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)