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Revelation 5:9 & Isaiah 13-14 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:52 mins 9 secs

Judgment of Babylon; Fall of Satan: Rev. 5:9; Isa. 13-14

 

The Bible is very clear in its revelation that there is a future judgment for sin and evil, a future resolution for the problem of evil as it is often expressed. It not only informs us as to what will happen in regard to the future destiny of sin and evil but it tells us about the origin of sin and evil.

 

Both of the contexts in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 relate to what goes on in Revelation, specifically between Revelation chapter twelve and chapter nineteen. It is important for us to step back und understand the role and function of angels as a whole because that is going to help us understand what is happening with these angels, both in terms of the holy angels and the fallen angels in Revelation.

 

A brief overview of the way angels are used in the outworking of prophecy in Revelation. As we have seen, approximately one third of the references to angels in the New Testament occurs in Revelation between chapters four and nineteen, the passages that deal with prophecy. First of all we see the angels surrounding the throne of God in heaven in chapters four and five. There is a return to the heavenly scene in chapter seven and again we see the angels singing praise and glorifying God in relation to the judgments that are being poured out on the earth in Revelation 7:9-11. In 7:1 we also see that the meteorology of the earth at the time of the Tribulation is under the control of angels. There are four angels who are said to control the winds and they are preparing to execute judgment with various weather disasters upon the earth. But then we see another angel come on the scene in verse 2 who restrains them until the 144,000 Jews can be sealed and protected from the judgments of God during the Tribulation period. We also see that angels are involved in announcing and then carrying the three series of judgments that form the focal point of the Tribulation judgments. First there are the seal judgments, then the trumpet judgments, and finally the bowl judgments. Each of these is initiated by an angel. We see, too, a focus on demons and their role in the judgments of the Tribulation. In Revelation 9:1-12 we see that there is a demonic army that is released from the bottomless pit to torment the unsaved on the earth.

 

Revelation 9:1 NASB "Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. [2] He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. [3] Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. [4] They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. [5]  And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man."

 

This is described as a woe. The fifth, sixth and seventh trumpet judgments as the three woes because they step- up the intensity of judgments upon the earth to a high degree. The sixth trumpet judgment, which is the second woe, is then described in Revelation 9:13-21. This is a misunderstanding on this. There are a couple of popular prophecy writers who have identified the 200,000,000 million horsemen in verse 16 as the Chinese or some oriental army invading. However, if we pay close attention to the text of verse 14 the sixth angel who has the trumpet says, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." These four angels are demons, they are not holy angels. They are released because they are part of this group that is imprisoned near the Euphrates. The Euphrates runs through modern Iraq and there is a very famous city that was located on the Euphrates, and that was Babylon. That is important because the judgment that comes in Revelation 17 & 18 is a judgment on a future Babylon. And there also a judgment on Babylon that is described in detail in Isaiah chapter thirteen, and the passage that we are looking at describes the fall of Lucifer in Isaiah 14 is part of that oracle of judgment that is announced by Isaiah, starting with Isaiah 13:1. So we can't understand the key verses of Isaiah 14:12, 14 related to the five "I wills" of Satan unless we understand the context. Isaiah 14:12-14 is in the context of Isaiah 13-14. Isaiah 13-14 is in the context of a series of judgments against the nations that goes from Isaiah 12 to Isaiah 39, and that is within the context of the book of Isaiah. Isaiah gives a tremendous amount of details to yet unfulfilled prophecy that must be understood as a backdrop to all later revelation related to prophecy—Ezekiel is later, Daniel is later, and of course the book of Revelation is later. So if we are going to understand what is happening with these angels and with the demons in Revelation 12-19 we have to fit all of these different pieces together within the entire context of Scripture. We can't properly understand the details of Satan and the fall of Satan in Isaiah 14 without understanding the broader context.

 

So we have a demonic army that is bound at the river Euphrates, according to Revelation 9:14 and these four angels who have been prepared for that hour and day and month are released to kill one third of mankind. Then John says in verse 16: "The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them." These are 200-million demons that are going to be released to execute judgment on the human race, on the unbelievers, and they will bring about a series of plagues that will kill a third of mankind, according to versed 18. So this is definitely a part of understanding the angelic conflict and how all of this works together.

