Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Jeremiah 51:14–16 “The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillers; and they shall lift up a shout against thee. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding. When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.”

The comparison of men to caterpillers is a reference to destroying locusts. The LORD is saying that He is going to see that Babylon is overrun by the enemy. These verses are emphasizing the fact that though the enemy will come in the form of men, they are executing God’s judgment according to His will.

The LORD identifies Himself as the Creator of earth and heaven through His wisdom and understanding. He declares Himself to be the power and authority behind the “waters in the heavens” (rain, ice and snow), the clouds, the lightning and the winds—in other words, the forces of nature. The creation is an awe-inspiring testimony to God’s knowledge, judgment, and purposes—and they are far beyond our understanding. Scientists are still mystified at what holds the atom together and the intricate processes at work in every cell; there is still much they do not know regarding the far reaches of space and the depths of the oceans.

Jeremiah 51:17–18 “Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.”

I liked the NLT translation of the first part of verse 17: “Compared to him, all people are foolish and have no knowledge at all!” This is evidenced by man’s continuing efforts to make gods of his own to worship. These false gods are powerless on behalf of those who make them and worship them. Babylon’s idols will be destroyed by the enemy along with the people.

Jeremiah 51:19–24 “The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name. Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider; With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers. And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.”

Israel’s God, “the portion of Jacob,” is all powerful in contrast. He is the Creator of all things, including His chosen tribe or portion (from the Hebrew for “inheritance”) among the nations on planet earth.

The commentators seem to agree that this section of verses is referencing either Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus. That surprised me, because my first thoughts were that the context was identifying Israel as the weapon He would use to bring judgment upon Babylon. I am sure that the captives in Babylon would have made application to Cyrus, but from my perspective today I believe the primary context is yet future. It is through Israel that Messiah was birthed, and it is as the King of kings who will rule from Jerusalem that He will return in judgment upon Babylon, the kingdom of Antichrist. The prophet Isaiah talked about Jesus as Israel; following is an excerpt from my journal in which I believe the context identifies Jesus as Israel.
Isaiah 49:3 “And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
Jesus knew from the beginning that He would be a special instrument in the hand of His Father and that He would bring great glory to His Father. In fact, He would be the testimony to the nations of the power of God in the life of a person or a nation that was obedient to the commands of the Father. He represented the true Israel (one that prevails with God*) that would follow God in faith and obedience. Jesus was the Father’s beautiful secret weapon brought forth at just the right moment in time to defeat the enemy. [end excerpt]

* Genesis 32:28 “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”

(to be continued...)

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Jeremiah 51:8–9 “Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.”

Again the words echo from previous studies.

Isaiah 21:9 “And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.”

Revelation 14:8 “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

In the passage from Isaiah the Lord has issued a call to the Medes and Persians to come and conquer Babylon, and a runner has come to tell the watchmen in Jerusalem that Babylon has fallen. This would appear to be the near application of this message. It wouldn’t surprise me, however, to learn that there is similar application to the destruction of Babylon yet to come being heralded in the verses from Revelation.

In context with previous verses I believe that the primary application is yet future. The indication is that the nations would like to see Babylon healed, but that is not possible. They realize that her judgment has come from heaven. Why would they bemoan her fall? John tells us that it is because her fall has affected their prosperity.

Revelation 18:9–11 “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more….”

Jeremiah 51:10 “The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.”

I think it is fair to say that this is a valid response from both the Jews who were in captivity in Babylon and the future remnant of Jews that will suffer under the rule of the Antichrist. They are eager to praise God’s judgment against Babylon and view it as victory for righteousness.

Jeremiah 51:11 “Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.”

This verse is again confirming that God chose to use the Medes and Persians to conquer Babylon. At the time, Darius the Mede was the acting ruler.

Daniel 5:30–31 “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.”

The purpose of God’s judgment is declared to be an act of vengeance; an act that only God is authorized to take.

Psalms 94:1 “O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.”

Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

Only God possesses the authority and moral integrity to act in vengeance according to a non-biased or self-serving view of right and wrong. Point is made that God will be avenging Babylon’s destruction of His temple through the kings of the Medes. Again, this would be referring to the near fulfillment of this prophecy.

