Dr. Andy Woods
Angelology 8: (Satanology 4)
Isaiah 14:12-15 8-25-2019
Father, we’re grateful for Your truth, Your Word that You took so many millennia really to write to us and help us to be good stewards of it in all areas. I pray You’ll be with us specifically today in Sunday School as we continue to work in an important section of Your Word. And I pray that You’ll be with the main service that follows, and we’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen.
Well, good morning everybody. It’s good to be back. Thank you, Jim, for filling in last week, I appreciate that. Happy anniversary, by the way, to you guys. And let’s take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Isaiah, chapter 14 and verses 12-15. And we’re continuing to look at the doctrine of angels, what does the Bible reveal about the angels? And so that study has four parts to it, the good angels which we competed, Satan, the high-ranking angel [can’t understand word], and we’re continuing to look at him because the Bible reveals an awful lot about him. And then we’ll be moving into the angels that fell with him that we call demons. And then the study will sort of wrap up with the Genesis 6:1-4 issue or controversy.
Related to Satanology, the doctrine of Satan, we’ve looked at his existence, although a lot of people don’t believe in the existence of Satan the Bible is very clear, Old Testament and New Testament, that we have a very real adversary called Satan. And then from there we looked at his personhood, trying to communicate the point that Satan is not just the force, you know, the dark side. We were just at Disneyland and they’ve got now a Star Wars section of…, they had frontier land, tomorrow land, fantasy land, and now they’ve got a new land called… it’s not called Star Wars land but it’s like another section. So, you go through a place like that and there’s all this talk about the dark side, the light side, all that jazz. And so a lot of people look at Satan that way, he’s just kind of the dark side of the force; he’s an impersonal source of energy. And we tried to communicate the point that he is not simply that, he is an actual personhood, an actual person.
And from there we went into Roman numeral III where we start to look at the names and the titles of Satan. You learn a lot about him just by studying his names and titles. And there’s probably somewhere between 18 to 20 titles of Satan revealed in the Scripture. So we walked through each of those. And then from there we started moving into what is called the original state of Satan and the first sin. In other words, what was Satan before he became Satan, and how did Satan originally fall? And what we saw is there’s only two sections of Scripture that help you with that. One of them is Ezekiel 28:12-17, which gives an explanation, and the second one is Isaiah 14:12-15.
We’ve already looked at the Ezekiel passage in depth and we discovered the attributes of Satan, the nature of Satan’s first sin, which is the idea that first comes pride and then comes a fall. And then we looked at the consequences that Satan is now under because of that original sin. So all of that information you can find in Ezekiel 28.
And now we’re looking at the second major passage that deals with the original state and first sin of Satan and that’s in Isaiah 14:12-15. So let’s read through those verses this morning, Isaiah writes, beginning in verse 12 of chapter 14. “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!  But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven;” notice how many I’s are here, ‘I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.  ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;” and here’s the clincher, “I will make myself like the Most High.’” Verse 15, “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”
Now there’s an awful lot of people out there that will tell you that these verses have absolutely nothing to do with Satan, and they make that same argument with the Ezekiel passage, and I tried to show you why I think Satan is in the Ezekiel passage. But what they’ll do is they’ll go back to Isaiah 13:1 which starts this oracle against the King of Babylon, which spans two chapters in the Book of Isaiah, Isaiah 13 and 14, and they’ll look at verse 1 and they’ll say, [Isaiah 13:1, “The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah, the son of Amos saw,” and they’ll say this has nothing to do with Satan, this is an oracle against the King of Babylon. And you might recall they make that same argument in Ezekiel 28, they’ll say this has nothing to do with Satan, this has to do with the King of Tyre.
But I kind of call this a Matthew 16:23 moment. [Matthew 16:23, “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”] You remember Peter, the apostle with the foot-shaped mouth, as I like to call him, always putting his foot in his mouth, and you’ll recall that he began to predict there towards the end of his three year ministry that he was going to go to Jerusalem, he was going to be crucified, etc. and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him and then the Lord “said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan.”’
So at that point the Lord is no longer directly interacting with Peter, I guess He is but He’s also addressing the angelic force motivating Peter’s statement. So at some point in these two prophecies, Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 what most people see is that they’re no longer dealing just with the King of Tyre and the King of Babylon but they’re dealing with the angelic force motivating those kings. And that’s why Ezekiel 28 is taken as the fall of Satan because the passage goes far beyond any human king. And they’ll try to show you you’ll see the same phenomenon at work here in Isaiah 14:12-15.
