"The Road to Captivity", Part 12; A Study in Jeremiah, Chapters 50-52
June 1, 2010

C. R. Oliver

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June 1, 2010

"The Road to Captivity", Part 12
A Study in Jeremiah, Chapters 50-52

          The remaining chapters in Jeremiah refer almost exclusively to Babylon. Their sins are enumerated in this set of verses and are spot lighted under three major categories in the following Scriptural references.

The Three Great Sins of Babylon:

                    1. Idolatry 50:2; 51:47, 52
                    2. Striving against the Lord: 50:24
                    3. Pride, 50:29

          Should a general survey be made of the current nations of the world that have a semblance of godliness would not these three criteria be included? Would each of them not be required to appear on some general questionnaire as valid descriptive indices even for today? Would the respondents to such a survey not have to indicate the correct answer to be the unnamed "number 4, 'all of the above.'?" Jeremiah included them all and wove his prophecy of doom for Babylon around the three.

          Summarily, the aged prophet did not view the Battle of Jerusalem as the end of Judah and Israel, but rather a tragic and avoidable event in history which gave reason for the Covenant God to intervene and bring down His utilitarian invader, Babylon.

          Jeremiah foresaw the end of Babylon, as that nation was thoroughly vanquishing Judah. He declared spiritual war on the victors by saying, "don't conceal these facts," and "raise a rod of witness (a standard) or battle flag." (Could this also mean a stone tablet, an Ebenezer, like the ones often erected to commemorate some great event).

          The prophet's opening structure literally began with point one of his litany of sins: Idolatry. God pointed to Baal as being the source of his first wrath on Babylon and in keeping with His being a jealous God. He brought down their high places and felled their objects of worship. If places of worship are God's first targets, woe to those who worship in the wrong places. Woe to those who led worship. Woe to those who enter in volitionally to all sorts of arrangements "called worship." Find the places of worship and you will discover the heart of the worshippers. The Book of Revelation proves this out.           Where does the free world worship? Do they worship at sport stadiums and arenas? Do they worship at places of entertainment, placing actors and their opinions high on their lists of adoration? Do religious people worship their places of worship? What places would this generation choose to venerate high enough on their compendium of treasures to make them weep if taken away or destroyed?

In the case of Babylon, their affections started with Bel/Merodach.
Bel means Baal, the Jupiter of the Babylonians, and as was Bel-merodach, the tutelary god of Babylon. (Just to speak their names invoked "The whole of the Babylonian dynasty.")
When Jeremiah referred to three targets for the downfall of Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom, he also sited three aspects related to God's people who suffered in the wake of that crumbling nation. However, one must be careful in appropriating what is relegated to ancient history and what is meant for a later date. Some of what was indicated in these verses might well reach over into current events. Phrases like, "In those days, at that time" and several references to "time" tend to raise caution flags as to when these events occur.

The Three Aspects related to the people of God:

1. The peoples of Israel and Judah will be together. (This was not possible during the return from Babylon, due to the ten tribes of Israel having been dispersed years before.) They "will go in tears," meant deep repentance or sorrow.

2. The returnees will "Ask the Way to Zion"… meaning they don't know the way. (Since Zerubbabel led the return from Babylon and started rebuilding Jerusalem, there was never an account in Ezra or any other Chronicle where the people lost their way to Zion and needed directions. This must mean these folk are from a different time and are asking where the throne of God is and desire to be on the mountain of righteousness [tsedek]. They come with tears streaming down their faces wanting to know the way to Zion.)

3. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant, one that will not be forgotten. (Since this will be a volitional (volunteer) covenant, sought out by the returnees, this most likely refers to the covenant with Jesus… the new and living way.)
"In those days, at that time," declares the LORD, "the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the LORD their God. They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.
NIV Jeremiah 50:4-5
How did these people lose their way? In the end time, how have the people lost their way? Jeremiah hits the "spiritual nail" with a volley of passion. He openly blames the clergy for the people losing their way. The clergy (the Shepherds) have led the sheep astray.

These Shepherds belonged to the people. (Do Jeremiah's observations apply to modern times or are they restricted to the time of ancient Babylon? In what directions or paths are the "Shepherds" leading the people today? Dare one ask this question?)

