Sunday, March 19, 2023

“Babylon Must Fall” [Matt's Messages]

“Babylon Must Fall”
Uprooted - The Words of Jeremiah
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
March 19, 2023 :: Jeremiah 50:1-51:64

Baruch’s brother Seraiah tied these two chapters of Jeremiah to a rock and tossed them into the Euphrates river.

Do you know this story? To understand these two chapters, it helps to start at the end.

It turns out that Jeremiah sent a copy of the main contents of these two chapters, Jeremiah 50 and 51, all the way to Babylon with Seraiah son of Neriah, who was probably his assistant Baruch’s brother. And Jeremiah sent a copy of these two chapters all the way to Babylon with Seraiah when King Zedekiah had to go there in 593 BC. And Jeremiah told Seraiah to read the words of the prophecies out loud. And then pray that God would fulfill them and then tie the scroll to a stone and throw the whole thing into the river with a big splash!

I love it that Jeremiah is at it again with his dramatic symbolic acts! He’s got yet even one more of these prophetic props up his sleeve at the very end of his book. This one by remote! Jeremiah isn’t even there, but he’s telling Seraiah what to do. Seraiah is supposed to tie these words to a rock and let it sink into the Euphrates. And then what?

Now, this drowning of the scroll is the opposite of when Jehoiakim burnt the scroll. That was somehow trying to keep the prophecy from coming true and showing disdain and contempt for the Word of God. And trying to destroy the Word of God. This was actually part of the Word of God. This was the Word of God being fulfilled. Enacting the Word of God.

Because what these words said were that “Babylon Must Fall.” That’s our sermon title for today taken from verse 49 of chapter 51. “Babylon Must Fall.” Like this scroll hitting the bottom of the Euphrates, the kingdom of Babylon must sink down to rise no more.

Last week, we read about God’s judgment coming on nine different nations. The LORD’s prophecies “concerning the nations” that surrounded Judah. Sometimes their allies, but more often than not, their enemies. Starting with Egypt in the South and West, the prophecies curled around Judah heading East and North.

And now in chapters 50 and 51, we have the final prophecies that concern one last kingdom, the kingdom from the north, the greatest enemy of Judah there ever was, the empire that conquered them and the entire civilized world. The empire that burned the city of Jerusalem, and destroyed the temple of the LORD, and carried off the people of Judah into exile. In these two chapters, we have the prophecies “concerning Babylon.”

What do you think we’re going see when we read them? The people of Judah would have been very interested to hear what the LORD had to say was going to happen to Babylon. They didn’t like to hear what Jeremiah had to say about what was going to happen to them. They tried to ignore him for 40 years about that! But they would have cocked an ear and listened with interest to find out what Yahweh prophesied to Babylon. What kind of things do you think He’s going to say?

A lot of it is just like what we saw last week. There is a lot of justice. There is a lot of judgment and vengeance and punishment. Remember “the sword” from last week? “The sword of the LORD.”  That sword is going to come out swinging through these two chapters as “Babylon Must Fall.”

We’re also going to see the LORD shaming the false gods. Yahweh alone is God, and He will brook no rivals. The gods of Babylon will be shamed and defeated and disgraced.

We’re also, once again, going to see the LORD humbling the arrogant. No kingdom had ever been as prideful as Babylon! Therefore no kingdom would ever be as humbled.

And along the way, we’ll also see the LORD rescuing His people and giving them rest from their enemies. These chapters are heavy if you are the people of Babylon, but they are delightful if you are people of Judah! The people of Judah would have just rejoiced to hear these things. They would have cried tears of joy. 

And maybe of disbelief. It might have been very hard for them to believe these prophecies. They sounded too good to be true! Nothing in these prophesies seemed very likely at the time. Babylon was at the heights of power in the whole entire world! But the LORD said that Babylon must fall.

Let’s just read our way through it and see what’s there, and then when we get to the end, I’ll have 3 points of application for our lives today.

Jeremiah chapter 50, verse 1.

