Isaiah 13:1 - 14:23
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the section of Isaiah's prophecy in which the prophet is given the vision of what will happen to Satan and his earthly kingdom.
[Prayer] So, let us begin with the word of prayer. Father, we thank Thee for the opportunity to again look into the prophecy of Isaiah. We thank Thee for the greatness of this book, and we pray that our study of it tonight maybe fruitful and profitable to each one here. We pray that our God in direct, in such a way that the praise and thanksgiving that is due unto Thy name may come for us from us through Jesus Christ who has loved us and lifts us from our sins in his own precious blood. And we ask these in his name and for his sake. Amen.
[Message] Now, tonight as we begin this section of the book of Isaiah with chapter 13, I want to be sure that we keep in mind certain facts and dates. And so, I put the series of dates on the board and I am going to explain as we go along. First of all, the date 1000 B.C. to 922 B.C. is designed to represent the high water mark of the kingdom of David and Solomon. Now, that is an important date in the history of Israel, that period of time. The second date 922 B.C. is a reference to the disruption, the division of the Northern and Southern kingdom. You remember that Israel was separated from Judah and Benjamin, the ten tribes to the north, the two to the south and the date is 922 B.C.
The next date 721 B.C. is the date of the fall of the Northern Kingdom. So, from the time of 922 B.C. to 721 B.C, there is a period of decline in the Northern Kingdom and finally in 721 B.C, the Northern Kingdom is taken captive by Sargon II, the Assyrian king, and the ten tribes are no more in the sense in which they were then.
The next date 587 B.C represents the fall of the Southern Kingdom, as you can see the Southern Kingdom persisted for some 150 years, more or less, after the fall of the Northern Kingdom. Actually, they first became tributary to Babylonia in 605 B.C, but the fall of the city and the burning of the temple took place in 587 B.C. And so, that represents the date of the fall of the Southern Kingdom. That is when the captivity began.
Now, the next dates 605 B.C. to 1968 plus 7 plus, this is by the way a combination dates, 605 B.C. to 1968 plus 7 plus, is designed to represent the times of the gentiles. Now, the times of the gentiles, I have just tried to represent on this very poor diagram, 605 B.C., of course, is a period before the time of the cross, it occurred during the time that Israel was under the law, it is the time when Judah came under the dominion of the king of Babylon. Now, from that time on, the affairs of the world have been in the hands of gentile kings. When Israel passed in the captivity, the times of the gentiles began.
Remember Jesus said on the Olivet Discourse, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” The time of the Gentiles is the great period of time which began in 605 B.C. and which goes until the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus. The times of gentiles, from the taking of Judah and Jerusalem’s captive to the time when Jesus comes again after the Church’s age, after the tribulation period, to establish his kingdom on the earth, then Jerusalem is delivered becomes a free city again, and the kingdom of our Lord takes place. This is the time of the Gentiles. Daniel is the great prophet of the times of the Gentiles. One of these days, I hope that we are able to study Daniel together, because it is one the great books of the Bible prophetically.
So that is 605 B.C to 1968, that is today, plus 7 for this period of time, is approximately seven years plus, because we do not know how much longer we shall be here as we are. So, this is an indeterminate period of time. We know it began in 605 B.C. We know we have gone to 1968 A.D. We know that there is this period of time that must take place but we do not know how much time is left in the Church’s age. Consequently, 1968 plus 7 plus, I guess I should put a question mark. How much? We do not know, and I am not going to tell you that if you come up and ask me privately even, because I do not have any special information about it at all.
Now, the next date, 538 B.C, this is the date which is the date of the decree which was issued by Cyrus the Persian for the return of the remnant for the rebuilding of the city. And in our Bible class on Sunday morning, we have been hearing a lot about this, 538 B.C. At that time, not only did the two tribes come back but some of the other tribes as well, as we read in other places, eventually came so that there was a restoration to some extent at least in Israel. And when the time of our Lord came, it was during this period of time, after the restoration of 538 B.C. Finally, of course, Jesus came, the events of the gospels took place, and in 70 A.D, the city of Jerusalem was taken by Titus the Roman and the Jews were dispersed to the four corners of the earth, 70 A.D.
Now, all of this period of times, the times of the Gentiles is the subject of biblical prophecy. And it is important for us to keep these dates in mind so that as we read the prophecies of the all testament, we will be able to some extent at least to see those prophecies that referred to the immediate future, and then those that looks on over the church’s age to remember. The Old Testament does not give us much detail about the church’s age. It says nothing specifically about the church per se. But some of these prophecies go on to the time of the tribulation period and the coming of our Lord to the earth and the kingdom that follow. So, keep that in mind.
Now, we have just finished chapters 7 through 12 of the Book of Isaiah. Now, we have called this the Book of Immanuel. The reason we have called it “The Book of Immanuel” is because the chief parts of the prophecy of chapters 7 through 12 have to do with the son who is “God with us.” Remember, his birth was prophesied in chapter 7. He would be born of a virgin. His birth is described in chapter 9. When we read in verses 6 and 7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” And then last time, we saw the prophecy of the child born of a virgin now reigning as king, and to him not only are the Jews gathered but the nations of the earth. For we read in the 11th chapter in the 10th verse “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse who shall stand for an ensign of the people. To him shall the nations seek and His rest shall be glorious.”
And chapter 12 concluded with that song and secret of faith, because here in the millennial kingdom of our Lord Jesus, here he is in our diagram, over here, at that time, Israel shall sing the song of Isaiah chapter 12. “And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise Thee. Though thou wast angry with me” because of disobedience “thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid for the Lord, even the Lord is my strength and song; he also is become my salvation.” This is their expression of what has happened to them as they have gone to the four corners of the earth because God was angry with them on account of their disobedience. But under the discipline of God, they are brought back to faith in him. And at the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus, they are delivered and they discovered anew, that God is their salvation through Jesus Christ.
Now, notice the Sixth verse, you will see how it winds up the 12th chapter with, “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of Thee.” Immanuel means “God with us.” And here it is, the Holy One of Israel in the midst of Israel, Immanuel “God with us.” So, these seven chapters are the Book of Immanuel. Now, it is very fitting that at this point that Isaiah should begin to speak of the nations of the earth. For you see he has been talking about the consummation of God’s dealings. He has been talking about how everything shall consummate and the son who shall come as the king establishes the kingdom.
But what about the intervening times? And what about all of the nations that shall play a part in this history? And I guess that we should say particularly in the history of the earth before the time of that kingdom which is to come. And so now in chapter 13 through chapter 23, we are going to have some burdens or prophecies that have to do with the nations of the earth. He is going to talk about the time of the Gentiles, so to speak. In other words, he is going to expand the Book of Immanuel and fill in the details with things that have to do with the gentile nations. He has talked about it from the standpoint of Israel, and the son, the virgin-born son, and the kingdom. But now, he is going to look at it from the standpoint of the other Gentile nations. And I think it is very very proper to, that he should begin with Babylon, for Babylon is probably the most significant figure of the last days.
Now, you can see that. If you read the Book of Revelation and you know that in the Book of Revelation, it is the city of Babylon that is the anti-type of the city of God. The New Jerusalem is God’s creation. Babylon is man’s creation. And just as the New Jerusalem is the ideal city, Babylon is its opposite. And all through the Bible, this conflict between Babylon as the home of united enmity against God as over against Jerusalem, the place where God reigns; all throughout the Bible there is a conflict between the two. It begins in Genesis chapter 11, in which we have we have first organized rebellion against God at Babel. And it does not conclude until the Book of Revelations until chapters 16, 17, 18, and 19 when we read Babylon the Great is fallen; and the city of God is then established.
Now, let us look at our chapters, we have two chapters to cover and of course this is a lot, so we are going to have to hit the hot spots here and there and you will have to understand this, but then we will center our attention on the things I think that are important.
Now, the first thing that we have, would you like the outline on the board? I will put it on the board for in case, whether you like it or not. You know this block board has so much dust on it that it is almost like West Texas up here. And if I were to blow this, you would never sit on the front row again, I know.
