Friday, May 15, 2009

Atbashing Babel

Some of my notes from an Old Testament class in seminary with Dr. George Schwab:

In Ezekiel many nations are listed for judgment, which nation is conspicuous by its absence? Babylon.

Why is Babylon not mentioned in Ezekiel’s many oracles and condemnation of the nations? Babel/Babylon represents all that stands against Yahweh and his people. Babel was a blatant challenge against God. The fall of Jerusalem was the greatest disaster to ever befall Israel. Babylon is a great evil power in Revelation. Why is Babylon not mentioned? Interestingly, in place of Babylon is the oracle against Gog and Magog. These are unknown people groups. Could “Gog” and “Magog” be Babylon?

The letters next to the letters of “Magog” reversed are “BBL” which is the letters for Babylon. Another example of this sort of thing is with the name “Sheshach” in Jer. 25:26. When the letters are made to wrap around they correspond to “BBL.” We find in Jer. 51:41 that Sheshach is indeed Babylon. “Atbash” writing is what this letter wrapping is called. This sort of code naming fits with the symbolic nature of prophecy. While it doesn’t change the nature of the prophecy, it helps to transfer the meaning to an even larger, perhaps cosmic reality. It makes it sound like we’re dealing with something huge and apocalyptic. And we are.

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