Isaiah Chapter 14
Verses 1-14: This section is a song of triumph over Babylon. The nation that will one day send Judah into captivity will herself be severely judged by God. In spite of this displeasure with Israel, there is coming a time when He will have mercy on Jacob and will choose Israel.
This refers to Israel’s future restoration in her own land. Hell (Sheol), is the Old Testament name for the abode of the dead, a fiery place of judgment for the unrighteous. In the proverb used here the king of Babylon is viewed as being welcomed into hell by the kings of the nations (Gentiles), who are astonished that he has become weak as they.
In the first three verses, the primary view is the prophet looking at the final Babylon at the end of the tribulation. The language is that which characterizes conditions during the millennial kingdom after the judgment of the final Babylon. The destruction of future Babylon is integrally connected with the deliverance of Israel from bondage. Babylon must perish so that the Lord may exalt His people. God’s compassion for physical Israel receives fuller development (in chapters 40-46).
Isaiah 14:1 “For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.”
We know that God always forgives His people. There was a time of punishment while they were captive of the Babylonians, as there was a time of terrible trial for the modern house of Israel in World War 2.
God always establishes His people again in their Promised Land. There was no limit of time on the promises God made to Abraham.
God restores their land and their freedom, not because they deserve it, but by His grace.
I have a tendency to believe the “strangers”, in the verse above, are the Jewish proselytes who join themselves to the nation in the final earthly kingdom of Christ.
Looking to the end of the age, I believe is looking to the two sticks of Ezekiel that come together in Christ.
Isaiah 14:2 “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.”
The “land of the LORD” spoken of here, is probably speaking of the Promised Land or Israel. The word “take” lets us know they did not come voluntarily. We also see in this, that the enemies of God’s people will serve God’s people.
Take their captives captive is the great role reversal. Instead of their miserable state of captivity, endured in the tribulation under antichrist, the Israelites will be the rulers of those nations that once dominated them.
This had a near meaning in the fact of those who returned to Israel, but also has to do with the Lord Jesus Christ reigning as King and all His followers ruling with Him.
Isaiah 14:3 “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,”
“Rest”: The future earthly kingdom of Messiah is in view.
There was great oppression in the land of Babylon against God’s people. When they come back into the land, there will be a great relief from their oppression. Peace and rest is never real, if it comes from anyone but the Lord.
In World War 2, we know the Jews suffered greatly in the Holocaust. We know that after the war, they were given the land of Israel for their homeland. Many have returned to their homeland, but there is very little peace there today.
There will be no real peace and rest, until the King of Peace (Jesus Christ), returns and sets up His kingdom of peace. Then there will be no sorrow or fear.
Isaiah 14:4 “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!”
“That thou shall take up this proverb against the king of Babylon”; or “concerning” him, his fall, and the fall of the Babylonish monarchy with him.
“The king of Babylon” may be here considered as a type of antichrist, and what is said of the one may be applied to the other: the “proverb” or “parable” taken up into the mouth, and expressed concerning him, signifies a sharp and acute speech, a taunting one, full of ironies and sarcasms, and biting expressions, as the following one is.
“And say, how hath the oppressor ceased!”; he who oppressed us, and other nations, exacted tribute of us, and of others, and made us to serve with hard bondage, how is he come to nothing? by what means is he brought to ruin; by whom is this accomplished? who has been the author of it, and by whom effected?
“The golden city ceased!”; the city of Babylon, full of gold, drawn thither from the various parts of the world, called a golden cup, Jeremiah 51:7 and the Babylonish monarchy, in the times of Nebuchadnezzar, was signified by a golden head, Daniel 2:32 so mystical Babylon, or the Romish antichrist, is represented as “decked with gold, and having a golden cup in her hand”; and as a city abounding with gold, Revelation 17:4.
Isaiah 14:5 “The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, [and] the scepter of the rulers.”
Jesus defeated Satan on the cross. He even took the keys of hell and death away from the devil. Notice the fact that the staff (power), of the wicked people has been broken. All wicked people everywhere are under the influence of the devil, or Satan. His name in heaven was Lucifer.
The scepter was just an outward way to show who the ruler was. LORD is translated here, from Jehovah. Jesus is Jehovah Savior.
Isaiah 14:6 “He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, [and] none hindereth.”
“Smote the people … ruled the nations”. These picture the tyranny of the Babylonian king.
The key in this is the fact that it speaks of nations. The rulers under the influence of Satan, himself, are those who smote the people. Satan’s tricks never change. He uses all who will allow him to bring his destruction. Satan finds he is no match at all for God. God turns on Satan and persecutes him, as he has the people.
Isaiah 14:7 “The whole earth is at rest, [and] is quiet: they break forth into singing.”
With the tyrant off the throne, the whole world will have peace. This has to be millennial.
The “whole earth” reveals that this is not just a localized thing. The singing is praise for the deliverance of the people from the oppressor.
Psalms 118:14 “The LORD [is] my strength and song, and is become my salvation.”
Isaiah 14:8 “Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, [and] the cedars of Lebanon, [saying], Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.”
The fir tree and the cedars of Lebanon are constantly reaching upward. They are praising God for coming against the devil.
Those “kings of the nations” already in the place of the dead, stage a welcome party for the arriving king of Babylon.
Isaiah 14:9 “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet [thee] at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, [even] all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.”
Jesus took the keys of hell when he defeated Satan on the cross. Satan will be an inhabitant of hell. He will be chained for a thousand years and not able to have any power on the earth at all. He will be like those who followed him and were committed to hell. He has no power in the face of the Lord.
The kings of nations who were under his influence, like Hitler was, have their place in hell with him. They looked to Satan on the earth for their power. It will be no different in hell. They will still look to him for help, but he will be rendered helpless.
This does not mean that every king of a nation is evil; it is speaking of those under the devil’s influence, (evil kings).
Isaiah 14:10 “All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?”
The kings mock the king of Babylon, reminding him that human distinctions are meaningless among the dead.
They will look to him for power, but he has been rendered powerless by the Lord Jesus Christ. He is defeated. The answer to their question is yes. He is as weak as they are.
Isaiah 14:11 “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, [and] the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.”
“Maggots”: Human pride vanishes for a rotting corpse covered with worms.
Verses 12-14, “Fallen from heaven … I will be like the most High”. Jesus’ use (of verse 12), to describe Satan’s fall (Luke 10:18; Rev. 12:8-10), has led many to see more than a reference to the king of Babylon. Just as the Lord addressed Satan in His words to the serpent (in Genesis 3:14-15), this inspired dirge speaks to the king of Babylon and to the devil who energized him. (see Ezekiel 28:12-17), for similar language to the king of Tyre and Satan behind him.
Isaiah 14:12 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
The scene suddenly shifts from the underworld to heaven to emphasize the unbridled pride of the king and Satan energizing him. Son of the morning, translated star of the morning. Tradition of the time saw the stars as representing gods battling among themselves for places of preeminence.
The devil, or Satan, was named Lucifer in heaven, and he was proud and arrogant. His desire was to be God. He is a counterfeit.
Everything God has done that is beautiful, the devil tries to copy. He is so evil himself, that everything he does in the way of a copy becomes evil too. Beautiful, spiritual music is from God. Satan’s counterfeit, which I believe we see in much of the rock music today, is a sickening example of what Satan does with everything he touches.
“Lucifer” came from a word which means having the appearance of brightness. Lucifer is not the morning star; he is son of the morning. He would like to be the morning star, but cannot.
Revelation 22:16: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, [and] the bright and morning star.”
Lucifer most certainly refers to Satan. Now we see the real power behind the Gentile monarchs. Thus, Isaiah uses that fall of Satan, which is an assumed fact, to illustrate the fall of the Babylonian king. The name Lucifer is actually the Latin designation for the morning star (literarily, Light bearer”). The Hebrew (helel), means the “bright one.” As the morning star speedily disappears before the rising sun, so Satan, the angel of light, will be banished to outer darkness by the coming of the Son of God.
Satan: Originally created as one of God’s highest angels, possessing all angelic attributes, Satan (“Adversary”), led angels in a rebellion. He is described as the originator and chief practitioner of sin (1 John 3:8), “that wicked one” (1 John 5:18), a thief and destroyer (John 10:10, a deceiver (Rev. 12:9), murderer and liar (John 8:44), and the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10).
