At this point, we see Isaiah describing the marriage between human rebellion and satanic influence giving birth to systematic evil—what the Bible consistently refers to as Babylon. In the sixth and seventh centuries, the nation conquering the known world was Babylon, so when an Israelite heard its name, it would bring painful images to mind: the place of their exile, the ruin of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the Temple where YHWH met His people. But over a century earlier, when Assyria was the world power that conquered Israel’s Northern Kingdom, cosmic “Babylon” already existed. When Nazi Germany sent out its forces to overtake Europe with its fascist ideology, “Babylon” was there. Today, “Babylon” is still at work. Whenever our broken humanity desires the same exalted position, or when groups come together with the goal to elevate themselves above the throne room of God, we will find communities, institutions, and even governments that look just like the Babylon of the Bible.
24 Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. 2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. 3 The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word. 4 The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish. 5 The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left. 7 The wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. 8 The mirth of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the jubilant has ceased, the mirth of the lyre is stilled. 9 No more do they drink wine with singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. 10 The wasted city is broken down; every house is shut up so that none can enter. 11 There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine; all joy has grown dark; the gladness of the earth is banished. 12 Desolation is left in the city; the gates are battered into ruins. 13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done. 14 They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west. 15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. But I say, “I waste away, I waste away. Woe is me! For the traitors have betrayed, with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.” 17 Terror and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth! 18 He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. 19 The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken. 20 The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. 21 On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. 22 They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. 23 Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sam Whittaker is our Mission Pastor. His role is to oversee all of SVCC’s missions and charity work, including all of our global Focus Country partnerships. He also serves on SVCC's teaching team and worship team. Sam is a member of the Board of Directors for Hope of the Nations, and serves on the Church Partnerships team at Foster the Bay. Sam has been a lifelong member of the SVCC family, and lives in Gilroy with his wife Christina and their daughter, Jubilee. He loves theology, nature, and guitar pedals.