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



Chapter 15

No Healing For Babylon

(Jeremiah 51)

IN THE fourth year of the reign of King Zedekiah of Jerusalem, that is to say, in 614 B.C., the prophet Jeremiah continued to write against the land of the Chaldeans and its capital city: "This is what Jehovah has said: 'Here I am rousing up against Babylon and against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai a ruinous wind; and I will send to Babylon winnowers who will certainly winnow her and who will make her land empty; for they will actually prove to be against her on all sides in the day of calamity.' " — Jeremiah 51:1, 2.

Babylon was against Jehovah. He was bound to be against her. Her inhabitants are called "inhabitants of Leb-kamai," that is, according to the meaning of Leb-kamai, "inhabitants of the Heart of Those Rising Up Against Me." As the heart is the vital center of a thing, one Jewish translator renders Jeremiah 51:1 with these words: "Behold, I will awaken against Babylon, and against those that dwell in the midst of my opponents, a destroying wind." — Le.

Jehovah purposed to treat Babylon and her rebellious inhabitants like worthless chaff that needed to be blown away. The ruinous wind that he would rouse up against them would be, not a literal stormwind, but a symbolical one composed of the armies of the Medes and the Persians under Cyrus the Great. They would be like winnowers armed with winnowing shovels to toss Babylon and her inhabitants into the air, that the wind might catch them and blow them away like chaff

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that, if it accumulates, is burned. (Matthew 3:12) For Babylon there will be no way of escape, as those armies that will winnow her and empty her land will be on all sides of her in the day that Jehovah has marked for her calamity. Jehovah, who "brings forth the wind from his storehouses," is the One who rouses up this ruinous wind against the Babylonians and sends the military winnowers against them, even though the nations are not aware that Jehovah is maneuvering them according to his will and purpose.

Any resistance put up by Babylon's defenders will be useless. Hence Jehovah says to her bowmen and her heavily armored soldiers: "Let the one treading his bow do no treading. And let no one raise himself up in his coat of mail." (Jeremiah 51:3) On the night of Babylon's capture many might be too drunk from feasting to do so.

However, to those attacking Babylon Jehovah's orders are for unhesitating action on their part. To these he says: "And do not you men show any compassion for her young men. Devote to destruction all her army. And they must fall slain in the land of the Chaldeans and pierced through in her streets." — Jeremiah 51: 3, 4.

Babylon had shown no compassion for Jehovah's people when she destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 607 B.C. In retribution, no compassion deserved to be shown to Babylon's young men, especially those enlisted in her army. As the slain had fallen in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, so let Babylon's military men fall slain, pierced through, all over the land. You see, Jehovah still felt himself wedded to his people, Israel and Judah; and, because of how Babylon had treated Jehovah's people, her land had made itself guilty in the eyes of their God. Hence he said:

"For Israel and Judah are not widowed from their God, from Jehovah of armies. For the land of those has been full of guilt from the standpoint of the Holy One of Israel." — Jeremiah 51:5.

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Israel's God had not died. Israel was not a widow religiously. God was still very much alive and was able to prove his bond of wedlock with Israel. (Jeremiah 3:15; 31:34; Isaiah 54: 5, 6) So he would not overlook Babylon's guilt, but would punish her for treating Israel like a helpless widow. No one can mistreat Jehovah's people without becoming guilty before him and deserving punishment.

TIME TO FLEE

To his exiled people Jehovah sends this soul-stirring message of coming liberation: "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and provide escape each one for his own soul. Do not be rendered inanimate through her error. For it is the time of vengeance belonging to Jehovah. There is treatment that he is paying back to her. Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of Jehovah, she making all the earth drunk. From her wine the nations have drunk. That is why the nations keep acting crazed. Suddenly Babylon has fallen, so that she is broken. Howl over her, you people. Take balsam for her pain. Perhaps she may be healed." — Jeremiah 51:6-8.

Babylon had to fall before ever Jehovah's exiled people could flee out of the midst of her. In a wonderful way they had to survive the fall of Babylon in order afterward to flee from her. Providing for one's escape from her was a matter of one's life, one's soul. If anyone involved himself with her to the extent of making himself a part of her and thus sharing in the guiltiness for her error, he would deserve to be executed with her in the day of her calamity when Jehovah executes his vengeance upon her and upon those sharing in her wickedness. The thing to do was to keep detached from her although a person was an involuntary exile in the midst of her.

The Israelites, the Jews, could not flee out of Babylon before they were released from their prison in her. They had been forcibly deported to Babylon and were

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no real part of her. In her they sighed as prisoners, and it appeared as if they were appointed to die in Babylon, as perpetual exiles. Babylon herself refused to open the prison for them, and hence it became necessary for Jehovah to break open the prison and release them, that they might flee back to their beloved Zion. (Psalms 102: 13-21; 69:33-36) So Jehovah's command to his people to nee out of Babylon had in view the decree of King Cyrus releasing the exiled Jews to return to Zion and rebuild and refurnish the temple of their God there. All speed should be made in getting back to his worship at the place where he had placed his name. Each soul should make his own decision about this.

The fact that those who were advised to flee were told not to be rendered inanimate through Babylon's error proves that she herself was to be rendered inanimate. This was to result from the expressing of Jehovah's vengeance upon her. She deserved to be paid back the kind of treatment that she had given to others, and particularly to Judah and Jerusalem. Babylon had dealt out this harsh treatment mainly when she had been a "golden cup in the hand of Jehovah," forcing the nations to get drunk from the contents of this symbolic golden cup. The contents of the cup were not Babylon's false religious doctrines. The contents were the expressions of Jehovah's wrath against the nations for their general mistreatment of his people and for their general worldly unrighteousness.

Especially in the time of her illustrious King Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon was the symbolic golden cup by means of which to make these offending nations drink the expressions of Jehovah's wrath and indignation. The cup's being golden does not signify anything divine about Babylon either originally or later. From her start she had been devilish. The cup's goldenness merely symbolized Babylon's being rich because of her commerce and her imperialistic aggressions by which she

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laid hands on a great quantity of loot and plunder from conquered nations. She was like the head of gold on the immense image that King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about and the meaning of which image the prophet Daniel explained. — Daniel 2:31-38.

The fact that Babylon was merely a vessel or agency to give drink of national affliction to countries and peoples did not excuse her or make her blameless. She did not appreciate that she was a vessel in the hands of the God of Israel and was maneuvered by him. Her scheme for world conquest and making herself the Third World Power was her own; and in pursuance of this selfish scheme she committed ungodliness, wickedness, cruelty, greediness, pride, rebelliousness, and this outrageously against Jehovah's people. But in taking advantage of Babylon's imperial course of conquest Jehovah said the following to his prophet Jeremiah in 625 B.C., or eighteen years before King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem:

"Here I am sending and I will take all the families of the north, . . . even sending to Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant [golden cup], and I will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will devote them to destruction." — Jeremiah 25:1, 2, 9.