Then when we go over to Revelation chapter twelve we will see the introduction of Satan for the first time in the book of Revelation. Revelation 12:1, 2 "A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; [2] and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth." This is a picture of Israel. We know this because that same imagery of the sun, the moon, and the stars is used of the twelve tribes of Israel, and they are bowing down to Joseph in Genesis 37:9. [3] "Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads {were} seven diadems." To understand the seven heads and ten horns we have to go to Daniel who tells us in chapters 5 & 7 that this is related to that ten-nation confederation of the Antichrist. It is picturing the dragon as the power behind that ten-nation confederacy and the power behind the leader of that confederacy. 

Revelation 12:4 NASB "And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child." The child, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ. [5] "And she gave birth to a son, a male {child,} who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne." This is a reference to Psalm 2. … [7] "And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war" … This war is an intensified war that occurs between the elect angels who have remained obedient to the Lord and the fallen angels… [8] "and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven." They had been in heaven throughout most of human history. There are regular convocations of angels, including both elect angels and demons, before the throne of God. This is seen in Job 1 & 2; 1 Kings 22, and a number of other places. There is no longer going to be found a place for them in heaven so at this point in the Tribulation: [9] "And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." So it is at that point that they come to the earth. And just like that period in human history between the fall in the garden and Genesis 6 and the flood, the angels, the demons will be visible to the human race.   

At the end in the Tribulation we see everything coming together again so that there is a judgment by the Lord Jesus Christ of sin and evil in every realm of creation. This culminates at that great battle that occurs at the end of the Tribulation which is actually the campaign of Armageddon.

Then we learn that when the demons are cast to the earth they set up their headquarters in Babylon. Revelation 18:1 NASB "After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. [2] And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird'."

Most of us, if we have had a background in studying the Bible to any degree, and have studied dispensations and prophecy, we were probably taught that in Revelation chapter seventeen we have the destruction of economic Babylon and in chapter eighteen the destruction of political Babylon. Babylon was really just a term used as a symbolic term to represent the revived Roman empire. As we get into this is some detail we will see why that is not a correct interpretation. Number one, it is not correct because it is not literal. The key to biblical study is literal interpretation of Scripture. But in the past there have been a lot of misconceptions about things related historic Babylon and its judgments. What we will discover is that those judgments as announced in the Old Testament have never taken place historically. Another point: the term Babylon here in Revelation 17 & 18 doesn't refer to literal Babylon. It is the only time in the book of Revelation where a geographical name doesn't refer to its literal location. Babylon will be a restored city in the Tribulation and it will become a dwelling place for demons.

Furthermore, in verse 3 it says: "For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed {acts of} immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality." This reason for going on to this verse is because it focuses on the earth as a whole, the kings of the earth, and it will then go on in v. 8 to describe the nature of the judgments. Babylon, according to revelation 18, is going to be destroyed suddenly by fire. [9] "And the kings of the earth, who committed {acts of} immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning…" That fits the prophecies in Jeremiah 50 & 51, and in Isaiah 13. Babylon gradually died out, it wasn't destroyed suddenly by Cyrus when he conquered it in 539 BC, he took it very calmly and peacefully. It was still a significant city up until the time of Christ and up into the church age. It just gradually decreased in population but it always remained inhabited. But the prophecies of the Old Testament predict a sudden and absolute destruction that is final and it is never inhabited again. The historical reality is that there has always been a habitation around Babylon.

Revelation 18:8 NASB  "For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong. [9] And the kings of the earth, who committed {acts of} immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, [10] standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'" The kings of the earth is a different reference to the kings of the ten-nation revived Roman confederacy. These are the non-revived Roman empire kings who are still, as it were, economically in bed with Babylon, and they are the ones who mourn and lament for her.

Revelation 18:17 NASB "for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!' And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, [18] and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What {city} is like the great city?'" So the suddenness and absolute totality of this coming judgment is again reiterated in verse 19: "…or in one hour she has been laid waste!'" Then finally her judgment is announced in verse 21: "Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, 'So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer'." That is a prophecy that has never been fulfilled in relationship to Babylon and it just doesn't fit the context in Revelation 17 & 18 to try to allegorise, spiritualise or symbolise this term Babylon and make it refer to a revived Roman empire.

Again, we see that the events of Revelation are set within a context of a heavenly war between the angels, Revelation 12:7. In 12:10 the purpose of that judgment is spelled out: NASB "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night'." The point is that the Tribulation period is not only a time of judgment upon those in human history who have rejected God but it is also a culmination of judgment against the demons, against Satan, and against those who have in spiritual high places rebelled against God. So this puts us in the context of the overall angelic conflict. It is in the context of the ultimate resolution of all sin and evil in Revelation that we must understand the angelic conflict, which takes us back to its beginning. That is why we have to look at the passages in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.

