How You Have Fallen From Heaven, O Morning Star

14: 12-15

      DIG: What is Satan’s primary motivation? How does his destiny compare with his ambition? What does this tell you about pride that asserts itself against God? Will Satan be king of hell, or just its number one prisoner? Why?

    REFLECT: When Satan was hurled to the earth, sin entered the world. What have the consequences of sin been in your life? As a result, how much do you appreciate the free offer of the forgiveness of your sins? Does that affect how you treat others?

    The scene now shifts from the underworld to heaven and exposes the foolishness of human pride. The pride refuses to back off from any rival, even ADONAI Himself, insisting that he is in charge of his own destiny. Isaiah drives home the point that we are not God, and we cannot make the LORD in our image. It was foolishness before the creation of the world, it was foolishness in the days of Isaiah, and it is certainly still foolishness today.

    In the third of four stanzas, Isaiah points us to the pride of Satan. When we think of human pride, we think first of the will. It is the human will that reverses the words of Jesus in Mark 14:36, and says: Not Your will but Mine be done! For what is human pride except an attempt to set ourselves up in the place of God in our world? Notice the five recurrences of the pronoun I in these verses. Pride is to place my will and myself at the center of creation. This is what Satan has brought to mankind.

    Shelley’s sonnet Ozymandias, beautifully sums up Isaiah’s comments on pride. It was allegedly written while looking at the fallen statue of the great Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses in the Nubian Desert. The final lines read, “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair! Nothing besides (me) remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.”

    This poem not only reflects the destructive nature of pride but also its essential silliness. How can humans who die think they can play God? How mere mortals think they can give their petty activities eternal worth when they will one day leave all of their achievements behind to succumb to inevitable decay and destruction is amazing. You can't take it with you. Death is the great leveler – the curse of the arrogant and the hope of the oppressed. When we read the fate of Satan himself, we can see where pride, apart from Christ, leads.49

    After describing the fall of the antichrist into hell itself, Isaiah now turns to the person who controlled the antichrist and also the one who is head of those demons in goat form. This is an example of double reference, which refers to one person or event, in this case the antichrist (13:3-13), followed by a second person, here the fall of Satan (14:12-15), blended together in such a way that they form a complete picture.

    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 (14:12). It is very important to understand that God has revealed Himself progressively, and not all at once. Here Isaiah starts to describe Satan’s rebellion against ADONAI in heaven.

    When we get to the end of the Bible, the Holy Spirit gives us more detail. There we see Satan being hurled to the earth. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his (demons) angels with him (see my commentary on Revelation Di – Satan was Hurled Down to the Earth). The Hebrew translation of morning star, son of the dawn is literally, day star, son of the morning. The morning star under the name of Istar was worshipped by the Babylonians, and Nebuchadnezzar’s days of power and glory are well represented by their comparison with the shining star. The brilliance of a star in the early dawn vanishes when the sun rises. Satan, because of his great power and abilities, thought himself to be equal with God Himself. This is clearly seen in his temptation of Christ in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). But his great pride would be his undoing.

    The reasons for his fall are seen in the declaration of the five I wills that Satan said in his heart. First: I will ascend into heaven; he wished to have a higher position than he already had. Secondly: I will raise my throne above the stars of God; he wished to take Michael’s position of being the archangel. Thirdly: I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain (14:13). These are expressions that Isaiah will use later in reference to Christ’s millennial reign over Israel. The implication is that Satan, knowing God’s future program for the Jews, wished to be the messianic ruler over Israel by himself. Fourthly: I will ascend above the tops of the clouds. Whenever the word cloud is used symbolically, it is a symbol of God’s Shekinah glory and that is the Shekinah that Satan wished for himself. Fifthly: I will make myself like the Most High (14:14). He wished to become the possessor of heaven and earth. These are not unlike the claims the antichrist will make in Daniel 7:25, 11:36 and Revelation 13:6. All this has taken place in the past, but the next verse takes place in the future.

    But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit (14:15). Isaiah looks to the future and sees that Satan will be brought down to Sh'ol, or the grave, to the uttermost depths of the pit. We know from Revelation 20:1-6 that he spends the millennial Kingdom, the thousand years, in the Abyss before being set free for a short time. Then he will be thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur where he will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (see my commentary on Revelation Fm – Satan Will Be Released From His Prison).

    Death mocks every person’s claim to be God. This truth is based on the teaching of Genesis (see my commentary on Genesis Ba – The Woman Saw the Fruit of the Tree and Ate It). The forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was offered to Adam and Eve as being able to make them like God (Genesis 3:5). Instead, it brought them the ultimate proof of their humanness. It brought death (Genesis 3:22; Job 20:6-7).

 

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