There is an urge to say that this chapter does not belong with the Ezekiel Tetrad, because it has already been fulfilled – and, it really doesn’t talk about Israel.
Well, if you thought that, I’d have to tell you that you are right and wrong. Or, maybe, wrong and right.
Isaiah 13 has NOT been fulfilled.
Because Babylon was never destroyed. It was abandoned during the Hellenistic period, but it was never destroyed. Furthermore, it has been dwelt in, in some fashion, since it was abandoned. And, in fact, Saddam Hussein rebuilt much of it during his reign.
But, I get ahead of myself.
1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.
2 Set ye up an ensign upon the bare mountain, lift up the voice unto them, wave the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.
3 I have commanded my consecrated ones, yea, I have called my mighty men for mine anger, even my proudly exulting ones.
4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, as of a great people! the noise of a tumult of the kingdoms of the nations gathered together! Jehovah of hosts is mustering the host for the battle.
5 They come from a far country, from the uttermost part of heaven, even Jehovah, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.
If you look at who fought in Iraq, it’s clear that EVERYONE was represented there – truly from the uttermost part of heaven. But, was the whole land of Babylon destroyed?
Well, the prophecy isn’t yet complete, but I would say that it was pretty heavily damaged. But, is ‘pretty heavily damaged’ enough to classify as being destroyed?
Probably not. However, what happens next would seem to do the trick.
6 Wail ye; for the day of Jehovah is at hand; as destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
7 Therefore shall all hands be feeble, and every heart of man shall melt:
8 and they shall be dismayed; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman in travail: they shall look in amazement one at another; their faces shall be faces of flame.
9 Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger; to make the land a desolation, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine.
11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity: and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
12 I will make a man more rare than fine gold, even a man than the pure gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will make the heavens to tremble, and the earth shall be shaken out of its place, in the wrath of Jehovah of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.
14 And it shall come to pass, that as the chased roe, and as sheep that no man gathereth, they shall turn every man to his own people, and shall flee every man to his own land.
15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is taken shall fall by the sword.
16 Their infants also shall be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be rifled, and their wives ravished.
None of this has happened yet. As bad as the wars with America and her allies have been, nothing like this happened. So, I am convinced that verses 6-16 are going to happen sometime in the future.
I believe that this future is near, and it will involve the people in the next verse.
17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who shall not regard silver, and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.
Now here is an interesting thing. God speaks of the Medes here. He doesn’t refer to the Persians. Why not?
Yes, I know that Darius the Mede was a Mede, but Darius didn’t destroy Babylon. In fact, it was almost a bloodless takeover. In fact, much of the hierarchy of Babylon was left in place, and there was a remarkable lack of damage to the city.
So, it cannot be Darius.
So, who are we talking about?
Well, did you know that the Median empire existed to the north of the Persian empire? That it bordered the Caspian Sea? That its capital was right where Tehran is today?
That’s right. By referring to the Medes, instead of the Persians, the prophecy is making a direct connection with Iran.
18 And their bows shall dash the young men in pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.
19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
Is there anything that is (or, will be) in Iran’s arsenal of weapons that would produce an effect like this?
Anyone care for some nuclear weapons?
I guess that this means that the US and the rest of the world will be unable to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. There really doesn’t appear to be any other way to produce ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’.
20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall shepherds make their flocks to lie down there.
21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and ostriches shall dwell there, and wild goats shall dance there.
22 And wolves shall cry in their castles, and jackals in the pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.
If you make a nuclear weapon big enough, and dirty enough, you will certainly get this effect. When I say ‘dirty enough’ I mean that some nuclear weapons produce more radioactive fallout than others – especially the more primitive kinds of bombs. Furthermore, it is even possible that the Iranians might try to purposefully make their bomb as dirty as possible to make the area uninhabitable.
Now, what does it mean when the Lord said that “her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged”? That sounds like our entire discussion has been completely invalidated.
From the perspective of Isaiah, two and a half thousand years in the future is NOT a ‘time near to come’. So, how are we to understand this?
It is clear from the historical record, that Babylon was never destroyed in the way that is described here. So, should we just say that Isaiah was a false prophet?
I believe that, when the Lord says ‘time near to come’ He is referring to the time perspective of the previous two chapters. The destruction of Babylon (Iraq) will come near to the time of the events of chapters 11 and 12.
Now, I don’t know about you, but nuclear weapons make me nervous. Just one can ruin your whole day.
I would really like to know WHEN the Iranians are going to nuke Iraq.
Even better, I would like someone to prove to me that my interpretation is completely wrong.
Yes. I would like that very much.