This is sort of common actually. Many times prophets will give information about fallen angels or demons that are motivating human rulers. You see that in Daniel 10:12-13 and Daniel 10:20 where it mentions the Prince of Persia, a demon, behind the King of Persia. The prince of Greece, a demon behind the King of priests. [Daniel 10:12-13, “Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” Daniel 10:20, “Then he said, ‘Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.’”]
And the fact that prophets do this is no front page news and I think that’s what’s happening in these two passages, and in the process of revealing the angelic force behind these two kings the prophets get sort of a picture, if you will, of Satan, who he is and exactly how he fell. And so these two pieces of Scripture are really indispensable towards building your doctrine of Satanology, especially in terms of Satan’s original state and first sin. In fact, over in John 8:44 you see Jesus doing the exact same thing as He’s talking to the Pharisees. He’s having a conversation with the Pharisees there in John 8 and there towards the end of the conversation he makes this statement. John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil,” now “father” there is spiritual father, because Satan doesn’t have physical children, he’s talking there about their spiritual father is Satan, “You are of your father the devil and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
So he’s no longer addressing just the Pharisees, he’s addressing the fact that they want to do the desires of their spiritual father, Satan, and in the process he gives a lot of clues about who Satan is. And we’ve gone through some of those clues. So I think the same things is happening in Ezekiel 28 and I think the same thing is happening in Isaiah 14:12-15.
Now having said all that let me show you why I think Satan is at work in the Isaiah passage. Take a look at verse 12, Isaiah 14:12, “How you have fallen from heaven,” what’s the next word there, some translate it Lucifer—light bearer, I think the Hebrew is heilel ben shakhar, “son of the morning. And you’ll notice in the NASB it’s translated as a star, “O star of the morning, son of the dawn.” [Isaiah 14:12-15, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!  “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.  ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’  “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”]
So the fact that this star is translated as Lucifer indicates that it’s a very bright star. And to my mind that fits Satan very, very well because we know from the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 11:14 that that’s who Satan is. [2 Corinthians 11:14, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”] Satan comes as a what? Angel of what? “Angel of light.” So calling him a light-bearer, that’s what the name Lucifer means, or star, or son of the morning, would fit very well Paul’s description of Satan as an angel of light.
This translation “star” is very interesting to me, in the NASB, because angels are typically called what? “Stars.” You’ll see that in Revelation 12:4, where it says, the dragon… who’s the dragon in Revelation 12? Satan! It says the dragon swept away a third of the stars out of the sky. [Revelation 12, NASB, “And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.”] And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.”] The dragon’s tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. And as you go to Revelation 12:7-9 you get an interpretation of who the dragon is; the dragon is Satan. [Revelation 12:7-9,
“And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,  and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”]
The dragon is Satan and you get an interpretation of who the stars are. Who are the stars? Satan and his angels. So Satan and his angels, particularly his angels, are analogized to stars in the Book of Revelation. So when I’m seeing the word “stars” here in Isaiah 14:12 I don’t think it’s any great crime to read the doctrine of angels into this particular passage.
What is the oldest book of the Bible? The Book of Job, the first book written, written probably six hundred years (at least) before Moses wrote the Pentateuch. But notice, if you will, holding your place in Isaiah, notice if you will Job 38, and notice if you will verses 4-7. This is God giving Job a pop quiz. Have you ever been intimidated by a pop quiz, especially one from God? Because all the way through the Book of Job everybody thinks they know what’s going on. Job had his problems, everybody has an answer. The fact of the matter is none of them know what’s going on because none of them are privy to the conversation between God and Satan that we read about in the first two chapters.
So to reveal the limits of Job’s knowledge God shows up, finally, in Job 38 and starts asking Job questions he can’t answer. And He starts to ask him a question about the beginning. I mean, if you’re so smart tell me how everything began. And obviously the question is designed to reveal Job’s ignorance because who was there at the beginning? Carl Sagan was not there at the beginning. Only God was there at the beginning. So all of these scientists today that can tell you exactly how everything began, they don’t know anything. All they can do is look at existing patterns and pretend that those patterns have always been in existence. That’s called uniformitarianism. And that’s where you get the doctrine of evolution. But the reality is nobody knows how everything started because only God was there. So the question is designed to reveal how little Job knows and Job, if you don’t understand how everything started then you certainly don’t understand the problems in your life without My revelation and insight.
But notice what it says, Job 38:4, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,  Who set its measurements? Since you know” He’s being sarcastic here. “Or who stretched the line on it?  “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone,” and where you  “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Now he mentions “stars.” Do you see that? Now these can’t be literal stars because they’re singing, you don’t have singing stars. So the stars here must be what? Angels and you know that because of the next clause, “And all the sons of God” a reference to angels, “shouted for joy.”
