Babylon and Lucifer
The fall of the King of Babylon
In this chapter of the Book of Isaiah, we find the hiding place of Lucifer. The snake, serpent, devil, or whatever name he happens to choose, can find a hiding place within the confines of evil men.
We know he found a place within Judas Iscariot. Isaiah gives us one of the most revealing passages regarding the actions and strategies of Lucifer.
The judgment of Babylon
For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob. Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the LORD; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors.
The judgment that means mercy
Chapter thirteen closed with the prediction of utter destruction upon Babylon. That news, of course, was well received in Israel. Isaiah follows the announcement of judgment on Babylon with the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel.
Will still choose Israel:
The Lord made a promise to Israel. Discipline would come with rebellion. Mercy would come when they repented. God will still choose Israel if they repent.
The same applies to us. Repentance leads to mercy. He will still choose us. He has a short memory when it comes to those who ask for forgiveness of their sins.
“This promise had a measure of fulfillment when Israel was brought back from Babylon; and still is it true that, when God’s people come to their worst, there is always something better before them. On the other hand, it is equally sure that, when sinners come to their best, there is always something terrible awaiting them.” (Spurgeon)
The world rejoices at the fall of Lucifer, the king of Babylon
It shall come to pass in the day the LORD gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve, that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased! The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers; he who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted and no one hinders. The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. Indeed the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were cut down, no woodsman has come up against us.'”
Rest from their sorrow
The Lord tells the broken nation of Israel they will have a day of rest. Their sorrow will be replaced with peace. Their fear and bondage will pass into distant memory.
When the Lord makes a promise, he keeps it.
The proverb of the King of Babylon
The prediction of the fall of the King of Babylon is the correct context of this passage. The relationship of that king with Lucifer is understood by comparing this scripture with other scripture.
Isaiah was a true prophet of God. In that role, he spoke to the people and nations of his day. He also spoke of future events that he had only a vague understanding about. The king of Babylon would be defeated. The spiritual creature leading the king would also face defeat. Lucifer, the god of this world, and the director of evil kings will face defeat as described in this chapter.
Just like Babylon’s enemies rejoiced when its king was defeated, so God’s children will rejoice when Lucifer is destroyed.
How the oppressor has ceased:
The spirit of the king of Babylon – Lucifer – has a time limit. His work will cease. His time of oppression will end. Dictators, despots, deceitful leaders will come to an end.
Often we grow weary from Satan’s attacks, it appears at times, they have no end. We need to remember we’re in it for eternity, he’s living on borrowed time.
Even the trees rejoice over the fall of the king of Babylon. This is true of the king of literal Babylon, because the attacking kings cut down thousands of trees for both fuel and lumber, leaving Israel and Lebanon deforested. “Since the twelfth century B.C. the kings of Mesopotamia had imported lumber from Lebanon. Nebuchadnezzar used large supplies of such choice timers in his extensive building efforts in Babylon after 605 B.C.” (Wolf)
Hell welcomes king Lucifer the once-king of Babylon
“Hell from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you, all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. They all shall speak and say to you: ‘Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us? Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your stringed instruments; the maggot is spread under you, and worms cover you.'”
Hell from beneath is excited about you:
The inhabitants of hell are excited to meet the king of Babylon. They are eager to see him face the torture he made others endure. This passage is one of many in the Bible that refers to hell. It is not a place where friends and buddies will enjoy a beer and a good laugh. It isn’t a place to choose for those who don’t like church. It is a place for those who rebel against God.
Weak like us?
Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us? The king of literal Babylon was exposed as a mere man. He asked his subjects worship him as a god. Lucifer, the god of this world, will meet the same fate.
Lucifer is not the opposite of God and certainly is far short of being his equal. The Mormon faith teaches that Satan is the brother of Jesus. That is absurd rubbish and is not supported by scripture. Of course, Mormons don’t need the support of scripture, they make up their own. (sorry I digress)
Satan was created to serve God and mankind. He didn’t like the job description so he rebelled.
Your pomp is brought down … the maggot is spread under you, and worms cover you: Maggots, worms, and shame is the predicted end for the once proud Lucifer.
