Day 208: The End of False Religion

Jeremiah 51:34-40

“Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me.
He has crushed me.
He has made me an empty vessel.
He has, like a monster, swallowed me up.
He has filled his mouth with my delicacies.
He has cast me out.
May the violence done to me and to my flesh be on Babylon!”
the inhabitant of Zion will say; and,
“May my blood be on the inhabitants of Chaldea!”
will Jerusalem say.

Therefore Yahweh says:
“Behold, I will plead your cause,
and take vengeance for you.
I will dry up her sea,
and make her fountain dry.
Babylon will become heaps,
a dwelling place for jackals,
an astonishment, and a hissing,
without inhabitant.
They will roar together like young lions.
They will growl as lions’ cubs.
When they are inflamed, I will make their feast,
and I will make them drunk,
that they may rejoice,
and sleep a perpetual sleep,
and not wake up,” says Yahweh.

“I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams with male goats.

God doesn’t have nice things to say about Babylon. Since God was the one to who told Babylon to destroy Jerusalem, there must be more to the story. We know that God doesn’t enjoy destroying people because that would be inconsistent with what the Bible says in other places. That leaves only one option that I can see and that is that Babylon was an enemy of God. That’s what we read earlier so it is not a new thing but it’s important to know that had Babylon merely obeyed God and destroyed Israel, they would have been commended, but because Babylon didn’t do it for the right reasons they were going to be destroyed.

Non-biblical history tells us that Babylon was a center of idolatry. It’s not a surprise that they wanted to destroy Jerusalem. Jerusalem was a place where only one God was welcome. Babylon was a supporter of religious diversity. Jerusalem was a problem to be removed, not a blessing to be adopted. That kind of sounds familiar today doesn’t it?

From the sound of this passage, it’s as if God was going to make Babylon’s successes lead to their downfall. He compares them to lion’s cubs that feast and then get drunk and fall asleep, never to wake up again. He also compares them to sacrificial animals. Perhaps, God is telling us that He plans to use Babylon as an example to the world. Just as sacrifices are intended to ceremonially represent someone else, Babylon does represent the existence of false religion in our world. That’s how it is often represented in the Bible. God’s destruction of Babylon could be seen to represent what will happen to all false religion in the world. That’s what we read about in Revelation. Someday, God will cause all false religion to die and never come back.