive builder. It was his ambition to built a
14:21 Babylon that would never be conquered, never be
14:23 destroyed. He wanted to establish a dynasty that
14:26 would never end and no doubt he spent a lot of time
14:30 thinking about the future, worrying about whether he
14:34 would succeed in his great ambition. Well, one night
14:39 he went to sleep and he had a dream. Now the Babylon
14:43 is attached a lot of important to drains.
14:45 And in the morning when waken up he knew that he
14:48 had had a dream and an important one. And so he
14:52 called his wise man, his astrologist and the
14:55 magicians. And said, now listen you fellows, I have
14:58 had a dream and I can't remember what it was.
15:02 So, I want you to tell me what I dreamed and the
15:05 interpretation. Well, of course the wise men
15:09 were bitter at the loss. They said look you tell us
15:12 the dream and we will tell you the interpretation.
15:14 They could always thing up good
15:16 interpretation you know. But the king said, I can't
15:20 remember the dream. If you tell me what the dream is
15:23 I will be sure that you will you know the right
15:25 interpretation. But, they said, there is no man or
15:29 God who can do a thing like that.
15:32 Well, Nebuchadnezzar, got pretty angry with them
15:34 and drove them out and decreed the role of wise
15:36 men were put today. Well, at this time, Daniel, the
15:42 man from the, young man from Judah was in Babylon,
15:46 the prophet. And he was included in these people at
15:50 what would to be put to death and when he got the
15:53 bad news he said, well, what it's all about?
15:56 And when he heard he suddenly looked let me
15:58 going to the king and talked to him. And we will see if
16:02 God can reveal this thing. So, he went into king
16:05 Nebuchadnezzar and the King was only too glad to
16:08 give him a little time to work it out. And that night,
16:11 I guess, they did a lot of praying. You know,
16:14 and during the night God revealed to Daniel what the
16:18 dream was. The next morning he went into the
16:21 king and the king said, Can you tell me what I've
16:24 dreamt last night? Daniel said, not I but there is in
16:28 God in heaven who can tell the king what he dream.
16:31 He said, you are king dreamed that you saw a
16:35 great image. Now this little image what I've here.
16:40 It is just a not a idea of what it just like, and it's a
16:43 very small one. What the king must have seen was a
16:47 very big, very impressive awesome image.
16:52 And Daniel, we don't describe it. He said, the
16:54 head was of Gold. The arms and the breast were of
16:58 silver. The belly and the thighs were of brass.
17:02 The legs were of iron, and the feet were part of iron
17:06 and part of clay. He said, you kept watching it until
17:10 you saw a stone taken from the mountain without hands
17:15 and it came crashing down on their feet of this image.
17:18 Grounded to powder and the same with all the other
17:21 metals, they are all ground to powder and I guess as
17:25 Nebuchadnezzar, leaned forward intently
17:28 listening, he recognized what he had dreamed.
17:31 He had dreams are like that; you do something to break
17:34 them and you remember now Daniel said, I will tell
17:38 you the interpretation of this dream. Daniel said you
17:43 Nebuchadnezzar, represented by this head of
17:46 Gold, but your kingdom is going to be followed by
17:49 kingdom of silver and then thee third kingdom of brass.
17:52 And then of fourth kingdom represented by the
17:54 legs of iron and finally the kingdom is going to be
17:57 divided symbolized by the clay and iron. Kings Cyrus
18:01 left the record of his Babylon in the year 539 BC.
18:06 It is known as the Cyrus cylinder. It has cuneiform
18:12 script on it and it tells of his conquest of Babylon.
18:17 Let me read the translation of the portion of this
18:20 cylinder, shall I? He says here I am Cyrus, king of the
18:26 world, great king, legitimate king of Babylon,
18:29 king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four rims of the
18:31 earth, son of king Cambyses, great king,
18:34 king of Ansan. I think you got the idea. Haven't you?
18:37 He is letting us to know what a good fella he was.
18:40 Now he says this all the kings of the entire world
18:43 from the Upper to the lower Sea, brought their heavy
18:46 tributes and kissed my feet. I returned to sacred cities
18:51 on the other side of the Tirgris, the sanctuaries of
18:55 which have been ruins for a long time.
18:57 I will so gathered only former inhabitants and
19:00 returned them to the habitations. Now that of
19:03 course is just exactly what the Biblical record says in
19:06 the book of Ezra, how Cyrus might have decreed
19:09 that all the Jews could return to their home city
19:12 and rebuilt Jerusalem. So one hand we have the
19:16 Biblical record. On the other hand, we have the
19:18 Cyrus Cylinder by both tells us
19:20 exactly the same story. In the year 530 BC, Cyrus,
19:27 the great died. And was replace by his son
19:31 Cambyses. He didn't last very long. And then he was
19:35 replaced by what is known false Smerdis and
19:38 following that came Darius, the great or Darius the first.
19:43 Darius decided to record the throne that he grasped
19:49 on the wall of the Behistun rock at place called Bisitun
19:53 in Persia And they are on the side of the wall in the
19:57 cuneiform script in three different languages so that
20:00 everyone would get the message. Darius left the
20:04 record of his sent to the throne. It was king Darius
20:08 who decided to built an essentially Persian city
20:12 called Persepolis, literally meaning city of Persia.
20:16 And this is sometime referred toward the pearl of
20:19 Middle East Ruins, even today it's a magnificent
20:22 ruins and it must have been a tremendous city in
20:24 its high day. Darius was followed by his son Xerxes,
20:29 referred to in the Bible as Ahasuerus. You know, the
20:32 King who married the beautiful queen Esther,
20:35 and Xerxes invaded Greece. It was a tremendous campaign.
