A Commentary on Isaiah 9-14
In light of new research on Babylon the Great
Isaiah 9-14 is an amazing text for a number of reasons. We know it speaks of the Messiah, but I also believe it speaks of the Antichrist as well. It acts as a bridge between Genesis and Revelation by speaking of the Tower of Babel and of end-times Babylon and its king named Helel ben Shakar, or Lucifer Son of the Morning.
When we look to the Septuagint (LXX) translation of this passage we find many clues that allude to the Antichrist, which also appear to cast doubt on the traditional understanding that Lucifer is Satan, as described in Isaiah 14.
The passage begins with the famous Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9,
1. Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan--
2. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
3. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.
4. For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
5. Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
6. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (NIV)
Then Isaiah changes the subject radically by turning directly towards Israel in a torrent of accusation. Notice this particular phrase that is repeated FOUR times:
“Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.”
Isaiah 9:8 – 10:4,
8. The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel.
9. All the people will know it-- Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria-- who say with pride and arrogance of heart,
10. “The bricks are fallen down, but come, let us hew stones, and cut down sycamores and cedars, and let us build for ourselves a tower.” (LXX)
11. But the LORD has strengthened Rezin's foes against them and has spurred their enemies on.
12. Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west have devoured Israel with open mouth. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
13. But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the LORD Almighty.
14. So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day;
15. the elders and prominent men are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail.
16. Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.
17. Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will he pity the fatherless and widows, for everyone is ungodly and wicked, every mouth speaks vileness. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
18. Surely wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns, it sets the forest thickets ablaze, so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.
19. By the wrath of the LORD Almighty the land will be scorched and the people will be fuel for the fire; no one will spare his brother.
20. On the right they will devour, but still be hungry; on the left they will eat, but not be satisfied. Each will feed on the flesh of his own offspring :
21. Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; together they will turn against Judah. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
10:1. Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees,
2. to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.
3. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?
4. Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. (NIV)
Notice that God declares that Israel’s rebellion has become so extreme that it was as if they said in the pride and arrogance of their heart, “Come, let us rebuild the Tower of Babel!” The Tower of Babel is the ultimate symbol of rebellion, and Nimrod, also referred to as Asshur in Genesis 10:11, and named as Asshur the builder of Babylon in Isaiah 23:13 (KJV), is the ultimate arrogant Rebel who chose to oppose God.
Remember now that Isaiah, even as he predicts judgment upon Israel keeps saying, “Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.” Now in Isaiah 10:5 the prophet continues by explaining how God’s wrath against Israel will culminate in the figure of Asshur. He actually becomes the rod of the anger of God, and in his hand he holds the club of God’s wrath. He is the culmination of God’s hand that is raised in anger against Israel:
5. "Woe to Asshur, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath!
6. I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.
7. But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations.
8. 'Are not my commanders all kings?' he says.
9. 'Have I not taken the country above Babylon and Chalanes, where the tower was built? (LXX) Is not Hamath like Arpad, and Samaria like Damascus? [Babylon and Calneh: see Genesis 10:10]
10. As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols, kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria--
11. shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?'"
12. When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, "I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.
13. For he says: "`By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding. I removed the boundaries of nations, I plundered their treasures; like a mighty one I subdued their kings.
14. As one reaches into a nest, so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations; as men gather abandoned eggs, so I gathered all the countries; not one flapped a wing, or opened its mouth to chirp.'"
15. Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it, or the saw boast against him who uses it? As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up, or a club brandish him who is not wood!
16. Therefore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame.
17. The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers.
18. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away.
19. And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down.
20. In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
21. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.
22. Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous.
23. The Lord, the LORD Almighty, will carry out the destruction decreed upon the whole land.
24. Therefore, this is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: "O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.
25. Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction."
26. The LORD Almighty will lash them with a whip, as when he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb; and he will raise his staff over the waters, as he did in Egypt.
27. And it shall come to pass in that day, that his yoke shall be taken away from thy shoulder, and his fear from thee, and the yoke shall be destroyed from off your shoulders. (LXX)
28. For he shall arrive at the city of Angai, and shall pass on to Maggedo, and shall lay up his stores in Machmas. (LXX)
29. And he shall pass by the valley, and shall arrive at Angai: fear shall seize upon Rama, the city of Saul. (LXX)
30. Cry out, O Daughter of Gallim! Listen, O Laishah! Poor Anathoth!
31. Madmenah is in flight; the people of Gebim take cover.
32. This day they will halt at Nob; they will shake their fist at the mount of the Daughter of Zion, at the hill of Jerusalem.