The god of music?
And the sound of your stringed instruments: Before his fall, Satan was associated with music in heaven. Ezekiel 28:13 says of Satan before his fall, the workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. Apparently, the musical career of Satan did not end with his fall, because the sound of his stringed instruments is only brought down when he is imprisoned in hell.
The fall of Lucifer
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
Isaiah identifies the king of Babylon as Lucifer, son of the morning. Lucifer is one of the several names for the leader of the rebellion against God. The name means morning star or day star, referring to a brightly shining object in the heavens. Whether it is a title or a name makes little difference; this once brightly shining king of Babylon is now fallen from heaven.
Fallen from heaven:
The Bible records four falls of Satan.
- Satan fell from glory in the throne room to serpent in the Garden of Eden (Ezekiel 28:14-16). This is what Jesus spoke of in Luke 10:18 when He says He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. This is the only fall of Satan that has already happened.
- Satan will fall from having access to heaven (Job 1:12, 1 Kings 22:21, Zechariah 3:1) to a restriction to the earth (Revelation 12:9).
- Satan will fall from his place on the earth to bondage in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3).
- Finally, as mentioned here Isaiah 14:12, Satan will fall from the bottomless pit to the lake of fire, which we commonly know as hell (Revelation 20:10).
Son of the morning:
This is a title of glory, beauty, and honor, which fit Lucifer well before his fall. Before his fall, Lucifer was characterized by the glory of the morning.
Jesus is called the Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16). Satan, though a created being, reflected some of these same glorious qualities. Perhaps he thought he was in some way equal to the Son. Or maybe, more likely, he envied the position and power of Jesus and set out to take his place on the throne. Considering his beginning, it is no wonder that Satan can transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He deceives many with his apparent glory, beauty, and goodness.
For you have said in your heart:
In this passage, we see the reason for the fall of the king of Babylon and Lucifer. The fall was prompted by something he said, but more importantly, it was in his heart.
The five ‘I wills’ of Satan:
The pride, the grasping selfish ambition, the self-will of the king of Babylon is powerfully expressed in five I will statements. This is the essence of the self-focused and self-obsessed life.
- I will ascend into heaven: “Heaven will be my home and my place of honor.”
- I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: “I will be enthroned, and will be exalted above all other angelic beings.”
- I will also sit on the mount of the congregation: “I will sit in the place of glory and honor and attention.”
- I will ascend above the heights: “I will continue to rise, even in heaven, until all see me in my bright shining glory.”
- I will be like the Most High: “I will be glorious, and be set equal to God, far above all other created beings.”
Better than the others:
Lucifer wished to secure his place among his peers. Satan’s desire may have been less about surpassing God, and more about finding honor above all the other angels. He sought to be the highest angel, above the [other] stars of God, receiving the glory and attention one would receive being next to God, equal with God, like the Most High. We don’t have to want to be exalted higher than God to be like Satan. It is enough to want to be exalted above other people!
Lucifer was a glorious angel (day star, son of the morning, and also called the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty … the anointed cherub who covers in Ezekiel 28:12 and 14). Yet, there came a time when despite all his beauty and glory, he departed from the heart of God by wanting to exalt himself above his peers.
Jesus was different:
Jesus did not cling to equality with God. He laid it aside to help mankind. “The status of equality with God is not something to hang on to. I will let it go. I will give up My reputation, be a servant, live humbly among men, and even die an excruciating and humiliating death.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
When Lucifer departed from this heart, he fell from glory.
Why did Lucifer rebel?
Perhaps because he rejected God’s plan to create an order of beings made in His image (Genesis 1:26), who would be beneath the angels in dignity (Hebrews 2:6-7a; 2 Peter 2:11), yet would be served by angels in the present (Hebrews 1:14; 2:7-8; Psalm 91:11-12) and would one day be lifted in honor and status above the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3; 1 John 3:2). Satan wanted to be the highest among all creatures, equal to God in glory and honor, and the plan to create man would eventually put men above angels. He was apparently able to persuade one-third of the angelic beings to join him in his rebellion (Revelation 12:3-4, 7, and 9).
