To what nation does Jeremiah 50-51 refer?

by John Holbrook Jr.
A Biblical View, Blog #006 posted August 22, 2016, edited March 9.

Jeremiah has been called “the prophet to the nations.” In the Book of Jeremiah, he devotes the first forty-five chapters to Israel (Judah & Jerusalem). In chapters forty-six through fifty-one, however, he focuses on Israel’s neighbors – Egypt, Gaza (Phillistia), Jordan (Moab, Ammon, & Edom), Syria (Damascas), Saudi Arabia (Arabia), Iran, (Elam), and Iraq (Babylon) – and prophesies concerning what will befall them in the end times. The United States of America does not seem to be among them – or is it?

The original explorers and settlers of America were European Christians. Christopher Columbus, whose name means “Christ bearer,” sailed westward with the belief that he had been given a divine mission to extend Christendom to a new world. Spanish Franciscan and Dominican friars moved into the southwest and French Jesuits moved into the northeast with the common mission of bringing the gospel of Christ to the natives, often suffering gruesome deaths at the hands of demon possessed savages.[1] Their sacrificial lives and martyr deaths planted the seeds for the spiritual phenomenon to come.  A lust for gold motivated the first settlers of Virginia, but the mission to build a New Jerusalem impelled the Pilgrim Separatists who left Holland aboard the Mayflower – the latter entered into a covenant with God and one another to establish a new society that would honor the biblical God and live according to biblical principles. They were followed by the Puritan Separatists led by John Winthrop, whose vision of this society as “a city on a hill” captured the imagination of countless of his followers in the next four centuries.

The founders of the new nation, most of whom were Christians, but all of whom were serious students of the Bible, took care to craft the foundational documents of the new nation according to biblical principles. The powers of the federal government would be limited to protecting society from outside invasion (using a citizens’ militia) and inside criminality (using an appeals court judicial system), punishing evil-doers, maintaining just commercial standards (particularly money, weights, and measures), regulating interstate commerce, and exercising stewardship over the public infrastructure.

In the 19th Century, America’s citizens set about building local communities from the Atlantic to the Pacific that were most notable for the number of their churches, which were filled with God-fearing and Bible-believing worshipers each Sunday. As a result, God blessed and protected the nation as he promises to do for a nation that honors him and his commandments in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, and it became that “city on a hill” of which John Winthrop spoke: the freest, richest, most powerful nation ever to exist – and the envy of the world.

In the last 100 years, the nation has undergone such a startling transformation that it would be unrecognizable to its pioneers, founders, and early citizens. The federal government has become a leviathan – the epitome of the Beast-out-of-the-Sea in Revelation. Both its bureaucracy[2] and its budget[3] have become bloated beyond belief. Its currency has been debauched.[4] It has inexorably extended its control over the lives of its citizens. Its professional military forces consume more money than the military forces of all other nations combined, maintain posts in 146 other countries, and engage in aggressive violent actions that extend its hegemony over peoples who do not welcome the presence of either its soldiers and its merchants on their soil or the cultural pollution that inexorably follows from that presence. Worst of all, it has purged the honoring of the biblical God from its public spaces and institutions and extended legal protection to behavior that is abhorrent to God: the worship of false gods and idols; blasphemy; the neglect of parents; abortion and euthanasia; fornication, adultery, and homosexuality and the destruction of the family that follows there from; gambling and theft; and covetousness. State and municipal governments are no better, having merely followed in the federal governments wake and emulated all its sins.

Not surprisingly, God has begun withdrawing his blessings and protection from the country,[5] For example, on January 28, 1986, hundreds of millions of people watched America’s space shuttle Challenger blow up with seven persons aboard, including a teacher. Yet few understood the lesson. At the time, the space shuttle was the pinnacle of American managerial, industrial, and technological achievement and represented America’s attempt, in President Reagan’s words, “to reach for the stars.” A similar attempt was made over four thousand years ago in Babylon when they said, “Let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven” (Genesis 11:4). But “…the heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16). He “…hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and hath determined the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). And “…though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down” (Amos 9:2).

In Jeremiah 50-51, “the prophet to the nations” wrote about the fate that awaits Babylon the Great. I wonder about the identity of the nation which Jeremiah is addressing. Many of the nation’s characteristics do not fit the Babylon of the 1st millennium BC, but they do fit the United States of the 21st century AD.

Ancient Babylon did not have a mother that was “sore confounded” (Jeremiah 50:12), whereas the US’s mother, England, has been “sore confounded” ever since the end of World War II.

Ancient Babylon was not “the hindermost of the nations” (Jeremiah 50:12) – it was the first – whereas the US is the hindermost (last or most recent) of the great nations.

Ancient Babylon was not “the hammer of the whole earth” (Jeremiah 50:23), whereas at the start of the 21st century the US is – to quote Madeleine Albright and many others after her, including President Obama – “the indispensable nation.”

Ancient Babylon was not inhabited by “mingled peoples” (Jeremiah 50:37), whereas the US is a mixture of immigrants from every other nation in the world.

Although Ancient Babylon enjoyed a measure of wealth and power, she was not “a golden cup in the Lord’s hand” (Jeremiah 51:7), whereas the US is far and away the richest and most powerful nation the world has ever seen.

Ancient Babylon did not make “all the earth drunken…[and]…mad” (Jeremiah 51:7), whereas the US has exported its commercialism and debased culture to every nation on the globe.

Ancient Babylon did not ‘dwell on many waters’ (Jeremiah 51:13) – only a small portion of it touched the Persian Gulf – whereas the US sits amidst the Great Lakes to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

In my opinion, Jeremiah was addressing the USA of the 21st Century. If he was, the USA will be destroyed suddenly and utterly.[6]

© 2016 John Holbrook Jr.

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[1] The myth of the noble savage is just that – a myth.

[2] By 2006, national, state, and municipal governments employed over 40% of workers in the country, most of whom earned more and possessed better pensions than their counterparts in the private sector.

[3] Over $2.5 trillion a year and growing.

[4] The dollar is worth 1% of what it was worth in 1913  when congress delivered it into the hands of the Federal Reserve, a private corporation owned and operated for the benefit of the country’s largest banks.

[5] Compare the curses in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 with what is happening in the U.S. today.

[6] Jeremiah 51:8.

Jeremiah 11:11 (God will not hear Judahs cry for help)

God would not hear Judah’s cry for help. They had broken God’s covenant (verses 2-8). They had broken God’s covenant and had gone off into paganism (verses 9-10). Therefore their fellowship with God was broken and He would not hear their requests. Where there is Godless living (Isaiah 56:11-12) neglecting those in need (Isaiah 58:6-9) and carelessness in regarding the clear instructions of God (Jeremiah 35:17), God cannot honor the person praying. As a matter of fact, the one who does this in danger of divine judgment (Zechariah 7: 8-14). However, God will answer the call of His people who are intimate with him (Job 13:22; Job 14:14-15; Psalms 22:24-25; Psalms 91:15; Psalms 102:1-2; Isaiah 58:9; Isaiah 65:27). 

The word, Therefore, connects verse 10 which tells about the breaking of the covenant. Their deliberate unfaithfulness will bring evil on them. 

Josephus

One of the world’s greatest historians was a man whose birth name was Joseph ben Matthias, later to be called Flavius Josephus. He was one of a priestly family through his mother and also of the Davidic line. He functioned as a Jewish priest, a general of the Israeli army in one of its revolts against Rome, and as a rebel prisoner, where he remained until Vespasian became emperor. When Vespasian was named Emperor of Rome, Josephus was released from prison and he accompanied the new emperor to Alexandria. Two years prior to his release from prison, when Vespasian was a Roman general and the family of the Caesars ruled Rome, the priest Josephus prophesied that Vespasian would one day become Emperor of Rome. That prophesy was quite astounding for at least two reasons: First, no emperor had yet been created out of Rome. Second, no one could have predicted that Nero would bring the rule of the family of the Caesars to an end with his suicide. It appears that this prophesy gave Josephus favor with the new emperor while the Jews viewed him as a traitor. Josephus was engaged by the Romans to write a history of the Jews.

The life of Josephus compares, in some ways, very much to that of the Old Testament prophet-priest Jeremiah. In Jeremiah’s day, the Jews were being besieged by the Babylonian hordes under King Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah was classified as a traitor; more than once, the Jewish leaders tried to destroy him because he told the Jewish people to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah said this was judgement brought by God because of their rebellion against His commandments. This parallel between Jeremiah and Josephus is obvious when you consider that later Josephus returned to Jerusalem with Titus, the son of the emperor, when the Jewish wars resumed. Josephus went around the walls of Jerusalem pleading with his Jewish brethren to surrender to the Romans. They refused and Josephus watched the utter destruction of Jerusalem, the great temple, and its people. This terrible judgement was prophesied by the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 19:41-44:

Doubting Thomas

Thomas was deeply committed to his master, yet he struggled with many doubts and questions. On the day He rose from the dead Jesus appeared to a group of disciples in a room. For some unknown reason, Thomas was not there (John 20:19-24). The disciples later told Thomas and Thomas told them that he would not believe unless he seen and put his fingers in the holes the nails made and put his hand into His side he would not believe (John 20:25). That’s how Thomas got his nickname and it has stayed with him throughout history.

 Thomas told the other disciples that he needed proof before he could believe Jesus had risen from the dead, he was being honest. Faith does not prohibit investigation. Eight days later the disciples met together again and this time Thomas was there. Jesus asked Thomas to touch His wounds (John 20:27). Jesus knew what Thomas needed to believe. From there He guided Thomas back to faith. 

Struggling with sin?

Struggling with any sin is common among Christians (James 3:2; Romans 7:23; Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:17). The world, flesh, and the devil are our enemies. We live in the world and the flesh wants to do what the world does. The devil is everywhere. He is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Peter 5:8). 

The Bible says “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). 

Our struggle with sin is neverending. Although it can be painful, it is an indication that one is a child of God. If a person does not care about sin that is a very bad indicator. 

Sabbath

It is often claimed that “God instituted the Sabbath in Eden” because of the connection between the Sabbath and creation in Exodus 20:11. Although God’s rest on the seventh day (Genesis 2:3) did foreshadow a future Sabbath law, there is no biblical record of the Sabbath before the children of Israel left the land of Egypt. Nowhere in Scripture is there any hint that Sabbath-keeping was practiced from Adam to Moses.

The Word of God makes it quite clear that Sabbath observance was a special sign between God and Israel: “The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested” (Exodus 31:16″17).

In Deuteronomy 5, Moses restates the Ten Commandments to the next generation of Israelites. Here, after commanding Sabbath observance in verses 12-14, Moses gives the reason the Sabbath was given to the nation Israel: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:15).

God’s intent for giving the Sabbath to Israel was not that they would remember creation, but that they would remember their Egyptian slavery and the Lord’s deliverance. Note the requirements for Sabbath-keeping: A person placed under that Sabbath law could not leave his home on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:29), he could not build a fire (Exodus 35:3), and he could not cause anyone else to work (Deuteronomy 5:14). A person breaking the Sabbath law was to be put to death (Exodus 31:15; Numbers 15:32″35).

An examination of New Testament passages shows us four important points: 1) Whenever Christ appears in His resurrected form and the day is mentioned, it is always the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1, 9, 10; Mark 16:9; Luke 24:1, 13, 15; John 20:19, 26). 2) The only times the Sabbath is mentioned from Acts through Revelation, the occasion is Jewish evangelism, and the setting is usually a synagogue (Acts chapters 13–18). Paul wrote, “To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews” (1 Corinthians 9:20). Paul did not go to the synagogue to fellowship with and edify the saints, but to convict and save the lost. 3) After Paul states, “From now on I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6), the Sabbath is never again mentioned. And 4) Instead of suggesting adherence to the Sabbath day, the remainder of the New Testament implies the opposite (including the one exception to point 3, above, found in Colossians 2:16).

