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Bible verses about Babylonians
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Just before Israel and Judah fell to the Assyrians and Babylonians, God called several prophets to warn His people and urge them to repent. In recording the events of their times, these prophets paid particular attention to the prevailing attitudes within their societies, no doubt inspired by God for the benefit of His church. If we compare their societies and attitudes with our own, we can gain insight into the problems we face in the collapse of this nation.

What was the dominant attitude of the people in Israel and Judah just before their fall? In virtually every book by these prophets, warnings against attitudes of self-sufficiency, spiritual indifference, complacency, and self-satisfaction—Laodiceanism—are a major part of God's message!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The World, the Church, and Laodiceanism


 

Babylon's influence is being spread into the Western world in a much more concentrated dose than the original migration begun with the confusion of languages in Genesis 11. It is directly impacting upon and at the same time being carried by Israelitish people. Again, the biblical concept of Babylon is of a worldwide, anti-God system that began in the Tigris-Euphrates valley but which did not remain there.

The Roman Empire is one dominant power within that anti-God system, and because of the migrations of the ethnic groups, it ruled over the entire Mediterranean area and into Europe as far north and west to, and including, the British Isles. The direct supervision and influence ended at Hadrian's Wall that separated Scotland from England.

Almost all of the people who eventually make up the northern and western parts of the Roman Empire are Semitic. Israel, the Assyrians, and the Chaldeans are all descended from Shem: Israel through Shem's son, Arphaxad, then through Eber and Abraham; Assyria through Shem's son, Asshur; and Chaldea, also through Shem's son, Arphaxad, but through Chesed.

Where did the peoples who colonized Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and the United States begin their colonization? Semitic Israelitish people from Northwest Europe colonized every one of them, and the colonists all came from within the vast area of the Roman Empire in the same manner that the people from Nimrod's kingdom took the Babylonish anti-God system with them. The colonists from Northwest Europe carried much of Rome's Babylonish culture with them, but with their own Israelitish, semi-biblical twist to it.

For the past two thousand years, the history of the Israelitish people has been culturally dominated by Rome's Babylonish system because they were geographically within its borders. And more importantly, they were under its religious, economic, military, and political influence. English, Dutch, French, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Belgians, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, and Germans colonized first. It was not until later, after the colonies were well-established with Semitic people, that large numbers of immigrants from Eastern Europe came into the Israelitish colonies.

The Bible clearly reveals Babylon to be a worldwide entity. Even though the Bible does not directly present Rome as being geographically as massive as Babylon, it is nonetheless dominant culturally on a worldwide basis because of the migrations and influence of the Israelitish people.

The dominant religions in all Israelite areas are Roman Catholicism and its Protestant daughters. All of us have a basically Roman republican form of government and educational system through the government's schools.

Now why should we think that the Beast must be confined to Europe if the Israelitish people have carried its influence everywhere they have gone, except that they put a biblical twist to it, and because the Bible shows the geographical location of the dominant powers consistently changing? Remember the head of gold? The shoulders and torso of silver? The West consists of all those countries that are predominantly Semitic Roman Catholic and Protestant religiously, and are republic in form of government, and so that could include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 2)


 

2 Kings 17:6

Israel was defeated by Assyria even before Babylonian Empire arose to full strength, and it was taken captive to Assyria. But not long thereafter, they migrated, along with the Assyrians, settling eventually in central and northwest Europe. They began arriving and settling there long before Rome continued the Babylonish system. Another migration began when the Jews were defeated by Babylon and taken in captivity into Babylon.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 2)


 

Habakkuk 1:5-11

God says, "You are not going to believe what I am about to tell you, Habakkuk, but I am already at work to deliver you and punish the sinners around you." Then what does He do? He tells the prophet that He is sending the ferocious, bloody, terrifying Chaldeans to conquer Judah!

The prophet must have been stunned! This was not the answer he expected in the least. What kind of deliverance is humiliating defeat at the hand of these utterly godless people who struck terror into the entire Middle East? In addition, they were Gentiles, and God was taking their side and cruelly punishing His own people. It must have shaken his faith to hear God tell him, "I am coming to spank this nation with the worst of the heathen."

And just as God said, Habakkuk did not want to believe it. In his eyes, the deliverance was worse than the original corruption—at least that is what he thought at first. From what he understood of God, this made no sense. How could a loving God punish His own special people with a club like the Chaldeans?

To understand God's answer we have to understand what God's work is. Psalm 74:12 says, "God is . . . working salvation in the midst of the earth." Genesis 1:26 says God is creating man in His own image, building character in us so that we can live eternally as He does. What is astounding is how He chooses to do it because He does it far differently than we would. As the old saying goes, "God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform." To a man's way of thinking, His works are truly mysterious; sometimes, we do not have a clue how He works.

Isaiah 55:8-11 explains that God sometimes does things in a very round-about way, but it has a kind of boomerang effect. At times, it seems God goes in one direction, off the beaten path, but that is merely our perspective of it. We find out later—after we have grown in wisdom and understanding—that He has been following His plan all along. We are the ones who have not kept up. Habakkuk deals a great deal with perspective—man's perspective versus God's. God always gets His job done. When He sends forth His word to accomplish a work, it always comes back to Him with the result He intends. It may not make much sense to us at the time, but it surely works because God is behind it. In the end, it is the best way.

