Cursed Time for Babylon and Mystery Babylon
By far, the most important study of Cursed Time is this one dealing with Babylon and Mystery Babylon. To understand Babylon in the light of the knowledge of Cursed Time is one of the most enlightening studies on Bible prophecy that I have ever known. Countless books have been written on the subject of Mystery Babylon, countless sermons preached, but to see how long God has given the world into the hands of this accursed world system-and why-seems to have eluded us. Hopefully, this chapter will shed some light on God's Plan and Purpose for Babylon in world history.
Israel "Sold" to Babylon for Eight Years
When Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, they conquered it and then divided the land among all the tribes in the seventh year. This was their first rest year in the land. The biblical record does not tell us how old Joshua was at the time, as its chronology is sketchy at this point. So we must turn to the book of Jasher to fill in the details. Jasher 90:32 tells us,
32 And it was in the twenty-sixth year after the children of Israel had passed the Jordan, that is, the sixty-sixth year after the children of Israel had departed from Egypt, that Joshua was old, advanced in years, being one hundred and eight years old in those days.
Israel left Egypt in the year 2448 and crossed the Jordan 40 years later, in 2488. Joshua was 82 years old at that time. Twenty-five-plus years later (i.e., "in the 26th year"), Joshua finally decided he was old enough to retire, after his 108th birthday. This is when he turned over the rulership to the elders of Israel, the 12 princes of the tribes (the birthright holders of each tribe). Their form of government thus changed from one-man rule to a tribal confederation.
This took place in the year 2513. The biblical record says nothing about how long this rule by the elders lasted before the nation was put under bondage to the king of Mesopotamia (Judges 3:8-10). But once again, we can turn to the book of Jasher for the details. In fact, the book of Jasher ends just before this first captivity, so this is its final dated event. We read in Jasher 91:12,
12 And the elders judged Israel after the death of Joshua for seventeen years.
We have a slight problem of interpretation here. Does the 17 years really begin with the death of Joshua, or does it begin with his retirement two years earlier? Joshua retired at 108 and died at the age of 110 (Jasher 90:47). In studying the chronology with a knowledge of Cursed Time cycles, it is apparent that the 17 years began with Joshua's retirement. We might clarify Jasher 91:12 thus,
12 And the elders judged Israel [beginning with Joshua's retirement and continuing] after the death of Joshua for [a total of] seventeen years.
The rule of the elders began, as I said above, in the year 2513, which was the 26th year from the Jordan crossing. Seventeen years later brings us to the year 2530. Israel had begun to slide into idolatry, and so we read in Judges 3:8,
8 Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.
Why does the Bible say that God "sold" Israel? Why not just say that God put Israel into bondage or captivity? The terminology itself is very significant, because it brings us back to the basic law of restitution found in Exodus 22. The law states that if a man steals something, he is to pay his victim restitution-either double, fourfold, or fivefold, depending on the situation. Of course, a thief may not have the resources to pay restitution to his victim. In such a case, Exodus 22:3 says, "if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft."
We have already seen in Chapter 1 a little of how this law works. All sin is reckoned by the judge as a debt which the sinner owes his victim. The debt is determined according to how much the sinner stole, multiplied by two, unless the stolen item cannot be returned intact and in full. In such cases, the restitution is doubled to four times the amount stolen. And if the sinner steals the tools of a man's trade (an "ox" in Ex. 22:1), the restitution is calculated as five times the amount stolen. It is a simple, but effective, system of justice that ensures the victims full recompense for their losses, while teaching sinners how to work for a living.
God's Requirement: The Fruits of the Kingdom
In the case of God selling Israel into the hand of the king of Mesopotamia, the terminology in Judges 3:8 indicates that God took Israel to the Heavenly Court of law, where He determined their guilt. Years earlier, God had brought them into the land to bring forth Fruits unto Righteousness. God came each year on the appointed times (feast days) looking for the Fruits of the Kingdom, but found none. We presume that the people brought the Firstfruits of the barley, wheat, and grapes on their appointed feast days, but these were only types and shadows of what God really required-the Fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23,
22 But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.
Jesus told a parable about this situation in Matthew 21. In this parable, He described how God had built a "vineyard" and had leased it to certain "husbandmen" who were supposed to render Him the Fruits in their seasons. We read, in Matthew 21:33-41,
33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country; 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first; and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Jesus drew most of his story from the "Song of My Beloved" found in Isaiah 5. In this song, the prophet described the vineyard in a similar way to what Jesus did,
1 .My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt Me and My vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it?. 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard; I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down. 6 And I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the House of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant.