So, chapter 13 verses 1-5 is the call of the hosts of the Lord. First five verses of chapter 13. Now, the force of these verses which we shall read in just a moment is simply this, Isaiah the prophet hears the call to war and he prophesies of the overthrow of Babylon, the future captor of Judah. Now, remember Judah at this time is threatened by Assyria, not Babylon for we are now living in the age of 735 B.C., more or less. But already the kingdom of Babylon, which will ultimately become the great world empire when Judah is taken captive, already Babylon the city has become important in the kingdom of Assyria and certain movements have begun in that city, which will eventually lead to the overthrow of the Assyrian nation and the supremacy of Babylon. And Isaiah by prophecy looks on to that time. And as I said, he hears the call to war and he prophesies of the overthrow of Babylon. But remember, as in all of prophecies, there is a near view as well as a far view. So the prophet as he looks at the present situation which is relatively present for him, he by the inspiration of God, speaks of Babylon which he knows the city on the Euphrates. But God the Holy Spirit has him write in such way that his language is ultimately applicable to the great Babylon of the future. But, of course, Isaiah does not yet know all of this, I am sure, but he writes and we, in our day are to understand the double sense.
Verse 1 then,
“The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand that they may go into the gates of the nobles.” (Now, this of course is the call to war.) “I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together.” (Notice, by the way, the great stress on the multitude of the nations.) “The Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.”
Isn’t it interesting, by the way, that the prophet lives in the future? In fact, if you will study the prophecy of Isaiah you will discover this, that from the time of Hezekiah’s kingdom, we will come to that ultimately in the Book of Isaiah, from the time of Hezekiah’s rule, about 716 of Hezekiah’s rule, Isaiah gives no more public prophecies. He is like a man who lives in the future and speaks only for his friends and disciples and intimates. And in fact the position of the prophet, who lives in the future in the promises of God, is the position that you and I occupied too. For we too are Christians who lived in the future, and we look forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus and the consummation of the promises.
And as I was saying on Sunday to those of you were here, it is in the meantime or in that period of time that we on the human side exercise perseverance. On the divine side God keeps us, through the trials and struggles of life for that future day. So the way in which the prophet lived is really the way in which you and I lived; the way which every Christian lived. He lives on the basis of something that is happened in the past, the cross, and the fact that he has come to know Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, by virtue of what Christ has done. And then he lives with the future in mind, when Jesus Christ shall come again and we shall meet him in the air. Those are the two great points of his life, past and future; the cross and the coming. And he fills up the life in between, by the glance back and by the glance forward, and so the prophet in the Old Testament, he too lives in the future, looking for the day when Israel’s promises should be fulfill, and he still waiting.
And if it should come to pass that you die before our Lord comes, you will go into the presence of the Lord, and you too will continue to wait. You do not stop waiting then. Some people have said, you know, because Jesus said even so I come quickly and he has not come, that we should give up hope. But when we get to heaven where going to still be looking for the imminent return of our Lord Jesus. We do not stop looking for the return of our Lord when we get to heaven. We look for his return because we are longing for the day when all of the purposes of God for the earth are going to be consummated. So, that is out hope now and it will be our hope when we get to heaven. That is why, that hope is still a valid hope for those who have gone.
Now, we come to the second part, this is the coming of the day of the Lord. 13:6-16 Roman 2, “The Coming of the Day of the Lord.” I just want to say this about this section. Notice verse 6, verse 9 and verse 13. Let us read the verses, it will not hurt us. But I want you to notice these verses.
“Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore, shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt, and they shall be afraid, pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them. They shall be in pain like a woman that travaileth. They shall be amazed one at another. Their faces shall be as flames. Behold the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate, and he shall destroy the sinners out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light. The sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine. And I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more rare than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of its place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. And it shall be like the the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up. They shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. Great flight in those days. Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword (violent death). Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes. Their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished” (plunder and ravage.)
Now, the thing that I want you to notice is the expression the day of the Lord verse 6. “Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand.” Verse 9, “Behold the day of the Lord cometh.” Verse 13, “Therefore, I will shake the heavens and the earth shall remove out of its place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.” Now, in the Bible, when we speak, when you run across the expression, the day of the Lord, that is an expression that ordinarily refers to the time of The Great Tribulation period, and also the time of the kingdom on the earth. So, the day of the Lord, is the day that begins with the coming of our Lord for the church, or the inauguration of the tribulation period, that would be better, although those days are not necessarily precisely the same; so that the day of the Lord is the expression that covers this period of time, Day of the Lord. It is a future time.
