Saddam Hussein had an obsession. He saw himself as a new Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest monarch of his time.
Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled over The Neo-Babylonian Empire from ca. 604 BC to 562 BC, built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, conquered Jerusalem and sent Judah into exile. He is mentioned in several Old Testament books, including the book of Daniel. History knows him as Nebuchadnezzar the Great.
The Bible prophesied the destruction of Babylon. Martin Luther and John Calvin, for instance, thought that these prophecies were completely fulfilled in past upheavals. However, some Bible scholars believe that the destruction of Babylon described in Revelation 18 is yet to be fulfilled.
This seemed to be impossible since until Saddam Hussein began realising his ambition, the only things that remained of Babylon were ruins buried in sand. The Neo-Babylonian Empire was relatively short-lived. In 539 BC the Persians under Cyrus the Great stormed the city.
In 1991 Dr. Charles H. Dyer, Dean of Education at Moody Bible Institute and a Middle-East expert, wrote a book called The Rise of Babylon in which he documented Saddam Hussein’s ambitions. Saddam began rebuilding the ancient city near its ruins, copying the architecture of Nebuchadnezzar’s time and portraying himself as a new world ruler equal to his role model.
While Saddam is no longer able to realise his ambition, his dream lives on in Iraq. His demise did not put an end to the aspiration to rebuild Babylon.
Recently, Joel Rosenberg, writing for the Bible Prophecy Today blog, reported that the Obama administration is contributing 700 000 U.S. dollars towards “The Future of Babylon Project”. Iraqi officials hope the reconstructed city will become a huge tourist attraction and a reminder of the region’s former glory.
The plan, if fulfilled, will be a reminder of the reliability of biblical prophecy.