JEREMIAH - CHAPTER 50 - A DECLARATION OF WAR
JEREMIAH – Chapter 50 – A DECLARATION OF WAR
Tuesday Morning Bible Study
November 2, 2021, March 3, 2009; the Years of Our Lord
Pastor Carolyn Sissom
50: 24-25: Because you have contended against the LORD. The LORD has opened His armory.
The passages in Jeremiah 50-51 and Isaiah 46-47 read almost word for word with Revelation 17, 18 and 19. Jeremiah’s prophecies are the prediction of the fall and perpetual desolation of Babylon. The prophecies in Revelation speak of ‘MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
Throughout the whole Book of Jeremiah, Babylon has been the instrument of God’s judgment. Finally, on account of her own sin and corruption, that judgment must inevitably fall upon her. The prophecy falls declares war!
Babylon’s judgment was because of:
- Her gleeful destruction of Jerusalem. (50:11)
- Nebuchadnezzar’s cruelty unto the Jews. (50:17)
- Babylon’s striving against the Lord. (50-24)
- Her wanton destruction of the Temple. (50:28)
- Her pride against God (50: 29-32)
- Her refusal to let the captives go. (50:33)
- Her infatuation with idols. (50:38)
We can take this prophetically to the present judgment of all the nations of the world and the spirit of Babylon over the nations.
Throughout, the prophet has warned Judah, then offering God’s grace and mercy of they will repent. This oracle is a declaration of war from God’s armory against Babylon. The first sin is their rejoicing at the suffering of Jerusalem.
The aged prophet did not view the battle of Jerusalem as the end of Judah and Israel, but rather a tragic and avoidable event in history. We can look in this oracle the promise of seeing Israel come in to salvation through the acceptance of the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
50:17-21: Israel is a scattered sheep. The lions have driven him away. First the king of Assyria devoured him; and last this Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon has broken his bones. Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria. I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead. In those days, and in that time, says the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve.
“In those days and in that time” introduces the future of the Covenant people. The Blood that washes away all iniquity and sin will have intervened! Israel and Judah (The Birthright and the Scepter) will find in Jesus their pardon and forgiveness. This did not mean there was or is a separate way of salvation for Jews. It means true Israel and Judah will have found Christ.
There is a catch phrase associated with this verse, “for I will pardon those whom I reserve (seal).
Dr. C. R. Oliver in his book, Sealed Unto His Coming, teaches verse 20b to be part of the seal of God on His people.
2 Timothy 2:19: Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’
I decided to preach the good news before we address the judgment of Babylon (smile).
Jeremiah foresaw the end of Babylon and he declared spiritual war saying:
50:1-3: The word that the LORD spoke against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet: Declare among the nations. Proclaim, and set up a standard. Proclaim---do not conceal it. Say, Babylon is taken, Bel is shamed. Merodah is broken in pieces. Her idols are humiliated. Her images are broken in pieces. For out of the north a nation comes up against her, which shall make her land desolate. No one shall dwell therein. They shall move. They shall depart, both man and beast.
Raise a rod of witness (a standard) or battle flag. God pointed to Baal as being the source of his first wrath on Babylon and in keeping with His being a jealous God. He brought down their high places and felled their objects of worship.
(If places of worship are God’s first targets, woe to those who worship in the wrong places. Woe to those who lead the worship. Woe to those who enter in and volitionally participate in all sorts of arrangements “called worship.” Find the places of worship and you will discover the heart of the worshipers. The Book of Revelation proves this out. Where does the free world worship? Do they worship at places of entertainment, placing actors and their opinions high on their lists of adoration? Do religious people worship their places of worship?” What places would this generation choose to venerate high enough on their compendium of treasures to make them weep if taken away or destroyed?)
In the case of Babylon, their affections started with Bel-Merodah. Bel means Baal, the Jupiter of the Babylonian, the tutelary god of Babylon. (Just to speak their names invoked “the whole of the Babylonian dynasty.”)
