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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 12

The Conqueror Is Appointed In Advance

(Isaiah 43-46)

NO ONE but an intelligent God with absolute foreknowledge and with almighty power to rule absolutely in human affairs could accurately foretell what nation would become the Third World Power and what nation would overturn it and take power as the Fourth World Power. This is what Jehovah did through his prophet Isaiah.

This in itself was remarkable. But still more remarkable and indicating God as the source of information is the foretelling of the very individual who would conquer Babylon and set up a new and greater world power. This more remarkable thing is exactly what Jehovah did as a proof of his godship, his divinity. During hundreds of years of the past before the prophet Isaiah, Jehovah's people had been witnesses of his miraculous acts, particularly since his deliverance of them from the land of Egypt. Now, as foretold through Isaiah, they were to be direct witnesses of another deliverance, but one that could be brought about only by the overthrow of a world power mightier than ancient Egypt.

Especially to Jewry and Christendom the modern name "Jehovah's witnesses" ought not to sound like anything new. Long before the so-called Christian Era, yes, back in Isaiah's day in the eighth century before Christ, there were persons deserving this designation. Addressing these very persons in his own day, Isaiah says:

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"Now this is what Jehovah has said, your Creator, 0 Jacob, and your Former, O Israel: 'Do not be afraid, for I have repurchased you. I have called you by your name. You are mine.' " Then, in view of the coming scattering of this people, Jehovah says: "Do not be afraid, for I am with you. From the sunrising I shall bring your seed, and from the sunset I shall collect you together. I shall say to the north, 'Give up!' and to the south, 'Do not keep back. Bring my sons from far off, and my daughters from the extremity of the earth, everyone that is called by my name and that I have created for my own glory, that I have formed, yes, that I have made.' " — Isaiah 43:1-7.

Jehovah now calls for a court session to take place. A judicial inquiry has to be made. Before the court Jehovah's people are to be set on the one side and all the worldly nations on the other side. Though Jehovah's people have eyes, they have been like blind because of being slow to see or recognize who their God is. They have ears, but they have been like deaf because of being so slow to listen and take heed to God's word. Before everybody, before Israel and all other nations, the point to be proved is, Who is the only true God? As if having them all ushered into the courtroom, Jehovah says:

"Bring forth a people blind though eyes themselves exist, and the ones deaf though they have ears. Let the nations all be collected together at one place, and let national groups be gathered together. Who is there among them that can tell this? Or can they cause us to hear even the first things? Let them furnish their witnesses, that they may be declared righteous, or let them hear and say, 'It is the truth!' " — Isaiah 43:8, 9.

The collected nations and the gathered national groups are first inquired of. When the question is put, "Who is there among them that can tell this?" it does not refer to any man or woman among those worldly nations. It refers to the gods worshiped among such

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nations. In other words, What god among them can tell this, that is, the future? Hence the question asked means, Can the gods of those nations cause us to hear or show us or foretell to us the "first things" of the future, the things before or ahead of us in human history? If these gods can do this, then let those gods furnish their witnesses of it among the nations so that such gods may be declared righteous, innocent of the charge of being no gods at all. Let the witnesses for these gods hear their gods foretell the future correctly and thus be able to say: ' "It is the truth!" Our gods have spoken the truth and have proved themselves true gods.'

Up to Isaiah's day, about eight hundred years after Israel was delivered from Egypt, none of those gods of the worldly nations were able to furnish witnesses to prove that their gods are truthful gods of prophecy. To this day their gods have no witnesses among the nations that these gods are living, true gods able to make their prophecies on the future come true. Those false gods have no witnesses at all among all the nations. But Jehovah has witnesses whom he can produce, and they are his own chosen people.

Hence, after the false gods of all the worldly nations have proved themselves unable to furnish witnesses in their behalf, Jehovah turns to his people, Jacob or Israel, whom he created and formed, and he makes plain to them what their responsibility is in this universal controversy over the question, Who is God? In Isaiah 43:10-12. he says to them:

" 'You are my witnesses,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and have faith in me, and that you may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God [El] formed, and after me there continued to be none. I — I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.'

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" 'I myself have told forth and have saved and have caused it to be heard, when there was among you no strange god. So you are my witnesses,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'and I am God [El].' "

As one of Jehovah's witnesses the prophet Isaiah was certainly trying to discharge his responsibility. He was also trying to encourage the nation of Israel to quit being spiritually blind and deaf and to discharge the whole nation's responsibility to be Jehovah's witnesses, who supported his godship, his divinity.

The nations could never compete with Jehovah's witnesses in the matter of gods. The worldly nations rejected Jehovah as God [El, in Hebrew] and therefore formed gods of their own. But the nations were never able to form a god who was ahead of Jehovah or existing prior to him. How could the nations do so, since Jehovah is without beginning and he always existed in the past eternity? The prophet Moses said: "O Jehovah, you yourself have proved to be a real dwelling for us during generation after generation. . . . even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God [El]." — Psalm 90: superscription and verses l, 2.

Even the nations themselves did not exist before or prior to Jehovah God and so could not invent or form any god ahead of him. These nations trace their existence only since the flood of Noah's day, and Jehovah was God and had his witnesses on earth centuries before the Flood, all the way back to Abel, second son of Adam, (Hebrews 11:1-7: 12:1) Even Satan the Devil, who is the "god of this system of things" and in whose power the whole world is lying, is not eternal or from eternity and did not exist before Jehovah God. (2 Corinthians 4:4: 1 John 5:19) As for the nations of this world or system of things, ever since their existence, from the days of Nimrod the first king of Babylon, the nations have been unable to form any god after Jehovah and prove that their god is a real god, a real deity superior to Jehovah or even equal to Jehovah. It is the

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nations of this world who have been trying to form gods superior to Jehovah. Jehovah himself has not formed any god [el] superior or equal to himself. Through Isaiah (42:8) he had already said: "I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory, neither my praise to graven images."

Consequently, no strange, foreign god but only Jehovah could have been the God [El] who delivered the Israelites in times past. Only this Jehovah could be the God able to save them in due time from mighty Babylon. Never would Babylon be able to deliver herself from His hand when he turned it against her in judgment. In agreement with this fact Jehovah goes on to say to his witnesses: "Also, all the time I am the same One; and there is no one effecting deliverance out of my own hand. I shall get active, and who can turn it [my hand] back?" — Isaiah 43:13.

The Israelites, when exiles in Babylon, would witness her inability to deliver herself from Jehovah's hand of judgment. He would repurchase the Israelite exiles from imprisonment in Babylon to whom they had been sold because of their sin and disobedience. "This is what Jehovah has said, the Repurchaser of you people, the Holy One of Israel: 'For your sakes I will send to Babylon and cause the bars of the prisons to come down, and the Chaldeans in the ships with whining cries on their part. I am Jehovah your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.' " — Isaiah 43:14,15.

Whom would Jehovah God send to Babylon for the sake of his imprisoned people Israel? The Elamites and the Medes, including the Persians, all under a commander foreknown to Jehovah God. These conquerors would bring down Babylon's prison bars that held many peoples confined. They would do this by bringing down the "Chaldeans in the ships," making them cry out whiningly. The Chaldeans or Babylonians were operators of many ships on their canal system and on the

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Euphrates River and the Persian Gulf. They were a commercial as well as manufacturing people and did much business on land and sea. In fact, Babylon was a commercial depot between the eastern and the western worlds back there. As early as the days of Judge Joshua Babylonish garments, such as an "official garment from Shinar," were worn down in Jericho. (Joshua 7: 21) According to Huet's History of Commerce (Histoire du Commerce), chapter 11, Babylon is said to have had a fleet of three thousand galleys. Boats, or barges, were provided for the Babylonian gods to use on Babylon's waterways. The true God Jehovah brought down the ships of Babylon in defeat.