A Christian can overcome Satan when he remembers four basic principles:
- First, though Jesus is greater than the devil (1 John 4:4), a Christian must still have a healthy respect for the enemy; even the archangel Michael did not confront Satan except in the name of the Lord (Jude 9).
- Second, a wise Christian will evaluate his life and avoid those situations where he is most likely to be tempted (1 Thess. 5:22).
- Third, he should resist the devil by submitting to God (James 4:7-10).
- Finally, the Christian should always be prepared by wearing the whole armor of God (Eph.6:13-17).
Lucifer wants to be as God.
2 Corinthians 11:14 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
Notice in this verse from Corinthians that, Satan is not the Light, but made to be a light. Lucifer was cast down by God, because he wanted to be as God. His conceit and greed for power caused him to be cast out of heaven. He was the essence of evil, and influenced many evil leaders to follow him. Greed and lust for power and money causes much sin.
Verses 13-14: We find five “I wills” emphasizing the arrogance of the king of Babylon and of Satan, from whom he takes his cue.
Isaiah 14:13 “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:”
The mount of the congregation or the mount of the assembly was a mountain in northern Syria, according to local tradition, where the Canaanite gods assemble. The human king aspired to kingship over those gods.
This is not only speaking of Lucifer here, but all who hunger for power and greed. The king of Babylon (literally), and Lucifer are both intended. You could include in that all who desire to be God. Notice the “I will” statements.
This is a statement from someone who is not speaking of doing this through the power and might of God, but believing that they have power to control all of this within themselves. This is a very arrogant attitude. In the main sense, this is Lucifer, himself. He is thinking of himself as God.
Isaiah 14:14 “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
The Babylonians, and many today, want to be God. The father of all of this evil thinking was Lucifer, himself. He was one of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible. He was so powerful in heaven that a third of the angels followed him.
He forgot that God was God, and that he was subordinate to God. He had so much lust for power that he wanted to be as God. Many of the evil kings were worshipped as if they were God. This Scripture goes further than that. This is Lucifer.
The will of man can follow the flesh, or the spirit. The will of man pleasing his own flesh leads to hell and total destruction.
Isaiah 14:15 “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
We see that the will of man, or Lucifer, following their fleshly desires (their own will), brings them to total destruction and eventually an eternity in hell.
Death awaits those who try to be like God.
Verses 16-21. The final section of the dirge elaborates on the disgrace of the king, on display before all as an unburied corpse.
Isaiah 14:16 “They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, [and] consider thee, [saying, Is] this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;”
“Is this the man”? The complete role reversal from the most powerful to utter humiliation will provoke universal amazement.
A king who has fallen under God’s judgment is no better off than the people he tricked into believing he had great power. They are both in hell together. The very same thing is true of the devil, Satan, or Lucifer. Jesus defeated him on the cross. He is a defeated foe.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from thee. Satan has no power over the Christians. The only thing that he can do to a Christian is what God allows him to do.
Isaiah Chapter 14 Questions
- Who does verse 1 say the LORD will have mercy on?
- Name 2 terrible times for the Israelites that have already happened.
- Why does God restore Israel?
- Who does the author believe the strangers, in verse 1, are?
- What is “grace”?
- What is the “land of the LORD”, probably?
- Who shall give them rest from their sorrow?
- In World War 2, the Jews suffered greatly in the _________.
- When will there be real peace?
- What is verse 4 speaking of prophetically?
- When was Satan defeated?
- What does the staff in verse 5, symbolize?
- What one word is the key to verse 6?
- Who is Satan no match for?
- What in verse 7, indicates this is not localized?
- When did Jesus take the keys of hell?
- How long will Satan be chained?
- Who is a good example of a ruler who Satan controlled?
- What is the answer to the question in verse 10?
- What was the devil, or Satan’s, name in heaven?
- What was the devil’s personality like?
- What caused Lucifer to be thrown out of heaven?
- Greed and lust for power cause ______.
- Who is verse 13 speaking of?
- Name the “I will” statements of verse 13.
- In the main sense, verse 13 is speaking of whom?
- What were the two terrible statements of “I will” in verse 14?
- What was Lucifer in heaven?
- What made him want to be as God?
- Where does the will of man following the flesh lead to?
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