Does this still exist? What is its eschatological significance?
It is just south of present-day Baghdad, Iraq, about 50 miles, along the banks of the Euphrates. It no longer exists as a major population center, but there are significant ruins of the ancient walled city remaining.
Here it is on Google Maps.
Babylon was no longer a “city” by about the 900s – was described as a “small village” after that time.. Baghdad was founded in the 700s, so the two cities overlapped a bit.
Exploration and excavation of the ruins of Babylon started in the 1800s. In the last 50 years, the Iraqi government has restored or rebuilt several buildings and features of the city. It’s a popular tourist destination and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
According to Old Testament prophecy, Babylon will be completely destroyed and abandoned.
In Isaiah 13:19:
Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the pride and glory of the Babylonians, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; there no nomads will pitch their tents, there no shepherds will rest their flocks.
In Jeremiah 50:2-3:
Babylon will be captured; Bel will be put to shame, Marduk filled with terror. Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror. A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land. No one will live in it; both people and animals will flee away.
However, Babylon has never been totally abandoned. Quite a few people still live in the area, though it’s tough to figure out where the formal city of Babylon may have ended.
Therefore, Biblical scholars believe that Babylon will be rebuilt, so that the prophesy of destruction has yet to come to pass. The rebuilding of Babylon would represent a significant milestone in Biblical prophesy.
Why I Looked It Up
I’m reading Isaiah. It comes up quite bit (as noted above).
Also, in the novel The Last Jihad, part of the plot involved the proposed rebuilding of Babylon.