Jeremiah Chapter 51: Fall of Babylon

Nov 3rd, 2009 | By | Category: Jeremiah, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Jeremiah Chapter 51: Fall of Babylon

Jer. 51:1 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;

The literal destroying wind is usually thought of as the sirocco, a very dry wind, usually from the east, that is detrimental. Some Scriptures in the Book of Jeremiah have only a natural application, some have only a spiritual application, and some have both a natural and a spiritual application. In explaining many prophetic matters, Bro. Russell excerpted a verse or verses from a setting that has had a past natural fulfillment and gave a spiritual application; that is, he ignored the natural and gave just a spiritual explanation or fulfillment. However, if we consider and verify the natural fulfillment first, then we are better able to discern any spiritual application that might exist.

Here the “destroying wind” is figurative, literal, and spiritual. After the diverting of the waters and the destruction of Babylon, the land dried up like a wilderness and became uninhabitable by man, for all the crops that were irrigated from the Euphrates in its original course were left devoid of water. The inhabitants who were indigenous to the territory, plus the captives, had to move elsewhere. Therefore, the literal dry wind happened later because a desert naturally brings forth or gives birth to the sirocco.

Q: Does the destroying wind also refer to the invasion of the Medes?

A: Yes. In the type, the wind had, first, a figurative meaning with the invading enemy and then, later, a literal meaning with the sirocco. The spiritual application is that a “destroying wind” of truth doctrines will come against mystic Babylon.

Q: With the clause “Against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me,” are two different groups being discussed?

A: Babylon was the capital city, but it was also the province, the suburbs. When the city and its inhabitants were destroyed, the people outside the city were left. Cyrus, the general, concentrated his energy on the capital city, for its defeat meant there would be no resistance from those in the province. However, the people outside the city still had the spirit of enmity against the Lord and against the Jews and were in sympathy with those in the capital who had risen against God.

In the spiritual application, the “destroying wind” is a figurative “storm” from the north coming down on mystic Babylon. We immediately think of Gog from the land of Magog, and “north” pictures God’s vengeance. In the type, God was behind Nebuchadnezzar to visit punishment on Israel, but now we have a completely different picture with Babylon being the focal point. Against the enemies of the truth in the near future will come God’s judgment.

Spiritually speaking, the “wind” indicates doctrine. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14). The Apostle Paul was warning truth people to be on guard against error. In regard to the nominal system, however, the “destroying wind” is true doctrine. With Papacy and clericalism, the multitude of claims and hoodwinking of the past has deceived the public into believing that Catholicism is the true church and that the pope is the true vicar of Christ. When doctrines are proclaimed that show Papacy is Antichrist—just the opposite—that truth will become a destroying wind. In the near future, not only will one of the underlying facts be the drying up of the “waters” (the revenue and support of the people), but also the “wind” of true doctrine will help to turn people against the false religious system. The harlot’s mask will be removed from her face, and her skirts will be lifted up to show her nakedness (Jer. 13:22,26; Nahum 3:5). At the time of Babylon’s fall, the Little Flock will be off the scene, so the truth will be spoken by the Great Company, and the public will recognize the system as false and be in harmony with its destruction. In the type, Jehonadab climbed up in the chariot with Jehu (2 Kings 10:15,16). In summary, the “destroying wind” is the true doctrine from God that will prosper in undermining the false claims, which the people have swallowed in thinking they are the truth. Error has supported the Roman Catholic Church.

Comment: In the Jehu picture, not only were the leaders and the religion of Baal destroyed but also the worshippers.

Reply: Yes, the destruction started with the heads, Kings Jehoram and Ahaziah, and went all the way down to the general populace.

Comment: Therefore, the thought would be that the “destroying wind” will come “against them [in the city of Babylon] that dwell in the midst of them [in the province] that rise up against me [the Jewish God].” The trouble came because the Babylonians opposed the God of Israel.

Reply: Yes, that is the thought.

In the near future, truth will have a part in undermining the base of Papacy’s false claims. Even now the system is starting to retract certain claims. It is remarkable that the pope admits there was papal persecution in the past. Of course the system still denies that ecclesiastical leadership was responsible for the persecution and blames the problem on a few overzealous individuals who supposedly misconstrued official church policy. In time, however, true history will be revealed.

The destroying wind will eventually result in the emptying of the land—just as when the literal waters were diverted, it took time for the crops to fail. The fall of Babylon occurred overnight, but the repercussion, or aftereffects, lingered, so that in time the land became a desert. The cities in Iran and Iraq are located on rivers but not where the Euphrates River used to be. Baghdad is a new capital that has water and a means of sustenance, but it is in a different location from the former city of Babylon, which is still a dry, parched area.

Jer. 51:2 And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.

In the type, the “fanners” were the enemy—not only Darius, Cyrus, and the Medes but also others who were confederate with them. Darius the Mede was responsible for the fall of Babylon, but he used Cyrus as his general. In the antitype, some of the “fanners” in the destruction of mystic Babylon will be Jehu and Gog, the Lord’s Great Army.

Q: On their way down, did the Medes conquer the surrounding areas of the Babylonian Empire first and then take the city?

A: The Medes did conquer on their way down, but they completely ignored the territory south of the capital. The Medes were so intent on destroying the capital that they bulldozed anything in their way and ignored the rest. They did not take the time to subjugate the entire empire because conquering the capital was their priority. After that victory came the mopping-up exercise to make sure the empire was under the control of the Medes.

The King James uses the illustration of a fan or wind blowing away the chaff of error. The illustration is of a harvest—the harvest of the vine of the earth (Rev. 14:19).

Jer. 51:3 Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.

The RSV reads, “Let not the archer bend his bow, and let him not stand up in his coat of mail. Spare not her young men; utterly destroy all her host.” We are reminded of the judgments God issued against enemies of Israel. Men, women, and children were slain.

Q: Based on other translations, is the thought that because the attack on Babylon came suddenly, the archers did not have time to prepare for battle, bend their bows, and put on armor?

A: Yes, that was part of the picture. Any efforts of defense were futile. The inhabitants of Babylon were comfortable in their partying and feasting until the last minute, and then it was too late to prepare for battle. So confident were the inhabitants in their false sense of security that even the watchmen probably joined the festivities. The leaders of the empire, as well as the inhabitants, were unaware that the city was being invaded.

Sometimes the young men were spared as booty, or spoils of war, so that they could become servants, and the young women were forced to become maids or concubines. But in this case, all were slain.

The Revised Standard Version broke the ice or set the pace in changing some of the archaic words and phrases to a more up-to-date translation. The New International Version, which gets more credit, came along later and did a refining work in the translation.

Jer. 51:4 Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.

The “slain” fell in both the surrounding land and the city itself. In the type, the slaying was the day of Jehovah’s vengeance on behalf of His people, Israel, leading the way for deliverance from Babylon (see verse 6).

Jer. 51:5 For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.

Verse 5 shows an act of God’s mercy on behalf of His people, Israel, who did not merit this salvation. After they got the lesson, God gave them an opportunity to return not only to the land of Israel but also to Him. On the one hand, the 70 years of captivity were a period of schooling and retribution for what they had done wrong, but on the other hand, the years were designed for their good so that they would return a repentant people—like the Prodigal Son, hopefully. God’s mercy freed Israel.

Comment: Strong’s defines “forsaken” as “discarded [as a divorced person].” The Jewish Publication Society uses the word “widowed”: “Israel is not widowed.” Thus is seen the relationship between Jehovah and His people.

Reply: “Forsaken” can have various implications, and the thought of “widowed” is certainly justified by other Scriptures and even elsewhere in the Book of Jeremiah.

God’s motive in the destruction of literal Babylon was to show that Israel and Judah were not forsaken. Israel had to be punished for earlier sins, but Babylon went overboard and was too cruel to the Jews, so retribution became necessary.

Jer. 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 a recompence.

This verse does not refer to Revelation 18:4, the invitation calling God’s people to come out of Babylon, starting in 1878. The calling here is a command to “flee out of the midst of Babylon” and to “deliver every man his soul: [so that he] be not cut off in her [Babylon’s] iniquity.” This verse refers to the deliverance of God’s people from a sin-sick “Sodom and Gomorrah” environment.

It is interesting that this prophecy was uttered not at the time of the destruction of Babylon but before. If Jews in exile in Babylon heard Seraiah deliver this prophecy from the top of the wall as a “thus saith the LORD,” they could not flee even if they wanted to because they were captives.

But hearing that message in advance and then telling it to other Jews meant the people were prepared when the events did come to pass. Jews in the city realized they had to get out, for the warning was very specific that everyone in the city of Babylon would be killed. If Jews who were merchants, for example, obeyed not only the message of Jeremiah but also the message of Ezekiel, they stopped their businesses and fled Babylon. The bulk of the captives were relegated to tilling the land and providing food, so many had to bring their produce into the city to sell it. When word came that an army was actually approaching Babylon from the north, the Jews remembered the warning of Seraiah, the man on the wall, and got out of the city and went to the countryside, the suburbs—and thus were out of immediate danger. But then a message was given to get out of the land entirely and return to the homeland. That message of leniency, which manifested itself in the largesse of Cyrus, was not limited to the Jew. Although Cyrus issued the decree in a way that was slanted particularly to the Jew, it extended to some of the other foreigners (non-Jews) as well. These others (Egypt, Moab, Ammon, etc.) could  go back to their respective land, but the Jews were favored with money, goods, and even the offer of an armed escort. The Jews who realized the message to flee was from Jehovah and rightly responded did return to Israel, and God’s blessing was especially on them.

Comment: The theme of verse 6 to flee out of the midst of Babylon in the time of her fall was picked up from the previous chapter in verse 28, “The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple.” Verse 6 is a second witness to flee Babylon in a crucial time.

Reply: Jeremiah 50 and 51 can be treated from the standpoint that in the type, a remnant went back to the homeland. The antitype, or spiritual application, is at this end of the age. By first studying the literal application, we can better understand the spiritual lessons. In fact, the failure to study the natural picture has led to spiritual confusion. If we do not understand the literal application, we come away with only the general lesson that God is against mystic Babylon.

Bible Students know that Babylon is doomed for destruction, that Papacy will cease, but how many know the details? If we are satisfied with less understanding, that is all we will get. The Bible is thick with details, which are meant to be considered in depth.

Comment: Verse 6 states, “This is the time of the LORD’S vengeance.” This time setting is no longer an invitation to gracefully come out of Babylon but a necessity to flee for one’s life.

Comment: The NIV reads, “Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It is time for the LORD’S vengeance; he will pay her what she deserves.”

Q: Is the timing of verse 6 the same as Revelation 18:8? “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”

A: Yes, generally speaking, because death will be the first of the three plagues. Mourning and famine, the last two plagues, will occur after the demise of the nominal religious systems. The three plagues have nothing to do with the seven plagues of Revelation 16.

Comment: This fleeing from Babylon is comparable to the time when Lot, picturing the Great Company, was grabbed by the arm and pulled out of Sodom, being miraculously spared in the destruction. Babylon’s sins will have reached unto heaven, and God will remember her iniquities at that time. Here verse 6 in Jeremiah said the purpose of fleeing is so that a soul will “be not cut off in her iniquity.”

A great deal of detail and advice is given in advance to be acted upon when the wheels are going into motion. We know that the Little Flock will be complete before Babylon’s actual fall, for their cutting off will occur during the short, desperate “hour” of Babylon’s power. The hour of power will be an emergency rule in which all except the Very Elect will cooperate, for they will see the supposed necessity for a strong government (Matt. 24:24). However, in that strong government, people’s consciences will not be recognized. The attitude of the authorities will be, “Either you are 100 percent with us, or you are against us, no matter what the reason.” For one to say at that time, “I will not lend support because I am serving my God,” will not be tolerated. In real times of desperation, dictatorial policies are enacted in a rude, harsh manner.

Comment: Verse 6 will become more meaningful to the Great Company when the Little Flock is off the scene and the time of Babylon’s actual fall is imminent. To save their “soul,” the Great Company will have to flee Babylon and then, after washing their robes white in the blood of the Lamb in the great tribulation, literally give their lives for the truth.

All of this advice was declared from the wall by Seraiah a number of years before the trouble occurred—about 75 years earlier. Some of those Jews who heard the message were still alive when the fulfillment came. Of those who fled Babylon, some (mostly from Judah) returned to Israel, and others (primarily from the ten tribes) went up into Asia Minor and became known as the “ten lost tribes of Israel.” This latter element fled north through Turkey and into Europe, even into England. Generally speaking, the history in the Anglo-Israelite theory is much more advanced than that in the present-truth movement, but concepts are wrong. Spiritually speaking, the Anglo-Israelite theory is very damaging, as the Pastor has shown. Those who are running for the high calling can get offtrack. Many from Judah and the Levites, the priesthood, returned to Israel. Those from the tribes of Benjamin and Judah comprised the majority of the 50,000 Jews who went back at the time that the judgment on Babylon was literally carried out.

Verses 59-64 of this fifty-first chapter are an appendix to the Book of Jeremiah. Just previously, beginning with chapter 46, the prophet had given messages of destruction regarding surrounding nations and then Babylon. These prophecies were written in advance of the destruction, in the fourth year of Zedekiah. Hence, just as in the antitype, the advice to flee Babylon was given well in advance. First, the Israelites were to go submissively to Babylon and build houses for 70 years, but when opportunity came at the end of the 70 years to leave, they either heeded the advice or entered the destruction.

After Seraiah literally read the prophecies of destruction to the Gentile nations (chapters 46-51), he was to throw the writings in the river Euphrates and thus destroy them (see verse 63).

Jer. 51:7 Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.

This verse stands out more along mystical lines, that is, as having a spiritual application rather than a literal one. Mystic Babylon has had custody of the Scriptures, but what happened? The Scriptures were kept in a casket, as it were, locked away from the public and buried in the Latin language. In the past, only religious leaders were allowed to have the Bible, and they quoted the parts that were convenient to justify their leadership. In time, the dribs and drabs of information that leaked out from the casket enabled some of the people to realize truth. The crumbs of information—sometimes just scraps of paper and bits of information by word of mouth—began to accumulate as time went on, and the people were fed enough to survive spiritually.

“The nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad,” inebriated. The liquid, or “wine,” inside the “golden cup” was the problem; it was a mixture of truth and error.

Babylon mixed a little truth with much error, so that those in the system became stupefied and could not reason or discern between right and wrong, between truth and error. (Even if there had been much truth in the golden cup, which was not the case, the addition of a little arsenic would create a deadly effect.) The situation was a measure of wheat versus three measures of barley, harlot’s food, for a penny (Rev. 6:6). Thus there was three times as much error as truth.

The barley-wheat mixture that was fed to the people caused great leanness and famine of mind and soul. But in spite of this mixture, God’s Holy Spirit enabled true Christians, those who were Spirit-begotten, to survive spiritually (the “oil” and the true “wine” were not hurt), so that they could even die joyfully in persecution to show their love and devotion to the Lord.

Comment: Babylon not only was a “golden cup” but also was the head of gold on the image in King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan. 2:32). Babylon was the greatest of the universal empires in the dream.

Comment: Two notes on verse 7 from the Expanded Biblical Comments read as follows: “As heathen philosophies were joined with Christianity, a poisonous draught was mixed and poured into the ‘golden cup’ of truth, making all nations drunk.” “So strong is the power of this intoxication that its inconsistencies are not discerned by those [who are] intoxicated.”

Reply: It is impossible to reason with a drunk. One cannot get anywhere.

Jer. 51:8 Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.

Babylon will fall SUDDENLY. The suddenness is certainly taught in Scripture.

Who is to “howl” and “take balm for her pain”? Verses 8 and 9 pertain to the Great Company.

In the fulfillment of verse 8, Babylon will have already experienced her sudden fall. But in the next verse (verse 9), the time slot is different. The usual application, as given by the Pastor in the Fourth Volume and elsewhere, is that the principle of trying to take balm for healing the cancer of Babylon was to no avail. He tried to show in his writings that there was a radical difference between the Truth movement (the message he introduced) and all previous reform movements such as those of Tyndale, Luther, Wycliffe, etc., who tried to reform, heal, convert, and restore the priesthood of the nominal system to its original purity. Only later in Luther’s life, when he was passing off the scene, did he realize the futility of trying to reform Papacy.

The howling here and the taking of balm for Babylon’s pain will occur as a result of Babylon’s fall. The usual interpretation is that these reactions occur before the actual fall, but verse 8 gives the aftereffects of Babylon’s fall.

The point is that the Pastor’s explanation had a logical fulfillment in the past with efforts to heal Babylon, but the context of verse 8 pertains to the Great Company class. This interpretation becomes clearer and clearer with the passage of time because we are beyond the general Harvest period. We are in a gleaning period and coming very close to the actual fall of Babylon, which is immediately in front of us. Verse 8 is talking about those who had been in Babylon and then came out, and now they find themselves in a new situation. The invitation during the general Harvest was, “Come out of her, my people,” and the initiative had to be taken by the parties who heard present truth. But the Great Company class, shown here in verse 8, will finally be forced by conscience to come out of Babylon. The Spirit-begotten ones who do not come out at that time will suffer Babylon’s three plagues to occur at her destruction (Rev. 18:8).