After he overthrew Babylon as the Third World Power, Jehovah was to bring his released people back to their homeland in Palestine. To this end he would do a new thing for them, and they would not have only former deliverances, of which their forefathers were witnesses, to look to. They would be witnesses of new things performed by Jehovah God in bringing them through the wilderness and back home from Babylon. This would be an evidence that he had wiped out their transgressions and remembered their sins no more. Isaiah 43:16-28) At that time will they be glad to be known as his people? The next chapter of Isaiah's prophecy answers:

"And now listen, O Jacob my servant, and you, O Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what Jehovah has said, your Maker and your Former, who kept helping you even from the belly, 'Do not be afraid, O my servant Jacob, and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I shall pour out water upon the thirsty one, and trickling streams upon the dry place. I shall pour out my spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your descendants. And they will certainly spring up as among the green grass, like poplars by the water ditches. This one will say: "I belong to Jehovah." And that one will call himself by the name of Jacob, and

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another will write upon his hand: "Belonging to Jehovah." And by the name of Israel one will betitle himself.' " — Isaiah 44:1-5.

Jehovah challenges any other god [elohím] to come forward and prove that he can foretell the events that are ahead, the things that are coming. As no gods of the worldly nations can do this, Jehovah's people do not need to fear about being His witnesses.

"This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the Repurchaser of him, Jehovah of armies, 'I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God [Elohím]. And who is there like me? Let him call out, that he may tell it and present it to me. From when I appointed the people of long ago, both the things coming and the things that will enter in let them tell on their part.'" Since no god equal to Jehovah comes forward and attempts to tell the future of Jehovah's appointed people, he says to his people: "Do not be in dread, you people, and do not become stupefied. Have I not from that time on caused you individually to hear and told it out? And you are my witnesses. Does there exist a God [Elohím] besides me? No, there is no Rock. I have recognized none." — Isaiah 44:6-8.

The nations formed no god prior to Jehovah, and, after rejecting Jehovah as God, they have formed no god after him. He is the first God and he will be the last, for there will never be any God after him to replace him. Nations have their manufacturers of idols. But the idol worshipers who act as witnesses for these man-made gods are like their gods; they are nothing, and hear nothing in proof of godship on the part of their man-made deities and so are put to shame. Jehovah recognizes none of them as a God or Rock; and concerning the formers of such false gods he says: "The formers of the carved image are all of them an unreality, and their darlings themselves will be of no benefit; and as their witnesses they see nothing and know nothing, in order that they may be ashamed. Who

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has formed a god or cast a mere carved image? Of no benefit at all has it been. Look! All his partners themselves will be ashamed, and the craftsmen are from earthling men. They will all of them collect themselves together. They will stand still. They will be in dread. They will be ashamed at the same time." — Isaiah 44: 9-11.

After describing how stupid it is for the nations to think that they make real gods out of material things here on earth, Jehovah speaks to his own witnesses and says: "Remember these things, O Jacob, and you, O Israel, because you are my servant. I have formed you. You are a servant belonging to me. O Israel, you will not be forgotten on my part. I will wipe out your transgressions just as with a cloud, and your sins just as with a cloud mass. Do return to me, for I will repurchase you." Jehovah then gives his witnesses the assurance of this by now calling upon all heaven and earth to rejoice at the coming liberation of his forgiven people from Babylon, saying: "Joyfully cry out, you heavens, for Jehovah has taken action! Shout in triumph, all you lowest parts of the earth! Become cheerful, you mountains, with joyful outcry, you forest and all you trees in it! For Jehovah has repurchased Jacob, and on Israel he shows his beauty." — Isaiah 44:21-23.