“This is the word the LORD spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians:”

[By the way, your Bible may say “Chaldea” and the “Chaldeans.” That’s how the Hebrew actually reads. The Chaldeans were the ethnic group that had risen to rule Babylon at this moment starting with Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar. They were the Chaldeans who were ruling Babylon, and so to keep things simple, many English Bibles uses “Babylon” and “Babylonia” in those verses to keep things straight. Back to verse 1.]

“This is the word the LORD spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians: ‘Announce and proclaim among the nations, lift up a banner and proclaim it; keep nothing back, but say, 'Babylon will be captured; Bel will be put to shame, Marduk filled with terror. Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror.'

A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land. No one will live in it; both men and animals will flee away” (vv.1-3). 

This is something that Judah has longed to hear for a very long time. Babylon is going to be captured. All they’ve heard year after year is that Judah is going to be captured. But the LORD says that after that Babylon is going to get it, too. And it’s going to be an enemy from the north that does it! 

All these years, Judah has been warned about this enemy from the north that is going to lay waste to their land. But Babylon is going to have a northern enemy do it to them, too.

And you see what’s going to happen to their gods? That’s who Bel is (it’s like Baal) and Marduk also known as “Merodach.” That’s the chief god of Babylon. He’s going to be shamed and scared! I love that picture. Babylon’s gods are going to be terrified and helpless to stop the LORD from judging them. At long last!

And, at long last, there will finally be real repentance among the people of Judah. Look at verse 4.

“‘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” (vv.4-5).

This is just like the promises of chapters 30 through 33. Promises of restoration and the new permanent covenant written on their hearts! At long last. V.6

“My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place. [Bad kings.] Whoever found them devoured them; their enemies said, 'We are not guilty, for they sinned against the LORD, their true pasture, the LORD, the hope of their fathers.'”

The people who had conquered Judah were right that Judah deserved their punishment. But that did not mean that they were right to conquer them. They were oppressors, and when the LORD was done using them to judge His people, He was going to judge them! Babylon must fall.

So Judah must flee. V.8

“‘Flee out of Babylon; leave the land of the Babylonians, and be like the goats that lead the flock. For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north. They will take up their positions against her, and from the north she will be captured. Their arrows will be like skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed. So Babylonia will be plundered; all who plunder her will have their fill,’ declares the LORD.” (Vv.8-11).

Now, this command to “flee” is interesting. It’s not something that Judah is supposed to do right away. In chapter 29, in the letter to the exiles, written perhaps at the very same time[!], the LORD told them to settle down and build houses and pray for the peace and prosperity of Babylon for the time being.

But only for the time being. When the seventy years of their sentence is up, they are supposed to get out of Dodge. Settle in but don’t get too comfortable. Because Babylon must fall.

Why must they fall? Why must this “alliance of nations” rise up from the north to plunder them? Because of how they have treated God’s people! V.11 The LORD says:

“‘Because you rejoice and are glad, you who pillage my inheritance, because you frolic like a heifer threshing grain and neigh like stallions, your mother will be greatly ashamed; she who gave you birth will be disgraced. She will be the least of the nations–a wilderness, a dry land, a desert. Because of the LORD's anger she will not be inhabited but will be completely desolate. All who pass Babylon will be horrified and scoff because of all her wounds” (vv.11-13).

Do you see how this is justice? Babylon has done wrong against God’s people, and they will not get away with it. There will be blood. V.14

“‘Take up your positions around Babylon, all you who draw the bow. Shoot at her! Spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD. Shout against her on every side! She surrenders, her towers fall, her walls are torn down. Since this is the vengeance of the LORD, take vengeance on her; do to her as she has done to others.”

That’s justice. And at the same time, it’s salvation–for God’s people. V.16

“Cut off from Babylon the sower, and the reaper with his sickle at harvest. Because of the sword of the oppressor [Babylon] let everyone return to his own people, let everyone flee to his own land.

‘Israel is a scattered flock that lions have chased away. The first to devour him was the king of Assyria [in the northern kingdom]; the last to crush his bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon’ [in the south]. Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will punish the king of Babylon and his land as I punished the king of Assyria.

But I will bring Israel back to his own pasture and he will graze on Carmel and Bashan; his appetite will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead” (vv.16-19).

The Savior will “like a Shepherd lead us, [so] much we need [His] tender care. In [His] pleasant pastures feed us, For our use [His] folds prepare[d].” - Dorothy Thrupp 

This justice on God’s enemies means salvation for God’s people.

Total salvation. Including total forgiveness! Look at verse 20.

“In those days, at that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘search will be made for Israel's guilt [and there was so much of it! We have seen so much of it], but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah [and there was so much of it!], but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare” (v.20).

You and I know how that is even possible! It’s because of what Jesus Christ did at Calvary.

“You laid down Your life
That I would be set free”
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You've done for me

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!” (Phil Wickham)

They will search for our guilt and our sins, but none will be found! That’s why we have a hope and future

But Babylon does not have a hope or a future. V.21

“‘Attack the land of Merathaim and those who live in Pekod. Pursue, kill and completely destroy them,’ declares the LORD. ‘Do everything I have commanded you. The noise of battle is in the land, the noise of great destruction! How broken and shattered is the hammer of the whole earth! How desolate is Babylon among the nations!

I set a trap for you, O Babylon, and you were caught before you knew it; you were found and captured because you opposed the LORD. The LORD has opened his arsenal and brought out the weapons of his wrath, for the Sovereign LORD Almighty has work to do in the land of the Babylonians. 

Come against her from afar. Break open her granaries; pile her up like heaps of grain. Completely destroy her and leave her no remnant. Kill all her young bulls; let them go down to the slaughter! Woe to them! For their day has come, the time for them to be punished.

Listen to the fugitives and refugees from Babylon declaring in Zion how the LORD our God has taken vengeance, vengeance for his temple” (vv.21-28).

He doesn’t stop, does He? Babylon thinks of themselves as “the hammer of the whole earth.” They can pound wherever they want. They can pound whoever they want. But now the those who have been doing the pounding are going to get the pounding.

And, make no mistake, it is the LORD who is now doing the pounding! V.29

“‘Summon archers against Babylon, all those who draw the bow. Encamp all around her; let no one escape. Repay her for her deeds; do to her as she has done. For she has defied the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. Therefore, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,’ declares the LORD. 

‘See, I am against you, O arrogant one,’ declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty, ‘for your day has come, the time for you to be punished. The arrogant one will stumble and fall and no one will help her up; I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her’” (vv.29-32).

There’s that theme of humbling the prideful, isn’t there? Don’t raise yourself up. Humble yourself and let the LORD do it. Babylon was so arrogant, and so Babylon must fall. V.33

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well. All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go. 

Yet their Redeemer is strong; the LORD Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon.

[Salvation by “the sword.” V.35]

‘A sword against the Babylonians!’ declares the LORD– ‘against those who live in Babylon and against her officials and wise men! A sword against her false prophets! They will become fools. A sword against her warriors! They will be filled with terror. A sword against her horses and chariots and all the foreigners in her ranks! They will become women. A sword against her treasures! They will be plundered. A drought on her waters! They will dry up. For it is a land of idols, idols that will go mad with terror.

‘So desert creatures and hyenas will live there, and there the owl will dwell. It will never again be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah along with their neighboring towns,’ declares the LORD, ‘so no one will live there; no man will dwell in it.

‘Look! An army is coming from the north; a great nation and many kings are being stirred up from the ends of the earth. They are armed with bows and spears; they are cruel and without mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on their horses; they come like men in battle formation to attack you, O Daughter of Babylon” (vv.33-44).

A sword, a sword, a sword, a sword. If you don’t have room in your concept of God for the sword of the LORD, you need to learn to make room for the justice of God. Babylon must fall. And so it will. V.43

“The king of Babylon has heard reports about them [the attacking armies], and his hands hang limp. Anguish has gripped him, pain like that of a woman in labor. [This actually happened to king Belshazzer in Daniel chapter 5!] Like a lion coming up from Jordan's thickets to a rich pastureland, I will chase Babylon from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me?’ Therefore, hear what the LORD has planned against Babylon, what he has purposed against the land of the Babylonians: The young of the flock will be dragged away; he will completely destroy their pasture because of them. At the sound of Babylon's capture the earth will tremble; its cry will resound among the nations.”

Babylon will fall.