After that message Jeremiah, as representing Jehovah God in whose hand the golden cup is held, was instructed to take "this cup of the wine of rage" of Jehovah and pass it around to the nations for them to drink from it, namely, Jerusalem and Judah, Pharaoh the king of Egypt, the mixed company, kings of the land of Uz, the Philistines including Ashkelon, Ekron, Gaza and Ashdod, then Edom, Moab, the sons of Ammon, kings of Tyre and of Sidon and of the island in the sea, Dedan, Tema, Buz, kings of the Arabs and of the mixed company, Zimri, Elam, Medes, kings of the north, and, after all those, the "king of Sheshach" last of all. Since Sheshach symbolizes Babylon, Sheshach

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had been in Jehovah's hand the symbolic golden cup of the divine wine of rage that was used to intoxicate with national disaster all the preceding rulers and peoples. The king of Sheshach himself drank the cup of Jehovah's rage by means of the Medes and Persians under Cyrus the Great. — Jeremiah 25:15-29.

From Babylon, as from a golden cup held in Jehovah's maneuvering hand, the nations drank by feeling the effects of Babylon's imperial aggressiveness. Because of such wine these nations got drunk and acted crazy like drunks, being unsettled, unsteady, upset because of the loss of national sovereignty. But in Jehovah's measured time Babylon, who had made other nations fall like drunks, was to fall herself as from a potent intoxicating drink. She was to be broken as a world power, not able to be put together again. Let the Babylonians and the people who did profitable business with her howl. Tauntingly Jehovah tells them to try to ease her pain with some balsam. Perhaps they might heal her!

"We would have healed Babylon, but she has not been healed. Leave her, you people, and let us go each one to his own land. For clear to the heavens her judgment has reached, and it has been lifted up to the cloudy skies. Jehovah has brought forth deeds of righteousness for us. Come and do let us recount in Zion the work of Jehovah our God." — Jeremiah 51:9, 10.

No one surviving Babylon's fall could heal her condition or position. Jehovah God was not in favor of healing her. For that reason all human remedies applied to her had to fail. Those who, like physicians, came to her aid might just as well return to their own land, realizing that the causes for judgment to be executed on her reached clear to the heavens and called for due attention by the God of heaven. Her sins that called for divine judgment have piled up as high as the cloudy skies and are too many and scandalous to be overlooked or left unpunished. Leave her to her fate!

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In expressing his vengeance upon Babylon and in bringing about her inglorious fall Jehovah brought forth deeds of righteousness for his witnesses, his exiled people. All the things that he did to Babylon were righteous and worked for the benefit of his people, for their liberation from her prison. That is what they could say, with gratitude to him. His deeds had vindicated them as His worshipers, proving them to be right in worshiping him as their God.

In acknowledgment of Jehovah's righteous deeds for them they should act on Cyrus' decree releasing them from Babylon and should return to Zion and rebuild her and her temple. Then in Zion's temple they could recount the work of Jehovah their God in overthrowing the Babylonian World Power and freeing them to renew their worship in Zion. In harmony with this, psalms were composed and made part of the Bible and were sung later in Zion's rebuilt temple.

"VENGEANCE FOB HIS TEMPLE"

Having his then-devastated temple in mind, Jehovah said to his executioners: "Polish the arrows. Fill the circular shields, O men. Jehovah has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because it is against Babylon that his idea is, in order to bring her to ruin. For it is the vengeance of Jehovah, the vengeance for his temple. Against the walls of Babylon lift up a signal. Make strong the watch. Post the watchmen. Make ready those lying in ambush. For Jehovah both has formed the idea and will certainly do what he has spoken against the inhabitants of Babylon." — Jeremiah 51:11, 12.

At the time, little did the attackers realize that they were carrying out Jehovah's idea against Babylon and executing his vengeance for his temple that the Babylonians had profanely destroyed. Yet it was he, Jehovah of armies, who had roused up the courageous spirit of the kings of the Medes to assault Babylon and

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bring her to ruin as a world power. King Cyrus II was part Mede, and after he conquered the Median Empire the larger part of his army was made up of Medes. So in his army the Medes were given more prominence than the Persians. Both Medes and Persians were expert bowmen; and these were to polish their arrows to penetrate more deeply. The soldiers bearing the circular shield were to fill these by getting their bodies behind them for self-protection and moving forward to the attack. They were to defeat and rout the armies of Babylon in the field and then close in on the city itself. But her towering walls? They were not to be daunted by these, but to raise up a signal as a gathering point for the soldiers when the time came for a mass movement of troops toward the gates of the walls.

The watch against the city was to be made strong, watchmen to be posted, men to be held ready in ambush. The city was to be kept under constant surveillance so as to permit no one to escape. This was the idea that Jehovah had formed and had expressed even back in the days of the prophet Isaiah. This idea that he had spoken out by his prophet had to be carried out against Babylon's inhabitants. His temple, then in ruins, had to be avenged.

From those attackers Jehovah turns his attention to Babylon herself, the worshiper of idol images. He addresses her as a woman and serves notice upon her of what she may now expect in spite of all the idolatrous images of her false gods that she worships. Reminding her that the true God is the one speaking, he says:

"O woman residing on abounding waters, abundant in treasures, your end has come, the measure of your profit making. Jehovah of armies has sworn by his own soul, 'I will fill you with men, like the locusts, and they will certainly sing forth over you a shout.' He is the Maker of the earth by his power, the One firmly establishing the productive land by his wisdom, and the One who by his understanding stretched out the

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heavens. At his voice there is a giving by him of a turmoil of waters in the heavens, and he causes vapors to ascend from the extremity of the earth. He has made even sluices for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Every man has behaved so unreasoningly as not to know. Every metalworker will feel ashamed because of the carved image; for his molten image is a falsehood, and there is no spirit in them. They are vanity, a work of mockery. In the time of their being given attention they will perish."  — Jeremiah 51:13-18.

Ancient Babylon sat on both sides of the Euphrates River and dominated a vast system of canals that connected the Euphrates with the Tigris River and provided a means of communication and of transportation of goods. And yet, despite all this, her end had come. Jehovah God notifies her so. For long she had abounded in treasures gained by world conquest and by commercialism or world trade. But these treasures would not save her, for Jehovah had timed her end and he cannot be bought off or bribed. Her end meant that the full measure of her profit making had been reached. The treasures of Jehovah's house that she stole from his temple in Zion before destroying it were to be taken from her, and the temple of her god could no longer keep these stolen treasures safe for her.

To give guarantee to what he declares his purpose to be, Jehovah of armies swears by himself the Most High. To assure Babylon that he had fixed an end for her and that he would put an end to her world domination at his fixed time, he swore "by his own soul" to fill Babylon with the conquering invaders like locusts for numbers. They would sing out a shout of triumph over her. He had all the power in the universe to do so. He is the Creator of all material and living creation and all natural phenomena, rain, vapors, winds. He is not a created thing like the idolatrous images of Babylon's false gods, who have no control over natural forces.

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The Babylonians had behaved so unreasoningly as not to know these facts about Jehovah God. They had chosen to ignore these provable facts. Instead of worshiping the true and only Creator, they turned to making gods by human hands, to worship the work of their own hands. They cannot put spirit in images to make them alive and capable of doing something for their worshipers. They are a falsehood, an empty vanity. By their very helplessness in a time that calls for godly help and action, they will stand there motionless in mockery of the Babylonians who trusted in them. When the Creator, the true God, gives these due attention, they perish.

"The Share of Jacob is not like these things, for he is the Former of everything, even the staff of his inheritance. Jehovah of armies is his name." — Jeremiah 51:19.

He is not the Share of Babylon. Nimrod the founder of Babylon rebelled and was a mighty hunter opposed to Jehovah and desired to have no share in Jehovah, no inheritance in him. (Genesis 10:8-10) The living Former of everything formed the descendants of the faithful patriarch Jacob into a nation to praise him and to be his witnesses. Isaiah 43: 1, 10-12, 21) He is the Share of this nation called by the name of Jacob or Israel. He is the staff or support that this nation inherited. The nation can safely lean on him.

In 614 B.C., or in the fourth year of King Zedekiah of Jerusalem, when Jeremiah wrote this prophecy in a scroll, Babylon had only begun its role as the Third World Power. Its career of world conquests was not yet over. In harmony with this fact, God could inspire Jeremiah to write and say to Babylon as to a war club:

" 'You are a club for me, as weapons of war, and by you I shall certainly dash nations to pieces, and by you I will bring kingdoms to ruin. And by you I will dash the horse and his rider to pieces, and by you I will dash the war chariot and its rider to pieces. And by

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you I will dash man and woman to pieces, and by you I will dash old man and boy to pieces, and by you I will dash young man and virgin to pieces. And by you I will dash shepherd and his drove to pieces, and by you I will dash farmer and his span of animals to pieces, and by you I will dash governors and deputy rulers to pieces. And I will pay back to Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their badness that they have committed in Zion before the eyes of you people,' is the utterance of Jehovah."

Those words, in Jeremiah 51:20-24. were addressed particularly to King Nebuchadnezzar as the leading representative of Babylon, in the twelfth year of his reign. So seven years remained before he would bring Zion and her temple to ruin, kill the main priests, slaughter King Zedekiah's sons before his eyes, kill certain prominent government functionaries and deport Zedekiah and hundreds of other surviving Jews to Babylon, leaving the care of the land of Judah to the poorest people prior to its complete desolation. (Jeremiah 52:12-29) But prior to this Nebuchadnezzar had defeated the Egyptian Pharaoh and taken part in destroying Nineveh, Assyria's capital. He reigned for forty-three years. So after destroying Zion he had more than twenty years in which to fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah 25:17-26 concerning other nations and peoples roundabout.

Thus, under him particularly, Babylon was used as Jehovah's war club of judgment to dash to pieces nations, kingdoms, horses and riders, chariots and riders, men and women, old men and boys, young men and virgins, shepherds and their droves, farmers and their spans of draft animals, and governors and deputy rulers. After Nebuchadnezzar died, Babylon continued as the Third World Power for about half a century.

Jehovah had used Babylon and the inhabitants of Chaldea as his war club to dash Jerusalem and its kingdom to pieces. But Babylon did not knowingly serve Jehovah in this way. She did not do it to please

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him, but did it in fury because the king of Jerusalem had rebelled against her and stood in the way of her plans for world domination. She felt no sorrow for bringing reproach upon Jehovah's name and for mistreating his people. Jehovah repaid King Nebuchadnezzar for what service he had rendered for Jehovah against the commercial city of Tyre; but Babylon had to pay a bill to Jehovah for what she did to the city of Zion and its temple. (Ezekiel 29:17-20) She had to pay this bill at the end of the time that he found her useful as his war club. She paid with the loss of her world domination and with total destruction to herself in course of time. By bringing this upon her Jehovah paid back to Babylon and the inhabitants of Chaldea all the badness they committed in Zion.

Whether likening Babylon to a belching volcano overflowing with lava or likening her to a mountain as a symbol of political government, the Lord God speaks to her in the following way, to inform her of his attitude toward her and his purpose against her:

" 'Here I am against you, O ruinous mountain,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'you ruiner of the whole earth; and I will stretch out my hand against you and roll you away from the crags and make you a burnt-out mountain.' " — Jeremiah 51:25.

In explaining the symbolic meaning of a mountain, Revelation 17:9. 10 speaks of "seven mountains, where the woman sits on top. And there are seven kings: five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet arrived." The Babylonian Empire was one of those five kingly mountains that had fallen, but she was more ruinous than the two world powers that preceded her, namely, Egypt and Assyria. Because of being a bigger empire she ruined more of the earth than they did, but by her religion she has ruined the whole earth, spiritually speaking. This is specially true of Great Babylon of modern times.

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Babylon was comparable with a mountain that towered above the crags. Yet Jehovah could push her over, for he has "weighed with an indicator the mountains, and the hills in the scales," and, to him, "the nations are as a drop from a bucket." (Isaiah 40:12, 15) In the year 539 B.C. he rolled Babylon down from her lofty worldly position. Like nuclear fire, the fire of his judgment burnt her through and through, so that in her debased position she no longer had the strength and fixedness of a towering, deep-rooted mountain. She was burnt out and destined to crumble to ashes.

Listen to this, O city of Babylon: " 'And people will not take from you a stone for a corner or a stone for foundations, because desolate wastes to time indefinite are what you will become,' is the utterance of Jehovah." — Jeremiah 51:26.

The desolate wastes to which Babylon was to be reduced in the course of the centuries would leave nothing from which builders could salvage a stone for a cornerstone of a building or for laying a building foundation. Most of the mud bricks of which she was constructed have been taken away for uses elsewhere. She has now lain as a desolate waste for time indefinite. What ruins of her were left have been dug up or uncovered in modern times and have been put on exhibition as a verification of the dead past. Today her ruins are a mere tourist attraction alongside which the railroad train makes a temporary halt. What ruins are still there are bound to erode if no prompt measures are taken to preserve them for further exhibition.

WAR AGAINST HER SANCTIFIED

In giving his further orders to the attackers of Babylon, Jehovah mentions some of the allies of the Medes and Persians in the army of Cyrus the conqueror. He commands: "Lift up a signal in the land, O men. Blow a horn among the nations. Sanctify against her the nations. Summon against her the kingdoms of Ararat,

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Minni and Ashkenaz. Commission against her a recruiting officer. Make the horses come up like bristly locusts. Sanctify against her the nations, the kings of Media, its governors and all its deputy rulers and all the land of each one's dominion. And let the earth rock and be in severe pain, for against Babylon the thoughts of Jehovah have risen up to make the land of Babylon an object of astonishment, without an inhabitant." —  Jeremiah 51: 27-29.

