I understand Isaiah 14 is a prophecy against Babylon (is Nebuchadnezzar
intended? or the entire Babylonian kingdom – this is a sub-question).
However, I have read a number of books where the authors have stated that
this is a reference to Satan. They quote vs.12-14 and say these contain
the five ‘I Will’s’ of Satan. These same authors quote Ezek 28:11-19 and
again state that this is a reference to Satan. The Bible text clearly
mentions, Babylon and Tyre in both cases and yet these ‘scholars’ if I may
use the term state otherwise. I have not found the ‘fall’ of Satan in
scripture (and if its there then I must have missed it). The only ‘fall’ I
find explained quite lucidly is in Luke’s gospel (Lk 10:17,18) and this
looks like Satan is suffering defeat when the demons are cast out. The
other verse I find similar is Rev 12:9, but again I doubt this refers to
Satans ‘fall’. From what I have understood Satan was a fallen creature
long before this world was created.

It is funny, as I was reviewing Isaiah 14, I saw my own note to myself in
the margin of my Bible: Lucifer? No! Babylon. The prophecy concerns both
Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, but principally Babylon, as Nebuchadnezzar was
already dead when the prophecy was fulfilled in 539 BC when Babylon fell
to Cyrus. You might want to consider Daniel 5 which shows that it was
Belshazzar, the regent king of Babylon who was actually killed on the
night in question. The context of Isaiah 14 demands that one interpret it
as referring to Babylon. Any application to Satan is at best indirect. It
may be true that many of the phrases used in Isaiah 14:12-14 could be
applied to Satan, but the fact is that Isaiah 14:11 and Isaiah 14:15, the
bookends to this section cannot apply to Satan. Maggots will not cover
Satan, nor will he be brought down to the grave. The context, as usual,
tells us how to interpret this passage. I do not personally have trouble
with someone using this passage first pointing out that it is to be
applied to Babylon and then making a secondary application to us or even
to how Satan works, but it is simply bad Bible interpretation to apply it
directly to Satan.

The same, only even more so, applies to Ezekiel 28:11-19. Verses 14, 15,
if taken out of context (of course preachers would never take passages out
of context) really seems like a passage about Satan, but if one reads the
entire section and tries to say this is talking about Satan, I would
question their sincerity with regards to letting the Bible speak for
itself. Verse 12 says “Son of man take up a lament concerning the king or
Tyre…. This is bookended by v 18 “By your many sins and dishonest

I would say that the evidence that Satan is a “fallen angel” is not
totally convincing, but there is at least some fairly convincing indirect
evidence that Satan has “fallen” (to use an unbiblical turn of phrase)
from what God created him to be. For example Matthew 25:41 describes Satan
and his angels. I find it very hard to believe that God created beings
with the intention that they be evil from the beginning. I would challenge
you to do some studying with the view in mind that although people may use
passages out of context to prove Satan has “fallen,” that nevertheless
there is at least some truth to the general idea. You believe Satan was a
“fallen creature” long before the world was created. That may very well be
true. I have no evidence to prove one way or another when this happened,
except that it was somewhere before Genesis 2. If you find some evidence
one way or another, let me know.

John Oakes, PhD

Comments are closed.