Verse: “But desert creatures will lie down there, and their houses will be full of owls; ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there.” Isaiah 13:21
Isaiah 13 is a passage that describes God’s judgment upon the people of Babylon and prophecy to come in the End Times. Judgement: This is often a principle which makes people uncomfortable, as the action biblically affirms the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment and the existence of Hell.
As mentioned there are two messages simultaneously occurring in this text: 1. Babylon is the center of attention. The Prophet predicts the destruction of the Empire- Isaiah describes the destruction of the City of Babylon, which “stood at the head in the list of Israel’s enemies to be conquered,” (John MacArthur Study Bible). 2. Throughout the chapter Isaiah also is depicting an analogy of apocalyptic literature, which describes the End Times when Jesus Christ returns.
“Behold, the Day of the Lord is coming, cruel with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners…for the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises and the moon will not shed light. Thus I will punish the world for its evil…” Isaiah 13: 9-11
“In Scripture, Babylon symbolizes the world system man has built in defiance of God. Jerusalem and Babylon are contrasting cities: One is the chosen city of God, the other the wicked city of Man. The city of God will live forever, but the rebellious city of Man will ultimately be destroyed.” (Warren Wiersbe Old Testament Commentary)
“The incursion of God as a warrior causes nature to go into convulsions. On the day of God’s judgment, the sun…moon, and stars, which God created to provide the world with light, will go out, plunging the world into darkness.” (HCSB Study Bible)
“The cosmic distress described is common in apocalyptic literature as metaphorical language for the dramatic, widespread, political and religious turmoil and upheavals that will be brought on by the shift in the ages of human history.” (Jesus and the Gospels, An Introduction and Survey, Craig L. Blomberg, pg. 377)
Chaos has ensued in Babylon. In verse 17 of this chapter, the Medes are the attacking army. This was a warlike people group known from the Zagros Mountains east of the Mesopotamian plain. (HCSB Study Bible) Total destruction occurred.
“The ancient city of Babylon, once conquered, will never be inhabited again…this is also true in its ultimate fulfillment. When Jesus returns in glory and conquers the world system, He will rule the earth for 1,000 years. As He does, there will be no more ‘world system’ in opposition to God as we know it. In this sense, the world system in opposition to God will never be inhabited again.” (David Guzik)
The words in verse 21 are describing complete darkness and turmoil around an empire which was always thought to be incapable of failing. Concerning this text, John Wesley said, “The learned all agree, these are frightful and solitary creatures. The wild goats are sometimes associated with demons in goat form that are called satyrs” (Chuck Smith).
Was there spiritual warfare amidst the Babylonian Empire? Absolutely…
So how is this text applicable to the 21st Century Christian? In the Bible, Babylon represents everything evil: lust, cruelty, pride, anger, greed, idolatry, blasphemy, and persecution of God’s people. The Babylonians were individuals that did not live for The Lord. “Babylon is a ‘Suitable representation…of the idolatrous, pagan world system in opposition of God.’” (Martin)
There are quite a few parallels that can be drawn between the Babylonian Empire of the Old Testament and the world and culture we live in today. As such, we can learn a lot from the passage. Live for Jesus with reckless abandonment. If you declare yourself a Christ Follower- then genuinely follow. If you fail or fall flat on your face, get back up and point to Jesus as the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). No sin is too dirty to not be washed clean by the Blood of Christ. Only a completely surrendered heart is required- and one that does not oppose the Lord.
- Next week More than Judas will begin a 2 Minute Devotional Study throughout the Book of Revelation. Stay tuned!
Definitions: David Guzik Commentary
- The Day of the Lord– Is an important phrase, used 26 times in the Bible. It speaks of not a single day of judgment, but of the season of judgment when the LORD sets things right. It is as if today is man’s day, but the LORD’S DAY is coming!
Quote: “Someone has said that the seven deadly sins of society are these: Policies without principles; wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; commerce and industry without morality; science without humanity; worship without sacrifice.” Leaves of Gold
Additional Readings: Isaiah 13, Ephesians 6: 10-20
Prayer: Father God, forgive me for my sin. Have mercy on me Lord. Help me live an authentic life for you today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.