Those who do not come out as we get further and further into this present day of confusion will incur responsibility. The ones who finally wake up at the last minute will be pulled out similar to the way Lot was pulled out of Sodom.

Jer. 51:9 We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.

Comment: The attitude of trying to heal Babylon is common even today among many of the Roman Catholic faith. They look to Vatican II as a reformation of the system, and they still think their church is the Lord’s institution. There is fidelity to the institution in spite of its shortcomings because they think it will change.

Reply: Another example is the Society with its great flaws and faults during Judge Rutherford’s day, but the members felt it was the Lord’s organization. That kind of party spirit, whether political or religious, is wrong. An empathy of wanting to belong makes excuses by attributing the problems to the people in leadership and governmental positions rather than to the institution.

Comment: The pope recently used that type of reasoning in regard to the Holocaust. He said the persecution of the Jews was caused by some overzealous children and not by the Roman Catholic Church.

Isaiah spoke similarly: “LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.

We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen” (Isa. 26:16-18). A godly element in the nominal Church, who are dedicated to serving God, will finally see—after much effort, agony, and trouble—that the anticipated results cannot be achieved. They will then realize they are in the wrong place and will get out; that is, they will be forced out by their conscience and by providence. Conditions will get so bad that they will find Babylon is not the place for them. Those comprising this portion of the Great Company, or secondary element, do not respond to the invitation to come out, but they will flee eventually. Several verses in Jeremiah 50 also deal with this righteous class, and now the fifty-first chapter continues the theme. We are reminded of “just Lot,” who resided in Sodom. He was wedded to the city, even though his conscience was vexed with the filthy conduct of the wicked (2 Pet. 2:7).

He did not leave voluntarily, but when he was eventually on the verge of leaving, the Lord sent two angels to yank him out along with certain family members (Gen. 19:1,15,16).

Verse 9 is referring to a sincere class in the nominal Church system who have tried desperately to reform it. After the Little Flock is complete but just before the destruction of Babylon, they will say, “We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go.”

There are two falls of Babylon: the fall from favor and the fall of destruction. Anyone who honestly reviews the history of the nominal Church during the Harvest period, which began in 1878, can see that conditions are getting worse and worse. Those on the inside can especially see the machinations that are developing. The Lord used the experience of the natural Jew in connection with the literal fall of Babylon as a warning to the Spirit-begotten still in Babylon after the Little Flock is complete. When the Jewish captives in the city heard about the coming destruction, they were in a predicament and had to make a decision to stay or leave. The predicament will be the same for the consecrated still in Babylon when its actual fall is imminent. The warning will be, “If you stay in the city, you will perish.” Jews who left the city of Babylon subsequently found they had to go even farther, that is, back to the homeland. In the type, Lot fled first to Zoar and then went eventually to the mountain (Gen. 19:18-22,30).

In the Truth movement, those who are righteously inclined—and properly so—have a constant desire to go back to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, to go back to the primitive truth.

Just as the natural Jew, by providences, was weaned from Babylon and then went back to Israel when Cyrus issued the decree, so a similar principle will operate with the Great Company at the time setting of verse 9. The Lord’s people, the consecrated who remain behind but are rightly exercised at that time, will want to go back to the true teachings of the gospel instead of the traditional teachings of the nominal system. By God’s providence, they will see the necessity to return to the basic teachings of Scripture.

“Her [Babylon’s] judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.” Babylon’s evil deeds have piled up to heaven and demand judgment.

“Let us go every one into his own country.” The explanation starts with the type. When Cyrus issued his decree, all captives could return to their homeland.

Q: Does the clause “Let us go every one into his own country” refer to both the Great Company still in Babylon and the tares? The Great Company will go to God, and the tares will go back to the world.

A: Yes, each class will go to “his own country.” Many moral but unconsecrated people who profess to be Christians are also trying to heal Babylon. In the near future, everyone will flee to his own country; that is, tares will flee to the world, and the Great Company will renew their consecration to God. The tares will cease to be professing Christians; they will no longer pretend to be wheat. With their hopes and beliefs destroyed, they will desert the nominal Church system.

When Babylon falls, organized (orthodox) religion will cease. The Great Company will come out and retain personal beliefs. They will be protected in or during Babylon’s fall and later go into  the wilderness as the scapegoat class. In the interim, the Great Company will have an opportunity to wash their robes.

The Song of Solomon shows that the glorified Church will say, “We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts” (Song 8:8). The Little Flock will have a role in protecting the Great Company in Babylon’s fall and assisting in her development.

Jer. 51:10 The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.

Verse 10 expresses the sentiments of the Great Company class, a consecrated, godly element: “The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness.” The account is referring to the deliverance of the “just Lot” class. In their being pulled out of Babylon, the Great Company will not die. They will have an opportunity to wash their robes, and they will recognize that opportunity (Rev. 7:14). They will also recognize that they are not of the Bride class, for the fall of Babylon will be a definite proof to those familiar with present truth that the Little Flock is complete.

When the Great Company first realize they lost out on becoming part of the Bride class, they will weep and mourn, but later they will be strengthened and have hope and rejoice. The sentiment of the Great Company at that time will be, “The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness”; that is, they will realize that the Lord spared them in the fall of Babylon, and they will renew their consecration and rededicate themselves. The Great Company will have knowledge, which the world, in its confusion, will not have. Habakkuk prophesied the feelings of the Great Company class in the in-between time after the Little Flock is complete but before the Kingdom is inaugurated: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock [that is, the Little Flock] shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls [no Ancient Worthies yet in office]: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3:17,18).

Since the first half of verse 10 pertains to the Great Company class, we must now explain the last half: “Let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.” As taught in other Scriptures as well, the thought is that the Great Company will declare a message to Israel. The God of Israel is the Christian’s God too. After the feet members are off the scene, the Great Company will have the responsibility of giving a message to natural Israel.

Comment: From the standpoint of verses 9 and 10, at this point in time, the Great Company will realize it is their responsibility not to give a message about the high calling but to proclaim a message to Israel.

Reply: Yes, the Lord’s goat will have been consumed, so it will be time to deal with the scapegoat. At that time, the Great Company will be recognized as a class, whereas previously all of the consecrated were called in the one hope of the high calling (Eph. 4:4). When that hope ceases, two other hopes will remain: one for the Great Company and the other for natural Israel in the imminency of the establishment of the Kingdom.

Another illustration is Daniel’s interpretation of the handwriting on the wall just hours before Babylon was destroyed. The king gave Daniel a scarlet robe and a gold neck chain, picturing that the death and change of the feet members will precede the actual fall of mystic Babylon (Dan. 5:25-31). Daniel then left the city. Surely the three Hebrews (Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego) also fled from the city in time. By morning, the enemy had entered and inundated the city of Babylon like caterpillars. Daniel symbolically died, but the Jews who were outside of the city when it fell picture the Great Company class.

Comment: Jeremiah 50 and 51 will become more meaningful after the Little Flock is off the scene. These verse-by-verse explanations will be needed at that time.

Reply: Yes, verses 8-10 will be especially meaningful in the near future when the predicted events start to happen. We are given the interpretation now, but it is not that meaningful at present. Some in present-truth circles believe the nominal Church will not come into power, some feel we will just glide into the Kingdom, etc., but when the actual events are occurring, then all of the brethren will be able to understand. For example, once the feet members are persecuted, the actual fall of Babylon will be recognized as imminent.

Q: After seeing the destruction of Babylon, the Great Company will say, “The LORD has vindicated us” (NIV). Will they then give a message to Israel because they will realize that the coming down of the enemy host of Gog into Israel is one of the next events to occur?

A: Yes, the calling will be different at that time, both spiritually (Great Company) and naturally (Israel). The change will be so marked, so clear-cut, that it will be like going through a door.

Comment: Elisha will pick up the mantle of Elijah and smite the Jordan.

Reply: Yes. However, in between the fall of Babylon and the message to Israel will be a mourning period for the Great Company and the washing of their robes. A period of joy and power will come when the Lord consoles them. The Great Company will reason, “We did not make the high calling, but God has providentially spared us, for we were not persecuted in the fall of Babylon.” The feet members will be persecuted earlier, when Babylon is in power, but as the system loses power and support from the people, that type of persecution will end.

Lot did not die in the destruction of Sodom but was extricated. However, his wife pictures a Second Death class because she disobeyed very precise instructions and looked back longingly. Then will come a new calling, a new arrangement, for the Great Company.

Jer. 51:11 Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.

Notice that there are two vengeances: “the vengeance of the LORD” and “the vengeance of his temple.” The fall of Babylon is a vengeance. The judgment against Babylon is the smashing, or smiting, of the clay portion of the feet in the image. A short time period—perhaps less than three years—will separate the destruction of the clay (nominal religious systems) from the destruction of the iron (civil powers). The fulfillment and/or development of the image, starting with Babylon, which is pictured by the head of gold, has taken more than 2,500 years, so the few intervening years between the fall of the ecclesiastical systems and the fall of the civil powers, when measured against the long time period, can be considered sudden. For 2,000 years, the stone has been in process of being cut out of the mountain, but when the stone is complete, the time will be short for the smashing of the image. A mighty angel will raise the great millstone up high to get the momentum and then cast it down with violence (Rev. 18:21).

Down through the Gospel Age, the millstone has been grinding and developing the true Church with persecutions, sufferings, and oppositions, but soon “that great city of Babylon shall be found no more at all.” We can imagine the tremendous splash that a heavy millstone would make if cast from a height into the sea.

Q: What is “the vengeance of his temple”?

A: Back in the type, the vengeance was on natural Babylon, but it did not end with the city. The land had to be desolate and without inhabitant as a corresponding retribution for what Babylon had done to Egypt, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Israel. Literal Babylon was decimated for hundreds of years. Spiritually speaking, the judgment (the desolation and the destruction of mystic Babylon) will be forever because Christ will take over with the true Church. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed not only the city of Jerusalem but also the Temple. From the standpoint of the true spiritual class, mystic Babylon suppressed the truth during its history.

Instead of being a helping hand, the Roman Catholic Church became its own teacher. “Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols” (Rev. 2:20). When we go back and spiritualize the prophetic picture of verse 10, we see a Great Company class that has been delivered and has a message to give natural Israel. Other Scriptures show the message will be endorsed and blessed, for the message is what the Lord will want at that time.

Now we will consider the natural future picture. The Temple Mount is presently under Muslim control. The site for the Third Temple is occupied by two buildings: Al-Aksa and Dome of the Rock. Therefore, God’s Temple platform is being violated by two religions: spiritually by Catholicism and naturally by the Muslim religion. The Muslim world has been desecrating and dominating the true religion, the Jewish religion, and poor Israel has only a tiny strip, the Wailing Wall. Israel won the war under Moshe Dayan, but then he compromised. The Israelis entered the Temple platform, pushed out the Muslims, and were victorious, but then they allowed the Muslims to come back in. Of course God foreknew what would happen, but that is where the current trouble began.

In the future judgment at the end of the age, the Temple has to be vindicated. In the natural picture of the past, the treatment of the majority of Israelites who were held in bondage as slaves by the Babylonians had to be requited. In addition, the Temple building itself was holy.

Jesus chased out the money changers because they violated the Temple, and the Temple Mount is being violated today. The Muslims will have to pay a price of vengeance because they are occupying God’s footstool. Therefore, vengeance is coming from two standpoints; namely, the vengeance on Christendom and the vengeance with regard to the Temple Mount.

“Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it.” In the type, weapons were prepared by the Medes; they made “bright the arrows” and gathered the shields. Notice that the Medes, not the Persians, were given the priority in the visitation of judgment on Babylon. Darius the Mede reigned at the time Babylon was conquered.

In antitype, Darius represents the Heavenly Father, and Cyrus, his general, pictures Jesus. The arrows were intended for vengeance and destruction in the type. In antitype, the “arrows,” or weapons, will be made bright for the coming battle and judgment of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. Doctrines of demons will come out of the mouths of these three entities to gather the nations to Armageddon. From one standpoint, the nominal Church systems are responsible for the gathering work, but from another standpoint, God is responsible in allowing the gathering work to prosper, thereby bringing the matter to a head so that it can be dealt with. “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty [the Father]…. And he [God] gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Rev. 16:13,14,16). Satan will actually be God’s executioner. The same principle will operate at the end of the Kingdom when the nations are deceived in the “little season.” All, including Satan, who are worthy of Second Death will be destroyed as a result of that test (Rev. 20:3,8,9). From then on, the earth will truly be cleansed and the answer to the Lord’s Prayer realized, with God’s will being done on earth as in heaven. At the start of the Kingdom Age, the process toward having a perfect earth will begin, but not until the end of the Kingdom, after the Little Season, will God’s Kingdom truly come.

Another example of Satan’s being God’s executioner is the crucifixion of Jesus. However, Satan’s seeming success was victory for Christ. Once Jesus faithfully paid and secured the Ransom even unto death, the establishment of God’s Kingdom and the redeeming work were guaranteed. Again and again God uses the work of the enemy to accomplish His purpose, just as the permission of evil fits in beautifully with His plan. God is not responsible for the evil; He has merely permitted it. He foresaw what would happen, and He allowed it because He could see that the final results will be a vindication of the divine character and plan.

“The LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it.” With natural Israel, the result will be for their good. And with true spiritual  Israel, both the Little Flock and the Great Company, all will work out right.

Comment: According to Young’s Analytical Concordance, making bright the arrows has the thought of cleansing.

Reply: So much is happening. All of the prophecies not yet fulfilled are coming down to a focal point, and that focal point is like the atom, which is composed of electrons, microns, quarks, etc., that are hard to see except with the aid of a supermicroscope.

Q: Does the “spirit of the kings of the Medes” refer to The Christ in antitype?

A: Yes, but the Father will raise up that spirit. Although our understanding may be only fragmentary, there are many, many pictures and complexities, but they all harmonize and dovetail beautifully. The pictures will become clearer and clearer, for the light will shine brighter and brighter, no matter who is on the scene. The light will continue to grow regardless of personality.

Jer. 51:12 Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.

Who is to “set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes”? To whom is this instruction addressed?

Comment: The RSV reads, “Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon.”

Comment: The enemy who is preparing an ambush would be down in the field, not up on the walls, as the King James states.

Reply: That is good reasoning to determine the meaning.

What are the “walls of Babylon”? Of course the literal walls were of tremendous height and width, allowing two chariots going in opposite directions to pass. But symbolically speaking, the “walls” are the civil powers. The time element with regard to the destruction of the walls is important, for the Scriptures show that the civil powers will fall later than the spiritual powers.

Comment: Rotherham’s translation reads, “Against the walls of Babylon lift ye up a standard, strengthen ye the watch, station the watchmen, make ready the ambushes.”

Notice that God was doing the commanding. In the type, the Medes were the enemy. The city of Babylon was taken not by a breaching of the walls in a forcible manner per se but by a  drying up of the riverbed. For the river to dry up means there were two entrances, that is, where the river entered and where it exited. The Bible gives the clue that Cyrus entered on the east side of the city with the “kings of the east”; that is, the Medes came from the north but presumably entered the east side of Babylon (Rev. 16:12). The digging of the canal to divert the Euphrates River was surreptitiously accomplished over a period of months of intense labor.

Once the river was diverted, Cyrus set up a guard at the two apertures so that the enemy could enter but none of the Babylonians could escape from the city. All inhabitants were to be slain.

The walls were not broken down initially but after the city was taken. Just as with Jerusalem, and according to custom, the fortress city walls were broken down, especially near the gates, lest a rebellion arise in the future and the same facility be used. Hence the walls could not be repaired hastily by the conquered people, and any extensive activity would be noticed by the dominating power. The breaking down of the walls after taking the city of Babylon harmonizes with several other pictures of the antitype, Christendom, for the sequence is that the nominal Church will fall first and then the state.

Comment: God prophesied in advance about Cyrus coming in under the city gates. “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron” (Isa. 45:1,2).

Reply: Cyrus “opened” the two gates by diverting the waters of the Euphrates. Isaiah also told about the securing of the two gates, allowing Cyrus and his army access to Babylon but making sure none of the Babylonians could leave. “The gates shall not be shut.”

Comment: According to Herodotus, the literal walls of Babylon were 350 feet high, more than 80 feet wide, and 56 miles in circumference. Those dimensions are mind-boggling.

Verse 11 stated that God “raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes”; that is, the Lord put in the heart of the Medes to conquer Babylon. Therefore, in the type, verse 12 refers to the action of the Medes against Babylon. In the antitype, the Medes are primarily a picture of the Father (the King of the Medes) and Jesus (General Cyrus), who was used as the agent in connection with the downfall of Babylon. Of course the Church can be included in the picture because others were with Cyrus in both the type and the antitype.

“Set up the watchmen.” Based on certain manuscripts, some have debated whether the Hebrew word translated “watchmen” is singular or plural. It is probably plural. The word suggests that allies or others, who were like under-kings, were associated with the king of the Medes, but the primary responsibility was with the king. To state the matter another way, Jesus is likened to a King, but the Little Flock will be with him as other kings. The title “King of kings” does not mean Jesus is King over earthly kings or over others who were not inherently associated with him, for the other “kings” are the true Church (Rev. 19:16). Therefore, Jesus is the King of associated kings. In the type, other kings were with the king of the Medes. The king distributed power and thus was the head of associates.