This expression does not refer to the past. Consequently, when you say Day of the Lord in the Bible, you should look forward to that day of tribulation upon the earth and the kingdom that follows, both are included in that period of times. So, it is 7 years plus 1000 years, that 7 years perhaps shorten as certain prophecies of Scripture seemed to suggest. So, this then is a prophecy primarily of the future. But, of course, Isaiah writes of this future destruction of Babylon against the background of ancient Babylon, as he thinks about the destruction of Babylon that is to come in the relatively near future, his thoughts are carried on by the Holy Spirit to the Day of the Lord.
Now, let us look at out next section and here we have roman 3. The Conquerors and the Conquest of the Chaldeans, will you write that down. Roman 3, “The Conquerors and the Conquest of the Chaldeans.” I wish I could write fast. But those who write beautiful hands cannot expect to have everything. [Laughter] So, the conquerors and the conquest of the Chaldeans chapter 13 verse 17-22, I should not have said that for that calls attention who is obviously very deficient.
Now, here we learn of the historical conquerors. Notice verse 17, “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.” You can tell they are not Americans. “Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb. Their eyes shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ excellency shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” It is remarkable that Isaiah should prophesy of this because as I said, he is living in the days of Assyrian’s dominion, but he is carried by the spirit on to the next world empire. And he writes of the destruction of that world empire.
But now in verse 20-22, the way in which he writes here gives us a clue to the fact that he is not just writing of the immediate future, but he is looking on down to the end of time again, to the time of the kingdom. For this language that he uses in verses 20-22, is used by the Apostle John in the New Testament to describe the overthrow of that future Babylon. Listen to it.
“And it shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation, neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and ostriches shall dwell there, and he-goats shall dance there. And the wild beast’s coastland shall cry in their desolate houses, and jackals in their pleasant palaces; and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.”
Now, I want to say just a word or two here about Babylon with reference to the Bible. You will notice here that this language verses 20-22, if you referred to the Book of Revelation chapter 18, is the language that John uses to describe the destruction of that future Babylon. And it is my firm conviction that the Bible teaches the restoration of the city of Babylon. In other words, we are to understand by these prophecies that Babylon is to be rebuilt. As some of you heard me speak at great length on this, and I spent as many as 5 hours on it, in one series in the Book of Revelation. But, let me just sum up some of the reasons, not all of them of course, but some of the reasons why it seems very evident from the Bible that the city of Babylon is to be rebuilt.
The destruction of Babylon that is described both here and in Jeremiah contains some facts that were not fulfilled at the ancient destruction of that city. For example, Jeremiah says in the 51st chapter in the eighth verse, that Babylon should be suddenly destroyed when it was destroyed. Now, if there is one thing that is true, it is this, Babylon was not suddenly destroyed. As a matter of fact, when Babylon was taken in 539 B.C., from that time on that city still had a tremendously important place in the ancient world. In fact, you can go on over even into Christian times and there is still a settlement at Babylon. In fact, Alexander had intended a couple of hundred years later to make Babylon his capital. In fact, it may well have been, that it was for that reason that he died his premature death. But in any rate, Babylon was not suddenly destroyed, and yet in the Old Testament it is stated that it should be suddenly destroyed. And in the Book of Revelation it is stated more than once, I think three or four times, that Babylon when Babylon is destroyed shall be destroyed suddenly.
Now, some have tried to say that that had to do with the influence of the city of Babylon, but that is not true. As I just mentioned, in Alexander’s case, that city was still an important city. So, I think that the Bible teaches that Babylon is to be rebuilt. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that Babylon is to be destroyed at the same time that Israel is restored to its glory. Notice the First verse of chapter 14, as for one illustration of it. “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob and will yet choose Israel and set them in their own land. And the sojourner shall be joined with them; and they shall claim to the house of Jacob.” So that when Israel is restored is the time that Babylon is destroyed, as the Book of Revelation makes very plain, for it is when our Lord comes to the earth, that the city of Babylon is destroyed in the judgments of those last days. And it is at that time that Israel is restored and is brought into the position of her kingdom promises.
