The Word of the Lord has been ringing in my ears all night. I thought I was asleep, but it seems not. This is the Word the Lord spoke to me through Jeremiah 50 in my prayer. Later, I recognised clearly the Holy Spirit is telling me to get the Word out.
The prophet, Jeremiah, said in Chapter 50:1-5
“The Word that Jehovah spoke against Babylon, against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet.
Declare among the nations, and cause them to hear, and lift up a banner. Cause them to hear, do not hide it; say, Babylon is captured, Bel is ashamed, Merodach is broken in pieces; her images are shamed, her idols are broken in pieces.
For out of the north a nation comes up against her, which shall make her land a desert, and none shall dwell in it. They shall flee, they shall depart, both man and beast. In those days, and at that time, says Jehovah, the sons of Israel shall come, they and the sons of Judah together, going and weeping. They shall go and seek Jehovah their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces there, saying, Come and let us join ourselves to Jehovah in an everlasting covenant never to be forgotten.”
Here, we can feel the joy in the expression of Jeremiah, when he makes the announcement of the judgement of the Lord against Babylon and its idols, as if it had already happened. He calls on the people to proclaim this event among the nations, an event which leads to the deliverance of Israel and Judah. It is promised that they shall return to our God first and then to their own land. However, it is the promise of their conversion and reformation first, which makes way for all the other promises.
In v6-10, Jeremiah says:
“My people have 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 resting place.
All who have found them have devoured them. And their enemies said, We do not offend, because they have sinned against Jehovah, the habitation of righteousness, even Jehovah, the hope of their fathers. Flee from the midst of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he-goats before the flocks. For, lo, I am stirring up and bringing up against Babylon a company of great nations from a northern land. And they shall array themselves against her. She shall be captured there. Their arrows shall be as those of a skilful, mighty man; none shall return in vain. And Chaldea shall be a prize; all who plunder her shall be satisfied, says Jehovah.”
Jeremiah feels sad for the people of God who are likened to wandering sheep, being misled by their leaders and priests who are causing them to sin against God. The consequence of this going astray, this apostasy, on the part of Israel, is that everyone who finds them, devours them. In devouring Israel, their enemies believe they were doing a right thing, a godly thing, not a wrong thing, because Israel had been given up to their enemies on account of their apostasy from God. The truth however, is that every offence against Israel, the holy people, the holy nation of the Lord, brings mounting guilt upon Israel’s attackers. In order to escape from this misery, Israel is told to flee from Babylon. This is because, by the will and divine counsel of the Lord, He is stirring up the great northern nations of the Medes and Persians, and all their allies and auxiliaries, against Babylon. This destruction, brought about by the wrath of God, turns over the whole of Babylonia (Chaldea) to their attackers.
Jeremiah says in v12-15 that:
“your mother shall be deeply ashamed; she who bore you shall turn pale. Behold, the last of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. Because of the wrath of Jehovah it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly a waste. Everyone who goes by Babylon shall be amazed and hiss at all her plagues. Put yourselves in order against Babylon all around; all you who bend the bow, shoot at her. Hold back no arrows, for she has sinned against Jehovah. Shout against her all around. She has given her hand; her foundations have fallen, her walls have been thrown down; for it is the vengeance of Jehovah. Take vengeance on her. As she has done, do to her.”
Babylon is to be made wholly desolate, for she has sinned has against the Lord. Sin and unrepentance also result in us becoming targets for the arrows of God’s judgements.
In verses 17-20 we read:
“Israel is a scattered sheep, driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon crunched his bones. So Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, says this: Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria. And I will again bring Israel to his home, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied on Mount Ephraim and Gilead.
In those days, and at that time, says Jehovah, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and it shall not be found; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.”
As Babylon is made desolate for her sinning against the Lord, the mercy promised to the Israel of God, shall not only accompany that desolation, but arise from the destruction of Babylon. This promise points to the time of the New Covenant. These sheep will be gathered from the deserts and put again into good pasture. All who return to God and walk faithfully with Him in obedience, will find satisfaction in their soul. It is important that we understand this Truth. In principle, the deliverance of Israel results from it; whatever the subsequent dealings of God may have been. Deliverances from our trouble are comforts indeed, bearing the fruit of the forgiveness of sin.
Verses 23-30 say:
“A sound of battle is in the land, and of great ruin. How the hammer of the whole earth is cut off and broken! How Babylon has become a ruin among the nations! I have laid a trap for you, and you are also captured, O Babylon, and you did not know. You were found and also caught, because you have fought against Jehovah. Jehovah has opened His armoury, and has brought forth the weapons of His fury. For this is the work of the Lord Jehovah of Hosts in the land of the Chaldeans. Come against her from the border; open her storehouses; cast her up as heaps, and destroy her completely. Let nothing of her be left. Kill all her bulls; let them go down to the slaughter. Woe to them! For their day has come, the time of their punishment. The voice of those who flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of Jehovah our God, the vengeance of His temple. Make the archers hear against Babylon. All you who tread a bow, camp against it all around; let none of them escape. Repay her according to her work; according to all that she has done, do to her. For she has been proud against Jehovah, against the Holy One of Israel. So her young men shall fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be silenced in that day, says Jehovah. Behold, I am against you, O proud ones, says the Lord Jehovah of Hosts; for your day has come, the time that I will judge you. 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 burn up everything all around him.”
