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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 3

The Religion of Babylon

AFTER Jehovah frustrated the builders of Babylon by confusing their language, the majority of them left the land of Shinar in the Mesopotamian valley and scattered in various directions, into Africa, into Europe and into eastern Asia. When united in building Babylon, they had had one common religion, a religion out of harmony with Jehovah, the God of their forefather Noah. Now, wherever they went, they carried this common false religion, but, of course, in their own new language. The religious ideas remained the same, but the names were different. Here, then, was the beginning of the worldwide empire of false religion based on the religion of ancient Babylon. So it is not surprising that The Americana Annual 1962 should tell us:


In northern Iraq, government archaeologists found 2d millennium B.C. clay tablets inscribed in the Sumerian and Babylonian languages. It is hoped that they will shed new light on Mesopotamian civilization. . . .

The noted Assyriologist, Prof. Samuel N. Kramer of the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that the Indus River civilization of 2500 to 1500 B.C. originated from a more ancient Mesopotamian (pre-Sumerian) civilization which had fled to the Indus Valley when the Sumerians went to Mesopotamia in strength. He suspects that the Indus civilizations were established by the people sometimes referred to as Ubaidians, after Al Ubaid, a site in southern Mesopotamia (Iraq) to which their culture has been traced.

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In India, government archaeologists have been excavating the 3d millennium B.C. seaport city of Lothai, on the west coast north of Bombay. . . . Moreover, ties with distant Assyria and Egypt are shown. . . . The city, which was built on brick platforms, reveals an advanced sense of town planning and sanitation. — Under "Archaeology," page 44, paragraphs 2-4.


Naturally the religion of ancient India should trace back to the religion of Babylon (Babel), and the evidences are that it does.*

Nimrod remained the first king of Babylon. Since the Babylonians did not approve of recognizing Jehovah as the one true God, who had preserved mankind through the Flood, they would turn to the worship of something else. After Nimrod died the Babylonians would be inclined to hold him in high regard as the founder or builder and first king of their city and as the organizer of the old original Babylonian Empire. This would at length lead to their making him a god, the guardian god of their city. When Babylon reached its greatest glory in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar II, who is mentioned in the Holy Bible, the chief god of the imperial city was Marduk. His temple there was called E-sagila (meaning "Lofty House"), the tower of which was called E-teme-nanki (meaning "House of the Foundation of Heaven and Earth"). In connection with the god Marduk, who is called Merodach in the Bible, it is interesting to read the following comments:

"Nimrod has not been identified with any mythical hero or historic king of the [cuneiform] inscriptions. Some have sought identification with Gilgamesh, the flood hero of Babylonia. . . .; but the most admissible correspondence is with Marduk. chief god of Babylon, probably its historic founder, just as Asshur, the god of Assyria, appears ... as the founder of the Assyrian empire. . . . Lack of identification, however, does not


* See The Two Babylons, by the clergyman Alexander Hislop; particularly pages 135, 159, 233 regarding the god Indra, the king of the gods; also pages 14-16, 19-23.
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necessarily indicate mythical origin of the name."  — The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Volume 4, edition of 1955, page 2147.

"The name Nimrod has not been found in any ancient (say older than 500 B.C.) non-Israelite document or inscription; and there is no conclusive evidence for identifying Nimrod with any of the names found in such documents. . . . Nimrod would suggest to a Jew or Syrian the idea of 'rebel,' mrd = rebel: but this is not likely to be the etymology. By regarding the 'N' as performative, Nimrod has been identified with Merodach, the god of Babylon . . . He has been identified with Gilgamesh, the hero of the epic which contains the Babylonian Deluge story . . . with various historical kings of Babylonia, . . ." — The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 19, edition of 1911, page 703. The Encyclopedia Americana speaks similarly.

"Two theories are now held in regard to Nimrod's identity: . . . Those who identify Nimrod with Marduk, however, object that . . . the [cuneiform] signs which constitute the name of Marduk. who also is represented as a hunter, are read phonetically 'Amar Ud'; and ideographically they may be read 'Namr Ud' — in Hebrew 'Nimrod.' " — The Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume 9, page 309.

Alexander Hislop, author of The Two Babylons, although deriving the name Nimrod from Nimr, a "leopard," and rada or rad, "to subdue," does identify Nimrod as the god Merodach. "There is no doubt." says he, "that Nimrod was a rebel, and that his rebellion was celebrated in ancient myths; but his name in that character was not Nimrod., but Merodach, or, as among the Romans, Mars, 'the rebel;' or among the Oscans of Italy, Mamers . . . , 'The causer of rebellion.' " — Page 44, footnote, of The Two Babylons.

The above quotations point to the deification of Nimrod, Babylon's first king and a "mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah." (Genesis 10:8-10) Who his moth-

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er was, aside from being the wife of Cush the son of Ham, the Bible does not say. It does not say that her name was Semiramis, nor does it say that Nimrod later married his own mother, the wife of Cush. However, if Nimrod was deified for his pioneer connections with Babylon, it is almost certain that his mother would be held in high esteem and revered, if not also exalted to a goddess. This would result in a worship of mother and son together. In regard to this The Two Babylons, pages 20, 21, says:


The Babylonians, in their popular religion, supremely worshipped a Goddess Mother and a Son, who was represented in pictures and in images as an infant or child in his mother's arms . . . From Babylon, this worship of the Mother and the Child spread to the ends of the earth. In Egypt, the Mother and the Child were worshipped under the names of Isis and Osiris. In India, even to this day, as Isi and Iswara; in Asia as Cybele and Deoius; in Pagan Rome, as Fortuna and Jupiter-puer, or Jupiter, the boy; in Greece, as Ceres, the Great Mother, with the babe at her breast, or as Irene, the goddess of Peace, with the boy Plutus in her arms; and even in Thibet, in China, and Japan, the Jesuit missionaries were astonished to find the counterpart of Madonna and her child as devoutly worshipped as in Papal Rome itself; Shing Moo, the Holy Mother in China, being represented with a child in her arms, and a glory around her, exactly as if a Roman Catholic artist had been employed to set her up.

The original of that mother, so widely worshipped, there is reason to believe, was Semiramis, already referred to, who, it is well known, was worshipped by the Babylonians, and other eastern nations, and that under the name of Rhea, the great Goddess "Mother."

[On the above-mentioned Shing Moo, see page 686a of Volume 9 of the Cyclopaedia by M'Clintock and Strong, under Shin-Moo.]


In man's original garden of Eden God made a promise, which the Babylonians who had fallen away from Jehovah God would easily be inclined to take to themselves wrongfully and to misapply. It was the promise

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that he made when he was pronouncing sentence upon the Great Serpent, Satan the Devil, for inducing the perfect human couple, Adam and Eve, to join him in rebellion against their Creator. Jehovah God there notified the Great Serpent of his coming destruction and indicated by whom it was to be executed. "Jehovah God proceeded to say to the serpent: 'Because you have done this thing, ... I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.' "  — Genesis 3; 14, 15.

When Nimrod became a "mighty one in the earth" and displayed himself as a "mighty hunter" and set himself up as mankind's first king at Babylon, it became easy for the Babylonians to run ahead of the Edenic prophecy's actual fulfillment. It became patriotic and nationalistic for them to apply the prophecy concerning the woman's seed to Nimrod. Such a view would be encouraged, because it would bind the Babylonians more firmly to their king, Nimrod, and his successors in office. According to the blessing that the patriarch Noah pronounced upon his son Shem, the woman's seed ought to come through the line of Shem, and not through the line of Ham, whose son Canaan received a curse from Noah. (Genesis 9:24-27) Canaan was a brother of Cush and an uncle of Nimrod. Hence, by applying the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 to Nimrod, the woman's seed would be presented as Hamitic and as a Cushite. Also Nimrod's death, if it was a violent death, as legend says it was, would be explained, as being the Great Serpent's act in bruising the heel of the woman's seed.

