The Babylon Prophecies
The Paper was addressed to Evelyn Hammond.
|A SUMMARY OF BABYLON REFERENCES IN THE PROPHETIC BOOKS|
Continuing with the theme that the prophetic books of the Bible resulted from a collaboration of Melchizedek with the prophets and seers of Israel I shall now discuss the remarks about Babylon as they appear in those works.
I had postponed discussion of a “family from the north.” I shall now show the significance of that phrase.
First it may be helpful to review the manner in which Melchizedek or other celestial agencies may contact human mortals.
PREDESTINATION AND HUMAN CHOICE
From the Urantia Papers, page 1014:
The Melchizedeks are widely known as emergency Sons, for they engage in an amazing range of activities on the worlds of a local universe. When any extraordinary problem arises, or when something unusual is to be attempted, it is quite often a Melchizedek who accepts the assignment. The ability of the Melchizedek Sons to function in emergencies and on widely divergent levels of the universe, even on the physical level of personality manifestation, is peculiar to their order. Only the Life Carriers share to any degree this metamorphic range of personality function.
Thus we know that Melchizedek can assume a physical form. We would expect this form to be that of a human being. Any other form probably would bring consternation and perhaps fear in the person to whom he may appear, thus to lose the usefulness of the contact.
Another method of communication is that of projection of scenes from other times and places.
Energy transmitters can function with regard to all forms of communicable perception; they can render a distant scene "visible" as well as a distant sound "audible." They provide the emergency lines of communication in the local systems and on the individual planets
George Adamski described just such a projection on his visit aboard a seraphic transport.
The reader should note that I say other times. A study of evidence available to us shows that celestial operations within time and space can move around within time, as well as within space. Refer to my paper on Predestination. As C. S. Lewis stated so many years ago:
. . . if there is to be any more space-traveling, it will have to be time-traveling as well.
The phenomenon of unique human beings taken to other worlds in this universe shows a time-expansion. They could not have had those experiences without a manipulation of time.
Actually, time is not manipulated. If we could overcome our intuitive notions about time, we could reach better understanding. What we perceive as time is merely a mental integration of sequence. We go from moment to moment, from one state of universe relationships to another. Since this flows so smoothly in our perception we call it time. But the universe is built around preexistent sequence rather than what we call time. If we could lift our notions of our perception of universe sequence we could recognize how higher celestial powers can move around within that preexistent sequence, what we think is “time-travel.” Or, to state it otherwise, all things are absolute with God. He knows no surprises.
No thing is new to God, and no cosmic event ever comes as a surprise; he inhabits the circle of eternity. He is without beginning or end of days. To God there is no past, present, or future; all time is present at any given moment. He is the great and only I AM.
Stated otherwise, all things are preexistent, and all sequence is already known to God. If we could make this intellectual leap we would come to see that “prophecy” as merely a description of “future” known sequence, provided by the Gods.
While these concepts may seem to void free-will choice, we should understand that God gave us the power to choose, within the framework of sequence known to him. The miracle is that he could create free-will creatures who would desire to obey his will, his sequence, while other free-will creatures would decide to not obey his will, his predetermined sequence. And it is that power which today will determine the future of our world. Even though God knows how we will choose, he provided the mercy to enable us to engage in such choosing. Human fate is not predetermined without human contribution to that path.
Another phenomenon is one wherein the person is “taken” by spiritual powers into other space-time consciousness. David Morningstar (a pseudonym) had just such experience he described in a letter to the Urantia Foundation in 1993. Other living men and woman today have reported similar experience. This was the mechanism used, for example, in the visions of Daniel and the Apostle John. Refer to my discussions in Our Celestial Visitors. Again, these are merely projections into human mind of “other” preexistent sequence.
SUMMARY OF THE BABYLON PROPHECIES
In the following I provide an exhaustive listing of all Babylon verses in the prophecies, for convenience of reference. I previously described the Jeremiah differences found in Chapter 25 between the MT and the LXX. Here I use the RSV translation of the MT. I then classify them either as historic or prophetic.
ISAIAH ON BABYLON
All of Isaiah’s references are to the future Babylon, not the historic one, except for an insertion in Isa 31:1, 3, 6, 7.
Isa 13:1 and 19.
The passage from 13:1 - 22 is phrased in terms that can only be understood as a prediction of the distant future. The oracle concerns a prophetic Babylon, not ancient Babylon, 13:1.
Hark, a tumult on the mountains as of a great multitude! Hark, an uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathering together! The LORD of hosts is mustering a host for battle.
They come from a distant land, from the end of the heavens, the LORD and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole earth.
Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!
Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every man's heart will melt,
and they will be dismayed. Pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in travail. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame.
Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.
When one reads the Commentaries one cannot help but see how ludicrous are the interpretations. These cosmic statements are reduced to tortured and twisted attempts to make them fit the historic Babylon.
Can one believe that a tumult on the mountains as of a great multitude mean ancient Babylon, or armies gathered from many different nations by Cyrus to attack Babylon? Why, then, did his peaceful entry into Babylon bring such denial of God’s stark and dramatic word? The Commentaries struggle with the fact that ancient Babylon was built in lowlands, not mountains. Does an uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathering together mean any historic time?
Can we not understand what it means for all hands to be feeble, for every man's heart to melt, and for every man, woman and child to be dismayed. What do we think will happen when everyone hears the news of nuclear missiles set loose? Will pangs and agony not seize them? Will they not all be in anguish like a woman in travail? Will they not look aghast at one another; their faces aflame?
If the imaginative scholars would pay attention to the text they would know that God is the one mustering this great host, not Cyrus, although God uses the nations as his tools.
