The Divine Council: The Rebellion Begins–Part 1
Isaiah 14:12–14; Ezekiel 28:11–19
Angelic Rebellion Lesson #08
December 6, 2020
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Our Father, as we continue to study about the angelic revolt, coming to understand that the life of which we are apart, that physical mortal life, is only one aspect of life in the universe, and that they are related to one another. To understand what happened among the angels is to understand the origin of evil, to understand that there is real substantive evil. That it is not just not doing what other people would like us to do, but doing things that are not only self-destructive, but they are destructive to others and they’re destructive to the universe and to the world, that sin has a malignant effect upon everything that God created.
“So Father, help us as we study these things and come to understand what the Scripture teaches and accurately interpreted. For we pray these things in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles with me this morning to Isaiah 14. The interpretation of Isaiah 14:12–14 is one that is a controversy today, not like it was 40 or 50 years ago. We need to come to understand that because when you pick up your Bible, if you have a study Bible, there are some study Bibles that when you read the notes, they will say there are five different ways in which Isaiah 14:12–14 can be interpreted, and they will list those for you.
You will look at other study Bibles, and they will say it has been traditional for Christians to think that this is talking about the fall of Satan, but actually it’s not. It’s reflective of something else. Then they’ll be others that will come up with other ideas.
It’s confusing when you have been taught things a certain way to see in a study Bible that you think is trustworthy that some basic concepts are not accepted, rejected, or it’s deemed to be not biblically correct. So, we have to understand these things, and we have to understand what is going on.
When we look at these two passages, Isaiah 14 is more debated than in Ezekiel 28, but both of them are debated for this reason, and so I will be spending time on these issues this morning as well as Thursday. That will give us time to go through both of the passages and understand their significance.
But what is important here is that if these two passages are not talking about the origin of sin in the universe, if these two passages do not inform us of what comprised sin, if they don’t tell us this information, then God didn’t reveal it to us and we have no idea, and we’re just sort of lost.
It’s kind of strange when you look at what is deemed modern evangelical scholarship. This is not anything new. It happened 100 years ago. It happened before that, it’ll happen again if we recover from this, is that scholars get impressed with their recognition by other scholars.
I remember when I first started at seminary back in the mid-’70s, that you’re impressed with the scholarship of the professors you’re studying under. I had never been really under that many different professors who were exceptionally well trained in the original languages. About half of my professors had two doctorates. They would have a doctorate from Dallas Seminary, and then from some other school. They were the most educated, most qualified faculty that you could possibly imagine.
And yet, as far as the world of Christendom is concerned, the men at Dallas Seminary or Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake or Western Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary up in Portland and a few other schools, they didn’t even exist. They were unknown because they believed that the Bible was the Word of God, and for that reason they’re just ignored, rejected because that’s just some antiquated old-fashioned view. So academic arrogance enters in, and you can’t help it.
You go off to some environment—whether you’re 15 years old and you’re dealing with the peers in high school, or whether you’re 25, 30, 35, and you’re dealing with academic peers that look down upon you because you’re a conservative Bible-believing Christian—there is that pressure to conform. We live in the devil’s world, and theology and biblical understanding always rolls downhill into the muck because we live in a fallen world. So constantly we have to have these times of renewal.
You study the history of the church, the history of Christianity, and you see this constantly. Every century or two there has to be a renewal movement, a reform movement, something to get back to the Bible. So, we have to understand these things. What we’re basically looking at here in the next couple of lessons is the beginning of this revolt against God. The beginning of this rebellion.
Now some people take a particular passage in the Gospels to refer to the fall of Satan, so I want to just address that at the beginning.
Luke 10:18. Jesus is talking to His disciples and He says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
It’s really easy to use this as a proof text and say that’s talking about the fall of Satan. But no, that’s not talking about the fall of Satan. You have to look at the context. Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity has entered into human history as a human baby. He is still the God-Man, and He has grown and now He is presenting Himself as the Davidic King, the Messiah, to the Jewish people. If they respond, then the Kingdom will come.
Remember Satan never has any more of an idea about God’s chronology or the details of what God is exactly doing than you do or anybody else. So he is caught by surprise. Suddenly Jesus is sending out His disciples. In this context he has sent out the 70, and they’re taking the gospel to the House of Israel and the House of Judah. Remember what gospel that was? That was the gospel of the Kingdom, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” That’s what is going on here.
All of a sudden this has Satan’s attention, and it’s interesting, and we’ve touched on this a little bit with demons, we will touch on it some more in the coming lessons, but you have this period of time of Jesus’ incarnation, and there’s all this demonic activity.