Jeremiah 51:12–13 “Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.”

Verse 12 seems to be a call to Babylon to prepare for attack because the LORD has planned and implemented His judgment in vengeance against her. I think it is important to note that the wording is that of a done deed.

As He continued to address the people of Babylon in verse 13, my mind again made a direct connection with Revelation 17.

Revelation 17:1 “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters….”

John goes on to identify the “many waters” as peoples and nations.

Revelation 17:15 “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”

In other words, Babylon’s riches have come at the expense of the nations over whom she has ruled. I believe this again to be applicable to both the Babylon of the 6th century BC as well as to Babylon of the 21st century (if I am reading the signs of the time correctly).

The last phrase in verse 13 makes me think of the following verses from Revelation that declare that Babylon is going to be judged in accordance with her treatment of others.

Revelation 18:5–6 “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.”

(to be continued…)

Thursday, August 25, 2011


This post continues with the prophecy of God’s coming judgment against Babylon. Because of the length and repetitive nature of the prophecies declared against Babylon and the fact that it is addressed in both Old and New Testament scripture, I think speaks to the importance of these prophecies. Every prophecy of God is important, but some obviously stand out in more significance than others.

Jeremiah 51:1–4 “Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind; And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about. Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host. Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.”

Babylon is known as the birthplace of false religion and of the first organized rebellion against God after the flood. That fact alone makes her accountable for the influence of all false religions and for all organized rebellion against God, which would include the mistreatment of His people.

I have heard scripture described as a tale of two cities—Jerusalem and Babylon—and I believe a case can be made to support that description. Jerusalem represents true religion before God, and Babylon represents all false religions. Sadly, Jerusalem’s testimony also reveals the consequences of choosing to act in disobedience to God.

This section of verses continues with the theme of the future complete destruction of Babylon. The picture this time is that of a destroying wind, like the hot and powerful desert sirocco. Babylon is pictured being emptied like the chaff that is blown away when winnowing the harvest. This reminds me of a verse in the Psalms.

Psalms 1:4 “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”

No one is to be spared. The picture is that of so many killed that they fill the streets.

I hate to keep repeating myself, but this was not the case when Cyrus took control of Babylon. I believe the main thrust of this prophecy is yet future.

Jeremiah 51:5 “For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”

The point is being emphasized that though God is judging Israel and Judah for their sins, He is not breaking covenant with them. In fact, He is acting according to the conditional covenant made with them through Moses that works in conjunction with the covenant made with Abraham. In the covenant made through Moses the people were promised blessing for obedience and cursing for choosing to disobey and break covenant.

Deuteronomy 30:15–19 “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

Jeremiah 51:6–7 “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.”

These verses immediately brought to mind other verses from my study of Revelation.

Revelation 17:4–6 “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”

Revelation 18:3–5 “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”

The context indicates that the call is for God’s people to flee for their life from Babylon because the time of God’s vengeance against her has come. “Recompence” is a reference to getting what she deserves.

It is interesting to note that Babylon is identified as a “golden cup in the LORD’s hand.” The golden cup is a reference to her influence. That she has made the nations drunk is a reference to the effectiveness of her influence.

It is always hard to understand God’s use of the wicked in judging and purifying His people—both Israel and the church. I am reminded that it is through adversity that the faith of God’s people grows stronger and impostors are identified.

Zechariah 13:7–9 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”

Luke 22:31–32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

Acts 15:8–9 “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

Zechariah is speaking of the effect that the 70th week of Daniel will have on Israel. He is declaring that a full third of the Jewish people will emerge from that refining fire in righteousness and faith.

Luke is recording the words of Jesus to Peter regarding his coming trial of faith when confronted as being one of Jesus’ followers during the time that he is on trial. Peter denied his Lord, but his faith emerged stronger than ever. His experience produced repentance and a unique reference through which he could strengthen the faith of others.

The strength of Peter’s faith was in great evidence as he uttered the words recorded in Acts. He had personally experienced the power of the Holy Spirit as a purifying force of his faith.