When we compare the two passages, it is obvious that Jesus' parable was taken from Isaiah 5, and that He intended to apply it to the land of Judea and its inhabitants. God had always required the Fruits of the Kingdom, but Isaiah says the vineyard produced "wild grapes." In Jesus' parable, the vineyard produced fruit, but they refused to give the owner any. The meaning is roughly the same, but Jesus meant to emphasize certain things that went beyond Isaiah's song.
The vineyard is Israel, which formed the first Kingdom of God on the earth. God prepared the land of Canaan, and then leased it out to husbandmen (Israelites), expecting them to be productive. However, whenever it came time to bring forth fruits, the husbandmen stole the fruit for themselves. They would beat, kill, or stone God's servants, the prophets-something Jerusalem was famous for. Luke 13:33-35 says,
33 .for it cannot be that a prophet perish out [outside] of Jerusalem. 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; and verily I say unto you, ye shall not see Me until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.
It is plain to us that Jesus was talking about Jerusalem and its religious leadership. In fact, at the end of Jesus' vineyard parable, even the Pharisees "perceived that He spake of them" (Matt. 21:45). Jesus, however, was talking more broadly of Jerusalem in the long-term sense. Jerusalem had always killed its prophets and then memorialized them after they were dead (Matt. 23:29-31). The nation had never brought forth the Fruits of the Kingdom that God required.
So it was that God "sold" Israel into captivity to the king of Mesopotamia in the third chapter of Judges. They had stolen the Fruits of the Kingdom, so God brought them to Court to demand payment. Yet there was no way that Israel could pay the debt. God required Perfection under the Mosaic Covenant, but the people had not been given the fullness of the Spirit by which they might have brought forth the Fruits of the Kingdom. God was with them in an external Tabernacle, but this was insufficient for the people to bring forth God's required Fruits.
Therefore, since they had no means to pay the debt, God "sold them" to the king of Mesopotamia for their theft. Mesopotamia means "the land between two rivers" (Tigris and Euphrates). It is the old general name for Babylon. In God's court of law, the king of Babylon came to "buy" Israel's Debt Note. God sentenced Israel to work for the king of Mesopotamia (Babylon) for eight years. Babylon then became responsible to pay Israel's Debt Note. In other words, God required Babylon to bring forth the Fruits of the Kingdom.
In the divine law, when a man purchased the services of a debtor, he became responsible to pay off the debtor's note. In fact, this was the very reason for the sale. It was to find someone who was willing to pay off the Debt Note that the sinner was unable to pay. That way, the victims could be recompensed for their losses and the sinner (debtor) released from his debt.
Of course, there was no way that Babylon would be able to bring forth the Fruits of the Kingdom, as specified in Israel's Debt Note. That did not matter. God certainly knew this when He sold Israel to the king of Babylon. Nonetheless, the sale was made, and Babylon became legally liable for Israel's Debt Note.
Israel's sentence was a mere eight years of captivity, during which time they had to work for Babylon (by paying tribute, or taxes, each year). At the end of this time, God raised up Othniel, the first of the Judges. He delivered Israel from this captivity. This captivity began, as I said, in the year 2530. It ended in 2538, the 50th year from their Jordan crossing in 2488. In other words, Othniel delivered Israel from Babylon on Israel's first Jubilee in Canaan. This is a fantastic type and shadow of greater fulfillments on long-term time cycles which we have yet to discuss.
