The LORD Has Broken the Rod of the Wicked

14: 4-8

    DIG: Who rejoices? How is the antichrist described? What was his rule like? What happens now that his rule is ended?

    REFLECT: How does this taunt song taunt you? Is there any time in which you have experienced pride going before the fall? From your own experience, what is the relationship between pride in yourself and cruelty towards others? Why do you think that is so? What is the difference in purpose between the fear of the LORD (see Proverbs 1:7) and the fear the antichrist stirred in others?

    In the first of four stanzas, everything on the earth, both human beings and all of creation, break into song at the news of the antichrist's death. He insisted on having his way at all costs. But now he is thrown down to the grave once and for all. You will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon (14:4a). In the context of this taunt-song, the king of Babylon can be none other than the antichrist. Babylon will be the capital city of his earthly empire (see my commentary on Revelation Em – Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great).

    How the oppressor has come to an end (14:4b)! He had mastered the technique of ruling through terror. The thought of being delivered from such terror will be almost beyond belief. The joy will be unspeakable. There is One more powerful than he, Jesus said: In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33b). We believe in a God who is an overcomer, and because He overcame death and the world, we can do likewise. The audacity of such faith is amazing. Yet that is exactly what Isaiah preached: the God of tiny Judah is the LORD of all the universe and before Him every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of ADONAI (Philippians 2:10-11).

    The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers. The kingdom and the city of Babylon will be destroyed at the end of the Great Tribulation. The one whose fury would end is the oppressor who had struck down peoples and subdued nations with relentless aggression (14:5-6). His rod and scepter are broken so he cannot rule any longer. As a result of the king of Babylon’s fall, there will be a song of joy.

    His death would bring rest, peace not only to people but also to nature. All the lands are at rest and peace; they break into singing (14:7). The Apostle Paul tells us that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth for the return of the Messiah and the reversal of the curse (Genesis 3:17-19). All of creation will be able to breathe a sigh of relief when the antichrist dies. It will seem like it is too good to be true!

    Isaiah reinforces the point of this stanza with imagery, as is often the case, with tree imagery. Not only people, but also the trees rejoice at the death of the antichrist. 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” (14:8). The great cedar trees of Lebanon saying they were safe, pictures that rest symbolically. No longer would they be in danger of being cut down because, as we will see next, he will have  been brought down to the grave.

 

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