This would, of course, make Nimrod's mother, who was the wife of Cush, the mother of the seed that was to bruise the Great Serpent in the head. She would thus share the glory of her son Nimrod as the promised seed. This fact would lead to the worship of mother and son. It may have been for this reason that Cush's

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wife, the mother of Nimrod, came to be called Semiramis, or Z'emir-amit. The name means "The Branch Bearer."*

The symbolic branch would be Nimrod as the one to bring peace and to make world calamity pass away. Nimrod's mother, the wife of Cush, was a granddaughter of Noah's wife, who survived the great flood the same as the fishes did. In the face of such a background for Nimrod's mother, it is interesting to read the following in The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 24, edition of 1911, page 617, under Semiramis:


Of this we already have evidence in [the ancient Greek historian] Herodotus, who ascribes to her the banks that confined the Euphrates (i. 184) and knows her name as borne by a gate of Babylon (iii. 155). . . . according to the legends, in her birth as well as in her disappearance from earth, Semiramis appears as a goddess, the daughter of the fish-goddess Atargatis, and herself connected with the doves of Ishtar or Astarte.

[See Hislop's The Two Babylons, pages 86, 270.]

TRIADS OF DEITIES

As the first mortal man after the Flood to be deified, Nimrod would become "the father of the gods" in the Babylonish system of false worship. Likewise, Nimrod's mother, the so-called Semiramis, would become "the mother of god," or, "the mother of the gods." So, in the religious triad of Cush and his wife and Nimrod, more glory and prominence would be given to the son Nimrod, just as in the trinity doctrine of "God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost," Christendom gives more attention to the Son than to the Father. But in some sections of Christendom more honor and adoration are given to the Virgin Mother


* From Ze, meaning "The," or "That"; emir, "Branch": and amit, "Bearer." Under the name Semiramis, the fourth-century Greek lexicographer Hesychius says that Semiramis is a name for a "wild pigeon," evidently referring to Noah's wild pigeon that brought the olive leaf back to the ark. (Genesis 8: 8-12) See Isaiah 17: 6. 9 (NW), where the Hebrew word amir is translated "branch." Refer also to Hislop's The Two Babylons, page 79 and footnote.
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than to the Son or the Father; and it is taught that the Mother is the one who will actually bruise the Great Serpent in the head, and she is exalted as the Mother of God. — Genesis 3:15. Douay.

As Nimrod was raised to the rank of a god to be worshiped by the Babylonians, the question rightly comes up, Whom did Nimrod himself worship as god? Not Jehovah, the God of his great-grandfather, for Nimrod was in opposition to Jehovah. Therefore, since Nimrod rebelled against the true God Jehovah, he must have had the spirit of the great first rebel against Jehovah God. By making himself a rebel like that original and chief rebel against the one true God, Nimrod was in effect worshiping Satan the Devil, that one who started rebellion in heaven and who then spread rebellion into the earth, even in the garden of Eden.

This arch-rebel Satan was the one to whom Jehovah God applied the symbol of a serpent or snake, and he foretold Satan's final destruction under the figure of bruising the serpent in the head. (Genesis 3:15) Satan is the one of whom Nimrod made himself an imitator, yes, a worshiper. Nimrod thus became Merodach, the Rebel. It was for this reason that the Babylonians used the name Merodach (Marduk) rather than Nimrod as the founder of their city.

Rebellion against Jehovah God made Nimrod a son of Satan the Devil, for he copied the Devil's works. According to this rule of spiritual relationships, Jesus Christ said to certain religious persons who were boasting of their descent from the patriarch Abraham: "You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father." (John 8:.38-44) Many years after that, an aged disciple of Jesus Christ wrote the following concerning spiritual relationships: "He who carries on sin originates with the Devil, because the Devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was made manifest, namely, to break up the works of the Devil. Everyone who has been born from God does not carry on sin, because His

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reproductive seed remains in such one, and he cannot practice sin, because he has been born from God. The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God." — 1 John 3:8-10.

