This prophecy, as well as chapter 50, was carried by Seraiah to Babylon (v. 59-64). Jeremiah charged him to deliver the message of Jeremiah 50 and 51 to the people when he accompanied King Zedekiah there in the 4th year of his reign. This voyage to Babylon is not elsewhere recorded. We shouldn’t be too surprised that Zedekiah travelled with some aids to visit Nebuchadnezzar since Nebuchadnezzar was the one who put him in power. Zedekiah was a vassal king who incurred the wrath of Babylon by seeking independence through Egyptian power.
Jeremiah 51:6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul
Every individual has the responsibility to “deliver his soul,” to get out of Babylon regardless of the cost.
“‘Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.’ (D&C 133:5)
“’Hmmm,’ I thought, ‘Babylon. What exactly is meant by that?’
“Part of my answer came from rereading a talk entitled ‘Come to Zion.’ In that talk Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, ‘The Savior was critical of some of the early Saints for their “lustful … desires” (D&C 101:6; see also D&C 88:121). These were people who lived in a non-television, non-film, non-Internet, non-iPod world. In a world now awash in sexualized images and music, are we free from lustful desires and their attendant evils? Far from pushing the limits of modest dress or indulging in the vicarious immorality of pornography, we are to hunger and thirst after righteousness. To come to Zion, it is not enough for you or me to be somewhat less wicked than others. We are to become not only good but holy men and women. Recalling Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s phrase, let us once and for all establish our residence in Zion and give up the summer cottage in Babylon.’ (emphasis added)
“While I watered the garden that day (truly an all day project) I contemplated Elder Christofferson’s admonition that it’s not enough to be less wicked but to be holy. What areas of my life did I need to improve?
“The very next day I happened upon a talk given by Mary Ellen Edmunds called “Letting Go of the World: It is Time to “Sell the Summer Cottage in Babylon.” There it was again….a summer cottage in Babylon! Sister Edmunds says, “It’s a dangerous thing to try to divide our loyalties, isn’t it? No one can serve two masters. There’s only room for one—either God or someone or something else. We choose. . .Our righteousness and our striving to be a little better when we’re already pretty good can shine a bright light for others. President Spencer W. Kimball has taught: “Zion is to be in the world and not of the world, not dulled by a sense of carnal security, nor paralyzed by materialism. No, Zion . . .[is] things that exalt the mind and sanctify the heart.”. . . Maybe we need a filter around our home, our Zion in the midst of Babylon. Work together to make your home a place of goodness, a place of holiness, a place of peace, a place of refuge and protection, a Zion.” (http://realintent.org/a-summer-cottage-in-babylon)
D. Todd Christofferson
The antithesis and antagonist of Zion is Babylon. The city of Babylon was originally Babel, of Tower of Babel fame, and later became the capital of the Babylonian empire. Its principal edifice was the temple of Bel, or Baal, the idol referred to by Old Testament prophets as “The Shame,” given the sexual perversions that were associated with its worship. (See Bible Dictionary, “Assyria and Babylonia,” 615–16; “Baal,” 617–18; “Babylon, or Babel,” 618.) Its worldliness, its worship of evil, and the captivity of Judah there following the conquest of 587 B.C. all combine to make Babylon the symbol of decadent societies and spiritual bondage.
It is with this backdrop that the Lord said to the members of His Church, “Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (D&C 133:7). He called for the elders of His Church to be sent forth across the world to accomplish this gathering, commencing an effort that continues in full vigor today. “And behold, and lo, this shall be their cry, and the voice of the Lord unto all people: 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” (D&C 133:9).
And so today the Lord’s people are gathering “out from among the nations” as they gather into the congregations and stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that are scattered throughout the nations. Nephi foresaw that these “dominions” would be small but that the Lord’s power would descend “upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, … who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they [would be] armed with righteousness” (see 1 Nephi 14:12–14). The Lord calls upon us to be beacons of righteousness to guide those who seek the safety and blessings of Zion…
Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, “the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us. We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen—Zion will come only as they happen…
Much of the work to be done in establishing Zion consists in our individual efforts to become “the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21). “Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom,” said the Lord; “otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself” (D&C 105:5). The law of the celestial kingdom is, of course, the gospel law and covenants, which include our constant remembrance of the Savior and our pledge of obedience, sacrifice, consecration, and fidelity.
The Savior was critical of some of the early Saints for their “lustful … desires” (D&C 101:6; see also D&C 88:121). These were people who lived in a non-television, non-film, non-Internet, non-iPod world. In a world now awash in sexualized images and music, are we free from lustful desires and their attendant evils? Far from pushing the limits of modest dress or indulging in the vicarious immorality of pornography, we are to hunger and thirst after righteousness. To come to Zion, it is not enough for you or me to be somewhat less wicked than others. We are to become not only good but holy men and women. Recalling Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s phrase, let us once and for all establish our residence in Zion and give up the summer cottage in Babylon (see Neal A. Maxwell, A Wonderful Flood of Light , 47). (https://www.lds.org/ensign/2008/11/come-to-zion?lang=eng)
Jeremiah 51:11, 28 Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes
The king of the Medes is Cyrus the Great who conquered Babylon in 539 BC.
“Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.
“Upon his victory over the Medes, he founded a government for his new kingdom, incorporating both Median and Persian nobles as civilian officials. The conquest of Asia Minor completed, he led his armies to the eastern frontiers… The victories to the east led him again to the west and sounded the hour for attack on Babylon and Egypt. When he conquered Babylon, he did so to cheers from the Jewish Community, who welcomed him as a liberator—he allowed the Jews to return to the promised Land. He showed great forbearance and respect towards the religious beliefs and cultural traditions of other races. These qualities earned him the respect and homage of all the people over whom he ruled.” (http://www.iranchamber.com/history/cyrus/cyrus.php)
“Cyrus was a new kind of conqueror. Never had the world witnessed a victor who did not glory in violation. He didn't rape, pillage or destroy. Instead, he released the commoners from the tyranny of their overlords, allowed them to worship their own gods and return to their chosen way of life. Because of this unique kindness Cyrus was known as the ‘friendly conqueror.’
“More than a century before Cyrus was born the prophet Isaiah received a prophecy that named Cyrus as conqueror: ‘Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’ This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armour, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut’ (Isaiah 44:28–45:1).
“Cyrus was chosen by God, to set the Israelites free from bondage in Babylon, years before they were even taken captive.” (https://www.hopechannel.com/read/cyrus-the-great)
Jeremiah 51:31 shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken
“After conquering numerous other enemies, Cyrus faced his greatest challenge— the huge walled city, 24 square kilometres of Babylon. Xenophon records the following surmising of Cyrus, ‘But I am sure I cannot see how any one could take by storm, walls so massive and so high.’
“Both Herodotus and Xenophon record that Cyrus resolved to lay siege on Babylon and wait until the people within the walls ran out of food. He was informed (perhaps by Gadatas and Gobryas—two defectors from Babylon) that the great city had more than 20 years of food supplies. Cyrus became frustrated, but then a plan came to him, perhaps from one of his advisers or perhaps from his own design. The walls were too thick to break. The gates were too strong. There was only one fathomable way to get in—the Euphrates River, which went through the middle of the city.
“Years earlier, Babylon had been ruled by a queen named Nitocris. Because the city was bisected by the Euphrates River she wished to build a bridge from one side to the other in the middle of the city. In order to accomplish this goal, she first had to reduce the water level of the Euphrates enough to allow workmen to build the bridge. She devised a massive plan that would do the trick—an artificial lake far upriver into which the Euphrates could be diverted. It was done and the workmen were able to set the bridge's foundation stones in the bed of the river.
“The plan that came to Cyrus included a similar feat. The lake, now a marsh, having been closed off, would be reopened and the Persian army would wade into the city under the massive walls of Babylon. So Cyrus deployed half of his regiment to where the Euphrates entered the city and half to where it exited. He then took a small number of men to where the trench to the lake had, over the previous few weeks, been excavated and had them open the mouth of the trench into the Euphrates.
“There was one fatal flaw in Cyrus' plan. The walls of Babylon extended far upstream along the banks of the river. If the Babylonians witnessed the water level diminishing and saw the Persian army entering the river, they would gather along the walls and annihilate the Persians with a barrage of ammunition.
“Cyrus' way of alleviating this problem was to wait for two important factors— darkness and drunkenness.
The Night of the Attack
“In the biblical book of Daniel an amazing story is recorded. Belshazzar threw a huge banquet for 1000 of his leading lords. Huge amounts of food and wine were consumed and the entire city was caught up in the celebration.
“To demonstrate his power and security, despite the siege outside the city walls, Belshazzar called for the confiscated goblets from Yahweh's temple in Jerusalem, had them filled with wine and joined with his lords, wives and concubines in drinking wine from these sacred vessels. Moments later a hand appeared and wrote on the wall.
“The message, ‘Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin,’ was unintelligible to the leading scholars and astrologers in Babylon. The queen remembered Daniel and the way he had helped previous kings. Daniel was called in and, after berating Belshazzar for his blatant misuse of holy relics, he translated the handwriting on the wall: ‘This is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
“Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians’ (Daniel 5:26-28).
“Moments later, perhaps even while Daniel was explaining the divine message to the king, the Persian army waded under the walls and climbed the riverbank into the heart of Babylon.
“Thus, Cyrus' men had no challenge to overcome in entering the great city.
“Cyrus had given direct orders that none of the city folk were to be unduly harmed. The Babylonian traitors— Gadatas and Gobryas—led the army to the palace because they knew the city well. When they arrived, Belshazzar was killed while trying to defend himself.
“A few days later, having completed the journey back from the lake, Cyrus entered Babylon and was greeted with open arms and much rejoicing by the Babylonian people. Liberation had arrived! Every record referring to Cyrus' interaction with subjected nations reveals a benevolent leader who held high the concerns of his new people.
“And, as prophesied by Isaiah, Cyrus sent many Israelites back to Jerusalem with funds to rebuild the temple that had been decimated by Nebuchadnezzar.
“He also sent back the holy relics that had been stolen.” (https://www.hopechannel.com/read/cyrus-the-great)
Jeremiah 51:57 I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers
Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand…
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. (Dan. 5:1-4)