Comment: In regard to the walls being destroyed after the city was taken, Jeremiah 51:58 states, “The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire.” This verse proves that the destruction of the walls happened last.

“The LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.” Whatever Jehovah says is as good as done, even though it has not actually happened until the prophecy is fulfilled.

Jeremiah had ordered Seraiah, the prince, to read chapters 50 and 51, and it is remarkable that Seraiah accomplished all of the reading without being stopped. Moreover, the people heard him. The Ishtar gate of Babylon would have been the most appropriate place for the reading because it was not only the most prominent gate but also the entry gate for those who would go upstream from the city.

Jer. 51:13 O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.

Babylon is being addressed. “O thou that dwellest upon many waters.” Actually there was only the one river, the Euphrates, in the literal city of Babylon. However, the name “Euphrates” means “much water.” In ancient times, the Euphrates was considered broad and voluminous, and its waters flowed quite rapidly. Therefore, the “many waters” can be “much water” in volume and breadth rather than multiple streams. The Euphrates, upon which Babylon figuratively sat, was used for both defensive and commercial purposes.

Comment: The fact that the mention of the Euphrates in Genesis 2:14 is associated with the world of mankind shows what an extensive reach of influence Babylon had over the civilized world at that time.

Reply: Yes, Babylon’s influence was great both in sending out goods and in receiving revenue. She was “abundant in treasures.”

“O thou that dwellest upon many waters” reminds us of Revelation 17:1, where “one of the seven angels which had the seven vials” containing the seven last plagues said of mystic Babylon to the Apostle John, who represents the feet members, “Come hither; I will show unto  thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.”

“Thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.” The waters were a source of revenues coming in and merchandise going out. When the waters were diverted, the revenues and commerce stopped.

Comment: This terminology, “Thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness,” reminds us of Daniel’s interpretation of the handwriting on the wall. He said, “MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians” (Dan. 5:26-28).

Reply: Yes, the very words “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” were measures of quantity weights. “PERES” means “divided.” The handwriting was a message of doom.

The inhabitants of Babylon felt secure from the siege of the Medes. The siege was part of the brilliant strategy of Cyrus to distract the Babylonians. Also, God directed the arrows of the besiegers so that they found their mark with the Babylonian defenders on the wall. Therefore, Babylon’s attention was focused on the siege, and the inhabitants were unaware of the divided portion of the enemy host that was digging the canal. Usually an enemy tried, by slow attrition, to wear down the inhabitants of the city under siege. Eventually the food supply ran out, and then famine and disease set in. At that point, strong walls became meaningless. The siege was time-consuming, whereas the fall of Babylon was to be sudden.

Jer. 51:14 The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillars; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.

When the Euphrates River was diverted, Cyrus and his army acted quickly. Other translations more accurately use the word “locusts” instead of “caterpillars.” In a locust plague, the insects are seemingly everywhere.

“The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself.” God does not swear by Himself very often, so His intense interest in bringing about the fulfillment of the destruction of Babylon is indicated here.

“And they shall lift up a shout against thee.” Historical accounts are very fragmentary, but when Cyrus and his army entered Babylon, their attack was a surprise. The Babylonian leadership was mostly drunk at King Belshazzar’s feast, or orgy. While those defending the city saw what was happening, the leadership did not. Therefore, the entry into the city came as a surprise—at a low level underneath the city gates in the dry riverbed. Suddenly the enemy was in their midst like locusts, and then the enemy host shouted in unison. Just as a lion roars to paralyze its prey, so the shout shattered the morale of the defenders of Babylon, and they were easily overcome.

Comment: We are reminded of the shout in unison when Gideon and the 300 broke their earthen pitchers. The enemy fled in great confusion.

Reply: There is complexity and yet harmony in the multiple pictures. Both Gideon and Cyrus picture Christ. The harmony amidst complexity brings conviction. Of course the pictures are very dramatic when they are considered separately, but the testimony of two or three witnesses convinces us we are on the right path of interpretation and understanding.

In the antitype, the “locusts” signify a multitudinous destroying element. Mystic Babylon will be confident it can withstand the siege, but all her defenses will come to naught. As the people rise up and plunder Papacy, the impregnable walls will be like grass devoured by locusts.

Jer. 51:15 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.

Jer. 51:16 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

Verses 15 and 16 show the greatness and the majesty of Jehovah and His capabilities as seen in His control of the elements of nature. As the Lord of hosts, He controls all the heavenly bodies, some of which are so large that we have difficulty comprehending them. Although inanimate, the heavenly bodies are like intelligent beings underneath His control. His “great army,” as it were, will both be the destroyers and do the destroying work.

“When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth.” In a designed cycle, water from the oceans evaporates into clouds, the clouds go over land and deposit the water, the water runs into rivers, and the rivers flow into oceans.

The insertion of verses 15 and 16 is especially significant in the antitype. Mystic Babylon, which has its center in Rome, is very far-reaching. The indoctrination of the clerical element is one aspect, but the power and the control of Catholicism have become so embedded over centuries of indoctrination that to root out this empire and cause its collapse could not be achieved by human means. There was a time when Papacy, the beast, was nonexistent, but the woman, the clerical element, lived on. The longevity of the Roman Catholic Church has been one of its biggest boasts: “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow” (Rev. 18:7). Therefore, verses 15 and 16 were inserted to show that what no human general could really do to kill this beast empire, God can accomplish. Since God can control the hosts of heaven and the elements of nature on earth, He will easily accomplish the destruction of mystic Babylon. He is saying, “Not only do I swear by myself that Babylon will be destroyed, but also I guarantee it.”

Comment: Hitler admired the extent and the organization of Papacy throughout the world. In fact, his admiration is one reason there was cooperation between the Vatican and the Third Reich. The Vatican has an exceptional intelligence network.

Reply: Hitler was not religious himself, but he admired and took lessons from the operation of the Vatican.

Jer. 51:17 Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

Jer. 51:18 They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

Verses 17 and 18 contrast the foolishness of man and man’s wisdom with the greatness of God in verses 15 and 16. It is hard to understand how scientists and astronomers cannot believe there is an intelligent Creator. They are so astute in their reasoning and logic along certain lines and so completely blind along another line. Man, with all of his intelligence, is like a brute beast as far as real understanding is concerned. Darwin and other evolutionists do not realize that the similarities they see when they look at all the different animals, birds, etc., are evidence that God created them—and not proof that one species evolved into another. The animals are separate creations made by the same Creator.

Scientists, who thought there were 100,000 genes in the human genome, are very surprised to find that there are only between 30 and 40. Theories that were built upon the 100,000 figure now have to be adjusted. The scientists are surprised because when they look at the worm and the fruit fly, for instance, the genes number in the thousands, but those in a human being are only around 30. God put all of these units in place, so He has control. The worm did not evolve into a higher creature, and that creature did not evolve into another, etc. The fact that molecules show the same pattern of unity does not prove evolution but a Creator. In short, there is logic and there is illogic, or confusion. In the Kingdom, many of today’s so-called authorities not only in the religious realm but also in scientific circles will experience a lot of shame. Only a fool says in his heart there is no God (Psa. 14:1).

Comment: The Scriptures repeatedly call attention to the heavens as being a testimony of the majesty of God and an evidence of His power. For example, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork” (Psa. 19:1). The heavens are one of the clearest testimonies the entire human race has, yet many learned scientists, of all people, do not make that observation. Evolutionists think man came from the brute, but the truth is that in knowledge, they are the brute.

Reply: A lot of strange things are happening. When we examine ourselves, we find many inconsistencies. The fight of the Christian is to struggle out of anomalies and to concentrate on the goal and be like the Apostle Paul, who said, “This one thing I do” (Phil. 3:13).

Comment: The statement “Every man is brutish by his knowledge” sounds like Solomon’s repeated theme in the Book of Ecclesiastes that “all is vanity.”

Reply: It took Solomon an entire lifetime to conclude that he was a failure. Ecclesiastes and portions of the Book of Proverbs were his confession. For several reasons, we do not see him  as an Ancient Worthy, but getting life is another matter entirely. The judgment before Christ was different from the judgment subsequent to Christ.

Man has brutish knowledge—such a low-level concept of God—in order to make idols. From both the Bible and history books, we know that Nebuchadnezzar was a brilliant human being, yet he tolerated the worship of dumb statues of Merodach and Bel and others. With all of man’s understanding, such foolishness still exists. Although idols, statues, and graven images cannot walk, talk, or breathe, they are set on pedestals, and the worship of them has sometimes been made mandatory under sentence of death. Those who issue such decrees incur responsibility, and the decrees manifest their own mentality and brutish understanding. For example, many worship statues of the Virgin Mary and burn candles, and there is always a money box nearby for donations. In certain countries, a statue of the Virgin Mary is carried through the streets of a city, and people are expected to pin dollar bills on it. Statues of the Virgin Mary are prayed to as if the statue is a telephone for talking to the real Mary.

Comment: It is interesting that in spite of all his knowledge, insanity came on Nebuchadnezzar for seven years as a punishment. He was made to eat grass like a brute beast, his hair grew like eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws (Dan. 4:33).

Reply: At the end of the seven years, Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses, and that will be true of mankind at the end of the Kingdom Age. Those who pass the test of the Little Season will glorify God for having been raised to perfection from their former sin-sick condition as brute beasts.

Comment: Jeremiah 10:3-5,8 reads, “For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good…. But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.”

Reply: Jeremiah was reproving those who worshipped a dumb idol, the creation of their own hands, and not the living God.

Jer. 51:19 The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name.

This verse is an exact repeat of Jeremiah 10:16. “The portion of Jacob is not like them [the idols and false gods]; for he [God] is the former [Maker, Creator] of all things: and Israel is the rod [or scepter] of his [God’s] inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name.” A “rod,” or scepter, is a symbol of authority or of an office and of the one who has been selected to be the ruler. In this case, the rod was given an imprimatur by the Lord of hosts Himself. Jehovah’s name was stamped on that scepter, thus justifying Israel’s role in the future.

This account seems to be quite out of context with the destruction of Babylon, since back there the Lord used heathen powers (Cyrus the Persian and King Darius of the Medes), not Israel, to bring Babylon to ashes and liberate the captives. Verse 19 stands out because the fulfillment yet future is stronger than the past fulfillment. In other words, this verse alerts us that succeeding verses have an added dimension of thinking pertaining to the end of the Gospel Age.

The only way verse 19 had a fulfillment back there is to say that not only did Jeremiah, the Lord’s mouthpiece, predict Babylon would be the instrument to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the Temple and thus humble the Israelites, but also he gave an indication of subsequent liberation. In that sense, we could say Babylon fell by Divine Providence, as predicted by Jewish prophets. In a peculiar sense, Israel was indirectly involved in Babylon’s destruction because Israel’s God predicted the events exactly as they occurred. However, verse 19 and the following verses contain too much information to have had a primary fulfillment back in Old Testament times. Therefore, the fulfillment of this prophecy is future. From this standpoint, we will examine the details.

Jer. 51:20 Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;

“Thou [Israel, that is, the Holy Remnant] art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces [divide] the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.” In the Book of Isaiah, the Assyrian Empire was pictured as God’s battle “axe,” or instrument for judgment against Israel. “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger…. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets…. Shall the axe [the Assyrian] boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood” (Isa. 10:5,6,15). God also used King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon as an instrument of destruction against Israel.

However, verse 20 is describing an instrument of destruction not against Israel but against others. The details in succeeding verses do not fit a past application either to the enemy force (the Medes) that came against Babylon or to Israel. The point is that, based on prophecies in other books of the Bible, if we extrapolate these verses to the future, we get an added dimension not found in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, etc. Something very peculiar is inserted in the following detailed listing, and the peculiarity is accredited to the fact that God will use Israel as a judgmental instrument. In describing the judgment, which will be very severe, the account requently uses a Hebrew word that means “shatter.”

Jeremiah 50 and 51 not only had a past application on literal Babylon but also will have a future application on mystic Babylon, particularly on the religious element. Bringing Israel into the picture helps to establish a time frame. The time when Israel takes a more predominant role is still future because now the nation is having problems and is suffering ignominy. Israel is not aggressive at present, but in the future, God will use that nation for judgment purposes on other nations. Israel will be perceived as the Lord’s battle-ax when the Holy Remnant is delivered out of Jacob’s Trouble. At first, that period of trouble will seem to be negative for Israel, but the Scriptures show that a Holy Remnant will be delivered out of Jacob’s Trouble.

Mankind will be unaware that God is directing the coming trouble. The people will see only the aftereffect of the trouble. For example, an earthquake tremor is not seen, but the result is. Let us consider the smiting of the image. The stone that will smite the image is The Christ, Head and body members, but at the moment of impact, this definition will change. The stone will then become Israel. We have presented this thought for many years, but we need the scriptural proof here in the fifty-first chapter of Jeremiah. The world will not see God, Jesus, or the Church, but they will see the effects down here on earth. The God of Israel will be working in Israel, and mankind will have to come into harmony with the New (Law) Covenant, which will be made with Israel. In order to be blessed, the nations must become identified with and come into that covenant relationship. Only through the New Covenant will the nations receive the real blessings of the Kingdom such as restitution.

When Gog and Magog come down to Israel at the time of Jacob’s Trouble, the enemy will at first seem to be victorious. The city of Jerusalem will be taken, the houses will be rifled, and the women will be ravished (Zech. 14:2). All that had been anticipated of the Lord’s deliverance will seem to go down the drain with Israel’s apparent defeat—but then a remnant will be saved in a most remarkable manner. In fact, the Jews comprising the Holy Remnant will know they have been miraculously spared. News, or rumors, of their deliverance will start to trickle back to the other nations. While some of the Holy Remnant will be scattered about in other lands as well, their deliverance will not be nearly the dramatic proportion that is concentrated in the frontstage operation in Israel. Not only will the Holy Remnant perceive their deliverance in Israel, but also the enemy will realize they cannot destroy those Jews. The title of the fictional book Death Takes a Holiday will become a historic reality, for those who are written for survival in God’s book will not die (Isa. 4:3; Dan. 12:1). Indeed the Scriptures show that some Jews will be peculiarly spared.

The Ancient Worthies will appear on the scene at the “midnight” hour of Jacob’s Trouble (Psa. 119:62). Since the preponderant number of Ancient Worthies will have a Jewish background, the world will think of them as Jews, even though Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Isaac are among them. When Jacob is saved out of the trouble, dead bodies will be all around (Jer. 30:7).

In fact, only one sixth of the Gog force will survive, and it will take seven months to bury the dead (Ezek. 39:2,12). Gog’s defeat will be seen as a military defeat, but who will accomplish it?

The defeat of the enemy and the victory of Jacob will be the Lord’s, for Jews will not have weapons of war in that battle. God will miraculously fight for them as He did in the day of battle in olden times (Zech. 14:3). Calamities of nature will prostrate the enemy. When the world hears what has happened and that the God of Israel is the God and that He has made Himself known, they will think of Israel because it is a place down here that they can see and stand on. The Apostle Paul says that the ethereal is more real than what is physically or literally seen, but to the natural man, the reverse seems true (2 Cor. 4:18). Faith does not need sight, but mankind does. Seeing, feeling, tasting, etc., bring conviction to the natural man.

In Jacob’s Trouble, saviors (plural) will come with the Savior to deliver Israel (Obadiah 21). The real defeat of the forces of Gog and Magog will be spiritually accomplished, but the world will see the defeat from another standpoint. They will “take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:23). Of course those who hold the skirt will have different motives. One motive will be fear. The downtrodden from Third World countries will have gone through so much trauma that they will consider the skirt good news, and they will hold it to break their chains of bondage.

Now the understanding of verse 20 begins to open up. “For with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms [of earth].” When the stone (The Christ) smites the image, then Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome will be destroyed, as well as all of the nations indirectly related to the image, such as portions of China, Africa, and Australia.

What does the Lord say about Israel? “Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee” (Jer. 30:11). God will smite the image through The Christ. However, mankind will perceive the destruction as being accomplished by Israel. They will see that a marvelous victory has occurred in which Israel is vindicated, honored, and accepted.

Subsequent verses show that the smiting of the image by the stone is only the beginning. After the stone breaks the nations, the component parts of the nations will be broken in pieces. The breaking will go down to another level and another level. And what is this breaking? It is the  work of the Kingdom, starting with the Lord’s deliverance of natural Israel, and from Israelwill come the message of salvation.

Jer. 51:21 And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;

The “horse and his rider” and the “chariot and his rider” pertain to Gog, the enemy invasion force that will intend to not only destroy Israel but also erase the memory of that people. However, Gog from the land of Magog will be utterly defeated.

Jer. 51:22 With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid;

Now the destruction switches from the military mode and goes down to everyday life. “Man and woman” will be broken in pieces. Then the detail of the man and woman are given: old and young, and young man and maid. How will this be accomplished? Other Scriptures show that conditions will change in everyday life in the Kingdom. For instance, for a while, the husband-wife relationship will still exist, but by the end of the Kingdom Age, it will cease.