Looking more closely at point 4 above will reveal that there is no obligation for the New Testament believer to keep the Sabbath, and will also show that the idea of a Sunday “Christian Sabbath” is also unscriptural. As discussed above, there is one time the Sabbath is mentioned after Paul began to focus on the Gentiles, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:16″17). The Jewish Sabbath was abolished at the cross where Christ “canceled the written code, with its regulations” (Colossians 2:14).

This idea is repeated more than once in the New Testament: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord” (Romans 14:5″6a). “But now that you know God ” or rather are known by God ” how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years” (Galatians 4:9″10).

But some claim that a mandate by Constantine in A.D. 321 “changed” the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. On what day did the early church meet for worship? Scripture never mentions any Sabbath (Saturday) gatherings by believers for fellowship or worship. However, there are clear passages that mention the first day of the week. For instance, Acts 20:7 states that “on the first day of the week we came together to break bread.” In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul urges the Corinthian believers “on the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” Since Paul designates this offering as “service” in 2 Corinthians 9:12, this collection must have been linked with the Sunday worship service of the Christian assembly. Historically Sunday, not Saturday, was the normal meeting day for Christians in the church, and its practice dates back to the first century.

The Sabbath was given to Israel, not the church. The Sabbath is still Saturday, not Sunday, and has never been changed. But the Sabbath is part of the Old Testament Law, and Christians are free from the bondage of the Law (Galatians 4:1-26; Romans 6:14). Sabbath keeping is not required of the Christian”be it Saturday or Sunday. The first day of the week, Sunday, the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) celebrates the New Creation, with Christ as our resurrected Head. We are not obligated to follow the Mosaic Sabbath”resting, but are now free to follow the risen Christ’serving. The Apostle Paul said that each individual Christian should decide whether to observe a Sabbath rest, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). We are to worship God every day, not just on Saturday or Sunday.

Why the disciples returned to fishing after Jesus died on the cross?

Before the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, the necessities of Him and the disciples seem to have been provided by the charity of other individuals (Luke 8:3). It is probable that after the crucifixion there were no more sources of income and not fully knowing how they were to be employed they returned to their former way of life and that was fishing. The seven mentioned in John 21:2 fished in the sea of Tiberias also known as the sea of Galilee. This fishing expedition revealed the uncertainty of the disciples.  

God and Nebuchadrezzar

God can use anyone to carry out His will (1Corinthians 1:27). Nebuchadrezzar was a prideful person. Daniel 4:30 is talking about the same Nebuchadrezzar in Jeremiah 25:9. In Daniel 4:30, he is saying that he built Babylon by his own might and power and to honor himself. He is mocking God by saying this. In verses 31 through 33 we see that God took the kingdom from him and made him to live like the beasts of the field. In verse 34 we see when the time came Nebudhacrezzar lifted his eyes to heaven and he regained his understanding and praised God. Nebuchadrezzar now knows that nothing or no one has any control except God.

Anger

Ephesians 4:26 tells us ” Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”

Anger that is selfish, undisciplined, and vindictive is sinful. This kind of anger has no place in the life of a Christian. On the other hand, anger that is unselfish and based on a love for God and concern for others is commanded. This is righteous anger. Genuine love cannot help being angered at that which injures the object of that love.

Shield of Victory Church

The Shield of Victory church is an Evangelical Protestant church based in the Philippines. It is a member of Every Nation churches. Every Nations has churches and campus ministries in 80 nations around the world. As a member of Every Nation adheres to the statement of faith of the World Evangelical Alliance. The WEA has an Evangelical confession of faith.

According to their mission statement Victory exists to make disciples in the Philippines and throughout all the world by preaching the gospel, caring, teaching, and sending them; thereby having a victorious church advancing the kingdom of God for the glory of Christ Jesus. 

Sources: http://shieldofvictory.synthasite.com/about-us.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_(church)

              christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2012/may/missing-manila-victory-church-reflections-on-fascinating.html?fbclid=IwAR2igNbNBWusXSk3otqtHkF601UD2U6B6N7EpWl-pbvg9QOnYvL0ndzP_zY