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A short course in Isaiah. Chapter 13 - The message about Babylon.

Now this is where it gets interesting.
Isaiah 13:1 NET. This is a message about Babylon that God revealed to Isaiah, son of Amoz:
My first question is, what do we know about Isaiah?
While this may not seem important to others, I believe that knowing something of Isaiah's background might answer important questions and possibly give me an understanding about this religious garbage that was thrown at me, in an attempt to convince me that Isaiah quoted from some Babylonian mythology. I suppose then that we should not take the things Isaiah said so seriously. As a side note: If I can discredit Isaiah in one area, then perhaps he should be disregarded in all other aspects as well, such as chapter 53 where he describes the horrendous price the Messiah would pay.
Pastor John MacArthur tells us that, “Isaiah is quoted directly in the NT over sixty-five times, more than any other OT prophet, and mentioned by name over twenty times.” That tells me that others thought highly of Isaiah's words.
  • Isaiah, the son of Amoz, ministered in and around Jerusalem as a prophet to Judah during the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah (called "Azariah" in 2 Kin.), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (Isa_1:1), from c. 739-686 B.C. Moment of clarity: Judah was the Southern Kingdom, and Israel was the Northern Kingdom.
  • He evidently came from a family of some rank, because he had easy access to the king (Isaiah 7:3).
  • He was married and had two sons who bore symbolic names: Shear-jashub ("a remnant shall return," Isaiah 7:3) and Maher-shalal-hash-baz ("hasting to the spoil, hurrying to the prey," Isaiah 8:3).
  • When called by God to prophesy in the year of King Uzziah's death (c. 739 B.C.), he responded with a cheerful readiness, though he knew from the beginning that his ministry would be one of fruitless warning and exhortation (Isaiah 6:9-13).
  • Isaiah prophesied at the same time as Hosea and Micah.

What is Babylon?