(to be continued…)

Monday, August 22, 2011


Jeremiah 50:41–43 “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. 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. 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.”

These verses are interesting in light of God’s declaration that according to how Babylon has treated His people, so will they be treated (v29 above). In chapter 6 Jeremiah was declaring the warning of the coming attack of Babylon against Judah using almost the same language.

Jeremiah 6:22–24 “Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth. They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion. We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail.”

This section of verses is again confusing to me as to the application. The king and his lords were partying when Cyrus took the city. It’s hard to think that it applies to the Antichrist, although we do know that he will experience opposition according to the prophecy of Daniel.

Daniel 11:40 & 44 “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over….But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.”

The Hebrew for the word “trouble” in the verses from Daniel above does make reference to causing fear or alarm.

Jeremiah 50:44–45 “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? 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.”

I think the translation from the CJB is clearer: “It will be like a lion coming up from the thickets of the Yarden against a strong settlement; in an instant I will chase him away and appoint over it whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who can call me to account? What shepherd can stand up to me?”

The primary point of these verses is that the LORD is sovereign and all powerful; He is in complete control over all that is happening. There is no being on earth that can stand against Him. His judgment has been declared against the whole land and not even the weakest among them will be spared.

Jeremiah 50:46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations.

It’s interesting to note that the fall of Edom is said to reverberate as far as the Red Sea, while the fall of Babylon seems to reverberate through the nations, implying the known world. That correlates perfectly with the fall of Babylon declared in both Isaiah and Revelation.

Isaiah 14:9–10 “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?”

Revelation 18:9 “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning….”

The prophet’s message regarding the judgment of Babylon is continued in the next chapter.

(to be continued)

Friday, August 19, 2011


Jeremiah 50:35–37 “A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the LORD, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men. A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed. 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.”

The sword is representative of God’s judgment as declared by His word. God’s word is pictured in scripture as a sword that is effective in accomplishing His purposes.

Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God….”

Revelation 19:11–15 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war….and his name is called The Word of God…. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

God’s judgment is pictured as acting against all the wicked in Babylon—men of royalty, men thought to possess wisdom, proud men, and mighty men. His judgment will render ineffective their horses, chariots and mercenaries; these hired soldiers will melt in fear before the judgment of God. His judgment will also result in the loss of all her treasures.

Jeremiah 50:38–40 “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. 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. 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.”

God’s judgment will include a drought throughout the land of Babylon. God then declares that His judgment is also because of their worship of false gods—another testimony to her pride in rejecting the one true God.

The destruction of Babylon will culminate in it no longer existing as a nation. The land will be left to the wild beasts of the desert and the wild beasts of the islands. The Hebrew for “islands” makes reference to the howling sounds made by the creatures. God emphasizes the fact that Babylon will never again be inhabited by man after this judgment, so we know that it is yet future. Just to be clear, its destruction is compared to that of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities of the plains. Though Babylon has yet to rise to great significance once more on the world stage, it has been continually inhabited throughout history.

Isaiah declares this same truth in his prophecy against Babylon.

Isaiah 13:19–21 “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.”

(to be continued…)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


This post begins with a section of Jeremiah that denounces the pride of Babylon and her king.

Jeremiah 50:31–32 “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. 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.”

God continues to emphasize how He hates pride and is against those who choose to align themselves against Him in pride. I am reminded that pride is the first thing on the list of the seven things most hated by God.

Proverbs 6:16–17 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look….”

Satan’s sin was a result of his pride. It’s interesting that this is told us most explicitly in Isaiah’s passage regarding judgment against the king of Babylon. Also it is interesting to me to note that after Satan is thrown out of heaven, he chooses to indwell the Antichrist and desecrate God’s temple as he begins the 3.5 years of complete authority granted him by God. How does he desecrate the temple? By placing his throne in the temple and declaring himself to be God.

Isaiah 14:12–15 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

Revelation 13:4–5 “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”

2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

Jeremiah 50:33 “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.”