There’s not a single person you can point to in the Old Testament that was demon possessed. You see deep demonic activity and demonic influence, but there’s not a single person that’s demon possessed. Then all of a sudden during the life of Christ, you see all of this demonic activity going on. Why is that? Because the King has come, and He’s offering the Kingdom, and this has stirred things up.
Remember what happens when Jesus casts the demon out of the Gadarene demonic? This is the guy that when He addresses the demon he says, “What’s your name?” And the demon replies, “Its Legion because there is a legion of us.” So that tells us that thousands can indwell one person because they are of a spirit-based nature, not a physical nature.
So Jesus is going to cast them out and what do they do? They beg, “Don’t throw us into the Abyss!” They know that at the end of the Tribulation, Satan is going to be thrown into the Abyss, and I don’t think it’s just Satan. I think all the demons are confined to the Abyss during the Millennial Kingdom.
This is to show that the reason we have all these problems isn’t because the devil made us do it. It’s because of our own sin nature, and it’s corrupting and it’s going to end up the same way at the end of a 1,000 years of perfect rule and perfect environment because the problem is us. It’s our sin nature, and so that’s what’s going to be demonstrated.
This isn’t talking about Satan’s fall. This is talking about getting Satan’s attention on the fact that Jesus is now offering the Kingdom to Israel, and so he’s going to be involved in disrupting that.
But Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 do talk about what we refer to theologically as “the fall.” He doesn’t fall from anywhere; he falls into sin. That’s what we mean when we talk about the fall of Adam. He didn’t trip and fall down. He didn’t trip and fall out of the Garden of Eden. He sinned. So it is a spiritual fall. He went from spiritual life to spiritual death.
So when we come to these two passages, Isaiah 14:12–14 and Ezekiel 28:11–19, there are basically three views of the way it’s interpreted.
The first and the predominant one is that this is talking about Satan himself. But there are two ways in which this is approached. The first is that this is talking about Satan directly, or the second view is that this is somewhat typical in the sense that Satan is being addressed through the human person that he is empowering.
Now we have an example of that in the New Testament because Peter, after the Lord said, “It’s necessary for Me to go to Jerusalem, and to be arrested and crucified, and buried,” Peter says, “No, no, no. We’re not going to let that happen.” And Jesus looks that at Peter and He says, “Get thee behind Me, Satan!” He’s recognizing that the influence on Peter at that point is Satan. So, He’s not telling Peter to get behind Him, He is telling Satan to get back in his place.
Often in Scripture, the human personage that is being influenced by Satan is the one that is addressed, but the one actually being talked about is Satan himself. So that’s the second category, the second under Point 1 Satan directly, or through a type of Satan or the Antichrist.
Second view is historical only, that this is really talking about an ancient king, and it may be an ancient King like Tiglath-Pileser who was the emperor or king of the Assyrian Empire. But what’s interesting is that in the Assyrian Empire, the kings of Assyria also had themselves declared the kings of Babylon, so they were the King of Babylon and the King of Assyria. Just like in the British Empire, the crown would be also the crown over Scotland, so you have the dual crown. So, this would limit it to just talking about a ruler at some time in the past.
Then the third view is the view that came up starting in the 19th century on the basis of this whole idea that the Bible is just another religion like every other religion. They’ve all evolved, and it’s influenced by other religious ideas, and so it’s not any different, and it’s just borrowing from Canaanite or other Ancient Near Eastern religions. So this really is based on a Canaanite myth. That is a very influential view today.
So how has this been understood historically?
The view that this is directly addressing Satan in one way or another is supported by the Septuagint. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament that was done around 225 to 250 BC. It helps us understand the major thinking of the Jewish rabbis at that time 200 or 300 years before Christ.
Then you have books like the early Pseudepigrapha. Remember, the “pseude” references the authors. They are written under a pseudonym, so somebody would write this apocalyptic style literature, and they would attribute it to some famous Old Testament person. So, you have things like the book of Enoch and the book of Adam and Eve, and other things of that nature. They didn’t write it, but that was the pseudonym that was chosen.
In the Life of Adam and Eve, which is early second century in the early part of the Church Age; the Slavonic book of Enoch, somewhere around the second century also; and early church fathers like Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory of Nyssa, Jerome, who translated the Vulgate from the original languages into Latin; and then from Augustine to Gregory the Great.
It’s a dominant view in the early church that both of these passages are talking about Satan.
In the Middle Ages, key theologians like Peter Lombard, Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas all held this view in the Reformation. It’s the view that John Milton has in “Paradise Lost,” John Bunyan had in his work the “Holy War,” John Wesley, and many, many others.
