Tabernacle Choir – Israel, Israel, God is Calling
|Robert Koldeway’s map of Babylon (in black) with overlays (in color). Ancient riverbed and moat in blue. Total wall length = 37,735 meters = 23.45 miles|
Like an onion, truth from scripture is revealed by pealing back one layer at a time. In this sense the scriptures are not “dumbed down” for the masses but require some effort and study. Both the Holy Temple and the Holy Scriptures teach truth by allegory1, parable2, symbolism3 and metaphor4.
So that brings us to Babylon, a major scriptural metaphor that helps reveal a layer of truth as a guide to understanding our present world in the Latter-days. There are many striking parallels.
In scripture, the symbol for our world is BABYLON, from which God advises the righteous to flee, first spiritually and then later, physically. The simple problem with Babylon (the present world system) is that it is a bad investment from a spiritual and physical point of view: There is no future in it! It is all scheduled for demolition. And where does God say to go? Flee to Zion! ZION is the future: God’s Kingdom of Heaven5 is destined to grow, expand, and last forever6.
5 Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.
7 … Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
9 … Go ye forth unto the land of Zion, that the borders of my people may be enlarged, and that her stakes may be strengthened, and that Zion may go forth unto the regions round about.
12 Let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion.
13 And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem …
14 Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon.
Understanding the details of ancient Babylon helps to visualize the metaphor – the purpose of this post …
General Description of Babylon
After Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Assyrian empire, by defeating both the Assyrians and the Egyptians at the battle of Carchemish – Babylon ruled the known world.
The Babylonian empire exceeded the ancient empires both before and after it in terms of wealth and grandeur. Babylon became the breadbasket of the world, raising wheat for consumption and trade. The Euphrates river was their trade route coming and going. All nations served Babylon politically, and Babylonian merchants were everywhere. They were wealthy enough to have their pagan idols constructed of solid gold25 7. German archeologist Robert Koldewey (cold-dew-ee = English pronouciation, col-duh-vay German pronounciation) actually found the massive footings that held the weight of these idols.
|Southern Palace with 17×51 meter throne room (T) and throne location in red. Ishtar Gate in upper right.|
The Babylonians spent their wealth on their pagan temples, public buildings and fortifications, with an eye towards pleasing themselves and impressing others. The city was a wonder – with straight, well laid out broad streets, bronze gates, blue/yellow/red decorated glazed brick, fortresses, palaces, and pagan temples full of gold and jewels. In size, Babylon’s outer walls enclosed about 16 square kilometers but there were also water canals and farming maintained by people living beyond the walls. But just the enclosed section alone was huge for an ancient city. It was about 2.5 times bigger than ancient Rome.
|Drawing of The Processional Way and the Ishtar Gate leading into the inner city of Babylon.||View of Babylon. Etemanaki – Esagila – Euphrates bridge.|
The defensive walls of Babylon were one of the original seven wonders of the ancient world. Archeologist Robert Koldewey was the first to discover details about the walls. The brick walls of Babylon were described by ancient historians and documented by Koldewey (who excavated there for 18 years). The total interconnected brick walls of Babylon exceeded, by volume, more than any other man-made structure ever built. (est. 20-30 million cubic meters). The outer city walls were the largest and longest (16.2 km). There was also a second similar inner wall protecting the core section of the city (and physically connected to the outer wall). In addition, there were wall fortifications along both banks of the Euphrates, and finally, multi-tiered castle and palace walls within the city. On top of the major inner and outer walls were houses and a road for chariots of soldiers to move rapidly to any part of the wall fortifications. The outer section of walls were made with an exterior of burnt brick glazed with beautiful yellow, red, and blue designs. The outer wall was also surrounded by a large moat lined with burnt brick so that the water could not erode the moat bed or undermine the wall (as happened when Nineveh was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar). Outside the city, immediately beyond the moat, was wet swampy land to make the approach difficult. Gates to the city were made of solid bronze. Altogether it was huge, beautifully decorated, and a formidable defense. Nebuchadnezzar spent his entire life and fortune building it and his stamp is embossed on millions of bricks. Within the city was room for farming also. There were three and four story houses for the inhabitants and multiple temple and palace facilities, including Etemanaki (the tower of Babel), and Esagila, the temple of Bel/Marduk, the Babylonian god/idol. Koldewey also believed he found the location of the “hanging gardens” of which ancient historians spoke so much of, which was close to the ancient river bed.
|Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzars dream of the latter-day Kingdom of God that supplants all other kingdoms.|
Nebuchadnezzar himself had many good qualities and was chosen by God to punish Assyria8 and take Israel captive9. Energetic and intelligent, he ruled for 57 years. Daniel the prophet was in his court. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Daniel 3) were in his employ. Because of their influence, Nebuchadnezzar was informed of the true God of Heaven and acknowledged Him. He is one of the few pagans (Cyrus the Great was another) quoted in scripture (by Daniel) in the first person10. However, Nebuchadnezzar of course also remained an idol worshiper and the Babylonians were generally oppressors of their Israelite captives who were added to their work force and not freed until Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon in 530 BC.
After Nebuchadnezzer, the Kings of Babylon were more oppressive and were notoriously corrupt.
The Fortified City of Babylon – Pride Goes Before the Fall
|Outer wall of Babylon, top view, as recorded during excavations by Robert Koldewey.|
|Cross section of the outer city walls of Babylon|
Although his father Nabopolasser started construction,the walls and city of Babylon were mostly built during Nebuchadnezzars 57 year reign. Prior to Nabopolasser, the original city of Babylon was almost completely destroyed by the Assyrian king Sennacherib (Shaw-naw-kar’-reeb) in 689 BC and therefore Nebuchadnezzar planned for defenses11 that would never allow that to happen again. However, God through His Prophets, reminded the Babylonians that there is no defense without the blessing of God, and no safety in the “arm of flesh12” and that all the works of mankind are very temporary and doomed to a speedy destruction – unless blessed by God.
|Outer Wall of Babylon superimposed on wall mound documented by Robert Koldewey|
The Wickedness of Babylon
|Lion from the Ishtar gate walls|
Besides being mean, cruel, and unjust13, Babylonians were known for their idol worship14, sorcery, astrology15, and sexual immoralities. Various Greek and Romans noted their immorality, describing how Babylonian women were required by law to sell themselves16 in pagan temples, how the men willingly sold their wives and children17 to strangers for sex, and of Babylonian drunken feasts/orgies18. Babylonians apparently had little regard for traditional family and family relationships, or for women – as wives were bought at auction19. One historian describes how they killed all the women in advance as part of a plan to save food for the men during an upcoming Persian siege of the city.
Of course, not ALL Babylonians were cruel, and immoral. There were surely exceptions. However, only when a society reaches the tipping point do the judgments of God become applicable. It is exactly the same as in our own society, where there are exploiters of women and children, liars, thieves, murderers, pornographers, and sexual immoralities of every kind. As yet, the judgments of God20 have not yet come down to us in finality, but we see the obvious signs of decay and trouble and we have received the warnings of the Prophets in our own day21. If we are to save ourselves, the good among us must rise up and be heard22 in defense of truth and righteousness.
The Fall of of Babylon
|Tower of Babel foundation ruins|
|Belshazzar Sees the Writing on the Wall. By Rembrandt.|
In the end the prophesied judgments of God did indeed catch up with the Babylonians – for their cruelty, self-importance, false religion, immoral behavior, pride, and corruption – they fell23. Here’s how it happened: When Cyrus the Great arrived, he toured the walls looking for any weakness – and found none. He finally settled on a stratagem. He began building siege towers within sight of the city. At 35 meters high they could not succeed for scaling the walls, even if they got past the moat. The Babylonians came and looked, laughed and went about their business. This was according to Cyrus’ plan. It was a diversion because Cyrus was really planning to divert the Euphrates river, so that his men could get down to and cut the iron bars where the river entered the city. If the Babylonians had taken Cyrus seriously they would have been more on guard and closed the city gates leading to the river. However, in their over-confidence they didn’t bother to leave a guard or close the river gates, so the city fell that night to the surprise entry of the Persian army. This is the night Belshazzar saw the writing on the wall24. The Babylonian people were actually happy to have King Cyrus replace their own corrupt kings. That’s the kind of good reputation Cyrus had. However, later they rebelled against Darius of Persia and were defeated by a Persian spy who betrayed them and open the gates to the city. Darius had all the walls torn down this time. The mighty towers fell. Babylon then drifted slowly into more and more poverty and ruin. Nothing ever went right again after their judgment day. Their city was stripped of all it’s treasures by the Persians (Xerxes took the solid gold25 7 idol of the Babylonians and killed the temple priest that tried to stop him) and after several hundred years of increasing poverty the city became a heap of rubble and finally the last inhabitants moved out. For thousands of years it was a lonely, hot, forsaken, and cursed place where no one wanted to live. Bedouins and Arabs believed it to be a haunted place, cursed by God, and would not camp there. Over the centuries, many of the millions of fine bricks were excavated/mined and taken away, collapsing the foundations of the walls and creating great mounds of dirt and debris everywhere.
Thus Babylon becomes the great metaphor in scripture: it means Rome, it means false religion, it means our current social structure, it means all nations and organizations which subscribe to an anti-God way of doing things. It will all soon be swept away and forgotten like a bad memory. The towers of falsehood fall repeatedly. Wickedness never was happiness26. Societies built up by the pride and greed of their rulers and their people are by their very nature built on faulty foundations, a house of cards that must eventually fall. Just like Babylon.
The opposite for the metaphor of Babylon is ZION — representing all those who are 100% aligned, or willing to be aligned, with God by sacred covenant27, who trust Him, recognize His voice28, and are looking forward to the Great Messiah and His political Kingdom, i.e. the second coming of Jesus Christ. For those who wish to worship the true and living God in peace and are not yet gathered, the solution is simple: come to the present day Zion, join with the Latter-day Saints, and prepare for the Kingdom of Heaven/New Jerusalem29 ZION that is coming – and which will stand forever.
A representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms.
A short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
The practice of representing things by symbols, or of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character.
A figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our god.
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
44 … shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45 … the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
1 NEBUCHADNEZZAR the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
… there is a second temple in which is a sitting figure of Jupiter (Marduk), all of gold. Before the figure stands a large golden table, and the throne whereon it sits, and the base on which the throne is placed, are likewise of gold. The Chaldeans told me that all the gold together was eight hundred talents [24,240 kilos, 53,600 lbs] weight. Outside the temple are two altars, one of solid gold, on which it is only lawful to offer suckliings; the other a common altar, but of great size, on which the full-grown animals are sacrificed. It is also on the great altar that the Chaldeans burn the frankincense, which is offered to the amount of a thousand talents weight, every year, at the festival of the God. In the time of Cyrus there was likewise in this temple a figure of a man, twelve cubits high, entirely of solid gold. I myself did not see this figure, but I relate what the the Chaldeans report concerning it. Darius, the son of Hystaspes, plotted to carry the statue off, but had not have the hardihood to lay his hands upon it. Xerxes, however, the son of Darius, killed the priest who forbade him to move the statue, and took it away.
12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
6 And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.
7 And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.
8 And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.
4 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.
5 Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.
6 And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.
1 NEBUCHADNEZZAR the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.
3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:
5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.
7 Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.
8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,
9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.
Imgur-Bel [inner wall] and Nimetti-Bel [outer wall] the great walls of Babylon, I built. The walls of the fortress of Babylon, its defence in war I raised. And the circuit of the city of Babylon, I have strengthened skilfully.
The great walls of Babylon, … I built, which Nabopolassar King, King of Babylon, the father who begat me, had commenced but not completed their beauty.
A great wall which like a mountain cannot be moved I made of mortar and brick. . . Its foundations upon the bosom of the underworld I placed down deeply, its top I raised mountain high.
Imgur-Bel and Nimetti-Bel, the great walls of Babylon, completed: buttresses for the embankment of its fosse, and two long embankments with cement and brick I built, and with the embankment my father had made I joined them; and to the city for protection.
The walls of Babylon whose banner is invincible, as a high fortress …, I carried round Babylon. Its fosse I dug and its mass with cement and brick I reared up and a tall tower at its side like a mountain I built.
Great waters like the might of the sea I brought near in abundance and their passing by was like the passing by of the great billows of the Western ocean:
I dedicated and set up as a preparation for war by Imgur Bel, the fortress of invincible Babylon, 400 cubits in its completeness, a wall of Nimitti-Bel an outwork of Babylon for defence. Two lofty embankments, in cement and brick, a fortress like a mountain I made, and in their sub-structure I built of brick.
The fortresses I skilfully strengthened and the city of Babylon I fitted to be a treasure-city.
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
1 COME down, and sit in the dust, O … Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne …
10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: … and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.
11 Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.
3 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,
4 That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!
8 Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; …
17 Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
18 They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
12 Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth;
13 … Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.
