Hell's Most Unusual Guest - Part III
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We are going to read from chapter 14 of the book of Isaiah, the paragraph which begins with verse 3. I would like to suggest to you that we keep in mind what we are reading as we read it, and I believe that it will be the clearer for you.

You will notice in verse 4 the word proverb . That word proverb should really be translated “poem” or “song” because that is what we have before us in this paragraph—a poem of four verses. We have more verses of Scripture than that, though it might be better to use the word stanzas . We have a poem of four stanzas. Notice verse 3:

Isaiah 14

3And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve,
4That thou shalt take up this proverb [poem] against the king of Babylon, and say, [the first stanza begins with these words] How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!
5The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.
6He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.
7The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.
8Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.

That is the end of the first stanza. The second stanza begins with verse 9, where we read:

Isaiah 14

9Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.
10All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?
11Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

That is the end of the second stanza of the poem. The third stanza begins with verse 12, where we read:

Isaiah 14

12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

This is the end of the third stanza of the poem. In verse 16 begins the last stanza of the poem, where we read:

Isaiah 14

16They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
17That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
18All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.
19But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.
20Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.

The poem actually ends there. In verses 21-23, we have a statement in prose which relates this poem to the kingdom of Babylon.

You may wonder why we are suggesting that this is a poem and pointing out these divisions to you when they are not apparent in your English text. The answer is found by perusing this section of the Word of God in the original text.

You will recall that we are in the third section of the book of Isaiah, which begins with chapter 12 and goes through chapter 23 and is known as the Book of Burdens because each chapter, primarily speaking, is devoted to a discussion of a burden in relation to a nation or an individual. We learned in our last lesson that the word burden , when connected with a prophetic message, referred to a message of judgment, not a message of blessing.

You will recall that we noticed chapter 13 and the first two verses of chapter 14, in which a burden was pronounced upon the kingdom of Babylon. We have dealt with that in relation to the past, in relation to the present, in relation to the future, and we found that this is a prophecy not only of that event that occurred in about 200 years or less from the time that Isaiah pronounced the prophecy, but it is a prophecy related to the future, even as far as we ourselves are concerned.

We discovered that when the prophecy is fulfilled in its entirety, the nation of Israel will be found in the condition that is described in the first two verses of chapter 14. That condition, of course, is a condition of absolute peace and prosperity in the land of Israel.

Even though the nation of Israel is back in their own land, they are not altogether in control of it. Certainly they are not living there in peace and security, and they will not, in the sense of this passage of Scripture, until the Lord Jesus Christ comes and the millennial reign of Christ is established.

We are mentioning that because we need to pinpoint the time that this song was sung. They recite this poem about the king of Babylon in the beginning of the Millennium. That will help us to understand that this passage of Scripture is not speaking about the king of Babylon who sat drunkenly on his throne the night Cyrus the Persian marched into the city of Babylon, but it is speaking of the king who will be ruling and reigning in the Babylon which is to be rebuilt and which is described in the book of Revelation as the capital of the world at the end of this age.

The king who is reigning in Babylon at that time is the one who is the subject of a part of this poem, and the power behind the king, the real incentive for all of his fierce terrible acts, is included for discussion in the poem, for you cannot think of one without the other. I trust that these things will become clear to you as we look at this poem keeping in mind that each verse deals with a different scene. One scene flashes on the screen, is dealt with and passes on, and another scene is brought to our attention.

Downfall of the King of Babylon

Notice with me again the paragraph which begins with verse 4. The words which are addressed to the final king of Babylon are the words we begin to read in verse 4:

Isaiah 14

4That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!
5The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.
6He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.

Let's think about what we have read up to this moment. Worldwide oppression will be the result of the reign of the individual who has the future Babylon as his capital. It is referred to as a golden city which has come to an end, because as we learned in chapter 18 of the book of Revelation, it becomes a great commercial metropolis of the world and is known for its accumulation of gold.