Were ALL the Shepherds (clergy) guilty? (Since the "model" for churchdom is fairly uniform, it is easy to conclude: that in degree they may vary, but ALL qualify.) Note the underlined portion, "Their shepherds (Possessive case; perhaps even self-appointed)."
"My people have been lost sheep.
Their shepherds have led them astray;
NKJV Jeremiah 50:6
Where did their shepherds lead them? The sheep were directed to the hills and mountains of Idolatry. The Shepherds taught the sheep to adore the wrong things and fall down before unrighteous icons. In their cross path confusion, the sheep lost home base. They really did lose their way. (Could this account for the vast numbers wandering about on Sunday assembling to worship Worship?)
(Author's note: It has been difficult for me to transition church music to Dove Awards and Commercial Gospel Choirs touring the country while strutting and singing for a $50 ticket. It is equally hard for me to transition to the worship of religious figures [platform stars], while multitudes remain confused as to who they really are. [Pardon me, but I know where the resting place is and in order to get there one starts by stopping.] Stop following conventions, people or man's plans, and then the Spirit will and can lead the saint to Zion.)
They (the Shepherds) have turned them (the sheep) away on the mountains.
They have gone from mountain to hill;
They have forgotten their resting place.
NKJV Jeremiah 50:6
On those mountains and hills the Sheep of the Lord have become prey to self righteous hooligans, who defend their actions by saying, "After all, these sheep have sinned greatly and should be open game."

Notice, Jeremiah uses the ALL word once again in verse 7.
(Like the second watchmen in Song of Solomon, these shysters know what they are perpetrating. Instead of protecting the Bride, they molest the Bride.)
Those untrained, gullible sheep were open game for every scheme and evil purpose that came along, whether it is called, The Purpose Driven Life; the Shack; the Passion or Your Best Life Now. Like wolves licking their lips, those who claimed themselves "non offenders" excuse themselves in the courts of man by asserting they aid justice and assist God.
All who found them have devoured them;
And their adversaries said, 'We have not offended,
Because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice,
The LORD, the hope of their fathers.'
NKJV Jeremiah 50:7
Jeremiah's advice to everyone: Run.

Flee Babylon like the sheep must flee the shepherds because what had become the "establishment" was about to be destroyed. Like bullets from the prophet's gun, Jeremiah rapidly fired a foray of invectives: "Chaldea shall become plunder; all who plunder her will be satisfied (v. 10)." "Everyone who goes by Babylon shall be horrified and hiss at all her plagues. (v.13)." "As she has done, so do to her (v.15)." "You have indeed been trapped, O Babylon (v.24)."

Leveling now on the second reason for national disaster, Jeremiah declared yet another reason for the capitulation of Babylon: "Because you have contended against the Lord. The Lord has opened His armory. 50:24-25."

What does the arsenal of God contain? Famine, Pestilence, Sword! What other weapons are available? Earthquake (50:46), Wind (51:1) and Fire (50:32)! (The plagues of Egypt, the fires of Sodom and Gomorrah (50: 40), fear and trepidation (50:43), Angels).

Jeremiah's progression to the third charge (of Pride) brought out the big swords.

The Lord brought out his arsenal against Assyria and Babylon because they treated God's people with disdain. They also took the things of the Lord's Temple and used them scandalously (Jeremiah 52). They openly displayed their arrogance and pride. The Temple deeds brought God's "vengeance of His temple (50:28)." Pride and disdain brought God's swords of justice.
  1. Sword against the Chaldeans
  2. (v. 35).
  3. Sword against the inhabitants (v.35).

  4. Sword against her princes and her wise men (v. 35).

  5. Sword against the soothsayers (They became fools) (v. 36).

  6. Sword against the mighty men (they are dismayed) (v. 36).

  7. Sword against the horses (v. 37).

  8. Sword against the chariots (v. 37).

  9. Sword against the population of 'mixed people' (v. 37).

  10. Sword against the treasury (they shall be robbed) (v. 37).

  11. Sword against the waters (they dry up) (v. 38).

  12. Sword against the carved images (v. 38). (The people are "insane with their idols.")
How many of these swords are being displayed today? Can they not be seen in the market place and in the nerve centers of the world? Are they not emerging in response to the insanity of governments and the governed? Will we not hear again, "Your day has come (v. 31)"?