33. See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low.
34. He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One. (NIV)
Clearly Isaiah was speaking a prophecy that was meant to be heard by Israel in his day and was fulfilled in Israel’s day with the destruction of Israel at the hands of the Assyrians in 722 BC. Yet there are also some end-times allusions as well (Megiddo – Armageddon). We know that the Antichrist will rise up at the end and that Israel will put their trust in him, only to have him betray them and then attempt to wipe them out. It will be anti-Semitism at its most extreme. In verse 12 God says that He will destroy Asshur, but only after He has finished “all His work” against Mount Zion and Jerusalem. Clearly God still has some more work to finish with his city and His people. So although Assyria eventually died and faded away as an empire, it never felt the fulfillment of verse 17, which predicts that the Holy One of Israel will burn and consume the land of Assyria in a single day.
After dealing with the proud heart of Asshur and his nation of Assyria the prophet Isaiah again turns to the Messiah in chapter 11,
1. A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--
3. and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4. but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
7. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.
9. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
10. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.
11. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.
12. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.
13. Ephraim's jealousy will vanish, and Judah's enemies will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
14. They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them.
15. The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals.
16. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.
The phrase in verse four says that the breath of the Messiah will slay “the wicked.” The subject is singular so it is perhaps read better as “that wicked one,” or “the ungodly one,” as it is translated in the LXX. I believe that in this context it can only be referring back to Asshur, the proud and arrogant king that attempts to conquer all nations as described in Isaiah 10. Regardless, this Messianic prophecy is very likely what Paul was referring to when he described the nature of the Antichrist’s death in 2 Thessalonians 2:8,
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” (NIV)
If it is doubted that Asshur is the “wicked one” of Isaiah 11:4 that is destroyed by the breath of Messiah, we need only turn to Isaiah 30:
27. Behold, the Name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire:
28. And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.
29. Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel.
30. And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.
31. For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian (Asshur) be beaten down, which smote with a rod.
32. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.
33. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it. (KJV)
The “Name of the Lord” is a Messianic title. This is Jesus advancing across the land at Armageddon. A “Tophet” is a funeral pyre. Asshur is compared to a funeral pyre prepared and waiting for a torch to set it ablaze. The breath of the Lord Jesus will annihilate Asshur in flames, just as Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2.
Continuing on with our commentary we move to Isaiah 12, which is an amazing look at the Millennial Kingdom and a poem of thanksgiving to the Messiah for rescuing them from “the ungodly one” and from the horrors of the end-times “Day of the Lord.”
1. In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.
2. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."
3. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
4. In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.
6. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."
Isaiah 13 continues on an end-times theme describing in detail some of the horrors of the Day of the Lord. It is a prophecy against end-times Babylon, and Jesus quotes from portions of it in Matthew 24:29. Here is Isaiah’s prophecy:
1. An oracle concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:
2. Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles.
3. I give command, and I bring them: giants are coming to fulfill my wrath, rejoicing at the same time and insulting. (LXX)
4. Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war.
5. They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens-- the LORD and the weapons of his wrath-- to destroy the whole country.
6. Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
7. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt.
8. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.
9. See, the day of the LORD is coming --a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-- to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.
10. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. (For the stars of heaven, and Orion, and all the host of heaven, shall not give their light. LXX)
11. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
12. I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.
13. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.
14. Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep without a shepherd, each will return to his own people, each will flee to his native land.
15. Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword.
16. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.
17. See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold.
18. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children.
19. Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah.
20. She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there.
21. But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about.
22. Hyenas will howl in her strongholds, jackals in her luxurious palaces. Her time is at hand, and her days will not be prolonged.
Isaiah 13 is clearly an end-times prophecy related directly to Revelation 17-18. The LXX translation refers to Orion, which is the constellation of the Great Hunter, often pictured with a club. This alludes back to Asshur of Isaiah 10 that holds the club of God’s wrath. In the future I will show how Orion relates directly to Asshur/Nimrod in Egyptian history and religion. During the Day of the Lord the rebellious portion of the heavenly host will be cast to earth during the reign of the Antichrist.
This brings us now to Isaiah 14 and to the enigmatic references to Lucifer and the King of Babylon. The context of this passage must not be misunderstood! It is spoken by Israel against the King of Babylon after the Day of the Lord has ended and after the people of God have gained victory through trust in the Messiah. I will break it up into three parts with my commentary added:
1. The LORD will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob.
2. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will possess the nations as menservants and maidservants in the LORD's land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors.
3. On the day the LORD gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage,
4. you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!
5. The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers,
6. which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless aggression.
7. All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing.
8. Even the pine trees and the cedars of Lebanon exult over you and say, "Now that you have been laid low, no woodsman comes to cut us down."
9. The grave below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you-- all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones-- all those who were kings over the nations.
10. They will all respond, they will say to you, "You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us."
11. All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you.
12. How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!”
The name “Morning Star, Son of the Dawn” is Helel ben Shakar in Hebrew, or “Lucifer, Son of the Morning” in the KJV. If we view this person as the end-times Antichrist rather than Satan then it makes perfect sense. He is taunted by Israel after his final attempt to rule over the nations comes to an end. He is the “rod of the wicked,” the very same Asshur that carried a rod and beat Israel down in Isaiah 10. The King of Babylon is Asshur, also known as Nimrod, the one who originally built Babylon which was the site of the Tower of Babel. Also, notice in verses 16-17 below that he is not a fallen archangel (Satan), but merely a man. The text continues…
13. You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
14. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
15. But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
16. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: "Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble,
17. the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?"
18. All the kings of the nations lie in state, each in his own tomb.
19. But you are cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch; you are covered with the slain, with those pierced by the sword, those who descend to the stones of the pit. Like a corpse trampled underfoot,
20. As a garment defiled with blood shall not be pure, so neither shalt thou be pure; because thou hast destroyed my land, and hast slain my people: thou shalt not endure forever, —thou an evil seed. LXX
21. Prepare a place to slaughter his sons for the sins of their forefathers; they are not to rise to inherit the land and cover the earth with their cities.
22. "I will rise up against them," declares the LORD Almighty. "I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors, her offspring and descendants," declares the LORD.
23. "I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland; I will sweep her with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD Almighty.
Modern translations conceal the Hebrew reference to the “evil seed” whereas the LXX brings it right out. It is sperma poneron (singular) in Greek, better translated as, “Thou shalt not endure forever – evil seed.” The allusions to Genesis 3:15 are obvious. The end-times King of Babylon is the “evil seed,” the Antichrist that will rise again in the end-times.
The concluding sentences of this great prophetic passage of Isaiah bring us back to where we started in Isaiah chapter 9 and the outstretched hand of the Lord. For some reason some Bibles act as if Isaiah 14:24-27 is meant to be separated from the previous section on the King of Babylon, but that is clearly not the case. This is the final word on what the Lord has been saying since he accused Israel of having a heart desiring to rebuild the Tower of Babel. It began with the Lord saying four times, “Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.” And here is where it ends:
24. The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.
25. I will crush Asshur in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders."
26. This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations.
27. For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?
Asshur is Lucifer, the King of Babylon. He is the Antichrist, the evil seed of the Serpent -- the Son of Satan. He will be destroyed by the Messiah by the very breath that comes from His lips when He returns.
Saint Victorinus wrote the very first line-by-line commentary on the book of Revelation. He lived in the second half of the third century in Slovenia and died as a martyr. Here is what he wrote about Asshur, quoting from Micah 5:5-6, which is another text that states that the Messiah will deliver Israel from Asshur in the end-times:
For we also read in the Gospel that the prayers of the Church are sent from heaven by an angel, and they are taken up by a holy angel against the outpouring of wrath and the darkness of the kingdom of Antichrist. For he says: Pray that you might not fall into temptation. For there will be great suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the world; and except the Lord shortens those days, there would not be any flesh saved upon the earth. Therefore, He will send these seven great Archangels for the piercing of the kingdom of Antichrist. For as He also says in the Gospel: Then the Son of Man will send His messengers, and they will gather His chosen ones from the four winds, from the end of heaven to its (other) end. And he says before: then there will be peace in the earth, when seven shepherds will arise in it, and eight attacks (lit. 'bites') of men, and they will encircle Assur, that is, Antichrist, in the ditch of Nebroth [Nimrod]: in the damnation of the devil.
Lucifer is Asshur, the King of Babylon. He is the Antichrist, not Satan. The Queen of Babylon is his unholy "bride." Parallel end time judgments on the King and Queen of Babylon are given in Isaiah 14 and Revelation 18. To properly understand Isaiah 14 one must understand Genesis 10-11 and the end times role of Nimrod as the first and the last of Satan's seven kings (with the first also appearing at the end as the "eighth"). To properly understand Revelation 18 one must understand Genesis 3 and the original sin of disobedient Eve, which was confirmed upon the human race through Adam. For further study consult the following sources:
The Second Coming of the Antichrist: http://www.redmoonrising.com/Giza/urukandegypt.htm
The Queen of Babylon: http://www.redmoonrising.com/Rev18.pdf
Final Judgments on Babylon (Isaiah 14 and Revelation 18): http://www.redmoonrising.com/kingqueenbabylon.htm
Original draft: February 19, 2011pan>
Why is the Septuagint (LXX) translation important?
http://ldolphin.org/barrychron.html (scroll down to Section B. CHRONOLOGY FROM ABRAHAM BACK TO ADAM)