Summary: According to Genesis, present day Iraq is located in the region associated with the early days of civilization. According to Revelation, it shall be uniquely associated with the final days of this generation.
THE LAND OF IRAQ IN THE LIGHT OF THE BIBLE
"Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where, there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.” Genesis 2:10-14 (NASB)
Iraq is the area many believe is the birthplace of civilization and where the Garden of Eden was located. Much of biblical history occurred in this region. The Bible student would do well to consider the past, present and future of this land.
IT’S ANTIQUITAL PAST
The Empire of Nimrod.
It was here that Nimrod, great-grandson of Noah, built a great empire in the entire region round about. He built many great cities, one of the greatest of which was Babel (or Babylon).
"Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became, a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore, it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD." The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.” Genesis 10:8-12 (NASB)
The Tower of Babel was built here.
The Tower of Babel has long been a symbol of man’s defiance of God and the folly of his attempt to reach heaven through the works of his own hands. It would seem that after millenniums of repeated failure man would learn that salvation is not the works of man’s hands. (Ephesians 2:8-9).
“Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’
The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The LORD said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing, which they purpose to do, will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.’
So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore, its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:1-9 (NASB).
Babylon in the Sixth Century B.C.
Babylon, at that point in time, was the capitol of the known world, having reached it highest glory in the 6th century B.C. during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. The city was an architectural delight. Here Nebuchadnezzar built the famous hanging gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
According to “The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible”, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1944, page 55: “the city was surrounded by double walls. A deep and broad moat ran around the city and beyond that was a great wall about 344 feet high and 86 feet wide. On the top of this rampart was room enough for a four horse chariot to pass, and even to turn. The city had 100 gates of bronze, 25 on each side. From these there ran broad streets at right angles to the walls, thus dividing the whole area into squares. The Euphrates flowed through the midst of the city, dividing it into two portions.”
It was here in Babylon that the fingers of a man’s hand wrote on the wall of the king’s palace. We read the account in Daniel 5:1-31.
“Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.