Today: [Jeremiah 50] The Fall of Babylon. In this chapter, Jeremiah predicts the fall of the empire that destroyed Jerusalem and leveled the temple. There is however a further fulfillment of the fall of Babylon that is spoken of in our day. Babylon in the book of Revelation is revealed as a principle that operates in the earth today in opposition to the people of God. Eventually, the promise is that God Himself will destroy Babylon in preparation for establishing His rule in the earth for 1000 years.
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[Jer 50:1-46 KJV] 1 The word that the LORD spake against Babylon [and] against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet. 2 Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, [and] conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces. 3 For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast. 4 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God. 5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, [saying], Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant [that] shall not be forgotten. 6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away [on] the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace. 7 All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers. 8 Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks. 9 For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows [shall be] as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain. 10 And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD. 11 Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls; 12 Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations [shall be] a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. 13 Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues. 14 Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD. 15 Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it [is] the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her.
Beginning with chapters 46 of Jeremiah the prophet turns his attention to the bordering nations of Israel and prophesies their end. He speaks against Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Syria, Kedar, and Elam. In many of these instances he declares that Babylon is the instrument of God’s dealings against these nations, and now in chapter 50 speaks against Babylon itself. Because Babylon was the nation that defeated Judah, leveled Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, it is particularly hated. Babylon is associated with the demonic prince Abaddon along with the beast and the false prophet. Yet at the same time in Jeremiah 43:10 the king of Babylon is spoken of as “God’s servant” even though he was instrumental in destroying and overthrowing the southern kingdom, just as (conversely) Cyrus in Isa. 45:1 is called God’s anointed, used to overthrow Babylon and institute the restoration of Jerusalem and the temple decades later. It is interesting to note that Cyrus the Great is considered by history to be the founder of what later became the nation of Iran.
Was Babylon used of God? The prophet Daniel prophesied to Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar (the king over ruled during Judah’s destruction) the following:
[Dan 5:18 KJV] 18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
Yet when Belshazzar (Nebuchadnezzar’s son) brought the vessels of the temple out for a drunken party (Daniel 5:5) a hand appeared on the wall writing a saying “you are weighed in the balances and found wanting…”
We see therefore that God is deeply involved in the lives, even of those who are entrenched in pagan, anti-Christ beliefs and responsible for much suffering in the world. Simply because a kingdom, or a world leader mocks the God of the Bible does not exempt that leader from the hand of God that weighs his actions and judges accordingly. In our culture we have devised a great separation between religious matters and the state. That does not constitute a boundary that God is in anyway moved or motivated to honor. God is not bound by or his nature limited or expressed in the political arena. He rules over all and eventually it is His will that is done among nations, even great nations like Babylon, the first world empire of the 4 great world empires prophesied in the bible, being Babylon, the Medes and Persians, Alexander, and the Roman Empire (all to be covered when we study the book of Daniel).
16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land. 17 Israel [is] a scattered sheep; the lions have driven [him] away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones. 18 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria. 19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead. 20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and [there shall be] none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve. 21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, [even] against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: waste and utterly destroy after them, saith the LORD, and do according to all that I have commanded thee. 22 A sound of battle [is] in the land, and of great destruction. 23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! 24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD. 25 The LORD hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this [is] the work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans. 26 Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left. 27 Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation. 28 The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple. 29 Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD.
In verses 2-3 Jeremiah prophesies that Babylon will fall to a nation out of the north. Babylon does indeed fall to the Medes and the Persians out of whom Cyrus the Great arises, who orders the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. Jeremiah also speaks of this restoration as the days when the children of Israel and Judah would come with their children to seek the Lord in a restored temple commissioned by the nation that overthrows Babylon. The events of Daniel 5 describe the last and final events of the nation of Babylon that was overthrown in one night of political intrigue when the hand of God judges Belshazzar when he is consequently assassinated and the Medes and Persians conquer the Babylonian empire and rule in their place.