In modern times Chafer, Scofield, Barnhouse, Gleason, Archer, Feinberg, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Tommy Ice, and many, many others all hold to this view.
This was one of the kinds of things that influenced us 30 years ago to say we needed a new seminary.
Then you have those who hold the historical view—this is talking about a historical person. Hippolytus in the early church thought it was the Antichrist in the future. He sees it as typological.
Now I think he’s got something there. I think that’s who the human person is who is being addressed, but it’s ultimately going to Satan.
William Kelly, who was a dispensationalist and a peer of John Nelson Darby’s son, thought it was the beast of Revelation. That’s the Antichrist again.
Franz Delitzsch believes it’s an antitype of the devil and the type of the Antichrist. So it’s an indirect-direct application to Satan.
In the historical view, the Talmud thinks it’s Nebuchadnezzar.
The Midrash Rabbah are Jewish commentaries.
A couple of minor early church fathers held the view that it was just a historical person.
Chrysostom related it to Ezekiel 28.
But historical leaders Calvin and Luther in the Reformation both had some fairly strange ideas. Calvin thought that the serpent in Genesis 3 was just a snake.
Mythological view. This comes in with the rise of the historical critical method in the early 19th century, late 18th century, and is associated with liberal theology.
So why would we stick with this text and say that this language is really talking about Satan and not talking about just a human leader?
First of all, any view that interprets this on the basis of a Canaanite myth or an Egyptian myth or Babylonian myth, something like that, that the writers of Scripture are just borrowing from mythology, that has serious problems for the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy. Because the Bible claims to be revealed by God and that the writers of Scripture didn’t get their ideas from the neighboring pagans, they got it from God. And so this is a real problem.
Second, what is said about these two leaders goes far beyond any historical or human figure. There are things said about both of them that cannot be applied to any particular leader.
In Isaiah 14 he falls from Heaven. He wants to rise up to Heaven, and he said, “I want to be like God.” This never applies to any human figure in Ezekiel. He is in the Garden of Eden. That couldn’t apply to any human leader. He is in Eden, and we will talk about what that means when we get there. That’s the third point.
Isaiah says he fell from Heaven, so no Babylonian or Assyrian king was ever in Heaven.
In Ezekiel, Ezekiel addresses his lament to two individuals. He begins the chapter talking and addressing the Prince of Tyre, which I believe is the human king, and then when it gets down to about Ezekiel 28:11, he shifts to the King of Tyre. I think that is talking to the power behind the king, and that is Satan.
The fifth reason is that in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul identifies Satan’s sin as pride and arrogance.
If you take Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 out of the Bible, how would you know that was his sin? You wouldn’t. There has to be some revelation on which that is based.
Sixth, the descriptions that are found in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are very grand and some people say, “This is just hyperbole.” There is a point at which hyperbole goes from being interpreted in a literal sense. Because we don’t believe in wooden literalism, we talk hyperbolically all the time, and people know what we mean. But this is more than hyperbole when you talk about these things. This has to be understood as relating to something more than simply a human king.
Seventh point, Ezekiel 28:15 says that the King of Tyre is blameless in all of his ways. That cannot apply to a human king.
Point 8, he’s referred to as the “anointed cherub who covers.” This cannot refer to a human being. I think that to their credit most conservatives will say Isaiah is dubious, but Ezekiel 28 is clearly Satan because of this particular reference.
The special word that is used for creation here is bara in the Hebrew, which always speaks of God’s directive acts.
In Ezekiel 28 there is a statement that the king in Ezekiel was in the Garden of God in Eden, and that can’t relate to a historical figure.
So for those reasons we have to take both of these passages as referring to somebody other than a human king, other than the Ling of Assyria, the King of Babylon, or the King of Tyre.
Let’s look at Isaiah. Isaiah is a very long book. Isaiah is a book that I constantly get feedback from one person or another that when they’re reading through the Bible for a year, they have trouble getting through Isaiah. Isaiah isn’t written chronologically. So that’s important to understand, that a lot of times Old Testament books and sections are written thematically rather than written chronologically.
So, for example, Isaiah 7 through Isaiah 12. That is the Immanual section. That is a section that’s prophetic about the coming of the Messiah. Then starting in Isaiah 12, I forget how far it goes, but it goes through about Isaiah 23 or 24, somewhere in there. This is a series of oracles.
An oracle is a prophetic statement of future judgment on a people or on a nation, a prophetic statement of future judgment, an announcement that God is going to bring some judgment upon people. That’s what we find in Isaiah 13 and Isaiah 14. You can’t really go into the passage in Isaiah 14:12–16 without looking at the broad context, and the broad context is going to be extremely significant.
Just a couple of things on background. Isaiah is written during the reigns of four kings of Judah. Remember Judah is the kingdom that is fairly obedient to God some of the time. The Northern Kingdom is never obedient to God. The kings are always into idolatry. So he writes under the kingship of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Hezekiah is a very good king, Ahaz not at all.
So this is the time period. It’s the eighth century BC from about 760 to around 700 just broadly. I have the chronology on this slide.
Isaiah begins his ministry in 740 BC. He’s probably born around 760, and he dies after 681 BC. But his ministry really goes not quite to the end of his life, and he’s going to be, according to legend, he’s going to be sawn in two under the kingship of Manasseh, who is a relative of his, who hates Isaiah because he stands for God. Later Manasseh will repent. He will turn back to God, but the damage has already been done.
This is the timeframe for Isaiah from roughly 740 until close to 681 BC when he is martyred.
On this next slide, I want talk a little bit about some things that we’re going to see. I want you to turn the page, if you need to. Go to the first part of Isaiah 13, and we’re going to talk a little bit about what goes on here. One of the things that will come up here in Isaiah 13 is that one of the many, many nations that is going to come against Babylon is going to be the Medes.
In Isaiah 13:17 God says, “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them.”
The Medes, of course, were part of that coalition of the Medes and the Persians that came in during the time of Daniel and defeated the Babylonians, captured Babylon in 538 BC. Now do y’all remember that story?
That’s the story about where the king is having a grand party, and suddenly in the midst of this grand party, everybody’s good and drunk and having a good time, and an invisible hand began to write on the wall, “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.” Nobody can figure out what it means, and somebody says, “Oh yeah! There’s this prophet, Daniel, somewhere. We will go find him. He used to interpret dreams for Nebuchadnezzar.”
So he comes out, and he interprets it and says to the king, “You’ve been weighed in the balances and have been found wanting.”
While all this is going on, the Medes and the Persians have been outside the wall. They dammed up the river that was flowing through Babylon, and then they came under the gate. They then spread out in the city and took it, as it were, without firing a shot.
Does this sound like that when we get to Isaiah 13:18, that “with their bows they will dash the young men to pieces and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb.” Doesn’t sound like that, but we will get there.
The Medes live to the north. Now the greenish area on this map, if I were to shrink it down, shows the Babylonian Empire. Then the purple includes the Medes and the Persian Empire, but the Medes are up here.
This water up here on the top left, that’s the Black Sea. That’s south of Ukraine and it is north of Turkey. This area labeled Cimmeria, is where Mount Ararat is. You have Azerbaijan up here in this area to the north, and so basically in this area is northeastern Turkey and northwestern Iraq over here.
Do they ever get the news these days? Who lives there today? That’s where the Kurds live. Part of their territory is in Turkey, part of it’s in Iran, part of it’s in Iraq, and they really want to carve out their own nation. They hate the Persians, and they hate the Iraqis, and they hate the Turks. So one day God’s going to release them on Babylon and that area in the end of the Tribulation period.
So that’s where they are. They are north. This circle here is Nineveh. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire and Babylon down here to the south is the capital of the Babylonian Empire.
Who’s to the north? It’s the Medes. It is important to understand the aspects of this prophecy.
What we see here, just to summarize Isaiah 13 to get the basic background, there is a burden against Babylon. This is this oracle that is against Babylon that Isaiah saw. What we see in Isaiah 13:2–5 is that God is going to call forth an army.
The language here is interesting. It could be that He is talking, when He says in Isaiah 13:3, “I have commanded My sanctified ones,” He then calls them, “I have also called My mighty ones for My anger.”
Some think that this is talking about a human army. But I think, and others think, that when the term “mighty ones” is used in Isaiah 13:3, that this relates to demons.
What do we have showing up when we get to the end of Revelation, the end of the Tribulation period? We see that Satan and the demons are thrown out of Heaven to the earth. It appears that they are made visible to humans, and that together demons and humans are going to be fighting against God. He’s going to bring this judgment on all of His intelligent creatures, angels and humans, for their rebellion against Him in the campaign that we call Armageddon.
This seems like it is related to that because it is one of the first stages in the campaign of Armageddon that Babylon, that is going to be revived in the End Times, and this is going to be one of the capitals of the Antichrist, and so God’s going to bring an army against Babylon.
This battle is described in Isaiah 13:5–16 by the phrase “the day of the Lord.”
