Babylon was never devastated in the manner of Sodom and Gomorrah.
There are false prophecies in the bible. They are intended to dilute the impact of the more radical prophets. Everything points to the scribes and the priests as the architects of these distortions, since they are often pilloried by the radical prophets. Jesus confirms this by saying to them: “You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition” (Matthew 15:6).
Jeremiah insists the scribes tampered with the bible (Jeremiah 8:8). Little did he know they would also tamper with his own writings. When he declares that the sacrificial system is not of God (Jeremiah 7:21-22); another Jeremiah is inserted into the bible supporting sacrifices and even declaring it will be an everlasting system (Jeremiah 33:17-21).
But this proved to be wishful-thinking. Both the levitical priesthood and the sacrificial system came to an end with the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in A.D. 70.
False prophecies against Egypt
Ezekiel says Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Egypt: “They will draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain. I will dry up the streams of the Nile and sell the land to evil men; by the hand of foreigners I will lay waste the land and everything in it’” (Ezekiel 30:10-12).
None of these things happened to Egypt. The Babylonians attacked Egypt unsuccessfully in 586 B.C. The Nile never dried up.
Ezekiel said further: “I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia. Neither foot of man shall pass through it nor foot of beast pass through it, and it shall be uninhabited forty years… Yet, thus says the Lord GOD: ‘At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered’” (Ezekiel 29:10-13).
Again, nothing like that happened. There was never a time when Egypt was desolate for forty years. And there is no history of the exile and return of the Egyptians.
False prophecies against Tyre
A so-called Ezekiel says Nebuchadnezzar would so destroy Tyre; it would remain an eternal ruin never to be found again (Ezekiel 26:7-21). This “prophecy” was false even before it was written. Another Ezekiel contradicts it, acknowledging that Nebuchadnezzar was unable to capture Tyre (Ezekiel 29:17-18). Isaiah also predicts the destruction of Tyre but says it would only last seventy years (Isaiah 23:15-18).
Nebuchadnezzar laid a siege on Tyre for thirteen years from 585 to 573 B.C. but could not take the city. Tyre was never destroyed. Even when Alexander the Great defeated the city in 332 BC, it was soon rebuilt on the same site.
Much later, Jesus visited Tyre and healed the demon-possessed daughter of a Canaanite woman there (Matthew 15:21-22; Mark 7:24). Paul also went on a missionary journey to Tyre (Acts 21:3-7). (See also Acts 12:20).
In spite of the doomsday prophecy about Tyre, the city exists till today. It is the fourth largest city in Lebanon and houses one of the country’s major ports.
False prophecies against Babylon
Jeremiah predicted that Babylon would be suddenly and completely obliterated: “Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed” (Jeremiah 51:8). Isaiah also said: “Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” (Isaiah 13:19).
But this did not happen. Babylon was never devastated in the manner of Sodom and Gomorrah. In 539, the city surrendered to Cyrus without a fight. It then became one of the richest cities in the Persian Empire. However, over the centuries, Babylon gradually lost its influence as a great city.
Isaiah said Babylon “will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there” (Isaiah 13:20).
However, Babylon has been inhabited for much of ancient history till date. During the era of the writing of the New Testament, it was a center of Jewish learning. Peter sent greetings from a lady in Babylon (1 Peter 5:13).
Jeremiah also said no one would dwell in Babylon again or even pass through it (Jeremiah 51:43). But that did not happen. You can buy a ticket today and go to Babylon. It is in Iraq. Indeed, Saddam Hussein spent a billion dollars refurbishing it.
God’s word is truth
Christians must be committed to truth. That means admitting there is falsehood in the bible. Our job is not to defend lies because they happen to be in the bible. Our faith must be based on a personal relationship with a living God and a risen Lord attested to in the bible. No new scientific, historical or archeaological discovery can make any difference to the fact that Jesus lives.