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It has been said that those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.

We at Corporate Prayer Resources have found that history and its cousin archaeology are invaluable resources for the church to draw on. That is why we have made the book Babylon: A Spiritual Journey Through Time and The Nations available as a free download.

Over the past two centuries, our knowledge of ancient history has expanded greatly. We can now verify some biblical events with hard evidence, such as the fallen walls of Jericho. Evidence gathered from outside the Holy Land confirms the historicity of many Bible texts, such as the Assyrian failure to take Jerusalem. Science has now found that all humans have a common mother (Eve), that there was a catastrophic decrease in the human population (Noah's Flood), and that at one time humans spoke a single language (Tower of Babel). Thus, science and history teach us that we can trust in the accuracy of the Bible.

History and the Bible teach us much about God's dealings with humans. God judged the Egyptians by humiliating their gods, and He struck Assyria at its greatest point of pride, its army. The remains of sacrificed children found in Canaan have shed light on why God decreed the total destruction of the Canaanites. But we also find that God is merciful, as when he gave evil King Ahab a second chance after he repented. God's ultimate act of mercy, sending us the Christ, echoes down through history as the Kingdom of God expanded throughout the Roman Empire and then throughout the earth.

Our knowledge of the past helps us to focus our prayers by revealing the spiritual roots of the forces acting against the expansion of the kingdom. Some years back a group of intercessors went to Ephesus to confront the pagan "Queen of Heaven," failing in their mission because Ephesus is now controlled by the Islamic spirit, not the pagan spirit. Others have mistaken the Freemasons for a pagan institution when in fact they are dominated by the secular spirit. On the other hand, we have seen breakthroughs on prayer journeys where we have understood the history of spiritual bondage in the nations.

Finally, understanding the past is a key to understanding Bible prophecy. For example, Daniel's prophecy of the "70 7's" can be traced with historical data to confirm the start of Jesus' ministry in 26 AD. Many of the prophecies in the book of Revelation can be matched with historical events to help us understand the times we live in. One of those prophecies, The Woman Riding the Beast in Revelation 17, is a picture of the history of the world from Babylon to the Antichrist and forms the outline of our Babylon book.

So the past is indeed a key to the future, as it confirms the Scriptures, teaches us God's ways, shows us how to pray for the nations and illuminates prophecy. It also shows us the terrible fate of those nations, from ancient Israel to Nazi Germany, who have abandoned God.

Let us pray that the Lord will help us use the past to help guide our footsteps in the year to come, repenting of our sins and drawing nearer to God.

And may you have a blessed New Year.

Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.

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