Discourse 53 - The war in Iraq: has Babylon fallen?




The Fate of Iraq. / Book Roger Liebi, pp 60f

Israel in the area of tension between blessing and curse / Book Roger Liebi, pp 77 ff

Do the acts of war in Syria have a prophetic background? /    Part 1  Discourse 113 

Does the Bible predict the Syrian civil war chaos for the Last Days? /    Part 2  Discourse 1132

The Great Tribulation - God’s third and last wave of destruction. /    Part 3  Discourse 1133


Roger Liebi (born 1958) is a Swiss author, who besides giving lectures in Europe, Africa and the Near East has published numerous articles as a linguistics expert; he also teaches Hebrew. On 25. 4. 2003 he gave a lecture in Munich on “The Fate of Iraq”. He relied here in great measure on his previously published book, “Israel und das Schicksal des Irak” [“Israel and the Fate of Iraq”], in which he attempts to demonstrate, in the light of the statements made about Babylon in Isaiah, Chapters 13 and 14, and Jeremiah, Chapters 50 and 51, the connection between these biblical prophecies and the Gulf War of 1991 against Iraq - the former Babylonia.
Some of the author’s remarks are of exceeding interest, and we will quote a few of them here, taking them both from this book and from his Munich lecture. We will then go on to examine their plausibility in the light of the Bible.


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The Fate of Iraq / Book RL00, pp 60f)

On 28 February 1991, the day when Kuwait City was liberated, the whole world could see what Isaiah had long ago foreseen in vision: as the coalition forces approached Kuwait City, the city of the Emir Jaber es-Sabah, in order to liberate it, they were greeted by the Kuwaiti populace with loud acclamation. People waved at the incoming troops, and American and Kuwaiti flags were in evidence everywhere as a symbol of the victory celebration.

The liberators were impressively described by Isaiah in the following verses (Isa 13,3-5). This is God speaking in person:

“I have commanded My consecrated ones, I have even called My mighty warriors, My proudly exulting ones, To execute My anger.

A sound of tumult on the mountains, Like that of many people!

A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, Of nations gathered together!

The LORD of hosts is mustering the army for battle. They are coming from a far country, From the farthest horizons, The LORD and His instruments of indignation, To destroy the whole land.”


How very much to the point these words of Isaiah’s are!

Anyone who saw the pictures of that day of the Gulf War, 28 February 1991, will know how “proudly exulting” the coalition troops were as they marched into Kuwait City.

The soldiers who came to fight against Iraq were drawn from more than thirty different nations. The rumor of war coming from these assembled nations caused the whole world to prick up its ears.

The lion’s share of the anti-Iraq coalition was from the United States. Seen from the point of view of Iraq, they did indeed come “from the farthest horizons”. This is a typical idiom of classical Hebrew: “from the farthest horizons” means “from a region that is geographically very remote”. And it can be applied to many other military contingents of the coalition..

The devastation wrought by the allied forces in Iraq is almost indescribable. The whole country was literally razed to the foundations. (...)

DVerses 1-5 were fulfilled, in a most dramatic way, in the Gulf War of 1991. This was the first phase of the judgment on Babylon.

+) This extract is taken from the book “Israel und das Schicksal des Irak” [“Israel and the Fate of Iraq”] by Roger Liebi, published in 1993 by Schwengler Verlag [Schwengler Press], CH 9442 Berneck, SWITZERLAND (ISBN 3-85666-141-7).



To begin with I must express my unreserved agreement with the author: it is quite remarkable with what a degree of precision these prophecies of Isaiah, from the year 740 BC, correspond with the actual events 2730 years later, when Kuwait was liberated in the course of the 1991 Gulf War.

After 1991 it was frequently pointed out, in the context of discussions of this kind, that such a case of the correspondence of events can equally well be seen as having come about by coincidence, or just as illustrating the fact that the Near East has after all been a focus of unrest for thousands of years. But now that Iraq more recently, in the year 2003, has yet again been attacked and defeated by a military coalition, this line of argument finds itself somewhat in need of reinforcement.

This is because as objective observers we have to ask ourselves how it is that of all nations this small and nowadays relatively insignificant country (insignificant if we leave the oil issue out of account, and after all there is oil in other countries too, like Saudi Arabia, which do not become a theater of war for this reason) should call forth such international reactions on repeated occasions.