As these individuals sing of the downfall of this ruler, they mention that God has broken the staff of this wicked man, and He has broken the scepter of the rulers. That is, He has broken the rod that indicates the rule and the government of all the rulers of the world. This individual has been put down:

Isaiah 14

6He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, [that is, nobody stood in his way. This is indicated by the last statement] he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth [no one is able to stand against him] .

When we were reading about this individual in our study of the book of the Revelation, we were told that he who dares to stand against this individual will suffer punishment—immediate death—for he has complete power.

We are thinking about an individual who is related to the whole world, not simply to the city of Babylon. This becomes evident when you notice verse 7, which describes not the condition of the Israelites, not the condition of the territory bounded by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, but the whole earth:

Isaiah 14

7The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing [all of creation is joining in that singing] .
8Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller [no woodchopper] is come up against us [there has been perfect peace] .

When we get over to chapter 55 of the book of Isaiah, where there is presented to us a picture of the millennial earth about which there can be no question at all, all of nature is spoken of as rejoicing at this great thing that has come upon the earth. The description is presented of the trees clapping their hands and rejoicing for joy, because peace at last has come upon the earth.

King of Babylon Cast Into Literal Hell

As we look at the second stanza of the poem which begins with verse 8, we will recognize that the scene changes. What has happened to this great king who has been felled by God? What has happened to this great king who has been removed from his position and authority? Is he permitted to go around on the earth in exile as a great many kings of the world in times past have been permitted to do when they have been forced from office? Not at all. We are told in the next stanza that there is no room for him upon this earth. Rather, when he is removed from office, he is cast into Hell according to verse 9.

This, of course, fits in very definitely with the passage of Scripture we found in chapters 19 and 20, where we are told that both the Antichrist and the Devil are cast alive into the lake of fire immediately upon their disposition by God.

But, what do you think happens in Hell when this mighty king makes his entrance there? According to the stanza read a moment or two ago, we discover that Hell is alerted to his coming. It is as though a message goes about in the place of departed spirits, and they are told some important person is coming. “Everybody get ready for his coming.” That is the meaning of the phrase in verse 9, “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming.”

As Hell is alerted for the coming of this important personage, all the chieftains of the various wars of the histories of the past who went to Hell are told that this important personage was coming and they should dress in their dress uniforms, so to speak, so that they might meet him at his coming. This is not to say that every individual who has engaged in war has gone to Hell. There have been many excellent Christian generals all down through history, but this is speaking of those who had not placed their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. They wound up in Hell. That is the meaning of the phrase in verse 9: “It stirs up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones, even all of the generals of the earth.”

Not only are the chieftains of the earth alerted that an important personage is coming but, according to the last statement of verse 9, all of the kings of the earth who are in Hell are alerted. Once again, it doesn't mean that all of the kings of the earth go to Hell, but all of those who are in Hell raise up from their thrones and greet this important personage who makes his entrance into the netherworld, and that is what is meant by the last statement of verse 9: “It hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.”

Why do they stand up from their thrones? Why do these chieftains make way to greet this important personage? What is their attitude when they see him? Of course when they were asked to make ready for his coming and when they prepared themselves to speak to him, perhaps they had thought that they would be doing some kind of obeisance. Perhaps they thought that they would be asking him to take their thrones and rule over them once again. But alas, when they see him in his sad state, they are amazed. They say, in verse 10:

Isaiah 14

10All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?

“We can't believe this. We ruled a minor kingdom on the earth, but you ruled the whole world. Now you are down here in exactly the same fix as we are.” Notice verse 11, where they say:

Isaiah 14

11Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

“Why, you are in the place of departed spirits. You died just like any ordinary being did. And the noise of thy cymbals, the noise of thy musical instruments, have ceased.” There, of course, is no rejoicing in Hell. They look at him in spirit and look back upon earth and behold his body that had been clothed in purple and scarlet, his body that had sat on the finest furniture and had enjoyed the finest physical comforts was now in a sad state indeed. The last statement of verse 11, says:

Isaiah 14

11…the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

Actually the word for worms used the second time is an entirely different word than the word for worm used the first time. The word for worm used the second time is the word that is better translated by our English word maggot . What is said here is, “The worm is spread over thee like a spread, and the maggots cover thee like a garment.” Yes, this mighty king who ruled the world and did as he pleased came to a sad end one day.

