9-2 The judgment
The detailed descriptions
and repetitions concerning Babylon's punishment given in Jer. 50, 51;
Isa. 47 and many other passages must be for a reason. In the
light of this, the purpose of Babylon's destruction must be understood.
The real significance of her fall is that the false claims of her gods
and her conscious blasphemy of Israel's God, in short her epitomy of sin's
manifestation, is to be finally destroyed. She is called "
the seed of evildoers" (Isa. 14:20), suggesting that her defeat will
be the political victory of the seed of the woman over the serpent.
For this reason, the
religious motive behind Babylon's invasion of Israel, both historically
and in the last days, must be appreciated. The Arab use of
Islamic fundamentalism as their reason for attacking Israel is evident
to all at the present time; we should therefore be able to discern
a corresponding religious motive behind the aggression of earlier 'Babylon'.
The following are clear indicators of this:-
- " The Chaldeans...shall...possess
the dwellingplaces that are not theirs" (Hab. 1:6) sounds like Ps.
83:12, concerning the latter-day Arab confederacy saying, " Let us
take to ourselves the houses of God in possession" .
The implication is that Babylon, too, wished to possess the holy places
of Jerusalem for religious reasons.
- Thus the king
of Babylon wanted to place his throne in the temple, thinking, "
I will be like the most high" (Isa. 14:13,14), mocking the claim
of Yahweh to be 'most high' above all other gods. The latter-day
" man of sin" says likewise (2 Thess. 2:4).
- The rejoicing
at Babylon's fall is therefore because " Babylon is taken, Bel is
confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols...her images
are broken in pieces" (Jer. 50:2).
- The prophecies
of Babylon's judgment emphasize that it is the judgment of her idols (e.g.
Jer. 50:38; 51:18,47).
- We saw in Chapter
8 how the Assyrians likened captivity in their land to the wonders of
being in God's Kingdom. Babylon is likewise depicted as a fake Kingdom
of God. All the nations flowed together unto her (Jer. 51:44), as
they will to the true Kingdom of God (Is. 2:2). She is called " that
great city, which reigneth (Gk. 'basilia') over the kings of the
earth" (Rev.17:18). 'Basilia' is normally used about God's Kingdom.
When Jesus described His Kingdom as a tree " greater than all herbs"
with " great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under
the shadow of it" (Mk.4:32), He was actually quoting from the description
of the kingdom of Babylon in Dan.4. By doing so, He was pointing out that
Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom, legendary as it might be, was but a fake replica
- The Babylonians
taunted the captive Jews with requests to sing them the temple songs,
" Yahweh's song" (Ps. 137:3,4). This conscious mocking
of Yahweh-worship shows how the Babylonians conceived of the conflict
with Israel in terms of their gods being opposed to Yahweh, whom they
claimed to have vanquished. Today's Arabs see their struggle
within the similar construct of Mohammed against Israel's God, Yahweh.
Thus strong religious
motivation of latter-day 'Babylon' can be expected to grow.
Babylon caused the nations around her to drink her wine of fornication,
making them " mad" (Jer. 51:7; Rev. 14:8).
Wine being a symbol of doctrine, this must point to 'Babylon' spreading
the idea of Islamic fundamentalism to the nations around Israel (as "
the nations" seem to normally refer to), making them " mad"
in their hatred of Israel. Iran and Iraq, geographical Babylon/Assyria,
are already noted for this. As Sennacherib relied heavily
on propaganda and religious rhetoric, so Nebuchadnezzar and his latter-day
equivalent will do even more so. Jer. 51:55 speaks of Babylon
as " the great voice" , referring to her religious propaganda.
This will be quite complex, carrying with it all the power and persuasion
of a pseudo-intellectuality: " Thy wisdom and thy knowledge,
it hath perverted thee" (Isa. 47:10).
As Sennacherib described
captivity in his kingdom as being better than having a place in God's
future Kingdom (2 Kings 18:31,32), so Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon are exposed
by the language of the record as being an anti-Christ and false kingdom
of God respectively. Nebuchadnezzar and the nations he leads
are described as " the shepherd and his flock" (Jer. 51:23),
in pointed contrast to Christ, the good shepherd, and His flock, comprised
of natural and spiritual Israel.
The stones of Babylon
being used as corner stones and foundation blocks (Jer. 51:26) seem to
request contrast with Christ as the true foundation and corner stone (Ps.