Yet you shall be brought down:
Satan’s attempt to exalt himself has failed, his eventual banishment awaits the completion of God’s plan. Some might assume Lucifer is exalted now, but that is not the case. He has fallen from his original place of glory and will fall further in the future. He shall be brought down and receive the punishment destiny holds for him.
The nations gaze in awe:
“Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?'”
Those who see you will gaze at you … “Is this the man who made the earth tremble … Who did not open the house of his prisoners?” When the actual king of Babylon was defeated, he was exposed as a mere mortal. Those who once feared him enjoyed the chance to mock him in his defeated condition. The fall of Lucifer, in like manner, will draw a crowd of gawkers and mockers. The inhabitants of hell will rejoice that the being that led all others into the pit will join them in agony.
The destruction of Babylon
“All the kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house; but you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch, like the garment of those who are slain, thrust through with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit, like a corpse trodden underfoot. You will not be joined with them in burial because you have destroyed your land and slain your people. The brood of evildoers shall never be named. Prepare slaughter for his children because of the iniquity of their fathers, lest they rise up and possess the land, and fill the face of the world with cities.” “For I will rise up against them,” says the LORD of hosts, “And cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, and offspring and posterity,” says the LORD. “I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” says the LORD of hosts.
The Destiny of Kings:
Isaiah takes note of the comfort most other kings of the earth have enjoyed. Kings are laid to rest in glorious tombs or pyramids. Great pomp and praise follow them to their eternal rest. Not so for the defeated king of Babylon. His ‘eternal rest’ will be different, he is cast out of your grave like an abominable branch.
“But now a terrible thing has happened; he was not given the honorable burial deemed so important for monarchs. Even the common man regarded proper burial as essential.” (Wolf) Instead of a proper burial, the king of Babylon gets a bed of maggots and a blanket of worms! (Isaiah 14:11)
“The corpse of the king of Babylon would be thrown out like a rejected branch (neser). What a contrast to the Branch from the stump of Jesse that would bear abundant fruit! (Isaiah 11:1)” (Wolf)
The approaching judgment of Assyria
The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand: That I will break the Assyrian in My land, and on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden removed from their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”
Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass:
God’s Word will be accomplished exactly as he predicted. He’ll not forget a promise made or leave an enemy unpunished. His will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. God’s thoughts are as good as actions.
In the midst of trouble, we can remember God assurance to his people: I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it?
God says what he means, and does what he says he will! Even when we lose faith and can’t find a reason for hope, His plan is never frustrated! Even when we have no trust at all in our own plan, we can fully trust God’s purpose!
The Judgment against the Philistines
This is the burden which came in the year that King Ahaz died. “Do not rejoice, all you of Philistia, because the rod that struck you is broken; for out of the serpent’s roots will come forth a viper, and its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent. The firstborn of the poor will feed, and the needy will lie down in safety; I will kill your roots with famine, and it will slay your remnant. Wail, O gate! Cry, O city! All you of Philistia are dissolved; for smoke will come from the north, and no one will be alone in his appointed times.”
Do not rejoice, all you of Philistia because the rod that struck you is broken:
There was constant warfare between Israel and the Philistines, and so on many occasions, Israel was the rod that struck the Philistines. Now, when Israel and Judah are humbled, God warns the Philistines not to rejoice in their situation.
All you of Philistia are dissolved:
God’s judgment will come against the Philistines also. They should not think that just because God was judging the Israelites, that they had somehow escaped.
Some see in this a future judgment for “modern Philistines,” that is, Palestinians. The name “Palestine” is a Latin name from the name Philistia, and this may be a prophetic warning to the Palestinians: do not rejoice in the suffering or downfall of Israel, because worse judgment will befall you.
The closing message?
What will they answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD has founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall take refuge in it.
The Lord God established Israel as a nation. They are small among their surrounding enemies. God will defend them when their enemies attack again. That’s the message for today’s enemies. They will attack, they will have a short-term victory and God will come to their rescue once more.
That’s a part of the story that still awaits fulfillment.