Thursday, October 8, 2015

Separate Yourselves From Babylon

Jeremiah 51:34-52

“Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.  The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.” (Jeremiah 51:34-35)

Basbylon attacked and killed a huge number of the Jews and thousands more died of starvation.  Initially only a group of the leaders and a few thousand of the people were carried away as captives.  Repeated rebellions led to the entire city being razed, and almost all of the people being carried away captives, with only a few remaining behind.  The Jews would blamed the Babylonians for all their suffering, failing to acknowledge their part in it.  Two thousand years later, Islamic forces controlling the area around Babylon are still trying to annihilate the Jews, and the Jewish claims have more validity.    

“Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.  And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.  They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lions' whelps.  In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.  I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats.” (Jeremiah 51:36-40)

The Jews are still God’s chosen people, and his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are still in effect.  He will not allow them to be wiped out, but will protect them as he promised.   Babylon’s support from other people will dry up. and the loss of the Euphrates and the many springs will make the land uninhabitable.  Only ruins will remain, inhabited by lizards.  The Babylonians will make great threats, and proclamations, but their feasts and celebrations will be like that of Belshazzar in Daniel 5.  Even while they were having their feast, the Mede and Persian forces were invading the city. 

“How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!  The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.  Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.  And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.” (Jeremiah 51:41-44)

Babylon was taken in a single night by the Mede and Persian forces, with almost no struggle.  It shocked the rest of the world.  Some of the peoples they had dominated for years turned on them and seized the city.  The same thing will happen in the last days, during the Tribulation period, except the destruction will be far more complete.  Not just Babylon itself, but the entire area will be destroyed and become desert, with the Euphrates itself being dried up.  Never again will they lead a multitude of nations. 

“My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.  And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.” (Jeremiah 51:45-46)

Just before her final destruction, Babylon will offer tremendous opportunities for getting rich, as Revelation 18:11-15 describes.  “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.”

God warns his people not to try to capitalize on the opportunity, or get caught up in the rumors and economic fluctuations, similar to what we see with the stock market. Christians are warned repeatedly not to allow such rumors to concern us, as in Matthew 24:6.  “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”  If God’s people will simply not be involved, such rumors will have little effect on them.    II Corinthians 6:17 instructs, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  By leaving Babylon and having nothing to do with her, God’s people can avoid the entire mess. 

“Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.   Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD.  As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth.” (Jeremiah 51:47-49)

God will use the nations of the world, led by a king from the north to execute judgment on Babylon.  They will be destroyed in the same way they have tried to destroy Israel, and the universe will sing at the destruction of Babylon.  People from around the world will be killed in Babylon just as they killed the Jews. 

“Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.  We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD'S house.  Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan.” (Jeremiah 51:50-52)

Those who escape the destruction of Babylon need to look for the Lord and think about Jerusalem as the place God has chosen to worship him At that time the one known as the Antichrist will invade Israel, taking over the temple and setting up himself as a god according to Daniel 11:29-38.  “At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.  And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.  And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.  Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.  But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.”

This is also described in Revelation 13:5-7.  “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.  And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

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