Thursday, April 30, 2015

Babylon’s Coming Judgment

Isaiah 47:1-15

“Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.  Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.  Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.  As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.  Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.” (Isaiah 47:1-5)

Babylon was a center of world power from the earliest times, starting with the Tower of Babel.  Under Nebuchadnezzar and later under the Persian Empire, it was the seat of government for one of the world’s largest empires.  After the death of Alexander the Great its influence began to dwindle.  The prophecy here is that they will lose their ability to order others around and will have to begin to support themselves like other people, grinding their own flour and working like everyone else.  It will be openly seen that they are no different than anyone else.  God will not come to them like a human would, respecting them but as God with power over them.  When he finishes, they will know that he is God and will no longer be considered a ruling power over other nations. 

“I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst show them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.  And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.” (Isaiah 47:6-7)

Israel had rebelled against God and he was angry with their rebellion.  As a result, he allowed Babylon to have power for a time to teach them to trust him.  In their pride and belief that they could not be overthrown, the Babylonians had no mercy on Israel.  They took every advantage they could, not considering that God still loved Israel and was only trying to get their attention.  They ignored what God had promised to do for Israel.

“Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.” (Isaiah 47:8-9)

Daniel 5 describes the leadership of Babylon’s focus on pleasure, having a great party the same night Babylon was invaded by the Medo-Persian Empire because they were confident they could not be defeated.  Because no one was on watch, the Medes and Persians were able to divert the Euphrates river and use the streambed to get past the defensive walls, catching the army asleep, and taking over the entire Babylonian Empire.  Babylon will again be destroyed during the latter part of the Tribulation, as described in Revelation 17-18.  At that time, they will be the center of the Satanic religion established by the Antichrist. 

“For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.  Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.” (Isaiah 47:10-11)

Trusting in their involvement with the Antichrist, and Satan to protect them, Babylon will again think they have nothing to fear, convinced they exist by their own power and destroying all who worship any other god.  Because of their wickedness and rejection of God, will be unable to prevent or even slow the destruction of the city.  They will be caught unawares Just as they were in Belshazzar’s day.

“Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.  Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.  Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.  Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.” (Isaiah 47:12-15)

When God’s judgment comes, all their religious power and the resultant prosperity will not save them.  They will be destroyed like burning off weeds, and those they have been involved with will make no effort to deliver them.  Revelation 18:7-16 describes people’s response to her Destruction. 

“How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.  Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
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: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.  And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.

The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!” (Revelation 18:7-16)

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