People will come forth from the tomb separately, since the husband-wife relationship is broken at death. There will be a radical difference in society when Christ reigns. Whether one has had a happy marriage relationship or a tenuous, troubled, or abusive marriage relationship, marriages will cease, and the people will come forth as children of Adam. The Pastor had remarkable vision, but he never carried it through. The initial coming forth may be male and female because that is how they died, but gradually the male and female genders will become one gender: a male gender. The man will soften a little, and the woman will become a little firmer. By the end of the Kingdom, the changed human race will be like the angels of heaven— they will all be males (sons) of God.

In the Kingdom, the nations will no longer exist as they are today because they will be under the New Covenant. What the names of the nations will be the Scriptures do not tell us, but there will be some kind of identification.

As we can see, these details are describing future happenings, not a past fulfillment. In the Kingdom, the people will be in an orientation or learning mode. At the end of the Kingdom Age, when all of the people will have come forth from the grave and learned the Kingdom rules and requirements, been purified, and withstood the test of the Little Season, with the incorrigible being destroyed, friendships will be everlasting into the ages of ages.

When people are resuscitated, they may come forth where they previously lived or died, but the geography will be changed. Every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, that is, have his own property and peace and security (Micah 4:4). Earth’s surface will be apportioned to individuals.

Jer. 51:23 I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.

Verse 23 continues to tell about a radical change in society in the Kingdom, a most thorough reform. The military will cease, with weapons being converted into farm implements. And human relationships will change. For instance, the breaking in pieces of the “shepherd and his flock” indicates that all false religious leaders and associations will cease, for religious control will be under The Christ. The “husbandman and his yoke of oxen”—that is, employment and agriculture—will be shattered and changed. There will be order, but not the old order. Still another category that will be broken to pieces is “captains and rulers,” which would be the civil rulers, police and fire departments, education departments, etc.

There has to be a radical change initially because people coming forth from the tomb will be completely bewildered. Gradually they will have to adapt to the new situation. We should keep in mind what has already been pointed out, namely, that all of the changes will be accredited to Israel. The law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isa. 2:3). The New Covenant is a Jewish covenant. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31). The people will have to adapt to a new situation. The Lord’s Kingdom is not a renovation of the old but the complete blowing away of the old. The old will be blown into the wind and gone when the image is smitten, and in its place will be the stone, which grows and grows and grows until it fills the whole earth. This is the process that will take the word from Jerusalem into the other nations.

The mechanics will operate down here, but the actual governance, direction, and oversight will be spiritual.

The stone will grow until it fills the whole earth, and in that filling, all will become Christ’s Kingdom. Eventually, at the end of the Millennium, Christ’s Kingdom will become the Father’s Kingdom so that God is “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). Then, at the end of the Kingdom, will come the answer to the Lord’s Prayer, which is addressed to our Father in heaven (Matt. 6:9). In other words, after Christ has converted the world and every knee bows and every tongue confesses to the glory of God, Jesus will hand over the Kingdom to the Father (Phil. 2:10,11).

Q: In verses 20-23, do the pronouns “thou” and “thee” refer to Israel as God’s rod?

A: Yes, the reference is to Jacob and Israel.

The Book of Jeremiah will be more and more understood as we get nearer the end of the age. The truth is supposed to be getting brighter and brighter now, no matter who is on the scene.

What happens is that the light will go to the next room, but if we do not go into that room, we will not understand. The light is progressive to those who follow it. However, we must be very careful with “new light” and make sure it is only added light, not strange light. We need prayer, the Bible, and help from God so that we go in the right direction in our decision making. Being consecrated, each one of us has that responsibility. Jesus warned that all except the Very Elect will be at least temporarily deceived (Matt. 24:24). If we are interested in understanding the times in which we are living, then we have to realize that truth is progressive and that not everything has been explained in the past.

Jer. 51:24 And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.

The clause “And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea” refers to all the ramifications of the Babylonian Empire including the different nations that were subjugated and brought underneath Babylonian control. Not just the city, the province, and the nation of Babylon but the entire empire—all were included in the type. Therefore, the signification in the antitype is a worldwide picture. All of the kingdoms, or nations, will be affected by a radical change that is accredited to Israel.

Q: Will you please clarify the natural application for verses 19-24. Verse 1 of this chapter says, “I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up  against me, a destroying wind.” As the Lord had used Babylon in the past to destroy others, wasn’t He now using the Medes to destroy Babylon? In verse 11, the Medes are actually mentioned: “Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device [purpose] is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.” Verse 20 reads, “Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.” Then verse 28 states, “Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes.” Both before and after the discussion of the “battle axe,” the account tells how the Lord used the Medes to destroy Babylon. Therefore, doesn’t verse 20 also refer to the Medes in the natural picture?

A: Perhaps there has been a misunderstanding. We have no problem with the natural picture, but verse 19 is inserted as if to say, “Stop for a moment. There is another application.” There was a natural application in the past, but this verse alerts us to look for another application in the future. We will consider some other Scriptures.

“And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem” (Zech. 12:5,6). This account, which mentions Judah, shows the devouring of “the people round about, on the right hand and on the left.”

Next we will turn to Micah. “And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver” (Micah 5:7,8). This account mentions “Jacob,” a term that can be used for Israel as a whole, for the ten tribes, or even just for Judah.

Now we will consider two different aspects of the “remnant of Jacob.” (1) The remnant of Jacob is favorable; it is like dew on the ground—a wonderful and refreshing blessing. (2) The  remnant of Jacob is described “as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.” This prophecy was not fulfilled in the past, but it will happen in the Kingdom. The thought is that the old order is doomed to utter destruction. For instance, there will be a radical change in the animal kingdom. The lion will eat straw like the ox, and a child will be able to

play on the hole of an asp, the implication being that the snake will have no more poison (Isa. 11:7,8). Dust will be the serpent’s meat (Isa. 65:25). There will also be a radical change in the human kingdom, eventually even in diet but, generally speaking, in the relationship of one with another.

The initial impact, or crash, of the stone against the image will blow everything to smithereens, but the crash will be followed by a growing stone, the Kingdom, that fills all the earth. The Kingdom will start with the smashing, but then it will replace. The deceased billions will come forth from the grave as they died. However, since marriages cease at death, husbands and wives will come forth, be tutored, and walk up the highway of holiness separately. Near the end of the Kingdom Age, when all of mankind is out of the tomb and walking on the highway of holiness, the earth will be filled with this new order. At the end of the Millennium, after the incorrigible have been purged in the Little Season, the Kingdom will come in the sense of complete fulfillment. The present order of society will be changed quickly and radically at the introduction, or beginning, of the Kingdom, but with different orders of people coming forth from the grave during the Kingdom, instruction and changes will continually be taking place.

“And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts” (Hag. 2:22,23).

Neither Jacob nor Judah is mentioned, but the pronoun “I” is used, meaning the Lord. For those down here on earth, God will be an invisible Lord. Zerubbabel represents Jesus as a Governor, but he, too, will not be seen. The Kingdom will start in Israel. The people, who will come out of the tomb the way they went down into it, will come up into this new and completely changed order.

The point is that just as Babylon destroyed Israel as a hammer and was a “destroying mountain,” rupturing the whole society of Israel, so the Medes and the Persians did the same thing to literal Babylon (Jer. 51:25). God used the Medes as His instrument of retribution for what Babylon had done to Israel. But now we are down at the end of the Gospel Age, more than 2,000 years distant from that scene, and we have a corrupt earth with a similar situation of bondage, servitude, and false religions not only in Christendom but also in other nations. The corrupt society will be ruptured suddenly, but the people from past kingdoms will be dealt with during the Kingdom Age. Those coming forth from the grave will not know what has happened. The majority do not even know the name Christ, so they will have to start from scratch. All of this work is part of the growing of the stone to fill the earth. And the growing will take place down here, not in heaven. Therefore, from the visual perspective, the people will be thinking more of the Jew. Instead of anti-Semitism, the feelings will be the opposite. To get blessings and make progress, the people will have to join the Jew, taking hold of his skirt. From that standpoint, “the governors of Judah [will be] like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf,” as well as a terror like lions among the Gentiles (Zech. 12:5,6; Micah 5:7,8). The term “Gentiles” includes all who are not Jews. All of the other nations and their false religions will be broken up.

We were trying to say that there is another application, which is of more interest to us because of the time we are living in, but past history is helpful, even though spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The Apostle Paul said it is impossible for the natural man to understand spiritual things, but the consecrated have an advantage because, having once been in the world, they know both the natural and the spiritual (1 Cor. 2:14,15). Based on their background and experience as natural men, they have some street savvy to a greater or lesser extent.

Therefore, the consecrated have two things: the natural and the spiritual, the latter being what really matters. Paul said that we can understand and deal with natural men because we were once in their place. The fact that once we were blind but now we can see spiritually makes a big difference. Past experience can be beneficial, even though it was harmful to us when we walked after the flesh. Now we are in newness of life, walking according to the spirit.

In summary, then, verse 19 was thrown in just to get us to stop and consider that there is another lesson for the Christian to learn. The Jews back there surely understood the prophecy of their liberation from Babylon by the Medes. They were familiar with that history because they were living it.

Now we will resume our consideration of verse 24: “And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.”

Comment: It is interesting that God specifically used Babylon to punish Israel, yet because of the evil done against Zion, Babylon was punished.

Reply: The Babylonians destroyed the Temple, God’s sacred edifice, and the city of Jerusalem, God’s capital. In the spiritual picture, the same thing will happen. For instance, Papacy thinks the capital of Christianity is Rome, and the system has desecrated the true spiritual temple. The pope sits in the temple of God as if he is a god (2 Thess. 2:3,4). The retribution on spiritual Babylon will be similar to what happened to literal Babylon. Literal Babylon’s retribution came because of the defilement of a literal government, capital, and Temple. Antitypical or mystic Babylon has done the same thing. The government has changed, the Catholic Church

interprets Scripture, and church councils are considered to be not only equal to the Word of God but even above the authority of the Bible. Because of these evils, retribution must come on spiritual Babylon as it did on literal Babylon. Just as natural Israelites were defiled in the past, so true spiritual Israelites have been defiled by the nominal systems, Catholicism and Protestantism, mother and daughters, as emphasized by the clause “I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea.”

Jer. 51:25 Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.

Jer. 51:26 And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD.

A paragraph mark should be placed in front of verse 25 to show a change in thought and a separation from verses 19-24.

“I am against thee, O destroying mountain” is a reference to the Second Pyramid. The Great Pyramid is called a mountain both in Scripture and in history, and that is the true mountain. For two reasons, the Second Pyramid appears to be superior to the Great Pyramid. (1) Its base is situated on slightly elevated ground. (2) It has what appears to be a capstone, whereas the Great Pyramid is flat on top. Up until recent times, a picture of the Second Pyramid was often erroneously shown as the Great Pyramid. In the Kingdom Age, the Great Pyramid will be refurbished externally, and the Second Pyramid will be leveled and the stones powdered.

Zechariah 4:7 is a prophecy of the destruction of the Second Pyramid: “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof [of the Great Pyramid] with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” God has determined that the detraction of the Second Pyramid will be removed. The destruction of the Second Pyramid and the building up of the Great Pyramid will occur relatively contemporaneously. From another standpoint, this process will happen all during the Kingdom Age, that is, when people come forth from the grave and see that Papacy was the false or Antichrist system and that The Christ, Head and body, are the true “Messiah.” The Second Pyramid and the Great Pyramid are symbols. Just as the Jews, Babylon, the Medes, the Persians, etc., are literal as well as symbolic, so it is with the two pyramids. For example, the top stone of the Great Pyramid is a symbol of Christ.

Q: Does the top stone represent just Jesus, or can it be The Christ?

A: Eventually the top stone will represent The Christ, but we do not want to take away the primacy of Christ at the present time. Jesus is our top stone now. The exterior casing or surface stones on the four sides of the Great Pyramid represent the Little Flock, and the core masonry represents the world of mankind. Bro. Russell used horizontal strata to show, in descending order, The Christ, the Great Company, the Ancient Worthies, Israel, and the world of mankind.

Jer. 51:27 Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars.

In the type, God rallied the forces of the north (Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz) to come down against Babylon.

Remember that Seraiah had publicly proclaimed the message of Jeremiah 50 and 51 while standing on the tower, as it were, in the fourth year of Zedekiah. As Jeremiah’s long ministry was drawing to a close, the prophet predicted the doom of Babylon at the moment when conditions seemed to indicate the opposite. Early in his ministry, Jeremiah prophesied the fall of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple and the victory of Babylon, but now, near the end of his ministry, he predicted that the situation would be reversed and Babylon would fall. Those who heard Jeremiah’s message, as delivered through Seraiah, knew about Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz.

The literal “captain” who was appointed was Cyrus, a representation of Jesus. Another interesting picture with Cyrus is the restoration of the Temple vessels to Israel, but that was a completely different setting.

“Cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars.” An ominous part of a locust plague, at least in this country, is seeing the many, many cobwebs start to form. The webs get larger and larger until they are just filled with the insects. When their nests are burned, thousands of caterpillars tumble out onto the ground. If the plague were not controlled, how ominous the multitude of caterpillars would be! As the caterpillars mature from stage to stage, they represent destruction in advance. And so the preparation of the enemy, described as “rough caterpillars,” was frightening to behold. The horde coming down had a psychological effect.

This prophecy was uttered in the fourth year of Zedekiah, so it was given 77 years in advance; that is, 77 years later the Babylonians saw the horde coming down with Cyrus. But what did the Babylonian leadership do? Many of the common people in the land were terrified, but not the leaders, who were confident in the walls and the food supply in the capital city. They felt they could withstand the siege despite the multitudinous forces. But eventually the “caterpillars” invaded the city.

Comment: Caterpillars were mentioned earlier in this chapter: “The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillars; and they shall lift up a shout against thee” (Jer. 51:14).

The Babylonian leadership was deceived because Cyrus separated out a large number of his invading host to dig the new canal for the diversion of the waters. Therefore, the leaders of Babylon did not realize the size of the enemy and felt secure despite the siege and the shooting of arrows that found their mark. In the meantime, the channel was being dug. The siege diverted the attention of the Babylonians from what Cyrus actually had in mind. Darius the Mede may have been the mastermind because he is credited with conquering Babylon, as shown by Daniel. He had a tremendous empire with more than a hundred different nations underneath him. Darius was old at this time, and two years after the fall of Babylon, we hear no more about him. Instead Cyrus, picturing Jesus, took control; Cyrus burgeoned in history as the character on center stage.

Incidentally, the Ashchenazi influence, descendants of Japheth, ultimately went into the north, into Europe, in contradistinction to the Sephardic people, who started with Shem and in time went to the south. The Sephardic people went into Italy, Spain, and northern Africa. The people of Minni may eventually have gone into Asia: China, Korea, and Japan. But in verse 27, we are talking about conditions that existed around 536 BC.

Jer. 51:28 Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion.

“Prepare against her [Babylon] the nations … and all the land of his [Darius’s] dominion.”

Darius, representing God, had the dominion when Babylon was taken.

Jer. 51:29 And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.

Jer. 51:30 The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.

The colon after “women” is proper to indicate a change in thought; that is, “they [the enemy coming in] burned her [Babylon’s] dwellingplaces.” First, the Babylonian victims are being described; then the actions of the enemy are given. To become “as women” meant the Babylonian men were so weakened in their fear that they could not fight.

Comment: To make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitant was exact retribution for what had been done to Israel and Jerusalem 70 years earlier.

Reply: Yes, and the land turned to desert as time went on.

Babylon’s “bars are broken.” Figurative language is used here to refer to a literal incident. The bars of the city gates were broken in effect because they extended only about two feet down into the water of the Euphrates, allowing the water to flow. The river went through Babylon from one side to the other, splitting the city in half. Never dreaming that the water would be entirely diverted into a new channel, the inhabitants of Babylon thought the two-foot bars were adequate. But Cyrus and his army marched into the city underneath the gates, thus figuratively breaking them. The protective bars were made null and void in that they no longer prevented enemy invasion. They were ineffectual in protecting the city.

Comment: This reaction was retribution, for in Babylon’s earlier conquests, Nebuchadnezzar and his army had caused the men of other nations to become similarly fearful. For example, “Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail” (Jer. 49:24).

Reply: Yes. A sister has testified that she was on an airplane when an announcement came over the intercom to prepare for a crash landing. Her legs started to jump up and down uncontrollably. The effect was psychological because death seemed imminent. A woman is usually more emotional than a man. A man is not necessarily stronger in other ways, but the constitutional makeup of a man and a woman is not quite the same. Some people are affected in the stomach by traumatic experiences, and they double over as if they are going to have a child. The brain controls certain muscles, but in times of panic, the brain is dulled and involuntary muscles, which are supposed to be secondary, take control, causing unexpected reactions. A slang expression is that one’s knees become as water. Therefore, when the men of Babylon saw the enemy actually in the city, they were totally unprepared.

Jer. 51:31 One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end,

Verse 31 is describing a “pony express” system within the city of Babylon. In former years in the United States, the mail was delivered by men on horseback carrying the mail. A rider traveled as fast as possible to the next stop, where another rider took over, etc. Because of the large size of the capital city of Babylon, runners were needed as messengers. One would run at top speed and deliver the message to the next runner, etc., until a runner got to the king, who was in a central location of the city. Now the king was told that the enemy had come in under the gates and taken the city.