In those ancient times the business of war was a sacred thing, and sacrifices and prayers were made to the gods of the nations that put armies in the field. Thus the soldiers were sanctified for the warfare. In each land a signal was to be set up on high for the mustered troops to mass together there. The trumpet announcing war against Babylon was to be blown among a number of nations, not just Media and Persia, but also the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz, in the neighborhood of Lake Van between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Recruiting officers were to be commissioned in these lands to build up armies. The national armies were to be sanctified for war against Babylon, each one according to its own way. Because they were really to serve Jehovah's purpose against her, he spoke of them as "my sanctified ones." — Isaiah 13: 3.

In harmony with Isaiah 13:17, of the nations to be sanctified the most prominent mention is given to the "kings of Media, its governors and all its deputy rulers and all the land of each one's dominion." In fact, the previously mentioned "kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz" were apparently territories of the Median Empire that Cyrus, who was part Median, had conquered. If his army was to be a big one with horses that would "come up like bristly locusts" for number, troops and horses would have to be drawn from the many nations under Cyrus' dominion. A total mobilization!

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Under the tread and movement of this vast international army the earth under Babylon's domination was to rock and was to be put to severe pains because of the irresistible invaders. But all this is in order to carry out Jehovah's thoughts to make the land of Babylon an uninhabited waste, a sight to astonish a person. After the days of the Christian apostle Peter it became just that way.

Resistance on the part of Babylon's warriors was foretold as breaking down: "The mighty men of Babylon have ceased to fight. They have kept sitting in the strong places. Their mightiness has run dry. They have become women. Her residences have been set on fire. Her bars have been broken." — Jeremiah 51:30.

As to how the Babylonian soldiery were finally induced to become like women and stay at home, or stay holed up in their strong places, ceasing to fight against the advance of the army of Cyrus, we read:


Nabonidus, last king of Babylon . . . fought a battle within sight of Babylon, was utterly defeated, and then, while most of his army found safety within the great walls, he himself with a small force entered Borsippa, an important town southwest of Babylon; possibly hoping by this movement to force Cyrus to divide the Persian host. His stepson Belshazzar (Bilshar-uzur), . . . apparently cosovereign, conducted the defense of Babylon. After the fall of the capital, Nabonidus surrendered, was kindly treated by Cyrus, and even made governor of the province of Carmania. — Am1, Volume 19, page 677.


Not risking further battle on the outside in the open field with the Medes and Persians, the hitherto "mighty men of Babylon" felt as though "their mightiness has run dry." They felt weak like women unaccustomed to warfare, untrained for battle, and preferred to trust in Babylon's mighty brick walls and the watery wall of the Euphrates River. These defenses they felt could resist the invaders, if they themselves could not do so in battle. Their indulgence in wine and carousing on the night of Babylon's capture weakened the soldiers still

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further. How weak they must have felt, how their mightiness must have oozed out of them, when they were shocked with the news that somehow the Medes and Persians had made a breakthrough and were already inside the city walls and past the bars of its mighty gates! It was as if the bars had really been broken. The setting on fire of "her residences" may also be figurative, although, after the city was captured or invaded, it may have been strategic to burn some of the city residences.

Now what about the king, Belshazzar? The prophetic vision of Jeremiah pierces the palace (walls and he says: "One runner runs to meet another runner, and one reporter to meet another reporter, to report to the king of Babylon that his city has been captured at every end, and that the fords themselves have been seized, and the papyrus boats they have burned with fire, and the men of war themselves have become disturbed. " — Jeremiah 51:31, 32.

Such a thing was only to be expected after the prophet Daniel had interpreted the miraculous handwriting on the wall to Belshazzar at his feast table. Not all ends or outer sections of the city were captured by the Medes and Persians at one time. So after one capture was made and then another, a runner was dispatched from each successive end captured to report to the king, the city ruler. Even the waterways were taken over by his enemies, the quays along the city waterfront and the bridge connecting the two halves of the city and the ferryboats that were used to cross the Euphrates River and the canals. Boats made of the papyrus plant were easily burned, to prevent escape of any Babylonians by means of them. As the reports by the runners who converged on the royal palace piled up, how nerve-shattering this must have been to King Belshazzar!* Even his trusted "men of war themselves" became disturbed.


* The people in the middle of the city were not aware for some time that the Babylonians near the wall had been captured. According to the Greek historian Herodotus (Book 1, section 191), this was due to the great size of the city and to the further fact that at the time the Babylonians were feasting and carousing. According to the Greek historical writer Xenophon, the Babylonians at opposite ends of the city did not learn of the complete capture of the city till after sunrise, since the city had been captured during the night.
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The king's city deserved to be threshed, that is, to have an experience like grain on the threshing floor, in Jehovah's due time. He knew the time when she would be ripe to be harvested and given a threshing. "For this is what Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, has said: 'The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor. It is the time to tread her down solid. Yet a little while and the time of the harvest must come for her.' "  — Jeremiah 51:33.

From the time when Jehovah's prophet wrote this, it was "yet a little while," only a matter of about seventy-five years, and what is that to Jehovah, who is the King of Eternity? The time for stamping Babylon down solid "like a threshing floor" came in 539 B.C. She was also then like a field of fully ripe grain, the time to harvest which had come. Her harvested grain must be taken to the threshing floor and be poured out to be threshed, to separate the chaff from the kernels of grain. The treading of the grain was not by human feet but was by those of a heavy animal, a bull. "You must not muzzle a bull while it is threshing," said Jehovah's law in Deuteronomy 25:4. (1 Corinthians 9:9) The bull may be even dragging behind it a spiked threshing sledge on which a rider is seated, this increasing the sledge's pressure. It was rough on the grain.

In 539 B.C. Jehovah used as his threshers the Medes and Persians under Cyrus. The exiled Jews did not have to do any threshing themselves. Evidently Jehovah had chiefly in mind modern-day Great Babylon when he inspired Micah 4:9-13 to be written. For, after telling how the "daughter of Zion" would be deported to Babylon and her enemies would rejoice at seeing Zion in this plight, he says: "He will certainly collect them

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together like a row of newly cut grain to the threshing floor. Get up and thresh, O daughter of Zion; for your horn [as if Zion were now a bull] I shall change into iron, and your hoofs I shall change into copper, and you will certainly pulverize many peoples; and by a ban you will actually devote to Jehovah their unjust profit, and their resources to the true Lord of the whole earth."

Hence as Zion waited for God's command, she had basis for saying defiantly to Babylon: "Do not rejoice over me, O you woman enemy of mine. Although I have fallen, I shall certainly rise up; although I dwell in the darkness, Jehovah will be a light to me. . . . And my enemy will see, and shame will cover her, who was saying to me: 'Where is he, Jehovah your God?' My own eyes will look upon her. Now she will become a place of trampling, like the mire of streets." (Micah 7:8-10) The symbolic threshing was very rough on ancient Babylon and finally crushed her to pieces. A like threshing will be just as rough on modern-day Great Babylon, if not rougher.

It was in the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar that Zion was swallowed down as by a huge snake and she disappeared from her domain in the land of Judah. So Jeremiah speaks for the whole nation when he says: "Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon has eaten me up; he has thrown me into confusion. He has set me as an empty vessel. He has swallowed me down like a big snake; he has filled his abdomen with my pleasant things. He has rinsed me away. 'The violence done to me and to my organism be upon Babylon!' the inhabitress of Zion will say. 'And my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea!' Jerusalem will say." — Jeremiah 51:34, 35.

