Bible story began in Babylonia

Published June 2, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Nelly Favis Villafuerte
Nelly Favis Villafuerte

By Nelly Favis Villafuerte

 

(Part I)

 

No study of the Bible is complete without mentioning the famous empire of Babylonia (also known as Mesopotamia) and Babylon, Babylonia’s ancient capital of Babylonia. In Greek, Mesopotamia means between two rivers. The two rivers are the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. Based on historical records, the first civilized inhabitants of Mesopotamia were the Sumerians.

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Today, most of the ancient territory of Babylonia is found in modern Iraq. During ancient times, Babylonia was found at the mouth of Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and formed part of the Euphrates-Tigris Valley. This where the earth’s earliest people lived. This is the place where civilization started. This is where the Bible story begins. This where the Garden of Eden was located. This is the place where pagan customs, beliefs, traditions originated. When the people in Babylonia were scattered in different places of the world, they brought along with them their pagan religious practices including their manner of worshipping God.

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In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, Babylonia was known as Shinar, Akkadia, and Sumer as well as the Land of the Chaldeans. In the Book of Genesis 11:2 of the Old Testament there is mention of a “plain in Shinar.” This land later became known as Babylonia or Mesopotamia. It was in the land of Shinar that the City of Babylon was built. The city became the center of the ancient world. Today, Babylon is just a heap of ruins. As was prophesied in the Holy Bible, Babylon was destroyed, plundered, and left in ruins. In the words of the Holy Bible: “She (Babylon) will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations.” (Isaiah 13:20). Babylon, at the zenith of its power and glory is described in the Holy Bible as arrogant and evil in the sight of our Lord. Worshipping many gods that rot, rust, and decay was the greatest sin of the Babylonians.

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While the City of Babylon was destroyed in fulfillment of the prophecy in the Holy Bible, mounds of ruins which contain the secrets of the life and civilization of the people have been excavated. Digging in these mound ruins, archeologists have uncovered revealing things about Babylon culture. Hundreds of thousands of inscribed tablets, monuments, and artifacts tell the interesting story of Babylon, whose ancient Semitic name was Bab-ilu meaning “gate of god.” The word Bab-ilu was later translated to “Babel.”

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In the Book of Genesis, Chapter II, mention is made of the so-called “Tower of Babel.” The proud Babylonians started to build a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens. Our Lord stopped their ambitious plan by scattering the people all over the earth. The Lord did more than that. He “confused their language so they will not understand each other.”

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Of all the kings that ruled the Babylonian Empire, it is the name Nebuchadnezzar that is remembered by many. For one, it was King Nebuchadnezzar who built the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Fabled for its magnificence, and considered one of the wonders of the ancient world – it was built by King Nebuchadnezzar for his wife. We also remember Nebuchadnezzar for the so-called Babylonian Captivity. The king took more than 800 Jewish captives to Babylon when he conquered Judah. Among the captives was Daniel, a God-fearing man who later became a close adviser to the king. This happened during the third year reign of Jeholakin, king of Judah. This is what the Holy Bible says: “Then the king (Nebuchadnezzar) ordered Asphenz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility – young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well-informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of Babylonians. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.” (Daniel 1:3-6)

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The Babylonian Empire lasted for 70 years. King Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest of the Babylonian kings ruled for 45 years. During its existence, the Babylonian empire was the most powerful empire that had existed up to that time. Its capital, Babylon was then the premier city of the pre-Christian world. King Nebuchadnezzar not only extended the territory of the Babylonian Empire but beautified the City of Babylon almost beyond imagination. The king built and beautified palaces and temples. Daniel, the God-fearing Jewish adviser of Nebuchadnezzar was in the City of Babylon from its rise to its fall. (To be continued)

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By the way, we are pleased to announce that we are giving out, free of charge one hundred (100) copies of a book titled, “Preparing for Eternity” by Mike Gendron. This is a book which challenges us to resolve the question: Should we trust God’s Word or religious traditions? Those interested to receive a copy, kindly email your complete mailing address.

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This column continues to give out copies of the Holy Bible for free to those who cannot afford to buy their own copies. If interested, please send your letter-request to Ms. Nelly Favis-Villafuerte, 5233 LRV Building, Fahrenheit St., Palanan, Makati City. Kindly mention if it is the Tagalog, English, Cebuano, or Ilocano Bible that is preferred.

 

Be joyful and forgiving! (Comments may be sent to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: [email protected]

 
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