Series: Thru the Bible
Message – Lucifer & Babylon’s King
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Lucifer & Babylon’s King
We all know about the predictions of Babylonian captivity and their fulfillment, but this was a prophecy of Isaiah regarding the judgment of Babylon after the captivity.
Judgment of Babylon
“(1) This is an oracle about Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:
(2) On a bare hill raise a signal flag, shout to them, wave your hand, so they might enter the gates of the princes! (3) I have given orders to My chosen soldiers; I have summoned the warriors through whom I will vent My anger, My boasting, arrogant ones.
(4) There is a loud noise on the mountains – it sounds like a large army! There is great commotion among the kingdoms – nations are being assembled! The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is mustering forces for battle. (5) They come from a distant land, from the horizon. It is the LORD with His instruments of judgment, coming to destroy the whole earth.
(6) Wail, for the LORD’s day of judgment is near; it comes with all the destructive power of the Sovereign One. (7) For this reason all hands hang limp, every human heart loses its courage. (8) They panic – cramps and pain seize hold of them like those of a woman who is straining to give birth. They look at one another in astonishment; their faces are flushed red.
(9) Look, the LORD’s day of judgment is coming; it is a day of cruelty and savage, raging anger, destroying the earth and annihilating its sinners.
(10) Indeed the stars in the sky and their constellations no longer give out their light; the sun is darkened as soon as it rises, and the moon does not shine. (11) I will punish the world for its evil, and wicked people for their sin. I will put an end to the pride of the insolent, I will bring down the arrogance of tyrants. (12) I will make human beings more scarce than pure gold, and people more scarce than gold from Ophir.
(13) So I will shake the heavens, and the earth will shake loose from its foundation, because of the fury of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, in the day He vents His raging anger. (14) Like a frightened gazelle or a sheep with no shepherd, each will turn toward home, each will run to his homeland.
(15) Everyone who is caught will be stabbed; everyone who is seized will die by the sword. (16) Their children will be smashed to pieces before their very eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives raped.
(17) Look, I am stirring up the Medes to attack them; they are not concerned about silver, nor are they interested in gold. (18) Their arrows will cut young men to ribbons; they have no compassion on a person’s offspring, they will not look with pity on children.
(19) Babylon, the most admired of kingdoms, the Chaldeans’ source of honor and pride, will be destroyed by God just as Sodom and Gomorrah were.
(20) No one will live there again; no one will ever reside there again. No bedouin will camp there, no shepherds will rest their flocks there. (21) Wild animals will rest there, the ruined houses will be full of hyenas.
Ostriches will live there, wild goats will skip among the ruins. (22) Wild dogs will yip in her ruined fortresses, jackals will yelp in the once-splendid palaces. Her time is almost up, her days will not be prolonged.”
Restoration of Jacob
“(1) The LORD will certainly have compassion on Jacob; He will again choose Israel as His special people and restore them to their land. Resident foreigners will join them and unite with the family of Jacob. (2) Nations will take them and bring them back to their own place. Then the family of Israel will make foreigners their servants as they settle in the LORD’s land. They will make their captors captives and rule over the ones who oppressed them.”
Israel’s Remnant Taunts Babylon
“(3) When the LORD gives you relief from your suffering and anxiety, and from the hard labor which you were made to perform, (4) you will taunt the king of Babylon with these words:
“Look how the oppressor has met his end! Hostility has ceased! (5) The LORD has broken the club of the wicked, the scepter of rulers. (6) It furiously struck down nations with unceasing blows. It angrily ruled over nations, oppressing them without restraint. (7) The whole earth rests and is quiet; they break into song.
(8) The evergreens also rejoice over your demise, as do the cedars of Lebanon, singing, ‘Since you fell asleep, no woodsman comes up to chop us down!’
(9) Sheol below is stirred up about you, ready to meet you when you arrive. It rouses the spirits of the dead for you, all the former leaders of the earth; it makes all the former kings of the nations rise from their thrones.