King Nebuchadnezzar, pursuing his ambitious scheme for world domination, began throwing the kingdom of Judah into confusion in 620 B.C., when he came up

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against Jerusalem and made King Jehoiakim a vassal king under oath to pay tribute to Babylon. Three years later, after Jehoiakim rebelled, Nebuchadnezzar came again against Jerusalem. In the eleventh year of his reign Jehoiakim died at Jerusalem and was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin.

After being besieged three months at Jerusalem, the young king Jehoiachin went out in surrender to Nebuchadnezzar. Then ten thousand Jews, including the king and the families of the men selected, were deported to Babylon. It was no deportation of the whole nation. So by no means did the nation of Judah go into Babylonian captivity in 617 B.C. It was only after Nebuchadnezzar came back again and, after a siege of eighteen months, destroyed Jerusalem and her temple in 607 B.C., that the nation of Judah vanished from the God-given land. (2 Kings 24:1 to 25:26; 2 Chronicles 36:1-20; Jeremiah 52:1-29) Without a reigning king and while exiles in Babylon, the Jewish people were now in their greatest confusion.

Nebuchadnezzar set the land of Judah "as an empty vessel," turning it upside down and leaving nothing inside. He not only deported a further number of surviving Jews but also inspired such terror in the poor, insignificant people left behind that these fled down to Egypt. The whole land of Judah was left like an empty vessel turned upside down, emptied of all its inhabitants. Thus the most of the surviving Jews were swallowed up within Babylon's domains, as if by a big snake or sea monster. Nebuchadnezzar had acted like the dragon or sirrush, which was the symbol of the god Marduk (Merodach) whom he worshiped. As a symbolic big snake he had filled himself with the Jewish nation's "pleasant things," the precious utensils of Jehovah's holy temple in particular. He rinsed the nation off its home territory as if it were something unclean.

For all the violence done by Nebuchadnezzar to her and to her royal organism or structure, the "inhab-

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itress of Zion" had good cause for expressing a solemn prayer to Jehovah to pay Babylon back with the same kind of treatment. The Chaldean army had spilled much Jewish blood at Jerusalem and in the territory under her dominion, and Zion was justified in praying that this bloodshed be charged against the "inhabitants of Chaldea" and these at last pay for it. Zion's prayer was for vengeance. Thus Zion or Jerusalem and Babylon or the "inhabitants of Chaldea" are set as tun-reconcilable enemies of each other.

Zion had a legal case against Babylon before the highest court of the universe, and the Supreme Judge promised to hear her prayer and take up her case for her. "Therefore this is what Jehovah has said: 'Here I am conducting your legal case, and I shall certainly execute vengeance for you. And I will dry up her sea, and I will make her wells dry. And Babylon must become piles of stones, the lair of jackals, an object of astonishment and something to whistle at, without an inhabitant. All together they will roar just like maned young lions. They will certainly growl like the whelps of lions.' " — Jeremiah 51:36-38.

The avenging of Zion (Jerusalem) was inseparably tied up with the vindication of the sovereignty and name of her God. As he is Judge of all and Administrator of justice throughout the universe, he will let no wicked ones escape. He will right all things. For this reason Zion could leave the executing of vengeance to Him. In just such a situation as this she could comfortingly recall the farewell song of the prophet Moses, especially these words:

"Jehovah will judge his people and he will feel regret over his servants, ... he will certainly say, '. . . I raise my hand to heaven in an oath, and I do say: "As I am alive to time indefinite," if I do indeed sharpen my glittering sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will pay back vengeance to my adversaries and render retribution to those who intensely hate me. I shall

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intoxicate my arrows with blood, while my sword will eat flesh, with the blood of the slain and the captives, with the heads of the leaders of the enemy.' Be glad, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and he will pay back vengeance to his adversaries and will indeed make atonement for the ground of his people." — Deuteronomy 32:36-43.

However, Jehovah was going to avenge his people only after they had had sufficient discipline from him for their own misdoings. He purposed to keep them off their homeland until it had lain desolate and enjoyed a sabbath rest of seventy years. Then, in her turn, Babylon was to become astonishingly desolate, "without an inhabitant," "piles of stones, the lair of jackals," and a place whistled at out of superstitious fear that it is haunted, under a taboo. But how could this be, inasmuch as Babylon was so well watered, a city that sat on many waters? The Creator of water and of water springs would dry up her sea and her water wells.

Centuries of time has shown the Creator's power to do just as he has said. During the very night of her capture the Euphrates riverbed went practically dry and her defensive "sea" disappeared.

The Euphrates River again took its course at full depth through the fallen city, but Babylon's other waterworks at last failed her. The Greek historian Herodotus attributed the waterworks of Babylon to two queens, Semiramis and Nitocris. The wells that were provided included those from which the famous Hanging Gardens were watered by means of cisterns at the top of that system of terraces to which the water was pumped. Queen Nitocris is reported to have made a large reservoir forty-seven and a half miles in circumference; and among Nebuchadnezzar's works was the making of an artificial lake. But these human waterworks have dried up according to Jehovah's decree, and the supremacy that Babylon once enjoyed on the sea also withered away. Her commercial busi-

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ness dried up. She went to ruin and became a drought-stricken place, a sandy desert. Her inhabitants had to roar like maned young lions that are hungry, and they growled like the whelps of lions just because they were in distress.

During the time of their world domination the Babylonians feasted in honor of their false gods and heated themselves up with passion and drunkenness. But a feast with a different effect upon these idolaters of false gods and of world power is in store for them. " 'When they are heated I shall set their banquets and I will make them drunk, in order that they may exult; and they must sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they will never wake up,' is the utterance of Jehovah. 'I shall bring them down like male sheep to the slaughtering, like rams along with the he-goats.' " (Jeremiah 51:39, 40) This occurred notably on the night of Belshazzar's last feast, when they profaned Jehovah's temple utensils.

The wine cup from which Jehovah makes them drunk is the symbolic cup of his wrath, which his prophet Jeremiah, by a symbolic gesture, held out to Babylon's ruler, saying: "The king of Sheshach himself will drink after them." (Jeremiah 25:26) The fatal drink was the outpouring of Jehovah's wrath on Babylon by means of the Medes and Persians under Cyrus. If the Babylonians exulted while drinking their fill of this, it was like drunks who exult without knowing what they are doing before they drop off into heavy sleep.

An ordinary drunkard will wake up from his deep sleep, as those Babylonians on that feast night of Belshazzar's banquet expected to do. They did not expect to die from drunkenness. But the wine of wrath from Jehovah's symbolic cup would kill them. Thus they slept an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they did not wake up, for they were dead. This was because Jehovah brought them down like male sheep to the

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slaughtering by his executional forces, the Medes and the Persians. They would have as little fighting disposition in them as sheep, even though the men were like rams. Along with their leaders who were like butting he-goats, they would be led down to their being slaughtered. On the night of Belshazzar's feast many Babylonians were doubtless killed while in their drunken sleep and never woke up. "In that very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed." (Daniel 5:30) The banquets that Jehovah set for the Babylonians were death-dealing.

