Saturday, November 04, 2006

She was not healed; forsake her and let us each go to his own country

When I first read Jeremiah 50-51 in the context of the U.S.-led invasion, my cursory reading led me to wonder if the coalition forces, primarily the U.S. military, would be the cause of Babylon's utter destruction. But my brother, a United States Marine veteran, pointed out this passage to me:

"Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; wail over her! Bring balm for her pain; perhaps she my be healed. We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed; forsake her and let us each go to his own country, for her judgment has reached to heaven and towers up to the very skies" (Jer. 51:8-9).

His pointing out that passage caused me to read through the prophecy much more carefully, and to make the proper distinction between the discreet events leading up to the final destruction. That final destruction will be the land of Babylon left uninhabited -- and uninhabitable -- by, specifically, a severe drought on her waters, and before that, a flood that destroys her cities, and before that a victory over her army by the kings of the Medes, who are the modern-day Kurds. And before that, an invasion by "a great nation and many kings," who are "foreigners (dispatched) to Babylon that they may winnow her and may devastate her land; for on every side they will be opposed to her in the day of her calamity... All her army (will be devoted) to destruction. And (her young men) will fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans, and pierced through in their streets" (Jer. 51:2-4).

But Jeremiah 51:8-9 is a critical transition point between the original invasion by the "great nation and many kings", and the slaughter and destruction by the "horde of great nations from the land of the north" (Jer. 50:9), the kingdoms of "Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz" (Jer. 51:27), specifically the "kings of the Medes, their governors and all their prefects, and every land of their dominion" (Jer. 51:27-28).

While the U.S. and its coalition partners are the "great nation and many kings" who first invade her, humilitate her leader, slay her young men in their own streets, and break her, it will be the Kurds who finish off her army, prior to her final destruction by flood and drought.

The U.S.-led coalition forces are those who cause this to be said about her: "Babylon has fallen and been broken; wail over her!" (Jer. 51:8). It is the Coalition Provisional Authority who says this: "Bring balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed" (Jer. 51:8). But it will be a leader or leaders of the U.S.-led coalition forces who say, "We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed; forsake her and let us each go to his own country" (Jer. 51:9).

Whether that will be Bush or his successor, or some other emerging leader of the coalition, the decree is determined: Iraq will not be healed, and the coalition forces will abandon her to face her ultimate doom without them.

"We (tried to apply) healing to Babylon, but she (could not be) healed; forsake her and let each go to his own country." With that pronounced, and the return of the troops to home, the first phase of invasion, humiliation, occupation, and abandonment will be complete, but the final phase of civil war, resounding defeat, flood, drought, desertification and utter desolation will just be beginning.

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