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hundred years before, was still upon the scroll of the Book, the sure Word of God, who sees the end from the beginning.
The view given us by Apollonius is perhaps the last glimpse we have of Babylon's passing glory. Even then for centuries the walls had been a quarry from which stones were drawn for Babylon's rival, Seleucia, on the Tigris. And
Strabo, the Greek geographer, who also wrote in the first, century, had described Babylon as "in great part deserted,” adding,
“No one would hesitate to apply to it what one of the comic writers said of Megalopolitæ, in Arcadia, "The great city is a great desert.?” -“Geography,” book 16, chap. 1.
Already pagan writers had begun to describe its condition in the terms of the prophecy uttered so long before. And now what is its state? The doom foretold has fallen heavy upon the city, upon its palaces, and "upon the graven images of Babylon." For a century and more, travelers' accounts have frequently borne witness to the exact fulfilment of the
prophecy in the remarkable desolations of that city, once mistress of the world.
“Babylon shall become heaps," said the prophecy, "and owls shall dwell there." This is what Mr. Layard, the English archeologist, found on his visit in 1845:
“Shapeless heaps of rubbish cover for many an acre the face of the land. . . . On all sides, fragments of glass, marble, pottery, and inscribed brick are mingled with that peculiar nitrous and blanched soil, which, bred from the remains of ancient habitations, checks or destroys vegetation, and renders the site of Babylon a naked and a hideous waste. Owls (which are of a large gray kind, and often found in flocks of nearly a hundred] start from the scanty thickets, and the foul jackal skulks through the furrows."-"Discoveries Among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon," chap. 21, p. 413.
The prophecy said, “Neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there.” The words might be construed to mean that the famous site would never become the place of a Bedouin village. But it is literally true, say travelers, that the Arabs avoid the place even for the temporary pitching of their tents. They consider the spot -under a curse. They call the ruins Mudjelibe, “the Overturned.” (See “Encyclo
.” pedia of Islam," art. "Babil.")
As late as 1913, Missionary W. C. Ising visited the site where Professor Koldeway was excavating the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar's palace. He wrote:
“Involuntarily one is reminded of the prophecy in the thirteenth of Isaiah and many other places, which, in course of time, have been fulfilled to the letter. No one is living on the site of ancient Babylon, and whatever Arabs are employed by the excavators have built their mud huts in the bed of the ancient river, which at the present time is shifted half a mile farther west.”- European Division Quarterly, Fourth Quarter, 1913.
Egypt and Edom The massive ruins by the Nile bear witness to prophecy fulfilled. When Egypt rivaled Babylon, the word was spoken: “It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations.” Eze. 29:15. It was not utterly to pass, as Babylon, but to continue in inferior state. Thus it came to pass. Once populous Edom, famed for wisdom and counsel, now lies desolate, according to the word: “Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished.” . Jer. 49:17.
The Testimony of History Thus the centuries bear testimony to the fulfilment of the prophetic word. The panorama of all human history moves before us in these writings of the prophets. Flinging their
"colossal shadows" across the pages of Holy Writ, as Farrar says, we see
“The giant forms of empires on their way
To ruin.” It is no human book that thus from primitive times forecasts the march of history through the ages.
The Lord not only spoke the word in warning and entreaty for those to whom it first came, but it is written in the Scriptures of truth as a testimony to all time, that the Bible is the word of God, and that all His purposes revealed therein and all the promises of the blessed Book are certain and sure. The prophetz who bore messages from God to Nineveh, and Babylon, and Tyre, spoke messages also for our day.
Fulfilled prophecy is the testimony cf the centuries to the living God. The evidence of prophecy and its fulfilment is God's challenge and appeal to men to acknowledge Him as the true God and the Holy Scriptures as His word from heaven.
“I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I showed it thee. . . . Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it?” Isa. 48:3-6.
Surely no one can look at the evidence in history of the fulfilment of prophecy without seeing that of a truth the One who spoke these words knew the cnd from the beginning; and finding the living God in the sure word of prophecy, one must be prepared to listen to His voice in all the Scriptures, when it speaks of sin and the way of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Further, the prophetic word also has much to say of events yet future, of the course of history in modern times. It behooves us to give heed to what that word speaks concerning our own times and the events that are to take place upon the earth before the end. The apostle Peter exhorts us to the study in these words:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.”
2 Peter 1:19.