Iraq In The Bible
Parts 1, 2, 3
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But, do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The name Iraq, mean country with deep roots. Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible. Here’s why.
Eden was in Iraq – Genesis 2:10-14
Adam & Ever were created in Iraq – Genesis 2:7-8
Satan made his first recorded appearance in Iraq – Genesis 3:1-6
Nimrod established the Babylon & the Tower of Babel was built in Iraq – Genesis 10: 8-9 7 & 11:1-4
The confusion of the languages took place in Iraq – Genesis 11:5-11
Abraham came from a city in Iraq –> Genesis 11:31 & Acts 7:2-4
Isaac’s bride came from Iraq – Genesis 24:3-4 & 10
Jacob Spent 20 years in Iraq – Genesis 27:42-45 & 31:38
The first world Empire was in Iraq –> Daniel 1:1-2 & 2:36-38
The greatest revival in history was in a city in Iraq – Jonah 3
The events of the book of Esther took place in Iraq – Esther
The book of Nahum was a prophecy against a city in Iraq – Nahum
The book of Revelation has prophecies against Babylon, which was the old name for the nation of Iraq – Revelation 17 & 18
I believe we will be in a war with Babylon/Iraq before the end of February 2003. In fact, Saddam Hussein, the iron-fisted, fanatical dictator considers himself to be the second Nebuchadnezzar and was pouring in massive resources to rebuild the ancient city of Babylon before the Gulf War.
Before I move on, it is important to note that the capital city of ancient Babylon (Babylonia) is also called Babylon. Jerusalem, the biblical capital of Israel is commonly known as the City of God. That being true, the City of Babylon can be called the City of Satan. Prophetically, in the end times good will come to and from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4-9) and bad and evil will come to and from Babylon (Revelation 14:8; 17:5-6; 18:2-4). In light of the prophetic significance of Iraq/Babylon, I believe we need to understand the history of Iraq/Babylon in the Bible. You may be surprised when you see how big a place in the Bible Iraq plays.
Turn in your Bibles to Genesis 2:10-14. We see in verse 10 that "a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads." Then four rivers are named: Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and the Euphrates. No one knows where the Pison was and neither do they know where the Gihon was. However, the Hiddekel River is sometimes called the Tigris River, even to this day. The Euphrates River is identified in the passage. Therefore, the greater part of Bible scholars believe that Eden was somewhere in the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Eden was the perfect setting! Adam talked freely with the Lord in the cool of the day. But, their fellowship with God was shattered when Satan deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit and Adam knowingly ate of the forbidden fruit. Sin entered the world and spiritual death (separation from God) followed directly (Genesis 3). Physical death followed later.
It seemed that all hope was lost. Man was doomed! However, God intervened and tucked in a promise, giving them hope. Genesis 3:15 is the first promise of a coming Savior in the Bible -- "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." But, Satan moved to block hope. He thrives on making people hopeless to this day. So, how did Satan try to block mankind’s hope. He tried to corrupt the entire human race. Genesis 6:1-2 tells us of the union between the sons of God and the daughters of men. Now I know that there are those like myself who believe the sons of God are fallen angelic beings who co-habited with human women. Others believe that this refers to intermarriage between the unrighteous line of Cain and the righteous line of Seth. I am not here to advocate either position, but merely to point out the result -- Genesis 6:5 "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." There was perpetual wickedness worldwide. God was grieved and regretted making man. It appeared that all of humanity was in the grip of Satan and had been totally corrupted by the unholy union between the sons of God and the daughters of men. However, not everyone had been corrupted as we see in Genesis 6:8 "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD."
As you will recall, God sent a world wide flood, destroying every human on the face of the earth except Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. On the other side of the flood God blessed faithful Noah and his family and gave them instructions to repopulate the world (Genesis 9:1). The line of the Savior was thus preserved.
If you follow the family tree of Noah, I would have you note his great Grandson. Turn to Genesis 10:8-9 "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD." We know this from context that Nimrod was a rebel against God. "Nimrod" means let us revolt. Further, the phrase in verse 9 "a mighty hunter before the LORD" implies being a hunter of not only animals but of men. "Hunting," according to Aristotle, "is a part of the military art, which is to be used both on beasts, and on such men who are made to be ruled, but are not willing."
Further, we know that Nimrod was the builder of the city of Babel (later called Babylon) and several other cities in "the land of Shinar" which is the nation Babylon or Iraq (Genesis 10:10). He was also the prime mover in the building of the Tower of Babel. Herodotus informs us that "the tower of Babel, was a furlong, or 660 feet, in length and breadth;’ and, according to Strabo, it rose to the same altitude. It was of a pyramidical form, consisting of eight square towers, gradually decreasing in breadth, with a winding ascent on the outside, so very broad as to allow horses and carriages to pass each other, and even to turn.