Looking ahead, far beyond that night of her disastrous fall, Jehovah reveals his long-range purpose concerning her as he exclaims: "O how Sheshach has been captured, and how the Praise of the whole earth gets to be seized! How Babylon has become a mere object of astonishment among the nations! The sea has come up even over Babylon. By the multitude of its waves she has been covered. Her cities have become an object of astonishment, a waterless land and a desert plain. As a land, in them no man will dwell, and through them no son of mankind will pass. And I will turn my attention upon Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth what he has swallowed. And to him nations will stream no more. Also, the wall itself of Babylon must fall." — Jeremiah 51:41-44.

The Almighty God can produce surprises, the unexpected things. O how surprisingly he caused Babylon or Sheshach to be captured, and in what a spectacular way! As a city, she was the "Praise of the whole earth," except with Jehovah's people. She held one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Hanging Gardens, besides her monumental walls and the Tower of Babel (E-temen-an-ki), and the temple of Bel (Belus), and other remarkable constructions. She was then the Wonder City, and seemingly untakable by an enemy.

However, her appearance even before the eyes of the world of long ago was to be changed. The change

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began on the night that she got to be seized. Instead of any longer exciting amazed admiration, she was to become an object of surprised, almost unbelieving astonishment. What a change was foretold for her — from being a well-watered city with Hanging Gardens and temples to being a "waterless land and a desert plain," a land where no man made his dwelling and through which the superstitious did not care to pass!

The coming of the literal "sea" up over Babylon did not produce this desolate, bleak result. It was rather a human sea. In that ancient cuneiform document known as the Cyrus Cylinder there is the inscription concerning Babylon's bowing in defeat to Cyrus the Great, as follows: "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 [Marduk's] city." Babylon's high walls did not keep out this sea of Median and Persian troops. Babylon got drowned by the waves of those invaders and disappeared from her high position as the Third World Power.*

Babylon's priests may have tried to explain it another way, as if it was the direct act on the part of their offended god Marduk to teach proper respect for himself. But it was really the act of the true God Jehovah of armies. It was the time and occasion for him to turn his attention to Bel or Marduk, whose worshipers had brought such reproach upon the God of Israel. Babylon's supreme god was put to shame and reproach from which he has never recovered, particularly in the eyes of Jehovah's faithful witnesses.

Whatever Bel (Marduk) had swallowed by means of his admiring worshipers, Jehovah his enemy forced him to bring forth. This was chiefly Jehovah's exiled people and the stolen utensils of his temple. The people


* See page 176 ¶4 of Nabonidus and Belshazzar, by R. P. Dougherty, published in 1929 by the Yale University Press.
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of the nations whom Babylon conquered were no longer to stream to the worship of Bel, a mere no-god, or to surrender to his worshipers as if to the chief god of the world. Today Bel (Marduk) is a dead god of a dead world power. Babylon's tall walls have fallen, just as her river wall failed her on the crucial night. Her protection is gone! Jehovah reigns as God and King!

OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE!

After prophesying that he would bring forth out of Bel's mouth what he had swallowed, Jehovah very fittingly told his exiled people what to do after Bel's center of worship fell. Having also the freedom-giving decree of Cyrus in mind, Jehovah said to the exiled Jews: "Get out of the midst of her, O my people, and provide each one his soul with escape from the burning anger of Jehovah. Or otherwise your heart will be timid, and you will become afraid because of the report that is to be heard in the land. And in one year the report will actually come, and after it in another year there will be the report and violence in the earth and ruler against ruler. Therefore, look! there are days coming, and I will turn my attention upon the graven images of Babylon; and all her own land will become ashamed, and all her own slain ones will fall in the midst of her." (Jeremiah 51:45-47) So by means of his Babylonian worshipers the false god Bel would no longer be able to keep down Jehovah's people whom he had swallowed.

After Babylon's conqueror, Cyrus the Great, issued his decree of release in the first year of his reign, Jehovah's people had no time to lose. They must reenter their homeland and occupy it by the end of the seventy years that it had lain desolate without a human inhabitant or a domestic animal. The burning anger of their God was against the capital of false worship. Surely they would not want Jehovah's goodwill toward them to change to burning anger because they failed

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to show zeal for Jehovah's worship at the place where he had placed his name, in the city of Zion. Their long exile should not have made them now feel at home in Babylon. It should not have weaned their affections away from the land that Jehovah had promised to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They should yearn to get out of a land filled with idol images. So their obediently getting out meant preserving their souls alive.

If their selfish interests and their affections became attached to Babylon with its worldly opportunities, then their heart would become timid at the report that would be heard throughout Babylon's realm. The report would inform them that Cyrus was the rising challenger to Babylon's world power, that he was going from conquest to conquest, and that finally his army of many nationalities was closing in upon Babylon. This would make the hearts of lovers of Babylon sink with fear. These conquests of Cyrus began many years before Babylon fell to him. First he became king of the Medes as well as the Persians. Then the Lydian Empire under King Croesus fell to him, and he conquered the southern coasts of Asia Minor. After this he was able to concentrate his efforts on Babylon. So year after year the situation became more menacing to Babylon, and year after year the reports would become more disquieting for all lovers and allies of Babylon, till Cyrus was right at the doors.

Finally the report would no longer be one of violence to lands outside Babylon's Empire. It would be a report of violence at last in her own territory, with "ruler against ruler," the invaders not being checked. The Hebrew expression here may also be rendered "ruler upon ruler," to denote a constant change of rulers, say, from Nabonidus to Belshazzar to Darius the Mede and to Cyrus the Persian. Those would be the days when Jehovah, who was maneuvering these invaders, would turn his attention to Babylon's graven

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images of religion, and they would be proved to be no-gods.

At last the land of Babylon would be shamed with defeat by a new world power and her warriors would fall slain in a losing war. Their conquerors, the Persians, ardently professed the religious doctrine of Zoroaster, but for political and social reasons they might tolerate Babylon's gods for the effect this had on the subjected Babylonians. Afterward this Persian attitude toward Babylon's gods changed, and then came some evidence of persecution.* Her graven images came into disrepute; they represented no-gods.

Certainly, when Babylon fell and lost her control over the people of Jehovah God, there was no rejoicing by Satan the Devil, the invisible god of Babylon, and all his demon angels. But the heavens of Jehovah and of all his holy angels did rejoice. So did the earth where the Israelites, Jehovah's people, were living, including the long-desolate land of Judah. This righteous joy was foretold: " 'And over Babylon the heavens and the earth and all that is in them will certainly cry out joyfully, for out of the north there will come to her the despoilers,' is the utterance of Jehovah. 'Not only was Babylon the cause for the slain ones of Israel to fall but also at Babylon the slain ones of all the earth have fallen.' " — Jeremiah 51:48.49.

