III Lent Friday – Esaias 13: 2-13

For the Lord Hath Spoken

The Lenten Readings from Esaias 

III Lent Friday – Esaias 13: 2-13

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Thus saith the Lord: Lift up a standard on the mountain of the plain, exalt the voice to them, beckon with the hand, open the gates, ye rulers. 3 I give command, and I bring them: giants are coming to fulfill my wrath, rejoicing at the same time and insulting. 4 A voice of many nations on the mountains, even like to that of many nations; a voice of kings and nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts has given command to a war-like nation, 5 to come from a land afar off, from the utmost foundation of heaven; the Lord and his warriors are coming to destroy all the world. 6 Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is near, and destruction from God shall arrive. 7 Therefore every hand shall become powerless, and every soul of man shall be dismayed. 8 The elders shall be troubled, and pangs shall seize them, as of a woman in travail: and they shall mourn one to another, and shall be amazed, and shall change their countenance as a flame. 9 For behold! the day of the Lord is coming which cannot be escaped, a day of wrath and anger, to make the world desolate, and to destroy sinners out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven, and Orion, and all the host of heaven, shall not give their light; and it shall be dark at sunrise, and the moon shall not give her light. 11 And I will command evils for the whole world, and will visit their sins on the ungodly: and I will destroy the pride of transgressors, and will bring low the pride of the haughty. 12 And they that are left shall be more precious than gold tried in the fire; and a man shall be more precious than the stone that is in Suphir. 13 For the heaven shall be enraged, and the earth shall be shaken from her foundation, because of the fierce anger of the Lord of hosts, in the day in which his wrath shall come on.

This passage forms a part of “A Vision Against Babylon,” in which the Lord announces His judgment against that great pagan nation that figures so prominently in the history of Old Israel.  “Babylon,” of course, means “Babel,” that is, “confusion,” and the word conveys layers of meaning.  It refers to the Tower of Babel of Genesis 11, to the historical Babylon of the first millennium B.C., to apostate Old Israel that killed the prophets and the Son of God Himself, and to the kingdom of Antichrist in general, both in its final, eschatological form as well as in its various iterations throughout history, in the form of all the innumerable worldly kingdoms based on demonic worship and fallen man’s lust for power and enslavement to all the passions.  Thus the prophecy in today’s passage has a contemporary application to the Babylonian nation, a moral application to all societies who manifest the wicked character of the Tower of Babel, and an eschatological application to the final reign of Antichrist, which Christ will destroy forever on that last and greatest Day of the Lord: His Second Coming. 

St. Jerome writes that this passage applies not only to kingdoms but also to every soul considered individually:  

[Esaias] saw, not with the eyes of flesh but with the eyes of the mind, what a huge, heavy weight Babylon imposes.  And since Babylon, which in Hebrew is “Babel,” means “confused” (it was there that the speech of those who built the tower was confused), spiritually it signifies the world which is inclined toward evil that confuses not only tongues, but also individual behavior and outlook. – Jerome, Commentary on Esaias, Book 5.  

Each of us then, when he fights against mental deception by the struggles of his own spiritual warfare,  does his own part, by the grace of God,  in the war of Christ against the Babylonian kingdom of Satan and his tool, the Antichrist.  

“For the kingdom of God is within you.”   

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