After the Flood Nimrod was the first prominent man whom the Devil influenced to rebel and lead a rebellion of others against Jehovah God. By doing this Nimrod became a son of that wicked one. He became, not the Seed of God's "woman," but an outstanding part of the "seed" of the Great Serpent, according to Genesis 3:15. Thus the Babylonians made the false seed, the false Messiah, their god.

After that the gods of that first Babylonian Empire began to multiply. Among these were a number of triads of gods or deities. In Babylon the temple erected to the god Belus is reported as having been surmounted by three statues, namely, that of Bel (or Bel-Merodach), his mother Rhea (Semiramis), and Bel-Merodach's wife, Juno or Beltis (Zer-panitu) — this according to the ancient Greek historian Ctesias. According to the later Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, at one period in Babylon the religious triad consisted of two goddesses and the son, namely, Hera (the Roman Juno), Rhea (or Semiramis) and Zeus (= Merodach, Nimrod).*

Another triad was that of Sin (the moon god) and Shamash (the sun god) and Ishtar — the rulers of the zodiac. The Babylonians even had triads of devils, such as the triad of Labartu, Labasu and Akhkhazu.


* See Diodorus, Book II, paragraph 69; also The Two Babylons, page 20, footnote ††; page 307, paragraph 1.
† Says W. Lansdell Wardle, in Israel and Babylon, page 324: "The triad of divinities Sin, Shamash and Ishtar, is reckoned in the Pan-Babylonian theory as a family, the children of Anu, the Father of the gods, or of Ellil, the Ruler of the Zodiac. In the Tammuz myths Ishtar appears both as sister and spouse of Tammuz. Hence it is deduced that Shamash and Ishtar in the triad bear to each other the relation of wedded brother and sister. But also Sin may be regarded as the father of Shamash and Ishtar, or Shamash as the father of Sin and Ishtar. These relations seem perplexing, but [continued on next page]
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From Babylon triads of deities spread throughout the earth, even into the time of the Christian Era. The triad system became a snare to so-called Christians.

When the famous Hammurabi became king and made Babylon the chief city of all Babylonia, Merodach (Marduk) as the city god increased in importance, of course. Finally Merodach was given the attributes of earlier gods and he displaced them in the Babylonian myths. In later periods his proper name Merodach (Marduk) was displaced by the title Belu ("Lord"), so that finally he was commonly spoken of as Bel. His wife was called Belit ("Lady," par excellence).

The Bible speaks of the idol images of Bel and Merodach and calls them "dungy idols," that is, filthy idols. (Jeremiah 50:1. 2) In fact, Jeremiah 50:38 speaks of Babylon as a "land of graven images." Its religion was idolatrous, demonistic. Regarding its demonism we read: "Next in importance to the gods in the Babylonian religion are the demons who had the power to afflict men with manifold diseases of body or mind. A large part of the religion seems to have been given up to an agonized struggle against these demons, and the gods were everywhere approached by prayer to assist men against these demons." — ISBE, Volume 1, page 373.*


