See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children. Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians’ pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there. (Isaiah 13:17-20)
According to a Newsmax.com report I received recently, U.S. ally Turkey and U.S. arch-enemy Iran have formed a military alliance to drive separatist Kurds from bases in northern Iraq they have used since 2004 to launch guerrilla operations inside Iran, rebel leaders told Newsmax at a secret base in the Qandil mountains.
I first wrote about this three years ago. It’s been a problem waiting to happen since the outbreak of the war in Iraq. The Kurds are descendants of the Medes, an Indo-European people who were joined by the Persians in their successful effort to overthrow Babylon and establish them selves as a world power in the 6th century BC. The Persians, while joining mid-campaign, eventually became the more dominant partner in the coalition, but together the Medes and the Persians reigned for over 200 years until Alexander the Great defeated them.
The original ancestor of the Medes was Madai, the 3rd son of Japeth, a son of Noah. After the confusion of tongues at Babel he migrated north and east into the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea where Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, and Georgia all join today. Locals call this area Kurdistan, or land of the Kurds. Mosul, a prominent city in Iraqi Kurdistan, was known in Biblical times as Nineveh.
Turkey has been a resolute opponent of granting the Kurds a national homeland because much of the land they would occupy is in Turkey, with some in Iran and Iraq as well. In fact, Turkey thinks it owns the land currently occupied by the Iraqi Kurds, including the rich oil fields there, claiming that their ownership dates back to the days of the Ottoman Empire. The Iraqi Kurds have been very helpful in the US war with Iraq and have gained influence and autonomy as a result. In fact, the President of Iraq is currently Jalal Talabani, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and the first non-Arab to lead an Arab country. Remember, the Medes were descendants of Madai, son of Japeth. That makes them Caucasian, not Semitic.
I guess you can understand why Turkey is less than thrilled with all of this. Having gone to war to prevent Kurdish autonomy in the past, are they now supposed to be happy about the likelihood of a whole country run by Kurds right next door? The unthinkable result in Turkish minds is that the Kurds will become an independent nation, taking a bunch of Turkish land in the process.
Iran, who also has a considerable Kurdish population, shares this fear and is only too happy to help make a bigger mess for the US in Iraq, especially since the Kurds have been successfully preventing Iranian and al Qaida fighters from crossing into their part of Iraq. So, beginning a few months ago a coalition of Turkish and Iranian troops have been entering Iraq to do battle with Kurdish separatists in the Qandil Mountains.
US officials have urged Turkey not to send in more troops and have appealed for a diplomatic solution. The Kurdish self-rule region in northern Iraq is one of the country’s few relatively stable areas and the Kurds are a longtime ally of the US.
By the way, relations between Turkey and the US faced further strain after a UScongressional committee voted to accuse Islamic Ottoman Turkey of genocide against Christian Armenians during the First World War. Turkey denies that the 1.5 million deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated, and those killed were victims of civil war and unrest that killed Muslims as well.
Turkey claims that the forced relocations of ethnic Armenians were not intended to eliminate them and have threatened both to deny the US access to its bases in Turkey and to cross the border into Iraq with a massive force they’ve built up on their side if the resolution passes. This caused Pres. Bush to publically criticize the congressional committee, saying there are more important things to do than alienate our only real Moslem ally in the region. Since then Democratic defections have caused the leadership to re-think its strategy and the bill may not come out of committee after all.
What’s The Point?
I offer this background so you can see three prophecies all edging closer to fulfillment in these events. First, Turkey and Iran are becoming allies, opening the door for Turkey’s coming entry into the Moslem coalition of Ezekiel 38. As western powers have snubbed or offended Turkey, Iran and Syria have both become closer allies to this overwhelmingly Moslem NATO member. Turkey’s defection to the Moslem coalition is one of the few remaining pre-conditions for Ezekiel 38 to be fulfilled.
Second, we see the descendants of the ancient Medes coming back onto the world stage to fulfill the prophetic destiny that Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold for them. This tells us that the Kurds are not going to go away, but in fact will become a stronger force to be reckoned with in the Middle East.
Third, and the focus of this study, we’ll see that their destiny is to be God’s agency for the never before fulfilled judgment against Babylon at the End of the Age.