It’s much easier to see how God’s people could make application of the messages of the prophets to their times since they were unaware of the future applications of these prophecies that become clearer as time marches on. The Lord Jesus affirms this to be true by referencing the abomination of desolation spoken of Daniel as an event yet future. Until that time, I am sure the Jewish people had assumed that prophecy to have been fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes, who in retrospect we can now understand to be a type of the coming Antichrist. (See the journal on Daniel 11 for more details.)

These verses speak of the captives of Israel as being oppressed and under the ruling authority of their enemies without hope of escape. The first thing that jumped into my mind was the plight of the Jews in Russia as depicted in “The Fiddler on the Roof.” Of course, the Jews have faced much oppression in the nations of the world throughout history. The Spanish Inquisition resulted in the death of thousands of Jews before they were finally expelled by Ferdinand and Isabella. Many European countries dealt with the Jewish problem by establishing ghettos to which the Jews were confined for the most part. Germany’s ultimate solution for the Jews was enacted in the concentration camps of World War II.

Jeremiah 50:34 “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.”

Though God has acted in judgment against His people, His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is still in force. He has provided a Redeemer in the person of His precious Son, Jesus Christ, who will eventually assume the throne of David and give peace to the land of Israel. In the process, He will completely destroy Babylon. To “disquiet” the people of Babylon is to put them in fear through His awesome display of power.

The prophet Micah understood that God would provide a redeemer, an intercessor that would allow His people to enter the His presence.

Micah 7:9 “I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.”

(to be continued)

Saturday, August 13, 2011


This section starts with a command from the LORD calling for the complete destruction of Babylon. My first instinct was that it was a call to the nations, but upon further reflection, I think it could be a reference to supernatural forces working through specific men or possibly even a specific nation. Babylon had earned the reputation of hammer of the “whole earth.” It was almost unthinkable that she could be destroyed.

Jeremiah 50:21–23 “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. A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction. How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!”

According to Strong’s Concordance, Merathaim is an epithet for Babylon and Pekod is a symbolic name for Babylon.

I am sure that many thought that the mighty Babylonian Empire was invincible before it was conquered by the Medes and Persians. However, as noted previously, Babylon was not utterly destroyed by that conquest. I can’t help but think that the primary fulfillment of this prophecy is yet future in connection with the Kingdom of the Antichrist. I think this result is more in line with the destruction of Babylon recorded in Revelation 18.

Revelation 18:18–19 “And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.”

This makes me think of how America has been regarded by the nations. Sadly, I think our fall is going to be regarded by the nations in the same way.

Jeremiah 50:24–25 “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. 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.”

God is again making clear through His prophet that He is the One directing this judgment against Babylon. This sounds more descriptive of how the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon. The snare laid is probably a reference to the false sense of security that had resulted from her long-time rule and authority. The prophet Daniel describes how the king and his lords were partying when the enemy came in and took over. Cyrus and his armies diverted the Euphrates River and marched into the city on the dry riverbed.

Verse 25 seems to have more reference to the verses in Revelation 18 that attribute the destruction of Babylon to death, famine and fire that are described as plagues of God’s judgment.

Again, as is often the case, I think this message is one of more than one application or of near and far fulfillment.

Jeremiah 50:26–27 “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. Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.”

These verses make it clear that the final fulfillment of this prophecy will result in the complete destruction of Babylon, though the people of Jeremiah’s day probably considered it to reference the defeat by Cyrus. We know that Belshazzar was killed, and I would assume the lords that were partying with him. The dead are pictured lying in heaps. The fighting men were referred to as “bullocks” in chapter 46, and that comparison would make sense here as well. “The time of their visitation” is a phrase referencing the time of judgment.

Jeremiah 50:28–30 “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. 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. 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 my mind this again would seem to apply more to a time after the take over by Cyrus. There is a call for those fleeing from Babylon to go to Zion and declare how God has avenged His temple. The natural assumption is to think that this is in reference to the destruction of the Temple by the forces of Nebuchadnezzar. From my perspective, it would also allow for application to the time that the temple is desecrated by the Antichrist whom I believe will be headquartered in Babylon until that time. The arrows being shot could well be a reference to guided nuclear missiles that will result in the final destruction of Babylon by fire. Only time will tell.