And finally, you will notice that the destruction of the city of Babylon as described here is accompanied by heavenly disturbances. Will you notice the 10th verse, “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light. The sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine.” So that the Bible teaches that Babylon is to be restored.
I was very much interested to read, that Mr. Toynbee has said in one of his books, that in his opinion that when European civilization began to be reoriented to the Middle East and we have seen this happen in our day, that it was his opinion that finally that civilization should gather around the Euphrates Valley, and it would be there in what is today the modern Iraq, that the head or the leadership of our present civilization should finally exist and which is very interesting in the light of the biblical prophecy.
And when I read that I went to one of my Bible dictionaries and opened it up, and just looked at the term Babylonia and in it stated something like this. “This land, if it were under wise and firmed government, which it has not had for many many centuries of course, but if it were on the wise and firmed government would be some of the most fertile land in all of the world. And so with the population explosion that has taken place in the world, I think it is very conceivable that within our lifetime, we, perhaps, should see some indications of resettlement about the city of Babylon, and fantastic growth take the city of Brasilia in South America which has grown from nothing to a large city within a relatively short period of time. Or take any of the cities in Israel like Tel Aviv, which was a sand dune 50 or 60 years ago and now a city more modern than our city in Dallas.
So, it is not inconceivable and as far as I can tell the Bible prophesies that Babylon shall be rebuilt. I wish I had time to go in to all of the evidence, it is overwhelming evidence. In fact I am startled that some of my friends who are good students of the Bible do not see this. I think they are blind at this point. I am sure they think I am blind too. It is mutual, but nevertheless, I think, that the result is going to be that Babylon will be rebuilt, and it is there, according to biblical prophecy that the beast shall have his home. Now then, some of these things will come up as we go through Isaiah and I think we can stop now at this point here.
Roman 4, “The Choice of Israel,” chapter 14 verse 1-2. These two verses we have in a nut shell, all of what Isaiah is going to say in the latter part of his book, Babylon falls that Israel may rise, that is the story of the Book of Isaiah and it is the story of the Book of Revelation. You will notice if you have one of the old fashioned Bibles that at this point you probably will have a heading that will say, “The church enters into its blessings,” but the texts says, “The lord will have mercy on Jacob and will yet choose Israel.” Now, this of course has to do with Israel. It does not have to do with the church. This is the nation Israel that he is speaking of. He is talking about the people who are called Jacob by the great progenitor. So, it is a reference to the choice of Israel for the fulfillment of the abrahamic promises to them.
You know, on Gentile platforms, the Jews have suffered quite a bit down through the centuries; and so we are trying to remedy that deficiency. The prophecies in the Bible, which are directed to Israel, are directed to Israel, they are not directed to the church. The church in Israel is separate. So, this has to do with the choice of Israel and their election to the prophecies; the fulfillment of the prophecies that have been given to them. You might ask the question, “Will has not God already chosen Israel why should be read ‘He will yet choose Israel?” Well, I think this is to be understood in the sense of “he will make good his promises that he has given to them.”
I have used this illustration before, but I think that the Bible speaks of this in several places in this way. Let us just imagine that it is nearing Easter and Mrs. F., that is for Ford, Rockefeller Vanderbilt DuPont III goes downtown to do some shopping; and so she shops around and she goes into a store and she sees a hat that she likes and she decides that she will buy that hat and she says, “I want that hat,” but she looks on her pocket and she has no money. And so, she says to the sales girl, “My name is Mrs. F. Rockefeller Vanderbilt Dupont III, F is for Ford,” and the girl said, “Well, that is all right Mrs. Dupont, we will be glad to hold it for you.” And so the next day, she remembers that she has that hat there.