So what you have there in verse 7 is what’s called synonymous Hebrew parallelism. When you look at Hebrew poetry it doesn’t rhyme with sounds like ours does, it rhymes with ideas. And you have to study the two lines together because those lines have a relationship with each other. And there are many forms of Hebrew parallelism but this is what’s called synonymous Hebrew parallelism where the second line repeats what’s in the first line but in different words. So you’ll notice if Hebrew parallelism is here, which I think it is, “sons of God,” angels, are analogized to morning stars. So the very first reference to angels, one of the first references to angels in the oldest book of the Bible analogizes them to stars. So therefore, when I go back to Isaiah 14:12 and I start to read about the King of Babylon and then all of a sudden it starts talking about him in terms of a star, that’s another reason why I think it’s legitimate to see the doctrine of angels in Isaiah 14:12-15.
[Isaiah 14:12-15, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!  But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven;” notice how many I’s are here, ‘I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.  ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;” and here’s the clincher, “I will make myself like the Most High.’” Verse 15, “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”]
And then you’ll notice verse 12, that the King of Babylon or the motivation behind the King of Babylon was “cut down” and thrust “to the earth.” That would be a very strange description of a human king, wouldn’t it? Because a human king is always on the earth. This is talking about someone that was cut down and thrown to the earth, and so that’s yet another reason why I think Satanology is in Isaiah 14:12-15.
And the reason I’m going into a little bit of the details of this is the current trend in evangelical scholarship is to not see Satan in the Isaiah 14 passage. You have people like my professor, Charles Dyer who is very, very good, a very good teacher and a wonderful scholar, I had him for Old Testament prophets at Dallas Seminary and he believed that the fall of Satan was in the Ezekiel passage, it’s clear there he would say because it says “cherub.” But he did not believe that the fall of Satan was in the Isaiah 14 passage. You have other people at Dallas Seminary, like Robert B. Chisholm who wrote a book called The Handbook on the Prophets on the prophets, and he denies that Satan is in the Ezekiel 28 passage and the Isaiah 14 passage.
I’m of the persuasion that Satan is in both passages which is what the doctrinal statement of Dallas Seminary teaches. And it’s what Lewis Sperry Chafer, who founded Dallas Seminary, believed also. Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote a book on Satan and Satanology, I forgot the exact title of it but you Google it and find it easily. And he sees Satan in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. Dwight Pentecost, my professor, saw Satan in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. And so I also, for reasons that I’ve tried to explain, see Satan in Ezekiel 18 and Isaiah 14.
But what I’m teaching here is not really trending today amongst the younger generation of scholars. So if it’s not Satan who do they think it’s talking about? Well, here’s a quote from The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John Martin. The Bible Knowledge Commentary is very good. John Martin wrote the Isaiah section of the Old Testament commentary of The Bible Knowledge Commentary and when you look at what he says in Isaiah 14:12-15 he doesn’t believe Satan is in the passage at all. Notice how he explains the passage. He says, “The arrogance and fate of the tyrant,” now the tyrant is the King of Babylon, “in his military might this great king had laid low the nations, including Phoenicia, Philistia, Egypt, Moab, Edom, Cilicia, much of Judah, and northern Arabia.” So when it says “you have weakened the nations” the view I have is Satan weakened the nations and so did the King of Babylon who Satan was motivating. He thinks this is exclusively about the King of Babylon.
He goes on and he says, “But he would fall like a morning star. The brilliance of a star in the early dawn suddenly vanishes when the sun rises. Sennacherib, because of his great power, thought himself godlike, but now by startling contrast he would be in the grave. In the ancient Near East, kings had supreme power; many were deified by their subjects...” So he says this has nothing to do with the fall of Satan, it just has to do with the King of Babylon whose star was vanished just as suddenly as the sun rises. So he doesn’t see angelology here at all. And I tried to explain that “star” here, going back to Job 38, means an angel. And so I don’t have a problem seeing this not as a literal star like an astronomy lesson and an analogy but actually Satan motivating the King of Babylon.
So what does he do when he gets all this language about “you have fallen, O star of the morning,” “You have been cut down… you have weakened the nations!” He just says that’s hyperbole. Well what is a hyperbole? A hyperbole is an exaggeration to prove a point. You know, I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. Well, you probably couldn’t eat a horse, I mean maybe I could, I don’t know if you could. Your stomach is not big enough to hold a horse but you’re deliberately exaggerating to show how hungry you are.
