Babylon’s Future Demise

August 23, 2017 at 9:20 AM 3 comments

Yesterday, in Part 6 of the Prophecies of Isaiah series, we discussed aspects of Babylon and how it was destroyed, not to rise again. As I’ve stated many times before, Scripture should always be interpreted against Scripture and while I was mainly correct in what I stated, I completely forgot what is stated in Jeremiah 50, parts of Revelation, and elsewhere regarding Babylon.

Yes, Babylon the empire was “destroyed” by the Medes during Babylonian King Belshazzar’s reign, as we noted previously and was so by incorporating Babylon into the Medo-Persian Empire. However, elsewhere in Scripture, there are references to “Babylon” in the latter days and how, as the main system of corruption, it will be destroyed completely and with finality by the Lord. What this means is that something the Lord refers to as “Babylon” rises out of its own ancient ashes, with the same type of system used when original Babylon was at its prime.

We know that during Saddam Hussein’s time as dictator of Iraq, he was bent on rebuilding Babylon and had one of his ornate palaces built not far from the ruins of Ancient Babylon (see image). He was determined to rebuild the city and become a living Nebuchadnezzar. He failed, but it is still clear from Scripture that something called Babylon will rise again and take precedence in the latter days.

In Jeremiah 50, the Lord reveals to the prophet (and to us through the prophet), what the future holds for Babylon and Israel. It is understood that much of the book of Jeremiah deals with future events related to many nations of the world, especially, Israel.

There are several things in chapter 50 that point to future events. Certainly, they were the future from Jeremiah’s perspective because he was revealing information given to him by God Himself about the things that would occur. But in truth, chapter 50 appears to be even future from our perspective.

Yes, the original Babylonian Kingdom was overcome by the Medes and they absorbed much of Babylon into their empire. So in that sense, Babylon was never destroyed since it was absorbed, continuing to exist under a different name. From that point onward, it was the Medes and Persians who controlled the area of Babylon, at least until Alexander the Great came on the scene. His conquering of the Medo-Persian Empire meant that the land once belonging to the Assyrians, then the Babylonians (Chaldeans), and then the Medes-Persians, came under the control of the Greeks. We also know that this same area was ultimately conquered and absorbed by the Romans into their growing Roman Empire.

Since the fall of the Roman Empire, numerous areas that were part of Babylon have fallen and been abandoned. One of them is the city of Babylon. It currently lies in ruins, but it is being unearthed with care through the archaeologists’ spade. Does this mean that this same area of Babylon will be resurrected in the future at some point? It could, but it could also mean that something like Babylon and from that same general area will rise and become highly prominent during what the Bible calls the “latter days.”

The word that the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by Jeremiah the prophet:

“Declare among the nations and proclaim,
    set up a banner and proclaim,
    conceal it not, and say:
‘Babylon is taken,
    Bel is put to shame,
    Merodach is dismayed.
Her images are put to shame,
    her idols are dismayed.’

“For out of the north a nation has come up against her, which shall make her land a desolation, and none shall dwell in it; both man and beast shall flee away. (Jeremiah 50:1-3 ESV)

Notice several things from the first few verses of Jeremiah 50. First, the Lord prefaces His words to Jeremiah that “Babylon is taken.”  As Dr. Thomas Constable points out, “In Scripture, ‘Babylon’ often refers to the nation rather than the city, as this verse makes clear. Some expositors have applied almost all the prophecies to the city rather than to the whole nation. Probably both entities are in view, the city sometimes and the country sometimes.” [1]

It seems reasonable to assume that when God discusses the destruction of Babylon, He is talking about an empire/nation, as opposed to a city. We know that in the end times/latter days, a final “beast” will rise that will engulf the entire world and the characteristics of that coming kingdom are defined in Daniel 2:40-43 (see also Daniel 7). This “fourth” beast or kingdom gives rise to the Antichrist who sets up his throne not far from Jerusalem. God allows this human being completely taken over by Satan to rule the earth for a short time. God does so for His purposes, goals, and glory as the destruction of the Antichrist at Christ’s return proves (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

The coming fourth beast with the harlot riding her is part of the coming Babylonian system.

