While I generally found the History Channel's program "Decoding the Past: Prophecies of Iraq" [link added 9-3-2010] , broadcast last Monday, November 13th, 2006, to be lacking in focus, I did find a few interesting nuggets. For instance, I appreciated their comparison of the Jeremiah 50-51 judgments on Babylon to a similar brief parallel made in Isaiah chapter 13 --
"The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw... I have commanded my consecrated ones, I have even called my mighty warriors, my proudly exulting ones, to execute my anger. A sound of tumult on the mountains, like that of many people! A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts is mustering the army for battle. They are coming from the farthest horizons, the LORD and his instruments of indigation, to destroy the whole land" (Isaiah 13:1-5).
This repeats the warning to Babylon found in Jeremiah: "The LORD has opened his armory and has brought forth the weapons of his indigation. For it is a work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans. Come to her from the farthest border... and utterly destroy her..." (Jer. 50:25-26).
The Isaiah prophecy against Babylon continues: "Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against them, who will not value silver or take pleasure in gold, and their bows will mow down the young men, they will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb, nor will their eye pity children. And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans' pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation... but desert creatures will lie down there... and hyenas will howl in their fortified towers and jackals in their luxurious palaces" (Isaiah 13:17-22).
This is repeated in Jeremiah: "Behold, I am going to arouse and bring up against Babylon a horde of great nations from the land of the north, and they will draw up their battle lines against her; from there she will be taken captive. There arrows will be like an expert warrior who does not return emptyhanded. And Chaldea will become plunder; all who plunder her will have enough... A sword against her treasures, and they will be plundered!... Therefore the desert creatures will live there along with the jackals... And it will never again be inhabited from generation to generation, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors... Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! The LORD has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose is against Babylon to destroy it... And all her slain will fall in her midst" (Jer. 50:9-10, 37-40; 51:11, 47).
The Isaiah prophecy against Babylon also provides a time marker for when this judgment will take place: "Her fateful time also will soon come and her days will not be prolonged, when the LORD will have compassion on Jacob, and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land..." (Isaiah 13:22-14:1).
This timeframe for the final desolation of the land of the Chaldeans is repeated in Jeremiah: "Babylon has been captured... For a nation has come up against her out of the north; it will make her land an object of horror, and there will be no inhabitant in it... In those days and at that time... the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Judah as well... They will ask for the way to Zion, turning their faces in its direction..." (Jer. 50:2-4).
While Israel was scattered among the nations, the prophecy of doom on Babylon could not come to pass, for it could only happen once the Jews had returned to the land of Zion, Israel. Now that they have returned, and have a nation once again, the time of Babylon's final desolation is here.
And the reason for her destruction also has to do with Israel.
[link to youtube segment added 9-3-2010:]