Scripture reading – Isaiah 13; Isaiah 14
Isaiah 13 – The Rise and Fall of Babylon
While the Assyrian empire was the dominant power of the world in Isaiah’s day, the Chaldeans, whose capital city was Babylon, was growing and would become the first world empire. Babylon’s prophetic importance is revealed in the opening verse of Isaiah 13 where we read, “1The burden [pronouncement] of [or concerning] Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see” (13:1).
What was the “burden” Isaiah foresaw concerning Babylon? It was a prophecy of judgment, well before that nation assumed its place on the world stage. Foreknowing Babylon’s invasion, siege of Jerusalem, and the captivity of Judah, the LORD had already determined His future judgment against that city and nation.
Isaiah 13 is a prophetic summons to the nations of the world to gather against Babylon, and witness the destruction of that city by the armies of the Medes and Persian. Nearly two centuries would pass before Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled (Daniel 5). It was God who ordered the destruction of Babylon (13:6-8), and in one night that city was destroyed (13:9-12). Isaiah revealed the LORD had determined to “stir up the Medes against” the Chaldeans (13:17-18).
Isaiah 13:19-22 paints a prophetic picture of the devastation Babylon would eventually suffer. The glory and beauty of that great city would be as it was “when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” (13:19). To this day, Babylon lies in ruins under the sands of the desert in Iraq (13:20-22).
Isaiah 14 continues the prophecy against Babylon; however, the opening verses of this chapter offer hope to the Jews of one day being restored to their land. Remarkably, the destruction of the city of Babylon, considered unassailable in that day, is prophetically foretold in detail.
Isaiah 14:9-23 describes Hell itself as being stirred at the entrance of the fallen king of Babylon. Reading this passage should caution us all to remember that Death is the inevitable equalizer of all men, great and small.
Isaiah 14:12-14 draws a comparison of the sudden fall of the king of Babylon with the archangel Lucifer, described as the “son of the morning,” being cast out of the presence of God (14:12). The sinful pride that moved Lucifer to challenge the God of Heaven, is the pride that moved Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, to boast he would assail Israel and “exalt [his] throne above the stars of God” (most likely a reference to the Jews).
The king of Babylon declared, he would “sit also upon the mount of the congregation,” which was most likely a reference to Mount Zion upon which Jerusalem was built (14:13). The parallel between the fall of Lucifer and the king of Babylon continues in verse 15, where we read, “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (14:15).
Isaiah 14:16-23 completed the prophecy against the king of Babylon, and described how the world will gaze upon his lifeless body. The people will look upon the fallen king that had reigned over Babylon, and will wonder that so powerful a man is brought low to the grave like all men.
Closing thoughts – I close with a sobering reminder: Death is no respecter of persons. Death is the great equalizer, for whether small or great, famous or infamous, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
All will stand before God’s judgment, and then “every knee shall bow…and every tongue shall confess to God. 12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11-12). “Every man [shall be judged]according to [his] works…15And whosoever [is] not found written in the book of life [will be] cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12-15).
Are you ready for God’s judgment day?
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith