Isaiah 14

Isaiah 14  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The first three verses of chapter 14 show that the judgment of Babylon clears the way for mercy to flow to Israel. This had a partial fulfillment in the days of Cyrus, as the opening verses of Ezra record. It will have a far greater and more complete one when the times of the Gentiles come to an end. Then, not only will Israel be established once more in their own land but they will be the supreme nation, ruling over the others who formerly oppressed them, and completely at rest themselves. In that day they will take up the proverb against the king of Babylon, that fills verses 4-23 of the chapter.
When Isaiah uttered this prophecy Babylon was still dominated by the Assyrian power. A century or so later it became “the golden city” under the great king Nebuchadnezzar, spoken of as the “head of gold” in Daniel 2:38. With him the times of the Gentiles began, and they will close under the potentate, called “the beast” in Revelation 13, who is to be raised up and inspired by Satan, who is called “the dragon”. All the world will worship the beast and the dragon who, though unseen, lies behind him.
Isaiah’s prophecy in these verses applies first to the visible king— verses 4-11. The Lord will break his scepter and cast him into hell as is more fully explained in Revelation 19. But in verses 12-15 we seem to pass from the visible king to Satan, whose nominee he is to be. Satan, whose original sin was an attempt at self-exaltation unto equality with God, is to be “brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit”, as we also see in Revelation 20.
Verses 13 and 14 are most striking. Notice the five-fold repetition of “I will”. The very essence of sin is the assertion of the will of the creature against the Creator. In Genesis 2, God said to Adam, “Thou shalt not”; but in Genesis 3, tempted by Satan, Adam virtually said, “I will”. The complete contrast to this is found in Philippians 2, where the One who was “the Most High”, whose throne was “above the stars of God”, who could not “ascend”, since there was no place higher than the one He occupied, descended and took the form of a Servant. Satan sought to exalt himself and is to be abased. Christ humbled Himself, and He is, and shall yet be, exalted.
In the succeeding verses we seem to come back to the judgment of the visible king, of his city, and of all those that follow him. It will be no partial or provisional dealing of God but a final judgment that will make a clean sweep of his power and kingdom, a judgment more severe than that which has fallen upon others.
At verse 24 we pass back again to the more immediate judgment of Assyria. Upon the mountains of Israel, which the Lord calls “My mountains”, he should be broken, This had not been accomplished in the year that king Ahaz died, for that was the third year of king Hoshea of the ten tribes, and Samaria was carried captive by the Assyrian in Hoshea’s ninth year. In verses 29 and 31 “Palestina” means apparently “Philistia”, the country to the south west of Jerusalem. At that moment all might seem peaceful, but their judgment was coming, and their only hope and trust was to be reposing in Zion.
Now Zion does not mean simply Jerusalem, for that city too would ultimately fall under God’s judgment. Zion was founded by the Lord in His mercy when He intervened and raised up David, so that it has become a symbol of the mercy and grace of God. This we see in such a scripture as Hebrews 12:22. In that grace, which Zion represents, the godly poor amongst the people will trust. They did so in days that are past. They will do so in days that are to come.
They are doing so today. Are we amongst them?
Chapters 15:1— 23:18
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