|Study 6: God and Evil
God and Evil | The Devil and Satan | Demons | Digressions (Witchcraft, What Happened In Eden?, Lucifer, The Temptation of Jesus, "War in Heaven") | Questions
Digression 19: Lucifer
It is assumed that Lucifer was once a powerful angel who sinned at the time of Adam and was therefore cast down to earth, where he is making trouble for God's people.
1. The words "devil", "satan" and "angel" never occur in this chapter. This is the only place in Scripture where the word "Lucifer" occurs.
2. There is no evidence that Isaiah 14 is describing anything that happened in the garden of Eden; if it is, then why are we left 3,000 years from the time of Genesis before being told what really happened there?
3. Lucifer is described as being covered in worms (v. 11) and mocked by men (v. 16) because he no longer has any power after his casting out of heaven (vs. 5-8); so there is no justification for thinking that Lucifer is now on earth leading believers astray.
4. Why is Lucifer punished for saying, "I will ascend into heaven" (v. 13), if he was already there?
5. Lucifer is to rot in the grave: "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave,...and the worms cover thee" (v. 11). Seeing angels cannot die (Luke 20:35-36), Lucifer therefore cannot be an angel; the language is more suited to a man.
6. Verses 13 and 14 have connections with 2 Thess. 2:3-4, which is about the "man of sin" - thus Lucifer points forward to another man - not an angel.
1. The N.I.V. and other modern versions have set out the text of Isaiah chapters 13-23 as a series of "burdens" on various nations, e.g. Babylon, Tyre, Egypt. Is. 14:4 sets the context of the verses we are considering: "Thou shalt take up this proverb (parable) against the king of Babylon...". The prophecy is therefore about the human king of Babylon, who is described as "Lucifer". On his fall: "they that see thee shall...consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble...?" (v. 16). Thus Lucifer is clearly defined as a man.
2. Because Lucifer was a human king, "All the kings of the nations... shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?" (vs. 9-10). Lucifer was therefore a king like any other king.
3. Verse 20 says that Lucifer's seed will be destroyed. Verse 22 says that Babylon's seed will be destroyed, thus equating them.
4. Remember that this is a "proverb (parable) against the king of Babylon" (v. 4). "Lucifer" means "the morning star", which is the brightest of the stars. In the parable, this star proudly decides to "ascend (higher) into heaven...exalt my throne above the (other) stars of God" (v. 13). Because of this, the star is cast down to the earth. The star represents the king of Babylon. Daniel chapter 4 explains how Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon proudly surveyed the great kingdom he had built up, thinking that he had conquered other nations in his own strength, rather than recognizing that God had given him success. "Thy greatness (pride) is grown, and reacheth unto heaven" (v. 22). Because of this "he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws" (v. 33) This sudden humbling of one of the world's most powerful men to a deranged lunatic was such a dramatic event as to call for the parable about the falling of the morning star from heaven to earth. Stars are symbolic of powerful people, e.g. Gen. 37:9; Is. 13:10 (concerning the leaders of Babylon); Ez. 32:7 (concerning the leader of Egypt); Dan. 8:10 cp. v 24. Ascending to heaven and falling from heaven are Biblical idioms often used for increasing in pride and being humbled respectively - see Job 20:6; Jer. 51:53 (about Babylon); Lam. 2:1; Matt. 11:23 (about Capernaum).: "Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell" (the grave).
5. Verse 17 accuses Lucifer of making the "world as a wilderness, (destroying) the cities thereof; that let not loose his prisoners to their home...(that did) fill the face of the world with cities"..."the exactress of gold" (vs. 17,21, R.V.; v.4 A.V. margin). These are all descriptions of Babylonian military policy - razing whole areas to the ground (as they did to Jerusalem), transporting captives to other areas and not letting them return to their homeland (as they did to the Jews), building new cities and taking tribute of gold from nations they oppressed. Thus there is emphasis on the fact that Lucifer was not even going to get the burial these other kings had had (vs. 18-19), implying that he was only a human king like them, seeing his body needed burying.
6. Verse 12 says that Lucifer was to be "cut down to the ground" - implying he was a tree. This provides a further link with Dan. 4:8-16, where Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon are likened to a tree being cut down.
7. Babylon and Assyria are often interchangeable phrases in the prophets; thus, having spoken of the demise of the king of Babylon, v 25 says, "I will break the Assyrian...". The prophecies about Babylon in Is. 47 are repeated concerning Assyria in Nahum 3:5,4,18 and Zeph. 2:13,15; and 2 Chron. 33:11 says that the king of Assyria took Manasseh captive to Babylon - showing the interchangeability of the terms. Amos 5:27 says that Israel were to go into captivity "beyond Damascus", i.e. in Assyria, but Stephen quotes this as "beyond Babylon" (Acts 7:43). Ezra 6:1 describes Darius the king of Babylon making a decree concerning the rebuilding of the temple. The Jews praised God for turning "the heart of the king of Assyria" (Ezra 6:22), again showing that they are interchangeable terms. The prophecy of Isaiah ch. 14, along with many others in Isaiah, fits in well to the context of the Assyrian invasion by Sennacherib in Hezekiah's time, hence v. 25 describes the breaking of the Assyrian.Verse 13 is easier to understand if it is talking about the blasphemous Assyrians besieging Jerusalem, wanting to enter Jerusalem and capture the temple for their gods. Earlier the Assyrian king, Tilgath-Pilneser, had probably wanted to do the same (2 Chron. 28:20,21); Is. 14:13: "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven... (symbolic of the temple and ark - 1 Kings 8:30; 2 Chron. 30:27; Ps. 20: 2,6; 11:4; Heb. 7:26) I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation (mount Zion where the temple was) in the sides of the north" (Jerusalem - Ps. 48:1,2).