And that’s what John Martin thinks is happening in this passage, it’s just hyperbole. He writes, “…The people taunting this tyrant pictured him ascribing godlike characteristics to himself. Ascending to heaven … above the stars and being enthroned on … the sacred mountain recalls the belief of several Semitic peoples that the gods lived on Mount Zaphon. ‘Sacred mountain’ translates ṣāp̱ôn (lit., ‘the north’). By ascending the mountain above … the clouds, he was seeking to make himself like God, the Most High. (The language used here, of course,” he says, “is hyperbolical.) Yet he would be brought low to the grave (pit is a synonym for grave). Nothing could save him from death and from decay in the grave.” [John A. Martin, “Isaiah,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor, 1983), 1061-62.]
So he thinks this is all hyperbolic. The problem is look at Isaiah’s prophecies; to me they have a tendency to come to pass very literally. Isaiah 53, would you say that became too past literally?
Was Jesus literally pierced. Was He literally crucified between the thieves. You’ll see all that in Isaiah 53 seven hundred years in advance. And so why would I just hyperbolize something when the book has a track record of being very literal. In fact, it’s the prophet Isaiah that predicts the coming of the King of Cyrus, mentioned by name, Isaiah end of chapter 44 into chapter 45. Who would liberate the nation of Israel from captivity? And that name was called out 200 years in advance. And notice how literal that is.
So when Martin starts to go into all this information about how this is just hyperbolic, I have a problem with that because I don’t think there’s a lot of hyperbole in the prophet Isaiah. I think things are literally happening! I think that’s what happening here is literally the King of Babylon he’s addressing but he’s also addressing the morning star which I think is an angel. And I tried to explain earlier why I think that’s true, motivating the King of Babylon. But that’s not an explanation that Martin wants to go for; he thinks it’s just an analogy to the [can’t understand word] and the sun vanishing in the morning or coming up in the morning and vanishing in the evening. And I think he’s sort of missing the point of the passage. I don’t think this is an astronomy lesson. I don’t think this is hyperbole. I think there was a real angelic force motivating the King of Babylon. Now I confess or can see that it may be a little less clear than the Ezekiel passage. To me the Ezekiel passage is crystal clear because it says “cherub” right there in the text, so that can’t be just the literal King of Tyre. But using the same methodology I’m also seeing Satan here in Isaiah 14:12-15 as well.
Look what he says here; this is where all of the scholars are going and I want to point out this to you because you’re going to get hit with this by somebody at some point when this discussion comes up. He says, “The sacred mountain” which is mentioned in the text, “recalls the belief of several Semitic people that the gods lived on Mount Zaphon.” Now what is he talking about? He’s saying that all the prophet Isaiah is doing is going out there into the Ancient Near East and grabbing examples from mythology from the Ancient Near East, how kings fell in the Ancient Near East and Ancient Near Eastern writings, whether it’s the Domitian writings, Canaanite writings, etc. etc. etc. He’s going out into that literature and using it as an example, as an analogy concerning how Satan originally fell. So Satan is not accusing how the King of Babylon originally fell. So he’s saying that Satan is not in this passage at all.
And when you take a look at the NET Bible I don’t think you guys have these quotes, I put these up late last night, they’re posted on the website, when you look at the NET Bible, which is the New English Translation, which is the new Bible translation with notes, put out by Dallas Seminary, you’ll see them doing the exact same thing. You’ll find them denying Satan is in the Isaiah 14 passage. So notice what the NET Bible says about Isaiah 14:12-15.
“What is the background for the imagery in vv. 12-15? This whole section (vv. 4b-21) is directed to the king of Babylon,” now I agree with that, but it’s also directed to the angelic force motivating the king of Babylon. “…is directed to the king of Babylon who is clearly depicted as a human ruler. Other kings of the earth address him in vv. 9ff.,” I agree with that, “he is called ‘the man’ in verse 16,” I agree with that, “and, according to vv. 19-20, he possesses a physical body.” See what they’re doing is they’re saying this can’t be Satan at all because it’s talking about a human king. My response to that is it’s a dual reference; yes, of course it’s talking about a human king but it’s talking about the angelic force motivating that human king, in the same vein that Jesus addressed Peter with in Matthew 16 and addressed the Pharisees with in John 8. “…he possesses a human body. Nevertheless, the language of vv. 12-15 has led some to see a dual referent in the taunt song.
These verses, which appear to be spoken by other pagan kings to a pagan king (cf. vv. 9-11), contain several titles and motifs that resemble those of Canaanite mythology, including references to Helel son of Shachar, the stars of El, the mountain of assembly, the recesses of Zaphon, and the divine title Most High…”
These verses, which appear to be spoken by other pagan kings to a pagan king (cf. vv. 9-11), contain several titles and motifs that resemble those of Canaanite mythology,” oh no, here we go, here is the tactic, let’s go to Ancient Near Eastern mythology outside the Bible and find something similar to what’s happening here in Isaiah 14 and let’s pretend that the biblical writer is not talking about Satan at all but rather he is using not inspired Ancient Near Eastern mythology as an analogy for what the King of Babylon is going to go through here when he becomes lifted up with pride. “contain several titles and motifs that resemble those of Canaanite mythology including references to Helel, son of Shachar, the stars of El, the mountain of assembly, the recesses of Zaphon, and the divine title Most High…” now look at this next word, “apparently” you see what that means there? I’ll show you exactly what that means in a second.
