The Expiration Date: God’s Time Table & the Rise & Fall of Nations

Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah of the priests of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters fifty-one and fifty-two. ISAIAH 13:1-22! ISAIAH 14:3-32! REVELATION 17! REVELATION 18! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture—these final chapters of the prophetic book of Jeremiah—not only will you find in the final chapter a description of the fall of Jerusalem and a the destruction of the Temple, but you will also find within these chapters a prophetic word and burden concerning Babylon. Beginning with chapters forty-six you will find a prophetic narrative which concerned the Gentiles and the nations and kingdoms of the earth. Toward the end of the prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find a powerful prophetic witness concerning the nations and kingdoms of the earth, and one that was in direct alignment with the word which the LORD spoke unto Jeremiah at the beginning—namely, that He had ordained this son of HIlkiah to be a prophet unto the nations and unto kingdoms. When the LORD called and ordained Jeremiah to be a prophet, He ordained and appointed him to be a prophet unto the nations and to deliver the prophetic word of the LORD unto them. Perhaps one of the greatest realities surrounding the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah is that although he was called to prophesy the word of the LORD concerning Judah and Jerusalem, he would also prophesy and proclaim the word of the LORD concerning the nations and kingdoms of the earth. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize this, for the prophetic word concerning the nations and kingdoms of the earth were intrinsically linked and inextricably connected to that which took place in Judah and Jerusalem. In fact, you cannot truly understand the judgment and wrath which the LORD of hosts poured out upon the southern kingdom of Judah and the city of Jerusalem without also at the same time understanding its direct impact and effect on what took place within, among and against the nations and kingdoms of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible truth and reality, for to do so would be to miss that which the living and eternal God spoke unto the nations and kingdoms of the earth during the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim. The prophetic book of Jeremiah concludes with that prophetic word which Jeremiah would speak concerning and against the nations, and the final nation and kingdom to whom the prophetic word would be directed to would be Babylon itself.

Babylon—that which was used as an instrument in the hand of God to execute and exercise judgment and wrath upon the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem—would be the final object of the wrath and judgment of the LORD. Chapters fifty and fifty-one of the prophetic book of Jeremiah deal specifically and exclusively with that narrative which would concern Babylon itself, as the instrument which the LORD would use to execute His judgment and wrath would itself become the object of the wrath and judgment of the LORD. That which threshed the nations and kingdoms of the earth would itself be threshed by the true and living God, as the LORD would raise up a nation, a kingdom and people which would execute His judgment and His wrath upon Babylon. Although Babylon would be mightily used by the LORD to execute the wrath and judgment of the LORD it would find itself contending with the LORD of hosts who had raised it up to execute His judgment and wrath against Judah and Jerusalem. How incredibly unique and powerful it is to think about the fact that this kingdom and empire which would dominate and reign upon the known world at that time would find itself coming face to face with the judgment and wrath of the living God, as there would be the appointed time of its judgment and wrath. Although there would be an appointed time of its reign and dominion upon the earth, there would also be an appointed time of its judgment and wrath within the earth. Please recognize and understand this, for the LORD would punish, and the LORD would judge that nation and that kingdom which He would use to destroy and devastate His heritage, His people, His land, and even His sanctuary. It’s actually quite interesting and quite unique to think about and consider the fact that at the very end of the prophetic book of Jeremiah we find the prophet speaking directly unto nations and kingdoms—and not only speaking directly unto nations and kingdoms, but essentially fulfilling that which the LORD had spoken and declared unto him when he called him at the first. What’s more, is that the words we find in these final chapters of the prophetic book of Jeremiah are indeed the direct fulfillment and manifestation of that which we find written in the twenty-fifth chapter of this prophetic book. With this in mind, consider if you will the words found in the twenty-fifth chapter—not only concerning the LORD’s judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem, but also His judgment upon the nations and kingdoms of the earth:

“The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem,s aging, From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. And the LORD hath sent unto you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: and go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt” (Jeremiah 25:1-7).

“Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands” (Jeremiah 25:8-14).