I think it is significant to note that again God’s harshest judgment is declared against those who lift themselves up in pride against Him. I pity those poor souls who today so arrogantly and defiantly declare themselves in opposition to God and those who manipulate His word as they boldly present their false teachings.

(to be continued)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The application of the next verses in Jeremiah seem to reference times that span from Jeremiah’s time to the Millennial Kingdom.

Jeremiah 50:16–20 “….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. 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. 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. 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.”

This section of verses starts out making reference to how Assyria had taken captives of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Nebuchadnezzar had completed the destruction of the nation by taking those in the Southern Kingdom captive. This had resulted in the people of Israel being scattered throughout the nations. God declares that Babylon and its king would be punished for their actions against the Jews just as Assyria and its king had been punished.

The death of Sennacherib, the king that took Northern Israel captive, is recorded in 2Kings.

2 Kings 19:36–37 “So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.”

Maybe the death of Belshazzar as recorded in Daniel 5 is the fulfillment of this part of the prophecy.

Daniel 5:30–31 “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.”

Interestingly enough, Assyria had been conquered by Babylon and Babylon would be conquered by the Medes and Persians. Again, though vessels of judgment in the hand of the LORD, they are acting in accordance with their own desires and choices. They are still accountable for those choices. It’s an example of God formulating His plan by incorporating the choices of men according to His amazing foreknowledge.

God’s omniscience is truly an amazing aspect of His character. He knew everything before He created anything. He knows each person He creates intimately and is aware of every choice they will make in a given set of circumstances. God sovereignly chose to give man the freedom of choice. I believe that choice was predicated on the truth that love is not love unless freely given, and He wanted a love relationship with us. Yes, He knew that man would sin; but sin actually resulted in man being able to understand God’s love to its fullest extent. Through His foreknowledge, I believe He chose to put people in place at certain times in history so as to accomplish His purposes. He never causes man to act against His own desires; and because of that fact, man is still accountable for those things done as instruments of God’s judgment. Obviously, I am trying to express a truth that I can’t really completely comprehend because of my limited understanding. In my mind, however, this truth is one of the greatest evidences of the greatness of our God. If I could completely understand Him, He wouldn’t be God.

Isaiah 55:8–9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Note that Jeremiah is speaking of a time when the sins of the whole nation of Israel have been completely forgiven. It will be a time of prosperity and peace like never before in Israel’s history. The clear implication is that this time of redemption will be according to God’s mercy and grace. The Hebrew for those “reserved” is a direct reference to the “remnant” that God has promised to reserve and establish under the New Covenant in fellowship with Him. These prosperous times were also foretold by Isaiah and Ezekiel.

Isaiah 65:9–10 “And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.”

Ezekiel 34:13–14 “And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.”

(to be continued)

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Jeremiah 50:11–13 “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; 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. 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.”

This section of verses makes it clear that Babylon’s destruction is a direct result of God’s wrath against her because of her treatment of the people of Israel, His possession or portion among the nations on earth (from the Hebrew).

Deuteronomy 32:8–9 “When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.”

I am reminded that prophecy is often presented as a whole, when in actuality the fulfillment may be intended to occur in phases. This was demonstrated by Jesus when He read from the scroll in Isaiah and stopped in the middle of a sentence regarding the part that He was fulfilling at that time.

Luke 4:16–21 “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

Notice that the rest of the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled; this will occur at His second coming.

Isaiah 61:1–3 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”

In this regard, I think the destruction declared for end times does apply and that Jeremiah’s prophecy goes hand-in-hand with Isaiah’s.

Isaiah 13:19–21 “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.”

Jeremiah 50:14–15 “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. 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.”

In these verses the alliance of nations coming against Babylon are encouraged to surround her and spare no effort in unleashing destroying weapons against her. God is declaring this attack to be a result of His judgment against her for her sin against Him. He is determined to see that she reaps what she has sown in light of her mistreatment of His people. I doubt, however, that the enemies attacking Babylon realize that they are vessels of judgment in the hand of God. The message declares God’s intent to make the nation barren.