What he’s saying is there’s a story out there that apparently is similar to Isaiah 14:12-15 but we haven’t found it yet. It’s eventually going to show up. It’s a lot like dealing with an evolutionist because the evolutionist is always trying to show you the missing link between apes and humans, and the reason they call it the missing link is because the link is still missing and they haven’t been able to find the missing link; every time they find something it’s like a monkey with rickets or a tooth or something from a pig. And by the way, these guys are very good artists, they’ll draw the whole thing as a missing link, as what it allegedly looks like, until you read the fine print and they got this whole thing from a tooth. And what they’re saying is we know it’s out there and when we find it’s going to look like this but we haven’t quite found it yet. That’s what they’re doing here with this Canaanite mythology. They’re looking for something on point that seems to go along with what the Isaiah passage reveals but they haven’t found it exactly. And these are the hoops that they’re jumping through to deny Satanology in Isaiah 14:12-15.
“Apparently these verses allude to a mythological story,” well tell me the story, “about a minor god, (Helel son of Shachar) who tried to take over Zaphon, the mountain of the gods. His attempted coup failed, and he was hurled down to the underworld. The king of Babylon is taunted for having similar unrealized delusions of grandeur.” So eventually we’re going to find this story from extra biblical mythology which is going to read exactly like the Isaiah 14 passage. And that’s all the prophet Isaiah is doing is he’s drawing an analogy between the King of Babylon and this extra biblical Ancient Near East literature but to be honest with you we haven’t found that exact story yet. That’s in essence what they’re saying. Why are they doing this. Look at the last sentence. “Some Christians have seen an allusion to the fall of Satan here, but this seems contextually unwarranted.”
They’re doing all of this to deny Satan is in the passage altogether. Now the reason I’m going into a little bit of depth on this is because I was going through my classes there at Dallas Seminary, I was in the doctrinal program, I had to take an Old Testament class and that’s what these guys were talking about all the time, how Satan is not in Isaiah 14, he’s not in Ezekiel 28, and only a dumb fundamentalist would see Satan in those passages. Everybody knows this is just an analogy to extra biblical Canaanite mythology.
So that’s what disturbed me because they had asked me to sign on to their doctrinal statement when I started taking classes there as a student and one of the things in the doctrinal statement was that the fall of Satan is found in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-17. And I look at the writings of Dr. Chafer, he saw Satan in both passages. I look at the writings of Ezekiel 28 and he saw Satan in both passages. And so who are these younger guys to deny Satan is there?
And so I started looking around about this, because it bothered me and I found a doctoral dissertation that was like gold. The dissertation was written actually by a Seventh Day Adventist at a Seventh day Adventist school and there it was in the Dallas Seminary library and the author of this dissertation was Jose Maria Bertolucci, kind of a tough name to forget…. Jose Maria Bertolucci! And he goes through every single myth in the Ancient Near East that’s ever been uncovered to try to explain either the Ezekiel 28 passage or the Isaiah 14 passage. And he compares every single myth out there to the language of the passage themselves, he looks at Phoenician myths, Canaanite myths, every single myth he could ever find, and he says when you look at the details of each myth (and the devil is always in the details, right), there are points of similarity to Ezekiel 28, there are points of similarity to Isaiah 14, but guess what? The differences outweigh the similarities.
So what these scholars are doing is they’re falling for a logical fallacy which indicates that similarity is the same thing as equality. Similarity is not equality! I’ve got two cars in my garage. Why do I have two cars in my garage? Because I’m an American and it’s my constitutional rights to have two cars in my garage. [Laughter] So doggone, I’ve got two cars in my garage. Those cars look a lot alike, they both have an engine in them and a steering column and a trunk in the back and four wheels. They look very similar but car A does not equal car B, because the two cars are similar, both cars are the same is the logical fallacy. That’s what you’re getting from the NET Bible; that’s what you’re getting from John Martin’s treatment of Isaiah 14 in the Bible Knowledge Commentary. And you’ll notice that none of these sources I quoted are ever mentioned… EVER mentioned in the dissertation by Jose Maria Bertolucci. Either they don’t know the dissertation is out there or they’ve just chose to ignore what it says.
And so people ask me all the time, Andy, do you recommend the NET Bible? My answer to it is there are probably some good things in the NET Bible but to be honest with you I don’t really recommend it because I feel it’s academically dishonest because it takes evidence that goes against their position and doesn’t even make the readers aware that such evidence exists. That bothers me about a study Bible allegedly created to honor the God of spirit and what? And truth. And it’s not even scholarship; scholarship involves acknowledging points that go against your case and dealing with those points. NET Bible doesn’t even do that here in Isaiah 14:12-15.
So what have I tried to say? Let me sum up in 30 seconds what I just took 45 minutes trying to get at. Isaiah 14:12-15 is a reference to Satan motivating the King of Babylon. This is not hyperbolic, this is not an astronomy lesson. And what is going on in this passage has nothing to do with Ancient Near East mythology because every piece of mythology you look at, according to Jose Maria Bertolucci, the differences outweigh the similarities. Similarity is not equality! Now Robert Chism in his Handbook on the Prophets where he goes on and on and on about how Satan is not in either passage also never mentions the dissertation by Jose Maria Bertolucci. He doesn’t try to interact with it, doesn’t even dismiss it with a footnote, just pretends it’s not even there.
So not everything you read in Christian literature is in fact the truth. Do we all understand that! Not every study Bible you get is the truth. Not every Bible Encyclopedia, Bible Commentary is the truth. Not necessarily every pastor is telling you the truth. So that makes incumbent upon you to do your own research and to be a Berean, and I hope you do that with everybody you listen to including myself because I’m a fallible human being as well. I can get things wrong. You say that didn’t happen… my wife is sitting right there, she’ll tell you all kinds of things I get wrong, directions, phone numbers, address, I get things wrong all the time, I try to limit areas of course to the pulpit, I can get things wrong as well. The reality is this [the Bible] is your authority, okay, not some scholar who’s trying to conform opinion to move a certain direction.
By the way, when you look at 1 Timothy 3:6 and the Apostle Paul is laying out the qualifications for elders, which is something you ought to study because we elect elders in this church, don’t we. What kind of people should you nominate as elders. Paul gives you a list there in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. By the way, being rich and famous is not one of the qualifications. [1 Timothy 3:1-7, “It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.  An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,  not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity  (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),  and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
Verse 6 sas an elder must not be “a new convert, so that he will not become conceited” and look at this, “and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.” And you read that and you say well what was “the condemnation incurred by the devil.” Paul doesn’t tell you. So he’s obviously assuming prior knowledge in the Old Testament that reveals to you what the condemnation of the devil is. And folks, you’ve only got two passages, Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-17. And if Satanology is in neither passage as is the mindset you’re getting from many today, then Paul is referring back to something without enough information to fill in the meaning. You see that?
The fact that it’s unexplained what the condemnation of the devil means is indicative of the fact that I have to find somewhere in the Old Testament, the fall of Satan, whatever it original was. So what am I trying to say? I’m trying to say Satan is behind the King of Babylon in Isaiah 14:12-15. And if you agree with me up to this point in time then this passage, Isaiah 14:12-15 fills in incredible information concerning the first state and follow statements. And what you have here in Isaiah 14:12-15, going back to that particular passage, are the five “I will” statements of Lucifer. These were the five thoughts going through his mind that precipitated or in fact caused his fall.
So let’s look at these five “I will” statements. By the way, these aren’t even statements, these are thoughts. If you look at verse 13 of Isaiah 14 what does it say there? “But You said in Your heart,” these were attitudes in his heart that weren’t necessarily coming out of his mouth but this is what he was thinking. You have to, as the Bible says, Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for from the heart proceed of life.” There’s so much in the Bible about our heart and the attitudes in our heart and Lucifer himself would know something about this because these were attitudes in his heart that caused his original fall.
And you’ll notice it says there, verses 12-15, really beginning in verse 13, “I will.” [Isaiah 14: 13] “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.  ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’  “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”] He says “I will” in his heart five times. And this is very significant because this, if I’m understanding it correctly, is the first time another will other than God’s will entered the cosmos. Prior to this point in time God’s will ran everything supremely, there was no other will.
But now for the first time in history the will of one of God’s creatures is asserting itself against God. And every time I take my will and assert it against God is the moment I’m moving into sin, right? It’s the pattern for me and it’s a pattern for you. And one of the most frightening things we have as image bearers of God is free will because with the free will I can reject God and I can go right into hell and God will respect my decision. Why would He respect my decision? Because that’s how He’s made me, as an image bearer of God. And so what is the smartest thing you can do with your free will, since you have that awesome power, what is the smartest thing you can do? Take your free will and do what with it? Submit it back to God! Isn’t that what role models in Jesus Christ Himself, God incarnate, didn’t Jesus say, Luke 22:42, “Not My will be done but” what? “Thy will be done.” So He’s role modeling for us the opposite of what Lucifer is doing for in his own heart he’s setting himself against the will of God. So this is probably the first record that we have anywhere in the Bible of sin entering the picture.
And so let’s walk through very, very fast what were Lucifer’s five “I will” statements that got him into so much trouble. Five of them. Number one, verse 13, “I will ascend to heaven.” What’s he saying there? I’m going to make myself equal in terms of recognition with God Himself. It sort of like somebody running a business, and you hire someone to run a part of that business for you. So they’re in a management position, you’re in a CEO position, and all of a sudden the manager doesn’t like the fact that he’s not calling the shots. And there’s kind of a power play where he tries to be the CEO of the company. In other words, Lucifer didn’t respect the God ordained authority that God had given him, and he didn’t want to function within that authority box. So, he said in his heart, number one, I will ascend to heaven, in other words, I will gain equal recognition with God.
Number two, he said, and you see it there in verse 13, this is very interesting, “I will raise my throne” apparently Lucifer had a throne, not the ultimate throne but under God’s throne, “I will raise my throne above the” what does it say there in verse 13? “above the stars.” Now who are the stars? Angels. [Isaiah 14:13, “”But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.” So what’s he saying here. I’m no longer content with being a general in God’s army, I’m no longer content in managing other angels under God, I want to manage those angels myself, without God’s authority at all. And so what he’s saying in his heart is I want to rule over the angels in the place of God. Now he had absolutely no right to do that because he himself was a created being and was one of those angels.
Then he says something else very interesting, also in verse 13, “I will sit enthroned on the” what? “mount of the assembly.” [Isaiah 14:13, “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.”] Now do a word study on “mountain” sometime in the Book of Isaiah and what you’ll see is the mountain is Zion, the mountain of the Lord, Jerusalem where Jesus one day is going to rule this entire world in the millennial kingdom. Isaiah chapter 2:2; Isaiah 2:3. [Isaiah 2:2, Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.  And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”]
And so when Lucifer says, I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly” what I think he is saying in his heart is I’m going to rule over the earth in the place of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the second member of the Trinity will not be the ruler of this world, I will be the ruler of this world. And sadly Lucifer got his realization fulfilled, didn’t he, because even as I speak based on what he did in Eden he became the ruler of this world for a season, did he not? [Isaiah 14:13, “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.”]
And then the fourth statement that you find here in Isaiah 14:12-15, and you’ll see it there in verse 14, he says, “I” here’s another reference on I, this guy has a bad case of the I’s, “I will ascend to the tops of the mountains,” verse 14. [Isaiah 14:14, “’I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”] In other words, I will ascend to the tops of the clouds rather, verse 14. Now when you study” clouds” in the Bible “clouds” is a reference to the glory of God. So when the rapture happens, 1 Thessalonians 4 says He’s coming in the clouds. Does it not say that? [Isaiah 4:16, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise.  After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.”]
And I used to look up in the sky and say well, I don’t see any clouds today so I guess the rapture can’t happen today. It’s not talking about meteorological clouds, weather clouds, it’s talking about glory, when He comes He’s coming in His glory at the point of the rapture. So when Lucifer says “I will ascend to the tops of the clouds what he is doing is he is assuming God’s glory for himself. I’m tired of refracting God’s glory, I’m tired of reflecting God’s glory, I want this glory for myself. And as my dad used to tell me when I was growing up, when you start thinking that way you’re “crusin’ for a brusin.’” Every time I was on the threshold of getting into trouble in my home he would say “you’re crusin’ for a brusin.’
And when someone desires glory that rightfully belongs to God is the moment they’re “crusin’ for a brusin’ because Isaiah 42:8 God says He will not share His glory with anyone else. [Isaiah 42:8 says, “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” So Lucifer says I want God’s glory for myself. When you start to understand this, you understand why Paul says don’t put a new convert into a place of authority in the church lest they fall into the condemnation of Satan, because the problem with a new convert is they may be justified before God by faith alone but they haven’t walked with God very long and their practice probably hasn’t caught up with their position through progressive sanctification, which is a lifelong process. And so they’re going to get into a position of authority and they’re going to see God at work and in their nativity they’re going to say “Wow, isn’t it great that God is using me. And where would God be with me, I must be pretty important. I mean, poor God how did He operate everything before I showed up.” And they start to step in the way of the glory of God.