Jehovah is the Creator of heaven and earth. He can make them rejoice by the action that he takes against Babylon and in favor of his forgiven people. Feeling absolutely certain regarding future events, Jehovah brings the test to a climax and puts himself to the severest test of whether he is the one true God. How? He names, almost two hundred years in advance, the very man whom he will raise up to free his people from Babylon. Prophesying, he says:

"This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser and the Former of you from the belly: 'I, Jehovah, am doing everything, stretching out the heavens by myself, laying out the earth. Who was with me? I am frustrat-

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ing the signs of the empty talkers, and I am the One that makes diviners themselves act crazily; the One turning wise men backwards, and the One that turns even their knowledge into foolishness; the One making the word of his servant come true, and the One that carries out completely the counsel of his own messengers; the One saying of Jerusalem, "She will be inhabited," and of the cities of Judah, "They will be rebuilt, and her desolated places I shall raise up"; the One saying to the watery deep, "Be evaporated; and all your rivers I shall dry up"; the One saying of Cyrus, "He is my shepherd, and all that I delight in he will completely carry out"; even in my saying of Jerusalem, "She will be rebuilt," and of the temple, "You will have your foundation laid." ' " — Isaiah 44:24-28.

Ancient Babylon, the Third World Power, is no more. So now we can check on ancient history and see whether Jehovah erred in his prophecy by Isaiah or proved that he is the one living and true God by fulfilling his prophetic word. The bald facts of history prove that Jehovah was true in his prophecy and He alone is God.

Fortune-tellers, diviners, astrologers, political forecasters who made unfavorable predictions toward Jehovah's people — all these Jehovah has proved to be frustrated fools, having things backward. His own servants, his own messengers, his own witnesses like Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, he has proved to be true, for he completely fulfilled the inspired counsel given through these ancient prophets. It did not matter that the cities of Judah and the capital Jerusalem and its temple were to lie desolate without human inhabitant for seventy years; they would be rebuilt at Jehovah's command. It did not matter that the "watery deep," the Euphrates River, formed the main defense of the mightily walled city of Babylon; that watery deep would be evaporated as a defense, for in vain would all its tributary streams pour waters for defense

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into the Euphrates River north of Babylon on the night of her sudden fall. As for the man whom Jehovah would use as his instrument to bring this about — his name would be Cyrus. He is Jehovah's appointed shepherd for His people; and what Jehovah would delight in, this Cyrus would do against Babylon and for Jerusalem and its temple of worship.

Cyrus was probably born about 600 B.C., for the tragic news of his death was reported in Babylon in 530 B.C., probably in August, at which time he would have been a man around seventy years of age. Before ever he was born,* Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Babylonians, and the priesthood of Jehovah's temple had been taken into exile to Babylon. So Cyrus was never anointed with holy anointing oil by Jehovah's high priest to serve in any capacity for Jehovah. Yet Jehovah's appointment of Cyrus in advance could be spoken of as his anointing. An anointing indicated an appointment, an induction into an office. As one anointed or appointed by Jehovah, Cyrus would be a Messiah (in Hebrew) or a Christ (in Greek, LXX). In harmony with this fact Cyrus was used as a type or prophetic figure of the promised Messiah or Christ, the Seed of God's "woman," in the work that Cyrus would do for Jehovah God. Cyrus' overthrow of Babylon as a world power was therefore prophetic of how Messiah or Christ would destroy the Great Babylon of our twentieth century.

The prophetic discussion of Cyrus continues on from chapter 44 into chapter 45 of Isaiah's prophecy, to say:

"This is what Jehovah has said to his anointed one [mashíahh, Hebrew; ho christós, Greek LXX], to Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue before him nations, so that I may ungird even the hips of kings; to open before him the two-leaved doors, so that even the gates will not be shut: 'Before you I my-


* See Babylonian Chronology 626 B.C. - A.D. 75, by Richard A. Parker and Waldo H. Dubberstein, edition of 1956, page 14.
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self shall go, and the swells of land I shall straighten out. The copper doors I shall break in pieces, and the iron bars I shall cut down. And I will give you the treasures in the darkness and the hidden treasures in the concealment places, in order that you may know that I am Jehovah, the One calling you by your name, the God of Israel."

In those words of Isaiah 45:1-3 Jehovah God speaks to Cyrus the Persian as if he were already born and alive. This is in harmony with what is said in Romans 4:17 regarding the God of Abraham, that God "calls the things that are not as though they were." He promised to take hold of Cyrus' hand, to lead him or to strengthen him with irresistible military ability. The particular nations that Jehovah needed to subdue before Cyrus were nations that needed first to be conquered or that stood in the way of conquering Babylon, as Babylon was the main objective that Jehovah God had in mind.