Jer. 51:25 calls Babylon
a " destroying mountain" which is to be judged by fire to become
" a burnt mountain" . The use of identical language
in Rev. 8:8 must make that passage have some reference to the fall of
latter-day Babylon. " Destroying mountain" is the
language of Dan. 2:44 concerning the little stone destroying the image
and growing into a mountain, symbolizing God's Kingdom. Jer.
51:20-23 stresses no less than nine times how 'Babylon' is to be "
broken in pieces" , which is another connection with Dan. 2:44 concerning
the breaking in pieces of the nations who are confederate with 'Babylon',
the head of gold.
As the image stands
erect in the last days, it follows that its latter-day application must
be to the Arab powers around Israel who become confederate under the king
of 'Babylon', " the head of gold" . Some of these
powers with Babylon are called " mingled people" (Jer. 50:37),
connecting with the " mingled" feet of the image (Dan. 2:43).
as " the praise of the whole earth" (Jer. 51:41), connects with
Jerusalem during the Millennium being spoken of in similar language (e.g.
Ps. 48:1,2; Isa. 62:7). As the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar
was a fake kingdom of God, so the city of Babylon was a pseudo-Jerusalem.
Likewise the nations 'flowing together' unto Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon
(Jer. 51:44) seems a parody of how they will flow to Christ in Jerusalem
9-3 The Babylon confederacy
The prophecies against
Babylon have many similarities with those against the smaller Arab nations
around Israel, showing that they were and will be confederate with Babylon
in the latter-day attack upon Jerusalem. Thus Jer. 44-49 concern
the judgment of these nations, as a preface to Jer. 50,51 which concern
Babylon. As Babylon had made Israel and Jerusalem " desolate"
(Isa. 24:12; Zeph. 1:13; Jer. 4:7; Zech. 7:14), so she
would be " desolate" (Jer. 50:3). This same word
is used in the preceding chapters concerning the judgments on Moab (Jer.
48:9), Bozrah (Jer. 49:13), Edom (Jer. 49:17), as well as concerning Assyria
(Zeph. 2:13) and the Philistines (Zeph. 2:4). The clear implication
is that all these Arab allies of Babylon will have an identical punishment.
The time period in which this occurs in the time of the end will be relatively
short - the Arab powers firing nuclear weapons at each other almost simultaneously,
would neatly overcome this problem.Ps. 137:7 and Obadiah v.12 speak of
Edom as being with Babylon in her taking of Jerusalem. 'Edom'
seems a name for several Arab powers.
Is.34 describes the
judgments of " all nations" around Israel, notably " upon
Idumea" , in language which is clearly taken from the prophecies
of Babylon's doom (v.9,10=Rev.14:11; 17:16; 18:9; v.11=Is.14:23). Indeed,
all God's prophecies against Israel's enemies have marked points of contact
with each other. Thus the prophecies against Tyre in Is.23 are shot through
with links with those against Babylon in Revelation; and " as at
the report (prophecy) concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained
at the report of Tyre" (Is.23:5). Is.14:3 says that Babylon treated
Israel like the Egyptians did; they too gave them " sorrow...fear,
and...hard bondage wherein (Israel) wast made to serve" . Because
of these similarities in how they treated and will treat God's people,
their judgments will be similar. Yet a number of these nations, notably
Egypt and Tyre, are described as being judged and destroyed by Babylon
(e.g. Ez.26:7). However, there is good reason to think that Babylon's
own judgment will be at the hands of nations like these, who come under
her umbrella during their invasion of Israel. The resolution of this apparent
contradiction lies in the prophecies concerning the Arab powers destroying
each other in the final conflict, thus fulfilling all these prophecies
concerning their judging of each other.
The close association
of these other Arab powers with geographical 'Babylon' in the last days
is shown by Jer. 42:11 encouraging latter day Israel against Babylon in
the very language used to inspire Joshua against the Arab tribes of his
day: " Be not afraid of the king of Babylon...for I am with you to
save you, and to deliver you" (cp. Josh. 1:5). Hab. 2:5,15,16 describes
the king of Babylon in language reminiscent of both Lot's daughters (mothers
of Moab and Ammon), and Canaan, father of the Arab / Canaanite tribes
(cp. Gen. 9:22-25; 19:31-37). Isa. 13:14,15 also shows the connection
of the Arab peoples with Babylon; people of these areas are urged to "
flee every one into his own land (because) every one that is...joined
unto (Babylon), shall fall by the sword" in the day of Babylon's
judgment. This sounds like another hint that the Arab peoples
will be given the opportunity to repent and avoid God's judgments.
