ISAIAH - Chapter 13 - The Burden of Babylon Print E-mail

ISAIAH 13 – The Burden of Babylon (Babel =Confusion)

Tuesday Morning Bible Study, September 23, 2013, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


This section of Isaiah begins the section of ten burdens concerning the nations:


  1. !3-14 – The Burden of Babylon = Iraq.
  2. 15-16 – The Burden of Moab= Israel – tribe of Ruben.
  3. 17      -  The Burden of Damascus – Syria.
  4. 18      -  The Burden of Ethiopia -  Cush = Africa.
  5. 19      -  The Burden of Egypt – Mizraim = Africa.
  6. 21      -  The Burden of the Desert of the Sea (Babylon).
  7. 21      -  The Burden of Dumah (Edom) = Southern Jordan
  8. 21      -  The Burden of Arabia.
  9. 22      -  The burden of the Valley of Vision (Jerusalem).
  10. 23      -  The burden of Tyre = Lebanon


Chapters 13 and 14 speak of judgment upon Babylon.  Babel (“confusion”) here symbolically portrays the political and governmental disorder which characterizes the nations of the earth. 


This is in contrast with the Divine Order revealed in Isa. 11-12.  The peak of this confusion is reached in the Day of the Lord as the spirit of Babylon’s iniquity becomes full.


Literally --- This is one of the clearest predictive literal prophecies in the Bible.


This prophecy of the destruction of Babylon was delivered by Isaiah at least 174 years before it literally happened.  Babylon fell in 536 B.C.  This grand city was 15 miles wide on each side (thus 60 miles to compass).  Its walls are said by Herodotus to have been 87 feet thick and 150 feet high.  There were 100 gates to the city, 15 on each side.  Babylon did not reach its peak of splendor until after the ministry of Isaiah.  This grandeur took place under Nebuchadnezzar, 100 years later.  It was the commercial center of the east.


In 2003, when the U. S. Military invaded Iraq, the First Marine Expeditionary Force built a Marine base on the site of the ruins of the city of Babylon.  The name of the base is Camp Alpha.  Of course, Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.


The prophecy as a whole may now be considered in the wider context.  Babylon is symbolic in Revelation 18 of the godless world empire of any era.  The ultimate downfall of man’s proud empires is the teaching of the passage as a whole; once God has given His people their final salvation, never again shall they find themselves at the mercy of arrogant whims of any human ruler.


I will use this consideration as my primary approach to these scriptures today in view of the chaos and confusion in the godless world empires of the 21st century.


Isa. 13:1:  The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.”


This first verse reveals to us that Isaiah saw this by vision and it was a prophetic burden which came.  Those who have experienced a prophetic burden understand this clearly.  It is a burden of the Spirit like a material load and an utterance of responsibility.


Isa. 13: 2-6:  “Lift up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice to them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.  I have commanded My sanctified ones.  I have also called My mighty ones for My anger, even them that rejoice in My highness.  The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together; the Lord of hosts musters the host of the battle.  They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of His indignation, to destroy the whole land.  How you; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”


Whether we agree as a nation that the United States should have invaded Iraq,  the Lord spoke to me, “I will require greatness from George W. Bush”.  The godless, liberal world empires have not given him that honor.  However, Heaven’s measure of a man is not the same as the world’s measure.


After writing this on Monday evening, I had a dream Monday night about George W. Bush.  In the dream, I was reading to him a passage from a poem.  The passage was commending him for honor.  He wanted to know if I had written the poem.  I told him, “no”.  I am reading to you what has been written about you in the Greek many years ago.


It is my conclusion from the dream that under the Presidency of George W. Bush, the invasion of Iraq was prophetically ordained.


Lift up a banner” --It is customary for a standard (flag) to be lifted upon a high place so that men could see it and rally around it in mobilizing an army.  That is why our church lifts up the name of Jesus and the prophetic Christian flag, the American flag and the flag of the state of Texas.  Our nation lifted up a banner of "Alpha" prophetically and literally over Babylon.



The idea expressed here is of God gathering His forces to come together from Heaven and earth to destroy the spirit of Anti-christ. In that day, the Lord of Hosts’ will reveal His might and His weapons of indignation against all that is wicked.


The sanctified ones are the saints, holy ones, and sacred warriors.   Only redeemed human beings and holy angels rejoice in God’s highness, plainly indicating these sanctified and mighty ones to be the saints and angels with the armies of Heaven and earth who join together in the Song and Strength of the redeemed.\


The “dispensers of the wells of salvation” will become the corporate voice of the redeemed with Christ as the “voice of many waters”.


Joshua 5:13-14:  When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked.  Behold, there stood a man opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand.  Joshua went to him, and said, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?  He said, “nay, but as captain of the host of the Lord, I have now come”


13: 7-11:  Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt.  They shall be afraid; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travails; they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.  Behold the day of the Lord comes cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.  For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.  I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity.  I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.”