The words found here in the opening fourteen verses of the twenty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah not only reveal how the LORD had warned His people through His servants the prophets rising early and speaking unto them, but also how the people would not hearken and would not listen to the words which the prophets spoke. Although the LORD would send His servants the prophets unto them to call them to turn and return unto Him, they would not hearken, nor would they listen unto Him. Instead, they would continue with their idolatry, they would continue with their immorality, and they would continue with their iniquity to their own hurt and destruction. The living and eternal God would raise up the families of the North, and the Babylonian army under Nebuchadrezzar king of the Babylonians to march against Judah and to march against Jerusalem that they might execute His divine wrath and judgment against and upon them. What would simply begin with references to that which came out of the north, and to the families of the north would eventually materialize, and the picture concerning who they actually would be became clearer as the years went by. Eventually the storm which would come out of the north would have a name, and that name would be Babylon. What’s more, is eventually the instrument in the hand of the LORD would also have a name, and that name would be Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. Eventually and ultimately we find that not only would this storm have a name, but it would also have a face and image during the days of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, as it would be during the days of his reign the king of Babylon would not only invade the land of Judah, and would not only carry away captive certain of the people of God, but would also ultimately break through the wall of Jerusalem, destroy the gates with fire, destroy all the prominent houses in the midst of Jerusalem, and even destroy the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. What would begin almost as a distant thought and distant reality would eventually become a very present reality, as it would no longer seem to be the vain babbling of a prophet of the LORD, but would actually be a nation and kingdom which would rise up against Judah and Jerusalem. The storm out of the north would eventually materialize as the nation and kingdom of Babylon under the reign of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. What’s more, is that concerning this divine instrument in the hand of the living God, there was an appointed time of its devastation and destruction, there would be an appointed time of its reign within and upon the earth, and there would be an appointed time of its own destruction and devastation. We dare not miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of the prophetic word which is found at the end of this book.

As you read the words which are found within this chapter you will find Nebuchadrezzar and the Babylonian army would indeed execute the judgment and wrath of the LORD against and upon Jerusalem and Judah, however, once seventy years had been completed for the captivity and exile of the people of God, the LORD would not only visit that nation and kingdom which had raised itself up against the people of God, against their inheritance, and against the sanctuary of the LORD, but the LORD would also judge and punish them. That nation and kingdom which would exercise dominion and authority over Judah and Jerusalem, and into whose hands the LORD would deliver His sanctuary and His temple would find itself contending with the judgment and wrath of the LORD which would be poured against and upon it. You cannot read the twenty-fifth chapter of this prophetic book of Jeremiah without encountering and coming face to face with the tremendous reality that the judgment and wrath which would be executed against and upon Jerusalem and Judah would not only be intrinsically and inextricably linked to the judgment and wrath of the nations and kingdoms of the earth, but it would also be directly linked to the destruction and judgment against and upon Babylon. That instrument which would be used in the hands of God to execute His judgment and His wrath would ultimately stare down the barrel of the LORD’s judgment and wrath against and upon it, and would ultimately be punished by the LORD. In order to truly understand this reality, it is absolutely necessary that we consider the rest of the words which are found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book—and not only that which is found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, but also that which is found in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the prophetic book of Jeremiah. What so intrigues and amazes me about the prophetic word against the nations and kingdoms of the earth is that Jeremiah would not be the only Hebrew prophet who would prophesy concerning the LORD’s judgment against and upon them. Moreover, Jeremiah would not be the only Hebrew prophet who would prophesy judgment and wrath upon Babylon, and upon the king of Babylon. If you turn and direct your attention to the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the prophetic book of Isaiah you will find that the prophet Isaiah who prophesied generations before Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah would himself issue a powerful prophetic declaration and word concerning the nations and kingdoms of the earth, and even concerning Babylon itself. Oh, I would dare say that we cannot attempt to read and understand the words which are found in the prophetic book of Jeremiah without understanding the words which are found in the prophetic book of Isaiah, for generations before Babylon would even rise and emerge to power the LORD would speak directly to and directly against both Babylon and its king. With this in mind, please consider if you will the words which are fond in the twenty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah beginning to read from the fifteenth verse:

“For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hands, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall rink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I the cup at the LORD’s hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: to wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; and all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azubah, and Enron, and the remnant of Ashdod, Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, and all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, and all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, and all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, and all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the kings of Sheshach shall drink after them. Therefore thous halt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the word which I will send among you. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thous ay unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts” (Jeremiah 25:15-29).

“Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He shall mightily roar upon His habitation; He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, He will pleased with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall e raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the LORD shall e at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall e dung upon the ground. Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel. And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture. And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD. He hath forsaken His covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger” (Jeremiah 25:30-38).

It is absolutely necessary that we think about and consider the words which are found within this particular passage of Scripture, for the words which are found here allow us to see the judgment and wrath the LORD would execute against and upon Babylon. Despite the fact that Babylon would be used of the LORD to execute His judgment and His wrath upon Judah and Jerusalem, Babylon itself would encounter the living God and the LORD of hosts, as the LORD would bring against a nation and people and kingdom which would utterly destroy it. What we find in the twenty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah is a powerful prophetic word—not only concerning Judah and Jerusalem, but also concerning the LORD’s judgment and punishment against Babylon, and against the king of Babylon who had raised itself up against Judah and Jerusalem. What’s more, is that within this chapter we find during the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim—twenty-three years after Jeremiah would first begin prophesying during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah king of Judah—Jeremiah would take the cup of the wine of the wrath and fury of the LORD and would cause the nations of the earth to drink it. The words which are found in the latter half of this chapter are words which are directly linked and connected to the words which are found in the final chapters of this prophetic book, as the LORD would ultimately execute and pour out His judgment and His wrath against and upon the nations and kingdoms of the earth. What would begin with the LORD’s judgment toward and against His own people would eventually and ultimately culminate in the LORD’s judgment against and upon the nations and kingdoms of the earth before the LORD would ultimately move toward His judgment and His wrath against Babylon itself. What so amazes me about this narrative and prophetic word concerning Babylon found in the final few chapters of the prophetic book of Jeremiah is that generations earlier during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah we find Isaiah the son of Amoz prophesying concerning Babylon, and declaring the word of the LORD to it. Isaiah—this same prophet who would prophesy concerning the coming Messiah, and this same prophet who would prophesy concerning Cyrus and would call him by name—would also prophesy concerning Babylon, and the LORD’s judgment toward and against Babylon in the midst of the earth. I would dare say that if you want to truly understand the words and language which is found in this passage of Scripture in the prophetic book of Jeremiah it is absolutely necessary to consider the words which are found in the prophetic book of Isaiah—specifically that which is found in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters. With that in mind, please consider if you will the words which are found in these chapters beginning with the first verse of the thirteenth chapter:

“The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. Lift ye up a banner upon the high mount in, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a fairy country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of His indignation, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; It shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: and they shall e afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them: they shall e in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall e amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. Sit it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall e dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But the wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there, and the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their d desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged” (Isaiah 13:1-22).

“For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for the servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors” (Isaiah 14:1-2).

“And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased! The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as wee? Art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy voils: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcass trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction saith the LORD of hosts. The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have though, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden. Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant. Howl, O gate; cry, O city; Thou, whole Palestine, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times. What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it” (Isaiah 14:3-32).

If you are going to try and understand the words which the prophet Jeremiah prophesied and spoke concerning Babylon it is absolutely necessary to recognize that generations earlier Isaiah the son of Amoz—a prophet of the most High God unto the kingdom of Judah and city of Jerusalem would take up a burden for Babylon. Generations and decades before Babylon would even be the dominant power and authority that was present in the midst of the earth the prophet Isaiah would take up a burden for Babylona Nd would prophesy of its demise, its destruction, its devastation, and its ruin. This is actually quite intriguing to think about and consider, for it’s almost as if despite the fact that Babylon was raised up by the LORD to unleash judgment and wrath upon the nations, it was predetermined ordained for it to fall. I can’t help but read the words found within the prophetic book of Isaiah and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that even before Babylon would rise its fall was already predetermined, ordained and appointed by the living God. Before the LORD would ever raise up Babylon in the midst of the earth and allow them to exercise authority and dominion over the nations and kingdoms of the earth it had already been decreed that it would fall and be utterly and completely destroyed. I find it absolutely and utterly fascinating to think about and consider the fact that generations before Babylon would rise to power on the ancient world stage the word of the LORD would decree that it was destined to fall. Even though Babylon would be a sword in the hand of the LORD to cut down nations and kingdoms upon the earth it would be predetermined that Babylon would have an appointed time in which it would rule and reign upon the earth. Babylon would indeed be the most dominant kingdom and empire on the face of the earth during its time, however, their ascendancy and dominance would have an expiration date. THE EXPIRATION DATE OF KINGDOMS! THE EXPIRATION DATE OF EMPIRES! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely remarkable and astonishing reality that with every kingdom, with every empire, with every world power that rose up in the midst of the earth there would be a shelf life and expiration date that would be appointed and ordained for it. Whether you’re speaking about the ancient Egyptian Empire, or the ancient Assyrian Empire, or the ancient Babylonian Empire, or the Medo-Persian Empire, or the Grecian Empire, or the Roman Empire, or even the Ottoman Empire—each and every one would have an expiration date which was ordained and appointed by the word of the LORD.