Imagine being an Israelite in exile and hearing this prophecy from the pen of Jeremiah. You’ve been told that Jerusalem is going to fall. And here you are living your life in Babylon, among your captors and oppressors.

And then you hear that justice is coming. They are going to get what is coming to them. And then you hear more about it in chapter 51:

“This is what the LORD says: ‘See, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Leb Kamai. [That’s a play on words. A cryptogram for Chaldea that also means “The Heart of My Attackers.” The LORD is attacking them. V.2] I will send foreigners to Babylon to winnow her and to devastate her land; they will oppose her on every side in the day of her disaster.

Let not the archer string his bow, nor let him put on his armor. Do not spare her young men; completely destroy her army. They will fall down slain in Babylon, fatally wounded in her streets. [Why?] For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the LORD Almighty, though their land is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel. [He’s going to save them in spite of their sins!] 

‘Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It is time for the LORD's vengeance; he will pay her what she deserves” (vv.1-6).

There’s that call to flee again. When the seventy years are up, they are supposed to pick up their stuff and run out of Babylon like their lives depended on it. Because they did! Because Babylon must fall. 

Verse 7. “Babylon was a gold cup in the LORD's hand; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore they have now gone mad. Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken. Wail over her! Get balm for her pain; perhaps she can be healed. 'We would have healed Babylon, but she cannot be healed; let us leave her and each go to his own land, for her judgment reaches to the skies, it rises as high as the clouds.'

'The LORD has vindicated us; come, let us tell in Zion what the LORD our God has done.'” 

There’s that salvation theme again. This judgment of God’s enemies means the salvation of God’s people. V.11

“‘Sharpen the arrows, take up the shields! The LORD has stirred up the kings of the Medes, because his purpose is to destroy Babylon. The LORD will take vengeance, vengeance for his temple. Lift up a banner against the walls of Babylon! Reinforce the guard, station the watchmen, prepare an ambush! The LORD will carry out his purpose, his decree against the people of Babylon.

You who live by many waters and are rich in treasures, your end has come, the time for you to be cut off. The LORD Almighty has sworn by himself: I will surely fill you with men, as with a swarm of locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.

‘He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. ‘Every man is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them.  They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish.  He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including the tribe of his inheritance–the LORD Almighty is his name” (vv.11-20).

In this section, the LORD finally names the next major world power that is going to take down Babylon. It will be the Medes. We’ll learn later that it will be the Medes and the Persians together. It will take a massive alliance of nations to conquer Babylon, but it will happen.

They are coming from the north like a swarm of locusts. However, they aren’t the real power that will make Babylon fall. That will be the LORD Himself, the only real and true God.

These words in verses 15-19 were used before in chapter 10. The LORD cut and pasted them from chapter 10 when He was going to judge Judah. The very same real God (unlike the shameful fake gods, the very same real God) will now judge Babylon.

Babylon has been used by God but not excused by God. Verse 20.

“‘You are my war club, my weapon for battle–with you I shatter nations, with you I destroy kingdoms, with you I shatter horse and rider, with you I shatter chariot and driver, with you I shatter man and woman, with you I shatter old man and youth, with you I shatter young man and maiden, with you I shatter shepherd and flock, with you I shatter farmer and oxen, with you I shatter governors and officials” (vv-20-23).

How’s that for repetition? I’m not sure who the war club is here. Half of me thinks it’s Cyrus, the king of the Persians who is going to make Babylon fall. But the other half of me thinks it’s talking about Babylon itself and how God used Babylon but didn’t excuse Babylon. God used them to bring His righteous justice through their unrighteous oppression. Either way, now He’s going to bring them down. V.24

“‘Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion,’ declares the LORD. ‘I am against you, O destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you off the cliffs, and make you a burned-out mountain. No rock will be taken from you for a cornerstone, nor any stone for a foundation, for you will be desolate forever,’ declares the LORD.

‘Lift up a banner in the land! Blow the trumpet among the nations! Prepare the nations for battle against her; summon against her these kingdoms: Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz. [Territories of the Medes.] Appoint a commander against her; send up horses like a swarm of locusts. Prepare the nations for battle against her–the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their officials, and all the countries they rule.

