Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Destruction Of Babylon Foretold
“The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.
Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.” (Isaiah 13:1-3)
This is a message warning what is to happen to Babylon that Isaiah was given. At the time Assyria was a at its greatest extent, dominating the entire region under Tiglathpileser III. A little over a hundred twenty years later, the Assyrian Empire would be conquered and destroyed by the Chaldeans, fulfilling part of the prophecy in Isaiah 10. Babylon became the world power and later would conquer Judah. Historians have long dated the Babylonian defeat of Judah as about 605 BC. Records discovered at Babylon and recently translated indicate that it may have about forty years later, about 565 BC. The prophecy here deals with the eventual destruction of Babylon, far in the future. It starts with a uniting of those who fear and serve the Lord in the end of the world.
“The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.” (Isaiah 13:4-5)
Revelation 19:14-16 describes the gathering of the Host of heaven. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 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. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” This will not happen until the end of the Tribulation period.
“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” (Isaiah 13:6-10)
Jesus described these events in Luke 21:25-27. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
“And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.” (Isaiah 13:11-14)
When God brings judgment on the world, human pride and prestige will be utterly destroyed. Suddenly, human life will become far more important than any amount of riches or power. God will show his power, even changing the earth’s orbit and rotation, so that even our periods of daylight change, according to Revelation 8:12. “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.” People will want to get back to their own people and own land in hopes of finding safety.
“Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.” (Isaiah 13:15-18)
This part of the prophecy was only partially fulfilled when the Medes, allied with the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great, invaded Babylon and took the kingdom from Belshazzer in Daniel 11, over sixty years after Nebuchadnezzar first conquered Jerusalem. Babylon would remain as the main center of power under the Persians and Greeks until after Alexander the Great’s death about 320 BC.
“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. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.” (Isaiah 13:19-22)
A change of Euphrates’ course resulted in the abandonment of much of the city and relocation of the capitol under the Seleucid Empire, but Babylon remained through the centuries. In the mid 1800’s, the British relocated over ten thousand people so they could excavate the city, turning it back to Iraq in 1963. Saddam Hussein rebuilt most of the city and after his death, the United Nations committed to maintaining it. Clearly this part of the prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. Revelation 18 gives details of the destruction described here.