[continued from page 39] are very convenient for the purposes of the Pan-Babylonian theory." — Compare The Ancient Orient and the Egyptian Religion (in German), by A. Jeremias, I, pages 86 f, and his Handbook (in German), page 232.
* On pages 146, 147 of Babylonian Life and History (1925 edition), by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, KT, we read: "The demons and devils that made the Babylonian's life a misery to him were many, but the forms of most of them and their evil powers were well known. Most of all he feared the Seven Evil Spirits, who were the creators of all evil. ... As there were triads of gods, so there were triads of devils, for example, Labartu, Labasu and Akhkhazu. The first harmed little children, the second caused the quaking sickness, and the third turned the face of a man yellow and black. Another triad comprised Lilu, Lilitu and Ardat Lili. Lilitu was known to the Hebrews, and Rabbinic tradition makes her to be the beautiful wife of Adam, who roamed by night, and was a special danger to children. . . . The Babylonians . . . went to the priest, who often assumed the character of a god, and who exorcised the devils by reciting incantations, . . . ."
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Magic, sorcery and astrology were developed and indulged in by all, from the king down to his lowliest subject. Addressing Babylon as a woman, the prophecy of Isaiah 47:12. 13 says: "Stand still, now, with your spells and with the abundance of your sorceries, in which you have toiled from your youth [as a city]; . . . Let them stand up, now, and save you, the worshipers of the heavens, the lookers at the stars, those giving out knowledge at the new moons concerning the things that will come upon you." Magical arts were invented by the Chaldeans of Babylonia. The converted Jew Epiphanius of sixteen centuries ago, when writing against heresies in religion from the days of Nimrod down to his time, declared it to be his opinion that it was 'Nimrod who established the sciences of magic and astronomy.' — Panarium (Medicine Chest):'Adversum Haeresis, Liber I, tomus 1, volume 1, page 7c.

How strong the hold of magic and sorcery was upon Babylon may be seen when, over sixteen centuries after Nimrod, King Nebuchadnezzar is reported as turning to it to determine whether to attack Jerusalem. Here is what Jehovah God said to Ezekiel about this:

"The king of Babylon stood still at the crossways, at the head of the two ways, in order to resort to divination. He has shaken the arrows. He has asked by means of the teraphim; he has looked into the liver. In his right hand the divination proved to be for Jerusalem, to set battering-rams, to open one's mouth for a slaying, to raise the sound in an alarm signal, to set battering-rams against gates, to throw up a siege rampart, to build a siege wall." — Ezekiel 21:20-22.

With King Nebuchadnezzar II the city of Babylon reached the peak of its glory and set itself in the position of the Third World Power of Bible history. So its greatest height was reached shortly before its fall. Because even her greatest king clung to magical arts, Jehovah's prophet Isaiah could, when foretelling her doom, tell her to resort to her magical arts and her

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stargazers, sorcerers and monthly forecasters to try to save her from disaster if they could. But it would be in vain, for Jehovah had doomed her.

Babylon's false religion, which first revealed itself historically in her original Tower of Babel, doomed her from the start for eventual destruction. In the days of her most glorious king, Nebuchadnezzar II, she had her tower of religion, built doubtless on the foundations of the very tower where Jehovah God confused the language of the builders. It was situated in the southern part of the city, not far from the eastern or right bank of the Euphrates River. By King Nebuchadnezzar and his royal father it was called Ziqqurat Bâbîli, that is, "The Tower of Babylon." It was dedicated to Babylon's chief god, Merodach, and his wife Zer-panîtum.

The tower consisted of six square stages built upon a platform and was provided with a sanctuary at the top, this being dedicated to the god Bel-Merodach, whom the evidence indicates to have been the mighty hunter Nimrod deified. Around the base of the Tower were small temples or chapels dedicated to various other gods of the Babylonians. The Tower's great foundation and the six stages above and the sanctuary or chapel on top evidently make up the total of eight stages that the Greek historian Herodotus mentions in his description of the Tower of Babel five centuries before Christ.

Regarding the religion of Babylon and its triadic worship we read: "In the late Babylonian period the worship seems chiefly devoted to Marduk, Nabu [Nebo, meaning Speaker or Announcer], Sin, Shamash and Ishtar. . . . The Babylonians, with all their wonderful gifts, were never able to conceive of one god, of one god alone, of one god whose very existence makes logically impossible the existence of any other deity. Monotheism transcends the spiritual grasp of the Babylonian mind. . . . The Babylonians who built vast temples and composed many inscriptions emphasizing the works of peace rather than of war, naturally con-

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ceived their deities in a manner different from the Assyrians whose powers were chiefly devoted to conquests in war, but neither the Babylonians nor the Assyrians arose to any such heights as distinguish the Hebrew book of Psalms. As the influence of the Babylonians and Assyrians waned, their gods declined in power, and none of them survived the onrush of Greek civilization in the period of Alexander [the Great]."  — ISBE, Volume 1, page 370.