We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it actually shines a tremendous amount of light on to the fact that while it is absolutely and utterly true that every kingdom, and every empire has an appointed time of dominance before its collapse and ruin—the same reality absolutely holds true to that one who offered up all the kingdoms, all the powers, all the empires, all the dominions in the world which had been delivered up into his hand. If you journey to the New Testament gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find Satan offering up all the nations, all the kingdoms, all the empires of the world, for they had been delivered unto him and into his hand. It’s important for us to recognize and understand this, for as surely as nations, and kingdoms, and empires have a shelf life and an expiration date, so also does our enemy and adversary who was undoubtedly and arguably the driving force behind many of the kingdoms and empires which was present upon the face of the earth. Speaking about and having a discussion around nations, kingdoms and empires cannot truly be had without also at the same time understanding that the chief architect behind much of the devastation and destruction that has taken place in the earth since the creation does in fact himself have an expiration date. We dare not and must not miss this, for if you journey to the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ you will find it written—not only concerning the fall and destruction of ruin of Babylon, but you will also find the downward spiral of Satan which is that ancient serpent in the garden and the great dragon in the Revelation of Jesus the Christ. Within the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ you will find Satan’s fall from heaven after being unable to win the conflict between his angels and Michael’s angels, you will find the casting of Satan into the bottomless pit where he would be bound for one thousand years, and you will ultimately find Satan’s being cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. Consider if you will—not only the words concerning this ancient foe and adversary as described in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, but also the prophetic book of Ezekiel, as well as the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ:

“Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: It sitreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou do me like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy voils: thy worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcass trodden under feet” (Isaiah 14:9-19).

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tablets of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou was upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire form the midst of thee, it shall evoke thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more” (Ezekiel 28:11-19).

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:7-17).

“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:1-3).

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and composed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brisk stone, where the beast and the females prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10).

While the words which are found within these chapters detail and describe the progression of the fall of Satan from heaven, down to the earth, and then into the bottomless pit, and ultimately into the lake of fire and brimstone, it’s necessary that we realize Satan’s final act before being cast into the lake of fire. I want to call and draw your attention to this final act of Satan after being loosed from his prison where he had spent the previous one thousand years because it reveals the true and ultimate power and force that was behind the sieges of Jerusalem within and during its history. If you read and study the history of Jerusalem and the Jewish people you will find that there were two specific times when the city itself was surrounded by an enemy army, and when that army laid siege to it before ultimately and finally breaking through the wall of the city. It would the Assyrian army that would initially and originally lay siege to the city of Jerusalem—or at least surround the city with the intention of overtaking it—and yet Hezekiah withstood and resisted the Assyrian king Sennacherib through prayer and trust in the LORD of hosts. I continue to find it absolutely incredible that not only did Hezekiah resist the king of Assyria through prayer and confidence in the living God, but I would also argue that he resisted the ancient serpent, which is also called Satan, and the Devil. Although he might not have realized he was effectively resisting this ancient adversary and foe when all he saw was the tangible and present foe before him, he would nonetheless withstand, oppose and resist him through prayer and confidence in the LORD his God. Hezekiah would enter into the house of the LORD—not once, but twice in response to the words which were spoken concerning Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof. Hezekiah would withstand the words which Rabshekah had spoken outside the walls of Jerusalem through prayer, and would receive a word from the LORD through His servant Isaiah the son of Amoz. Moreover, Hezekiah would take the letters which were sent unto him by Sennacherib and Rabshekah, and would spread them before the LORD in prayer. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for to do so would be to understand just how incredible his resistance truly was before the LORD and against the enemy and adversary. Although the Assyrian Army would indeed and would in fact surround the city of Jerusalem with every intention of laying siege to and overtaking it, there would be a righteous and godly king who would resist and oppose both the earthly king who stood against the city, as well as the ancient foe and adversary who was behind that earthly king and ruler.