(10) All of them respond to you, saying: ‘You too have become weak like us! You have become just like us! (11) Your splendor has been brought down to Sheol, as well as the sound of your stringed instruments. You lie on a bed of maggots, with a blanket of worms over you.
(12) Look how you have fallen from the sky, O shining one, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the ground, O conqueror of the nations!
(13) You said to yourself, “I will climb up to the sky. Above the stars of El I will set up my throne. I will rule on the mountain of assembly on the remote slopes of Zaphon. (14) I will climb up to the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High!”
(15) But you were brought down to Sheol, to the remote slopes of the Pit. (16) Those who see you stare at you, they look at you carefully, thinking:
“Is this the man who shook the earth, the one who made kingdoms tremble?
(17) Is this the one who made the world like a wilderness, who ruined its cities, and refused to free his prisoners so they could return home?”’
(18) As for all the kings of the nations, all of them lie down in splendor, each in his own tomb. (19) But you have been thrown out of your grave like a shoot that is thrown away. You lie among the slain, among those who have been slashed by the sword, among those headed for the stones of the Pit, as if you were a mangled corpse.
(20) You will not be buried with them, because you destroyed your land and killed your people. The offspring of the wicked will never be mentioned again.
(21) Prepare to execute his sons for the sins their ancestors have committed. They must not rise up and take possession of the earth, or fill the surface of the world with cities.”
(22) “I will rise up against them,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “I will blot out all remembrance of Babylon and destroy all her people, including the offspring she produces,” says the LORD.
(23) “I will turn her into a place that is overrun with wild animals and covered with pools of stagnant water. I will get rid of her, just as one sweeps away dirt with a broom,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.”
You are all familiar with this passage and its common spiritual interpretation as if referencing satan. It is from this passage that we ever get the proper name Lucifer for that means shining one.
To be honest, such a straightforward understanding is not genuinely obvious from these words alone.
I found it difficult to separate from my mind the lifelong held assumptions about satan and his fall from this passage, but it was something I had to do. You see, you cannot use prima facie understanding as proof of accurate interpretation. What you need is exterior testimony for corroboration.
What I am saying is that for the most part, all of my “proofs” that satan…
- used to be called Lucifer
- desired to exalt himself as equal with God
- Desired to rule over the stars (or angels) of God
…came from this very passage. Being honest with myself, nowhere in the passage does it directly use the more common names of satan, devil, that old serpent or even the dragon.
It just uses the term shining one and son of the morning.
Now that these terms seem best fitted for a supernatural being seems obvious on some level for those are names both befitting of and used for Jesus Himself.
You might ask, what human actually thinks they will ascend above the clouds, be equal with God, make their throne on par with God’s, and rule over either the literal stars of heaven or angels? Well a third biblical meaning for stars is not much different than the way we use the word. It was used also for princes of the earth.
Now I am NOT saying that some of the sins of the rulers of Babylon were not similar. Nebuchadnezzar we know made a statue and had people bow down to it as if he were god. But no notions of exalting his throne into the clouds.
The way in which this does refer to the actual king of Babylon is, the great majority of the depictions offered speak of a human ruler.
- Other kings of the earth address him in vv. Isa_14:9
- he is called “the man” in v. Isa_14:16,
- according to vv. Isa_14:19-20, he possesses a physical body.
These verses contain several titles that resemble those of Canaanite mythology, including references to Helel son of Shachar, the stars of El, the mountain of assembly, the recesses of Zaphon, and the divine title Most High.
According to the comments of the translation team for the New English translation…
Apparently these verses allude to a mythological story about a minor god (Helel son of Shachar) who tried to take over Zaphon, the mountain of the gods. His attempted coup failed, and he was hurled down to the underworld.
Thus it is suspected that Isaiah borrows from this mythological imagery to describe the king of Babylon because he also had delusions of grandeur, which when not realized he was taunted for by the Israelites who returned from their exile under him.
Now, Ezekiel has a statement with a very dual reference between the King of Tyre and satan which is not only obvious but is clearly stated – though again, the name devil or satan are not used.