Jeremiah tells us the forces are mustered and empowered to destroy Babylon and asks them to do what God demands, so they will bring to pass what God threatens. The pride of men’s hearts sets God against them and Babylon’s pride, awaits self-destruction. The destruction of Babylon is God’s destruction of His own Gentile empire and is done so that the compulsory idolatry which Babylon represents and ruled on earth, may be overcome.
Jeremiah adds in v33-34:
So says Jehovah of Hosts: The sons of Israel and the sons of Judah were oppressed together. And all who captured them held them fast; they refused to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; Jehovah of Hosts, is His name. He shall thoroughly plead their cause, so that he may give rest to the land, and give trouble to the people of Babylon.”
It is Israel’s comfort in distress, that, though they are under the Babylonian captivity and are weak, their Redeemer is strong. This may be applied to born-again believers, who are still under the bondage of the sins of their own weaknesses and infirmities. God is fully aware here, of the bondage of His people in Babylon and He is fully aware of our situation too. He is able to keep what they commit to Him; and sin shall not have dominion over them. He has told us this too. He will give them rest, rest which remains for the people of God.
Verses 35-40 read:
“A sword is on the Chaldeans, says Jehovah, and on the people of Babylon, and on her rulers, and on her wise men. A sword is on the liars, and they shall become fools. A sword is on her mighty men, and they shall be afraid. A sword is on their horses and their chariots, and on all the mixed people in her midst; and they shall become as women. A sword is to her treasuries, and they shall be robbed. A drought is on her waters; and they shall be dried up. For it is the land of idols, and they act madly with idols. So the beasts of the desert shall dwell there with jackals. And the daughters of the ostrich shall dwell in her again. And it shall not again have anyone in it forever; it shall not be lived in until generation and generation. God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbours, says Jehovah, no man shall live there; nor shall any son of man live in it.”
“A sword” in vv35-47 refers to “universal judgement” by God upon His people and this judgement includes war and all its calamities. A sword is brought upon them all, including the inhabitants of Babylon. A sword of war; and as it is in God’s hand, it is sent and directed by Him. It is a sword of justice upon their princes; they shall fall by it, and their dignity, wealth, and power, shall not save them. The sword is also upon their wise men, their philosophers, their statesmen, and privy-counsellors; their learning and policies shall neither save them, nor stand the people in any good stead. The sword is against the fortune tellers (liars) and astrologers, for they cheated with their prognostications of peace and prosperity. The sword upon them will make them dote, so they talk and act like fools. The unchangeable faithfulness of God has a sword which can reach the soul and affect the mind, bringing men out from under spiritual bondage. No evil can come against the power of God and His will and like Sodom and Gomorrah, that which the Lord destroys, remains destroyed.
Verses 41-46 read:
“Behold, a people shall come from the north, even a great nation; and many kings shall be stirred up from the farthest parts of the earth. They lay hold on a bow and spear; they are cruel and will not show mercy. Their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride on horses arrayed like a man for the battle against you, O daughter of Babylon. The king of Babylon has heard the report of them, and his hands became feeble. Anguish took hold of him, and pangs like those of a woman in labour. Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan to the home of the strong. But I will make them suddenly run away from her. And who is a chosen one whom I will appoint over her? For who is like Me? And who will set Me the time? And who is that shepherd who will stand before Me? Therefore hear the counsel of Jehovah that He has taken against Babylon; and His purposes which He has purposed against the land of the Chaldeans. Surely the least of the flock shall drag them; surely He shall make their dwelling a desert with them. At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and a cry is heard among the nations.”
The fall of Babylon is a judgement pronounced upon idolatry and persecution, as their sins are idolatry and oppression. The judgements of God for these sins will lay them to waste and total destruction. In the judgements against a prosperous Babylon and in the mercies promised to a suffering and afflicted Israel, we must learn to choose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin, for a season or two.
Though the original earthly Babylon has fallen, the spirit of Babylon and its all pervading compulsory idolatry continues. Babylon fell first so that a man could be raised up to execute the righteousness of God. That was accomplished by the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. Now the spirit of Babylon will be brought down so that idolatry no longer rules.
The “sudden and unexpected fall of Babylon”, will be a matter of joy to some, and of lamentation to others. Babylon provided leadership and was the economic engine of the world in its day. The then, world leaders, wept because of loss as its loss threatened their own wealth. So too, shall it be today.
Prophetically, therefore, Babylon represents money, apostasy, confusion, and rebellion. I believe the Lord is telling me that the fall of modern day Babylon will begin in earnest, in the second half of 2011. Therefore, the political and economic landscape of the world will change and be tested.
May the Lord have mercy. Amen and Amen!