Billy Graham summed it up very well. He says, “The three falls of ministry,” he called them the three G’s, he said “don’t touch the gold (embezzlement), don’t touch the girls (sexual immorality),” and then the third thing he said is “don’t touch the glory.” And if you watch how ministers and pastors fall it’s always the three things, over and over and over again, the girls, the gold or they get some kind of problem stepping into the way of God’s glory. And that’s why when people come up to me, and part of me appreciates the encouragement as I get discouraged like anybody else, and they say this is the greatest sermon I’ve ever heard, you changed my whole life. And it’s so tempting to say you know, I did a pretty good job on that, didn’t I? I mean, I was up late studying and I put my Power Points together and boy, let me break my hand patting myself on the back because I’m pretty important to God.
Well, once you start thinking like that (as my father said) “you’re crusin for a brusin,” you’re stepping into the way of God’s glory. So the practice I like to follow whenever people heap words or praise on me, now sometimes people don’t use praise, it’s words of condemnation, but the occurrence where it’s words of praise I always like to say well “praise the Lord,” you know… in other words, you give the glory back to where it belongs. This is God’s Book, this is God’s church, this is God’s Holy Spirit and if He can take my feeble efforts and use them to bless you then praise the Lord. So you might want to try that because if and when God starts using you, you’re going to be in the same dilemma. You know, there’s a couple of times the Book of Acts, around chapters 13 and 14, where God is using the apostles greatly, like Paul, people are actually worshipping Paul. And Paul and his companions always say stop that, knock it off, we are just fellow servants. And I’ve shown you times in the Book of Revelation where people start to worship angels because God uses an angel and the angel says knock it off.
Well, Lucifer didn’t say knock it off here. He wanted to assert himself over the glory of God, and his fifth “I will” statement, this is very troubling here, he says, verse 14, “I will make myself like the Most High.” So he sought the supreme position in the universe to replace God. Now you say well, this sounds familiar, isn’t this how Lucifer got Adam and Eve to fall? The same lie? Genesis 3:5, didn’t Lucifer now say in his fallen state say this, to Adam and Eve, our forbearers? “For God knows that in the day you eat from it” the tree of knowledge in other words, “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So the lie that Lucifer deceived himself with, becoming like God, is the same lie he deceived humanity with resulting in the fall of man.
Would you say he’s using that lie today? Sure, humanism! Humanism is what is taught in all of our public schools today; the Bible is out, humanism is in. Humanism is a religion. The Supreme Court, in fact, in 1961 in a footnote in a case called Torcaso vs. Watkins, called humanism a religion. The humanists’ society gets 501C3 tax exempt status, just like our church does. But the humanists get to teach their doctrines in the school and we don’t get to teach ours. Does that sound fair.
What is humanism? Humanism is the idea that not God is the center of all things, man is the center of all things. That’s what these kids are being taught over and over again. And God, if He exists, is irrelevant! And that’s why they’re so big on evolution and nailing down evolution is the only view that can be taught in public schools because evolution allows them to explain creation without God. So the New Age Movement, Shirley McLain, she thought she could become a god. That’s why I like the bumper sticker, New Age, Old Lie. It’s the same old stuff. You get into the cults, the false religions, Mormonism for example, they’ll tell you the same thing—you can become God and you can even one day have your own planet. I mean, it sounds an awful lot like the mindset that Lucifer got himself into trouble here.
So Isaiah 14:12-15 is a big deal because it gives you these five “I will” statements. So very fast, what happens? Consequences follow sin like night follows the day. Amen! You can’t sin and not experience consequences. You get to pick your sin but you don’t get to pick your consequences. That’s something to think about the next time we’re tempted, right?
So what happened to Lucifer? Number one, he fell, verse 15. Number two, he experienced a name change; he’s no longer called Lucifer, heilel ben shakhar, son of the morning. His name was changed from Lucifer to Satan, that’s the name Christ addressed him with in Matthew 16:23. [Matthew 16:23, “Matthew 16:23, “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”]
And he was forever banished from heaven, verse 12. [Isaiah 14:12, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!” He can still go into heaven to communicate and to accuse but not to worship and serve as he once had the ability to do as a high-ranking angel.
So that sort of takes us out of the original state and first sin of Satan and next week we’re going to move into the works of Satan. And one of the things I’m working on before we get to the works of Satan is I’m going to try to get into the whole subject of when did Satan fall? And that requires interaction with a lot of different things, including something called the gap theory which many sincere Christians adhere to. I don’t believe in the gap theory and I’ll explain why. So we’ll try to get into the when question and with what limited data we have I’ll try to give you a guess, not something worth starting a new denomination over but I’ll try to give you a guess as to when I think Satan fell. And then when we complete that then we’ll get into the works of Satan.