The similarities are the visions of grandeur and god-like aspirations, his being brought low and reduced to nothing before men, and their being shocked at his fall.
“(1) The LORD’s message came to me: (2) “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘Your heart is proud and you said, “I am a god; I sit in the seat of gods, in the heart of the seas” – yet you are a man and not a god, though you think you are godlike. (3) Look, you are wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you. (4) By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself; you have amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. (5) By your great skill in trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart is proud because of your wealth. (6) “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you think you are godlike, (7) I am about to bring foreigners against you, the most terrifying of nations. They will draw their swords against the grandeur made by your wisdom, and they will defile your splendor. (8) They will bring you down to the Pit, and you will die violently in the heart of the seas. (9) Will you still say, “I am a god,” before the one who kills you – though you are a man and not a god – when you are in the power of those who wound you? (10) You will die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.’”
(11) The LORD’s message came to me: (12) “Son of man, sing a lament for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘You were the sealer of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. (13) You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, topaz, and emerald, the chrysolite, onyx, and jasper, the sapphire, turquoise, and beryl; your settings and mounts were made of gold. On the day you were created they were prepared. (14) I placed you there with an anointed guardian cherub; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked about amidst fiery stones. (15) You were blameless in your behavior from the day you were created, until sin was discovered in you. (16) In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I defiled you and banished you from the mountain of God – the guardian cherub expelled you from the midst of the stones of fire. (17) Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom on account of your splendor. I threw you down to the ground; I placed you before kings, that they might see you. (18) By the multitude of your iniquities, through the sinfulness of your trade, you desecrated your sanctuaries. So I drew fire out from within you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth before the eyes of all who saw you. (19) All who know you among the peoples are shocked at you; you have become terrified and will be no more.’”
“It is a strange paradox that nothing makes a being less like God than the urge to be his equal, for he who was God stepped down from the throne of his glory to display to the wondering eyes of men the humility of God.” (Grogan)
So, we do not know with 100% certainty that this passage serves as a dual reference for satan, but I personally believe it certainly does. If not by deliberate intention then by what we know of him, his fall and his future.
Let’s examine a few other passages which point out satan’s pride leading to his fall, his being cast down, people gazing and him in his lowly state in wonder – all of which are the key points mentioned here in Isaiah.
The first is found in a passage addressing the qualification of an elder. It is found in 1Tim. 3:4-7, and says this,
“(4) He must manage his own household well and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. (5) But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God? (6) He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devil will exact. (7) And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may not fall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap.”
The second has Jesus describing either satan’s first fall from God or his secondary fall from heaven the place.
“(17) Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!” (18) So he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (19) Look, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and on the full force of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you. (20) Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names stand written in heaven.”
The third almost certainly refers to a secondary fall of satan, though it “could” be referring to satan’s initial fall which would make that the only fall he ever realized.
You see, the first fall was before the sin of man and was spiritual. The way we know this is that scripture presents the devil and his angels as still able to approach God’s throne. 2Kings has fallen angles approaching God regarding the method by which King Ahab would die and we see satan himself as constantly being before God as the accuser of the brethren.
So on some level or another, he has had some audience with God, but in Revelation that comes to an end. It is found in Rev. 12:7-12,
“(7) Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. (8) But the dragon was not strong enough to prevail, so there was no longer any place left in heaven for him and his angels.
(9) So that huge dragon – the ancient serpent, the one called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world – was thrown down to the earth, and his angels along with him.
(10) Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the ruling authority of his Christ, have now come, because the accuser of our brothers and sisters, the one who accuses them day and night before our God, has been thrown down.
(11) But they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (12) Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them! But woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you! He is filled with terrible anger, for he knows that he only has a little time!”