Their previously being " joined unto" Babylon is the language
of marriage/intercourse, showing the brief intensity of their association
(remember Babylon is called a whore in Rev. 17:5). The intensity
of their joining together is shown by the fact that Babylon is spoken
of as the 'hire of the north', although " the north" can refer
to other Arab powers apart from Babylon (Jer. 1:14,15; 25:9;
46:24). Passages where " the north country" is Babylon
include Jer. 3:18; 6:22; 10:22; 16:15; 23:8;
31:8; 46:10. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that
these powers became part of 'the king of the north' for the purposes of
Israel and Jerusalem's invasion and judgment.
Note, too, how Jer.
51:20-23 speaks of Babylon as an individual controlling others, i.e. the
other Arab nations - e.g. a rider of a horse, a shepherd over a flock,
a plowman over his oxen. This paves the way for Babylon being
the whore who rides the beast (Rev. 17:3). In similar vein
Isa. 49:26 speaks of Israel's Arab enemies being fed " with their
own flesh" , whilst Babylon's flesh will be eaten by the powers confederate
with her (Rev. 17:16). This shows their close association.
However, Babylon and
the beast with which it is associated is said to have power over the nations
of whole earth (Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:12). This is referring back to the
way in which historical Babylon was praised by the whole earth (Jer. 51:41),
and had an army which included men from " the whole earth" (Jer.
34:1). As Babylon of the last days will influence all nations of the earth
with her wine, so Babylon of old is spoken of in the same way (Jer. 51:7
cp. Rev. 17:2,4). Thus several prophecies speak of how Babylon's fall
had effects on the whole earth (e.g. Jer. 50:46); and latter day Babylon
likewise (Rev. 18:9,10). If we are correct in interpretting " Babylon"
as a revived Arab power of the last days, based on the prototype of historical
Babylon, then we must look for a nation like Iran or Iraq to gather together
the surrounding Arab powers for an assault on Israel, and to somehow bring
the whole world under the control of this confederacy. An Arab-dominated
UN or other global political power could bring this about. " The
Charter of Allah" makes it clear that Islam aims for world domination,
within which " co-existence is possible with other religions, but
only on Islamic terms and under Islamic domination" . Thus the control
of the Western world may not be as difficult in practice as it may seem;
if, for example, the Pope makes some suitable defference to Islam on behalf
of all 'Christians', such a situation would come into existence. As we
have often said, we need to cocnentrate more on interpretting the prophecies
on a purist level, rather than examining them only within the constructs
of what seems politically feasible at the present time.
The Arab nations in
this confederacy will turn against 'Babylon' in the ultimate 'time of
the end'; through them God's judgment against her is administered.
Babylon " gathereth unto him all nations" , but " shall
not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against
him, and say, Woe to him...shall they not rise up suddenly (and) bite
thee...and thou shalt be for booties unto them?" (Hab.2:5-8). First
of all the islands (nations) flee away from Babylon (Rev.16:20), the birds
and animals scatter from under the big tree as it starts to totter. This
may well speak of those Arab individuals who repent and 'come out of'
Babylon. Yet seeing that all these nations on a national level drink
the same cup of judgment as Babylon (Jer. 25:19-26, cp. Rev. 16:19), it
follows that their destruction must be through their judging and desolating
Babylon. A hi-tec war situation in which they all desolate
each other with missiles urges itself upon us as the likely fulfilment
of this. Note that Babylon's king drinks the cup slightly
after this (Jer. 25:26), in the same way as the Arab leaders of earlier
invasions were singled out by Gideon for especially symbolic destruction
(Jud. 8:12-21), which we are informed will have its latter-day counterpart
" An assembly of
great nations from the north country...shall set themselves in array against
her" (Jer. 50:9). The Hebrew word translated " assembly"
is also rendered " company" , and is used concerning the Babylon-led
confederacy which attacks Israel in the last days (Eze. 16:40; 23:46,47).
It is used four times to describe Gog's " company" that invades
Israel (Eze. 38:4,7,13,15). As that invasion was to come out
of the north (Eze. 38:15), so would Babylon's judgment. Their
" array" against Babylon is the same word used in Joel 2:5 concerning
their " array" against Jerusalem. " Their arrows
(against Babylon) shall be as of a mighty expert man: none shall
return in vain" (Jer. 50:9) is the language of Joel 2:7 concerning
how they attacked Jerusalem. Their being in array against
her and firing arrows sounds like a siege of Babylon, akin to that of
Jerusalem. Cyrus literally encircled historical Babylon (cp.
Jer. 50:14). This suggests that this prophecy focuses on what
will be done to 'Babylon's' homeland and perhaps her capital at the time
of Israel's invasion.