If you are so inclined, do a word search for Babylon, you will find that it shows up 297 times throughout scripture.
Its origins began before the flood in Noah's days. Apparently rebuilt by Noah's descendants, it appears in the book of Joshua where Achan, against orders, took some of the spoil (silver and gold) and hid them in his tent. 
Joshua 7:21 NASB when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them;..”
What other information, perhaps historically, do we have that associate and identifies the Shinar plane as being a part of Babylon.
Shinar - A region in Mesopotamia, the plain between the Tigris and the Euphrates. Here the rebels against God's will built the Babel tower (Gen_11:2-3). Derived from sheni "two" and 'ar or nahar "rivers."
What is surprising, perhaps even shocking about this scenario is what Achan said as he described what he did; I coveted them and took them!
As you read through the Bible, you find a deep hatred between the religious Jews (Pharisees) and the Samaritans. The Samaritans – as they came to be known, had originally been the Israelite kingdom. Since both the Southern and Northern Kingdoms eventually went into Assyrian captivity, it became evident to the Assyrians that they needed to repopulate the region of Samaria.
2 Kings 17:24 LITV And the king of Assyria brought men in from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and made them live in the cities of Samaria instead of the sons of Israel, and they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.
An obvious factor to God and a few astute others was that these were all Gentiles (Goyim), and they did not fear Jehovah.
2 Kings 17:25-26 LITV And it happened at the beginning of their living there, they did not fear Jehovah, and Jehovah sent lions among them, and they were striking among them. 26) And they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations that you have exiled and have made to live in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the God of the land, and He has sent the lions into their midst; and, behold, they are killing them, since they do not know the custom of the God of the land.
So the Assyrian king sees what he believes to be the solution and places a Jewish priest back in Samaria to reteach these people the Hebrew customs and laws. How did it all work out?
2 Kings 17:32-34 LITV So it was that they feared Jehovah, and made for themselves, of the lowest of them, priests of the high places and they sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 33) They feared Jehovah, and served their own gods, according to the custom of the nations from where they exiled them. 34) To this day they do according to the former custom; they do not fear Jehovah, and do not do according to their statutes, and according to their ordinances, and according to the Law, and according to the commandment that Jehovah commanded the sons of Jacob, on whom He set His name, Israel.
  • they feared Jehovah.”
    The word fear can either mean to be afraid of, or to reverence. Since Israel seemed to do neither, I am not sure what this is trying to convey.
  • and made for themselves, of the lowest of them, priests of the high places and they sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.”
    There were no "high" places in the temple worship, so this had everything to do the creation of places where they could worship their own gods and offer sacrifices to them.
  • They feared Jehovah, and served their own gods, according to the custom of the nations from where they exiled them.”
    Oh sure, we know Him, but this is what we do. We brought it from our country and these priests we have here, they say it's okay.
I seem to have shot by this rather quickly, and I want you to see something here. One of the first things that Israel did after leaving Egypt was to coerce Aaron into making them a copy of the god Moloch. We love to call it merely, the golden calf. But all these years later, the most religious would not speak of the horror involved in this incident. Stephen, in the book of Acts, as a part of his defense before the council, pointed out that one of the gods Israel was worshiping was Moloch, a god that demanded child sacrifice by roasting them alive. No one challenged him. It does not take a genius to figure out that God values the lives of children, and yet, still today, in this modern world we live in, we are still sacrificing children to some god and calling it a different name.
2 Kings 17:30-31 NASB The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31) and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech the gods of Sepharvaim.
We are still trying to define Babylon, although somewhat loosely,
If I could think of Babylon as a physical location only, then this would explain its origins to some degree.
Genesis 10:8-11 NET. Cush was the father of Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth. 9) He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. (That is why it is said, "Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.") 10) The primary regions of his kingdom were Babel, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. 11) From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah,
We run into several problems as we read our sterilized translations of the Bible.
Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth.”
  • Nimrod was a gibbôr, and many times translated giant. However, 1 Samuel 17:51 (NASB) translated the word as champion.
    Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.”
    If I take the liberty to reinsert the Hebrew, it reads like this: “When the Philistines saw that their gibbôr was dead, they fled.” You might even read it as: “When the Philistines saw that their giant was dead.” Ask yourself, what is the common understanding as to what Goliath was? A giant of a man, at least nine feet tall.
  • he began to be” comes from the Hebrew words chalal H2490c and hâyâh H1961.chalal; a primary root; to pollute, defile, profane.
    hayah (224a); a prim. root; to fall out, come to pass, become,
    It becomes evident that Nimrod changed. If he had a comprehension of who God was, he was swiftly defiling everything God stood for.
  • a valiant warrior.”This is where we come to understand that Nimrod was a giant. But, the Hebrew word gibbôr also carries a much more sinister definition: powerfulby implication a warriortyrant.
  • The primary regions of his kingdom were Babel, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar.
    Where did I begin this explanation of Babylon? With an incident that originates in the plains of Shinar.
    Joshua 7:21 NASB when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them;..”
    • Note the other name that appears here, Babel. This is the early origins of the name Babylon.
      When we associate the name Babylon with its originator, then we find people whom, in general, are willing to pollute, defile, and profane God, while intentionally falling away from Him.
  • From that land, he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh,”
    Now there is a familiar name to even the simplest of Bible students. Jonah, the prophet was told by God to go there and say, repent or destruction from God will come upon you. Jonah tried to commit suicide to prevent speaking to the Ninevites because he knew God would show them mercy. This becomes evident at the end of the story. What you have to ask is why Jonah felt this way. That is some fairly intense hatred he has.

In attempting to understand Babylon, what have we learned so far?

  • Babel was founded by a savagely violent giant named Nimrod, a man who turned his back on God, by polluting, and defiling God's name. Those who followed Nimrod built the tower at Babel, and because of the things involved with that action God eventually destroys all mankind, except for Noah's little family, with a global flood.
  • Babylon became symbolic, and Israel gains that reference on several occasions.
  • A global governing body now represents the effective representation of Babylon. The people at the top of this pyramid, much like those that worship Moloch, care nothing about sacrificing children and the have-nots while setting themselves up as godlike entities.

And one last thing about Babylon.