The justification for the war advanced by the anti-Iraq coalition was the supposed existence of weapons of mass destruction. Up to the present time, none such have been found on Iraqi soil. The exploitation of Iraqi oil reserves by the USA and Great Britain will have to be under the control of UNO and the OPEC, if it is to come about at all. If we take into account the cost of rehabilitating the Iraqi pipeline systems which were damaged or destroyed in the war, to the tune of something like two billion dollars, the powers that have occupied the country will not find sufficient business advantages here to justify the horrendous costs of a war of this nature - estimated at 1 billion dollars for every day of combat. And then, too, the fully understandable question suggests itself: if it is weapons of mass destruction that are at issue, why was not North Korea made the target of such a campaign - a country in which, as has been admitted, such activities are going on?

It may help us to answer this question if we reflect on the fact that it was the Americans on both occasions who took the initiative and who constituted the “lion’s share” (as Mr Liebi puts it in the above passage) of the combative forces. Now we know that the military lobby, supported by the armaments industry, has been a powerful influence on US administrations from time immemorial. But at times like the present - where America again has a budget deficit in the hundreds of billions - even this influence may have lost something of its absolute force.

We can see from this, however, what groups are in fact in a position to exercise a significant influence on America’s Near Eastern politics - and it comes down to the world of finance: the Rothschilds and their entourage for instance, who do not just have their banks in all international banking centers, but also - as the éminences grises and supreme guardians of the FED (Federal Reserve Banks) - are able in the USA to guarantee the financial leeway for campaigns such as this.

In the past this East Coast banking group supported and made possible the foundation and organization of the state of Israel, on the basis of massive financial contributions from the start of the last century through to the foundation of Israel as a state in the year 1948. After Theodor Herzl, the leader of the Zionist movement at the time, it is thought today to have been owing to these Jewish American financiers that it was possible for the Israeli state to be created, and their influence on American politics has since been exercised on Israel’s behalf in every respect - with an annual outlay of around three billion dollars.

Just as David Ben Gurion, the former Israeli President, saw the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 as the gathering of the people of Israel into its own land that had been promised by God and prophesied by the prophets - and gave public proclamation to the fact - so it would now be possible for the Jews to project the prophecies of their prophets relating to the downfall of Babylon, quite correctly, onto Iraq, the successor nation. And if the Rothschilds have read their Prophetic Books (the books of the prophets of the Old Testament, that is), they might also have an interest in protecting the nation of Israel, recently reestablished after almost 2,000 years, from a possible annihilation by the “King of Babylon”, the ruler of Iraq, the evil from the north (Jer 4,5-6; 6,1-30). And that not just when he has started his attack, but in a prophylactic manner so to speak, preventing the enemy from taking the field in the first place at all.

This could have been in the case in the first war against Iraq, the Gulf War of 1991; and equally it could be one of the reasons why now, in 2003, Iraq of all countries has been attacked once again, in violation of the law of nations.

If, however, we look at the situation today - 2 months after President Bush’s announcement on 1 May 2003 that the war was over - we see a rather different picture. In the first place, Iraq has not been “razed to the foundations” by this second war either. Anyone familiar with the situation in Baghdad knows that the devastation of the city caused by plundering on the part of the native population has been more than all the damage caused by the war itself. And then too, it is by no means the case that the “Babylonians” have been annihilated. On the contrary, the occupying forces are finding it more and more difficult to keep the anger and fury of the Iraqi populace in check, and to guard against surprise assaults, ambushes and attacks by partisans. At the present time around 15 Iraqis and 1 to 2 Americans are dying every day.

(See also the interview with Vidal Gore, the cousin of Al Gore, former vice-president of the USA: “The Americans do not want wars”.)


This is now the point where both over-hasty Christian biblical commentators and Jewish American political strategists might be laboring under a misapprehension. If we are to quote the prophets, then we should quote the relevant passage in full. And here both Isaiah and Jeremiah say that Babylon - which is to say, Iraq - will yet become the most powerful country in the world. And beyond doubt these words of the prophet Isaiah are just as much to the point as the passage quoted by Mr Liebi above. In the same chapter we find the following:

Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride.

Isa 13,17 Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against them, Who will not value silver or take pleasure in gold. 13,18 And their bows will mow down the young men, They will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb, Nor will their eye pity children. 13,19 And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

13,20 It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, Nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there. 13,21 But desert creatures will lie down there, And their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there. Isa 13,17-21;


It is clear from the above passage that this Babel (Babylon), the annihilation of which is prophesied here, cannot possibly be the Iraq of our own day. Iraq was not “the beauty of kingdoms”, nor, after the preventive war of the Allied powers, was the country ravaged to such an extent as to make it uninhabitable.

The author quoted at the beginning of this discourse is fully aware of these circumstances, seeing that he writes, with reference to the first part of the prophecy in Isa 13,3-5:

“This was the first phase of the judgment on Babylon.”