And so, she speaks to young F. Rockefeller Vanderbilt Dupont IV and she says, “Then son would you go down and pay for that hat,” and so, he goes down and pays for the hat and the sales girl said, “Would you like to take it with you,” and he said, “No, I have got some other things to do. We will send one of the servants for it tomorrow.” And so the next day the servant comes and he says, “I am the servant of Mrs. F Mrs. F Rockefeller Vanderbilt Dupont III, and yesterday, Mr. F, for Ford Mrs. F Rockefeller Vanderbilt Dupont IV came and paid the money for his mother’s hat and I would like to take it home.” So, we have the one who has loved the hat and has owned the hat, the second who has paid the price for the hat, and the third the unnamed servant who has come to take the hat home.
Now, election is just like that. You see, it is God who has loved us and we were his from that time, we were chosen. It is the son who has come and who has paid the price and then the election becomes a reality in fact the price is paid. But it is the Holy Spirit who is sent to woo and to win the hearts of those who have been chosen to the Lord, and so we can speak in all of these places of the election of God and I think that is the force that this text has. It is in the future that the election of God made in the past of Israel shall finally reach its provision.
Now, Roman 5, “The Carol of Conquest.” This is Christmas carol season, and so don’t you like that word? “The Carol of Conquest.” 14:3-11. Now, at this point, Isaiah on the inspiration of the spirit breaks forth into a satirical taunt song of triumph, sung by the redeemed. They are so happy over the fact that Babylon has been defeated and Israel is to come in to their promises that now we listen to their song. Notice the Fourth verse, “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say,” that word proverb means a taunt song; it is a kind of thing you want to sing after the cowboys win, you know, they can ever beat green bay. We can just make up on nice taunt songs that we could sing to the packers as they went out under the tunnel afterwards. We could really join into it in a good way.
Well, here are the redeemed, singing over the fact that Babylon has been destroyed. “How hath the oppressor ceased the golden city ceased? The Lord had broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and quiet; they break forth into singing.. 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. Sheol 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. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us Thy pomp is brought down to the Sheol, and the noise of thy lutes, the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.”
Now, there is wonderful song, is a song in celebration of the overthrow of the vast, religious, commercial, political system of future Babylon which controls the world. You will notice that all of chief ones of the earth are in part in it. Isn’t it interesting too in the day in which we live, we are seeing the world becoming smaller and smaller and in the money crises, wasn’t that interesting? And the money crisis, which involve the western world immediately, the great money managers of the western world meet in bond to the side whether the Franc is going to be devalued or whether the Mark is going to be raised in value and the No’s wins again. General De Gaulle, at least for the moment.
But the interesting thing about it, is the fact that the affairs of the Western world are so intertwined that everyone of us even in Dallas, Texas are affected by what happens right there. There is such closeness now in the western world. We talk about the Common Market of course, but here is evidence again of the fact of the Western world being united almost as one great land involved in money. And finally, Babylon, that great city will be the, not only the ecclesiastical capital of the beasts but above, all it will be the great political and commercial capital of the world and all of the money of the world shall be determined in its value and its use in everything else by what the beast decides in that city.
I noticed in Time magazine, there were some definitions of money. Money is a form of thought. Money is a new form of slavery. Money is, was someone said, the more money we have the less virtue we have. I like to Gertude Stein said. She said someone had said for her, “Money is always there, but the pockets’ change.”
Now, let us move on to Roman 6, and here we come to the proud conceit of the king of Babylon. This is one of the most interesting sections of the word of God, Isaiah chapter 14 verse 12-15. Let us read the verses first,
“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! 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. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High Yet thou shalt be brought down to Sheol, to the sides of the pit.”
I was listening to a theme, the above theme had on this and he began this section by saying, “You know, this passage is loaded,” it surely is. It is loaded with the tremendous concentration of scriptural truth. The big question of course is to whom does the passage refer when it speaks of Lucifer, the son of the morning? Is this a reference to Satan? Or is it simply a reference to the earthly king of Babylon? Or is it perhaps, not a reference to the earthly king of Babylon of Isaiah’s immediate future but to the king of Babylon or the beasts of the ultimate future; according to our diagram?
Well, frankly, I think that all are involved. I think that what Isaiah is doing by the spirit is that he is writing of the king of Babylon, because Babylon is always typical of the great Babylon that is to come. But, he is also writing of the antitype of the king of Babylon who is the beast, the king of the Babylon of the future. But in the final analysis, that king is, according to Scripture, energized by Satan? And so, he is such a tool of Satan that the thoughts of the passage go beyond the king of Babylon and in the immediate future, beyond the beasts of the ultimate future, the anti-Christ to the one who is behind that anti-Christ. So, I think that there is a sense in which this passage does definitely refer to Satan.
I might also illustrate this by saying the following: That the Bible often may address Satan through a person who is energized by Satan. For example, in the Garden of Eden, do you remember the serpent? The serpent was the tool of Satan. And so, God addressed Satan through his tool the serpent. And he said, “I will put enmity tip between thee and the woman,” the serpent. But, it was not a serpent; it was the one who stood behind the serpent, Satan himself who was the opponent of the seed of the woman. As we see finally when the cross comes and there is the great conflict between Satan and our Lord. So, he addressed Satan in the person of that tool, the serpent.
And then, do you remember when Peter came to the Lord Jesus, after Jesus he said, “He was going to suffer and be burned and be raised again,” and Peter said, “Be it far from the Lord,” and our Lord turned to the First Pope and said to him, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Don’t you know Peter’s face fell when our Lord referred to him as Satan? But you see he was really addressing the one who stood behind Peter in that remark. And so, in the Bible, you may have this and I think that what we have here, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning.” That he goes beyond the beasts of the future to address the great light bearer, the great angel of light, for that is what Lucifer means, who stands back of the king of Babylon of the future of the beast as well as the kings of this earthly kingdom in the past. Furthermore, the language of the section is hardly appropriate to any man who has ever lived. And so I think that it must go beyond.
Now, in Ezekiel chapter 28, remember we have the record of the origin of sin, and it is said in that chapter that sin originated in the fall of Satan. Our Lord refers us to this when he said in John chapter 8 and verse 44 that, “Satan was a murderer from the beginning. Our Lord recognized that sin begins in heaven not on earth and it began in the heart of Satan. When iniquity was found within him and that is all presupposed when Genesis 3 takes place for at Genesis 3, remember, the serpent comes to tempt Adam and Eve, but it is obvious that the serpent has already been involved in sin and so sin took place before the Garden of Eden. As Paul says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin,” sin was already in existence. But it entered the human race in the Garden of Eden. So, the origin of sin is described in Ezekiel chapter 28.
In Isaiah chapter 14, we have the nature of this original sin of Satan. “O Lucifer, how art Thou fallen from heaven? Satan has had at least three falls. He fell from the third heaven where he originally was as the anointed cherub that covereth, perfect in wisdom, perfect in beauty. He fell to the second heaven. He had access still to the third heaven as we read on the Book of Job. But finally, in the future, ,in the Book of Revelation says in the 12th chapter that “Satan shall be ousted from the second heaven and shall come to the earth, having great wrath.” And Mr. Spurgeon said, “When the Lord kicked Satan out of heaven, he fell into the church’s choir.” But I do not believe that, although I recognize the psychology of that statement. The truth is, that Satan fell from the third heaven to the second heaven, and in the future, he shall fall to the earth in the sense that his activities shall be in a great measure and with great activity just before the time of our Lord’s coming to the earth. Remember our diagram. So in this period time, he shall be very active during that tribulation period.
Finally, the Bible states that Satan shall be cast into the lake of fire, after a little period of time, passing away his time in the abyss. And so, he has three falls; from the third heaven to the second, from the second to the earth, and from the earth to the lake of fire. “How art Thou fallen from heaven,” I think this is the second. This is the one that Jesus refers to when in a flash of inspiration, the spirit gives him the statement that he had seen Satan as a lightning fall from heaven. Luke chapter 10 in verse 18, “O Lucifer, son of the morning!” Lucifer is a Latin term that means, by the way it is not Lucy plus fair, but this is “light bearer”. It means in the Hebrew “the shining one.”
Now, I think it is evident from this. The third two things are true about Satan. First, he is a real person. By the way, a few years ago I have said this to all of you who taken the course in God’s plan of the ages but is true; a few years ago, there was an article in the paper which said that, “A man in Houston had been killed by another man.” And they have been arguing over whether, Lucifer was a real person. And somebody lost the argument, and he was killed. Well at least, he believed in the reality of Satan.
