TODAY’S READING: ISAIAH 12-14
While reading through these chapters this morning, the Spirit impressed upon me a few places we can see Jesus in the oracle concerning Babylon.
Isaiah 13:2 says, “On a bare hill raise a signal; cry aloud to them, wave the hand for them to enter the gates of the nobles.”
In 5:26, 11:10, and 11:12, Isaiah uses the same Hebrew word for signal in clear reference to Jesus. I wrote about the two in chapter 11 in A Signal for the Peoples. Therefore, it seems quite likely that the “signal” in the beginning of the oracle concerning Babylon is Jesus. Jesus is raised up on the cross on a bare hill, Golgotha, the place of the skull.
From here he cries aloud to all those that are in Babylon. Revelation 18:4-5 says, “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.'”
In this oracle concerning Babylon, Jesus is crying to out to the people in Babylon to leave her and come into the gates of his holy city.
Isaiah 13:6 says, “Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come.” I believe if you study the references to “the day of the Lord” you will see they relate to Jesus’ resurrection, his second coming, and our final and complete redemption and resurrection.
Notice carefully that the day of the comes “as” destruction. The day of the Lord is like destruction, but it is not actual destruction. This is because Satan is the one who kills, steals, and destroys (John 10:10) and not Jesus (see my post Who Says I Destroy – God or Satan?)
So what does it mean that the day of the Lord comes as destruction?
We know that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rules, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) In other words, we are wrestling against the ideas, opinions, and thoughts that are against God.
Therefore, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
The day of the Lord comes “as” destruction because it is a spiritual destruction of our vain imaginations and ideas of who God is not a literal destruction of cities and peoples.
Isaiah 14:4-8 says, “You will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: ‘How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution. The whole earth is at rest and quiet, they break forth into singing.'”
Who is the king of Babylon? Who is the oppressor?
Ultimately, spiritually, the king of Babylon, the oppressor, is Satan, just as Revelation reveals.
Satan is the one that held the staff of the wicked.
Satan wielded the scepter of rulers.
Satan struck the peoples in wrath.
Satan ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution.
None of this was God. And, none of this will be God. This is not how God’s kingdom has worked, is working, or will ever work.
Then how was the king of Babylon defeated? How was oppression stopped? How was insolent fury brought to an end? How did the Lord break his power to rule? How did God stop Satan from ruling the peoples in wrath and in anger with unrelenting persecution.
Jesus, God’s son, died on the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to an open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
Through the cross, Jesus disarmed Satan, the king of Babylon, ruler of nations and spiritual authorities. Through the cross, Jesus took away Satan’s rod and scepter, his power of death, so that Satan could no longer rule us in wrath and unrelenting anger through the fear of death.
This is just a glimpse of Jesus in the oracle concerning Babylon. I’m sure we could find him in other places too.