The land trembles and writhes, for the LORD's purposes against Babylon stand–to lay waste the land of Babylon so that no one will live there.

Babylon's warriors have stopped fighting; they remain in their strongholds. Their strength is exhausted; they have become like women. Her dwellings are set on fire; the bars of her gates are broken. One courier follows another and messenger follows messenger to announce to the king of Babylon that his entire city is captured, the river crossings seized, the marshes set on fire, and the soldiers terrified’” (vv.24-32).

He doesn’t stop, does He? He has one big message, and He wants us to get it. V.33

“This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘The Daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is trampled; the time to harvest her will soon come.’  ‘Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured us, he has thrown us into confusion, he has made us an empty jar. Like a serpent he has swallowed us and filled his stomach with our delicacies, and then has spewed us out.

May the violence done to our flesh be upon Babylon,’ say the inhabitants of Zion. ‘May our blood be on those who live in Babylonia,’ says Jerusalem” (vv.33-35).

We see here, at last, not just real repentance and real rest and real redemption for Judah, but we see, at last, real retribution for Babylon. V.36

“Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘See, I will defend your cause and avenge you [Judah]; I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. Babylon will be a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, an object of horror and scorn, a place where no one lives. Her people all roar like young lions, they growl like lion cubs. But while they are aroused, I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laughter–then sleep forever and not awake,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats. ‘How Sheshach will be captured, the boast of the whole earth seized! What a horror Babylon will be among the nations! The sea will rise over Babylon; its roaring waves will cover her. Her towns will be desolate, a dry and desert land, a land where no one lives, through which no man travels.

I will punish Bel in Babylon and make him spew out what he has swallowed. The nations will no longer stream to him. And the wall of Babylon will fall.”

“‘Come out of her, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the LORD. Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land; one rumor comes this year, another the next, rumors of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler. For the time will surely come when I will punish the idols of Babylon; her whole land will be disgraced and her slain will all lie fallen within her.

Then heaven and earth and all that is in them will shout for joy over Babylon, for out of the north destroyers will attack her,’ declares the LORD.

‘Babylon must fall because of Israel's slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon. You who have escaped the sword, leave and do not linger! Remember the LORD in a distant land, and think on Jerusalem.’

‘We are disgraced, for we have been insulted and shame covers our faces, because foreigners have entered the holy places of the LORD's house.’ 

‘But days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will punish her idols, and throughout her land the wounded will groan. Even if Babylon reaches the sky and fortifies her lofty stronghold, I will send destroyers against her,’ declares the LORD. 

‘The sound of a cry comes from Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians. The LORD will destroy Babylon; he will silence her noisy din. Waves of enemies will rage like great waters; the roar of their voices will resound. A destroyer will come against Babylon; her warriors will be captured, and their bows will be broken. For the LORD is a God of retribution; he will repay in full.

I will make her officials and wise men drunk, her governors, officers and warriors as well; they will sleep forever and not awake,’ declares the King, whose name is the LORD Almighty. This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Babylon's thick wall will be leveled and her high gates set on fire; the peoples exhaust themselves for nothing, the nations' labor is only fuel for the flames’” (vv.36-58).

“The days are coming.” How many times have we read those words and rejoiced in the last few months?  Because God’s salvation is on the way.

And also because God’s justice is on the way. The days are coming when God will bring complete justice against this great and terrible city. Babylon must fall. Justice demands it.

Do you see the main themes running through there? 

The idols of Babylon punished, shamed, and disgraced.

The people of Judah being told to run out of there so they aren’t caught up in Babylon’s downfall, as well. They are supposed to (v.50) remember the LORD and think on Jerusalem.

And that constant drumbeat of justice. Nothing will stop it.

Verse 53 reminds us that Babylon is where the tower of Babel was. “Even if Babylon reaches the sky and fortifies her lofty stronghold, I will send destroyers against her,’ declares the LORD.” Nothing will stop God’s justice. Because that is Who He is! V.56 reminds us, “God is a God of retribution; he will repay in full.” We forget that to our detriment.

Let’s pause right here, and let me give you the three very brief points of application.