Then we have the statement of the character of satan in John 8:44,
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”
On any level, satan appears to have been a particular variety of cherub – an anointed guardian cherub. He appears to have been special, though that may NOT be the same thing as being personally unique. He is referred to in Ezekiel as the sealer of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. He is bejeweled with 9 gems. Nine is considered the number of divine completeness or finality, which makes sense since he was just called the divine sealer of perfection. He is said to have walked among the fiery stones. Whether this is a reference to the coals the seraphim took with thongs from the altar before God, as we read last week it is not known. At any rate, he seems to have fallen from some exalted and lofty position. How he took a third of the angels of heaven with him I do not know. We like to presume that he had some direct authority over them and that is not completely unwarranted, but it is also never clearly stated.
“(24) The LORD of Heaven’s Armies makes this solemn vow: “Be sure of this: Just as I have intended, so it will be; just as I have planned, it will happen.
(25) I will break Assyria in My land, I will trample them underfoot on My hills.
Their yoke will be removed from My people, the burden will be lifted from their shoulders.
(26) This is the plan I have devised for the whole earth; My hand is ready to strike all the nations.”
(27) Indeed, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has a plan, and who can possibly frustrate it? His hand is ready to strike, and who can possibly stop it?”
“(28) This oracle came in the year that King Ahaz died:”
(29) Don’t be so happy, all you Philistines, just because the club that beat you has been broken!
For a viper will grow out of the serpent’s root, and its fruit will be a darting adder.
(30) The poor will graze in my pastures; the needy will rest securely. But I will kill your root by famine; it will put to death all your survivors.
(31) Wail, O city gate! Cry out, O city! Melt with fear, all you Philistines! For out of the north comes a cloud of smoke, and there are no stragglers in its ranks.
(32) How will they respond to the messengers of this nation? Indeed, the LORD has made Zion secure; the oppressed among His people will find safety in her.”
What this was most likely in reference to was that King Uzziah had attacked the Philistines and broke down their defenses and built cities throughout their region. As such he could be seen as a biting snake. Later, through his evil ways, King Ahaz and Judah effectively reversed this since God’s judgment was upon them allowing the Philistines again to gain advantage over them. However, this was again to be reversed when Hezekiah came to power and so he most likely represents the “darting adder”. This is considered to be a mythical creature – a type of flying reptile – deadly even by his glance.
These events are recorded in 2Chron. 26-28 & 2Kings 18.
“(1) This is an oracle about Moab:
Indeed, in a night it is devastated, Ar of Moab is destroyed! Indeed, in a night it is devastated, Kir of Moab is destroyed!
(2) They went up to the temple, the people of Dibon went up to the high places to lament. Because of what happened to Nebo and Medeba, Moab wails. Every head is shaved bare, every beard is trimmed off.
(3) In their streets they wear sackcloth; on their roofs and in their town squares all of them wail, they fall down weeping.
(4) The people of Heshbon and Elealeh cry out, their voices are heard as far away as Jahaz.
For this reason Moab’s soldiers shout in distress; their courage wavers.”
“Most of these sites were originally part of Israel’s territory when Moses and Joshua defeated Sihon, King of the Amorites. All the cities north of the Arnon River . . . once belonged to the tribe of Reuben. Throughout the years, however, the Moabites had persistently pushed the Israelites out of these regions.” (Wolf)
These events were recorded in Jeremiah 48.
“(5) My heart cries out because of Moab’s plight, and for the fugitives stretched out as far as Zoar and Eglath Shelishiyah.”
Zoar here, is an interesting reference because it was to this city Lot and his daughter fled to at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is also the inception place of Moab, the the offspring of Lot and his eldest daughter (Gen. 19:37).
“For they weep as they make their way up the ascent of Luhith; they loudly lament their demise on the road to Horonaim. (6) For the waters of Nimrim are gone; the grass is dried up, the vegetation has disappeared, and there are no plants.
(7) For this reason what they have made and stored up, they carry over the Stream of the Poplars. (8) Indeed, the cries of distress echo throughout Moabite territory; their wailing can be heard in Eglaim and Beer Elim.
(9) Indeed, the waters of Dimon are full of blood! Indeed, I will heap even more trouble on Dimon. A lion will attack the Moabite fugitives and the people left in the land.”
We will pick up with chapter 16 next week, unless the Lord directs us otherwise.