While verse 31 follows verses 29 and 30, it was not sequential in fulfillment. The enemy produced the effect of completely surprising the mighty men so that they were not prepared for battle and became as women. The enemy entered the city from the east, coming in like caterpillars in numbers. As the army entered, some began to torch everything in the city, and others were intent on getting the king. By killing the king, they would destroy the communication or control center, the “computer,” as it were, for he gave all the orders.

Meanwhile, there was a rampage of destruction because the Medes were determined not to leave any human being alive.

Belshazzar’s feast of drunken revelry was going on at the time the enemy entered the city.

Daniel had just interpreted the handwriting on the wall. When the king heard the explanation, he appointed Daniel as “third ruler in the kingdom” and appropriately robed him for this honorable office (Dan. 5:29). The timing shows that before the utter fall of mystic Babylon, the true Church will be complete. The Daniel class will go beyond the veil and be figuratively clothed with robes of glory.

The one post running to meet the other shows suddenness. Likewise, the fall of mystic Babylon, when the stone strikes the image, will be sudden. However, the suddenness does not preclude a process subsequently.

After the capital city had been destroyed, the next event was the emptying and the destruction of all the people in the land of Chaldea. The land was also made desolate.

Jer. 51:32 And that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.

The “reeds” in the river Euphrates were burned. The diversion of the waters was a silent work at nighttime. The water level went lower and lower until the riverbed was empty. Certainly the princes and the officials at the feast were completely unaware that the riverbed was dry and that the enemy could now enter the city. Reeds, which formerly grew in the river, were set on fire. The Babylonians were adversely psychologically affected by seeing the burning of the houses and the reeds. The burning added to the consternation, confusion, and disarray of those who previously thought Babylon could not be destroyed.

Jer. 51:33 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.

To paraphrase, “The daughter of Babylon brings to mind a threshing floor.” When a threshing floor is used, the activities that take place include the crushing and the winnowing of wheat and the blowing away of chaff. Mystic Babylon has been threshing the true Christian, and in the near future, the Lord will give back to Babylon her just dues and thresh her.

Another way of viewing verse 33, according to the Masoretic translation, is that instead of the wheat being threshed on the floor, the threshing floor is crushing the wheat. The hard floor has served its purpose in developing the Lord’s people, but once the Little Flock is complete, there will be no more need for the threshing floor, and God will do away with it. Even though the threshing floor served an evil purpose, God saw that good would result because it provided a testing ground for His true wheat.

Comment: The analogy of a harvest reminds us of Revelation 14:15, “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

Reply: Yes, there are two harvests. The harvest of the wheat (the Little Flock) precedes the harvest of the earth, the judgment upon mystic Babylon.

“Yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.” All of this prophecy was publicly proclaimed by Seraiah in the fourth year of Zedekiah, seven or eight years before the destruction of Jerusalem and more than 70 years prior to the destruction of Babylon, yet this prophecy reads as if the destruction of Babylon had a past fulfillment.

Jer. 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

Verse 34 reminds us of what Jesus said when the Apostle Paul was on the way to Damascus: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul responded, “Who art thou, Lord?” Jesus said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (Acts 9:4,5). The Lord’s people were being persecuted, but Jesus likened them to him. Here we have the same principle with Jehovah. When injuries were done to the Israelites, His people, it was as if Jehovah Himself were being crushed. Therefore, verse 34 shows that God has emotions. We usually think of Him as being so great, so austere, and so serene that we do not consider His emotional side. The Scriptures tell us, “The Father himself loveth you” (John 16:27).

Comment: Verse 34 is a little confusing because verse 35 reads, “The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say.” In verse 35, Israel is the one speaking.

And in verse 36, God says, “I will plead thy cause,” as if speaking about Israel.

Reply: It is true that the account can be viewed from either perspective. Nevertheless, God was  emotionally in this narrative. Even though the persecution was being done to His nominal people, God Himself wanted to requite what Babylon did to them. God was the King of Israel, and it was His city, His Temple, and His nation. What was done to these places was done, as it were, to Him.

Q: Is the thought that the king of Babylon devoured and crushed God and made Him an empty vessel, etc.?

A: The verse has nothing to do with God’s own form or being. He was saying, “What you have done to others—to my city, my Temple, my nation”—is an insult to me. When Jesus asked Paul, “Why do you persecute me?” Paul was persecuting, imprisoning, and putting to death Christians, Jesus’ followers, but Jesus said the persecution was against him. The application of the pronouns to Israel in verse 34 is correct, and that is the more apparent, generally understood aspect. We were just trying to bring out another aspect, namely, how the God of justice, the Lord of hosts, views the persecution. What has been done in the past and what is presently happening in Israel are an insult to God that will bring retribution.

Comment: The NIV uses “us” and “our” in verses 34 and 35: “‘Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured us, he has thrown us into confusion, he has made us an empty jar. Like  a serpent he has swallowed us and filled his stomach with our delicacies, and then has spewed us out. May the violence done to our flesh be upon Babylon,’ say the inhabitants of Zion. ‘May our blood be on those who live in Babylonia,’ says Jerusalem.”

Comment: The Hebrew according to the King James margin is “my.”

The Heavenly Father has controlled emotions. As has been pointed out, “the Father himself loveth you” (John 16:27). But then principled love was expressed in the text “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). For those who consecrate in the present age and follow Jesus, there is a big difference between “God so loved the world” and “God so loved the Church.” From Jesus’ standpoint, the pearl of great price is the Church, and it would be the same from God’s standpoint (Matt. 13:45,46). “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his [God’s] eye” is the principle (Zech. 2:8). If one of the Very Elect down here is criticized, ridiculed, disparaged, etc., the Heavenly Father says it is like sticking a finger in His eye. Of

course that statement is not literally true, but the expression indicates that the “persecuting spirit” bothers Him. Nevertheless, God controls Himself because He knows all will work out for good. Those who render the criticism and ridicule will receive retribution, for the operating principle is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Comment: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” is the principle (Gen. 12:3).

Comment: The retribution principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth seems to imply the ultimate great unity of all things. In other words, doing wrong to another person is like doing wrong to me because we are all connected.

Reply: Jesus stated the principle by saying to Saul, “Why persecutest thou me?” Therefore, the pronouns “I,” “me,” and “my” can be viewed as referring to God. Verse 34 has the usual application in regard to Israel’s sentiments plus this other dimension.

Jer. 51:35 The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.

We are reminded of the incident when Jesus was before Pilate and the people were demanding Jesus’ crucifixion. Pilate thought scourging would appease the crowd, but the people cried out, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matt. 27:25). And that has happened down through the Gospel Age. Even if the words had not been uttered, Jesus’ blood would still have received retributory judgment. The Jewish people would not have spoken thus if they thought there was any possibility Jesus’ blood would actually be on them and their children. The same principle applies when people curse and take God’s name in vain in order to be heard and

attract attention. The Scriptures tell us, “Every idle [and pernicious] word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). Habitual wrongdoing and wrong speaking carry a penalty. With the consecrated who are faithful to whatever degree, judgments come before their demise, although the judgments are not always recognized as such. For instance, answers to prayer may be forgotten or not even recognized. Sometimes the problems that Christians have in their life are the result of their own wrongdoing. For Christians, the penalty must be paid in the present life.

Jer. 51:36 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.

God promised to plead the cause and take vengeance for Israel (as well as for Himself) for the demeaning. He said, “I will dry up her [Babylon’s] sea, and make her springs dry.” With literal Babylon, the “sea” and “springs” refer to the Euphrates. In Old Testament times, the word “sea” had a broader meaning than we give it today. For example, the large laver for Solomon’s Temple, which was 30 cubits (45 feet) in circumference, was called a “sea,” that is, a body of water (1 Kings 7:23). Therefore, a river or any large quantity of water could be called a “sea.”

Of the four rivers that came out of Eden, the Euphrates was the largest. We should keep in mind, as has been pointed out, that this prophecy was given several years before Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple were even destroyed.

Jer. 51:37 And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.

“Babylon [the city and its environs] shall become heaps [ruins].” Over the years, Babylon was  covered with sand. Archaeologists discover many ancient cities by digging where there is a mound or hill of sand. “Dragons” are jackals. Just as Israel was made “an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant,” so Babylon would have that experience. The word “hiss” really means “whistle.” As people passed by the ruins of Jerusalem in traveling from one nation to another, they whistled. Incidentally, whistling, a form of signaling, was much more common in the agrarian lifestyle of the past than it is today.

Comment: The NIV translates this verse, “Babylon will be a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, an object of horror and scorn, a place where no one lives.”

Reply: Yes, but keep in mind that the “hiss” was a sound. Some people used the Lord’s name in vain, and others gave a whistle, as if to say, “Wow!”

Jer. 51:38 They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lions’ whelps.

Jer. 51:39 In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.

Verse 39 brings Belshazzar’s feast to mind as a fulfillment. Those at the feast were unaware that the waters were being diverted and that Cyrus and his army were entering the city.

Jer. 51:40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats.

In slaughterhouses for sheep, for example, a ram is chosen to go down the channel, and the other sheep follow. Then just before the ram reaches the slaughtering machine, an exit gate opens and shuts quickly so that only the ram can escape to subsequently repeat the process again and again, leading many sheep to slaughter. A “he goat” leads goats, a ram leads sheep and other rams, and a steer leads other steers. The animals who follow the lead goat, ram, or steer are not aware of what is happening. They run down and get boxed into a situation unknowingly. Even if the animals sense danger, they are willing to follow the leader.

The analogy is that the Babylonians were in a mental fog through drinking and revelry and did not realize that the enemy was coming in through the riverbed. God brought the Babylonians to the fate of utter confusion, defeat, and slaughter.

Jer. 51:41 How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!

“Sheshach” is another name for Babylon. “How is the praise of the whole earth [Babylon] surprised [because its rulers had confidence in the high, thick walls and the abundant food storage]!” When Papacy gets its hour of power in the near future, the system will have the same spirit of confidence in its power that was exhibited during the Dark Ages. The surprise element will be the result of their complete unawareness of what is really happening—their demise! Papacy will be so confident that it will be having a “party” at the time of its downfall.

Comment: “Sheshach” is used only twice in the Bible. The word was probably taken from one of Babylon’s goddesses. As Christians, we are identified with our belief in Christ. Babylon was identified with the heathen goddesses that its people worshipped. Antitypical Babylon is also identified with a false worship, especially the worship of the Virgin Mary.

Reply: The statue on the Plain of Dura was of Bel, a god of Babylon. Along with the goddess Sheshach, Merodach was a Babylonian god, and both were out in the province. In other nations, Sheshach was called Ashtoreth or another name.

“How is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!” Revelation 18 comes to mind.

“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more…. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate” (Rev. 18:9-11,15-19). Various segments of society will experience shock when they see mystic Babylon fall. The demise of the system is necessary to make way for the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom.

There is no question that Jeremiah 51 pertains to Papacy and Christendom because of preceding verses. Hence in this chapter, “Sheshach” does not refer to the anarchists. However, the “Sheshach” of Jeremiah 25:26 is a reference to Russia, for this “Sheshach” will drink after the fall of mystic Babylon, represented under “Jerusalem.”

The Expanded Biblical Comments say of Jeremiah 51:41 that Babylon, the religious element, will fall last. The quote, taken from Harvest Gleanings, equates Jeremiah 25:26 with Jeremiah 51:41, but this article was written prior to the Reprints and when Barbour was coauthoring. The rest of the article contains many errors and was probably not written by Russell but by Barbour.

Moreover, Harvest Gleanings contains other references to Jeremiah 51:41, and one is excellent but not quoted in the Expanded Comments. Either all pertinent comments should be quoted or none, but not just prejudicial selective quotes.

Sheshach in Jeremiah 25 is a different picture. With Israel and Babylon being the antagonists, Israel represents Christendom. Judah and Jerusalem, picturing the nominal systems, were to be destroyed by Sheshach (or Russia in antitype, the king of the north). The point is that Sheshach was God’s method of destruction in that picture.

But in Jeremiah 51, the two antagonists were Babylon and the Medes (and confederate nations),  who came down from the north to be God’s instrument of destruction on Babylon. Babylon pictures Christendom, and spiritually speaking, the Medes represent the true Church. Hence in antitype, the “Babylon” of Jeremiah 25 is not the same as the “Babylon” of Jeremiah 51.

The “mother” of Jeremiah 50:12 is Babylon, the Chaldeans: “Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.” The verse seems to say that Babylon (the “hindermost”) would be the last to be destroyed. In fact, many translations say the “last,” but the King James Version is better. “Last” can imply finality, the last in sequence, the last in time, or the least. “Least” is the correct thought in Jeremiah 50:12; that is, Babylon is the most disreputable system that has come on the earth because it took the Lord’s name.

Jeremiah 25:21-26 gives an enumeration of Edom, Moab, Ammon, etc., etc. All were to drink before Sheshach. Here in Jeremiah 51, the Medes were in power and were destroyed after Babylon. Hence these are two different pictures, which cannot be mixed. Similarly, the picture of Elijah’s seeing the wind, earthquake, fire, and still small voice and the account of the smiting of the image cannot be mixed because the wind is first with Elijah and it is last (it blows the chaff away) in Daniel 2.

Jer. 51:42 The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.

Since the Hebrew language is limited, the word translated “sea” is used broadly and takes on varied meanings. The lack of water was instrumental in connection with the downfall of the literal city of Babylon. Also, there seems to be an intimation that in the diversion of the water from the capital city, the water went into the plain and then eventually found its way back into the main stream. No doubt the diversion caused considerable destruction outside the city.

Therefore, water was instrumental both in drying up and in flooding. Of course this verse was introduced because of the higher antitypical significance in back of the natural picture. The “sea” represents the masses, who will be instrumental in the downfall of Babylon. The “sea” coming up indicates that mystic Babylon will be inundated with the angry masses, with mob violence. When the water was cut off in literal Babylon, the army of Media- Persia quickly inundated and captured the city; i.e., Babylon seemed to be literally flooded.

Comment: Isaiah 57:20 likens the wicked to a “troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”

Comment: When the people (the “sea”) realize they have been deceived by Papacy, they will angrily turn on the system and destroy it.

Comment: Revelation 18:21 mentions Babylon’s fall into the sea. “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.”

Reply: Yes, a mighty angel will lift up “a great millstone” (Babylon) and cast it into the sea.

Comment: We sometimes characterize the masses who will destroy mystic Babylon as the Lord’s Great Army.

Several things are implied depending on what part of the drama we are considering. The diverted water will flood, or overwhelm, mystic Babylon. The water that was deprived of  affording revenue, commercial traffic, protection, etc., to the city proper is usually explainedspiritually as the cutting off of support, financial and otherwise, to the nominal Church system.  Mystic Babylon has waxed rich from the revenues and support of the masses, who have beendeluded. Thus we have a seeming paradox, but both perspectives are true.

Jer. 51:43 Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.

The result of the destruction of literal Babylon is that it became “a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness.” Complete destruction and desolation are shown. Once Papacy is destroyed, no one  will pass through it anymore. Literal Babylon went from great wealth and prosperity to nothingness, and so will mystic Babylon.

Comment: The end of Revelation 18:21, quoted earlier, describes what verse 43 is saying. Antitypical Babylon “shall be found no more at all.”

Comment: The fact that “her cities” (plural) became a desolation indicates there was a large suburban development, even in the proximity of the capital city. And of course the empire extended quite far.

Jer. 51:44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.

“Bel,” the god of Babylon, represents one perspective of the Papacy. The blasphemous teachings of the system will have to be repudiated (“swallowed up”).

Comment: Revelation 18:5,6 describes the retribution: “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.”

“The nations [peoples] shall not flow together any more unto him.” The water that coursed through literal Babylon was a means of revenue, commerce, and transporting goods.

“The wall of Babylon shall fall.” The stones in the walls were utilized somewhat like the casing stones of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. The casing stones were removed to provide building materials elsewhere in Cairo. Just as ravens dispose of carcasses in the road or in the land, so the people took advantage of the supplies that were left when Babylon was conquered. Eventually over the years, the walls deteriorated and the blowing sand covered the ruins. Spiritually speaking, those who support Babylon are, in one sense, also the wall. That wall of protection and support will cease.

Jer. 51:45 My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.

In the type, the instruction “My people” was addressed to the Jews in advance of Babylon’s destruction. Those who obeyed delivered “every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.” This admonition was given prior to the destruction of literal Babylon, and a similar admonition will be given just prior to the destruction of mystic Babylon.

Comment: Then, spiritually speaking, this admonition will go out to the consecrated who remain in Babylon after the feet members are off the scene and the fall is imminent.

Reply: Yes. Those who obey at that time will leave Babylon just before its fall. We have considered the type of Lot’s being pulled out of Sodom at the last minute. His leaving Sodom was almost synonymous time-wise with the destruction but had to just precede it.

Verse 45 is slanted to the Great Company still in Babylon after the Church is complete. At the time of Babylon’s fall, the Great Company will come out relatively unscathed. At least for a time, the wrathful element will make a distinction between the hypocrites and those who are sincere. The Little Flock is promised an escape from the “fierce anger of the LORD,” the great Time of Trouble (Luke 21:36). These verses are not  referring to the call to come out of Babylon in 1878 but to a time in the near future when retribution will come upon mystic Babylon.