It is this fourth beast/empire, what many call the Revised Roman Empire, that will have aspects of the previous Babylonian Empire in it. In fact, this final version will have aspects of each of the previous empires as part of it. Certainly, the idolatry of the previous empires will be part and parcel of this coming final “beast.” God makes this clear that idol worship or false gods is part of this coming system in the above verses quoted.

Notice in verse 2 where God says “Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed. Her images are put to shame, her idols are dismayed.” These were the main gods of the Babylonian Empire – Bel and Merodach (Marduk).

Bel was the title of the storm god Enlil, the chief god of Nippur. He was the equivalent of Baal in Canaan and Hadad in Aram. The Babylonians also called Marduk “Bel” (“Lord”).[A] Marduk (Merodach) was the creator god who emerged as Babylon’s chief deity and the head of the pantheon of Babylonian idols. Jeremiah used Bel and Marduk in this verse to represent all the Babylonian gods. He referred to their images as pieces of human excrement (or animal droppings; Heb. gilluleyha, “her idols”; cf. Lev. 26:30; Deut. 29:17; 1 Kings 15:12; 21:26; et al.). Ezekiel used this Hebrew word to describe idols no less than 38 times. [2]

[A] Smothers, p. 365.

In Jeremiah 50:4-5, God reveals something that most conservative scholars take as referring to the “latter days.”

“4 In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the Lord their God. 5 They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.’

Normally, whenever Scripture says “in those days,” it is referring to a time that is yet future. If we look carefully at the two verses, God is clearly describing something that has not occurred yet with the Israelites as a nation. There will come a time of real, unfettered repentance (weeping) among the final remnant of true Jews. This “everlasting covenant” of verse 5 is pointing to the many sections of Scripture that foretell of a time when the final remnant of Israel will see the truth, repent, and be saved through the blood of Jesus their Messiah and Savior. There will be a true and total conversion of individuals making up that final remnant as their eyes will be open to the truth just as every person’s eyes are open to the truth of Christ, allowing them to embrace salvation through faith. Notice the last part of verse 5 says that this everlasting covenant “will never be forgotten.” It will truly become a normal and consistent way of life for the chosen Israelites of the future.

In Jeremiah 50:3, the Lord speaks of an invader from the north who would descend upon Babylon for its absolute destruction. While some are tempted to believe that this was fulfilled by the Medes, that cannot be since the Medes were actually east of Babylon nor did they destroy Babylon. They incorporated it into their growing empire and people continued to live there.

Verse 3 also points out that the desolation of Babylon will be total and complete. No one would live there – man or beast. After the Medes conquered Babylon, they used the city and of Babylon as one of their main centers. They did not utterly destroy it or make it vacant. In fact, Daniel continued to live there during the Medo-Persian Empire days (Dan. 5:28, 30-31; 6:1-3).

Jeremiah emphasized several times that the Babylon being referred to would become desolate and totally destroyed after the nation from the north (v. 3), swooped down and destroyed her. Eventually, Alexander the Great destroyed the city of Babylon, but as scholars have pointed out, that destruction did not come from the north either. Did God make a mistake? Is He not aware of the compass and directions? Clearly, God does not make mistakes. If a marauding nation at His behest is said to come from the north, we can be assured that at some future point this will happen. This has not occurred yet.

Jeremiah 50:4 tells us several things will occur with the Israelites due to the destruction of Babylon in the future. Notice it says that the people will “come together.” This means that en masse, they will actually leave Babylon and seek the way to Zion. This is not allegorical verbiage to be interpreted metaphorically. It clearly means that in the day Babylon is fully and utterly destroyed, those Israelites living there will leave and journey to Zion (Jerusalem/Israel), where they will enter into a new covenant with God, an everlasting covenant. This is all part of God’s plan to open the eyes of those who will make up the final remnant and enter the Millennial Kingdom ruled by Jesus as saved Israelites who will finally and fully inhabit the Land of Promise.

