“You are my hammer and weapon of war:
with you I break nations in pieces;
with you I destroy kingdoms;
with you I break in pieces the horse and his rider;
with you I break in pieces the chariot and the charioteer;
with you I break in pieces man and woman;
with you I break in pieces the old man and the youth;
with you I break in pieces the young man and the young woman;
with you I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock;
with you I break in pieces the farmer and his team;
with you I break in pieces governors and commanders.
“I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea before your very eyes for all the evil that they have done in Zion, declares the Lord.
“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
declares the Lord,
which destroys the whole earth;
I will stretch out my hand against you,
and roll you down from the crags,
and make you a burnt mountain.
No stone shall be taken from you for a corner
and no stone for a foundation,
but you shall be a perpetual waste,
declares the Lord.
“Set up a standard on the earth;
blow the trumpet among the nations;
prepare the nations for war against her;
summon against her the kingdoms,
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz;
appoint a marshal against her;
bring up horses like bristling locusts.
Prepare the nations for war against her,
the kings of the Medes, with their governors and deputies,
and every land under their dominion.
The land trembles and writhes in pain,
for the Lord‘s purposes against Babylon stand,
to make the land of Babylon a desolation,
The warriors of Babylon have ceased fighting;
they remain in their strongholds;
their strength has failed;
they have become women;
her dwellings are on fire;
her bars are broken.
One runner runs to meet another,
and one messenger to meet another,
to tell the king of Babylon
that his city is taken on every side;
the fords have been seized,
the marshes are burned with fire,
and the soldiers are in panic.
For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor
at the time when it is trodden;
yet a little while
and the time of her harvest will come.”
“Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me;
he has crushed me;
he has made me an empty vessel;
he has swallowed me like a monster;
he has filled his stomach with my delicacies;
he has rinsed me out.
The violence done to me and to my kinsmen be upon Babylon,”
let the inhabitant of Zion say.
“My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
let Jerusalem say. – Jeremiah 51:20-35 ESV
Ten times in this section, God refers to an unknown entity with whom He would break the nation of Babylon. He calls this unnamed nation or alliance of nations “my hammer and weapon of war.” Repeatedly He states, “with you I break in pieces”, and then describes the various people and places He will destroy using this instrument of destruction. And the primary focus of their attention will be the nation of Babylon.
“I will repay Babylon
and the people of Babylonia
for all the wrong they have done
to my people in Jerusalem,” says the Lord. – Jeremiah 51:24 NLT
God describes Babylon as a “ destroying mountain,” but they will prove no match for Him. Mountains are an image of stability and power, immovable and virtually insurmountable. They appear as barriers and serve as protection to nations, denying easy access to their borders by their enemies. Babylon was massive and a force with which to be reckoned, but God warns them, “When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble” (Jeremiah 51:25 NLT).
God issues a battle cry, summoning the forces of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. These were nations located to the north of Babylon. They would join the Medes in forming a massive army, with the horses of this combined army descending on Babylon like locusts. The result of this alliance on Babylon would be devastating. They would stand no chance. And in just a limited amount of time, the once great nation of Babylon would be completely destroyed, wiped off the map.
Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant. – Jeremiah 51:29 NLT
But as we have noticed before, this has to refer to an as-yet-unfulfilled event, because when the Babylonians fell to the Persians in 539 BC, the nation was not wiped off the face of the earth. The city of Babylon was spared and made a part of the Persian empire. The people of Babylon were simply assimilated into the Persian culture. But what God is describing here, through His prophet, Jeremiah, is the complete annihilation of Babylon. That has not yet happened. And while there is no nation of Babylon at the present time, there is a day coming when Babylon will rise again and become a major force during the end times. Whether or not the actual city of Babylon will be rebuilt is not entirely clear. But the spirit of the nation of Babylon has continued on through the centuries, even after its fall to the Persians. It’s love for wealth, power, and domination can be found throughout the nations of the earth and will only increase in intensity after the rapture of the church. The period of the tribulation will be marked with the rise of the antichrist, who will rule at the head of a world-confederation of nations. This new-Babylon will put the original nation to shame in terms of its decadence, power, and devastating influence over the world scene. Daniel provides a glimpse of what this day will look like.
Then he said to me, “This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path. Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time.
“But then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and completely destroyed. Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.” – Daniel 7:23-27 NLT
This was part of a vision given to Daniel who was exiled to Babylon along with the rest of the people of Judah. God gave him this vision during the reign of King Belshazzar of Babylon. This vision was a God-ordained glimpse into the distant future, providing a detailed description of the fall of this future “Babylon.” And the book of Revelation provides yet another description of her fall.
“She glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so match it now with torment and sorrow.
She boasted in her heart,
‘I am queen on my throne.
I am no helpless widow,
and I have no reason to mourn.’
Therefore, these plagues will overtake her in a single day—
death and mourning and famine.
She will be completely consumed by fire,
for the Lord God who judges her is mighty.” – Revelation 18:7-8 NLT
Like the Babylon of Jeremiah’s day, this future Babylon will be marked by pride, arrogance, a love of wealth and luxury, and an obsession with world domination. But all the nations of the world that chose to do business with her would one day stand back in wonder, dumbstruck at her devastating demise.
“How terrible, how terrible for that great city!
She was clothed in finest purple and scarlet linens,
decked out with gold and precious stones and pearls!
In a single moment
all the wealth of the city is gone!” – Revelation 18:16-17 NLT
To this day, we see nations who wield great power and enjoy tremendous wealth and privilege. Their economies flourish while other nations struggle to exist. They buy and sell goods, profiting from their international commerce. They are self-sufficient, having no need of God. They worship the gods of money, power, and pleasure. But all of these nations will eventually fall. Their day in the sunshine will one day end. Their place of prominence on the world stage will not last forever. They are no match for God. He may choose to use them to accomplish His will, but He does not need them. And He will not share His glory with them. Their prideful arrogance will be broken. Their egotistical belief that they are self-made and unstoppable will end in disaster and devastation. They will all suffer the same ignoble fate as King Nebuchadnezzar and his great nation of Babylon.
“King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us
and drained us of strength.
He has swallowed us like a great monster
and filled his belly with our riches.
He has thrown us out of our own country.
Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,”
say the people of Zion.
“Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,”
says Jerusalem. – Jeremiah 51:34-35 NLT
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.