Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Prophecy Against Babylon (Isaiah 13-14)

The following quotes are taken from

"More Rape and Baby Killing - "Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword.  Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes.  Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes.  For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off.  The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows.  They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children."  (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)

"Kill Sons of Sinners - "Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants."  (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)
You can read Isaiah chapters 13-14 here:

            The book of Isaiah was written around the 8th century BCE.  In it, the prophet Isaiah revealed visions and messages from God, predicting Judah's defeat by the Babylonians, and their subsequent exile and captivity in Babylon (which occurred over a century later, circa 588-586 BCE).
            Isaiah chapters 13-23 consist of prophecies concerning the doom of the surrounding nations; nations that God  had placed under judgment.  In chapter 13, a scene of war against Babylon is being described.  The Babylonian Empire angered God because of their arrogance, wickedness and pride (Isaiah 13:11, 14:13-15).
            When reading passages of war prophecies such as this one, we must take a few things into consideration.  First, God does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).  He always gives people an opportunity to repent before the day of judgment comes (2 Chronicles 32:26, Hebrews 11:31).  "If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned" (Jeremiah 18:7-8, NIV; see also Jonah chapter 3).  Judgment and destruction only came if the people did not take God seriously.
            In Isaiah 13:16, a graphic description of war is portrayed, with infants being killed and women being raped.  This illustration was given to the Babylonians as a warning; their rebellion and sins would affect their children and cause their destruction, if they did not repent and turn to God.  This horrific description reveals the serious consequences of a nation's rebellion against God.
            It is important to emphasize here that God does not desire that these things should happen.  He is a holy and just God (Psalm 103:6), who must punish those who disregard his commands and those who oppress and destroy others; the Babylonian Empire was certainly guilty of oppressing and overthrowing other nations, and their ruthlessness and pride led to their end.
            In regards to infants and children being killed in war, this is a difficult issue; and one that is not easily answered.  We live in a broken and fallen world, infected by sin.  Death has come into the world as a result of sin.  Every human being that is born will die.  Some will have longer lives than others.  What is important to note is this: "For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord" (Ezekiel 18:32, NIV).  The Bible also seems to indicate that infants and children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven to be with God (2 Samuel 12:23; Matthew 19:14).
            War is terrible, and passages such as this one are a sober reminder.  What needs to be remembered is that God does not desire war or death.  He sometimes allows war to accomplish his purposes, but his primary desire is that people turn away from their evil ways and turn to him for salvation.  "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23, NIV).