The Scriptorium

At Last! Babylon!

Babylon's fall is the signal of redemption. Jeremiah 51

Judgment on Babylon (2): Jeremiah 51

Pray Psalm 62.11, 12.
God has spoken once,
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God.
Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
For You render to each one according to his work.

Sing Psalm 62.11, 12.
(Germany: Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness)
Once God has spoken, twice I have heard: Power belongs alone to the Lord!
And lovingkindness, Lord, is Yours; You recompense us for our works.

Review Jeremiah chapter 51; meditate on verse 5, 10.

1. What was Jeremiah’s message to the captives in Babylon concerning the fall of that empire?

2. How does God identify Himself to the people of Babylon?

In the book of Revelation, when the “Babylonian” world empire begins to crumble and fall, all those who profited by it will be distressed, and cry out, “Alas, Babylon!” (Rev. 18.9-18). Then the people of God will be called to come out from among that pagan world to escape the judgment against it that is coming (Rev. 18.4-6). Jesus was instructing John to recall the days of Jeremiah, when he pronounced the severest judgment on the greatest empire of the day. Jeremiah 51 completes the prophesy against Babylon that began in chapter 50, and that was meant to serve as a warning to the people of Israel, who were in captivity in Babylon, that they must prepare even now to avoid coming under God’s wrath. They must be ready to leave the pagan world of Babylon, and not let themselves become entangled in it, lest in its fall, they fall as well.

The fall of Babylon which Jeremiah prophesied, while it would shock the world, would signal a time of deliverance and restoration for the people of God. They would have seen their nation and all the nations around them falling under the judgment of God. So that when the news reached them of Cyrus’ victory over the city of Babylon, Jews around the empire would be able to cry out, “At last! Babylon!”, knowing that in its fall, their deliverance was nigh.

And Cyrus would not disappoint. In his very first year as king over the new Medo/Persian world empire, Cyrus would fulfill Isaiah’s prophesy (Is. 44, 45) and arrange for the Jews to return to their homes in the land of promise (Ez. 1.1-11). The fall of Babylon was the signal that redemption was at hand; and just as God had promised, so it came to pass.

We need not fear as the evidence increases of a new “Babylonian” world empire of politics and commerce, driven by material greed and power, and filled with corruption of every sort. It cannot last, and it will not stand against the judgment of God. For now, we seek the peace of this unbelieving world, and we work hard to realize the presence, promise, and power of Christ’s Kingdom in its midst. Like Jeremiah, we encourage one another in the Word of the Lord, and we call the unbelieving world to repent and believe the Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom. But it will always be the case that weeds will fill the world/field of the Lord, and will trouble the good seed of the Kingdom which is growing there.

But we do not despair. While all around, fearful voices may be crying, “Alas, Babylon!”, we look to the heavens and say, “At last! Babylon!”, for we know that the day of redemption is near, and the coming of the true Servant of the Lord means eternal blessedness for all who believe and prepare for His coming.

1. Why is Jeremiah’s prophesy against Babylon so important for us today?

2. How did Jeremiah hope to encourage the captives in Babylon? How should we be encouraged?

3. What must we be doing as we prepare for the coming judgment against the new “Babylonian” world empire?

 The Prophet here addresses the faithful, and especially shows, that the ruin of Babylon would be a sure evidence of God's paternal favor towards his Church. And it was no common consolation to the faithful, in their extreme miseries, to know, that so dear and precious to God was their salvation, that he would by no means spare the Babylonians, whom the whole world regarded as half gods; for, as I have said, the power of that monarchy filled the minds of men with astonishment. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 51.10

Guide me in my work today, O Lord, for I am preparing for Your coming as I…

Pray Psalm 62.1-10.

What does it mean to wait on the Lord in prayer? Wait on Him in prayer now, and let your mind range forward to the day of His return. Give Him thanks and praise, and commit yourself afresh to Him.

Sing Psalm 62.1-10.
Psalm 62.1-10 (Germany: Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness)
My soul in silence waits, O Lord – safely I stand within Your Word!
You are my Rock, my Stronghold true, and my Salvation, Lord, are You!

How long will foes give me offense, striking me like a tottering fence?
They counsel to destroy with lies; they bless, but all the while despise.

My soul in silence waits, O Lord, hoping in You, and in Your Word.
You are my Rock, my Stronghold true, and my Salvation, Lord, are You!

On You my hope and glory rest, Rock of my strength, and Refuge best.
Trust always in our God, the Lord; take refuge only in His Word.

Trust not in men of low degree; lighter are they than breath shall be.
Do not rely on strength or gold; trust in the Lord, Who rules from old.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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