Jeremiah 50:12-13 NASB Your mother will be greatly ashamed, She who gave you birth will be humiliated. Behold, she will be the least of the nations, A wilderness, a parched land and a desert. 13) "Because of the indignation of the LORD she will not be inhabited, But she will be completely desolate; Everyone who passes by Babylon will be horrified And will hiss because of all her wounds.
she will be the least of the nations, A wilderness, a parched land and a desert. 13) "Because of the indignation of the LORD she will not be inhabited, But she will be completely desolate;”
We know where Babylon is; Saddam Hussein was attempting to rebuild it before the war, but it is no less bleak, and only a small number of people live there. So, I think we can accurately say; we are no longer looking for the rebirth of a city.
If you are thinking, what about the empires Babylon represented, you might be closer to understanding; however, most people, regarding empires, seem to stop with the Babylonian. While it is true that Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian King, took the Hebrews (both kingdoms – Israel in the north, and Judah in the South) captive, he was an Assyrian king. The kingdoms that followed, as spoken of in Daniel and demonstrated by the statue explained by Daniel, show that the Medes and Persians became the dominant force. How much evil can we assign to the Medes and Persians, at this time, when Daniel was still given positions of power and authority under Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Persian. The empires we need to give consideration to initiate with the Grecian empire under Alexander, as he controlled significant land masses and those play a role in future events.
I get it! This is called a short course in Isaiah, and we just spent two and a half pages on Babylon. What's up with that. Look at verse one of the thirteenth chapter once again.
Isaiah 13:1 NET. This is a message about Babylon that God revealed to Isaiah, son of Amoz:
In this instance, it is a message about Babylon. Awe yes, but this story takes a serious 180 and quickly.
Isaiah 13:2-3 ESV On a bare hill raise a signal; cry aloud to them; wave the hand for them to enter the gates of the nobles. 3) I myself have commanded my consecrated ones, and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger, my proudly exulting ones.
I myself have commanded my consecrated ones”
So far it sounds okay. I am always rooting for the good guys, and I might be assuming this is directed at the bad guys. But what is this?
to enter the gates of the nobles.”
Job 21:28 NASB "For you say, 'Where is the house of the nobleman, And where is the tent, the dwelling places of the wicked?'
The word nobleman is the Hebrew word nâdı̂yb / naw-deeb'; properly voluntary, generous; as noun, a grandee (sometimes a tyrant):
Since the Hebrew conveys the possibility of a tyrant, and it is easy to ascertain that Nimrod was a tyrant, we might be able to say that what we see in Isaiah 12:2,3 is God directing His own to enter the gates of the tyrant. The most convincing piece of evidence for this comes from Job 21:28 where he, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, calls this so-called house of the nobleman, the dwelling places of the wicked.
Surely, you can see from the terminology, dwelling places, that this is not speaking about a house necessarily. When you look the word house up, as used by Job, you will get over seventeen hundred applications directing you to the idea of a home, whatever that looks like,
house - bayith
BDB Definition:
1) house
1a) house, dwelling habitation
1b) shelter or abode of animals
1c) human bodies (figuratively)
1d) of Sheol
1e) of abode of light and darkness
1f) of land of Ephraim
2) place
3) receptacle
The definition is rarely a tight fit for a particular concept, and we find that bayith was also used to define a dungeon twice and a prison.
Job speaks of a tent, specifically saying, “where is the tent?” This too is revealing, but you would never know that unless you decided to probe deeper.
Tent is the Hebrew word 'ôhel / o'-hel, and means a tent (as clearly conspicuous from a distance). This is the same word that used to describe the tabernacle that Israel built in the desert. In a sense, it was an edifice, meant to be seen.

So, Babylon is a structure that is not so tightly defined, intended to be seen, and, most likely filled with tyrants/giants – but giants of what?
These influential people have turned their backs on God and the have-nots of the world and are intentionally destroying economies for their personal benefit.
Do not think for a second that governments are not part of this or, at the least in collusion, as we can see their irrational decisions and complacency, to the point that they play golf while the country under their watch is destroyed from within.
By the way. I do not think it is fair to the poor to address them as such. At the date of this writing, Louisiana has suffered what they are calling a 500-year flood. Almost in an instant many of the people, who do not live in a flood plain and therefore have no access to flood insurance, have lost everything and have no way of replacing what they lost. In October of 2012, Money magazine stated in an article that 30 million people were on the edge of poverty. Considering that many live on credit cards, merely opening another when one gets maxed out. The problem with that tactic is that the bills will catch up with you, and your entire paycheck is then committed to payments. What does poverty look like when you live in a state where the median income is fifty thousand dollars a year and the average price of a home, even in the worst of neighborhoods, is in the mid $300,000 range. You will not attain this median income unless you obtain a bachelor's degree at minimum, and even then that guarantees nothing. I spent some time working at Home Depot and worked with many who had such degrees. They worked at the hardware store, hoping to get into management because they could not find a job in their field of study. An example of this might be the aerospace industry, which pulled up stakes and moved to Arizona about fifteen years ago.
Well, I made it through three verses. Stay tuned and we will continue to pursue understanding.

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