And I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen!” Revelation 18:1,2
During the past two months, the world has watched as the nations have squared off over a small plot of valuable real estate – Kuwait – the United Nations have declared war on Iraq, a military dictatorship ruled by Saddam Hussein and have boldly demanded: “Get out of Kuwait!”
While some would say that this is a battle for oil, others in the Arab world say that it is a struggle of Islam against “the Great Satan.” But from a biblical perspective, this is a struggle of a much wider proportion.
When we speak of Iraq, Kuwait and Iran, nations which have troubled America since the Carter administration, we should understand that these nations encompass lands which once included the ancient kingdoms of the Chaldeans, the Medes and the Persians – known to biblical authors as – Babylon.
The verse in Revelation 18 “Babylon is fallen!” speaks of the ultimate triumph of God’s kingdom and gives us an assurance that His glory will one day fill the whole earth. We have seen this process unfold dramatically in our lifetime.
During the past two years, the world has watched as communism – the great enemy of freedom – has fallen. The people of many nations quickly overturned their communist governments in favor of a more democratic representation of their people. Now a confrontation in the Middle East promises to overturn another great power – Islam.
The Muslim people of the world are not the targets of this confrontation. They, too, will be liberated. With communism almost eliminated from the contest for the hearts and minds of the human race, there are only two great remaining forces competing for world dominion – Christianity and Islam.
One ideology teaches that true religion is Christ being formed within the hearts of a community of believers; the other teaches that favor with God is attainable through good conduct, prayers, fasts and pilgrimages.
The essential conflict between these two worldviews is reflected in the view of human nature offered by each. Christianity views man’s nature as being essentially wicked; all are weak and unable to please God. We can only continue to cause great evil to happen in the world unless Jesus Christ takes up habitation within our hearts. Islam, on the other hand, teaches that man is capable of pleasing God. Retaining a willful nature, the Muslim is to enforce the dictates of Allah on the unconverted remnant of creation.
The military conflict in the Middle East is only a reflection of a much greater conflict that is happening in the spiritual realm, or, if you are not inclined to think in such terms, it is a battle of ideas or two conflicting worldviews which cannot exist peaceably in the same universe. Both of these two remaining forces insist on total world dominion.
The outcome of the contest is coming quickly to a close. The result of the struggle will be determined by the fact that one group has been instructed that the battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The other company has been taught that power comes through domination; that bloodshed is the key to gaining control. Warfare is relegated to earthly struggles of the armies of the nations against each other.
Historically speaking, the kingdom of Babylon has been in a state of perpetual enmity with Israel. In 534 B.C., the nation of Israel was held captive by the kingdom of Babylon. Daniel the prophet realized that the time for his people’s emancipation was drawing near. After many days of fasting, the angel Gabriel appeared to him.
Daniel chapter 10 speaks to us of the unseen battle that is even now raging. Gabriel informed Daniel, “From the first day that you set your heart toward prayer, I came in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me for 21 days. But lo! Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me.”
At the center of this modern war with Iraq, there is spiritual battle which has been raging since the beginning of time. We can be certain that the same angelic and demonic princes are involved. This battle is a contest for the hearts and minds of men which is always focused around God’s people, natural Israel and the Church of Jesus Christ.
As God’s people pray, Michael the archangel, guardian of Israel, and captain of the Lord’s angelic hosts is doing battle with the prince of Persia. This is a spiritual reality that will go unreported by ABC’s Nightline and CNN.
When we speak of Babylon, the modern nation of Iraq and the religion of Islam, we are also dealing with the prince of Persia. The outcome of this spiritual battle will likely vanquish this ancient principality; and the spiritual power that is behind the resilience of despotic rulers such as Saddam Hussein will be uprooted and overthrown.
But with this spiritual understanding we should not glory in the fact that there is a physical war that is raging. Nations expend the lives of men and billions of dollars to insure that a tyrannical despot be brought to justice. And there is no doubt that in time – hopefully a short time – he will be. The world will not have to face once again the horrors reminiscent of Nazi Germany, in which millions of Jewish people were tortured and killed.
Understand that the power that is fueling the victorious side of this war is not found in any type of earthly weapon, nuclear or biological. Unseen and unreported by the nightly news, the prayers of millions of God’s people, like those of the prophet Daniel, are ascending to heaven and they are breaking the strongholds of demonic princes which have blinded the eyes and captivated the hearts of billions of people.
These prayers are even now forming a breach in heavenly places which is allowing the power of God’s kingdom to be unleashed on the earth. This power is going to be made known in love, peace and the knowledge of God in every nation of the world. Someday it will be said in every nation: Jesus Christ is Lord – there is no other.
Understanding this, the outcome of this battle can easily be predicted – Islam will be defeated, the back of the world’s largest religion will be broken – and its downfall will take place in a shorter period of time than communism.
Natural Israel and the Church will increase. And millions of Muslims the world over will see at once that their concept of the one, true God – Allah – is not the same as the Father who was revealed through Jesus Christ. When a billion Muslims the world over see the great signs and wonders which are now about to take place, they will call on the name of the Living God – the God revealed through Jesus the only Son of God. And millions of Muslims will be saved.
Governments throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia will dissolve overnight. Democracies will replace dictatorships; and the resulting freedom of religion will allow a great influx of Christianity, the true salt of the earth, to invade these nations and bring peace – not war – because peace can only be realized when Christ is formed within the hearts of the people.