It would be Sennacherib king of Assyria who would be the first king, and it would be the Assyrian army and the Assyrian empire which would be the first to surround the city of Jerusalem with the attempt of laying siege to it and breaking it up that it might enter into it. I would dare say that were it not for the prayer, the intercession, the trust, the confidence, and the boldness of Hezekiah to resist and oppose the king of Assyria in the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD, the city might very well have succumb to the assault and attack against it. Thank God there was a righteous and godly king which sat upon the throne of David who would rise up in humility, in trust, in confidence, and I would even dare say in authority, and resist and oppose an earthly king, an earthly army, an earthly empire, and ultimately an ancient foe. RESISTING AN EARTHLY KING AND AN ANCIENT ADVERSARY! When I read Satan’s attempt to surround and compass the saints in the midst of the city of Jerusalem after he was loosed from his prison of a thousand years, I can’t help but see him as the ultimate driving force behind those kings, those rulers, and those enemies which marched against the city of Jerusalem, surrounded this ancient city, surrounded the people of God, and attempted to completely and utterly consume and overtake the city. There is not a doubt in my mind that behind Sennacherib’s attempt to surround the city of Jerusalem, and his attempt to overtake the city with the power, the strength and the might of his army was an ancient foe and adversary which would be the driving force of that opposition and that march against the city of God. Sennacherib would be the first king, and Assyria would be the first empire and kingdom that would march against the city of Jerusalem and attempt to overtake and consume it, yet it would not be the last. Although Hezekiah resisted the king of Assyria and his army through prayer and intercession, as well as through trust and confidence, this would not be the case during the days of Jehoiakim king of Judah when Babylon would march against it. When Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon would march against the city of Jerusalem there would be no righteous king sitting upon the throne of David who would intercede on behalf of the nation and people, nor would there be a righteous king that would resist and oppose the foreign king with his army through prayer. Consider if you will the words which are found in the final chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, for they are in direct alignment with the final words found in the final chapters of the books of Second Kings and Second Chronicles:

“Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he bean to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the the king of Babylon. And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built sorts against it round about. So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about) and they went by the way of the plain. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him. Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him. And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death. Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, and burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire: and all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about. Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude. But Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen” (Jeremiah 52:1-16).

As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find one of the different references to the Babylonian Empire and army marching against the city of Jerusalem, surrounding it on all sides, laying siege to it, and eventually breaking through the walls of the city before its princes and rulers would set themselves up in the gate(s) of the city. Within this chapter we encounter and come face to face with the reality that the Babylonian Empire and army would not only surround, but also lay siege to the city of Jerusalem for nearly two years before the famine and pestilence in the midst of the city would have a devastating toll and effect upon the inhabitants therein. What we find within this final chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, and what we find in the final chapters of the books of Second Kings and Second Chronicles describes a similar reality to what would happen centuries later when the Roman army would march into Judaea, would march against the city of Jerusalem, and would effectively lay siege to it before overtaking the city and breaking through the walls. Moreover, in both instances—the siege of the Babylonian Empire and the siege of the Roman Empire—the Temple and sanctuary of the living God would be destroyed and burned with fire. What’s more, is that what you find and read in the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ describes a final siege—or a final attempt to lay siege to the city of Jerusalem, and the LORD’s response to that siege. It would be true that when the Assyrians laid siege to the city of Jerusalem they would not be able to enter into the city, nor overtake it because Hezekiah king of Judah resisted and opposed both the king and his army in prayer, however, when we think about and consider the siege of the Babylonians, as well as the siege of the Romans, we must recognize that the LORD allowed both of those sieges to be carried through to completion, and allowed the city to be overtaken, and the people to be scattered. In the case of the Assyrian attempt to lay siege to the city of Jerusalem we find the angel of the LORD slaughtering one-hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers in a single night, and the king of Assyria returning unto Nineveh where he would be slaughtered by his own sons. It’s important for us to recognize this because I am convinced that what we find during the days of Hezekiah—at least as it pertains to the LORD’s protection of the city of Jerusalem, and how the LORD’s dealt with the Assyrian king and army—is a powerful portent and picture of the final showdown and struggle that will take place in the earth when the great dragon with his vast army attempts to surround the city and overtake the saints and the Lord and Savior who is found in the midst of them.