The purpose of the city was to centralize power into a single kingdom. It was an effort at man-made unity and one world government (Genesis 11:4-6), when God had instructed the human race to spread all over the earth (Genesis 9:1). There’s more. Babel and its tower is the mother of all false religions. The tower was erected for the practice of astrology and to worship the sun. According to ancient writings, Semiramis was the wife of Nimrod. She became the high priestess of the Babylonian religion and was called the Queen of Heaven." As the ancient legend says, Nimrod died and became the sun god. His wife Semiramis was impregnated by a sunbeam and gives birth to her son Tammuz (a counterfeit miraculous birth). Later Tammuz is killed by a wild boar. However, after Semiramis cries for 40 days, Tammuz comes back to life again, which is a counterfeit of the resurrection. In fact, this is the origin of a counterfeit religious system that revolves around the worship of a mother and child. In fact, during the Babylonian captivity Jeremiah the prophet Israel’s worship of Semiramis "Queen of Heaven." (Jeremiah 7:18-19; 44:15-30). In fact, at Jerusalem, in the Temple, they were worshipping Tammuz, the son of Semiramis (Ezekiel 8:14-15). This diabolical worship spread across the world. In Egypt Semarimis is called Isis and her son is Osiris. In Assyria it was Ishtar and Bacchus. In Asia it was Cybele and Deoius. In ancient Greece it was Aphrodite and Eros and in ancient Rome it was Venus and Cupit. The names and places of mother-child worship change from country to country down though the ages. It permeates Roman Catholicism. But know this, from Babylon has emerged all the false religions of history. We should not be surprised when Babylon is called "…BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." Revelation 17:5
Acts 7:2-4 "And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, 3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. 4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell."
I have a genuine cuneiform tablet that comes from the area of Abraham’s hometown, and from about the time that he lived there. We know that Abram lived in Mesopotamia, which is present day Iraq (Acts 7:2). Further, we know that Ur was the city he lived in when God called him. Genesis 11:31 "And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
Abraham’s native city is believed to have been in southern Mesopotamia, strategically situated about half way between the head of the Persian Gulf and Bagdad, in present day Iraq. The inhabitance of Ur worshipped the pagan moon-god Sin. We know that Abraham’s father Terah and his grandfather Nahor were worshippers of false gods (Joshua 24:2).
Abraham obeyed God and left Ur, traveling northwest about 800 miles to Haran called Charran in the New Testament. Terah obviously believed he was supposed to accompany his son into this "promised land." But, something happened before they got there which caused them to make a temporary stop at Haran. Haran was on the main trade route between Babylon and the Mediterranean Sea. They stayed there till his father Terah died. Then Abraham continued on to the land of Canaan, as the Lord had commanded him. While I do not know for sure, I would believe that God sidetracked Abraham because He knew the idolatrous influence of his father Terah would hinder the purpose He had for Abraham.
Please remember, God promised to bless all the nations of the earth through Abraham (Genesis 18:18) and, that comes to pass in two ways; 1) the recorded Word of God was committed the offspring of Abraham, the Jews (Romans 3:2) and 2) the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Savior is, called the "…son of Abraham." (Matthew 1:1). That is, Christ came through the line of Abraham.
Abraham sends Elieazar, his servant, to get Isaac a wife. He comes back with Rebekah from Mesopotamia (Iraq) who becomes his wife and later bares twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau is born first.
Genesis 24:3-4 & 10"And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. 10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor." Probably located southeast of Haran.
Jacob, whose name is later changed to Israel, was a schemer and deceiver. He traded his brother Esau the double portion of his father’s inheritance for bread and red lentil soup (Genesis 25:30-34). There was still the blessing of the eldest son that was to be Esau’s. However, Jacob wanted to strip Esau of that blessing too. So he, with his mother plotted, tricking his father Isaac into believing that he was Esau. His father is deceived and gives him Esau’s blessing. As a result, Esau hated Jacob and threatened to kill him (Genesis 27:41). As a result, his mother, who was party to the deception, urged him to flee to Haran and stay with her brother Laban until Esau calmed down (Genesis 27:42-45). Now, Laban has two daughters. The older was Leah. She had poor eyesight. Her younger sister, Rachel was very attractive. Jacob agreed to work for sever years for Rachel. When he had fulfilled the agreement, Laban tricked him and gave him Leah. When he discovered what had happened, he would not be deterred. He worked another seven years for Rachel (Genesis 29:15-28). The deceiver was deceived. All together, we know the Jacob spent twenty years in Iraq and God blessed him while he was there (Genesis 31:38).
There is about 1500 years between the establishment of Babylon by Nimrod and the world wide Babylonian Empire established and ruled by Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 B.C.). Israel had rebelled against God. They were serving other gods. Therefore, God judged the nation Israel, using Babylon as His instrument of judgment. This took place "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah…" (Daniel 1:1). What was the result? "The Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah [609-597 B.C.] into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar [Babylon] to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god." (Daniel 1:2). Many of the best youth were taken captive to Babylon. "Now, among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah." (Daniel 1:6). Altogether, the Jews spent 70 years in Babylonian captivity.
