Bible Study: Isaiah 14:1-32
Today’s Scripture picks up from chapter 13 and ties the fall of Babylon with Satan’s destruction. We then proceed to the burden against Assyria.
Isaiah Chapter 14
Lessons from the text
The Fall of Satan and the World System
This chapter holds an amazing prophecy. What begins with a literal prophecy ancient Babylon expands into the destruction of Satan himself. The entire world government, as controversial of a statement as this is, rests upon the works of Satan. Revelation talks about the woman sitting up on the beast with the 10 horns. These are representing the spiritual strongholds of Satan. He exalted himself to try and be like God, and losing the battle he was cast down to the earth. He now works in the world system to usurp God's will here on earth since he failed to usurp it in heaven.
It's not like world's leaders are possessed by Satan; instead, it's that Satan is working behind-the-scenes to align their political agendas and policies with things that are against the will of God. Take for instance the right of a woman's choice. Satan has put into peoples minds that a woman has the right to choose whether or not a baby is born. This is in stark contrast to the Bible's clear statement that every child is a living soul and therefore to have an abortion is to commit murder. Satan will take something that is obviously wrong and twist it into a positive so that people don't even recognize the doctrine that they are professing.
This chapter is a wonderful prophecy that God is going to cast out not only that wrong system that Satan has created but also Satan himself. God is not just going to get rid of the Satan; He's going to cure us of the cause.
Again, let me make this very clear: I do not believe that people are willingly in some pack with Satan to bring the world to destruction. Instead I believe that they are deceived into believing that they are doing something good either for humanity or for themselves and are blind to the fact that they are involved with evil. Regrettably, whether they are aware of what they are doing or not, people and nations will have to reap what they sow, especially since God has witnessed to them through preaching, His church, and personal conviction from the Holy Ghost.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-2a God is destroying Babylon so that He can have mercy on Jacob. As we know from II Chronicles, Babylon took Israel into captivity, and when they were conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia, the Jews were released to return to Israel (II Chro 36).
2b The prophecy jumps ahead to a future time when Israel will be the ruler of its neighbors. From God’s perspective, all of history is right in front of Him, so jumping back and forth is like looking at different parts of one picture. Since we do not share this perspective, we have to be careful to recognize what time period God is talking about. In this case, we know it is a future event because when Israel’s captivity ended, they were still persecuted and in no way ruled over their previous captors Babylon.
3 This verse through verse 24 is a proverb against Babylon; in the day of Babylon’s destruction, Israel will say these things. Noteworthy is that when Israel enters a period of rest, its enemies are destroyed. On the flip side, until Israel’s enemies are destroyed, they cannot enter into rest.
4 Babylon is called the golden city. While this was literally true of ancient Babylon, this is symbolically true as representing the glory of the riches of this world.
5-6 In the fullness of time, God rewards people and nations with the fruit of their hands (Gal 6:7-8). Those who persecuted others will become persecuted. Noteworthy is that the vernacular has switched to the singular. Considering the next few verses, God is calling Satan the staff of the wicked and the scepter of the rulers.
7-8 When God turns the tables on the wicked, all the earth will be at peace. The cedars of Lebanon symbolize the best and finest, so those who are the best and finest according to God’s righteousness will rejoice to see justice on the earth.
9-15 God has clearly shifted the prophecy from Babylon to a single individual, Satan. Not only is God going to cast him down, but hell itself will come up to get him.
Noteworthy is that:
16-17 Through the mocking of those already in hell, we learn more about how Satan works. He is responsible for shaking the entire earth with his dark influence; he is responsible for turning the world into a chaotic, wild-like state, that is desolate of natural warmth and love; he is responsible for the destruction of cities by corruption and war; and he is responsible for keeping in prison those in the spiritual bondage of sin.
18-20 All earthly kings have a certain glory, but that glory should have paled in comparison to the glory of heavenly Lucifer. He certainly has more power and authority than any earthly king, yet he squandered it by rebelling against God. He chose to destroy what was put in his care. Now, he will be thrown out with the trash.
21-23 God will not only destroy Satan, but He will also destroy the fruit of his labors. In this case, Babylon.
24 The prophecy now switches to Assyria. While it would be easy to conclude that Assyria is also a child of Satan, there is no mention of Satanic influence as there is with the Babylonian prophecy. As the book of Isaiah is a collection of his writings/visions, it is possible that this section is entirely unrelated to the previous prophecy of Babylon.
25-27 Like Babylon, Assyria's destruction will be a divine act that will free those who are persecuted and put to bondage by Assyria. God explains that this liberation is His desire not only for those under Assyria's bondage, but also for the entire world. Thankfully, He will succeed in destroying all oppressors and liberating prisoners because no one is able to undo a heavenly decree from God Himself.
28 There is now a clear break in the Scripture, letting the reader know that a new prophecy is beginning.
29 At Isaiah's time, Palestine was under the control of the Assyrian Empire. In II Kings we hear the story of Assyria's army coming against Jerusalem and being defeated by an angel (II Ki 19:35-37). The king of Assyria then returns home only to be slain by his sons. Thus the rod of Assyria was broken. God warns that this is not the end of Assyria; his sons will be worse than the previous king.
30 God promises to provide for those who are in need while destroying those who persecute. He will accomplish this through natural causes and this new Assyria.
31-32 Jeremiah also speaks of a northern kingdom that will come destroying and conquering in the last days (Jer 50:41-42). As Assyria and Babylon laid to the east and southeast of Palestine, this prophecy clearly does not refer to the historical rule of Assyria and Babylon over Palestine. This prophecy speaks of a destructive event to the point that Palestine will be dissolved. Arguably, this could refer to WWII and the division of the land between Jewish and Palestinian control, since the prophecy states that in that day the Lord will have founded Zion.
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