IMMORTALITY

Another outstanding feature about the religion of Babylon is that it taught the immortality of the human soul. Of course, when Babylon deified the first king, Nimrod, at his death, which is not described in the Bible, it had to attribute immortality of soul to Nimrod, or Merodach. In the Babylonian myth about Gilgamesh, whom some investigators try to identify with Nimrod, this half-man and half-god Gilgamesh sought for immortality of his human body, in other words, indestructible life on earth. In the twelfth book of the epic of Gilgamesh he is granted an interview with his dead one-time companion, who "describes the gloomy abode of the afterworld, and tells of the various futures that await the dead, according to the manner of their ends." — Am1, Volume 12, page 654.

In the Babylonian religion Nergal was the god of the underworld, and his wife Eresh-kigal was the sovereign lady thereof. Showing that the Babylonians did not believe in the immortality of the human body but did believe in the immortality of what the Greeks called a psykhe or "soul," we read the following concerning "the last things" as understood by the Babylonians:


After death the souls of men were supposed to continue in existence. It can hardly be called life. The place to which they have gone is called the "land of no return." There they lived in dark rooms amid the dust and the bats covered with a garment of feathers, and under

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the dominion of Nergal and Eresh-kigal. When the soul arrived among the dead he had to pass judgment before the judges of the dead, the Annunaki, but little has been preserved for us concerning the manner of this judgment. There seems to have been at times an idea that it might be possible for the dead to return again to life, for in this underworld there was the water of life, which was used when the god Tammuz returned again to earth [as vegetation]. The Babylonians seem not to have attached so much importance to this after-existence as did the Egyptians, but they did practice burial and not cremation, and placed often with the dead articles which might be used in his future existence. ... In the future world there seem to have been distinctions made among the dead. Those who fell in battle seem to have had special favor. They received fresh water to drink, while those who had no posterity to put offerings at their graves suffered sore and many deprivations. . . . The Babylonian doctrine was that man, though of Divine origin, did not share in the Divine attribute of immortality [that is, immortality of his body]. — ISBE, Volume 1, page 373.

WHAT SURVIVED OF ANCIENT BABYLON

From our foregoing consideration, in the light of the Holy Bible and other historical facts, it stands out clear that at its very beginning Babylon (Babel) became an imperial power. Also, it was dominated by its religion, which was in opposition to the God of the Flood survivors, Noah and Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives. Babylon afterward had a varied existence but it finally advanced to the position of a world power, the third one noted in the Bible. Still it was dominated and guided by its religious triads, demonism, magic, sorcery and astrology, idolatry, and religious doctrines, including the immortality of the "soul." For this reason Babylon was regarded as "Babylon, the Holy City."*


* See Ekhard Unger's Babylon, the Holy City, According to the Description of the Babylonians, In German, edition of 1931, Berlin.
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When Almighty God Jehovah confused the language of the builders of Babylon at their religious Tower of Babel, there Babylon, in effect, experienced her first fall. This did not mean her destruction at that time. But, because the confusion of the language set the would-be builders at odds with one another and caused them to scatter, Babylon did not then become a world city as the builders had intended. It came to be surrounded by nations of peoples who spoke languages different from those who remained at Babylon.

In process of time the rulership of Babylon passed out of the hands of a Hamitic line of rulers, as begun by Nimrod the grandson of Ham, and came into the hands of Shemite rulers, descendants of Shem the son of Noah. But the change of hands holding the rulership did not turn aside the doom to which the city was condemned when God first expressed his wrath against it. Seemingly late, but inescapably, the foretold destruction befell the historical city and at last its very location became unknown. However, the important question arises, Was Babylon's religion destroyed with it? Or has its religion survived to this modern day, but under a form that has resulted in a Greater Babylon, which must yet fall with a great crash? This we shall learn in later chapters of this book.



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