Historical Babylon fell to Persia. The gods of Babylon were confounded by the prophecy of Babylon’s demise. The disaster came out of the “north,” a reference to Cyrus the Persian who took Babylon in 539 B.C. (Dan. 7:4-5).
Then we see the return of the exiles.
Jer. 50: 4-7: In those days, and in that time, says the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping; they shall go, and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces hitherward, saying, Come and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.
Phrase like, “In those days, at that time” again refer to future events as well as the return of the exiles under Ezra and Nehemiah. The peoples of Israel and Judah will be together. (This was not possible during the return from Babylon, due to the ten tribes of Israel having been dispersed years before.) They “will go in tears,” means deep repentance or sorrow.
The returnees will “Ask the way to Zion;” meaning they don’t know the way. (Since Zerubbabel led the return from Babylon and started rebuilding Jerusalem, there was never an account in Ezra or any other chronicle where the people lost their way to Zion and needed directions. This points to a future time. People are asking where the throne of God is and desire to be on the mountain of righteousness. They come with tears streaming down their faces wanting to know the way to Zion.
They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in a “perpetual (everlasting) covenant.” Since this will be a volunteer covenant sought out by the returnees, this could only refer to the covenant with Jesus, the New Covenant, the new and living way.
How did the people lose their way? Jeremiah hits the “spiritual nail” with a volley of passion. He openly blames the clergy for the people losing their way. The clergy (the Shepherds) have led the sheep astray.
50:6-7: My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray. They have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill. They have forgotten their resting place. All who found them have devoured them. Their adversaries said, “we have not offended, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, the LORD, the hope of their fathers.”
Where did their shepherds lead them? The sheep were directed to the hills and mountains if idolatry. The Shepherds taught the sheep to adore the wrong things and fall down before unrighteous icons. In their cross-path confusion, the sheep lost home base. They really did lose their way.
Ps. 26:12: My foot stands in an even place. In the congregations, I will bless the LORD.
In order to get to Zion, one starts by stopping. Know the place of your worship and become part of the corporate anointing. Kelly Varner, Corporate Anointing: “Do not “stir” the pot. We are “in” the pot. The office and function of the “apothecary” is creating a Holy Ghost chemistry among all of us. Certain ingredients of the holy anointing oil will release the divine substance in others. This kind of interaction and “cross-pollination” cannot happen in any other kind of environment. Each of us is called to be a worshiper. Yet, something happens in corporate praise and worship that cannot take place in any other way. We have to get this mixture just right. Each of us needs to open up to sweeten this pot. Let God crush your spice so that you can be mingled with others. Let him flow through you. Your personal anointing is destined to be joined with the corporate---you are a unique substance of fabulous worth.”
The prophecy of the fall of Babylon is resumed. Jeremiah’s advice to everyone: Run!
A voice from heaven calls upon the people of God to leave the doomed city in language drawn from Jeremiah 50:8; 51:6; Isa. 48:20; 52:11. This warning is just as applicable today to all imperial dominions which sets itself against the Lord and against his anointed (Ps. 2:2).
Jeremiah 50:8: Move from the midst of Babylon. Go out of the land of the Chaldeans. Be like the rams before the flocks.
Rev. 18: 4: And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she has filled fill to her double.
Jeremiah 51:6: Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; he will render unto her recompense.
The vast ancient city of Babylon on a branch of the Euphrates near the modern town of Hilla, southwest of Baghdad, was excavated by the Germans under Robert Koldewey (1899-1914) and later by Heinrich Lenzen. Its brilliant palaces, hanging gardens, temple tower, Ishtar Gate, walls and fortifications are now well known. The Ishtar Gate was excavated and reconstructed. It is on display in Berlin.
Like bullets from the prophet’s gun, Jeremiah rapidly fired a foray of invectives:
50: 9-15: I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country. They shall array themselves against her. From there, she shall be captured. Their arrows shall be like those of an expert warrior, none shall return in vain. Chaldea shall become plunder…because you were glad, because you rejoiced, you destroyers of My heritage. Because you have grown fat like a heifer threshing grain. You bellow like bulls. Your mother shall be deeply ashamed. She, who bore you shall be ashamed. Behold, the least of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land and a desert. Because of the wrath of the LORD, she shall not be inhabited. She shall be wholly desolate. Everyone who goes by Babylon shall be horrified and hiss at all her plagues. Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around. All you who bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD. Shout against her all around. She has given her hand. Her foundations have fallen. Her walls are thrown down. For it is the vengeance of the LORD. Take vengeance on her. As she has done, so do to her.