The Persians had been subject to the Medes, but Cyrus reversed matters by conquering the Median Empire. Soon after that, Cyrus was attacked by an alliance of Babylon, Egypt and Lydia, joined even by Sparta, the greatest military power in Greece at that time. In 546 B.C. the undaunted Cyrus captured the Lydian capital, Sardis, and thus made the Lydian kingdom a Persian province. After that the Persians completed the conquest of Asia Minor.

Then Cyrus moved to the assault on Babylon. He defeated the first ruler of Babylonia, King Nabonidus, on the field of battle. The second ruler of Babylonia, Belshazzar son of Nabonidus, still remained in Babylon, bidding defiance to the armies of Cyrus outside her walls. On the festival night, when Belshazzar was feasting with all Babylon, Jehovah saw to it that Babylon's two-leaved doors along the Euphrates waterfront were opened before the troops of Cyrus. It was fatal to King Belshazzar that those two-leaved doors in those vital

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gateways were not shut that night; but this was due to divine providence in behalf of Cyrus.

At least before Cyrus captured Babylon and before the prophet Daniel could show him Isaiah's prophecy, Cyrus did not know that Jehovah the Holy One of Israel was going before him, smoothing out the way for him, straightening out, as it were, "the swells of land."

On the night when Babylon fell to Cyrus' troops, the copper doors were not literally broken in pieces and the iron bars closing those doors of the gates were not literally cut off. But the effect of Jehovah's unseen maneuverings regarding those gates and bars was the same as having done that; and Cyrus' troops did not have to scale Babylon's lofty walls to get inside. Through gates whose copper doors and iron bars might just as well have been destroyed, Cyrus' troops invaded the city like a thief in the night, at an hour not foreknown to the Babylonians and crown prince Belshazzar.

By giving over Babylon into the hands of Cyrus, Jehovah gave him all the treasures of Babylon, including those hidden in dark concealment places. These included the treasures that had been taken as plunder from nations conquered by Babylon, such as the sacred vessels stolen from Jehovah's temple in Jerusalem and used profanely in Belshazzar's final feast. There were the treasures that had been gained by Babylon's big commercial businesses, including the commercialized business of religion at the temples of her false gods.

Not as reported by cuneiform inscriptions found by archaeologists up till now, but as reported by the inspired Hebrew Scriptures, Cyrus did acknowledge Jehovah, the God of Israel. He took note of Jehovah's people, the exiled Israelites or Jews, and thus he must have learned God's name. Then he could know that Jehovah had called him by his name about two hundred years previously. This does not mean that Jehovah had given this Persian the name Cyrus at his birth,

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but means that the Persian by the name of Cyrus was the man whom Jehovah was calling to this special service in behalf of Jehovah and his people. This meant that Jehovah knew him by name beforehand and so could designate him by name, and not anonymously.

Jehovah was specific as to the Persian whom he wanted, just as when he said to Moses: "See, I do call by name Bezalel the son of Uri the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah." (Exodus 31:1, 2) Before Isaiah's prophecy was brought to his attention, Cyrus, in his ignorance, may have ascribed his success to false gods, just as it is indicated on the cuneiform document, the Cyrus Cylinder:


The totality of all lands he surveyed . . . inspected. He sought a righteous prince according to his heart's desire who would grasp his hands. Cyrus, the king of Anshan, whose name he uttered, he proclaimed for lordship over everything. . . . Marduk, the great lord, the protector of his people, looked joyfully upon his pious deeds and his righteous heart. He decreed his march upon his city, Babylon, and caused him to take the road to Babylon. Like a friend and companion he went by his side.*

His widespread troops, whose number like the waters of a river is not known, put on their weapons and advanced at his side. Without encounter and battle he caused him to enter into the midst of Babylon, his city. He saved Babylon from need. . . .


However, when Cyrus was faced with Isaiah's ancient prophecy, what could Cyrus say? Whom only could Cyrus correctly acknowledge?

