Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The LAND of Babylon, not just the one-time capital city also called Babylon


A prevelant dogma held by certain mainstream 'biblical scholars' is that Jeremiah's prophecy of doom and desolation upon Babylon as described in chapters 50-51 refers narrowly and only to Nebuchadnezzar's capital city of the ancient Babylonian Empire, the city once known as Babylon. They point to the uninhabited ruins of that ancient long-gone city as proof Jeremiah's prophecy was fulfilled long ago, and has no relevance towards any other entity.


The problem with that viewpoint is that Jeremiah's prophecy specifically refers to "the LAND of Babylon" (Jer 50:28), "Babylon, the LAND of the Chaldeans" (Jer 50:1), and not simply to the capital city of the ancient Babylonian Empire also once called Babylon.


On the WikiAnswers web site, a poster asked this question: "Is Babylon no more today inhabited fulfilling Jeremiah 50 v39?" The first answer was given as, "A failed prophecy, since present-day Iraq is quite occupied." I then answered, in part, "A prophecy unfulfilled is not failed, but simply yet future. But the first answer is correct in this -- Babylon is 'present-day Iraq.'"


A third poster objected to both our answers: "Since Babylon refers to a particular city and not to a nation or to an empire this prophecy began to be fulfilled when Babylon was indeed captured by Cyrus the Mede. It has not been inhabited in any significant way since and is today a tourist attraction and archeological site..."

Here the poster states the false premise that Jeremiah's prophecy refers narrowly to "a particular city" when that is simply not true. The poster audaciously accuses both of us previous posters of ignorance of "what the Bible says"(!) -- writing:

"This is another example (in the first comment above) of a mis-interpretation of the Bible, either deliberate or ignorant (not actually reading or bothering to find out what the Bible says) being used to allege that the Bible is in error. It is nothing but entirely accurate. Babylon, in terms of the original prophecy, has indeed been judged."


Here then was my response to that answer: "The original question posed refers specifically to the prophecy of Jeremiah 50, which states, "Concerning Babylon, the LAND of the Chaldeans..." (Jer 50:1) not just the one-time capital city also called by the name "Babylon." It is repeated: "For a nation has come up against her out of the north; it will make her LAND an object of horror..." (vs 3), not just the 'city' uninhabited.

"All through the two chapters, the identification of Babylon as the "land", the nation, the empire, and not just the one-time capital city also once called Babylon, is repeated over and over: "Chaldea" -- not just the city of Babylon -- "will become plunder..." (vs 10); "Behold she will be the least of the nations," -- not least of the 'cities' -- "a wilderness, a parched LAND, and a desert..." (vs 12); "I am going to punish the king of Babylon and his LAND..." (vs 18) not just his 'city'; The noise of battle is in the LAND..." (vs 22); "It is a work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the LAND of the Chaldeans..." (vs 25) not just the one-time capital 'city' also called at one time "Babylon."

"There is a sound of fugitives and refugees from the LAND of Babylon..." (Jer 50:28); that means from the country, the empire, the nation, not just the one-time capital city also once called Babylon.

"I shall set fire to his CITIES," -- plural, not just some one city -- "and it will devour ALL his ENVIRONS" (Jer 50:32).

"His purposes which he has purposed against the LAND of the Chaldeans..." (Jer 50:45).

"Foreigners... (will) devastate her LAND... Devote all her army to destruction, and they will fall down slain in the LAND of the Chaldeans..." (Jer 51:2-4).

"I will repay Babylon and ALL THE INHABITANTS OF CHALDEA.." (vs 24) not just the inhabitants of the one-time capital city once also called Babylon.

"The purposes of the LORD against Babylon stand, to make the LAND of Babylon" -- not just the city -- "a desolation without inhabitants..." (vs 29).

"The sea has come up over Babylon; she has been engulfed with its tumultuous waves. Her CITIES" -- plural, not just one -- "have become an object of horror, a parched LAND and a desert..." (vs 42-43).

"AND HER WHOLE LAND WILL BE PUT TO SHAME..." (vs 47)

It is so ironic that the third poster would conclude that "this is another example (in the first comment above) of a mis-interpretation of the Bible, either deliberate or ignorant (not actually reading or bothering to find out what the Bible says)", when the bible says over and over and over again that this Babylon of Jeremiah 50-51 is referring to the "whole land" of Babylon, and not just to the one-time capital city also called at one time Babylon.

The "land of the Chaldeans" has never been un-occupied, and so Jeremiah's prophecy is of a future time. The assertion of this weblog is that we are in the time of Jeremiah's judgment right now, and the events of the present occupation and upheaval in Iraq will prove it out, or disprove it. So far, the events of the invasion and occupation, the fall of Baghdad and the capture and execution of Saddam have proven it out.

Next up, Babylon burning. Then the abandonment. Then the defeat and plundering by the Kurds. Then the flood. Then the drought. And finally, complete desolation and uninhabitableness.

And there's nothing we can do about it, but watch.

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