Jeremiah 51:53-64

 Jamma Mokhriby


Continuing our study of the prophetic passages for these last days found in Chapters 50 & 51 of the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah, we pick up where we left off at verse 53 of Ch. 51.
In verse 53 God makes it clear that there is absolutely nothing Babylon can do to stop the plunderers He will send from spoiling her. He declares that even if she mounted up to the heavens, which was a boast of the founders of Babylon in Genesis 11:4, or further fortified herself during her mightiest moment, this prophecy can never be thwarted.
In verses 54-56 God makes it known that this prophecy is not just for the city of Babylon alone , but that the entire land of the Chaldeans, which is modern day Iraq, will cry out from the destruction befalling them.
God emphasizes that the plunderers He will send against Iraq are unstoppable because it is in fact His own will that they are accomplishing. God declares that no matter how loud Babylons voice is He will surely silence her. Her weapons will be broken and her strongest warriors will be defeated.
Jeremiah is led by the Spirit to close out verse 56 by reminding us that this is the long awaited day of God's vengeance against the descendants of the Babylonian Chaldeans. The prophet declares, "...for the Lord is the God of recompense, He will surely repay."
In verse 57 God prophesies that He, the King over all, will make the leaders of Iraq so drunk that they will go to sleep and never wake up. We could reasonably apply God's reference to the Chaldeans being made drunk as a metaphor, such as someone who is said to be "drunk with power."
On the other hand a Dec. 7, ‘02 Colorado Springs Gazette article which headlined, "Iraq turns to liquor in time of crisis" reveals that liquor consumption in Iraq does a matter of fact surpass that of any other Arab country.
We quote, "Baghdad, Iraq - When Dr. Hussein al-Duremi went with this friends Friday to the Tiger's Eye liquor store on the 14th of Ramadan Street, they had a good laugh with a fellow Iraqi customer named Wali about U.N. weapons inspectors who looked for nuclear weapons this week in three gin factories near Baghdad.
"It's not an atomic bomb they're putting in there, is it, Wali?" one shopper asked as a $21 bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label whiskey was slipped into a brown paper bag, the totem of a liquor trade that thrives in Iraq as in no other Arab country.
Wali, a 24-year-old electrical engineer, chuckled, as have many Iraqis since learning about the strange business of the nuclear detectives in the booze plant.
In Iraq, drinking alcohol is about as common as brushing teeth...The plants were added to the list of inspection sites along with one presidential palace, which assured Iraq focused on the "indignity" of the palace search and not the oddity of checking gin plants.
The Tiger's Eye is the Tiffany's of Baghdad liquor stores. The shop has more than 100 brands of whiskey, more than 50 varieties of gin and as many of vodka. Racks of wines from France, Italy Spain, Germany and Bulgaria fill the store."
After the occupation of Baghdad in April of 2003, coalition forces found staggering amounts of every kind of liquor stockpiled in various domiciles of Saddam Hussein, his family and his appointed officials. We can assume with full confidence the leaders of Iraq are able to get drunk whenever the urge strikes them.
It is a distinct possibility that this urge to imbibe may come upon them when God sends His plunderers against them from the north.
In verse 58 of Jer. 51 the Lord makes a promise of destruction for Babylon that is intriguing to examine. Quoting from this prophecy we read, "Thus says the Lord of hosts: The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, And her high gates shall be burned with fire; The people will labor in vain, and the nations, because of the fire; And they shall be weary."
A number of questions need to be asked in order to develop the insights presented in this prophecy. First, is the fire going to be burning in the literal modern day geographical city of Babylon? Secondly, when is this fire to burn Babylon? Then thirdly, what kind of fire is this that would exhaust the nations as they vainly labor to extinguish it?
The answer to our first question is an uncompromising yes. Ancient Babylon was never destroyed by such a fire. There is no historical record or archaeological evidence to even remotely suggest that nations banded together in the past in a vain attempt to put out such a raging inferno at Babylon.
Modern day Babylon in Iraq has been rebuilt at its original location by Saddam Hussein. Her broad walls and high gates stand ready and waiting for the prophesied day of her destruction. As will be verified in the upcoming verses of Jer. 51 there remains no room for doubt that this prophecy is for modern day Babylon, Iraq.
The reasonable answer to our second question in my opinion is that the time of the burning of Babylon will take place sometime before the start of the final 7 year Tribulation Period.
The period, which is prophesied of in Daniel 9:27, is often referred to as Daniel's 70th week or the covenant with Death and Hell.
As was pointed out in our previous answer, ancient Babylon is eliminated for the fulfillment of this fire. The 2 symbolic Tribulation Period aspects of Babylon, which can be defined as the religious one of Revelation 17 and the economic governmental one of Rev. 18, like geographical Babylon, are also prophesied to both eventually be destroyed by fire. When reading of the incredible far reaching influence of these two visages of Babylon it is noticeable that neither of these could very likely be one in the same as the geographical Babylon of Iraq. There is no mention of the nations trying to extinguish the fires consuming the Babylons of Rev. 17 & 18 and there is no indication that God will send plunderers to strip them of their treasures as is prophesied for the Babylon of Jer. 50 & 51.
During the Tribulation Period Israel will be on the brink of annihilation according to prophecies such as Zechariah 13:7-9 & Jeremiah 9:25-26. In contrast, during the destruction of the Babylon of Jer. 50 & 51 we are shown in Jer. 51:19-23 that Israel will be a mighty power to be reckoned with and feared.
In our opinion the answer to the question of what kind of fire could cause the nations to labor in vain in their efforts to put it out would have to include the use of a nuclear device.
The late Dr. Charles Taylor reported that when excavation took place in the rebuilding of Babylon, work was often made difficult because of asphalt deposits. This report harmonizes with the Scripture found in Genesis 11:3 where we are told that the founders of Babylon used this pitch as a substitute for mortar between the bricks used for construction.
Combine with this fact a report from the European newspaper the "Bild," that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction hidden under rebuilt Babylon in secret catacombs, we have the potential ingredients for a horrendous nuclear ignited fire.
According to a May 7, ‘03 Colo. Spgs. Gazette article which headlined, "Team digs up Iraqi secrets" radioactive materials could be among the items stored under Babylon.
We quote, "Baghdad, Iraq - U.S. troops unearthed a trove of Iraqi intelligence documents and maps relating to Israel on Tuesday, as well as offers of sales of uranium and other nuclear material to Iraq.
In the flooded basement of secret police headquarters, U.S. soldiers from MET Alpha, the "mobile exploitation team searching for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq for three months, found maps featuring terrorist strikes against Israel dating to 1991...Team members also collected a satellite picture of Dimona, Israel's nuclear complex...Of greater interest to MET Alpha was a "top secret" intelligence memo found on another floor.
Written in Arabic and dated May 20, 2001, the Iraqi intelligence station chief in an African country described an offer by a "holy warrior" to sell uranium and other nuclear material.
The bid was rejected, the memo said, because of the U.N. sanctions situation." But the station chief wrote the source was eager to provide similar help at a more convenient time."
When considering that a nuclear bomb might be used to reach Saddam's buried weapons of mass destruction under the sands of Babylon, then a fire of the magnitude described in Jer. 51:58 becomes viable. Between burning pitch, molten sand and ignited weapons of every description the nations could very well grow weary as they labor in vain to douse raging flames blackening the land.
The flooding of the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where Babylon is located, by opening the great dams of Turkey, would be a desperate but logical decision when faced with such a monumental disaster.
Some may ask why I refuse to waiver from my position that Jer. 50 & 51 prophesies the destruction of modern day Babylon in Iraq.
I believe that ample evidence has been shown over this study to show that I am not just indulging in some far out unsupported theory nor do I believe I have over extrapolated or ignored Scripture to the benefit of my view.
No other opposing examination I have come across regarding Jer. 50 & 51, whether a symbolic interpretation or a distorted historical application, hold up under the facts and disclosures one uncovers with honest and considered inquiry.
The closing 5 verses of our study in Jeremiah Chapters 50 & 51 have been what I might call the foundation we have stood grounded on in our position at Rapture Watch regarding this detailed prophecy. We can find no acceptable alternative then to receive what is to us the unmistakable revelation of God Almighty on this matter as He had the prophet record for us in verses 59-64 of Jeremiah Ch. 51.
In verse 59 the Prophet Jeremiah tells of a command he gave to a man named Seraiah.
In verse 60 we are told how Jeremiah had wrote down in a book all the evil that was prophesied to befall Babylon.
In verse 61 we find the concrete immovable Word of God declaring that the prophecy Seraiah is to pronounce is for the physical, literal place of Babylon he had arrived in and had seen in this verse.
We quote, "Then you shall say, "O Lord, You have spoken against this place to cut it off, so that none shall remain in it, neither man, nor beast, but it shall be desolate forever."
God made absolutely sure that we living at the time of Babylon's destruction would know with all certainty that His prophecy of doom was for the literal geographical Babylon. The same exact place Seraiah arrived in and saw. God said that His prophecy was for that very place, which is located in modern day Iraq.
There is not the slightest suggestion in this verse that God might have been speaking of a symbolic Babylon that Seraiah never arrived in or saw.
Also in verse 62 God effectively eliminates all the failed history teachers who try to convince people that the prophecies of Jeremiah's Chapters 50 & 51 have already been fulfilled in the past. Not only has such destruction never taken place at Babylon, but to this very day it stands in its original place that Seraiah saw as living evidence that this prophecy of everlasting desolation waits to be fulfilled.
The only alternative teaching about Jer. 50 & 51 that has some degree of merit in my view is that Babylon, Iraq will undergo further development and will be destroyed at some later point.
I myself reject this idea for numerous reasons, but am encouraged by its adherence to the literal truth of God's Word for the destruction of present day Babylon, Iraq. I personally hold no stock in the theory Babylon, Iraq will be occupied by the Anti-Christ as is often taught and that he will build up Babylon to become the leading economic and political center of the earth. I do not believe a foreign leader will ever be accepted as a ruler out of Babylon by the Iraqis. Neither do I believe there is time left, nor will there be the inclination of the Anti-Christ to make Babylon the awesome world marvel that some predict.
We could continue on citing other issues which detract from this idea, such as the incompatible prophecy of Israel playing a major role in the destruction of this Babylonian nation in contrast to her fearful situation in face of the Anti-Christ's Babylon of the Tribulation Period (Jer. 51:19-24), but as I have stated before, we believe what has been presented in this series of studies provides sufficient information to prove this interpretation of Jeremiah 50 & 51 the most probable.
Verses 63 & 64 of Jeremiah 51 then closes the chapter with the final instructions given to Seraiah. He is told, "Now it shall be, when you have finished reading this book, that you shall tie a stone to it and throw it out into the Euphrates. Then you shall say, ‘Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her. And they shall be weary'..."
The recorded Word of God contains the truths of eternity and we are told in its pages that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. The same God who has foreseen the heartbreaking fate of the wicked has made provision for eternal life to anyone who will come to His only begotten Son with faith. The total forgiveness of every sin is promised to all who have put their trust in the sacrifice Jesus offered of His own precious blood almost 2,000 years ago on the cross at Calvary. Don't put it off, the day of the Lord is near at hand.