While some prefer to believe that Scriptures teach that the Church is the “new Israel,” and that all of the remaining promises have been transferred to the Church, that is erroneous thinking in my opinion and can be easily traced back to Augustine’s teaching, which created the foundation for eschatology of the Roman Catholic Church, which is largely Amillennial (no millennium) in belief.

I think it is clear enough that a final remnant representing all of Israel will be converted, will return to Zion, and will be the representatives of true Israel during the coming Millennial Kingdom. Verse 8 of Jeremiah 50 (and Revelation 18:4), is often quoted to Christians regarding disavowing secular or worldly connections with the world; those things which are diametrically opposed to God. In essence, this verse and others like it are often allegorized. The truth is that God is simply calling His chosen remnant of the future to literally leave Babylon (in whatever form it happens to take), of the future. This same sentiment is echoed in Revelation 18:4.

Babylon will not only be a centralized “system” of the future, but it will also likely be a physical entity, a center for business and trade. Verse 9 of Jeremiah 50 gives us a bit more detail concerning the invaders from the north who will completely despoil and destroy this coming Babylon.

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. (KJV)

Notice, God tells us that the invaders from the north will be “an assembly of great nations from the north country.” This is not merely one invader, but numerous nations that gather together and who will be from the north of wherever this final Babylon will exist. Babylon will be utterly destroyed by these nations at God’s direction.

Again, Cyrus the Mede did not destroy Babylon. He incorporated it into his empire. While Alexander the Great did destroy the city of Babylon several hundred years after Cyrus/Darius, he did not come from the north, but from the west and he represented only one nation. The specific countries of Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria currently occupy the territory of Ancient Babylon.

Revelation 18 highlights the destruction of the future Babylon. The book of Revelation highlights the coming Tribulation period, chapters 6 through 18. Here in chapter 18, we learn of future Babylon’s complete demise and as Jeremiah points out to the fact that the people’s arrogance and idolatry bring them ruin. This is what is happening throughout the globe as society moves toward judgment with God. It is coming whether anyone likes it or not. This world will not escape. The only hope is faith in Jesus for the only salvation that is available for all who will come to Him.

Other portions of Scripture also discuss Babylon’s ultimate destruction, like Zechariah 2:6-9, Revelation 16:19; 17:1—19:3 of which chapter 18 is part. Remember we are talking about a system as well as a physical place. Whether or not Babylon of the future is in the exact same place as Ancient Babylon or simply somewhere in that area, something will rise again during the time that the final “beast” of Daniel 2 and 7 take the stage. This future Babylon will be the embodiment of all that God hates. Babylon will be built on the arrogance of people and on their belief in other gods.

God will allow it to rise so that He can completely and utterly destroy it and the whole world will witness its destruction. That time is coming and there is nothing anyone can do to keep that from happening.

 

 

[1] Constable’s Notes on Jeremiah, p. 234

[2] Ibid, p. 234

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Demonic, devil worship, eternity, israel, Judaism, new age movement, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming. Tags: , , , , , , .

Prophecies of Isaiah, Pt 6 False Prophets and Teachers are Nothing New

3 Comments

  • 1. Prophecies of Isaiah, Pt 7 | Study - Grow - Know  |  August 31, 2017 at 12:31 PM

    […] total destruction, which may yet be future. That article was followed up with the one titled “Babylon’s Future Demise.” I’d like to use this article to focus even more on the future Babylon because between […]

  • 2. Susan Stombaugh  |  August 24, 2017 at 8:29 PM

    Hi Fred,

    Our family just returned this week from six weeks at Ariel Ministry’s (Arnold Fruchtenbaum) Camp Shoshanah in the Adirondacks. If you are ever able, make the opportunity to go. The teaching is wonderful, the fellowship sweet.

    Susan Stombaugh

    Sent from my Android 4G LTE smartphone

    • 3. modres  |  August 25, 2017 at 5:19 AM

      Thank you for sharing. I have so many of Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s books and would certainly enjoy the opportunity of visiting there.


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