Jeremiah 51-52, Psalm 28
There are portions of Scripture when we focus on each word, looking for deeper meaning and application, such as the gospels. There are other portions which are easy to gloss over. Often we gloss over these portions, such as the judgment on the nations, because we are unfamiliar with the cities and nations mentioned. Also, not knowing the real facts as to how these nations fell, we often don't look too deeply into what the prophet is saying. Often, the prophet speaks in poetic terms, so it is easy to allegorize these judgments and paint them with a broad brush believing that it will just be really bad for these nations. But this is where we miss out on some of the amazing aspects of biblical prophecy. Like many prophecies, these judgments against Babylon had both near and far application. Jeremiah wrote these 65 years prior to them unfolding against the Babylonian empire. Many will not be fulfilled completely until their fulfillment in a similar section written by John in Revelation 17-18. But let's look at a few of the statements made.
The city of Babylon was unlike any other. The walls were 87 feet thick, 300 feet high and had 250 towers on it. So wide were these walls, that they would hold chariot races on the top of the walls with six chariots across. Because these walls seemed impregnable and because of the resources within the walls along with a constant water supply from the Euphrates River running directly through the city, the Babylonians cared little about any possible threats, feeling they were untouchable. The nation who would destroy Babylon is specifically named, though not powerful at the time, again 65 years before it happened. We read in Jeremiah 51:11,28, "...The Lord has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes. For His plan is against Babylon to destroy it, Because it is the vengeance of the Lord, The vengeance for His temple...Prepare against her the nations, With the kings of the Medes, Its governors and all its rulers...". We read in 51:39, "In their excitement I will prepare their feasts; I will make them drunk, That they may rejoice, And sleep a perpetual sleep And not awake," says the Lord." We read of the fulfillment concerning the Babylonians of this in Daniel 5 of King Belshazzar holding a feast and orgy using the temple instruments in open defiance to the God of Israel. Though the Medes and Persians surrounded their walls, they partied. We read how the the Medes entered this impenetrable city in Jeremiah 50:38, "A drought is against her waters, and they will be dried up...". Again in Jeremiah 51:36, "Therefore thus says the Lord: "Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry." What the the general of the army of the Medes, by the name of Cyrus, did was build a dam north of the city of Babylon and divert the water of the Euphrates River into canals a little over one mile before the city. Doing this allowed his troops to march on the emptied riverbed under the bars and the walls and in one night they came into the city and overtook it. As an aside, the general, Cyrus, was specifically mentioned by name by the prophet Isaiah in chapters 44 and 45 of the book by his name, over 150 years before Cyrus was born and around 200 years before this event transpired. We read of the King of Babylon's response in Jeremiah 50:43, "The king of Babylon has heard the report about them, And his hands grow feeble; Anguish has taken hold of him, Pangs as of a woman in childbirth." It is worth our while to look at the response of King Belshazzar in Daniel 5:6 after the hand of God wrote on the wall of the king's palace declaring judgment, "Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other." We then read in Jeremiah 51:44, "...Yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall." God declared that this tremendous, impregnable wall would fall and in one year after the takeover 200,000 men dismantled the wall of Babylon.
This is just an overview of some of the events surrounding the fall of Babylon. If we were to take it apart and dissect it further, so much more would be apparent from these prophecies. Prophecy is God's fingerprint on Scripture. Nearly 25% of all Scripture is prophetic in nature, with many of these prophecies having already been fulfilled with razor sharp precision. While other so called prophets like Nostradamus like to use broad statements, the Bible uses exact names (Cyrus), exact times (70 years in Babylonian captivity), exact locations (Bethlehem in Micah 5:2 for the place of Jesus' birth), exact sequences (the progression of kingdoms in Daniel 2 and 7), etc. Any mistake on these prophecies would open Scripture to scrutiny. But this is one of the reasons that we can rest upon the perfection of the absolute truth contained within the Bible. No other "religious" book or book of antiquity contains fulfilled prophecy. This is so important in the life of believers. If God has proven Himself perfect in all of His previous predictions we can safely assume that all of His future predictions will also unfold with that same razor sharp accuracy. Knowing this should embolden our stance in His Word and should give us boldness as we speak to a world which is largely ignorant about the things of God. People need to hear about their only hope of salvation before the next set of prophecies unfold and it will prove too late for many.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: