ISAIAH CHAPTER 14
COMPASSION FOR ISRAEL
While having some reference to the release from Babylonian captivity in 536 BC, the primary view in this chapter has Isaiah looking at the final Babylon at the end of the Tribulation when Christ returns. Conditions described here will apply to the Millennium (Christ’s future thousand year reign upon the earth) after the judgment of the final Babylon.
Isaiah 14:1,2 NRSV:
1 But the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land; and aliens will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.
2 And the nations will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess the nations as male and female slaves in the Lord’s land; they will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.
In verses 1 and 2 we learn that Israel’s elevation to her original God-ordained place as a witness to the world and her rest from her worldwide woe will come about only after the world political system of Babylon is destroyed. Instead of their miserable state of captivity which they’ll endure during the Tribulation under the Antichrist, Israel will rule those nations that once ruled them. The future earthly kingdom of Jesus is in view. Isaiah instructs the delivered nation of Israel to sing a song of celebration for the downfall of the Antichrist, the king of Babylon. The system that made life miserable for God’s people is gone forever.
Isaiah 14:3-8 NRSV:
3 When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve,
4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has ceased! How his insolence has ceased!
5 The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers,
6 that struck down the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution.
7 The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing.
8 The cypresses exult over you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, “Since you were laid low, no one comes to cut us down.”
The king of Babylon seems to be used here as a synonym for all Gentile powers throughout the centuries that have persecuted God’s people, finally coming to an end with the Antichrist who will lead the world government in the end times. When the last great enemy is destroyed, the people of God will be able to rejoice in God’s power, just as the Israelites rejoiced on the shores of the Red Sea as they viewed the destruction of Pharaoh’s army. So in the coming Day of the Lord, Israel will raise the Song of Moses and the Lamb as they see all their enemies destroyed.
At this point we might be able to get some understanding of how sin and rebellion developed in Heaven itself. We might also be able to understand something of the unseen powers that have dominated so many people throughout the centuries in an attempt to undermine the will of God. The fall of Lucifer portrays the fall of Satan. The whole earth will be at peace. This passage connects very closely with Ezekiel 28, which should be carefully considered for a complete and full understanding of what is happening here in Isaiah.
Isaiah 14:9-15 NRSV:
9 Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations.
10 All of them will speak and say to you: “You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!”
11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your harps; maggots are the bed beneath you, and worms are your covering.
12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon;
14 I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.
All the kings and leaders that are already in Hell stage a welcome party for the Antichrist. They tell him that no matter how important you were in life, everyone is the same among the dead. Verse 12 could be addressing both the Antichrist and Satan, who had entered into him, but the passage goes on to focus on Satan. Different translations describe Satan in a variety of ways: “the light bearer”; “son of the morning”; “Day Star”; son of Dawn”. Lucifer, or Satan, or the Devil, is a created angel of the very highest order, identical with the covering cherub of Ezekiel 28. He was apparently the greatest of all the angels and was perfect before God until he fell because of pride. It was Lucifer’s ambition to take the throne of God for himself and become the supreme ruler of the universe. Note his 5 “I wills.” Consequently Lucifer fell from grace and lost his place as the number 1 angel. That is how an angel became the Devil or Satan. Cast down from the place of power and favor which he had enjoyed, he became the relentless enemy of God and humankind. He now roams Heaven and earth like a roaring lion, seeking those he can devour (1 Peter 5:8).
The death of Jesus on the cross marked Satan’s downfall as inevitable. But he is determined to carry out his vengeance on humankind wherever he can before his own final judgment takes place. His heart is filled with hatred against God and all that God loves.
We know from other passages that Lucifer was not alone in his rebellion. 2 Peter 2:4 tells us that a whole bunch of angels joined Satan in his rebellion (one-third of the total to be exact). We see further confirmation of this in Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 12:7-9. These evil angels are the ones who place evil and self-destructive temptations before the people of this world. They seek to dominate the hearts and minds of the rulers of the nations of the world, stirring them up to act in opposition to the will of God. Therefore it should come as no surprise in the next verses that we see the king of Babylon allowing himself to be dominated by Lucifer.
Isaiah 14:16-23 NRSV:
16 Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms,
17 who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who would not let his prisoners go home?”
18 All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb;
19 but you are cast out, away from your grave, like loathsome carrion (dead and putrefying flesh)[fn], clothed with the dead, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the Pit, like a corpse trampled underfoot.
20 You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, you have killed your people. May the descendants of evildoers nevermore be named!
21 Prepare slaughter for his sons because of the guilt of their father. Let them never rise to possess the earth or cover the face of the world with cities.
22 I will rise up against them, says the Lord of hosts, and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, offspring and posterity, says the Lord.
23 And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction, says the Lord of hosts.
This passage describes in no uncertain terms the complete destruction of the last great enemy of God’s people in the Day of the Lord. There is a similar description in Ezekiel 31:16-18. All the glory that goes with being a warrior and the pride of world conquest ends in utter destruction for those warriors and world conquerors.
None who have ever dared out of pride and arrogance to defy God have ever been able to escape destruction and judgment.
In the world government of the last days we see represented all the powers throughout history that have persecuted Israel and the people of God. But then it will be all over forever and ever.
Isaiah 14:24-27 NRSV:
24 The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have designed, so shall it be; and as I have planned, so shall it come to pass:
25 I will break the Assyrian in my land, and on my mountains trample him under foot; his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden from their shoulders.
26 This is the plan that is planned concerning the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.
27 For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?
When the nations are gathered together at the Battle of Armageddon, the Lord will destroy the Antichrist and his world government along with all his armies and any other enemies of Jesus Christ. It is finished and Jesus’ kingdom of righteousness will be established over all the earth for a period of 1,000 years. What a wonder it will be!
In the last five verses of this chapter we have a separate prophecy which was given in the last year of Ahaz’ reign. It relates to Palestine and its people.
Isaiah 14:28-32 NRSV:
28 In the year that King Ahaz died this oracle came:
29 Do not rejoice, all you Philistines, that the rod that struck you is broken, for from the root of the snake will come forth an adder, and its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent.
30 The firstborn of the poor will graze, and the needy lie down in safety; but I will make your root die of famine, and your remnant I will kill.
31 Wail, O gate; cry, O city; melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you! For smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in its ranks.
32 What will one answer the messengers of the nation? “The Lord has founded Zion, and the needy among his people will find refuge in her.”
For the time being God had turned back the armies of Syria and Assyria, but even greater conflicts were to befall Judah in the future. We know they came to pass in the days of King Hezekiah and finally at the end of the reign of Zedekiah. First Judah was overrun by the Assyrians who, however, turned back without accomplishing their purpose. But as the result of Judah’s lack of self-judgment, eventually the armies of Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, killed thousands of people, and carried many more into captivity in Babylon. And this would not be the last of the destruction that was to come on the land of Judah and the people of Israel. Even after a remnant of the people returned to the land around 538 B.C., their days were numbered, and in AD 70, the Romans completely destroyed the city, burning the temple to the ground, slaughtering over a million people, and scattering those that remained all over the known world for the next 1,900 years. And now that the nation has been restored, they are still suffering persecution by every nation around them.
But that will all one day come abruptly to an end, and that day may not be too far off.
Israel, Judah, and Surrounding Countries in Isaiah’s Time