Q: Wasn’t this message delivered by Seraiah in the fourth year of Zedekiah, which was more than 70 years before the fall of literal Babylon?

A: Yes, but no one at that time fully realized what the admonition meant. If we had been Jews living in Babylon, we would have seen a Jew named Seraiah get up on the wall, and we would have known that he was an emissary from Zedekiah. Upon hearing the message, we would not have left Babylon right then and there, but as events began to happen over the years and the downfall of Babylon was at hand, we would recall the message that had been delivered earlier. Similarly, the invitation to Christians to come out of Babylon lest they receive of her plagues began to go forth in 1878, but it has continued and is still applicable today. However, a time will come immediately prior to the fall of Babylon when the remaining consecrated will realize the advice that was given and, if rightly exercised, will act upon that advice. Events that are happening will awaken them to the realization.

Comment: In principle, we are reminded of Jerusalem in AD 69, when the Roman armies were gathering.

Reply: Yes, Jesus had warned the early Christians in Jerusalem: “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto” (Luke 21:20,21). The urgency of fleeing was emphasized. “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back…. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Luke 17:31,34-36). General Vespasian had set a siege around Jerusalem, but when the Roman emperor died, Vespasian rushed back to Rome as a contender for the throne. He left Titus in charge, but in the change of authority, the siege was momentarily relaxed for a couple of days, giving Christians an opportunity to obey Jesus’ advice and flee immediately. Those who remembered Jesus’ advice and obeyed went out quickly. The Great Company will similarly flee at a crucial time at the end of the Gospel Age.

Comment: The wording of verse 45 is significant, for it indicates a time of extremity: “Deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.” The situation will be a matter of life and death, the principle being, “Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:32,33; Mark 8:35).

Reply: Yes, those of the consecrated who do not come out of Babylon in the future when this period comes to pass—that is, after their eyes are opened following the completion of the Little Flock—will lose their life forever in Second Death.

Jer. 51:46 And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.

Bible commentaries usually skip over this verse, but it needs explanation. The first part of the verse mentions a fainting heart and fear of a rumor. When death is suddenly approaching, if the victim is paralyzed with fear, he is a goner—just like in the animal kingdom. To not lose faith, one must have the Lord’s spirit, or power, and the promises of the Holy Scriptures. If we let go of the anchor of hope that is in the Most Holy, we will lose everything, for that is our salvation (Heb. 6:18-20). We must not abandon the hope of our consecration, of our giving our will to God, and of Jesus’ being our Advocate and Savior.

“A rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.” Although the words “one” and “another” are supplied, they are definitely indicated according to the Hebrew vocabulary, which is much smaller than ours.

What is the “rumour” that will come one year and then in another year? The word “rumour” is significant, for a time period is associated with it. Verse 46 ties in with other pictures. There will come a time when the immediacy of certain future events will cause the Great Company to recognize their drowsy condition and lack of “oil.” The sense of doom will be impending. In other words, prior to Babylon’s fall, the immediacy of the destruction will be felt.

A two- to three-year period is suggested before the climax; that is, the rumor will be abroad for two to three years. The spiritual class will realize they should abandon the system; some will and some will not. Those rightly exercised will be strengthened to get out of Babylon.

When the destruction occurs, the eunuchs will throw Jezebel out the window from inside the system. Jezebel, the woman, is not Papacy but the Roman Catholic Church and faith— ecclesiasticism. The churches will not fall simultaneously all over the world, but the people will see the downfall beginning to happen. As the erosion starts to take place, people will wake up.

Certainly the fall of mystic Babylon will require more than a year; it will take about two years or possibly a little longer. During the three days (years), more or less, of the Elijah-Elisha type, other events will be happening in addition to the fall of the ecclesiastical systems (2 Kings 2:17).

Q: Will the “rumour” be associated in some way with Elisha’s constantly querying Elijah about when the latter would depart?

A: The three days occurred later with the sons of the 50 prophets, who have a twofold application. Inquiry manifesting interest will be made by (1) unconsecrated individuals associated with the consecrated of spiritual Israel and (2) the Holy Remnant of natural Israel.

As time goes on and events occur, the light gets clearer. Then we can look back with hindsight and see what was or was not the case, such as the year 1914 and other dates that have been suggested.

Q: Was there any natural application to verse 46?

A: Probably there was, but no history has come down to us. When Cyrus was in the process of besieging Babylon, a very large city, the Babylonians surely saw the assemblage taking place.

The siege was an intentional distraction on the part of Cyrus so that the new channel for the river could be dug secretly. As the Jews saw the cordon being drawn around the capital, those who recalled Seraiah’s earlier message fled from the city.

God’s people still in Babylon after the feet members receive their change will be called to come out and not to faint in heart. With the realization that Babylon’s doom is sealed (verse 44) will come a responsibility on the part of the remaining consecrated to leave the system.

Two different pictures show two different degrees of enlightenment of the Great Company. Elisha represents those with a present-truth background, and the foolish virgins picture all of the Great Company.

“Violence in the land, ruler against ruler” is a description of anarchy. Already we see the seeds of dissatisfaction of the potential eunuch class. Independent, free-spirit Catholic scholars in Europe have grievances against the Papacy, and some have been defrocked, prohibited from giving the sacraments, etc. Because of the laws of the land and the freedom of the press, their mouths cannot be stopped at present.

Regarding the future turbulence, rumors will be in the news media about increasing trouble and lawlessness against ecclesiasticism in certain areas. The rumors will become so pronounced that they will cause fear in those who live in more stabilized societies. For the consecrated, the principle will be, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Isa. 8:13).

Comment: At Belshazzar’s feast, the rulers were partying when the messenger arrived to say the city had been taken. The party ended abruptly.

Jer. 51:47 Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.

Jer. 51:48 Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD.

In the type, the graven images of Babylon were desecrated. As far as the capital city was concerned, everyone within its confines was put to death by the enemy. In the province, the situation was different. The Babylonians were generally put to death, but what about the many captive peoples from various nations? As the Medes began to dismantle the structure of the Babylonian Empire, opportunity was given for the captives to return to their homelands.

Although particular attention was given to the Jews and they did “sing,” others also happily returned to their homelands, their roots. Meanwhile, the “whole land [of Babylon] shall be confounded [in confusion].”

Based on Psalm 75:6, “north” is symbolic of divine judgment: “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south [and, therefore, inferentially from the north].” While the spoilers came from the north, they entered the city on the east, where the river came into the city. Spiritually speaking, the entrance will also be from the east. “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east [the glorified Church in association with Jesus] might be prepared” (Rev. 16:12). The stone that will smite the image is The Christ, Head and body members.

“Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon.” Which “heaven” and “earth” will sing? As an illustration, Nebuchadnezzar is complimented in the Scriptures for his wisdom in taking the elite, the intelligentsia, as it were, from all of the nations he captured and using them in his government. For example, Daniel and the three Hebrew children were utilized for consultation, and they were so blessed of God that they excelled and were put into a high governmental role. They thus had one foot in the civil realm and the other foot in the ecclesiastical realm because of the circumstances and providences of God. Elite captives from other nations were employed in civil areas such as science. Because of this practice of Nebuchadnezzar to utilize the abilities of the handpicked captives in areas of jurisdiction and high influence, Babylon became a great empire. And the Babylonian Empire was different from the other universal empires in that Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome did not follow this practice.

The point is that when Babylon was defeated, the captives in “heaven” and in “earth”—that structure of society—were “singing” happily because they were free from Babylonian control.

Spiritually speaking, the singing would correspond to Revelation 18:20, “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” The Little Flock will be off the earthly scene at this time, rejoicing with the Lord because mystic Babylon has fallen. In addition, the spiritual class still down here, the Great Company, will rejoice—eventually. The downfall of Babylon will be a very sobering situation with a disruption of society and confusion, but it will indicate that the establishment of the Kingdom is very near. At first, the Great Company class will weep over the realization they have lost the crown, but then they will wonder, Where do we fit in? The answer will depend on how one acts at that time.

And so, not initially but in time, those of the Great Company who flee out of Babylon at the last moment and are rightly exercised will rejoice while still down here.

Q: Verse 47 speaks of judgment coming upon the graven images and the whole land being confounded and all the slain of Babylon falling. In antitype, is that verse saying, in a very succinct way, that the Vatican will be sacked, the churches desecrated, and the tares slain?

A: Yes, that would be true. A sample judgment occurred in Russia when Lenin and Trotsky took over during the Communist Revolution. Churches were left standing, but the interiors were smashed, and gold and any valuables were taken, leaving a mess of confusion. In the process, the Communists discovered many deceptions. For example, sacred objects revered by the Greek Orthodox Church (in Russia) were made of sawdust, and “miracles” were performed by mechanical contraptions. The more the Communists uncovered the deceptions, the more violent they became. In Luther’s day also, some of the people who no longer believed in Catholicism began to act improperly, and Luther lost control of the very Reformation the Lord had used him to inaugurate.

Jer. 51:49 As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth.

Verse 49 shows that retribution was enacted upon literal Babylon. As Babylon persecuted God’s people, Israel, so it would be destroyed and the people slain. The antitype is obvious regarding Christians of the Gospel Age and mystic Babylon.

Jer. 51:50 Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.

In the natural picture, the Jews who “escaped the sword” were outside the city of Babylon in the surrounding area. They obediently left as instructed, but they were to “go away, [and] stand not still,” that is, go back to Israel.

For the spiritual counterpart, we think of Lot, his two daughters, and his wife, who were pulled out of Sodom. Lot asked, “Instead of going to the mountain way over there, may we flee to Zoar, a little city nearby?”

The Great Company class will “escape the sword” in mystic Babylon’s fall. They will get out just before Babylon is destroyed. In their flight, the Great Company will be instructed to go beyond the suburbs, as it were; that is, they are to get as far away from Babylon as possible.

“Let Jerusalem come into your mind” means the Great Company is not only to remember the God of Jerusalem but also to “let [the heavenly] Jerusalem come into your mind.” Having consecrated their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Company class are spiritual.

Although they will not make the Little Flock, they will get life and a heavenly resurrection, and they must keep their spiritual reward in mind as a goal and destiny. Even though the Great Company will not make their calling and election sure, the Lord is very much interested in this class, as shown by multiple pictures that dovetail wonderfully.

Jer. 51:51 We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD’S house.

Verse 51 describes a state of confusion in both type and antitype. The Jews were confused in Babylon because Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 606 BC, and “strangers,” the Babylonians, had entered the “sanctuaries of the LORD’S house.” Therefore, when Cyrus issued the decree allowing them to return to Israel, they were to obey and to have faith and trust that God would direct them. Ezekiel’s mission, among other things, was to give hope along a material line because Jewish people are practical and pragmatic. Their lack of faith and their desire for natural things have been a hindrance to them spiritually. Verse 51 expresses their reflection.

In the spiritual application, the Great Company will realize their lack and also their need for more of the Holy Spirit. Whether they are in or out of mystic Babylon, they will awake to their condition and be shamefaced and personally weep to realize they are not of the Little Flock.

This will be a time of great sobriety for them, as they ask, “Where do we stand?” Their decision will become a matter of eternal life or eternal death. To get life, they will have to wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb in this tribulation period (Rev. 7:14).

Comment: The attitude of the Great Company will be, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jer. 8:20).

At that time, the Great Company will be shamefaced not in regard to what people around them think but in regard to their own failure to make their calling and election sure. It will be a personal reaction as to where they stand with the Lord. “Strangers” will have destroyed the nominal spiritual temple and city, and all these things will flood their minds. “The land is desolate. We must go back, but what should we go back to?” It will be a very turbulent period for the Great Company, but instruction and advice will be available. When they get that instruction, they will realize, “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9 paraphrase). Their goal will then be to participate in the marriage supper. The Lord loves His people, but He does have qualifications for the office of Little Flock—and none of us can be sure whether we are qualified to actually fill that office. The Scriptures counsel, “Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off” (1 Kings 20:11).

In other words, while we are still down here in the flesh, we should not get high-minded and think we have made the Little Flock. Some Christians are very confident and even rejoice at the time of death, but such an attitude is no guarantee of winning the prize. What is important is the Lord’s thinking on the matter. Having the proper attitude is very humbling. However, the prize is there for the taking, and we are to run with that hope.

Comment: The “strangers” who “come into the sanctuaries of the LORD’S house” are the tare element that not only is allowed membership in the nominal Church but also is often (or usually) put in charge. At this point in time, the Great Company will realize they have let down the barriers and permitted errors in doctrine and conduct to go on in their midst. The following two Scriptures are pertinent. “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev 18:2). “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own

lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3,4). The Great Company will realize they have permitted uncleanness in both doctrine and conduct. Stated another way, they will realize they accepted strange and wrong teachings from false teachers.

If we do not understand the natural picture in detail, we will miss something in the spiritual picture. In fact, that is the very purpose of the nitty-gritty details of history that are recorded in the Old Testament in reasonably plain language. We are to search the Scriptures daily so that we become more and more informed.

Comment: The Jews who were faithful should have desired to return to Israel, even though their Temple had been destroyed. Christians who backslide but desire retrieval have a similar longing to return to the Lord.

Reply: Yes, we must keep that anchor of hope, for Jesus is our all. We are nothing without him—in fact, less than zero. The Scriptures furnish advice for having an ecclesia arrangement, and a loose organization exists that we call the Bible Student movement. However, this nice “sanctuary” situation will be disrupted in the future, and at that time, consecration will become even more of an individual matter. When this separation takes place after the Little Flock is complete, the remaining consecrated—those who will ultimately be of the Great Company— will be isolated individuals who hang onto God, but then they will begin to find out there are others. Instead of the ecclesia arrangement of today, the arrangement will be completely different. The consecrated will be brought together by mutual hopes and thoughts. Many in the nominal system think of Israel, and Israel will become a unifying factor. The consecrated will speak comfort to Zion in a special sense at that time, and the message will result in Christians meeting Christians—coming out of the woodwork, as it were.

At present, we live in a nice, comfortable zone in the Bible Student movement, and we have many blessings in our association. In addition, the Internet provides communication, but the arrangement will be entirely disrupted sometime before the age ends.

Comment: Psalm 137:5,6 applies in both a natural and a spiritual sense: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.”

Jer. 51:52 Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan.

The spiritual fulfillment of verse 52 will occur right after Babylon’s fall. In the natural picture, the Jews who fled Babylon escaped the sword and were now outside the city. Thus far the Medes had destroyed only the city, but next would come the destruction of the structure of the Babylonian Empire (the outlying areas) and its gods and “graven images.” The implied message to the Jews from the Lord was, “I have taken care of the capital. Do not think of putting your nest elsewhere in Babylon. You obeyed and came out of the city. Now keep going and return to the homeland. Do not stay here.” Many of the captives were affluent by the end of the 70 years, so the temptation was to remain in that locale.

This verse is almost a natural deduction, for certainly in the destruction of literal Babylon, the images would be destroyed. First, the destruction of the graven images reminds us of how the chief idols of Egypt fell over at the time of the tenth plague. A god in Luxor was so large that even though it was in a seated position, it could be seen for miles. Today the tourist can visit that tremendous statue and see it still lying in a toppled condition, the result of the judgment just prior to the Exodus (Exod. 12:12). Second, when the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and took it to their temple, a judgment of hemorrhoids came upon them, and their fish god, Dagon, fell flat on its face (1 Sam. 5:2-4).

“And through all her land the wounded shall groan.” In the taking of literal Babylon, orders were given to slay all those in the city. In the spiritual picture, many (pictured as eunuchs, dogs who ate Jezebel, and Jehu) will forsake Babylon and participate in her destruction. All who stay in Babylon and try to shore her up will be “wounded” in one way or another: socially, financially, etc. The Great Company will be extricated from Babylon lest they die in the plagues and not get life. The two flights from Babylon are (1) a voluntary flight earlier and (2) a forced flight at the time of her downfall. Of the second flight, Jesus said, “Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” (Matt. 24:20).

Jer. 51:53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD.

“Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength” reminds us of the millstone being lifted up in great power (Rev. 18:21). The millstone represents mystic Babylon, and spiritually speaking, Jeremiah 50 and 51 deal primarily with the religious aspect.

Comment: Obadiah 4 describes the lifting up: “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.”

Reply: That text applies to Edom, which is another picture of Christendom.

Comment: Verse 53 also reminds us of the sentiments of the people who were building the Tower of Babel: “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:4).

Reply: Yes, that event is related, for “Babel” was Babylon. The various Scriptures integrate and harmonize beautifully.

“From me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD.” In the type, God’s wrath avenged Israel for what had been done to His Temple, His city, and His people. Of course there is an antitype as well.

Jer. 51:54 A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans:

“A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon.” Revelation 18 describes the great commotion and repercussions that will occur when Babylon falls. Babylon’s voice of authority will change to a cry of panic. “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more…. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off” (Rev. 18:9-11,15-17).

“Great destruction [cometh] from the land of the Chaldeans.” The whole world will know of the literal fall of symbolic Babylon. At that time, news communications will still be relatively intact, for the anarchy is a little way off. The fall of Babylon will be the beginning of the real end time.

Jer. 51:55 Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:

Jehovah will destroy “the great voice” out of Babylon.