Let us keep the perspective that the redeemed are going to be in the army of the Lord of Hosts.  This judgment is on Babylon and I will use the term, “spirit of Babylon” (“confusion, chaos, gate of Bel, vanity, nothingness”, religious confusion and confusion of governments).


This destruction of the “whole land” (Vs.5) refers to the destruction of Babylon.  The term is used of the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in Jer. 4:20; 27.  There could be a much greater one in the future battle of Armageddon.


The Day of the Lord here is understood to be at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  The term appears only in prophetic texts.  Initially the concept was the battle day of Yahweh when he demonstrated His effective Lordship over all creation.  It was also possible that it referred to the new year festival of Tabernacles, in which Israel celebrated God’s victory over His enemies and renewal of prosperity for His people.  In the New Covenant,  it is identified as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.


Isaiah, Amos and other prophets proclaim the day of the Lord as a day of judgment.  For the redeemed (the remnant, those who are pure in heart, the saints), it will be a day when we see all of the enemies of Jesus Christ destroyed. 


“Their faces with flames” refers to redness of face because of shame for opposing God and good.


Arrogancy is used four times in Scripture:  Prov. 8:13:  The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”


Haughtiness is used five times in Scripture: Jer. 48:29:  We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.”


Isa. 13:12:  I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”


The commentators interpret this  to imply there will be a scarcity of men after the destruction and that one will be more valuable than gold.   However, I prefer to interpret the scripture to mean that men will be pure as fine gold.   The gold of Ophir was used symbolically in 1 Kg. 9:26 and 10:22, to describe a final state of purity


Isa. 13: 13:  “”I will shake the heavens and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger.”


The wrath of the Lord was released upon Christ at the cross.  For those who will receive Jesus Christ, we will not experience this wrath.  The sky turned dark and the earth shook on Golgotha Hill.  However, for those who have refused the Blood of Christ, there is another shaking in the Day of the Lord.  The Holy Bible reveals the heavens will be affected at least five times.


On September 24th, there was a 7-7 earthquake in Pakistan.  A new island was created as a result of this earthquake.


Isa. 13: 14-16:  It (the earth) shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man takes up; they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee everyone into his own land.  Everyone that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined to them shall fall by the sword.  Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; they houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.”


This sort of violence is going on throughout the Middle East at the hands of the Muslims as they fight and destroy one another.  We are watching as this scripture is being fulfilled before our eyes.


Isa. 13: 17-18:  Behold, I will stir up the Medes (Russia and Iran) against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.  Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.”


We are watching children die on our television screens as a result of chemical poisons.  The spirit of Babylon as seen by John in Revelation 18, is described as a mercantile city with merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine line, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thine wood, and all manner of vessels of ivory and all manner of vessels of precious wood, and brass, iron and marble, etc.


The spirit of the Medes will have no regard for silver and for gold and therefore will not be affected by the prosperity of Babylon the great.  The spirit of abortion has no pity on the fruit of the womb.


Isa. 13:19-22:  “Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.  It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelled in from generation to generation; neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.  Wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.  The wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces; and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.”


Satyrs shall dance there” is interesting.  This is a demonic creature who was supposed to be half man and half goat with horns on the man’s head, the body all hairy, and the feet and tail like those of a goat.  Images of such were worshipped by Edomites. 


The fact that Isaiah used this name to identify this creature gives it validity either as a demonic spirit or as a natural beast.


The prophet uses graphic language to describe his vision of Babylon’s judgment.  Today in the 21st century, images such as this appear daily on our television and movie screens as we watch “death and hell” as part of our daily routine.  When I was a child, such imagery could not even be imagined and the world would have been shocked. 


Isaiah describes the purpose of the judgment which is to punish evil.  The process of judgment is the Medes (Media)against Babylon.  The result will be abiding ruin.  Our media has become so corrupt and evil that it is fulfilling this prophecy in the 21st century.


The issue of this judgment is intended to be the restoration of the nation through the compassion of Jehovah.  He will yet choose them and set them in their own land.  The people who have oppressed His people will submit themselves to them and serve them, and they will rule over their oppressors.


Next week Sandra, Sonya and I will be on tour with Kathie Walters to England and Wales.  Henry Johnson will teach next Tuesday, Oct. 1;  then Apostle Michael O’Brien, October 8th;  and then Carolyn Venable will have a praise concert on Oct. 15th.  I will resume the Isaiah study with chapter 14 on October 22nd.


Chapter 14 is a continuation of Isaiah’s prophetic word concerning Babylon and the prophetic song of Israel’s  triumph over her enemy.  Isaiah prophecies a great day of restoration.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

Scripture from K.J.V.  I entered into the labors of Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible and Principles of Present Truth in Isaiah by: Kelly Varner.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those whom I entered into their labors.

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