The New American Standard Bible has a more meaningful translation from the Hebrew for Isa 13:5.
They are coming from a far country, from the farthest horizons, The LORD and His instruments of indignation, to destroy the whole land.
Of course the commentators will tell you this means Media and Persia. They could not conceive that it might mean a “family from the North,” a nation of states, from the farthest horizons, completely across the world.
Verse 17 says that God is stirring up the Medes against them. As I shall show, this figure appears again in Jeremiah. However, since the Babylon of the prophecy is not ancient Babylon, but a designation for a modern nation, the Medes here mentioned are not the ancient Medes, but also a designation for a modern nation.
I turn now to Isa 14:4 and 22.
In contrast to the vivid images of Chap 13, Chap 14 is murky and abstruse. We do not know if the influence of the Devil upon the nations is intended. Vss 22 and 23 appear to be misplaced text that belong before vs 12. Or, the passage about Lucifer from 14:12 to 14:21 may have been displaced from some other area. Perhaps the Lucifer passage was intentionally placed in the midst of the text to show his influence upon the nations. If so, we could infer that the king of Babylon in vs 4 was subject to the Devil, and hence became the instrument of world judgment that included the destruction of Jerusalem and Judea with the Muslin nations.
This is an oracle against the nations that falls within a series: Babylon in above Chapters; Moab, 15-16; Damascus, 17; Ethiopia, 18; Egypt, 19; an historic insertion, 20; to this one on "the wilderness of the sea," . . . , to the Valley of Vision, 22; Tyre, 23.) The general flow is the same as in Jeremiah 25, with destruction of the entire Near East and surrounding nations.
A new section begins with Isa 40. Because of the dramatic differences in style, and the form of the prophetic expressions, many students believe it was written by another person, denoted Isaiah II. Many of the statements are cosmic in form.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
Such expression is truly majestic.
Within this context Isaiah (II) describes how the future Babylon will be broken and the shouting of her people turned to lamentations. This brief remark is within a larger promise to the people of Israel (not the modern state of Israel). When God brings the new world the old will not be remembered nor brought into mind, vs 18. He will renovate the earth to bring rivers in the desert. Now he will blot out our transgressions, the result of the sins of our “First Father,” meaning Adam, and the transgressions of our celestial administrators, vs 27.
Vivid figures are used once again. Here prophetic Babylon is told to sit in the dust. Her nakedness will be uncovered and her shame will be seen. No longer will she be called the mistress of the nations. God gave the people of the world into her hand, but she showed them no mercy. She said that there was no one like her, literally true, but boasted in pride, and not in service to God. Now the loss of children and widowhood will come, literally in one day, when she will be blasted from the face of the earth.
She is called the virgin daughter of Babylon. She is not the ancient Babylon but a nation who resembles the ancient country for her babel of voices, her noise and confusion. She is virgin as a nation which did not reach maturity, nor was she wise to the rightfulness of her world influence.
And this is the significance of Melchizedek’s symbolic choice of the Hebrew word Babel. (Babylon is the Greek form, not found in the Hebrew texts.) She is an exceedingly wealthy nation, but also a highly sinful one. She deserves the symbolic Babylon designation.
But evil shall come upon you, for which you cannot atone; disaster shall fall upon you, which you will not be able to expiate; and ruin shall come on you suddenly, of which you know nothing. Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed, perhaps you may inspire terror.
Behold, they are like stubble, the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before!
Can any of us fail to understand the nature of that fire?
A SPECIAL SERVANT
We come now to one of the most significant of all Babylon prophecies. The reason is that it contains a highly personal note. The text from vss 14 to 16 run as follows:
Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things ? The LORD loves him; he shall perform his purpose on Babylon, and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
“I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and he will be successful in his way.
Come near to me, listen to this: From the beginning I have not spoken in secret. From the time it took place, I was there.”
And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.
Three different persons are speaking in these remarks.
In the first the writer (Isaiah II) asks his audience to listen to God’s voice. Who has declared these revelations concerning Babylon? Yahweh loves this Servant. God supports him. God has assigned him this task. Yahweh will help him until the task is accomplished. God will give him the strength necessary to that task.
This is a process of revelation. God is speaking to his people. He does so through this Servant.
God then speaks. He called this Servant. God asked him to perform this task. He has a commission from God. God will accomplish his purpose through this Servant.
As He said, He did not speak in secret. He told us his plans. He described our fate if we did not obey him. From the time these events take place God is here. He is now present among us.
The Servant then declares: God sends him. But God did more. He not only sends him on the task of revelation; he also sends his Spirit. All those who are devoted to God will receive that Spirit. They will come to understanding, just as the Servant came to understanding through God’s Spirit.
This is the process by which God will accomplish his purpose on Babylon and the Chaldeans of today. This is the method by which God will achieve his goal for the salvation of his people.
God created these people. He brought them from the nations of the world to establish a new land, a “family of the north.”
Listen to what God says about us.
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.
“O that you had hearkened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me.
But we were a proud and haughty people. We did not listen to God’s commandments. Now we must suffer the punishment for our disobedience.
The God speaks directly to those who love him.
“Go forth from Babylon, flee from Chaldea. Declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth; say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!"
They thirsted not when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he cleft the rock and the water gushed out.
"But there is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked."
Thus we learn of God’s will for us.
The Servant brings more than revelation. He brings the rescue of God’s people from destruction in the nuclear holocaust. They must escape from this modern Babylon, this land of Babel.
This is his servant, Jacob, that he preserved through all the millennia.
Thus God will bring salvation to his people, and to his world.