Comment: Papacy is described as having the voice of a lion: “And the [papal] beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, … and his mouth as the mouth of a lion” (Rev. 13:2).

Reply: A lion is noted for its roar, which has a paralyzing effect on its prey.

The “Man of Sin” chapter in the Second Volume lists some boastful pronouncements made down through the Gospel Age by popes and individuals representing that system. The authority, emoluments, and honors belonging to God or to Jesus that Papacy took unto itself constituted real blasphemy in God’s sight. “Blasphemy” is defined as attributing to oneself honors and prerogatives that belong to Deity. Although the everyday cursing by the unconsecrated is sinful enough, the more grievous type of blasphemy is appropriating to oneself what belongs to God. An example is when the pope has people kiss his toe. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little” refers to Jesus, but Papacy blasphemously applies this text to the pope (Psa. 2:12).

Comment: An outrageous claim of a past pope was, “We declare, we define, we pronounce it necessary for human salvation that every human being be subject to the Roman pontiff.” But even this week in the news, the pope mimicked what Jesus did in washing the apostles’ feet. Thus he usurped the place of Jesus.

“Her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered.” With Papacy’s blasphemous claims, particularly during the Dark Ages, the repercussive effects upon the  world were very, very real, whereas today such pronouncements would not have the samepower and significance. The Lord would be disturbed in any case, whether in the Dark Ages or  now, but the public at present does not feel the power of that voice. Nevertheless, Papacy is much more honored today than it was 70 or 80 years ago. There has been a radical change from the First World War until now. A big change has been taking place that will reach a crescendo during the hour of power soon to come. That hour will end with the “waves” (people) roaring “like great waters” and uttering their voice.

Jer. 51:56 Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite.

There is a principle here. Notice that those who stay in Babylon at the time of her downfall, especially those who try to defend the system, will do so unto death. Every person who defends the system at that time will have to answer for his deeds. “Every one” of them will be individually treated; “every one of their bows is [will be] broken.”

When a person was killed in olden times, his carcass remained on the battlefield, and then, next, his bow was broken. A bow as a weapon of war was very resilient. It could be bent, but to break it was almost impossible. Great strength was required to pull back the bow so that an arrow would travel fast and hard enough to penetrate armor or an individual at a distance, but to break a bow was nearly impossible.

Therefore, verse 56 shows the disgust and the hatred of the enemy for Babylon. Figuratively speaking, not only will the enemy want to leave the corpse, but also he will want to leave the broken bow beside the body as a witness to the judgment upon the system. Of course the judgment will really be from the Lord, as the Lord will choose those who render the judgment.

On one level, The Christ, in the invisible heaven, will be involved in the destruction of Babylon, but this verse treats the destruction from the perspective of those who are down here. We usually refer to this destroying force as the Lord’s Great Army. God will prosper this army of discontents and rebels so that Babylon will be destroyed.

Those with the “bows,” those who will be slain, are the defenders of Babylon. But when we view Babylon’s fall from the opposite perspective, from the perspective of the attackers, every arrow will find its mark. The fall of Babylon will be played back on television in the future. Real history is far more interesting and beneficial than any kind of fiction. The creation, fall, and restitution of man on this planet is only the beginning, for earth is the only planet presently inhabited with human beings. Therefore, throughout eternity, earth’s drama will be told over and over again. In addition, with man being able to study science, botany, etc., for eternity, there will not be a dull moment. When we witness about the Kingdom, many say, “Oh, to live forever would be monotonous.” Such a statement shows that the human race is nine-tenths dead in the present life, for the people as a whole do not see how valuable and important life is.

Jer. 51:57 And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

We are reminded of Belshazzar’s feast. In the symbolic picture, the leaders of Christendom will be drunk with power and their seeming success in the hour of power. For one “hour,” they will rule as in the Dark Ages. Being flushed with victory, they will defile the gold and silver vessels of the Temple by drinking from them. The vessels picture the truths that develop the Little Flock and the Great Company, and these truths will be misused and misappropriated.

“Her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men … shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake.” Since the Scriptures teach that the human race will have an awakening from the tomb, what is meant by the term “perpetual sleep”? The fall of Babylon will be remembered, for the “smoke of her burning” will rise “for ever and ever” (Rev. 18:9,18; 19:3).

Comment: The categories of position within Papacy will “sleep a perpetual sleep”: princes, wise men, captains, and rulers.

Reply: Yes, never again will there be an institution of Papacy with its popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests.

The LORD of hosts is “the King,” or Emperor, of the universe. Jesus is a King of kings. The saints who comprise the Little Flock will be kings and priests. Moreover, we see a progression.

During the Kingdom Age, Christ will be King, but at the end of that age, when Christ gives the Kingdom over to the Father, Jehovah will be King. “Thy [God’s] kingdom come. Thy [God’s] will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). Not until the end of the Kingdom will God’s will be done in earth, for until that time, there will be deaths, insubordinations, the reappearance of Satan in the Little Season, etc. Conditions on earth will not be as in heaven until after the Little Season and the end of the Kingdom Age. Only then will God be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:24-28). With the Lord’s Prayer, the usual thought is that God’s Kingdom will begin with the inauguration of Christ’s Kingdom, but if we analyze the work of the Kingdom, we will see that the answer to the prayer cannot come until later.

After many years, we have become more and more impressed with the admonition “Never say never” because we will be tested for uttering such words. A number of brethren have been tested for making such strong statements. As children, we need to learn to be slow to speak and swift to hear (James 1:19).

Comment: The Apostle Peter is an example. After saying, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended,” he was tested, and he denied the Lord three times (Matt. 26:33). No doubt he meant those words, but the flesh is weak.

Reply: Jesus could see that Peter had loyalty of spirit, so he prayed for Peter, and the prayer was effectual.

Jer. 51:58 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.

Babylon had great glory. The walls of the city were 335 feet high, 85 feet wide, and 14 miles long on each side with 25 gates, yet the city was utterly leveled and destroyed and is buried under the sand. The inhabitants had water and food supplies to last five years. Hence even under siege, they felt very confident, especially in the security of their walls. However, in the final analysis, the walls proved to be the weakness, for the waters were diverted and Cyrus and his army came in under them. And so in the antitype, the very people who are the strength of Papacy (Christendom) will tear it down and thus prove to be its weakness.

Incidentally, stones were taken from the walls of Babylon, floated down the river on barges, and then used to build other cities along the Euphrates River.

Comment: Since the walls represent the civil powers that defend Christendom, this verse indicates that the religious systems, pictured by the city itself, will be destroyed first and then the civil powers subsequently.

Lenin regarded nominal religion, orthodoxy, as an opiate that has drugged the people. From the standpoint of the Kingdom Age, many of the strongest popes and supporters of Catholicism are in the tomb. As they come forth, they will expect the same power and honor.

They will need to be humbled and re-educated if they are to get life. All kinds of tearing down will be done—civil, ecclesiastical, and personal—for a common leveling. Therefore, from the perspective of those who have gone into the tomb and the various generations that will come forth, it will take time for all the “walls”—the “mountains” (kingdoms)—to be leveled.

Comment: Habakkuk 2:13 is a good cross-reference for laboring in the fire. “Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?”

Comment: There seems to be a picture here of trying to extinguish a fire with buckets. All will weary themselves in the effort.

Reply: That is a good thought in addition to the breaking apart of camaraderie.

Q: Does the “fire” convey the thought of anarchy?

A: No, because there will still be civil authority for a while after the fall of mystic Babylon.

However, that civil authority will be along another premise. After all, there was civil authority before Papacy ever developed. Satan prefers license as long as he is in control, as long as he is the prince and the other devils give absolute fealty to him. The other fallen angels can do their  own evil works and acts, as long as they do not interfere with his government. If Satan says no,they must obey him. Whatever Satan wants to preserve, the others must not oppose. He is a tremendous, powerful being—so powerful that even the other devils obey him—and he rules his subjects with a high hand.

It has been incorrectly concluded by some in the Bible Student movement that the reason for the trouble in the world is anarchy in Satan’s forces. They say that Satan is being bound and that the trouble is being caused by the other demons because his power is weakening.

However, the Scriptures indicate otherwise. For instance, the Great Company class will be dealt with by Satan (1 Cor. 5:5). The Great Company will be put into the hands of the prince of the demons, and he will cause their demise. Azazel is one of the personal names of the Adversary in the Old Testament (Lev. 16:20-22,26; see King James margin). He has a number of other titles as well: Lucifer (before his fall), Satan, and Beelzebub.

Jer. 51:59 The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince.

Jer. 51:60 So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.

Jer. 51:61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words;

Jer. 51:62 Then shalt thou say, O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever.

Verses 59-64 are a new incident, as shown by the paragraph mark. King Zedekiah reigned for 11 years. This incident happened in the fourth year of his reign and thus seven years before Israel was taken captive and 77 years before Babylon was destroyed.

The reason for listing Seraiah’s father and grandfather may have been to show a family relationship with Baruch. The main tie-in would have been the grandfather, Maaseiah. Jeremiah 32:12 reads, “And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.”

Q: Since Seraiah and Baruch had the same father and grandfather, were they brothers?

A: The question is more complicated than it seems. Seraiah was either a brother or an uncle depending on the side of the family tree. Without going into that time-consuming study, we will just say that Baruch and Seraiah were related.

Jeremiah commanded Seraiah to deliver in Babylon a strong declaration of disfavor. He could not have talked this way if Seraiah had been a very high government official.

Seraiah was called “a quiet prince.” It would seem that the King James translators had some justification for describing Seraiah this way. Seraiah did not go with Zedekiah to Babylon, but he went on behalf of or for Zedekiah. The King James preposition should be “for,” not “with.” Seraiah “went for Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign.” The prepositions in Hebrew are much different than in English. Even the English language has a variety of interpretations, but the Hebrew has many more.

Comment: The King James margin calls Seraiah a “chamberlain.”

Reply: Since Israel was a satellite of Babylon, Seraiah was probably bringing some form of goods (gold, silver, incense, etc.) as tribute to the king of Babylon. Seraiah would have been a chamberlain in that sense, and he was chosen to bring the gift to the king of Babylon to pacify him and remain in his goodwill. Incidentally, although Zedekiah had been placed on the throne as a subject of King Nebuchadnezzar, he was taken from the royal lineage of Josiah. His original name was Mattaniah, but Nebuchadnezzar changed his name to Zedekiah and made him a puppet king (2 Kings 24:17).

Thus Seraiah went on a mission to Babylon, but he was given a side mission by Jeremiah, who, speaking on behalf of the Lord, commanded Seraiah to deliver a strong message against Babylon. Jeremiah handed Seraiah the “book,” or scroll, and instructed him, “Do not open this scroll until you get to Babylon” (verse 61 paraphrase). But then Jeremiah gave a summary of the contents of the scroll. “When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see [by breaking the seal], and shalt read all these words; Then shalt thou say, O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever.”

What was in the “book”? The scroll contained the words of chapters 50 and 51. To read this message loudly and clearly would take about 20 minutes or a half hour. Jeremiah probably even told Seraiah how and where to deliver the message. Seraiah was to declare the message from the high gate. By the time the people reacted, Seraiah would have finished the message and been able to escape down the stairway.

Seraiah talked to the people of Babylon from the chief place, and when they heard this strong message, they were aghast. Meanwhile, King Belshazzar was not present, and by the time the news got to him and he issued orders, Seraiah had finished the message and left.

Not only did Seraiah need courage to give this message, but also he must have respected Jeremiah’s authority. For example, he may have heard Jeremiah prophesy the death of certain enemies within a year, and the prediction came true. When Jeremiah said, “Jehovah instructed me to tell you to deliver this message,” Seraiah accepted the responsibility. Jeremiah would have said, “Do not worry. God will make sure you finish the message.”

Q: Was Seraiah called a quiet prince because the declaration of such a strong message in a loud voice was contrary to his personality?

A: The Hebrew seems to indicate one who is gracious, one who has a reputation for being constructive. Whether that means an office or the personality of the individual we do not know for sure. We prefer to combine both thoughts.

Seraiah was obedient. Although by nature, he did not give fiery messages, he was specially emboldened to speak at this time. The message was delivered with great force and courage.

Moreover, the message was attributed to Jeremiah, who was the real spokesman. The experience of Seraiah in regard to his docility by nature but his boldness when giving the message is significant.

A truly courageous person is one who is very much aware of the danger but who properly and correctly goes ahead anyway. Others, such as Muslims who perform suicide bombings, are martyrs, but their actions are performed without thinking. Hundreds of thousands of Christians who were martyred in the past did not make the Little Flock. More is required.

The advice to the Jews was to leave Babylon because the enemy was coming down from the north, and those who remained in the city would be killed. But then additional advice was given to those who left Babylon. They were to go farther, that is, back to the homeland. In other words, two steps were to be taken: (1) leave Babylon and (2) journey to the homeland.

The same two steps apply to the Christian. The invitation is to come out of Babylon, but we want to get to the homeland, to heaven, to our spiritual reward. Many who come out of the nominal system are satisfied, and they do not think too much about the calling.

When up on the high wall, Seraiah prefaced the reading of chapters 50 and 51 with the words “O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever” (verse 62). Mixed peoples in the city of Babylon were listening to the message—Israelites, Edomites, Moabites, etc., plus native Chaldeans. When Seraiah said right away, “O Jehovah,” the Israelites were startled favorably with interest, and the others were startled in a negative way. Thus the introduction was very fitting: “Thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever.” If we feel the POWER of Scripture, it is exciting. It is as if we were there!

Jer. 51:63 And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates:

Jer. 51:64 And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

Seraiah finished reading the message, bound a stone to the scroll, and cast the scroll into the  Euphrates. To be most effective, Seraiah had to go to the most prominent gate in Babylon to read the message: the Ishtar gate. That gate was up high, and it straddled the river Euphrates.

People entered the city through both sides of the gate. Not only did the people down below hear the message, but also they could see Seraiah cast the scroll into the river from the height.

Through the earlier instructions, God had set the stage. The Bible is written low-key, but what drama! The problem is the dull minds of all humanity.

The scroll with the stone bound to it fell like a millstone to dramatize a perpetual destruction.

Again we are reminded of Revelation 18:21, “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.”

Q: Verse 60 says that Jeremiah “wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon” for Seraiah to deliver. But since Baruch was a scribe, would he have first written down this message of chapters 50 and 51? Is the thought that these words were written twice, that Baruch did the recording and then Jeremiah made a copy?

A: Yes, for otherwise, the record would not be preserved for us today. We are reminded of Tyndale, who translated the Bible two or three times. When one translation was destroyed, he made a better translation. The diligence of God’s people in all ages is a great inspiration.

How did Seraiah conclude his message? Looking up, the people saw the scroll descending from a high position, and as it splashed into the water, Seraiah shouted in a loud voice, “Thus shall Babylon sink!” What an effectual drama! The people would have rushed back to their families and reported what this unknown person high up on the city gate had said and done in the name of Jehovah. The news would have spread like wildfire among the whole community. All Jews in Babylon would have known that same day, as it were, what had been spoken in the name of the Lord. Incidentally, when Cyrus and his army marched into Babylon on the dry riverbed 77 years later, their entrance would have been under this very city gate.

Q: Could we say that those who give their lives with the right attitude will be truly leaning on the Lord and acting in His strength, as opposed to those who act on impulse and emotion in their own strength? Those who act properly at the end of the age will be prepared in heart and mind and leaning on the Lord for the strength and the words.

A: Yes, motives are very important. Testimonies have been recorded about Christians who were known for years by the citizenry as being gentle, timid, docile, etc., but when those Christians were burned at the stake, they were different persons. The citizenry marveled to see these Christians give their lives with such calmness and courage in the face of terror and torture. That was a real witness.

Comment: There is a saying: “Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of fear.” “Thus far [only] are the words of Jeremiah.” In other words, the next chapter was appended later as a historical addendum. The information is interesting as a clarification. Incidentally, the fifty-second chapter is missing in the Septuagint.

Q: Since much of chapters 50 and 51 has an antitype at the end of the age, could we say that in a vague way, Seraiah is a picture of the feet members? Responsibility is shown. We study the Book of Revelation and become filled with information. The question is, What will we do with that information? A smiting message will be given by the feet members.

A: Yes, that is an obvious inference in the spiritual application. Elijah’s smiting of the Jordan is a parallel picture.

Jer. 52:1 Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

This last chapter of the Book of Jeremiah does not state that Jeremiah was the author, but we believe he was involved in either a direct or an indirect way. Because of the nature of the comments in this chapter, we will notice certain unusual and interesting things as we proceed.

Chapter 52 consists of historical facts and is devoid of prophecy. Although it supplies some facts that are not recorded in the books of Kings and Chronicles, a large portion of this chapter is a duplication of comments made at the end of 2 Kings (see 2 Kings 24:18–25:21). Thus this chapter verifies the historical account, the principle being that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses is a matter established. That principle is very, very important.

Zedekiah was only 21 years old when he began to reign, and he had reigned for 11 years, until age 32, when Jerusalem was destroyed. His mother was the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah, a different Jeremiah than the prophet of this book.

Comment: Since Zedekiah was dethroned at such an early age, his sons, who were put to death, could not have been more than young teenagers at the most.