As I sit here today, I can’t help but be absolutely captivated by the fact that three of the greatest sieges against the city of Jerusalem occurred at the hands of the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Romans. With that being said, we also know from Scripture that there will. Be a fourth and final attempt to surround the city of Jerusalem and the saints of God which dwell in the midst of the city with The Lion of the tribe of Judah. What makes this even more interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that in the first three sieges of the city of Jerusalem the Temple of the LORD would be present in the midst of the city. During the Assyrian siege, as well as during the Babylonian siege the Temple which Solomon son of David king of Israel had built would be present in the midst of the city, while during the Roman siege Herod’s Temple would stand in the midst of the city. During the Assyrian siege the LORD would not allow the enemy and adversary to enter into the city, nor to come upon and against His holy sanctuary and His holy house. This, however, would not be the case during the Babylonian siege, nor during the Roman siege, as during both of these sieges—not only would the LORD allow the city to be broken up, the city walls to be breached, and destruction to occur, but the LORD would also allow both Temples which stood in the midst of the city to be touched, consumed, and destroyed by the adversary. What makes the final Satanic siege of the city of Jerusalem so drastically and dramatically different is when you think about and consider the fact that Scripture doesn’t necessarily speak of a physical Temple standing in the midst of the city. We know for a fact that there will in fact be a third Jewish Temple that will stand on the Temple Mount, but what makes this final Satanic siege so incredibly unique is that within the city there will be the saints of the most High God, there will be the person of Jesus who is both Christ and Lord, and there might very well be a third Jewish Temple that stands in the midst of the city. What a powerful picture it is to think about the fact that within the city of Jerusalem there will stand the Temple of the LORD, and that the person and presence of Jesus the Christ will also be present within the city. What we find concerning this final satanic siege is the LORD causing fire to come down upon the armies. That marched against the city of Jerusalem, and would consume them where they stood. What’s more, is that it is after this final Satanic siege that Satan would ultimately and once and for all be destroyed and consumed, as he would be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet were.

When we speak about the Assyrian invasion of the land of Judah, and when we speak about the siege of the city of Jerusalem we find the angel of the LORD slaughtering one-hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian men within that army in a single night. Moreover—not only would the LORD not allow the enemy and adversary to consume the city of Jerusalem and enter into it, but the LORD would also cause Sennacherib to flee unto Nineveh where he would ultimately meet his end and demise at the hands of his sons. Just as Sennacherib would meet and encounter his end after attempting to lay siege to the city of Jerusalem, so also will Satan, which is the ancient serpent in the garden and the dragon in the book of Revelation meet his demise and his destruction after mounting his own personal siege of the city of Jerusalem. With that being said, I feel the need to sort of pause right here and draw and call your attention to the fact that in the garden we find Satan represented and manifested in the form of a serpent, and throughout much of Scripture we find Satan referred to as the serpent, however, when we come to the prophetic book of the Revelation we no longer find Satan being referred to as the serpent, but rather as a great dragon. Oh, there are references to Satan and the devil being that ancient serpent in the garden, however, when we come to the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ we no longer find a serpent, but a dragon. It’s absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand, for it almost appears that the serpent was transformed into a dragon within and throughout human history, and how it would be as a dragon the serpent would attempt to fight against Michael and his angels with a host and force of his own. Moreover, it would be as a dragon he would persecute the woman who brought forth the man child, and it would be as a dragon Satan would raise up and give his throne, his power, and his authority to the beast that would rise up in the midst of the earth. Moreover, it would be as a dragon Satan would mount a siege against the holy city of Jerusalem after the millennial reign of Jesus Christ had been completed. After one-thousand years of peace, rest, safety, shelter and quietness, Satan would be loosed from the prison he had been bound, and would go out to the four corners of the earth to gather an army which he would use to march against the holy city of Jerusalem. It would be as a dragon Satan would attempt to come against the city of Jerusalem, and it would be as a dragon Satan would attempt to destroy the saints of God together with their Messiah. Think about it for a moment as the saints of God will be in the holy city of Jerusalem together with Jesus the Christ, and Satan will try one last time to destroy the saints of God, and even to destroy the Messiah. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this incredibly unique and powerful truth, for to do so would be to miss out on just how awesome the glory, the strength, the power and might of the living God will be during that time and on that day.

