Thursday, November 02, 2006

A great nation and many kings will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth

This weblog is exploring Jeremiah's explicit decrees of destruction against the land of Babylon -- modern-day Iraq -- as found in chapters 50-51, and how the current U.S.-led occupation has begun to fulfill those decrees, and what we can expect to happen in sequence if this current conflict is the literal fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy.

As I mentioned in the last post, the History Channel is also going to look at ancient biblical prophecies as if applying to Iraq today, and how the two Gulf Wars and the "downfall of Saddam Hussein" parallels the ancient decrees.

I've begun here in this weblog by working backwards in the sequence of Jeremiah's described events of destruction, beginning with the decree of final and complete desolation upon all the "cities" and "environs" of the land of Chaldea, ultimately caused by a severe "drought on her waters" (Jer. 50:38) following a catastrophic flood event: "The sea has come up over Babylon; she has been engulfed with its tumultuous waves" (Jer. 51:42). Before this final destruction, her army suffers an overwhelming defeat by "a horde of great nations from the land of the north" (Jer. 50:9), identified explicitly in the prophecy as the three "kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz," the "kings of the Medes" (Jer. 51:28-28), known today as the Kurds of autonomous Kurdistan. Like the flood and the drought, this judgment has not yet occurred.

Yet the prophecy identifies another invading force as well: "A great nation and many kings will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth. They seize their bow and javelin; they are cruel and have no mercy. Their voice roars like the sea, and they ride on horses, marshalled like a man for the battle against you, O daughter of Babylon" (Jer. 50:41-42). The United States is arguably the greatest military power on earth today, and when it invaded Iraq, it did so not alone, but with a coalition force comprised of many nations. The full brunt of conventional military force was brought down on Iraq and its army in the 2003 ground invasion of the "land of the Chaldeans."

The account of the invasion within the prophecy reads like a Kevin Sites news report from the front lines: "The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting. They stay in the strongholds; their strength is exhausted, they are becoming like women; their dwelling places are set on fire, the bars of her gates are broken. One courier runs to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to tell the king of Babylon that his city has been captured from end to end; the fords [bridges] also have been seized, and they have burned the marshes with fire, and the men of war are terrified" (Jer. 51:30-32).

The ruler of Babylon is seen in the prophecy: "The king of Babylon has heard the report about them, and his hands hang limp; distress has gripped him, agony like a woman in childbirth" (Jer. 50:43). Saddam Hussein's second wife, Samira Al-Shahbandar, mother of Saddam's youngest son Ali, told the Sunday Times of London in a Dec. 14, 2003 interview , the day Hussein was captured in Tikrit, that after Baghdad fell to coalition forces, Hussein "came to me very depressed and sad. He took me to the next room and cried." As U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told CBS' "60 Minutes", "(Saddam) was cowering in a hole in the ground... In the last analysis, he seemed not terribly brave."

In the next post, we'll look at what the prophecy describes as the outcome to this initial invasion and occupation by the coalition forces led by the "great nation" aroused from the "remote parts of the earth."



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