Reading through the Bible together
Isaiah received from the Lord a vision of the fall of Babylon overthrown by the Medes and Persians under Cyrus in 538 BC. The vision was from the Lord as we can see in verse 19 which says, “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms . . . will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” Vivid pictures flashed before Isaiah’s eyes and when he sat down to write it down he realized that his audience may confuse these events with the Coming of the Lord at the end of time. He wanted the identity of the two events to be kept apart, but he touches on both.
We know from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel Chapter 2, that all the kingdoms of the world will come to their end as the Stone strikes the Image on it’s feet. The angels are the instruments of God’s indignation “to destroy the whole earth” (v. 5d). It is not just Babylon or the land between the two great rivers, it is the whole earth. “Wail for the day of the Lord is near” (v. 6a) and it will come as destruction (v. 6b). “Thus I [the Lord] will punish the world for its evil” (v. 11a), not just the Babylonians but the whole world. The Lord will “shake the heavens and the earth will move out of her place . . . in the day of His fierce anger” (v. 13).
Then Isaiah paints a picture of the fall of Babylon in detail (vs. 17-22). The Lord says to Isaiah about 163 years before the Fall of Babylon that “Medes and Persians” will bring it to an end. God has beginning and end limits for empires on earth from the Assyrian empire in Isaiah’s day to the Second Coming. So bad will the fall of Babylon be that no one in later times will stay there and the animals and birds will live there. “Her time is near to come and her days will not be prolonged” (v. 22c).
Grant us the perspective of Isaiah to focus on Your ultimate plan while finding our ways in the corridors of our history here. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea