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The Howl Of Babylon
The English word "howl" originated from an Old English word that meant to lament. The English word "owl" formed from the same root word apparently because of the owl's melancholy sound, in a human ears - owls are actually quite happy to "give a hoot" as either a mating call or as a territorial proclamation.
The Hebrew word that is often translated as "howl" is pronounced yawl-lawl; it means to wail i.e. to express long cries of sorrow. The corresponding New Testament Greek word is pronounced ol-ol-ood-zo; it means to shriek (see also Translation Of Translations).
The good news is that "howling" is something that either the unconverted, or those who have rejected salvation when conversion was made possible for them, do. Although God's people often find themselves living in a "howling wilderness," whenever they cry, it's for joy ("4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope" 1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).
"32:9 For the LORD's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 32:10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye." (Deuteronomy 32:9-10 KJV)
"Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand"
The world, as it has become since the "fall" of man (which was preceded by the "fall" of Satan i.e. "10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" Luke 10:18 KJV), is a world based upon rebellion against Christ The Creator. The purpose of the wrath that is coming is to "cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible."
"13:6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD [i.e. Jesus Christ - see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'] is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. 13:7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: 13:8 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.
The LORD has patiently watched and listened to the rebellion ("my name continually every day is blasphemed"), while holding back the wrath, until the time of harvest (see Why Does God Allow Evil?).
"52:5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. 52:6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.
Babylon was an ancient empire (see Ancient Empires - Babylon) that was used as a symbol of the religious anarchy that has perpetuated itself from ancient times to the present. It will end when Christ returns to establish the Kingdom of God - that's what they will be "howling" about. This is an end-time prophecy by Jeremiah that was written while the Babylonian Empire was at its peak of power.
"51:6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompense. 51:7 Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.
Notice however how the same terminology is used to describe the false "Christianity" that will be erased by Christ.
"17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth." (Revelation 17:2-5 KJV)