MY WIFE was watching a video clip on her cellphone an hour ago. The narrator in the video, complete with texts and images, was proclaiming to all and sundry that the United States is the referent of “three Old Testament prophecies” concerning the “fall of Babylon.”
One of the Old Testament texts the narrator kept returning to are the prophecies of Jeremiah (chapters 50 and 51). I knew the narrator was using the texts improperly, that is, he was proof-texting without proper regard to context.[i] So, I opened the texts myself. I wanted to settle this matter for myself, for my wife and for all who might want to let the Word of God speak for itself.
My NIV provides a title for Jeremiah chapter 50, thus: “God’s message about Babylon.” The words of the first verse read, “This is the word the Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians” (v1). The prophecies continue into chapter 51, and we are told in the last passage of this chapter that Jeremiah “had written on a scroll about all the disasters that would come upon Babylon – all that had been recorded concerning Babylon” (see 51:59-64).
That is, Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51 open and end with Babylon as the object of the prophecies contained within these two chapters.[ii]