The despoiling of the Third World Power by the Medes and the Persians was a reason for especially the exiled Israelites to rejoice and cry out joyfully. They saw in the despoiling of that wicked, idolatrous op-


* Under "Persian Domination," The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 2 of the 1946 edition, page 852b, says: "Toward the end of the Persian domination an outbreak of Zoroastrian fanaticism seems to have led to the destruction of many of the great temples. The zikkurat of Babylon was a mass of debris when Alexander [the Great] that saw it, though it had been in a good state when Herodotus wrote; the temple at Ur everywhere shows marks of incendiary destruction, after which the site was deserted, save for stray fugitives. There is every sign that Persian rule in Babylonia was unpopular from the time of Darius I, and that by the time of Darius III the land had suffered from a religious persecution."
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pressor the triumph of their God Jehovah and the just paying back to the oppressive imperial city what she deserved. She had made thousands of the sons of Israel fall in violent death in the land of Judah. But her sin was still greater, for she also bore a bloodguilt for the "slain ones of all the earth," those slain because of her carrying on her program of world conquest. Why should not all righteous men rejoice over the despoiling of such a bloodguilty organization? It was her own fault that the children of her own organization fell slain at her overthrow in 539 B.C.

The exiled Israelites took no part in Babylon's military campaigns or in defending her against the Medes and Persians. They properly escaped slaughter by the sword when Babylon fell. Whereas they had just cause for crying out joyfully over the fall of their oppressor, it was also the time for them to think of another capital city, Zion, the city where their God had placed his name. Measured by travel routes and travel time away back in those days, that city was far away, say a land journey of four or five months. Yet they should remember Jehovah, though the place where he had put his name was far away. The remembrance of that holy place, the location of Zion, was to serve as an incentive to start them going there and to keep on going until at last they reached the place.

In anticipation of the decree of release that Jehovah would put it into the heart of Cyrus the Persian to issue, Jehovah says to his protected and spared people: "You escapees from the sword, keep going. Do not stand still. From far away remember Jehovah, and may Jerusalem herself come up into your heart." (Jeremiah 51:50) The freed Israelites were not to be like the wife of Lot and stop and look back. (Luke 17:32) They were to look ahead and return to the holy mountain of Jehovah's worship as quickly as they could. They should get as far away from Babylon as they could do so.

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At this point in Jeremiah's prophecy the exiled Israelites are pictured as speaking up and describing the humiliated state in which they would then find themselves in the enemy land. Speaking for them, Jeremiah 51:51 says: "We have been put to shame, for we have heard reproach. Humiliation has covered our faces, for strangers have come against the holy places of the house of Jehovah."

Babylon had put them to shame, but this was because they had sinned against their God and had not let their God-given land enjoy its sabbath years of rest according to God's law. Because of what their God Jehovah let Babylon do to them, they heard reproach, not only reproach upon themselves but also a reproach that pained them worst of all, reproach upon their God. It was specially humiliating for them when pagan strangers, the Babylonians, came "against the holy places of the house of Jehovah" in 607 B.C. and destroyed that temple of worship. Seemingly the false gods of Babylon had overpowered their God Jehovah. Uncircumcised strangers who were not ordinarily permitted to enter the holy areas of his temple succeeded in entering it and treating it as unholy.

However, their God remembers that the armies of Babylon did those things and he is determined to settle accounts with her. " 'Therefore, look! there are days coming,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'and I will turn my attention upon her graven images, and throughout all her land the pierced one will groan.' " — Jeremiah 51:52.

The Babylonians had profaned Jehovah's holy temple find its utensils that they stole and put in the pagan temple of idolatry in Babylon. In payment of what was due her, Jehovah was determined to profane the gods of Babylon and their graven images. For the slain ones of Israel whom King Nebuchadnezzar had caused to fall in the land of Judah, Jehovah would cause the Babylonians to be pierced and fall wounded and groan

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in their death throes "throughout all her land." He would use those who were strangers to Babylon to do this, and then she would be the one that would be put to shame and that would hear reproach and have humiliation cover her face.

She should not scoff at such a prophecy delivered so long in advance. She should not think that she had lifted herself up so high among the nations and had built her walls up so high that she could not be thrust down from her position as the Third World Power. By fortifying herself she may have thought that she had rendered herself unassailable and her strong height unapproachable by any enemy; still Almighty God in the heavens is higher than her walls and higher than her Tower of Babel. He would bring up against her those who could topple her from her strong height. " 'Even if Babylon should ascend to the heavens and even if she should make the height of her strength unapproachable, from me the despoilers will come to her,' is the utterance of Jehovah." — Jeremiah 51:53.

It is the Most High God Jehovah with whom Babylon has to deal. So he takes the responsibility for sending the despoilers and for putting into their hearts how to capture her and bring her down.

By means of Jeremiah's prophecy we listen in on what occurs at the world-shaking fall of the Third World Power:

" 'Listen! There is an outcry from Babylon, and a great crash from the land of the Chaldeans, for Jehovah is despoiling Babylon, and he will certainly destroy out of her the great voice, and their waves will actually be boisterous like many waters. The noise of their voice will certainly be given out. For there must come upon her, upon Babylon, the despoiler, and her mighty men will certainly be captured. Their bows must be shattered, for Jehovah is a God of recompenses. Without fail he will repay. And I will make her princes and her wise ones, her governors and her dep-

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uty rulers and her mighty men drunk, and they must sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they will not wake up,' is the utterance of the King, whose name is Jehovah of armies." — Jeremiah 51:54-57.

What an outcry there was from Babylon herself at her totally unexpected fall! The whole inhabited earth was affected by this overthrow of the capital city of the Chaldeans. Hence it was as if the sound of a great crash emanating from the land of the Chaldeans was carried on the airwaves to all nations, for now the Medo-Persian Empire became the dominant world power among the nations.

Historical writers ancient and modern may not give Jehovah God the credit for bringing the downfall of Babylon, but he is really the One who threw her down, at his own appointed time. Otherwise, his word of prophecy spoken so long ahead of time would never have come true. He is the One that despoiled Babylon by means of the Medes and Persians and their allies. He is the One that destroyed out of her the "great voice" of boasting and threatening and of drunken reveling, together with the hubbub and din of this great commercial city. In the course of time that "great voice" was to be destroyed so completely that only the silence of death would reign over her moldering ruins, over a dead city.

What a contrast that was, in view of how boisterous Babylon had been in the heydey of her power and glory! Because of her populousness she had been boisterous like many waters the waves of which break upon the shore or dash against the rocks. What a noise there was on the part of Babylon's great population when they gave out their voice during the feasting to their gods, until the city suffered its surprise invasion by the besiegers! In the dead of that night their noisy revelry died down to a suspenseful hush as the conquerors poured into the city and advanced through all parts, shouting in triumph. During a tipsy condition or

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total drunkenness the Babylonian mighty men could easily be captured. Their bows could be shattered or rendered useless by the expert bowmen of the Medes and Persians. Self-defense was out of the question!