Ultimately, God sold Israel and Judah into a Babylonian captivity, not for a mere eight years, but for eight periods of 414 years. It began with this first captivity in Judges 3:8. After two cycles of 414 years, the city of Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians. But "Babylon" was bigger than a mere city or nation. Babylon is also the spirit of the world system, the kosmos. Though the city fell, its spirit lived on and continued to manifest itself through other nations: Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
So we see that the first level of fulfillment in this story was the simple eight-year captivity to the king of Mesopotamia (Babylon). But in long-term prophecy, "Babylon" included the four empires that dominated the world and ruled over Jerusalem long after Babylon's fall. When God sold Israel into the hands of the king of Mesopotamia (Babylon), that nation took upon itself the liability for Israel's debt. Because they did not pay the debt, God brought judgment upon them through Othniel after eight years.
In the long-term view, Babylon fell after 2 x 414 years. Yet in the most far-reaching fulfillment of this, "Mystery Babylon" was allowed to rule the world (including Jerusalem) for another 6 x 414 years, to the year 1948 A.D. And so, Babylon and Mystery Babylon had dominion for a total of 8 x 414 years, or eight periods of Cursed Time. This is the long-term cycle of which the short eight-year captivity was only a type and shadow.
Othniel freed Israel from its eight-year captivity on their first Jubilee year in Canaan. Thus, the year 1948 A.D. should relate in some way to a Jubilee year. It was, of course, a highly significant year, for it was the year the Jews declared the Israeli State's independence. To them, it was like a Jubilee year. And indeed, it marked the time when the original Debt Note began to be passed from the Babylonian succession of world empires to the Jews, making them responsible to bring forth the Fruits of the Kingdom. The Roman Catholic Church, however, did not recognize the Jewish state for another 50 years.
Most Protestants-especially the evangelicals and fundamentalists in America-immediately declared the new nation to be the fulfillment of the regathering of Israel into the Promised Land. They further declared that the war which broke out in 1948 was the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist would soon appear, the Jews would be saved from destruction by Jesus' return at the last minute, and they would then be converted and preach the Gospel to the world.
Obviously, this view fell on the rocks of unfulfillment. The war ended with no mass conversion to Christianity, to say nothing of Jesus' failure to return. There were too many prophecies that those preachers did not understand or simply did not believe. But we are getting ahead of ourselves again. First, let us go back to the fall of the city of Babylon and see how the great image was fulfilled in history, particularly in relation to the Debt Note that we are tracing.
The Extension of Babylon: A Succession of Empires
The fall of Babylon did not bring about the end of prophetic "Babylon." When we study the prophecies of Daniel, we find that Babylon was only the "head of gold" on a much larger image (Dan. 2). Prophecy students recognize that the fall of Babylon was like the beheading of the image of gold, but the arms of silver represented Medo-Persia; the belly of brass represented Greece; and the legs of iron represented the Roman Empire in its various forms.
Throughout the histories of these nations, we can see the history of the Debt Note as well. There is a larger manifestation than a simple eight-year captivity of Israel. God is seen to be selling all nations into the hands of Babylon (Jer. 27:7), and He expected all nations to serve that city for the allotted time. This included Judah and Jerusalem. Jeremiah's message is very clear on that point (Jer. 24-29).
Babylon did not bring forth the Fruits of the Kingdom during its allotted grace period of 828 years (2 x 414), so God brought the city into the Divine Court and demanded payment. The story is found in Daniel 5. King Belshazzar did not know that his booze party was held in God's Courtroom. God required the Fruits of the Kingdom-good grapes, instead of wild grapes. Belshazzar brought out the wine of Babylon and presented its wild grapes to God in the Temple vessels. One cannot expect God to accept the wine (doctrines or works) of Babylon, even if they are offered to Him through a form of godliness (Temple vessels).
This was unacceptable. It was not the Fruits of the Kingdom that He had in mind. So the righteous sentence of the law was written on the wall of the palace by a hand visible to all who were present. The words written were, "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin." No one knew what this meant, so they called Daniel to interpret the meaning. Daniel 5:26-28 says,
26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE: God hath numbered [audited] thy kingdom and finished it. 27 TEKEL: Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting [declared bankrupt]. 28 PERES: Thy kingdom is divided, and given [auctioned off, sold] to the Medes and Persians.