And he too quotes Isa 13,19-20 (cited by me above), and comments:

“The concluding phase of the judgment on Babylon will result in a final and total devastation, in consequence of which the region will cease to be inhabited.”


But on the other hand we are told (p. 61):

“As shown in the last chapter, these two phases are separated just by a relatively short time interval. Nowhere, though, do we find any definite statement as to the distance in time between the two phases, and this is a thing we must be careful to bear in mind.”


And this interpolation, now, is very wise. When we reflect that this interpretation relates to the first war with Iraq in 1991, now that after the passing of twelve years a second Iraqi war has actually taken place - without its being possible to say that this is the second and “concluding phase” - then this estimate of a “relatively short time interval” does seem rather strained.

But that is just the way it is, after all, with the prophecies of the Bible: they come to pass when God judges the time is ripe, and not as we human beings have imagined. It is however possible to guard against such errors if we analyze a passage in its entirety, and so draw from it realistic conclusions.

If we carefully examine the context here, we can see that a “relatively short time interval” is far from being enough. We must not lose sight of the fact that Iraq, once the cradle of world civilization under the Sumerians, must first become the “beauty of kingdoms” - meaning something like the most beautiful (or most powerful?) nation on earth - only so can the conditions for the fulfillment of this prophecy be supplied. But if we contemplate the present state of the country, we are forced to recognize that every war waged against Iraq extends this span of time still further, and so also, in the last resort, postpones the events of the Last Days for the whole world. One thing is certain, though: whatever actions humanity may undertake, the fulfillment of God’s prophecies may be postponed but cannot be averted.

It was a similar situation, indeed, when the state of Israel was founded in the year 1948. Theodor Herzl, the Rothschilds and Ben Gurion thought that this was the gathering of the people of Israel to its own land that had been promised by God. But they had not taken the trouble to read the full text of the writings of their prophets - otherwise they would have realized that in this case too the conditions for the fulfillment of the prophecy at the present time did not exist.

(See also Discourse 08: “The gathering of Israel: already since 1948, or not to happen until the Last Days?”)

By contrast with his lecture, where Mr Liebi has little to say about Israel, his book devotes a great deal more space to this topic. Thus he explicitly indicates the difficult time that Israel, according to Old Testament prophecy, will yet have to undergo.


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Israel in the area of tension between blessing and curse / Book Roger Liebi, p. 77 +))

The future of the people of Israel will be decided, likewise, by its relation to Jesus the Messiah.

Israel will yet be forced to undergo an unprecedentedly difficult and dreadful time. Jeremiah called this “the time of Jacob’s distress” (Jeremiah 30,7). Israel will be afflicted with a massive military attack by the Arab world. Two thirds of the Jewish population of Israel will lose their lives as a result. But the remaining third will be saved from total annihilation by the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah. (...)

Jerusalem as a “stumbling block” (Zech 12,3).
Zechariah prophesied that at a future time Jerusalem will find itself at the center of a dreadful military escalation. In Zechariah 12,2, God says:

“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around.”


The apple of discord, Jerusalem, will deprive the Arab peoples who live around Israel of any capacity for objective thinking, leaving them bereft of every sober consideration. They will fall upon Israel in a spirit of blind fanaticism.

+) This extract is taken from the book “Israel und das Schicksal des Irak” [“Israel and the Fate of Iraq”] by Roger Liebi, published in 1993 by Schwengler Verlag [Schwengler Press], CH 9442 Berneck, SWITZERLAND (ISBN 3-85666-141-7).



Here we can only express our complete and unreserved agreement with the author. And although his argument relates exclusively to the Old Testament, we can find statements that are just as definite in the New Testament, both with reference to Babylon (Rev 17 and 18) and also, and in particular, relating to future developments in Israel and Jerusalem (Lk 21,20-24, Rev 11,1-2). According to Scripture, Israel will - for reasons of which not the least significant is its premature return in the year 1948, at a time unblessed by God - regrettably yet be compelled to undergo another dispersion from its homeland, for the last time, and be once again scattered through the world.

(See also Chapter 02: “The conquest and the dispersion of Jerusalem.”)




Conclusion

In conclusion we can state that the importance of the temporal aspect is exaggerated, both in the book and in the lecture. The proof of this is the second war against Iraq, which the Americans recently declared was over: this has by no means brought about that conclusive result which the author prognosticates for the “second phase”.

In terms of content, on the other hand, the author’s statements stand on firm biblical foundations, and they make a refreshingly realistic contribution - after the countless and rather unconvincing attempts that have been made to see Babylon as standing for the Catholic Church - to the better understanding of the major and complex theme that Babylon represents in scriptural interpretation.