It was not to glorify the chief god of Babylon, Marduk, that the God of Israel designated Cyrus and called him by name into his service. Jehovah did so to glorify Himself as the true God of prophecy and as Universal Sovereign, and also to bring about the liberation of the descendants of Jacob, the nation of Israel. Hence


* See Die Keilinschriften der Achämeniden, by Weissbach, pages 2-5.
See the same, page 41; also Nabonidus and Belshazzar, by R. P. Dougherty, page 176 of 1929 edition.
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he went on to say to Cyrus: "For the sake of my servant Jacob and of Israel my chosen one, I even proceeded to call you by your name; I proceeded to give you a name of honor, although you did not know me. I am Jehovah, and there is no one else. With the exception of me there is no God [Elohím]. I shall closely gird you, although you have not known me, in order that people may know from the rising of the sun and from its setting that there is none besides me. I am Jehovah, and there is no one else. Forming light and creating darkness, making peace and creating calamity, I, Jehovah, am doing all these things." — Isaiah 45:4-7.

Unknown to Cyrus, it was Jehovah that closely girded him or strengthened him to do what he (Cyrus) did to Babylon, to fulfill, not the prophecy of Marduk (Merodach) or of any other false god, but the infallible prophecy of Jehovah, in proof that He is the only God (Elohím). There is no one else. Just as he creates the light of day and the darkness of night, so he could make peace for his exiled people Jacob or Israel but calamity for Babylon. It was due only to Jehovah God that the Persian conqueror of Babylon could say afterward, in the Cyrus Cylinder: "I am Cyrus, the king of totality, the great king, the mighty king, the king of Babylon, the king of Sumer and Akkad, the king of the four quarters (of the world)."* It was by serving Jehovah's purpose that Cyrus gained a name of honor among Jehovah's people. It was by using him that Jehovah gave Cyrus a "name of honor."

In looking forward to the coming deliverance of his people from Babylon, the great Creator could call upon his heavens to shower down righteous influences or forces; he could call upon his earth to open up and produce righteous events and salvation for his exiled people. "O you heavens, cause a dripping from above; and let the cloudy skies themselves trickle with righ-


* See page 177 of Nabonidus and Belshazzar, by R. P. Dougherty.
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teousness. Let the earth open up, and let it be fruitful with salvation, and let it cause righteousness itself to spring up at the same time. I myself, Jehovah, have created it." (Isaiah 45:8) In his due time his heavens and his earth responded to this command, to fulfill the prophecy.

Jehovah was the only One to whom the exiled Israelites could turn for salvation from Babylon. "Turn to me and be saved, all you at the ends of the earth; for I am God [El], and there is no one else. By my own self I have sworn — out of my own mouth in righteousness the word has gone forth, so that it will not return —  that to me every knee will bend down, every tongue will swear, saying: 'Surely in Jehovah there are full righteousness and strength. All those getting heated up against him will come straight to him and be ashamed. In Jehovah all the seed of Israel will prove to be right and will boast about themselves.' " (Isaiah 45:22-25) The saved Israelites would prove to be right in worshiping the right God. Because of what Jehovah did for them they would boast about themselves.

DEFEAT FOR FALSE GODS

Jehovah foreknew who would win in the coming battle of deities, a battle that involved his people and the enemy Babylon. He was able to speak prophetically of Babylon's fall by speaking of the defeat of her gods, as if this had actually occurred in Isaiah's day. The main god of Babylonia was Bel, which name means "Lord." He was the same as Merodach or Marduk, or he came to be identified with Marduk. In later periods of Babylon the use of the proper name Marduk was dropped in favor of using only his title "Lord," so that Marduk was commonly spoken of as Bel and his consort was called Belit. (ISBE, Volume 1, page 371b) Nebo, whose name means "Speaker, Announcer, Prophet," was another important god of Babylon, once more important than Marduk. He was the god of vegetation

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and came to be identified with the heavenly planet Mercury. Foretelling the disgrace upon Babylon's noted gods, Jehovah went on to say, right after he foretold the salvation of the "seed of Israel":

The Sirrush, the 'Dragon of Babylon'"Bel has bent down, Nebo is stooping over; their idols have come to be for the wild beasts and for the domestic animals, their loads, pieces of luggage, a burden for the tired animals. They must stoop over; they must each alike bend down; they are simply unable to furnish escape for the burden, but into captivity their own soul must go." — Isaiah 46:1. 2.