14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: …
15 Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.
The Babylonians have one most shameful custom. Every woman born in the country must once in her life go and sit down in the precinct of Venus, and there consort with a stranger. Many of the wealthier sort, who are too proud to mix with the others, drive in covered carriages to the precinct, followed by a goodly train of attendants, and there take their station. But the larger number seat themselves within the holy enclosure with wreaths of string about their heads- and here there is always a great crowd, some coming and others going; lines of cord mark out paths in all directions the women, and the strangers pass along them to make their choice. A woman who has once taken her seat is not allowed to return home till one of the strangers throws a silver coin into her lap, and takes her with him beyond the holy ground. When he throws the coin he says these words- ‘The goddess Mylitta prosper thee.’. The silver coin may be of any size; it cannot be refused, for that is forbidden by the law, since once thrown it is sacred. The woman goes with the first man who throws her money, and rejects no one. When she has gone with him, and so satisfied the goddess, she returns home, and from that time forth no gift however great will prevail with her. Such of the women as are tall and beautiful are soon released, but others who are ugly have to stay a long time before they can fulfil the law.
Alexander’s stop in Babylon was longer than anywhere else, and here he undermined military discipline more than in any other place. The moral corruption there is unparalleled; its ability to stimulate and arouse unbridled passions is incomparable. Parents and husbands permit their children and wives to have sex with strangers, as long as this infamy is paid for.
All over the Persian empire kings and their courtiers are fond of parties, and the Babylonians are especially addicted to wine and the excesses that go along with drunkenness. Women attend dinner parties. At first they are decently dressed, then they remove their top-clothing and by degrees disgrace their respectability until (I beg my reader’s pardon for saying it) they finally throw off their most intimate garments. This disgusting conduct is characteristic not only of courtesans but also of married women and young girls, who regard such vile prostitution as ‘being sociable’.
Once a year in each village the maidens of age to marry were collected all together into one place; while the men stood round them in a circle. Then a herald called up the damsels one by one, and offered them for sale. He began with the most beautiful. When she was sold for no small sum of money, he offered for sale the one who came next to her in beauty. All of them were sold to be wives. The richest of the Babylonians who wished to wed bid against each other for the loveliest maidens, while the humbler wife-seekers, who were indifferent about beauty, took the more homely damsels with marriage-portions. For the custom was that when the herald had gone through the whole number of the beautiful damsels, he should then call up the ugliest- a cripple, if there chanced to be one- and offer her to the men, asking who would agree to take her with the smallest marriage-portion. And the man who offered to take the smallest sum had her assigned to him. The marriage-portions were furnished by the money paid for the beautiful damsels, and thus the fairer maidens portioned out the uglier. No one was allowed to give his daughter in marriage to the man of his choice, nor might any one carry away the damsel whom he had purchased without finding bail really and truly to make her his wife; if, however, it turned out that they did not agree, the money might be paid back. All who liked might come even from distant villages and bid for the women. This was the best of all their customs, but it has now fallen into disuse. They have lately hit upon a very different plan to save their maidens from violence, and prevent their being torn from them and carried to distant cities, which is to bring up their daughters to be courtesans. This is now done by all the poorer of the common people, who since the conquest have been maltreated by their lords, and have had ruin brought upon their families.
10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
11 And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.
12 And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.
13 But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
26 Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.
27 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.
1 THE burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.
6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:
8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
9 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.
11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.
16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.
19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
20 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.
21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there…
1 BELSHAZZAR the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
10 Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, …
11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; …
13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah …
16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.
17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.
18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
In the time of Cyrus there was likewise in this temple a figure of a man, twelve cubits high, entirely of solid gold. I myself did not see this fiture, but I relate what the the Chaldeans report concerning it. Darius, the son of Hystaspes, plotted to carry the statue off, but had not the hardihood to lay his hands upon it. Xerxes, however, the son of Darius, killed the priest who forbade him to move the statue, and took it away.
10 Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. …
15 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.
21 And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church, and him will I also receive.
22 For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him will I freely forgive.
23 For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world; for it is I that hath created them; and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand.
24 For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand.
25 And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me.
26 And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer; but they would not be redeemed.
27 And then I will confess unto them that I never knew them; and they shall depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
28 Therefore I say unto you, that he that will not hear my voice, the same shall ye not receive into my church, for him I will not receive at the last day.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice …
1 VERILY, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.