Just like last week, we are told of this justice to come to warn us to not be like the unrepentant nations, from Egypt to Elam, the nations who do not turn from their sins against the LORD. The nations that embrace the false gods of the idols. Last week: Amon, Chemosh, Molech. This week, Bel and Marduk. 

Idols will not save, but they will condemn.

Justice is coming. Perfect justice is on the way. The sword will be unsheathed on the unrepentant. Babylon is so proud. They will not repent. Not in large scale. There is no “and yet” in chapters 50 and 51 like there were in several places in chapters 46 through 49. Babylon will not be saved, so do not be like them.

Justice is coming. Repent!

“… Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin' in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What's down in the dark will be brought to the light

… You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God'll cut you down” (Johnny Cash) 

Repent of the sins of Babylon.

The good news is that God is gracious towards the repentant. Amazingly gracious, as we’ve been singing. In fact, He gave His own beloved Son so that we need not perish at His sword but instead gain eternal life! To all believe! To all who repent and trust in His Son.

Do not be like Babylon in chapter 50 and 51, but be like Israel and Judah in chapter 50 and 51. Truly repent. Go in tears to seek the LORD your God. Ask the way to Zion and turn your faces toward it. Trust in the Mediator of the new everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.

And you will gain a hope and a future. And you will find rest for your soul. A Shepherd with “grace to cleanse, and power to free...Blessed Jesus, early let us turn to Thee.”

Repent of the sins of Babylon and find that your sins cannot be found again.

Application point number two. It’s like the first one, but just a little bit different.


What I mean is–don’t go there. Don’t follow them into their sin. All of the verses throughout chapter 50 and 51 that tell Judah to run, to flee, to get out of Babylon while they can.

Like the billy-goats running ahead of flock, bursting to get out of there (50:8).

All the places where the LORD says, “Come out of her, my people!” (51:45).

I’ve got a Bible study for you to do this afternoon. Where do you think these two chapters show up the most in the New Testament? There is a chapter in your Bible that is devoted to building on the theology of Jeremiah 50 and 51. Does anybody know what it is?

It's Revelation chapter 18.

You might want to read it this afternoon and note all of the ways that it builds right off Jeremiah 50 and 51. Because Babylon is more than just a historical city and kingdom from the sixth century before Christ. Babylon stands for much more than that now. Babylon stands for the whole world system of worldiness. Babylon is all of humanity united in sin and wickedness. It is the city of sin personified.

And in Revelation chapter 18, verse 4, John the Revelator says, “Then I heard another voice from heaven say: ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins...” (Rev. 18:4 NIVO).

God’s beloved people are told not just to repent of the times when we have fallen into Babylon’s ways, but to run from that temptation now.

Don’t flirt with sin.
Don’t flirt with idols.
Don’t flirt with pride.
Don’t flirt with mistreating God’s people.
Don’t flirt with wickedness. 

“Come out of her!” Run, flee, take flight! “Leave and do not linger” (51:50).

Because Babylon must fall. And it will. And when it does...when it finally at last falls for good...God’s people will rejoice.


I think that’s hard for us at times to do. We love a good salvation story and rejoice when anyone repents and is saved. And rightly so! God gets the glory. He loves to save! 

But God also gets the glory from His perfect justice. And when people refuse to repent, we should rejoice when God brings His justice down. Look at verse 48 of chapter 51.

“‘Then heaven and earth and all that is in them will shout for joy over Babylon, for out of the north destroyers will attack her,’ declares the LORD.”

Heaven and earth and all that is them, rejoicing over the downfall of Babylon.

And that’s not just an Old Testament thing. Listen to what Revelation 18 says about this for the final Babylon, the bigger Babylon. When the ultimate Babylon falls, Revelation 18:20 says, “Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you” (Rev. 18:20 NIVO).

“Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” (Rev. 18:2 NIVO).

Rejoice! Shout for joy! Because God is just. Anyone who has experience injustice will feel this more than others. And the greater the injustice you have experiences, the greater you will long for and rejoice when true justice comes. Rejoice that God is a God of retribution (51:56). Justice will be done and will be seen to be done. Inarguably. Everything wrong will be made right–either at the Cross or in the eternal judgment. Babylon must fall.