The destroyers of God’s heritage also applies to those who would destroy the history of the United States of America and God’s Hand on this nation as well as other nations of the earth.
“As she has done, so do to her.” The hostile armies are given orders to surround Babylon, calling for an all-out attack by the archers. Both sower and reaper are to be cut off, making it impossible for her to survive.
Now the prophet is leveling down on the second reason for national disaster.
50: 24-25: Because you have contended against the LORD. The LORD has opened His armory.
What does the arsenal of God contain? Famine, Pestilence, Sword! Earthquake, wind (51:1), fire, plagues of Egypt, fires of Sodom and Gomorrah, fear and trepidation and Angels.
This is a statement of the principle of retribution in human history which recurs throughout the Bible; with special reference to Babylon.
Jeremiah progresses to the third charge. PRIDE brought out the big swords. Further judgments are uttered upon the nations. The LORD brought out his arsenal against Assyria because they treated God’s people with disdain. They also took the things of the LORD’s temple and used them scandalously (Jeremiah 52). They openly displayed their arrogance and pride.
50:21-22 Go up against the land of Merathaim, against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod. Waste and utterly destroy them, says the LOR. Do according to all that I have commanded you. A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.
Merathaim means double bitterness and double rebellion (another name for Babylon).
Pekod was a people in the Babylonian army and a tribe in southeast Babylonia bordering Elam.
50: 23-26: How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken? How is Babylon become a desolation among the nations? I have laid a snare for you and you are also taken, O Babylon, and you were not aware. You are found and also caught because you have contended against the LORD. The LORD has opened His armory. He has brought out the weapons of His indignation. For this is the work of the LORD GOD OF HOSTS in the land of the Chaldeans. Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses; cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly; let nothing of her be left.
Her prediction of “cast her up as heaps” was fulfilled after the destruction of Babylon. The people dug in the ruins for bricks which resulted in mounds that exist to this day.
Pride and disdain brought God’s swords of justice.
50:32: The proud shall stumble and fall. No one will raise him up. I will kindle a fire in his cities. It will devour all around him.
The deliverance of the people of God is repeated.
50: 33-38: The children of Israel were oppressed, along with the children of Judah. All who took them captive have held them fast. They have refused to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong. The LORD of hosts is His name. He will thoroughly plead their case that He may give rest to the land and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon. A sword is against the Chaldeans, against the inhabitants of Babylon, against her princes and her wise men; against the soothsayers, and they will be fools. A sword is against her mighty men, and they will be dismayed. A sword is against their horses, chariots, all the mixed peoples who are in her midst…A sword is against her treasures, and they will be robbed. A drought is against her waters. They will be dried up. A sword is against their carved images.
The prophecy of the drought upon her waters (38) was fulfilled when Cyrus ordered his troops to divert the Euphrates which was flowing through the city. This allowed Cyrus to march into the city in the dry river bed during the night of Belshazzar’s feast (Dan. 5).
Babylon was so completely ruined that she has no longer been inhabited by man. Her sole inhabitants are the wild creatures taking refuge in the holes and caves of her ruins.
50:39-40: Therefore, the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein; and it shall be no more inhabited forever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and their neighbors, says the LORD, so no one shall reside there, nor son of man dwell in it.
Rev. 16:19: The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell; and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His Wrath.
Jer. 50:46: At the noise of the taking of Babylon, the earth trembles, and the cry is heard among the nations.
Taught by: Carolyn Sissom
Scripture from K.J.V., Text from F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary (F.F. Bruce) and Principles of Present Truth of Jeremiah by: Kelly Varner; Dr. C. R. Oliver, The Road to Captivity; Comments and conclusions are my own.