In other words, Babylon had not paid the Debt Note in the time allotted (828 years), nor brought forth the Fruits of the Kingdom, so God was selling them to the Medes and Persians. This transferred the Debt Note to the Medes and Persians. In exchange, God would make the Babylonians serve the Medes and Persians for a time. It is important to keep in mind that the Debt Note remained in existence, because God has always required the Fruits of the Kingdom and will continue to require it until a people stands up who can pay God what is due to Him (Matt. 21:43). These will be perfected people, under the anointing of the Feast of Tabernacles. They are the "Sons of God" prophesied in Scripture.
Meanwhile, the Medes and Persians were given the responsibility to bring forth the Fruits of the Kingdom, but they fared no better than did the Babylonians. This was inevitable. Thus, in 331 B.C., God sold Persia into the hands of the king of Macedonia named Alexander the Great. At that point, the Debt Note passed into the hands of the Grecian Empire, and it was given authority over all the nations. When Alexander died, the empire was divided among his four generals, and so Grecian dominance continued in this new form until the rise of Rome.
Rome took control of Jerusalem and Judea in 63 B.C., the same year that Augustus Caesar was born. This is when the Debt Note passed from Greece to Rome. The old land of Canaan, and specifically the city of Jerusalem, was the place of the original offense which generated the Debt Note in the first place. Thus, it appears that whoever controlled that territory held the Debt Note. Each of the empires in question took control of Jerusalem.
Rome itself went through various cycles and types of government, but in each case, the Debt Note remained with them in all their various forms. Rome was still a republic when it took control of Jerusalem and Judea. Shortly afterward, it became an empire under Augustus Caesar. After 312 A.D., it evolved into more of a religious empire under Constantine. As time passed, the power of the religious leaders grew to the point where the Church dominated the political scene. Then the empire itself split into two sections called the Eastern and the Western Roman Empires. The West fell in 476 A.D. to invading armies from the north, but the Eastern Roman Empire continued until 1453, when the Turks finally conquered Constantinople (now Istanbul).
When the Germanic tribes conquered Rome in 476 A.D., the city fell and the empire with it. However, those tribes did not create a Germanic Empire upon its ruins. Neither did they make any attempt to conquer and rule Jerusalem. Hence, they did not take the Debt Note. Instead, the Roman Catholic Church filled the power vacuum and inherited the Debt Note. The Church ruled the nations largely through its vassal kings, of course, and so one might make the case for a "shared" responsibility to pay off the Debt Note. But over all, historians agree that Papal Rome succeeded Imperial Rome. Therefore, from the legal standpoint, the Debt Note passed on to Papal Rome as manifested in the kings and dynasties that it crowned or recognized as "legitimate" with God-given rights to rule.
The Holy Roman Empire was established by the Papacy a few hundred years after the fall of Rome. The Hapsburg dynasty that ruled this empire did not come to a full end until 1918. By that time, General Allenby had taken Jerusalem from the Turks. Great Britain then held Jerusalem as a protectorate until 1947/48, when they passed the Debt Note to the Jews, precisely 8 x 414 years after the Debt Note was first established in the divine court of law.
It was a momentous time in history.
The Feet of Iron and Clay
The image in Daniel 2 had feet made of iron and clay. This has a number of applications in history. Insofar as the Debt Note is concerned, it would appear that this largely applies to the struggle for control of Palestine between the Muslims of the East and the Christians of the West. After Rome's decline, the next great power to take control of Palestine were the various Muslim forces. The Muslim calendar begins with the "Hegira" in 622 A.D., the date of Mohammed's flight from Mecca.
Six years after the Hegira, Mohammed conquered Mecca, and the new Islamic armies very quickly became powerful. By 637 A.D., they had conquered Jerusalem and had begun work on a mosque upon the Temple Mount.
The First Crusade from the West recaptured Jerusalem in 1099 A.D. However, the Muslims later regrouped and finally reconquered the city in 1187.
The Third Crusade did not recapture Jerusalem, but it did take a string of cities along the coast of Palestine. These remained in Latin hands for a century. A later Crusade of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II restored Jerusalem itself to Latin control in 1228 almost entirely by diplomacy, rather than by force of arms.
The Muslims recaptured Jerusalem in 1244, and the last major Christian stronghold, the city of Acre, was taken by the Muslims in 1291. And so the Holy Land once again passed into Muslim hands until British General Allenby took Jerusalem in 1917. The "iron" of Rome and the "clay" of Islam had divided the land between themselves, as control of the land went back and forth over the centuries. The kingdom was indeed divided, being part of iron, part of clay.