That is a significant phrase, and it is true that in a couple of passages it looks like it might be referring to some historic judgment where God has intervened. But what I have found is when you find writers that are alluding to that, they are looking for examples of “the day of the Lord” used for historic judgment. They will go to Isaiah 13, but I don’t think Isaiah 13 is talking about what happened to Babylon in the ancient world.
There’s this language all through here that is reminiscent of passages like Joel 2:27, 28 to the end of the chapter and the first part of Joel 3 and other passages. We read in Isaiah 13:6–8, “Wail for the day of the Lord is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, every man’s heart will melt, and they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them. They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth. They will be amazed at one another; their faces will be like flames.”
This language is reminiscent of descriptions of what takes place during the Tribulation period, the birth pangs of a woman, the labor pains, all of these kinds of things.
Isaiah 13:9, “Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate—what land is that? That is the land of Babylon, to make it desolate—and He will destroy its sinners from it.”
Then Isaiah 13:10, “For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light. The sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine.”
This is language from Joel 2:31. It’s as if the moon turns red and the sun is turned to darkness. You have all this language that is descriptive of how the return of Christ and His destruction of the evil forces has this cosmic effect on these astral bodies: the stars, the moon, the sun.
This imagery is very much like the imagery we find in a number of other passages related to the coming of the Lord and the battle of Armageddon.
Then in Isaiah 13:17–18 we have this reference to the Medes, “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them.”
But why does it have to be the Medes of the ancient time? Why can’t it be the modern descendants of the Medes? Some people suggest that the Kurds are modern descendants of the ancient Medes.
The ancient Medes were some of the fiercest warriors in the ancient world. In fact, we have records that indicate from Cyrus that his alliance with the Medes was such he’d use them as shock troops, and they didn’t even want to get paid. They just loved the violence and the gore and destroying the enemy, slaughtering the enemy.
But this is the description you have then in Isaiah 13:18–20a, “Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb. Their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation.”
Is that what happened? Not at all. They came in the dead of night while Belshazzar and his court were having a drunken party, and they came in and took the capital without firing a shot. Then they made it their capital, and they lived there, and Daniel continued to live there. It wasn’t destroyed. It wasn’t burned to the ground. We will see that that is what Jeremiah says about it. None of those things happen.
So this prophecy was not fulfilled in the ancient world, and yet many of the study notes you find in study Bibles, many of the commentaries you read will say that Isaiah 13 was fulfilled historically. But too much of it has nothing to do with what actually happened historically, that it is talking about what will happen towards the end of the Tribulation in the Battle of Armageddon.
The last point is the destruction is total, compared to Sodom and Gomorrah.
I don’t know that anybody knows for sure where Gomorrah is. It’s close to Sodom. For a long time, it has been thought that Sodom was in this area, not quite halfway down the east side of the Dead Sea, that it was the associated with a couple of ruins there. There are some archaeological digs, but some people say most of it is under the under the Dead Sea or the Salt Sea.
But there’s been an excavation going on for about 10 years, or maybe a little more, on the north end of the Dead Sea just across the border into Jordan, and they have discovered a large ancient town there. It was well watered with underground springs, and if you remember, there is a description in Genesis when Abraham and his men are having problems, they are not getting along with Lot and his herdsman.
So, Abraham calls Lot and says, “Okay, we can’t get along together anymore. You have to take your guys and go somewhere, and I’ll let you take the first pick.” Lot say, “I want to go to Sodom because the land there is well watered like it is all the way down to Zoar in Egypt.”
If you’ve ever been there, there are a lot of words you could use to describe that land, but well-watered would not be part of it. But they have discovered that there were these underground springs there in the location of this particular town, and it fits, and not only that, but when Abraham and Lot had their conversation, they’re in the hill country of Samaria not very far from Shechem. If you are there, and I’ve been there and some of you been near there with me, you cannot see all the way down the east side of the Dead Sea to see the traditional location of Sodom. But you can see the north end of the Dead Sea.
There are a lot of things in favor of this. I haven’t studied it enough to commit myself to it, one way or another. I have some friends like Wayne House who is pretty convinced that the new discovery is Sodom. I have another lifelong friend, Randy Price, who says no it’s still the traditional site, and I’m for my friends! I just haven’t had the time to learn all of it, but that’s what’s going on.
So to understand what’s going on when we get to the end of Isaiah 13, we have to have a little understanding of the timeframe of the future.
We’re in the Church Age. We don’t know how long it will last. It started on the Day of Pentecost in AD 33, and it will end with the Rapture of the church, when those who are alive will be caught up together with those who are dead, and we will go to be with the Lord in the air. He returns in the air.
