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Bible Pathways 8/29/2000

August 29

Jeremiah 51 -- 52

The spectacular Empire of the Chaldeans surpassed anything the world has ever known. Under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon, its capital, appeared unconquerable, with walls over 300 feet high and wide enough for chariots to ride two abreast. The empire was enjoying absolute power over the nations of the world when Jeremiah declared that Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed. . . . for her judgment reaches to Heaven. . . . to destroy it. . . . your end is come. . . . to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant. . . . Babylon is like a threshingfloor . . . yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come. . . . Babylon shall become heaps (of ruins). . . . the wall of Babylon shall fall. . . . I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon. . . . for the spoilers shall come . . . from the north. . . . though she should fortify her high walls. . . . none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but it shall be desolate for ever (Jeremiah 51:8-62). Exactly at the end of Judah's 70-year captivity, the famous Babylonian capital fell on the night that Belshazzar, its king, saw the handwriting of God on the wall (Daniel 5).
The Israelites were warned: Flee out of the midst of Babylon. . . . forsake her, and let us go every one to his own country. . . . The Lord has brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God (Jeremiah 51:6,9-10). But most of the old generation that had been taken captive into Babylonia had died. The new generation was prospering under the new Persian rule and, consequently, felt no desire to leave. The familiar idols that surrounded them as they grew up did not seem offensive, and they felt no sense of loss for the Temple in Jerusalem where they had never worshiped. The majority had become morally and spiritually accustomed to, and a part of, the world system.
The unwillingness of the majority of the Jews to forsake the luxuries of Babylon for the poverty and hardships they would experience in Jerusalem has a modern-day parallel. The lavish Babylonian Empire illustrates the false church -- a great, worldwide, ecclesiastical, politically-motivated, religious, and commercial system -- riding on a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy (Revelation 17:3). The false church relies upon the world system, that is the beast, for support, safety, and prestige, and yields to its influence. How accurately this describes religious people who submit to the influence, wealth, and power of the world rather than to the Lord.
While in exile on the Isle of Patmos, the Apostle John wrote: Babylon the great is fallen . . . and she has become the habitation of devils. . . . For all nations . . . and the kings of the earth have committed fornication (idolatry) with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury. And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins (18:2-4). The present-day religious system of the false world church will be destroyed when the Lord Jesus returns to reign on earth for a thousand years.
The average lukewarm Christian can be recognized by his associations: desiring the world's esteem rather than its reproach, seeking the world's favor to avoid scoffing or suffering, and living in self-indulgence rather than self-sacrifice.
There are some today who profess to be Christians, yet devote their time, tithes, and talents to pleasures on the Lord's Day, giving little or no support to the True Church that is the Body of Christ. The Lord has declared for those who have ears to hear: Christ is the Head of the Church. . . . For we are members of His Body (Ephesians 5:23,30).
Christ Revealed:
As the Creator of the universe (Jeremiah 51:15). For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him (Col. 1:16).
Word Study:
51:2 fanners means destroyers; 51:3 brigandine means armor; 51:11 bright means sharp; device means plan, purpose; 51:17 brutish means dull-hearted; 51:25 mountain means power; 51:31 at one end means on every quarter, end to end; 51:42 the sea means the flood waters of the Euphrates; 51:58 folk means nations; 52:22 chapiter means upper part, a cap which goes on top of a column; 52:31 lifted up the head means pardoned; 52:34 diet means regular allowance.


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Optional Reading:
Revelation 3

Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 2:12

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