For all the bloodshed of the Crusades, neither side brought forth the Fruits of the Kingdom that God required. Neither side paid the Debt Note, though both sides wanted control of the land in order to assert themselves as God's Chosen. Both sides coveted control over all nations, but neither side had the capability of bringing forth the Fruits of the Kingdom that God required.
In the 1940's, various Jewish organizations felt that they were the ones called to bring forth the Fruits of the Kingdom. They, too, wanted control over Palestine and the city of Jerusalem. Working in high-level political circles in Britain, and in outright terrorist and criminal organizations in Palestine, they finally succeeded in getting Britain to put the whole question to the United Nations in 1947. The United Nations passed its Palestinian Resolution on November 29, 1947, and Britain resolved to withdraw fully within a few years. However, the Jewish terrorists (the Palmah, Irgun, and Stern gangs) continued to kill British policemen, diplomats, and even ordinary citizens, and so in May, 1948, Britain decided to leave at once.
The Jewish terrorists immediately declared the establishment of an independent State of Israel on May 14, 1948. President Truman was the first to telephone them to recognize the new state. The former terrorists now became Israeli statesmen, dedicated to eradicating the Arab terrorists who would arise next. Throughout all this, one cannot help but think of David's warning in Psalm 127:1,
1 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
God condemns Esau's descendants for pursuing blood in Ezekiel 35:6. He tells us that because they did not "hate blood" (i.e., bloodshed), that blood would pursue them as well. Jesus affirmed this by telling us that "all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matt. 26:52). This does not make basic self-defense a sin, but it certainly addresses the sin of "eating blood" (Lev. 17:12). We are not to be bloodthirsty. We are to hate bloodshed and do so only with great reluctance. Terrorists, by nature, have their priorities out of order, and this imbalance eventually consumes them.
One of those original terrorists of the Palmah in the 1940's was a young man named Rabin, lead by Moshe Dayan. It would seem that in his later years, Rabin began to see that the violent methods he had used for so many years only led to an endless cycle of more violence and simply bred more Arab terrorism. Thus, he attempted to put an end to it by making peace. Unfortunately for him, there were too many other Israelis who were bloodthirsty, and one of them assassinated Rabin. The assassin's stated reason was precisely what Rabin's reasoning had been in his earlier years. Thus, Rabin died because of the same principle by which he had killed others. Is this not an ironic conclusion that proves Jesus' words to be true? Those who live by the sword will die by it.
When the Israeli state's independence was declared in May of 1948, little did anyone realize that Babylon's mandate had just ended after eight cycles of 414 years, six of them from the fall of Babylon in 537 B.C. God was about to do a new thing to bring all things to a climax of history. The vast majority of evangelical Christianity immediately pronounced this to be the beginning of a seven-year countdown toward the second coming of Christ and the "great tribulation." It is obvious that this did not occur.
The Roman Catholic Church finally recognized the Jewish state on December 30, 1993. It was 46 years after the United Nations' Palestinian Resolution had been passed on Nov. 29, 1947. It took 46 years to build, or remodel, Herod's temple (John 2:20), and the Roman Church then recognized the Jews as "Israel," the holders of Joseph's birthright. The year 1993-94 was also the 40th Jubilee of the Church under Pentecost since its inception in 33 A.D. Pope Paul II then visited "Israel" officially visit in March of 2000 A.D., calling the Jews "Israel" and "the people of the covenant." Few understand that the Vatican was telling the world that it now recognized the Jews as being in a covenant relationship with God as His Kingdom on earth.
This was a major departure from Church doctrine. Recognizing the Jews as "Israel" means that the Roman Catholic Church finally agreed with the majority of Protestant denominations in saying that the Jews possess the birthright name "Israel" that Jacob gave to the sons of Joseph in Genesis 48:16. In essence, they again became God's chosen without having to repent of anything and without having to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The transfer of the Debt Note to the Jews was thus completed over a period of time, beginning in 1947-48 and being fully ratified by the Church in 1993-2000 A.D.