That will be followed—not immediately, there is some sort of interim transitional period—by a seven-year Tribulation that is for Daniel’s people. That is, it specifically stated in Daniel 9 it is all about bringing the Jews to accept Jesus as Messiah.
Christ then returns, and that brings about the campaign of Armageddon that centers on Israel. Armageddon is from the Hebrew word, har Megiddo, meaning the Mountain of Megiddo. It is talking about the area on the plain of Esdraelon that is about 25 miles north of Jerusalem, a huge open area, which is also described as the breadbasket of Israel, where most of their produce is grown. Christ returns and then establishes His Kingdom.
The question that we have to answer when we talk about Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 is, has this happened yet or is it still in the future?
Let me just run through a summary of things I pointed out as we went through Jeremiah 13, but looking at other passages, putting Scripture together, so we see what Jeremiah says and we see what is revealed in Revelation about what happens in the Tribulation.
First of all, Babylon will be destroyed quickly, suddenly, and almost unexpectedly.
Jeremiah 51:8, “Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her!”
See, that didn’t happen in the ancient world. It wasn’t destroyed. It was suddenly taken, but it wasn’t destroyed.
Revelation 18:8, which comes towards the end of the Tribulation, the destruction of Babylon, which I believe will be literal Babylon. It’s not a codeword for the Revived Roman Empire, “Therefore her plagues will come in one day—suddenly—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire.”
See there’s no burning of the walls with fire. Babylon was not burned to the ground by Cyrus. This is what will happen at the end of the Tribulation period.
Scripture says in a passage we just read, Isaiah 13:17, that it will be destroyed by the Medes who will pillage, plunder, and massacre the women and children.
Isaiah 21:2 says, “A distressing vision is declared to me: the treacherous dealer deals treacherously, and the plunderer plunders. Go up, O Elam! Besiege, O Media! All its sighing I have made to cease.”
He is calling upon these other nations. That’s what’s described in Isaiah 13, is that God raises up these armies. I think it’s a combination of human armies and demonic armies as well.
Jeremiah 51:11 says, “Make the arrows bright! Gather the shields! The Lord has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes. For His plan is against Babylon to destroy it.”
But see, it wasn’t destroyed in 538 BC, so this is yet to be fulfilled.
Jeremiah 51:28, “Prepare against her the nations, with the kings of the Medes, its governors and all its rulers, all the land of his dominion.”
Third thing we see is that Babylon will also be destroyed by nations from the North, from the area around Ararat, which is where the Medes were and the Ashkenaz, but those terms apply to a broader range as well.
For example, we refer to Jews who live in Europe as Ashkenazi Jews. That’s because the descendants of Ashkenaz originally settled in that area in northeastern Turkey and northwest Iran, but they eventually made their way over to Germany and into Europe. That’s why you have a lake in Germany called Lake Ashkenazi. It’s a very ancient name. It goes back to these biblical times.
But there’s this warning that there is this army that comes out of the north, Jeremiah 50:3, “For out of the north a nation comes up against her, which shall make her land desolate.” That’s not what happened in the past.
Jeremiah 50:9, “For behold, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country.” Sounds like an invasion not only from that area, but from Russia to the north.
This is also stated again in Jeremiah 51:27, listing the same nations.
In passages I’ve already read and also in Revelation 17:6 and Revelation 18:8, Babylon will be destroyed by fire. That did not happen in the past.
Jeremiah 51:30 I’ve already mentioned, “… they have burned her dwelling places, the bars of her gate are broken.”
Revelation 17:6, “I saw the woman—that’s the depiction of the kingdom of Babylon—drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”
Revelation 18:8, “Therefore her plagues will come in one day …. And she will be utterly burned with fire.” Babylon will never again be inhabited, just like Sodom and Gomorrah.
Isaiah 13:19–20. I’ve got some quotes I’ll show you in just a minute, but it’s always had people, tribal groups, villages that have always existed, continued to exist, on the site of ancient Babylon. So it’s never been totally destroyed.
Isaiah 13:21–22 says, “But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; ostriches will dwell there, and while goats will caper there. Hyenas will howl in their citadels, and jackals.” No human habitation, just wild animals.
Isaiah 14:23 talks about the porcupine making its home there. God says He’ll “sweep it with the broom of destruction.”
Jeremiah says it will not be inhabited again.
Jeremiah 51:29, “… desolation without an inhabitant.”
Jeremiah 51:37, “… a heap, a dwelling place of jackals, an astonishment and a hissing.”