Jer. 52:2 And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.

Zedekiah did that which was evil.

Jer. 52:3 For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

Comment: The first portion of verse 3 reads as follows in the NIV: “It was because of the LORD’S anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.”

How did Zedekiah rebel against the king of Babylon? He had taken an oath in the name of Jehovah to be subordinate and obedient to Nebuchadnezzar, but instead he secretly connived with Egypt to revolt against the king of Babylon. This rebellion was costly to Zedekiah as a person.

Jer. 52:4 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.

Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of Jerusalem in the ninth year, tenth month, of Zedekiah’s reign. The king of Babylon came “and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.” It took time to build the forts. Ramps with siege towers on them were also made so that the Babylonian army could shoot arrows down into the city and breach the wall.

Jer. 52:5 So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.

The siege continued unto the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign.

Jer. 52:6 And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.

The king of Babylon had a siege around Jerusalem from the ninth year to the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, that is, for approximately 1 1/2 years. At that point, the famine was severe in the city. With no food left after a long siege and daily rations, the city fell. Meanwhile, the Prophet Ezekiel, who was among the captives in Babylon, dramatized what was happening back in Judah (Ezekiel 4). To indicate famine, he ate heavy, coarse bread with water for many days in rationed quantities.

Jer. 52:7 Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.

Jerusalem was broken up as a result of the famine. The Chaldeans invaded the perimeter of the city, especially from the north.

It is rather strange that Zedekiah and his men of war fled out of the city, leaving the rest of the people to fend for themselves and perish at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Among the survivors were Jeremiah, Baruch, and the Ethiopian eunuch, who were up near Jeremiah’s Grotto just outside the city gate and wall.

Zedekiah and “all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden; … and they went by the way of the plain.” Zedekiah and his men fled by night through the king’s garden, exiting at the southeastern corner of the city and going down to Jericho. At this time in history, Jerusalem had two walls. Eventually the city had three walls, and the third wall became very important.

Jer. 52:8 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.

The Chaldeans pursued and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho (the Arabah) on the north extremity of the Dead Sea, about 18 miles from Jerusalem. Zedekiah’s men were “scattered from him,” suggesting that some of them escaped to other places.

Other accounts tell that Ammonites and Moabites who lived up on the hills sent couriers to Nebuchadnezzar, informing him that Zedekiah and those with him were fleeing from the city. Ammon and Moab were subsequently punished by God for this action. In fact, they were the next peoples to be defeated by the king of Babylon, and he desolated their land as well.

Jer. 52:9 Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him.

The Chaldeans took Zedekiah to Riblah (in Lebanon), where Nebuchadnezzar was.

Jer. 52:10 And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.

Part of the prophecy was that the seed of Zedekiah would come to naught, and this happened when Nebuchadnezzar ordered the king’s sons to be slain before his eyes.

Jer. 52:11 Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.

Nebuchadnezzar ordered Zedekiah to be blinded, bound in chains, and carried off to Babylon, where he was imprisoned until his death; that is, Zedekiah died in captivity. As retribution, the last thing Zedekiah would remember seeing was the murder of his sons.

When Zedekiah arrived in Babylon, Jeconiah, a former king of Judah, was already there in captivity. Later Jeconiah was honored and raised up, and still later he was honored to be part of Messiah’s lineage.

Jer. 52:12 Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,

Jer. 52:13 And burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire:

In the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, entered Jerusalem and burned the Temple, the king’s house, and all the other houses. The city was leveled to prevent any future rebellion. There was great determination to utterly destroy Jerusalem.

Jer. 52:14 And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.

Last of all, under the orders of Nebuchadnezzar, the walls of Jerusalem were broken down. This was a more onerous task, but such destruction had the effect of removing all hope of restoration. Jeremiah later penned lamentations, songs of sorrow, regarding this humiliation. However, the breaking down of the walls does not mean they were leveled completely, for that work would be time-consuming, and these were fighting men. Rather, they burned and demolished all the gates and destroyed the walls that supported the gates. As proof the walls were not totally leveled, when Jews returned from captivity in AD 536, they restored the walls from what remained. Individual homes were in close proximity to various sections of the wall, so Nehemiah said that each family was responsible for restoring the damage in the nearby portion of the wall.

Jer. 52:15 Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.

Jer. 52:16 But Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.

Who were “the rest of the multitude”? Nebuzar-adan took captives not only from Jerusalem but also from suburbs of Judah that were under siege. Of the survivors in the suburbs who were given to agricultural pursuits, Nebuzar-adan left a few in the land as vinedressers and husbandmen and took the rest to Babylon. Some were left to tend the trees so that if Israel learned lessons, then someday they could return, and the soil would be somewhat prepared. Whether they would return depended on obedience.

Here is a little insight into the character of Nebuchadnezzar. We know that he roasted people alive in furnaces, yet he was very intellectual with great engineering capabilities. In addition, he took as captives the cream of the crop of the various nations, and put them into his “scientific” corps, in positions of government, or among his wise men. For example, the three Hebrew children were incorporated into this latter high-ranking category that had the ear of the king on many occasions. Thus, with all of his cruelty, Nebuchadnezzar exercised wisdom and utilized the abilities of the captives, taking the elite into his government. Many other kings of those days just killed the enemy indiscriminately. For instance, King Sennacherib of Assyria, a great general, put all of the enemy to death and built hills of their skulls.

Thus Nebuchadnezzar was unusual in that he had two such opposite characteristics. The Christian, in trying to be Godlike, strives to have the perfect balance with justice and love, which is the ideal. The diamond (called the “jasper”) and the sard stone are used in Revelation 4:3 to picture these two attributes of God: “And he [God] that sat [on the throne] was to look upon like a jasper [diamond] and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” The sard stone, showing the softer side of God’s character, is beautifully adapted to carving and thus represents reasonableness, pliability, mercy, and compassion. However, that love is under perfect control; He is tender and merciful to the contrite, the meek, and the humble. The diamond pictures God’s brilliance, His tremendous intelligence and wisdom. In addition, the diamond can cut. Hence God’s character is a perfect blend of hardness with reasonableness, mercy, and pity.

Nebuchadnezzar, the head of gold, had this blend in an inordinate fashion, being cruel but having a reasonable side. Not only from the world’s standpoint but also from the Lord’s standpoint, the feet of the image, picturing Rome (particularly the Holy Roman Empire), are seen as iron and clay combined. The iron shows inflexibility, and the clay, or baked mud, is imitation stone (Dan. 2:34,41-43). This contrasting composition of the feet occurs before the image is smitten. The glory of the image is portrayed by the head of gold, and the image increasingly deteriorated downward, ending with the iron and clay feet.

Jer. 52:17 Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.

Jer. 52:18 The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.

These spoils of warfare were taken to Babylon. The two brass pillars of the Temple were broken up for transport, along with the brazen sea (the Laver), cauldrons, shovels, snuffers, etc., that were used in the Court. The brass was utilized for building purposes in Babylon.

Jer. 52:19 And the basins, and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; that which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away.

Silver and gold vessels from the Holy and the Most Holy were also taken to Babylon and were used later at Belshazzar’s feast.

What is the reason for all the detail in verses 17-23? In the Kingdom when God shows the Temple as it was, and then the burning of the Temple followed by the vessels being taken to Babylon, these words will be the striking narration.

Jer. 52:20 The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brasen bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight.

“The brass of all these vessels was without weight.” When we consider the size of the pillars and the thickness of the brass, plus the large, round “sea” (the Laver), etc., the amount of brass “was more than could be weighed” (see NIV). The sea, the main water vessel of Solomon’s Temple, was a huge reservoir with spigots at the bottom, from which the priests drew water in tremendous quantities for washing and ritual purposes. In addition, there were ten smaller lavers (1 Kings 7:38).

Underneath the sea were 12 brazen bulls, which were also of great size (1 Kings 7:25). The bulls faced outward, with three facing each direction—north, south, east, and west. These life-size bulls were made of solid brass. The 12 bulls represent the 12 apostles.

Knowledge is a helpful tool as a means to an end, but we need to have the drive that the Apostle Paul spoke about: “This one thing I do” (Phil. 3:13).

Jer. 52:21 And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow.

Jer. 52:22 And a chapiter of brass was upon it; and the height of one chapiter was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all of brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these.

Jer. 52:23 And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.

The hollow brass pillars were 18 feet in circumference and 27 feet high. Chapiters on top of the pillars were each 7 1/2 feet high. The names of the pillars were Boaz and Jachin. The description of the pillars is interesting from an architectural standpoint. Depending on which part of the chapiters is being discussed, they were either five or three cubits high (compare 2 Kings 25:17).

Jer. 52:24 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:

Seraiah was the chief high priest, and Zephaniah was the second priest. This may or may not have been the same Seraiah, the quiet prince who was mentioned earlier (Jer. 51:59). Thus there were two high priests at this time, one being an alternate in case of illness or emergency. This practice was followed in Jesus’ day with Annas and Caiaphas.

Three keepers were in charge of the large, heavy Temple door of the Inner Court. (Solomon’s Temple had many gates, or entrances, to the Outer Court but not to the Inner Court.) These gatekeepers had prestigious offices.

Jer. 52:25 He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king’s person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city.

Jer. 52:26 So Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.

Jer. 52:27 And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land.

The Temple priests, a eunuch, seven men who had been close to Zedekiah, etc., were taken to Nebuchadnezzar in Riblah in the land of Hamath and slain. This selectivity showed trust in Nebuzar-adan, for no doubt Nebuchadnezzar had commanded that the princes and certain individuals be brought to him so that he would have the pleasure of putting them to death. The king wanted to make a public example of them at Riblah.

Jer. 52:28 This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:

Jer. 52:29 In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:

Jer. 52:30 In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.

Three dates of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and three captivities are given, as follows:

Nebuchadnezzar’s Reign Captivity No. Taken

1. 7th year in 617 BC Jehoiachin captivity 3,023

2. 18th year (11 years later) in 606 BC Zedekiah captivity 832

3. 23rd year (5 years later) in 601 BC In Egypt after Gedaliah’s 745 assassination

The eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar is sometimes called the nineteenth year because of the difference in reckoning in the Hebrew year versus the Chaldean year. In all, 4,600 males were taken captive to Babylon out of Judah, and with each successive captivity, the number of 517 survivors got smaller. About 50,000 males (plus women and children) returned to Israel under the decree of Cyrus 70 years later, that is, in 536 BC. The custom back there was to count the males, the men of war, for the women were taken as booty.

For 50,000 males to go back to the homeland when the majority, a greater number of perhaps 150,000 or 200,000, remained in Babylon was no problem in multiplication. For example, Jehoiachin, who was in the first captivity, had eight children while in Babylon. If we multiply 4,600 x 8, the result would be 36,800 Jews in just the earlier years of captivity. Moreover, the Jews were told that when they got to Babylon, they were to build houses and have children.

And there is another point. The relative minority of 50,000 were mostly of Judah and Benjamin, but what about the Israelites who were taken captive 125 years or so earlier? Jews from the ten tribes were taken to Assyria and dispersed into various lands that were later under the authority of the king of Babylon. When the Jews of both the ten tribes and the two tribes are considered, there could easily have been a million in exile, with most being of the ten tribes, who had about 200 years to multiply.

These verses furnish dates. For example, 606 BC marked the beginning of the 70 years of desolation, for not only did the Zedekiah captivity take place then but also the assassination of Gedaliah and the fleeing of the vinedressers to Egypt. Very few people are given to mathematics, but that science has its place. In fact, it is pictured as the basis of the tree of secular scientific knowledge. Spiritually speaking, justice is the foundation of God’s throne, and justice is mathematical in religious judgment: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, etc. Numbers are important in connection with understanding certain fine details of prophecy, and as needed, the Lord raises up someone in different lands to edify His people in the proper direction.

“In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons.” These captives of Judah had obeyed Jeremiah by fleeing from Jerusalem and submitting to Nebuchadnezzar. They were taken before Jerusalem was breached, for once the Chaldeans entered the city, all the inhabitants were slain. Through Jeremiah, God had advised the people of Judah, “If you go out and submit to the authority of the king of Babylon, I guarantee you will not lose your life. If you desert to him, you will become a captive and a slave, but at least your life will be spared.”

With regard to the ten-tribe kingdom, the Pastor properly condemned the Anglo-Israelite theory, but as far as scholarship is concerned and knowledge in other avenues, reliable evidence points to the dispersion of the ten tribes into Germany, Romania, Poland, England, etc., for there is a Jewish influence in governing circles and in the society of thinking in these nations. Scholars like Adam Rutherford who hold the Anglo-Israelite theory have a profound knowledge of facts in math and other scientific subjects, but far more important than history and chronology are truth itself and being active in the development of Christian character and running for the prize of the high calling.

Q: The thirty-seventh year of Jehoiachin’s captivity was 26 years after the fall of Judah and the 11-year reign of Zedekiah. Jeremiah 52:29 states that Nebuchadnezzar, in the eighteenth year of his reign, carried away 832 captives from Jerusalem. However, verses 12 and 13 of this same chapter tell that in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzar-adan burned the Temple, the king’s house, and all the houses in Jerusalem. How do we harmonize the difference between these two years?

A: The eighteenth year is when the Jews who deserted to the enemy were taken captive, their lives being spared. In other words, before the fall of Jerusalem, those who followed Jeremiah’s advice and deserted to the foe were spared. This element included women whose faith surmounted their fear. Thus Jeremiah’s years of hard work and tribulation brought forth some fruitage; the purging resulted in a holy remnant of Jews, who were subsequently taken to Babylon. At the First Advent, Jesus came to a prepared people—they had been prepared by a process to accept him as the Messiah—yet only a few became disciples. A pathos is involved, for the Jews at that time rejected their opportunity. Similarly, many have had opportunity to come out of mystic Babylon, but they did not avail themselves of it. Since the message went forth in 1878 for God’s people to come out of Babylon, each of the Spirit-begotten has had at least two opportunities since that time to leave the nominal system (Rev. 18:4). In the future, those who stayed will not be able to say they should have been of the high calling. Those consecrated ones may have had the heart qualifications and done the service work, but they failed to heed their opportunity to come out. In the future, no one will be able to gainsay what God has done in the past because the record will speak for itself. The lives of all the consecrated are recorded. By God’s mercy, we hope to be found faithful unto death. In time, it will be seenthat God had a good reason for favoring and selecting each of the 144,000.

Comment: God had said earlier of Jehoiachin, “Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah” (Jer. 22:30).

Reply: Yes, there was a radical change, for Jehoiachin had eight children after being released from prison in Babylon. The Hebrew makes allowance for his forgiveness, which God foresaw, even though he was given a tongue-lashing.

Jer. 52:31 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,

Jer. 52:32 And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,

Jer. 52:33 And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.

Jer. 52:34 And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.

After Jehoiachin, who was of the royal lineage, had been in the dungeon for 37 years, he was removed and honored at age 55. King Evil-merodach, in his first year, did this honoring, which gave a seed of hope to the Jews in captivity. After his release from prison, Jehoiachin was evidently put under house arrest, which gave him more liberty, and he had eight children.

Moreover, he ate at the king’s table, and Evil-merodach spoke kindly to him and set him above the thrones of the other kings in captivity in Babylon—the kings of Egypt, Moab, Ammon, etc. And the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin “a continual diet,” guaranteeing “every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.”

Here we begin to see the influence of Daniel in the Babylonian Empire, in addition to the honoring of the three Hebrew children. It is possible that Evil-merodach honored a death wish of Nebuchadnezzar, that is, to elevate Jeconiah.

A lot of skewing and fabrication has occurred in the cuneiform tablets, just as the history of Egypt was doctored by successive Pharaohs. Because the tablets are a written record, they are improperly regarded as though they were a law. God’s Word is law, being truly “in stone,” whereas fraudulent chronology records could easily be chiseled into stone tablets. Incidentally, as the wording “all the days of his life” in verse 34 seems to imply, we believe that Evilmerodach reigned much longer than secular history accredits him, for those histories were purposely skewed by later writers. Even today in our country, history is being colored and adulterated from what it was a hundred years ago. A lot of fudging is going on, such as the defaming of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and others who are deceased and cannot defend their reputations.

Clearly, God’s providence was on Jehoiachin in spite of the humiliation he suffered. One proof is that his name appears in Messiah’s lineage in Matthew 1:11,12, “And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel.” Something took place in the interim years when Jehoiachin was in prison. Perhaps he did much praying and shed a lot of tears. God does not change His principles, but He is merciful to those who are repentant. Certainly Jehoiachin experienced a radical change, for he was removed from prison, elevated to the king’s table, guaranteed an income for life, put in Messiah’s lineage, etc. It will be interesting to learn the details and the unwritten history in the future. The Lord can take care of people in adversity and hard circumstances. His care may not be seen at the time, but afterward, when the trial is over, one can look back and trace His leadings.

Jeremiah probably went to Babylon eventually, after staying with the vinedressers and after going to Egypt, where Nebuchadnezzar pursued the rebellious vinedressers. While in Babylon, Jeremiah seems to have written the Book of Lamentations, which describes the feelings of the Jews in captivity. Also, Jeremiah’s going to Babylon would have made Daniel even more aware of the 70 years of punishment.

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