Introduction to this problem of identifying the individuals mention in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28

There are basically three interpretations of these passages. The first is the view that we believe in the correct interpretation. It refers to Satan in some sense. There are some who think that this refers to the Antichrist, thus it is speaking of the power behind the throne. There are others who think it refers specifically to Satan. Ultimately what we are saying is that either typologically or directly these passages refer to Satan. The second view is a historical view, trying to identify these rulers as historical individuals. For example in Isaiah 14 they try to identify the ruler as either Sennacherib or Nebuchadnezzar. There are problems with both of those views but there are many people who take that historical approach. The third view came into popularity in the late 19th century out of a background of 19th century religious liberalism which started with the assumption that God has not spoken to man at all, the Bible is just a record of people's religious experiences, so you can't rely on it for its infallibility or inerrancy. There was a complete rejection of the infallibility of Scripture and there was the assumption that the Bible was a reflection of religious thought just as human history is based on the evolution of man. So they are influenced by Darwinism in the area of religion. So there is this idea of mythology, that a lot of these stories in the Old Testament are really legends, some of which have been absorbed from other cultures and then been modified by the Jews. It is part of that whole 19th century religious viewpoint.

1)  Any methodology, any approach to Scripture interpretation that identifies the figure in Isaiah 14 or Ezekiel 28 as some Canaanite or Phoenician myth—or another way they try to handle it is an idealised but non-historical man—is incompatible at its very core with the view of divine inspiration and inerrancy. Furthermore, no pagan myth has ever been discovered that could be such a source. This is just some scholar's imagination because of his presuppositions related to the history of religion.

2)  What is said in both of these passages goes far beyond the abilities of any human figure. There is no historical figure that fits the description in Isaiah 14 or Ezekiel 28. Attempts have been made to identify this king in Isaiah 14 Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, with Sennacherib, with Sargon, Nebuchadnezzar, or just a group of Babylonian kings. But the reality is that no individual human leader fits the description in Isaiah 14.

3)  Isaiah states: "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!" No Babylonian ruler or Assyrian existed, lived or fell from heaven. There are those who attempt to say that this is simply hyperbole or metaphor but you can not document that from either comparing it with other Scripture or with comparisons with other Babylonian judgment passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah. Remember the standard is the Scripture, not in what you find in archaeological texts outside of the Scripture. The Bible doesn't use this terminology loosely.

4)  Ezekiel addresses his lament to two individuals. He begins talking with the prince of Tyre. Then starting in 28:14 he shifts to the king of Tyre. What this shows is that the prince of Tyre is the literal human ruler who is addressed in the first 13 verses and then beginning in verse 14 Ezekiel shifts to a description of the power behind the throne, to the real energizer behind the prince of Tyre who was Satan. The God of Tyre at that time was Melqart who was viewed as the king of the city, and this perhaps could be equivalent to what is discussed in verses 11-19 as the king. But Melqart was just a manifestation of Satan, just another demonic idol. So Ezekiel addresses the human king in the first part of the chapter and then shifts to the real power behind the throne in the second part of the chapter.

5)  In the New Testament Paul, identifies Satan's sin as pride or arrogance in 1 Timothy 3:6, 7. How did Paul know that Satan's original sin was pride or arrogance if there is no reference to it in the Old Testament? If Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 do not describe the original sin of Satan then we have nothing in Scripture related to the original sin of Satan. In other words, if we don't have a Scripture, a revelation related to the origin of sin and evil in the universe then why don't we believe in dualism, the eternal existence of both good and evil?

6)  The descriptions found in Isaiah and Ezekiel 28, thought they are very grand, cannot apply to a human king and there is not contextual evidence that these are hyperbole or metaphor; they are viewed historically or prophetically. There is no indication in the text that the writer is talking simply in exaggeration. In Scripture there are always contextual clues that the writer is using figures of speech, you can't just read it into the text because a literal interpretation just doesn't quite make sense to you.

7)  No human king could be said to be "blameless in your ways from the day you were created," which is what is said of the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:15.

8)  In Ezekiel 28 the king of Tyre is referred to as the anointed cherub who covers, and it says in this passage that he was created by God. This special word that is used for creation here is bara in the Hebrew which always speaks of God's direct creative acts, not indirect acts.

9)  In Ezekiel 28 there is the statement that the king in Ezekiel was in the garden of God. That can't be reconciled with any temporal historical figure.

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