By now we all know that Babylon was never destroyed in the way Isaiah and Jeremiah described when the Medes and Persians took the Kingdom in 538 BC. When Darius the Mede assumed the throne in Babylon , he did so without having fought a battle for the right. The Medo-Persian armies had snuck into the city by diverting the River Euphrates and crawling under its gates to capture the mighty fortress without throwing a spear or swinging a sword. And yet Jeremiah said that the Babylonian army would be completely destroyed, falling down slain, fatally wounded in the streets of Babylon (Jere. 51:3-4) and “her thick wall will be leveled, her high gates set on fire. The peoples exhaust themselves for nothing, the nations’ labor is only fuel for the flames.” (Jere. 51:58) The use of the plural for nations in this verse conveys the idea that multiple countries were involved in building the city, another clue that Jeremiah wasn’t talking about the Babylon of his time, but of a future one.
Speaking of Babylon’s destruction, the Lord had Isaiah say,
Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war. They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens—the LORD and the weapons of his wrath—to destroy the whole country. Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man’s heart will melt. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. (Isaiah 13:4-8)
This sounds more like 21st century weaponry. I’m told that a neutron bomb will melt flesh right off the skeleton while the victim is still standing. Perhaps this is what Isaiah saw.
Isaiah said that Babylon would never be inhabited again after being judged, and Jeremiah repeated the pledge seven more times. Yet Babylon has been inhabited and is today. There must be a future role for the Great City, and it must be a major one to merit six chapters of the Bible. Isaiah 13-14, Jeremiah 50-51 and Revelation 17-18 all speak of it. Isaiah 14 tells us why the city is so important. It’s because the real King of Babylon is Satan himself.
Isaiah 13-14 is a 2 chapter oracle about the destruction of Babylon, some of which we’ve highlighted above. But Isaiah 14:4 says, “You will take up this taunt against the King of Babylon” and from there on things get personal. In verse 11 he says, “How you have fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning” and then lists the five boasts that Lucifer made in his rebellion against God. It’s one of only two glimpses the Bible offers into this mysterious event that many scholars believe preceded Adam’s creation. The other is Ezekiel 28:12-19 where Lucifer is called the King of Tyre. Both end in his utter defeat.
There are more good reasons to believe that the Babylon spoken of in these prophecies is an End Times city in Iraq, not the USA, and that it will be destroyed by the Medes, or rather their modern counterparts the Kurds. The Medes are mentioned in Isaiah 13:17 & Jere. 51:11, 28 as being involved in a destruction of Babylon that’s never happened in history and will result in the eternal desolation of Satan’s headquarters on Earth.
Although many nations will be involved, only the Medes are mentioned by name, and both Isaiah and Jeremiah were speaking of them in regards to the city in modern Iraq. Referencing the time as “The Day of the Lord” Isaiah called Babylon “the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride” (Isaiah 13:19) (The Chaldeans were the people of the southern regions who founded and controlled the Babylonian Empire. Some believe that Kuwait is the nation now occupying the land of the Chaldeans, and that this was the basis for Saddam Hussein’s claim to Kuwait in the invasion that prompted the first Gulf war.)
Jeremiah went even farther. He used two cryptograms (code words) to authenticate his description, also in the context of the End Times. There are several instances of Hebrew code writing in the old Testament. They typically substituted the last letter of the 22 letter alphabet for the first, the 21st for the 2nd, the 20th for the 3rd and so on. Jeremiah’s two cryptograms can be found in Jere. 51:4 where Leb Kamai is code for Chaldea and in Jere. 51:41 where Sheshach is code for Babylon. I believe he did this to make it unmistakably clear that he was referring to and end times version of Biblical Babylon. How Satan will restore this now largely ceremonial city into the capitol of Earth at the end of the age is a matter of much speculation, some of it skeptical. For now what we know from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and John is that he will.
I say that because some of the language John used in Rev 17-18 is almost certainly taken from Isaiah and Jeremiah. In Isaiah 13:21-22 Babylon is called a haunt for jackals, owls, and hyenas, words that in Hebrew describe demons as well as unclean animals. Compare that with Rev. 18:2. With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. Or how about Isaiah 47:7-9 where the Lord accused Babylon as saying “I am the eternal queen … and not a widow,” and said she would be destroyed in a moment, on a single day. Compare that with Rev. 18:7-8. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her.
Jeremiah called Babylon a gold cup in the Lord’s hand who made the whole Earth drunk. He said the nations drank her wine and went mad, and she would fall suddenly. (Jere. 51:7-8) Compare that with John’s words in Rev. 17:4 & 18:3. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. All three of these prophets were describing the same place. While the US certainly deserves and may well receive the judgments described here, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and John were all describing the fall of Biblical Babylon.
Through the Kurdish involvement in the Iraqi War, the Medes have stepped out of history and onto the world stage once again, and another player in the End Times Scenario is taking its place. One day soon, the King of the Medes will again lead a vast army against Babylon, and this time her destruction will be complete, and the Lord’s words will be fulfilled.