The false god Bel had to bow down and the false god Nebo had to stoop down in shameful defeat before the true God Jehovah. What a disillusionment to worshipers of Bel and Nebo! Why did not their idols rise up to save the Babylonians from overthrow? Those idols had feet! Yes, but they could not walk or run. They could not run away from the conquering Elamites, Medes and Persians. They had to be loaded on animals to be carried away to safety. They were for the wild beasts, the lion and the dragon (the sirrush) that were sacred to Marduk, to carry the idols off into wild country, if the beasts could do so. Or they were for the domestic animals, to be loaded on these like a mere piece of luggage, "a burden for the tired animals." Whereas Bel and Nebo had to stoop over and bend down in subjection, their heavy idols made the burden-bearing animals stoop over and bend down also. Bel and Nebo had

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to depend upon beasts of burden; they were in themselves unable to furnish escape for their own burdensome idols. This time their idols would not be carried along in glory down the Procession Street of Babylon to be viewed by adoring worshipers, but would be carried in humiliating flight away from the conquerors. Hence Nebo and Bel themselves, "their own soul," had to go into captivity, and their Babylonian worshipers became subject to Cyrus the Great.

On the other hand, Jehovah does not need to be carried. He even has no idol image that needs to be carried, for his law forbade the making of imaginary statues of him for use in worship. (Exodus 20:4, 5) Instead, Jehovah the Almighty God can carry his chosen people into freedom, even delivering them from the mighty Babylon of Bel and Nebo. So, in contrasting himself with Babylon's false gods, Jehovah goes on to say to the people whom he formed from the aged patriarch Jacob or Israel:

"Listen to me, O house of Jacob, and all you remaining ones of the house of Israel, you the ones conveyed by me from the belly, the ones carried from the womb. Even to one's old age I am the same One; and to one's gray-headedness I myself shall keep bearing up. I myself shall certainly act, that I myself may carry and that I myself may bear up and furnish escape." — Isaiah 46:3, 4.

Jehovah himself never grows old. He is timeless, without beginning and without end, always the same Almighty God. His people Israel did not need to worry about getting old as a nation. Though Israel would be more than a thousand years old from the death of the patriarch Jacob in 1711 B.C., Jehovah could carry and bear up the whole nation and furnish it with escape from Babylon in 537 B.C.

To whose false god could Jehovah then be likened, especially to what idol image that needed to be carried on the shoulders of its worshipers? To none! (Isaiah

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46:5-7) In the time when Jehovah's people were in exile for transgression and needed to be delivered, then they should remember that he is the only true God and that he foretold the very person whom he would call to deliver them from Babylon. Remembering this would give them courage. So Jehovah said:

"Remember this, that you people may muster up courage. Lay it to heart, you transgressors. Remember the first things of a long time ago, that I am the Divine One [El] and there is no other God [Elohím], nor anyone like me; the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done; the One saying, 'My own counsel will stand, and everything that is my delight I shall do'; the One calling from the sunrising a bird of prey, from a distant land the man to execute my counsel. I have even spoken it; I shall also bring it in. I have formed it, I shall also do it." — Isaiah 46:8-11.

Because there is no god like Jehovah, he does things differently from what the worshipers of false gods expect or predict. His entire written Word, the Holy Bible, and the historic events that have been fulfillments of its prophecies are proofs to all honest persons that with success he has told the finish of his program from its beginning, and that from as long ago as the garden of Eden he has told of things that had not yet come to pass but that have actually been done since the time of his foretelling them.