What about God's people? What sovereign word would Jeremiah direct to them, during these excesses?
For the second time, Jeremiah (prompted by the Lord) used the phrase, "In those days and in that time," to introduce the future of the Covenant people.
In those days and in that time," says the LORD,
"The iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none;
And the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found;
For I will pardon those whom I preserve.
NKJV Jeremiah 50:20
The Blood that washes away all iniquity and sin will have intervened! Israel and Judah (the Birthright and the Scepter) will find in Him their pardon and forgiveness. This did not mean there was or is a separate way of salvation for Jews; it meant true Israel and Judah will have found Christ. There is a catch phrase associated with this verse, "For I will pardon those whom I preserve (seal)(50:20)." In the book, Sealed Unto His Coming, Page 187, this verse is shown to be a part of the seal of God on His people. It coincides with the New Testament passage,
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.'
NKJV 2 Timothy 2:19
This sealed aspect also confirms God's judgment of Babylon as shown in chapter 51:29:
For every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon.
Chapter 51 Welcome to the "Day of Doom."

          The "Day of Doom" was not a phrase of optimism for Babylon. That phrase was to signal the "time appointed" for all hell to break loose against them. Artillery battalions were told to spare no one, they were told to "utterly destroy" all of Babylon's army (51:3). The population was counseled to flee in any direction possible to save themselves. (Mind now, this was prophesied while no nation on earth could resist the power of Babylon. They ruled the world).

          While for Babylon it will be the Day of Doom, for Israel and Judah it will be the Day of Deliverance. This prophecy is directed to a people not yet re-joined. The time line is the ancient world.
'For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah,
By his God, the LORD of hosts,
Though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.'
NKJV Jeremiah 51:5
The Day of Doom is the day to flee, to get far away from the "time of the Lord's vengeance" so as not to be "cut off," with Babylon. Associative judgment is again established. Distancing oneself from institutions destined for judgment (including churches and fellowships) is an important step in a modern saint's determinations. Organized religious activities are full of sin against the Holy One of Israel. Roman Catholic and Jesuit pursuits are nothing but sin multiplied by the millions. Saints in churches preaching tolerance for homosexual and lesbian worship team members, clergy and communion membership have but one word of advice from the prophet: Flee from them while there is yet time! Saints attending Messianic groups who preach Christ as secondary and promote Judaism over all other practice or considerations have but one word from Paul and the apostles: Run!

Fellowships that are nothing more than psychological support groups had best test their waters or find themselves on the Angel's hit list of end-time tasks. Ministerial Alliances where the emphasis is Inter-faith toleration and cooperation are no place for the true men of God! These are they who are filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel!

The nations of the earth are not exempt. They have drunk deeply from the "golden cup" and "Therefore the nations are deranged (51:7)." Crazed over economic issues which threaten their existence, way of life, and future productivity are driving leadership insane.

Yet, the voices of the saints can still be heard,
We would have healed Babylon,
But she is not healed…
The LORD has revealed our righteousness.
Come and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.
NKJV Jeremiah 51:9, 10
(Note: Keep reminding yourself this prophecy came BEFORE the last captives were taken away from Jerusalem. It was written as if the event had already happened and for the vagaries of secular history… God said it and it was accomplished.)
For the LORD has both devised and done What He spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon.
NKJV Jeremiah 51:12
Now the prophet turns to credentials for the statement above. It is one thing to declare something "done" before an unbelieving public; it is another to add credentials to that authority. At the moment the prophet was preaching, there was no man on earth greater than King Nebuchadnezzar. (God made him the most powerful man on earth, BUT… )

The great King of the Universe rules over the kingdoms of man:
The LORD of hosts has sworn by Himself…
He has made the earth by His power;
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And stretched out the heaven by His understanding.
When He utters His voice -
There is a multitude of waters in the heavens:
'He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightnings for the rain;
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.'

Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge;
Every metalsmith is put to shame by the carved image;
For his molded image is falsehood,
And there is no breath in them.
They are futile, a work of errors;
In the time of their punishment they shall perish.
The Portion of Jacob is not like them,
For He is the Maker of all things;
And Israel is the tribe of His inheritance.
The LORD of hosts is His name.
NKJV Jeremiah 51:14, 15-19
(One of the most cogent proofs for Creationism in the Bible is the passage you have just read. It is a declaration of Who God is. He is the Creator of all things.) Every prophet of God will in some form or fashion include a statement about God being the creator somewhere in his prophetic delivery. Paul used it, Peter used it and Stephen was stoned to death with the testimony of it on his dying breath. When Darwin made his challenge and the world bought into his theory-at that moment judgment began in heaven's court. No one challenges the King of the Universe and lives. No nation can teach its children history and science without Jehovah (the I AM) and live. No family can ignore Him and structure their lives apart from Him and live. No government can rule its people without His counsel, and continue to exist… it is an impossibility… God will bury them in the dust of history.

How is God going to bring judgment against Babylon? He will do so by using His people.
'You are My battle-ax and weapons of war:
For with you I will break the nation in pieces;
With you I will destroy kingdoms;
With you I will break in pieces the horse and its rider;
With you I will break in pieces the chariot and its rider;
With you also I will break in pieces man and woman;
With you I will break in pieces old and young;
With you I will break in pieces the young man and the maiden;
With you also I will break in pieces the shepherd and his flock;
With you I will break in pieces the farmer and his yoke of oxen;
And with you I will break in pieces governors and rulers.

'And I will repay Babylon
And all the inhabitants of Chaldea
For all the evil they have done
In Zion in your sight," says the LORD.'
NKJV Jeremiah 51:20-24
That is how the Lord plans to bring the nations to judgment now… through His people! His arm is not slack. (Read through this passage with a modern bent to it. See what is to be broken in pieces and you will see where God's intentions lie.) His people have enough power through the Word, the gospel, and the Spirit, to break into these arenas… the People of the Lord, not action groups nor political entities… .(O' God help the mighty church of the Living God to rise to the occasion and be the "battle ax" in a day when the last vestiges of freedom are being usurped before us!)

Babylon was an example, like Sodom and Gomorrah were examples. Babylon was a symbol. They were a religious people who were bankrupt and corrupt beyond measure. God met them with rampant fear and derision… messages of doom began pouring in on all sides. The King could find no solace. Belshazzar stood in his banquet hall (portrayed in Daniel), and the hand writing from the hand of God caused his knees to tremble. Amid the orgy he had prepared for 1000 of the top leaders from all the nations under his rule, God wrote judgment. The term, "The handwriting is on the wall," began in that place of debauchery. (The progression God uses is nearly always the same. What increases first is the repeated communication of fear and despair then comes THE DAY.) Darius surrounded that "Playground of Fools," and brought down Babylon in one night. The drunken masses were in total disarray and even the guards were frolicking.
The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting,
They have remained in their strongholds;
Their might has failed,
They became like women;
They have burned her dwelling places,
The bars of her gate are broken.
One runner will run to meet another,
And one messenger to meet another,
To show the king of Babylon that his city is taken on all sides;
The passages are blocked,
The reeds they have burned with fire,
And the men of war are terrified.
Jeremiah 51:30-32
This was an accurate account of their last night of fame. Darius, the Persian, took the city in one night and Daniel was given great wealth and freedom, when just hours before, he languished in a prison. (Note: thinking about this makes me shout in tongues and praise the Living God right here.)

