What place is named in the first and last books of the Bible – and in many in between? Yes, it’s Babylon, yet you may not recognize that it occurs in Genesis because it is translated in its Hebrew form of Babel. The account in Genesis (Ch,11) is about what happened when the descendants of Noah multiplied and built a city and a tower and said “let us make a name for ourselves” (v4). They so soon forgot the lesson of the flood and the example of faith of their forefather Noah. God judged that city and scattered its inhabitants. The world forgets today!
Yet the name keeps occurring as further examples of human pride! Remember Nebuchadnezzar’s pride as he ruled Babylon. Recall the visions in Revelation where Babylon occurs and is used in connection with the latter day destruction of human pride and godlessness at the return of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah is the main Old Testament prophet that is caused to prophecy about Babylon. The city was a growing power in his day and a threat to Jerusalem. Yet in the prophecies God gave him about Babylon are included some words which obviously apply to its final destruction. Today’s reading of Ch. 13 is the first time we encounter this in Isaiah. Verse 1 tells us its “the oracle concerning Babylon” but part of what follows is echoed in words Jesus used to describe God’s judgements in the last days. We specially note v.10, “for the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light, the sun will be dark at its setting and the moon will not shed its light.”
Jesus spoke of the time when “the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light … then will appear in heaven the sign of the son of man … and they will see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” [Matt. 24 v.29,30]
Looking further in Isaiah – the next verses to what we quoted tell us, “I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. I will make people more rare than fine gold … the earth will be shaken out of its place at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger” [v.11-13].
The world today denies God as much as the people did in the days of Noah. We fear that God’s message through Isaiah will come true, dreadfully true in the near future. May our faith become stronger and stronger, anticipating the day when “the earth will be shaken” but then – the wonder of seeing “the son of man coming ….”
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