Jehovah took counsel with no one, with none of all his creatures, so that when such counsel was carried out, it was really the counsel of someone else that was being carried out, not that of Jehovah. He took counsel with only himself, and yet his counsel is the thing that has stood, as he declared that it would do.

In his written Word he has told us what he delighted in doing. The hard facts since show that he has done what he had a delight in doing, regardless of who was displeased by it and tried to prevent it. This has

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proved true in the case of Cyrus the Persian. He was the man whom Jehovah called, even by the name Cyrus, to execute His counsel; and by means of this particular man Jehovah did carry out his own counsel. This man was not from the kingdom of Judah, but was from a land distant from Judah. He was from the land of Persia, which lay to the east of Babylon, yes, east of the Tigris River, even east of Elam and the Persian Gulf. The ensign of Cyrus was a golden eagle, a bird of prey. In nice agreement with this, Jehovah called Cyrus from the east or the sunrising, to pounce down upon Babylon swiftly like that bird of prey, the eagle.*

Just as he had spoken by Isaiah concerning this symbolic "bird of prey," namely, Cyrus, about two hundred years in advance, so Jehovah did. The record of this is on the pages of history, secular and sacred. In his mind he had formed his counsel, and as the Almighty God he shaped the circumstances in human affairs for fully carrying out his counsel. By all the facts of history he stands proved as being the only God, besides whom there is no one else.

Because Jehovah was determined to call a man from the east or sunrising to execute his counsel upon Babylon, Jehovah addresses himself in warning to the unrighteous Babylonians who were going to destroy Zion or Jerusalem, the capital of the nation of Israel:

"Listen to me, you the ones powerful at heart, you the ones far away from righteousness. I have brought near my righteousness. It is not far away, and my own salvation will not be late. And I will give in Zion salvation, to Israel my beauty." — Isaiah 46:12, 13.

Long before Babylon was to become the Third World Power, Jehovah had counseled to himself the saving of


* See Xenophon's Cyropaedia (Education of Cyrus), Book 7, paragraphs 1, 4. Says Br1, Volume 10, page 454b: "The Persians bore an eagle fixed to the end of a lance, and the sun, as their divinity, was represented upon their standards, which . . . were guarded with the greatest jealousy by the bravest men of the army." — See under heading "Flag."
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his people Israel from Babylon's power, and, as Jehovah is eternal, that time of salvation was not far off, as far as he was concerned. Nor would he be late in bringing it to his people. Their exile in Babylon would not be too long. The desolation of their holy city of Zion would not be excessively long. Zion would again be built and become the city of a saved people. And to the nation of Israel he would give His beauty, the beauty of being a people saved by Jehovah from the Babylonians who were "powerful at heart." His liberation of Israel was to be an act of righteousness on his part, to vindicate him. He had it fixed as something near. It was something "not far away," for nothing could block carrying out his own counsel at his scheduled time.

The Babylonians ought to pay attention to the notice that he served on them by his prophet Isaiah. Then they would have reason not to act too haughtily and cruelly toward Jehovah's exiled people.

In 539 B.C., or two years before the seventy years of the utter desolation of Zion was to end, Jehovah called the symbolic "bird of prey" to fly against Babylon, to execute the divine counsel against her. Then the siege of powerfully walled Babylon began. Would the siege bring Babylon to her knees in surrender in time for Jehovah to give salvation in Zion at his fixed time, which he said was near, not far away? Would the Babylonians hold out for years, to make Jehovah's salvation of his people Israel late?

The "bird of prey," the eagle,* for instance, is swift in pouncing upon its prey. How swift would Cyrus, with the golden eagle as his military standard, be in swooping down and seizing Babylon as his prey? How would he speed up his capture of Babylon, if possible?


* In Isaiah 46: 11. the Hebrew word for "bird of prey" is ‘a-it', and it corresponds with the word for "eagle" found in the Greek LXX, namely, aetos', as in Lamentations 4: 19 and Jeremiah 4: 13. The Hebrews called the "bird of prey" by the name ‘a-it' because of its rushing upon the prey with screams, as indicated by the Hebrew verb root. (1 Samuel 15: 19) — See Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon.


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