So, why is that import to us? Nebuchadnezzar represent the beginning of what is called the times of the Gentiles. Luke 21:24 says, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Let me give you a simple explanation of this verse. Gentile nations will dominate the Jewish nation beginning with Nebuchadnezzar until a divinely appointed ruler from the tribe of Judah and of the line of David sits on the throne in Jerusalem. That is none other than Jesus Christ the Lord.
Now, back to Nebuchadnezzar. In Daniel 2, we read the account of a dream that king Nebuchadnezzar had. He could not remember and did not know the meaning of his dream. The king calls in all of his occult advisers: magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans, (the pagan priests of their occult religion). He demanded that they interpret his dream. However, they are totally helpless to give the king an answer. However, Daniel, one of the Israeli captives, comes forth and made this statement – "But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;" Daniel 2:28. Daniel then recounted the dream the king had (Daniel 2:28) and then proceeds to interpret the prophetic dream. In our next message, we will look at the giant image Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about. We will look at the nations the image represented and find out what the identity of the stone that destroys the image.
Let’s look at the giant image Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about and find out what nations are represented. We will see that this image gives us an historical overview of the key Gentile powers that will reign during the Times of The Gentiles.
ü The Head Of Gold = Babylon
Nebuchadnezzar was the dread sovereign of the Babylonian Empire. You will recall that he was responsible for one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the hanging gardens of Babylon. Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that he is the head of gold. Turn to Daniel 2:36-38 "This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold."
ü The Chest & Arms Of Silver= Medo-Persia Empire
The chest and arms of silver was the kingdom of the Medes and Persians (vs.32, 39). Cyrus (580-529 BC) founded his empire by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes, the Medes and the Persians. The unity was enabled because his father was a Mede and his mother was a Persian. He did not conquer Babylon in the days of Nebuchadnezzar but during the reign of his grandson Belshazzar. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and
magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated. When he conquered Babylon, he did so to cheers from the Jewish Community, who welcomed him as a liberator. In fact, he allowed the Jews, 40,000 of them, to return to the Promised Land. He showed great forbearance and respect towards the religious beliefs and cultural traditions of other races. These qualities earned him the respect and homage of all the people over whom he ruled. In Cyrus’ time his kingdom was opulent. However in the hands of later kings it shrunk much, in prosperity, grandeur and glory, especially in the reigns of Cyrus the younger, and of Artaxerxes Mnemon. The events of the book of Esther take place during his reign when wicked Haman saught to exterminate the remaining Jews from the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire. It is only through Queen Eshter, who is a Jew, that this disaster is prevented. I am reminded of the words of Mordecai to Esther -- Esther 4:14 "For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" These words remind us that we are all here for a purpose under God’s plan! Finally, the Persian Empire ceased in reign of Darius III (Codomannus) (336–330 B.C.) because it was conquered by Alexander the Great. Today the country of Iran encompasses much of that old empire.
ü Belly and His Thighs of Brass = Grecian Empire
Alexander III, more commonly known as Alexander the Great, was one of the greatest military leaders in world history. The exact date of his birth is uncertain, but most likely he was morn either July 20 or 26, 356 B.C. He conquered Persia in a military campaign that lasted from 334 to 329 A.D. Alexander’s Grecian Empire is represented in the belly and thighs of brass (39b). Alexander had seven wives. Roxanne was his favorite wife. He married her in 327 B.C Roxanne was a Persian, and by the time he married her, he had total control of Persian Empire. However, his leadership of the Greek Empire was short-lived. Toward the end May 323 B.C. Alexander became ill after a party. He died in early June of that same year. He was just 32 when he died. His death hastened by his heavy drinking and being shot in the chest with an arrow. He was buried in Alexandria, Egypt. Out of this empire arises a diabolical leader named Antiochus Epiphanes. His persecution of the Jewish people and defilement of the Temple is prophesied by Daniel in Daniel 8:9-14. His atrocities are recorded in the first six chapters of the apocryphal book of Maccabees. To be sure the apocryphal books are not Holy Spirit inspired. However, some of them record important historical information.
ü Legs of Iron = Roman Empire
Next we come to the Roman Empire. Turn to Daniel 2:40 "And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise." As you can see, the Roman Empire is depicted by the legs of Iron. It was the Roman Empire the ruled over Israel when Christ was born. In 66 A.D. the Roman came to Jerusalem to put down a rebellion. Four years later, they broke through the city wall, ransacked the city, destroyed the Temple and dispersed the Jews all over the face of the earth.
The Roman empire was never really conquered, it simply degenerated.
ü Feet of Iron and Clay = The Revived Roman Empire
The feet and 10 toes depicts the fourth empire’s revival in some form at the end of the age, only to be destroyed. Turn to Daniel 2:33-35 "His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."
The stone is Christ and His kingdom.
There is more to come.