Have you ever wondered what makes the Devil do what he does? Often times people will make excuses for their sinful actions by saying, “The Devil made me do it!” Despite this being a cheap excuse and a sad attempt of “blame shifting” from the time of Adam and Eve, it fails to consider the bigger question, “What makes the Devil do what he does?”
Today in my Isaiah class I was asked to examine Isaiah 14:12-17 and see if it in fact speaks of Satan or just the nation of Babylon. Certainly, prophecies like Isaiah can have a “dual fulfillment”- one at the time of Isaiah and another in a different time. (I will post my lengthy class response below for those who enjoy such things.) However, I want to share here the most important thing I learned, which is, “The Devil does what he does because of pride.”
No excuses, no deep answers… just plain and simple, “P-R-I-D-E.” Now his trick in our lives, just like with Adam and Even (and with Babylon in Isaiah 14 and the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28) is to get us to think that when we sin, it is anything but pride! Why? So that we can avoid true repentance. Thus, when people sin and avoid true repentance Satan (not God) is exalted in their lives. Likewise, since the Devil’s failed attempt at being exalted as God in heaven, the best he can now settle for is being exalted in our lives. Hence, the reason he does what he does is the same reason we do what what we do- “pride.” You could call it, “The Pride Partnership.”
For example, the Devil tells the lustful man who just looked at pornography, “You sinned because you had to because that is just the way God made you.” Or the Devil says to the person who is bitter and unforgiving towards a person who hurt them in life, “They don’t deserve your forgiveness because of what they did to you.” Now when the person believes this lie and continues in sin, “The Pride Partnership,” has been signed and put into action.
In closing, now consider all the times you have sinned- were you able to admit that at the root of it all was your own “pride?” Or did you fall into the lie of the Devil and make excuses? Let’s decide today to live in the righteousness of Christ Jesus and should we sin, let’s be quick to repent of our pride and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God to receive His forgiveness and cleansing. Break, “The Pride Partnership” with the Devil and be humble because Jesus is humble. Remember, God resists the proud, but give grace to the humble!
I believe the passage found in Isaiah 14:12-17 can apply to Satan because of the following reasons; first, prophecies like Isaiah 14 can have dual fulfillments. One fulfillment can be in the time of the prophecy with people, places, and situations that can be easily seen so God’s power can be revealed to the immediate hearers. Another fulfillment can be for a different time (even much further in the future) when God’s power can be manifested to another group of people. Without a doubt, the harder of the two fulfillments to verify is the second one because there is no real way within the prophetic context to actually prove the second fulfillment was the original intent of the author. At the same time, the Bible offers a solid verification system to the secondary fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies by providing further prophecies within the OT by other authors and the entire New Testament. For example, when an Old Testament prophecy is claimed to have been fulfilled by a New Testament author (or another OT prophet, like Daniel with Jeremiah’s writings) this testimony is very compelling, especially for the Christian. If a person is not a Christian then other steps must be taken to prove the trustworthiness of the other Scriptures, as well as their divine origin. Likewise, if the reader of this discussion board is a Christian then the New Testament’s declarations of secondary fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies should not only be compelling, but a matter of settled truth.
What is unique about this passage and its dual fulfillment is that it is not pointing to a future event but rather a past event, at the beginning of creation. However, it is later revelation like that of Ezekiel and Jesus that give its full meaning and secondary application. So the prophecy has two fulfillments, but the second one is not clearly known until a later time even though its events are prior to when it was first written.
Now this brings me to the second reason why I believe Isaiah 14 can apply to Satan and that is because it seems like Jesus Himself makes reference to it in His witnessing of Satan’s fall in Luke 10:18, he said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” The phrase, “I saw Satan fall…” seems to coincide with Isaiah’s statement in verse twelve, “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn…” Now for some (even among genuine Christians) this may not be enough evidence to fully convince them of its application to Satan. However, it is enough for me because Jesus and the gospel/NT writers do not generally quote entire passages from the Old Testament but rather make short references like the one in Luke 10:18. Wilkins pointed out in his New Testament reference charts regarding the gospels and Isaiah 52-53 that most of the New Testament references to those specific passage are short and should be considered to be more like, “allusions and conceptual influences,” rather then “direct quotes.” (Bock & Glaser, 113)
Thirdly, I believe that this passage refers to Satan because it parallels Ezekiel 28:11-19. Ezekiel is believed to have written his prophecies around 586 B.C. after the fall of Jerusalem. Therefore, his revelations of Satan, even though they come almost 150 years after Isaiah, are very much written in the same way. Ezekiel’s contemporary target is the King of Tyre and Isaiah’s is the nation of Babylon. Yet both seem to transcend the ordinary language of earthly events and make statements of heavenly things. For example, Ezekiel said in 28:14 about the King of Tyre, “You were anointed as a guardian cherub,” and Isaiah said in 14:11 of Babylon, “How you have fallen from heaven,” now both of these statements seem to go well beyond figurative language of just a earthly situation and most likely are pointing to the very event Jesus briefly mentioned in Luke 10:18. Certainly, I am aware that Jesus mentioned similar “heavenly language” in regards to one of his contemporary cities that rejected Him in Matthew 11:23 when He said, “And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.” Admittedly the figurative language is similar and clearer proves that Isaiah 14 did actually refer to contemporary Babylon, however, the use of the personal pronoun “I” gives the Isaiah passage a distinct reading. For example, Isaiah 14:13 reads as, “You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly.”
In closing, the reader is left wondering just how could this nation really be able to even imagine such a prideful thing unless it had already been the failed attempt of Satan and thus he now continues his personal quest of wanting to be exalted through the sons of Adam.