Now, Satan is a real person. But, the next thing is more important. Satan was a very beautiful person. Perfect in beauty. Actually, he is the shining one, that is what Lucifer means: “The shining one”. In Hebrew, heylel, the bright one. That is why Paul, when he refers to Satan in 2 Corinthians chapter 11, speaks of him as an angel of what? “Light.” 2 Corinthians chapter 11 in verse 13, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” And how that you think of it? Did you think of him like Albrecht Durer’s picture? A swan-like face? A best-stilled body? Horns, hoofs, tail, and all of that?
Satan does not look like that. Satan looks liked the man in the frog tale code who comes in Sunday morning to open up the Bible and preach the word of God. That is the way he looks. The man who comes in that looks like Steven, as if he were an angel. That is the way Satan looks. We would be appalled if we could see Satan. We would think he was a beautiful creature, for he was a beautiful creature. He was the angel of light; the anointed cherub. The Messianic cherub that covereth and protecteth the throne of God. Amazing thing. Satan loves to get people to think the he is against what is bad, and that he is against what is ugly because he can deceive us that much better.
Now, we read in verses 13 and 14, well, I have 1 minute, it is really 9 o’clock but I am taking 1 minute. “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. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Five times, Satan says, “I will.”
Now, this is the essence of sin. The ego, lust that desires to usurp God’s place. That is sin. Now, of course, we are inclined to think that sin is immorality. Let me hasten to say immorality is sin. But it is a product, immorality. Sin is basically unbelief which expresses itself in revolt or independence of God, revolt against God or independence of God, which finally issues in immorality. So we should put unbelief which becomes revolt or independence of God which finally issues in immorality. Sin is independence of God that is it is basic character. I will, I will, I will, and finally I will be like the most High. I will be God. That is the trouble with man. He wants to have other gods before God. Remember the Lord begins, “Thou shall not have any other God before me.” The basic character of sin is that man envies God, his God head. And he wants to be God of his life. Unbelief, refusal to accept the truth of the Scripture. That is the basic character of sin.
That is why Jesus said, when He the spirit of truth has come, he will convict the world of sin. Of sin because they do bad? No. Because they do not go to church? No. Of sin because they believed not on me. It is because we will not believe the word that we act independently of God. And because we act independently of God, we fall into immorality. I will. Psychologically, sin is pride. Theologically, it is unbelief. Man trusts in false God, trusts in himself, in his family, his richest, his wisdom, everything but God. That is sin. And it results in independence; “I will be like the Most High.” By the way, not unlike, like, the man who is most-liked God, but yet is not a true believer, is the most dangerous man of all. I would be liked the most High.”
Now, that means of course that we all are sinners. We are born in revolt. That is original sin; everyone of us, that is right, that is what you were. When you are nice, cuddly, little infants, that is what you were. You were a bundle of sin. You know what, Sydney Smith professor of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh said, he said, “Every infant comes into the world aggressive, acquisitive, and in every respect, potentially a criminal. He knew that from experience. “I will be like the Most High.” And that little, wonderful little infant that lies in its crib, does it hands like this, you know. Have you ever noticed that about a child, the hardest thing in the world begin in open a hand. Already acquisitive, aggressive, wants that bottle, you know. Cries to have its will, its way.
Now, that is the character of humanity. And until we realized that as adult beings, we shall never be happy because it is the acknowledgment of this. And in the reception of life from Jesus Christ by grace that we are delivered from what we are. Christ has born our independence. And now, we have a Lord to direct and guide us in our daily life. The last section of the outline, I will just tell it to you. It is Romans 7 the Condemnation of Assyria 14 23-27. But, we must stop because Harry Hunsicker is ready to go home. Let us have a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for this wonderful portion from the Word of God. And we pray Lord that the practical message of it may strike us, each one of us. Help us to realize that Thou art the only God. Help us Lord to have no other gods before Thee. Not even our own private little gods of money, pleasure, self. May, O God, Thy will be done through us to the glory of him who loved us and gave himself for us. We desire our Lord to express in our lives the gratitude that we have for Thy salvation. Help us to do it, for his Glory and for Thy Glory, in his name. Amen.