The nation that conquers Babylon is described in verse 9 as a nation skilled and expert in the bow and the arrow. This was very true of the Medes and Persians during the days of the Roman empire when they were known as the Parthians. The Parthians developed the only effect attack against Roman troop positioning on the battlefield. They would charge the Roman ranks whose shields were interlocked, leap over the soldiers and turn with one movement and fire an arrow over the rump of their ponies directly into the exposed backs of the Romans. This is where the saying “Parting Shot” comes from which originated as the “Parthian Shot” against which the Romans could not mount an effective defense. In the lands of the ancient Persians, (later Iran) the Parthians became the scourge of the Roman empire, never completely being defeated because of the effectiveness of their guerrilla tactics that constitutes them as the forbears of modern day terrorism that so plagues the western world today.
Verse 17-19 speak of the brutality of the Assyrian empire, overthrown by the Babylonians who destroyed Jerusalem, and now will be punished themselves (recounted in Daniel). The Assyrian empire did not stand and neither shall the Babylonian empire stand. Verse 19 tells us that after the end of the Babylonian empire, Israel will be brought again to its habitation, which did in fact take place when the Persians constituted the ancient lands of Israel and Judah as a province and vassal state of the Persian empire, with Jerusalem as its capital.
31 Behold, I [am] against thee, [O thou] most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time [that] I will visit thee. 32 And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him. 33 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah [were] oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer [is] strong; the LORD of hosts [is] his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon. 35 A sword [is] upon the Chaldeans, saith the LORD, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise [men]. 36 A sword [is] upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword [is] upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed. 37 A sword [is] upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that [are] in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword [is] upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed. 38 A drought [is] upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it [is] the land of graven images, and they are mad upon [their] idols. 39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell [there], and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. 40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour [cities] thereof, saith the LORD; [so] shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein. 41 Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. 42 They shall hold the bow and the lance: they [are] cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, [every one] put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon. 43 The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, [and] pangs as of a woman in travail. 44 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan unto the habitation of the strong: but I will make them suddenly run away from her: and who [is] a chosen [man, that] I may appoint over her? for who [is] like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who [is] that shepherd that will stand before me? 45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make [their] habitation desolate with them. 46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations.
In verse 33 Jeremiah prophesies that as Babylon disquieted the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel, so would Babylon itself be disquieted and brought to ruin by an oppressor from the north which came in the form of the Medes and the Persians within just a few decades. It is important to realize that this is for us, more than just ancient history, or an example of fulfilled bible prophecy. Babylon is mentioned 6 times in the book of Revelation as a spirit that is working in the end times against the people of God and in opposition to the kingdom of God. The identity of the Babylon system is not agreed upon by scholars – some say Babylon is the Catholic church, others believe Babylon is the modern day United States, still others point to other nation states such as Iraq under Sadaam Hussien’s rule. Whatever the case may be the promise of God for us is (verse 34) that our “Redeemer is strong, the Lord of Hosts is his name, (who shall) thoroughly plead our cause (and give us rest). Many prophecy teachers would suggest that this is a promise to the nation of Israel and the Jews only, but we are reminded that natural Israel is only the shadow of which God’s people, the redeemed community of born again men in the earth known as the church, are the substance.
The remaining verses of the chapter conclude with a 3rd reference to the empire that overthrows Babylon as being skilled with the bow and arrow. The description of the fall of Babylon is given as that of a shepherd who leads the flock out to the slaughter, leaving the sheepfold desolate of inhabitant. Whatever the application in terms of metaphor we have for Babylon we can clearly see it as the principle of chaos that rules on the Arabian Peninsula today through terrorism and terrorist states. They may seem undefeatable by the military might of the western world, but the clear indication of scripture is that God Himself will undertake to overthrow this principle of chaos in the earth as He moves to establish His kingdom and rule in preparation for the millennial reign of Christ. Even so – come Lord Jesus.
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