20:39 Millions of people involved in it. And he met bravely
20:44 Leonidas at the pass and it was there Thermopylae,
20:50 that he murdered or killed Leonidas and moved down
20:54 into Athens and there he burnt the Acropolis.
20:59 The Greeks never forgot this. And so it was when Alexander,
21:03 the Great came on to the scene, he first of all marched
21:07 eastwards, conquered the Persian army, and then
21:13 finally occupied Persepolis. And in retaliation, he burnt
21:17 and destroyed Persepolis. And so you have the three
21:22 great empires that followed Babylon. Babylon was
21:26 followed by Persia. Persia was followed by Greece or
21:30 Macedonia actually, and then ultimately came the
21:34 great Roman Empire. Rome symbolized by the legs of
21:38 iron. The iron monarchy of Rome, overwhelmed the
21:42 Middle East, and so it was that Rome became the
21:46 mistress. Not only at the Middle East but of Europe
21:49 too, and for hundreds of years, Rome ruled the
21:53 world that none ruled. The great Caesars and their
21:59 followers became the masters of culture and
22:04 politics and war. And so the arms of the Republic
22:08 sometimes vanquished in battle. Always victorious in
22:11 war marched across Europe and established the
22:14 great Roman Empire. But, even Rome was not the last
22:18 forever. Remember the legs of iron were followed by
22:23 the feet of clay. What is meant by that?
22:27 Daniel 2, Verse 41 says, "Where as you saw the feet
22:33 and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the
22:37 kingdom shall be divided." That same to be a divine to
22:41 decreed that Europe would never again be united under
22:45 a single rule and hasn't that happened. People have
22:48 tried to unite it, you know, the Holy Roman Empire
22:52 and then there were other would be conquerors who
22:57 tried to bind it together, Shahlamian and then
23:02 came Napoleon Bonaparte, who tried to unit Europe
23:07 completely together. And then there were lighter ones,
23:10 I mean, there was Kaiser Wilhelm, in 1914-18 War.
23:14 and then it was Hitler in the 1939 war.
23:19 Verse 43 says, As you saw iron mixed with ceramic
23:24 clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they
23:28 will not adhere to one another, just as iron does
23:31 not mix with clay. Now this expression mingle with the
23:35 seed of men is referring to marriage. In the marriage
23:39 we are standing outside Buckingham palace and on
23:42 my right over here is a status of Queen Victoria.
23:47 You know, in the late 19 century queen Victoria got
23:50 the idea of marrying her family of to crown heads
23:55 of Europe. The idea being if they own married to one
23:58 another they would not fight with one another,
24:00 but of course it didn't work. It didn't unit Europe
24:04 anymore than any others scheme hast.
24:07 You know this text is actually the text that first
24:10 interested may in the Bible. It was in the
24:13 early days of the war and I was in the Australian army
24:17 as an officer in the artillery. And I attained a
24:20 lecture. I didn't realize that was a religious lecture,
24:23 but the title of the lecture was Seven words that spell
24:28 Hitler's Do. Well, at the time Hitler was doing
24:31 pretty well. And as an officer in the army I knew
24:34 very well that the commandos especially
24:36 Britain itself was not really prepared the face upto him.
24:39 And I was a bit anxious, but I went along this I've
24:43 never heard anything like it. He was this lecture saying
24:46 that Hitler would not succeed because this first
24:49 hit it would all never be united again. It says the
24:54 kingdom shall be divided. But, of course, he was right.
24:58 The Bible was right. Hitler didn't succeed and let me
25:02 tell you that neither communism nor the
25:04 common - or anything else is ever going to
25:07 succeed in uniting the nations of Europe
25:10 successfully together. Now it says, in the days of these
25:16 kings Verse 44; "The 'God of heaven' will set up a
25:19 'kingdom' which will never be destroyed. This for
25:23 symbolized by the stone cut out of the mountain without
25:25 hands that smashed the image on its feet and
25:28 ground the whole thing to pieces in other words
25:30 ground up only the kingdom of this world.
25:33 They end of the world at the second coming of Jesus
25:36 Christ is here depicted. We are told here in Matthew
25:41 chapter 21 and in Verse 44; Jesus Christ prefers to this.
25:47 He says, "And whosoever falls on this stone will
25:50 be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will
25:54 grind him to powder." Well, which do you want?
25:58 Obviously you don't to be ground to powder, do you?
26:01 It's better to fall on this rock. What is happening?
26:05 In Psalm 51 and in Verse 17; it says, "The sacrifices
26:11 of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite
26:15 heart, O God, these you will not despise." Have you done
26:20 something wrong? Have you sinned against God or
26:24 have you done something it gives your guilty conscious
26:27 then just come to Jesus Christ and follow his faith
26:31 and say, Lord I am sorry. And Jesus Christ is promise
26:35 to take your sins and he has paid the praise for them.
26:39 And so you can have forgiveness by coming to
26:43 the stone that is refer to here. And the broken in
26:47 heart be sorry for your sins. But, the end of the world
26:51 according to this prophecy will surely come justice
26:54 surely as the other kingdom have come and gone just as
26:59 surely the other aspect of the prophecy have all being
27:02 fulfilled. So, will this. We better be ready.
27:06 Like many people lies to laugh at the idea of the
27:09 world coming to end, but I don't anymore. I think with
27:13 all the frightening things that happening around us
27:16 we aspect that this world can't go on the way it is.
27:21 In our next program we visit that famous old Italian city
27:24 of Pompeii, which in 79 AD came to a disasters end.
27:30 I think there might be a
27:31 message in that for us today.


Revised 2014-12-17