We will be so happy. When we are perfected, we will be so happy that God has judged the nations, especially the nation of nations, the final Babylon. It must fall and never rise again.

That was the point that Jeremiah wanted to make to the exiles in Babylon. That’s why he sent Seraiah with this mission. Look at verse 59.

“This is the message Jeremiah gave to the staff officer Seraiah son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with Zedekiah king of Judah in the fourth year of his reign.

Jeremiah had written on a scroll about all the disasters that would come upon Babylon–  all that had been recorded concerning Babylon. [Everything we have just read.] He said to Seraiah, ‘When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud. [Like I just did.] Then say, 'O LORD, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither man nor animal will live in it; it will be desolate forever.' When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates. Then say, 'So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring upon her. And her people will fall.' The words of Jeremiah end here” (vv.59-64).

Next week, Lord-willing, we’ll see what God included as an appendix to Jeremiah’s scroll, but these are all the words that he wrote for us. And it’s a fitting last word to come from the one who said that they would fall into the hands of Babylon.

He says that Babylon must fall and sink down into the waters and drown and never come back again.

I imagine those exiles standing in the land of Babylon watching the water, looking to see if those words float back up to the surface. But they don’t. God’s word will stand. And Babylon will fall, at long last.

And not just that Babylon then, but the ultimate Babylon one day. In Revelation chapter 18, John has a vision of angel recreating this prophetic sign from Jeremiah 51 on an scale we can’t imagine.

He says, “Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: ‘With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again’” (Rev. 18:21 NIVO).

Never to be found again.

God’s word will stand. And Babylon will fall.

And we will rejoice!


Previous Messages in This Series:

01. "The Word of the LORD Came to Me" - Jeremiah 1:1-19
02. "I Bring Charges Against You" - Jeremiah 2:1-3:5
03. "Return to Me" - Jeremiah 3:6-4:4
04. “Oh My Anguish, My Anguish!” - Jeremiah 4:6-5:31
05. "Ask for the Ancient Paths" - Jeremiah 6:1-30
06. “This Is the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD!” - Jeremiah 7:1-8:3
07. "Is There No Balm in Gilead?" - Jeremiah 8:4-9:22
08. "Boast About This" - Jeremiah 9:23-24
09. "Like a Scarecrow in a Melon Patch" - Jeremiah 9:25-10:25
10. "Conspiracy" - Jeremiah 11:1-12:17
11. “My People For My Renown” - Jeremiah 13:1-27
12. "I Can No Longer Show Compassion" - Jeremiah 14:1-15:21
13. "I Have Withdrawn My Blessing, My Love and My Pity" - Jeremiah 16:1-21
14. "I the LORD Search the Heart" - Jeremiah 17:1-27
15. "Go Down to the Potter's House" - Jeremiah 18:1-19:15
16. “Insult and Reproach All Day Long” - Jeremiah 20:1-18
17. "Woe to the Shepherds" - Jeremiah 21:1-23:8
18. "I Did Not Send These Prophets" - Jeremiah 23:9-40
19. "“My Eyes Will Watch Over Them For Their Good” - Jeremiah 24:1-25:38
20. "This Man Should Be Sentenced to Death" - Jeremiah 26:1-24
21. “Under the Yoke” - Jeremiah 27:1-28:17
22. “I Know the Plans I Have for You” - Jeremiah 29:1-32
23. "I Will Surely Save You Out of a Distant Land" - Jeremiah 30:1-24
24. “I Have Loved You With An Everlasting Love” - Jeremiah 31:1-26
25. "A New Covenant" - Jeremiah 31:27-40
26. "Buy the Field" - Jeremiah 32:1-44
27. "Great and Unsearchable Things" - Jeremiah 33:1-26
28. "Go To the Recabite Family" - Jeremiah 34:1-35:19
29. "The Scroll" - Jeremiah 36:1-32
30. "Sunk In the Mud" - Jeremiah 37:1-38:28
31. "He Has Done Just As He Said He Would" - Jeremiah 39:1-41:18
32. "Do Not Go to Egypt" - Jeremiah 42:1-44:30
33. "What Jeremiah the Prophet Told Baruch" - Jeremiah 45:1-7