Let us pause for one moment, by way of digression in a sense, and remind you that if we stopped right here and meditated upon this message, you would have a truth that you need to keep ever before you, and that is the truth that the Bible teaches concerning the conscious dead. There are individuals who tell you that when you are dead, you're dead, and that's all there is to it, but we want to remind you that individuals who leave this life are as conscious as they are when they walked about in their physical bodies in which they lived on earth. We want to remind you that the individuals who are in Hell are conscious and realize what is going on in Hell from day to day. When they see individuals make their appearance in that sad place, they are glad because misery loves company and they are glad that someone else has fallen as they have fallen. Don't get the idea that Hell is a figurative place. It is a literal place where the sort of thing goes on that we have been reading about.

In our study of the prophetic Word, we have found—I want to emphasize this again—that time, as far as God is concerned, is one eternal present. It is neither past nor future. It is one eternal present. We think of it as past; we think of it as present; we think of it as related to the future. But when God in vision gave to His prophets a message, He drew back the curtains of time and He let them view the whole story from beginning to end. Therefore, they were not as conscious of chronology as we are, and they did not take the time nor the trouble to tell us when they began to speak about a different individual or a different time.

Lucifer Cast Down From Heaven to Earth

We need to point that out to you because in the third stanza of this poem, we are introduced to another individual who had a sad end to an excellent beginning. As the prophet Isaiah viewed the king of Babylon who wound up in Hell, he viewed someone else who also demands our attention.

We will not deal with this particular stanza in a great deal of detail, because much of what we could say about it, as far as reasons for what we say are concerned, are found in print in a series of studies on the Devil which is available to you from our literature. If I make a statement and I do not pause to give you the proof for it, don't be alarmed about it; get that study and read it, and you will have the proof that you need.

Look at verse 12, and notice a different individual addressed:

Isaiah 14

12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

How do we know that we are talking about a different person? First, a different person is addressed. This person is addressed as Lucifer , and if we were to translate the name Lucifer , we would discover that it is “Daystar.” We would discover that it is a name that belongs to the Devil. It is one of many names that is given to him, and he is called here, “Daystar, son of morning,” so we know that we are not talking about the king of the future city of Babylon, but we are talking about the individual who stood behind him and gave him all of the power and all of the unction and all of the strength that he needed to accomplish his power.

Another reason we know that we are not talking about the king of Babylon is that this individual in verse 12 was cast down, not from earth to Hell in the beginning, but was cast down from Heaven to earth. We must make that distinction clear, because we will recognize a different individual if we do.

If you want to know what he was doing in Heaven, you will need to read chapter 28 of the book of Ezekiel where you will find that the Devil was at one time the prime minister of God, the leader of the angelic choir, and it was his business to be the prime minister of God for the jurisdiction of the pre-Adamic earth, before Adam ever came to live on the earth.

We find in verse 12 that Lucifer was cast out of Heaven down to the earth and permitted to return to Heaven only at specific times never to abide there as once he had. Why was he cast out of Heaven? Actually, for the same basic reason that the king of Babylon was brought to his sad end. The king of Babylon was brought to his sad end because he wanted to be bigger than he was. He wanted to rule the whole world. He wanted all of the human race to be under his dominion.

The Devil was not content to rule the earth. He had that under his jurisdiction. That is why he said to the Lord Jesus Christ, “If you fall down and worship me, I will give you all the kingdoms of the earth.”

The Devil's Determination to Be Greater Than God

Some people read that and they say, “The Devil is a liar. He couldn't have done it.” Yes, he could have. God gave him the jurisdiction of the earth back in chapter 28 of the book of Ezekiel, but he was not content with that. He wanted not only dominion of the earth, he wanted the dominion of Heaven as well. In verse 13, he expresses five I wills which indicate the determination that he had in his heart to be greater than he was. You will notice in verse 13:

Isaiah 14

13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, [that means “to stay.” He had already been going and coming all he wanted to] I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…

The word stars here is a word that is used for “angels.” What he is saying is, “I am going to put my throne above all the angels of the heavenly sphere.” He was a cherub, and he was the anointed cherub, but at the same time he was a created being just like all the other angelic beings. He wasn't content with that. He said, “I am going to be higher than that.”

Then you will notice, in verse 13, He said:

Isaiah 14

13…I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

This, according to Job in the book that bears his name, is the place where God's throne actually is. It is the third heaven of which the Apostle Paul speaks in II Corinthians.

We realize this determination on the part of this individual, that what he actually was saying was, “I am going to push God off His throne, and I am going to sit upon it.” He says in verse 14:

Isaiah 14

14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Somebody says to me, “Isn't it commendable that he wanted to be like God? Don't you tell people to be godly? Don't you encourage folk to be godlike?” Notice, he did not say he wanted to be like God. He said he wanted to be like the most High.

In our study of Old Testament books, I have pointed out to you that in the Old Testament we need to observe very carefully the various names of God. There are many of them and they are never used unwisely by the Holy Spirit. They are always chosen very carefully. This name for God, most High , is indicative of the fact that God was the ruler of both the Heaven and the earth, and that is why Satan wanted to be like God. He wanted to ascend up into the sides of the north part, take God's throne away from Him, and control the Heaven and the earth.

Devil Cast Alive Into the Lake of Fire

What happened to him? In verse 12, he was cast down to the ground immediately. That is, he was cast down to the earth immediately. We find the ultimate end of the Devil will be very much like the end of the king of Babylon, for in verse 15, we read:

Isaiah 14

15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell [that is the same hell as in verse 9] , to the sides of the pit.

“You are going to be raised, you think, up to the recesses of Heaven? You're not. You are going to be cast down to the recesses of Hell.”

Someone may say, “I thought the Devil was already in Hell.” Not yet. He is running around loose. He is causing you a lot of trouble, but one of these days he is going to be cast into Hell. What kind of a reception is he going to have? That is presented in the last stanza of this poem. The individuals who are in Hell will look upon him as they looked upon the king of Babylon. We read in verse 16:

Isaiah 14

16They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee [closely examine thee ] , and consider thee, saying, Is this the man [in the original text, man is not there; the word being is used] that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
17That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

“Is this the man? Is this the world ruler who has exercised so much power? Look at him now, bereft of all of his power and a helpless creature indeed at the mercy of God in the flames of Hell.”

Yes, the Devil comes to a sad end, and as the individuals in Hell examine the manner in which he came to an end, they examine his end in comparison with even the smallest king of the earth. They say, in verse 18:

Isaiah 14

18All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house [sepulcher] .

Every king that they knew about had his own sepulcher in which to lie when he died. Of course, in the day in which Isaiah lived, as you know, they spent a great deal of money and many lives to prepare a suitable house in which their dead bodies might be entombed, but they say, “The Devil doesn't even have a tomb in which he could be buried.” Look at verse 19:

Isaiah 14

19But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch [like a diseased branch is cut out of a tree] , and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.

Here is a picture of a man who died in battle, and they don't even take the trouble to bury him with his battle clothes on, even showing the holes in his clothing through which the particular arm went. He is cast down into an open pit, and his body is left to decay in the open. This is the sad end of the Devil. If you will remember, when God is through with the Devil, according to the book of the Revelation, he is cast alive into the lake of fire, unceremoniously, without any reverence at all for his end.

The poem comes to an end with those words. The nation of Israel, someday, will be able to sing it, and all of us will be able to join in the refrain, because I believe that today if you are conscious at all of anything, you are conscious of the fact that there is a personal Devil who is very, very active. He gives you a lot of trouble. We will be glad when he will trouble us no more and we can sing the song that the Israelites sing when they rejoice that this individual has fallen never to rise again.

Conclusion

Thank God, though the Devil is powerful today, we have victory over him in the Lord Jesus Christ.


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