Iran (Persia) is poised to do it again.
The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor
When it is time to thresh her;
Yet a little while
And the time of her harvest will come.
NKJV Jeremiah 51:33
Run! It is harvest time! Run! Judgment is about to be carried out by the Living God. All the while, the people of God are saying, "Let God be judge between us." While they are weeping because of injustice after injustice, there is but one cry, "Let God be God!" He has heard the voice of His people many times before:
`Let the violence done to me and my flesh be upon Babylon,'
The inhabitant of Zion will say;
'And my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea!'
Jerusalem will say.
NKJV Jeremiah 51:35
God is an able advocate!
'Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. Babylon shall become a heap, A dwelling place for jackals, An astonishment and a hissing, Without an inhabitant. They shall roar together like lions, They shall growl like lions' whelps. In their excitement I will prepare their feasts; I will make them drunk, That they may rejoice, And sleep a perpetual sleep And not awake,' says the LORD. 'I will bring them down Like lambs to the slaughter, Like rams with male goats.

'Oh, how Sheshach is taken! Oh, how the praise of the whole earth is seized! How Babylon has become desolate among the nations! The sea has come up over Babylon; She is covered with the multitude of its waves. Her cities are a desolation, A dry land and a wilderness, A land where no one dwells, Through which no son of man passes. I will punish Bel in Babylon, And I will bring out of his mouth what he has swallowed; And the nations shall not stream to him anymore. Yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall.'
NKJV Jeremiah 51:36-44
Jeremiah's pronouncement was made years before the event:
As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall,
So at Babylon the slain of all the earth shall fall.
NKJV Jeremiah 51:49
That is happening as we speak.

For the children of God one word of advice:
Get away! Do not stand still! Remember the Lord afar off.
And let Jerusalem come to your mind.
NKJV Jeremiah 51:50

For the LORD is the God of recompense,
He will surely repay.
NKJV Jeremiah 51:56
The prophet assigned a task to Seraiah, the quartermaster under Zedekiah, King of Judah.
The word which 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 reign. And Seraiah was the quartermaster. So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that would come upon Babylon, all these words that are written against Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, "When you arrive in Babylon and see it, and read all these words, then you shall say, 'O LORD, You have spoken against this place to cut it off, so that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but it shall be desolate forever.' Now it shall be, when you have finished reading this book, that you shall tie a stone to it and throw it out into the Euphrates. Then you shall say, 'Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her. And they shall be weary."'
NKJV Jeremiah 51:59-64
(Note: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the word of God, it stands forever. Although the nations of the earth are seeking to re-establish Babylon (Iraq) as a nation, it will never happen. Read the former passage again, and it will explain how the nations are a part of the continued judgment against these lands… somewhere in the Euphrates is a book.)

Note: the scribe declared with these words came the end of Jeremiah's prophetic word, so one asks, "What of chapter 52?" Chapter 52 is an historical addendum filling in the details of the final days of King Zedekiah and the former King Jehoiachin.

Chapter 52 Historical update:

Clarification is always good. Clarification of events is what this final chapter in Jeremiah is all about. There are several matters to look into, but the primary one is the destiny of Seraiah. His assignment was to take the prophecy against Babylon, bring it onto Babylonian soil, read it on Babylonian soil and cast it into the Euphrates thus affecting the source of life giving waters to the nation.

How important is bringing a prophetic word into a region which is described in that word? The answer is, "It is vitally important." (Author's Note: I remember being instructed to go to Romania in 1994, and declare certain things from the Lord on the soil of that nation. Words directed to a people on their land have greater impact than one can imagine.) Seraiah's task was not an effort in futility. The Word was "loosed" upon Babylon and it could not be retracted. It was non-debatable. (In our lands of 'many opinions,' this truth must be heralded---the true prophet does not care about differing opinions or man's comments---the true prophet does not open up his message for discussion or solicit comments [facebook, social media]-the true prophet speaks his words exactly as God gave them, where He says speak them and to whom He addresses, with no regard to his own comfort.)

Two other personalities are featured in this history section:
  1. Zedekiah: He is shown defeated and blind because he did not follow the prophet's instructions. His army was destroyed because they did not follow the prophet's instructions.

  2. Jehoiachin: though a wicked King, he had favor in the court and lives out his life in exile.
Author's Comment: It has been a joy to complete this year long venture in serial commentary with you. There has been some interest in compiling these materials in a work book. You are permitted to copy them and make your own study materials from these archived works. You may review all issues of The Road To Captivity - An Exposition of Jeremiah as well as all past newsletters on the Zadok Publication Archive.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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