Many have questioned why God has allowed the church to decline and scatter in recent years. What is happening here? Why has God had to do this in order to bring us into His Kingdom? Why must He destroy to make well? We have shaken our heads at the swiftness and brutality of it all. That is how Habakkuk felt with the Chaldeans breathing down the Judeans' necks. If God had told us a few decades ago that the church would lose, say, two-thirds of its members, would we have believed Him? Would we have even considered that a work of God? "Look . . . and watch—be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you" (verse 5). Now we can understand how Habakkuk felt. He had prior warning, and it made him question God's very nature.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Habakkuk


 

Habakkuk 1:12-13

This verse begins a section that leads up to Habakkuk's second question. He begins immediately with asking, "Is this really the holy God of Israel? Am I talking to the very God of the universe, the One who lives forever? Can this really be God, if He will punish His own people by the hands of these terrible Chaldeans?" This verse shows how much his faith was shaken.

"We shall not die" is an emendation by the Jews. They think that God should never be linked with death. But Habakkuk actually says, "You shall not die." He is reaffirming to himself just who is speaking to him—the Eternal God! He is desperately trying to square what God had just told him in verses 5-11 with what He understood of God's nature.

"You are of purer eyes than to behold evil." Habakkuk understood God to be pure and holy, so he wonders, "How can God do this evil thing to His people? He is purer than that." God has revealed something about Himself that the prophet has not yet grasped. His understanding is being stretched. He thought he knew what God's character was like, but God had just thrown him a curve ball.

Habakkuk asks God, "How can You restrain Yourself from just simply annihilating these Chaldeans? Look how wicked they are!" In verses 6-11, God Himself had described all of their evil doings. They take what is not theirs. They march through the breadth of the earth and gobble up town after town after town. They eat what they want. They take the jewels, the gold, the silver, the people themselves, and they transport them back to their own lands. Habakkuk cries, "These are terrible people, God, and You are going to let them punish Your own special people? This is not the God I remember learning about as a child."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Habakkuk


 

Habakkuk 1:14-17

Verses 14-17 use an extended metaphor in which the Chaldeans are seen as fishermen and the peoples of Judah and the nations around them are the fish. Habakkuk visualizes the people, especially his own, as fish in a barrel! They cannot escape—easy pickings for the cruel Chaldeans. Whether by hook or by net, these evil Gentiles will have their way with the Judeans—because God is letting them!

This, of course, makes the Chaldeans pretty happy (verse 15). It is like shooting fish in a barrel! To the prophet, it makes no sense; it seems as if God is acting against His own people. The enemy is happy, wealthy, and powerful because God is not punishing their wickedness, and the Judeans are being killed, enslaved, robbed, and beaten to a pulp! In effect, Habakkuk is accusing God of letting them get away with murder!

In verse 16, Habakkuk speaks of the Chaldeans "sacrific[ing] to their net." Their net is a symbol of their weapons of warfare, their means of conquering the nations around them and gaining wealth. This is similar to Daniel 11:37-39, where Gabriel prophesies that the King of the North will honor "a god of fortresses."

Finally, the prophet asks, "Are You going to continue to allow them to get away with all this?" (verse 17). With this, his frustrations seem to abate, and he concludes in Habakkuk 2:1 with a remark that is very smart and wise.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Habakkuk


 

Habakkuk 2:2

First, God allays some of the prophet's fears by implying that what He has told him is not necessarily a revelation of doom and despair. It may seem that way, but ultimately, the vision is encouraging, hopeful, and glorious. This is why He instructs him to write it down plainly so people will understand it and be encouraged by it—and thus run.

Hebrews 12 contains a similar metaphor of running. Perhaps Paul had Habakkuk in mind as he wrote it, since he quotes Habakkuk in Hebrews 10:37-38. The apostle explains in Hebrews 12:1 that the race we run is our Christian lives. We can take the words of Habakkuk and run because we know that it all works out right in the end (Romans 8:28). Our Savior has already done His work, so if we finish our race, we will be saved. There is no doubt about this because He is not only the beginner of our faith, but He is also the finisher of our faith. So we can run with patience, just as God told Habakkuk to do. Even if it seems to tarry, patiently wait for it, because it will happen just as He has promised. His will will be done.

In Hebrews 12:5-11, Paul goes through a section on discipline, chastening, correction. This is what Habakkuk had just heard—that God would discipline, chasten, correct His people by the wicked hand of Babylon. Paul says in Hebrews that if God does not chasten us, we are bastard children! The chastening, though unpleasant, is for our good. We may not like the humiliation of it, but we can patiently endure it because it is for the best.

Our chastening is not a time to lag or worry but to strengthen ourselves through God and move forward because it is important that we endure and finish (Hebrews 12:12-13). When things get tough, the tough get going. Do not be like Esau (Hebrews 12:15-17), who had a great promise and inheritance and threw it all away for some temporary relief. We should never settle for temporary relief if it will knock us off the path! It is not worth it because it will end in bitterness, tears, disappointment, and failure.

Paul shows in Hebrews 12:28 how we should approach God, even when things do not seem to be going the right way. We must serve Him acceptably with reverence and godly fear, just as Habakkuk did. Yes, he questioned Him, but he said, "You are God, and You know something that I do not understand, so I will wait patiently. I will see this through, and then I will respond." If we do not approach God properly, we may find ourselves caught under the heel of the Chaldean with the sinners.

"That he may run who reads it" suggests a herald, like in medieval times, who went from place to place with a message from one person to another. God is instructing Habakkuk to put the revelation down clearly so that someone in the future can take it and deliver it into the right hands, those who need to hear it. Anyone in the end time who is speaking God's words fulfills this.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Habakkuk


 

Revelation 18:4

Babylon, as an enemy of God, is used in several ways in the Bible. One is a literal city. A second is a worldwide system of government, trade, entertainment, and so on. A third symbolizes a spiritual entity. All three have to be considered together to understand Babylon. In Revelation 18:4, it is a city representing the worldwide way of life at the end time.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The World, the Church, and Laodiceanism


 

 




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