Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Babylon's End

"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." (Isaiah 47:1-4)

Over time, the luxurious throne of Babylon disappeared into the desert sands. Babylon itself is presented as a young woman of marriageable age who comes to a shameful end. Rather than be married and live in honor, she is overcome by an attacker and exposed and abused as a slave. Grinding meal was the task of a female servant. Many Chaldeans would be taken into captivity and reduced to servitude. Overall, the wording appears to be symbolic of Babylon's subjugation.

Babylon's end would not be accomplished by man's power but by God's. If human armies were the only force attacking Babylon, she may have hope; however, the power behind Babylon's conquest was that of the Almighty. Against such power, human pride cannot stand.

"Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms. I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew 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. 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 47:5-9)

Judah's punishment was deserved; yet, the Lord points out the merciless nature of Babylon's armies. To subjugate was not enough. Judah's citizens, both young and old, were destroyed. The book of Lamentations gives a vivid pictured of Jerusalem's condition in the aftermath of war.

Rather than fear retribution for her merciless behavior, Babylon rejoiced in her condition. Pride blinded her to the importance of mercy. She saw herself, not as a wretched sinner, but as a lady of wealth and position who profits from the oppression of others. The suddenness and totality of Babylon's judgment closely parallels that pronounced against the Babylon of the future antichrist.

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 (Revelation 18:7-8).

In the shadows of ancient Babylon's destruction hides the future judgment of the world's vilest trade center. Human pride and rebellion are the common denominators of both Babylons.

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