Jeremiah 51:43, “… a desolation, a dry land a wilderness, a land where no one dwells.” That just hasn’t happened yet. That never happened historically. It was never wiped out like that.
Jeremiah 51:62 is another such verse.
And then in the prophecy about the time of the campaign of Armageddon in Revelation 18:21, “… thus with the violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.”
We see the fulfillment language in Revelation fits the prophecies of Isaiah 13, 14; Jeremiah 51; and others.
Seventh, the whole of Babylon and is destroyed.
Isaiah 13:5, they destroy the whole land.
Point eight. Babylon will be severely punished for her hostility to God and to Israel.
Jeremiah 50:29 says, “… she has been proud against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel.”
Revelation 18:6, “Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works.”
Ninth point. This is described as the “day of the Lord,” as I stated earlier in Isaiah 13:6–7. That’s the imagery of the end times.
Also down through Isaiah 13:9, I already covered that in detail.
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Tenth point. The final destruction of Babylon and it is depicted by this same imagery in Jeremiah 51:63–64.
Look at Jeremiah 51:64, “… Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her. And they shall be weary.”
In Revelation 18:21, “Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.’ ”
See if the prophesy in Jeremiah 51 and Isaiah 13 was fulfilled in the ancient world, then how are you going to get a rebuilding of Babylon in the future?
Eleventh point. The Destroyer is the Lord of Hosts, often a term in the Old Testament referring to the pre-incarnate Christ.
In Jeremiah 51:19 and Jeremiah 51:20, the Lord of hosts will break the nation in pieces.
Jeremiah 51:55, the Lord plunders Babylon.
This is exactly what is described in Revelation 17:14, “These—who are in Babylon—will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called chosen and faithful.”
The Jews are told to flee. These next two points are important for context. They are told to flee in Jeremiah 51:6. When they see this happening, flee, “… this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance: He shall not recompense her.”
Jeremiah 51:45, “My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the Lord.”
Revelation 18:4, at the end God says, “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”
Heaven rejoices at this final destruction of Babylon, Jeremiah 51:48, Revelation 18:20.
Following this there’s going to be peace on the whole earth, Isaiah 14:7.
These are a lot of points. I didn’t want you to write them all down, but every one of them tells us that what happened in the ancient world didn’t end Babylon. It doesn’t fit the pattern, so these prophecies in Isaiah 13 are talking about something in the future.
What that is is described in Isaiah 14. Remember, we’re talking about Isaiah 14:12–14, and we’re trying to figure out, when does this take place?
Look at what we find at the beginning of Isaiah 14, “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob—that’s another name for Israel—and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land.”
So what happens immediately after the destruction of Babylon is that Israel is resettled in their land. Not the pitiful few numbers that came back from Babylon in 538 BC with Ezra and Zerubbabel. It was only about 45,000. And over the next 200 years only another maybe 50,000–70,000 came back. Most Jews that were scattered were still in Turkey, they were in Italy, they were in Syria. They were in a lot of other places. They were in Egypt. But only a few came back.
So Isaiah 14:1 says that God will restore them. If you read through Isaiah, you ought to mark it—I marked it in the top margin. I just put “return.” Again and again and again you have these promises that God is going to restore the Jewish people to their historic homeland in the future, and after that, there is peace.
That’s what we see here in Isaiah 14:2, “Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids—that’s their enemies—in the land of the Lord; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors.”
Isaiah 14:3, “It will come to pass in the day the Lord gives you rest from your sorrow—this is the end of it. There’s not going to be anymore. It’s not talking about the return in 538 BC. He gives rest from their sorrow when their enemies have all been defeated by the King of kings. He “gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve,”
Isaiah 14:4, “that you will then take up this proverb against the king of Babylon—who are we talking about? Who’s the king of Babylon in the Tribulation? It’s the Antichrist. Who’s empowering the Antichrist? It’s Satan. So it’s a dual reference—that you will take up this proverb”—it’s a taunt. You’re going to ridicule him, you’re going to taunt him.
When we asked this question, have the prophecies been fulfilled, they have not been fulfilled.
What we see in the coming passages is that there is a reference here to how God deals with the king of Babylon.
Isaiah 14:5, “The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers.”
Isaiah 14:6, “He who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke—who’s that? That’s the Antichrist—He who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted and no one hinders.”
Finally, there’s going to be judgment on the one who was a tyrant.
But the result now that Babylon has been destroyed, Isaiah 14:7, “The whole earth is at rest and quiet.” That’s not what happens in the ancient world. It’s future.