While there will indeed be a future Satanic siege that will be mounted against the city of Jerusalem after the millennial reign of Jesus the Christ, and while there would in fact be a Roman siege of the city which would take place nearly forty years after Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father in heaven, there would be the Babylonian siege that would take place during the days of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah. It would be during the days of Zedekiah king of Judah—specifically during the ninth year of his reign—Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon would come unto Jerusalem with a great army and with a great force, and would mount a siege against the city. It would be this ancient Babylonian king together with his army who would come against the city of Jerusalem, and would surround the city for nearly two years. Approximately eighteen months the enemy and adversary would be outside the city of Jerusalem, and as a direct result of the presence of the enemy the inhabitants therein would find themselves facing both the famine and pestilence. What’s more, is that those who were not consumed with the pestilence, and those who were not consumed by the famine would be consumed by the sword of the king of Babylon. Jeremiah was present in the court of the prison at the time Nebuchadrezzar marched against the city of Jerusalem, and Jeremiah would undoubtedly watch as everything he had prophesied of during the days of Josiah, Jehoiakim, and now Zedekiah would come to pass in the midst of the city. Eventually and ultimately the city would be broken up, the wall would be broken through, the gates would be consumed with fire, and the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD would be destroyed with fire. What we must realize and recognize is that even though Babylon would invade the land of Judah, even though Babylon would capture the defenced cities, and even though Babylon would lay siege to Jerusalem before finally breaking through and destroy both the city and Temple, the LORD had decreed and destined them for destruction. Though they would be used as an instrument in the hand of the LORD to accomplish and fulfill His purposes, there would come an appointed time of their end when the LORD would raise up the spirit of the Medes, which would march against Babylon, overtake the city, and replace Babylon as the dominant superpower, kingdom and empire in the midst of the earth.

It is this concept of kingdoms and empires having a shelf life and having an expiration date that is actually quite telling when you take the time to think about it, for Scripture reveals how even before nations and kingdoms and empires would rise in the midst of the earth they would have an expiration date. You need only read the prophetic book of Daniel to discover the reality that kingdoms and empires have an expiration date, for even Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon would have a dream concerning the succession of empires—and not only the succession of empires, but also how kingdoms and empires rise and fall according to the divine will and word of the eternal and living God. We dare not miss and lose sight of this, for when we think about every kingdom, when we think about every nation, and when we think about every empire that has ever existed upon the face of the earth—each and every one of them has a shelf life that has been predetermined and preordained by the living God. Egypt had an expiration date. Assyria had an expiration date. Babylon had an expiration date. Medo-Persia had an expiration date. Greece had an expiration date. Rome had an expiration date. Ottoman had an expiration date. This brings you face to face with the tremendous reality that even nations and world powers within this generation and during these days and times also have an expiration date, and have risen and fallen according to the predeterminate will of the living God, and will rise and fall according to the predeterminate will of the eternal Father. We must recognize and understand this, for even the United States of America, which has long been the most powerful nation on the earth has risen according to the divine plan of the LORD, and will fall according to the divine will of the LORD. The same reality goes for Germany, for Russia, for China, for Iran, and for other nations and kingdoms which are all vying and a jockeying for position on the world stage. Oh how absolutely necessary and imperative it is that we understand how nations, kingdoms, empires and powers have an appointed time of ascendancy, but they also have an appointed time for their demise, their destruction, and their fall. Every nation, every kingdom, every empire, every power that has ever been in existence within and upon the earth has risen according to the divine will of the Father, and will fall according to the divine will of the Father. The words which we find in the final chapters of the prophetic book of Jeremiah point to and reveal this awesome and incredible reality that although Babylon would be the divine instrument in the hand of the living God to execute His judgment and wrath against Judah and Jerusalem, it would have an expiration date, and would have an ultimate end. If there is one thing we must learn and recognize when reading these chapters it’s that kingdoms and empires rise and fall according to the divine schedule of the eternal and living God, and that no nation, no kingdom, nor empire can ever operate beyond that which the LORD has ordained and appointed for it. Jeremiah not only saw the rise and the authority of the Babylonian Empire, but Jeremiah would also see the demise and utter destruction of it. The final prophetic word concerning the Gentiles and concerning the nations would in fact be a prophetic word against Babylon, and against the king of Babylon. Moreover, Jeremiah would see the fall of the king of Babylon—a reality which Isaiah the son of Amoz would see decades and generations earlier.

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