All this had to come. Why? Not because the Medes and the Persians had willed it so, but because the Sovereign of the Universe, "the King, whose name is Jehovah of armies," had willed it so. He is the "God of recompenses," and he had a heavy bill to settle with the capital city of the Chaldeans. As he never leaves any accounts unsettled, he finally repaid what was owing to that Wonder City of the ancient world. So it had not been wise on her part to mistreat Jehovah's people and to defile, profane and destroy the things belonging to his worship. He intoxicated her princes, even her crown prince Belshazzar son of King Nabonidus, and her "wise ones," her scientists and state counselors, and her governors and deputy rulers and mighty men, but not with wine or strong alcoholic liquors. In times past they had waked up from their drunkenness resulting from drinking too much beer, wine and liquor. But they did not wake up from the intoxication that Jehovah gave them by making them drink from the symbolic cup of his wrath and indignation. From that drunkenness they fell asleep in death, unable to awake.

How vain, indeed, had been the efforts and activities of the Babylonians in building their strongly fortified city and in working and fighting to make her the Third World Power! After she fell in 539 B.C., how vain were their efforts in trying to restore the city to its one-time place in world politics, or even to keep it from perishing! They could not succeed in preventing God's word from taking effect. "This is what Jehovah of armies has said: 'The wall of Babylon, although broad, will without fail be demolished; and her gates, although high, will be set aflame with fire. And the peoples will have to toil for simply nothing, and national groups

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simply for the fire; and they will just tire themselves out.' " — Jeremiah 51:58.

It is a matter of dispute just how tall and how broad the walls of the city were, but they were finally demolished. Cyrus the Great may have demolished the outer walls, and Darius I may have demolished the walls in general, but the condition of the walls today, as uncovered by digging archaeologists, most eloquently testifies to the truthfulness of the prophecy of Jehovah of armies. What wooden parts there may have been about the city's metallic gates were set aflame with fire. The wall gates are now thought to have been not of solid copper. Those gates, even if they were of copper, have vanished as if consumed by destructive fire. Because of Jehovah's decree against her, the highly fortified city has not endured. The peoples, both the Babylonians and the peoples who were subjugated and obliged to work in the interests of the Third World Power, have toiled for simply nothing. The national groups included in the Babylonian Empire have toiled merely to furnish fuel for the fires of destruction. They just tired themselves out trying to maintain it or to defend Babylon. The act of Jehovah of armies in executing his righteous judgment upon Babylon turned all their efforts and labors into vanity.

HER FALL ILLUSTRATED

All the foregoing prophecy, of Jeremiah 50:2 to 51: 58. was the word of Jehovah by means of his prophet. (Jeremiah 50; 1) It was given and written down and read aloud even before King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and deported her last king of the royal line of David, namely, King Zedekiah, to Babylon. In 617 B.C. Zedekiah had become king at Jerusalem as a vassal of the king of Babylon. The first copy of this vivid prophecy against the Chaldean capital was put to good use and then disappeared. The prophet tells us how this happened, in the following account:

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"The word that Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah the son of Mahseiah when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his being king." It is apparent that this Seraiah was the fleshly brother of Baruch the secretary of the prophet Jeremiah, and he was the king's quartermaster. (Jeremiah 32: 12-16; 36:4-18) If Seraiah was Baruch's brother, then likely he was sympathetic with Baruch's master, Jeremiah, and he would be a good man for Jeremiah to use as Jehovah's servant. "And Jeremiah proceeded to write in one book all the calamity that would come upon Babylon, even all these words written against Babylon." (Jeremiah 51:59, 60) Jeremiah then gave this scroll to Seraiah to take along with him to Babylon.

"Furthermore, Jeremiah said to Seraiah: 'As soon as you come to Babylon and actually see her, you must also read aloud all these words. And you must say, "O Jehovah, you yourself have spoken against this place, in order to cut it off so that there may come to be in it no inhabitant, either man or even domestic animal, but that she may become mere desolate wastes to time indefinite." And it must occur that when you will have completed reading this book, you will tie to it a stone, and you must pitch it into the midst of the Euphrates. And you must say, "This is how Babylon will sink down and never rise up because of the calamity that I am bringing in upon her; and they will certainly tire themselves out." ' " — Jeremiah 51:61-64.

After reading aloud this inspired scroll Seraiah was to address himself to Jehovah as the speaker of the words written down on the scroll. Hence it appears that Seraiah read the scroll aloud at the side of the Euphrates River with no one hearing the reading but Jehovah God himself. It would have been dangerous to read it for Babylonians to hear; but Seraiah could remember much of what he read and he could tell those Israelite exiles already in Babylon what he had read

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and thus give them great comfort. He could also tell them what he did with the scroll itself. Thus only Jehovah God was a witness when Seraiah followed instructions and tied a stone to the scroll and pitched it out into the Euphrates River to sink to the bottom and stay sunk. By what Seraiah then said he explained what his action meant. He had dramatized very forcefully how Babylon was to be cast down as with a swift pitch and was never to rise to the top again. This was the calamity that Jehovah of armies was to bring upon her, and all human efforts to save Babylon and raise her up again as a world power would fail. Ambitious men who tried to do so would just tire themselves out for nothing.

Seraiah's action with the prophetic scroll served as a model for a similar action that was to be taken centuries later with regard to Great Babylon of modern times. This latter action is described in the last book of the Bible after it predicts the fall of modern Babylon the Great and the worldwide consequences.

There, in Revelation 18:21-24. we read: "A strong angel lifted up a stone like a great millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying: 'Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again. And the sound of singers who accompany themselves on the harp and of musicians and of flutists and of trumpeters will never be heard in you again, and no craftsman of any trade will ever be found in you again, and no sound of a millstone will ever be heard in you again, and no light of a lamp will ever shine in you again, and no voice of a bridegroom and of a bride will ever be heard in you again; because your traveling merchants were the top-ranking men of the earth, for by your spiritistic practice all the nations were misled. Yes, in her was found the blood of prophets and of holy ones and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.' " Like ancient Babylon, what

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a silent, desolate waste modern Great Babylon is to become!

In what happened to the ancient imperial city we can foresee what will without fail happen to the modern symbolic city. Just as surely as Babylon of old fell and went into destruction, so her modern-day counterpart will fall and go down into destruction. It is the unchangeable purpose of the God of recompenses. It is foretold in his prophecies. The ancient city's fall fulfilled prophecy, but her historic fall was also in itself prophetic.

In the inspired Hebrew Scriptures the prophecies that applied in the first place to the literal ancient city may therefore be understood to apply also in general outline to her present-day counterpart, "Babylon the great city," as the angel calls it. So, if we examine those prophecies that had their first application to the notorious ancient city, it helps us to understand what the twentieth-century Babylon is and how it will fall. It helps us to understand the meaning of important modern events. As the ancient city was a world power, the third in Bible history, its fall in the sixth century B.C. was of international importance. Of how much greater importance will be the fall and destruction of this mysterious Babylon the Great of today! Logically, then, it will be beneficial to us to continue examining Bible prophecies on Babylon.



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