Isaiah 14:8, “Indeed, the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying—they’re rejoicing and they’re taunting the Antichrist and Satan—‘Since you were cut down, no woodsman has come up against us.’ ”
In other words, nobody is trying to destroy us anymore.
Then he says in Isaiah 14:9, “Sheol from beneath is excited about you.”
These kings that are there, you ruin their kingdoms.
“All the kings of the nations”—at the end of Isaiah 14:9. Then Isaiah 14:10, “They all shall speak and say to you—they are ridiculing him—‘Have you also become weak like we are? Have you become just like us?’ ”
Isaiah 14:11, “ ‘Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your stringed instruments; the maggot is spread under you, and the worms cover you.’ ”
Then we get into our passage. I’ll cover this on Thursday night as we get ready to go into Ezekiel.
The taunt is, Isaiah 14:12, “How you are fallen from heaven.”
It’s not “O Lucifer.” That comes out of the Vulgate. It’s helel ben Shachar. Lucifer is a made-up name, kind of like Jehovah. It’s just a made-up name, and it’s because it means “the light bearer,” or “the son of the dawn.” In Latin that comes over as light or a form of lux or lucis, so that becomes Lucifer. That’s how we get that name in English, but that’s not a name that he’s given. It’s Helel, the bright star in the morning.
Isaiah 14:13, “For you have said in your heart”—and then we have the five “I wills,”
But I want you to look at Isaiah 14:15, “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the pit.”
What do we see at the end of Revelation 19 after the Battle of Armageddon? We see that the Antichrist and the false prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire. That could be directly into the Lake of Fire, it could be that they’re put in the Abyss with Satan, but their eventual destiny is the Lake of Fire. There’s a lot of debate over that.
What we see in the makeup of Sheol is that according to Luke 16:19–25 Abraham’s bosom is called Paradise. Old Testament saints went there.
But there are three compartments to Sheol. There is Torments, where unbelievers went. There is Tartarus, which is where the angels who are imprisoned in darkness—we’re going to study in 2 Peter 2:5—that’s where they are. They are not in Hell. They are in Tartarus, literally.
Then there is the Abyss. This is where Satan is chained for a thousand years. That’s all part of Sheol. So when we look at that last verse there, Isaiah 14:15, it’s saying you’re confined to the lowest depths of the pit. That’s the Abyss.
All of this comes together to tell us that this passage is talking about that original sin that brought evil into the universe, an evil that destroys and corrupts everything. Sin doesn’t just affect our own thinking, it just doesn’t affect our own life. Sin is a malignant evil that destroys everything. It destroys people’s lives, it destroys people’s relationships, it destroys marriages, families, countries, it destroys businesses. When we let lust patterns go unhindered, Peter warns that it makes war against our soul. It is self-destructive.
The only solution is the grace of God. We can have salvation, but more than that, we can have life and we can have forgiveness from whatever sin is and recovery, so that we can have a measure of that life that God planned for us, a life that Jesus describes as the abundant life. But it only comes as we grow and mature spiritually. And that includes, as Peter says at the end, we have to “grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We have to understand the Scriptures and the framework of God’s plan and what He is doing.
In our next class we will go back and look at the details of the five “I wills,” and then we will go over to Ezekiel. We’ve laid the groundwork, understanding that these two passages have to be talking about the fall of Satan, and then we will find out what we learn about him from Ezekiel 28 as well.
“Father, we thank You for this opportunity that we have to study Your Word and to understand the origin of evil. We see how destructive evil is. Satan’s sin led to a destruction of the unity and the harmony among the sons of God, among the angels. It eventually led to the destruction of the human race, the spiritual death of the human race with the sin of Adam. Yet You and Your grace have given us the salvation that is not dependent upon anything that we’ve done.
“It is dependent upon what Christ did on the Cross. He paid the penalty for sin. Nothing that we could ever do would pay the penalty for sin, but Christ did. And because He was infinite, His death has an infinite value.
“But we have to want that salvation. We have to trust in Him. It’s not just going to happen instantly because we are such a good person. It happens the instant we trust in Christ. We have to put our hope in Him, our trust in Him, and at that instant God knows exactly what we’re believing, and He regenerates us and He declares us righteous.
“So Father, we pray that anyone listening to this message would recognize that yes, there is genuine evil; second, that there will be an ultimate accounting for all evil; and third, that You and Your grace have provided the solution to evil, and it is found at the Cross, and the solution is for us to trust in Christ.
“Father, we pray that You would challenge us with this. Studying these dark things isn’t fun or enjoyable, but it is the basis for us understanding how great our hope is, and may we be strengthened and encouraged in that. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”