" Chaldea shall
be a spoil" (Jer. 50:10) may just have reference to the historical
taking of Babylon; if it has a latter-day application, this would
suggest that the repentant Arab peoples take some of her wealth for themselves
during the Millennium. Note how her spoil will be taken in
the same way as she came to take a spoil from Israel (Eze. 38:12).
It would appear that the powers with Babylon were coerced into support
by previous military defeat, as well as by religious rhetoric (Isa. 14:6).
This helps explain how easily the coalition falls apart once Jerusalem
is captured, and supports our previous conclusion that there will be major
inter-Arab wars going on, especially between 'Babylon' and the smaller
Arab powers right up to Jerusalem's invasion.
The subsequent hate
of these nations for Babylon is foreshadowed by the Medes, who conquered
historical Babylon, disregarding silver and gold in order to kill the
women and children of Babylon (Isa. 13:17,18). This may indicate
that some of them are doing this on Christ's behalf, having previously
repented, or, alternatively, it may just indicate the extent of inter-Arab
hatred that will exist. The destroyers of Babylon will rise
against her like the sunrise (Isa. 47:11 A.V. mg. cp. Jer. 50:9), which
is the language of Christ's return (Mal. 4:2). This may indicate
that they are acting on Christ's behalf, or that Christ returns at this
point. It may be that 'Babylon' will have offered them some
reward for co-operating in the attack on Jerusalem which she fails to
realize. The suddenness of Babylon's judgment indicates a
very quick, united turning against her (Isa. 47:9). There
is copious other evidence that 'Babylon' of the last days is punished
by the Arab powers that were once confederate with her:-
- " Wild
beasts of the desert" occupying Babylon is probably a figurative
reference to the Arab tribes (Isa. 13:21).
- Babylon will
be " filled with men, as with caterpillers" in judgment (Jer.
51:14). This is recalling Joel 1:4, speaking of the Arabs
who come against Jerusalem as " caterpillars" .
- " The spoilers
shall come unto her (Babylon) from the north" (Jer. 51:48) - as Israel's
Arab invaders are termed " spoilers" in Jud. 2:14; 1 Sam.
13:17; 2 Kings 17:20.
- Babylon's "
sea" , i.e. the Arab nations she had power over, will be dried up
from her - i.e. she will no longer control them (Jer. 51:36; Rev. 17:1,15),
but " the sea" (those Arab powers) will then come up against
Babylon to destroy it (Jer. 51:42).
The physical presence
of the Arab armies in the geographical homeland of 'Babylon' will therefore
make that the place of judgment for the nations, as well as just outside
Jerusalem, where other armies of those same powers will also turn against
each other. Thus Babylon becomes " like a threshingfloor"
, another place of Armageddon (Jer. 51:33, cp. Isa. 21:9,10).
As Babylon took Jerusalem by house-to-house fighting, so this will happen
to the city of Babylon (Jer. 50:30); as she burnt Jerusalem with
fire, so a fire will be 'kindled' in her (note the similarity between
Jer. 17:27 and 50:32); as she robbed the treasures of Jerusalem,
so will hers be (Jer. 50:37, cp. 2 Kings 24:13). " Her
young men...all her host" will be destroyed (Jer. 51:3) - referring
to the Iranian/Iraqi habit of fielding huge armies composed of fanatical
In the same way as "
the king of Babylon heard the report" of the Medes' invasion and
was troubled (Jer. 50:43), so the latter-day " king of the north"
, while personally present conducting the campaign against Jerusalem,
will be troubled by " tidings" of this massive Muslim mutiny
against him, and will therefore go ahead in a furious rage to try to exterminate
every Jew left in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:44,45). Jer. 51:31,32
stresses how the report of the attack on Babylon will spread like wildfire.
This relates to the beast launching a final burst of persecution against
God's people, " having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath
but a short time" (Rev. 12:12). " The earth helped
the woman" (Rev. 12:16) might refer to the Arabs indirectly 'helping'
Israel by turning against Babylon.
One final point.
Those who judge Babylon are told, " As she hath done, do unto her"
(Jer. 50:15). This is quoted in Rev. 18:6 concerning the saints
as the judges of Babylon. It would appear from this that there
must be two stages in Babylon's judgment:-
1) The Arab armies
attacking her armies, both near Jerusalem
in geographical 'Babylon'. They are themselves
destroyed while doing this.
2) The saints
possibly directing some of the repentant Arab peoples, complete the judgment,
giving some of the spoils to these Arabs. Several times in
our studies we have shown the likelihood of a minority Arab repentance.
It may be that the similarities
between the judgments of Babylon by the saints and by the nations of the
Babylon confederacy may be because those Arab nations repent- an idea
mentioned elsewhere in our studies. At this stage it may be appropriate
to catalogue some of the passages which speak of this latter day Arab
- Gen. 12:3 LXX speaks
of how all the tribes of the land of Israel will be blessed (i.e. forgiven)
due to Abraham's seed, the Lord Jesus. This has yet to be fulfilled- but
it will be if the tribes of the land (i.e. the native Arab peoples living
between the Nile and Euphrates) repent and accept Messiah's forgiveness.
The picture of Christ's Millenial rule in Ps. 72:8,9 is similar: "
He shall have dominion from sea (the Meditterranean?) to sea (the Persian
Gulf?) from the river unto the ends of the earth (land). They that dwell
in the wilderness (the Arab peoples) shall bow before him"
- " The remnant
(i.e. repentant remnant?) of Syria will be like the glory of the children
of Israel" at the time of Syria's latter day judgments (Is. 17:3
- When Moab receives
her judgments in the last days, " Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh"
(Jer. 48:13)- they will renounce their false religion (cp. Islam).
- When Edom receives
her judgments, Yahweh will plead with the poor, humbled remnant: "
Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alivel and let they
widows trust in me" (Jer. 49:11)- all very much the language of God's
mercy to a not unspiritual Hagar (Gen. 21:17).
- Even Babylon itself
will be encouraged to repent through her latter day judgments. In this
context we read: " Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl
for her (cp. Rev. 18:2,9); take balm for her pain, if so be she may be
healed" (Jer. 51:8). Truly God does not willingly afflict, but in
judgment remembers mercy, and His ultimate aim of achieving His glory.
- Some of the latter
day Philistines who repent will be given positions of authority in the
Millennium on a par to natural Israel: " I will cut off the pride
of the Philistines. And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and
his abominations from between his teeth (as if the Philistine tribes were
a beast of prey): but he that remaineth (the spiritual, repentant remnant),
even he, shall be for our (Israel's) God, and he shall be as a governor
in Judah, and (a man from) Ekron as a Jebusite (Jew born in Jerusalem)"
We can now summarize
the broad theme presented by our studies of latter-day typology so far:-
under Arab domination for an extended period (3.5 years?) after an initial
time of prosperity. Arab wars all around, with 'Babylon' emerging
as leader. No Arab army of occupation; wealth of Israel
raided; land physically destroyed. Division amongst
Jews; possible turning to Islam. Jewish false prophets.
Elijah ministry during this period resulting in a righteous remnant developing.
Some Jews go into captivity.
call a truce, and, under the leadership of 'Babylon' and its charismatic
leader, attack Jerusalem.
suffering of Jews. Jerusalem captured, although righteous
remnant still manage to survive. Simultaneously, righteous
remnant develop in their captivity in Babylon (in extermination camps?)
Arab powers turn against 'Babylon'. Inter-Arab fighting.
Final desperate rage against the Jews until only the righteous remnant
remain alive among Jewry. Arab powers destroy themselves.
with saints; repentant Jews and Arabs complete the judgment of Babylon.
The prophecies concerning Israel destroying Babylon which have never had
a previous fulfilment (e.g. Jer. 51:19,20) thus come true.
It should be remembered
that there have been hints in our studies that Christ could return at
any of these stages. It is not for us to be able to pinpoint
(1) There is a strong
theme throughout Scripture that all that is untrue, apostate from the
true God, of the flesh etc., is in fact a false Kingdom of God, a pseudo-Jesus,
a fake God. Any human ruler is to some degree an incarnation of sin; all
the kingdoms of men are to be seen as offering an alternative to the true
Kingdom of God. Through recognizing the extent to which this is true,
we will be better able to see and resist the temptations to associate
ourselves with them rather than the things of God's Kingdom. The beasts
of Daniel and Revelation are an epitome of the flesh and rebellion against
God. It is to be expected, therefore, that they and the powers they represent
will have many such characteristics. The record of the kings of north
and south in Daniel 11 are shot through with Kingdom language:
" His dominion
shall be a great dominion" (v.5; cp. 6:26; 7:27)
" Out of a branch
of her roots shall one stand up" (v.7; cp.Is.11:1)
" There shall many
stand up" (v.14; cp.12:1)
" Upright ones
with him...he shall give him the daughter of women" (v.17; cp. Zech.14:5;
" the prince of
the covenant" (v.22; cp. 9:25,27)
" at the time appointed
he shall return" , as will Christ.
The whole principle
of Antichrist is discussed in more detail in Appendix 3.