I can’t help but think that there is valid application regarding the treatment of Israel by Iraq in fairly recent years.

(to be continued)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


This post begins with an explanation of how Israel lost their way spiritually.

Jeremiah 50:6–7 “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. 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.”

God compares the people to lost sheep without good shepherds to lead them according to the law of God. In fact, their spiritual overseers, their shepherds, were responsible for leading them away from the truth of God’s word. They’ve wandered among the different kingdoms on earth, both large and small, and have forgotten their spiritual roots. They have forgotten that their “restingplace” can only be found in covenant with God.

Leviticus 26:3–12 “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them….ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid….For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you….And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”

Verse 7 seems to be saying that the Jews would face hatred and enemies everywhere they went. These enemies would justify their mistreatment of them based upon their sin against the LORD, the very One in whom their founding fathers had invested their faith and hope for the future.

It’s interesting to me that the wording is such that, though Jesus was not to come until hundreds of years later, application can be made to the abominable actions of the “Christian” church towards the Jewish people throughout church history. Even today, many protestant denominations have determined that God has rejected the Jew and regard them with disgust or irrelevance accordingly.

Jeremiah 50:8–10 “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. 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. And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD.”

This section of verses is a call to the people of God to get out of Babylon in light of the coming attack of an enemy conglomerate of nations from the north. “He goats” lead the flock. The call is to lead the way out; don’t wait to be led out. This enemy is seen as possessing arrows that sound very much like the smart guided missiles of today; they will always hit their mark. This enemy army will then proceed to spoil the land of all its treasures.

I don’t believe the reference is to the attack of the Medes and Persians because God had already identified Cyrus as the vessel through whom the Israelites would be encouraged to return to Israel and rebuild the temple and allowed to take many of the temple treasures with them. There was no reason for them to flee at that time.

Ezra 1:1–8 “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem…. Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.”

Though the call for God’s people to flee Babylon sounds very similar to the call described in Revelation 18, I don’t think application is specific. In Revelation the people of the world respond to the destruction of Babylon with mourning because of the economic impact. There is no mention of a great military attack by an alliance of nations against them; it is clear that their destruction will come at the hand of Almighty God through death, famine, and fire. The destruction is to be complete with no opportunity for taking any loot.

Still thinking………(to be continued)

Monday, August 1, 2011


As this blog series comes to a close, we will take a look at chapters 50-51 regarding the judgment of Babylon. These are sister chapters to Isaiah 13-14 and Revelation 17-18. Babylon has yet to meet the destruction described in these chapters, and I believe the reference is to literal Babylon, the birthplace of idolatry under the leadership of Nimrod.

Jeremiah 50:1–3 “The word that the LORD spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet….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.”

I think it is important to note that the enemy from the north coming against Babylon will destroy the land to the point that no living creatures will be left there. The NAS states that it will become “an object of horror.” This is not descriptive of any action taken against Babylon to this point in history. From my perspective today, it would make sense for this to be a reference to nuclear or biological warfare of some type.

Jeremiah 50:4–5 “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. 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.”

“In those days…time” – When the land of Babylon is ruined….

That time is described as one in which the whole nation of Israel, all 12 tribes, will seek to join themselves in covenant to the LORD with a commitment to keep that covenant forever. Though the returning captives from Babylon did establish covenant with God upon their return, it is obvious that covenant is not in force today.

Nehemiah 9:36–38 “Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.”

The covenant referred to by Jeremiah in verse 5 is yet in Israel’s future, and I believe makes reference to the believing remnant that will be birthed during the time of Jacob’s trouble, another reference to the last seven years on planet earth before Messiah returns to set up His kingdom. I believe these are the times also referenced by the prophets Hosea and Ezekiel.

Hosea 3:4–5 “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.”

Ezekiel 36:26–28 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

Ezekiel provides the key to the people being able to keep covenant. God is going to put His Spirit within them to empower them.

(to be continued)