The King of Babylon
Ephesians 6:12 - For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
1 Peter 5:8 - Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Spiritual warfare is war waged against our Adversary, the devil. The problems of the world and of individuals can and should be traced back to these roots. All problems come from the Enemy.
Too often we pass the blame for our own difficulties. We joke, "The devil made me do it"; there is enough truth in this expression to recognize that it might have some degree of validity.
Discipleship is designed to equip us for serious warfare against the Enemy. If we are to be successful in spiritual warfare, we must know our Enemy. Improving our understanding of him and his tactics can elevate our expectations of being successful against him.
Who, exactly, is our Enemy, our Adversary? The Bible says it is the devil (see Acts 13:10; 1 Peter 5:8). The first time Satan was introduced in the Bible is when he appeared as a serpent in the Garden of Eden. Now serpents are animals, and God created the animals. Sometime after God created serpents, Satan was able to enter into the serpent and take control of it.
The serpent is identified in Genesis 3:1-15 as the Enemy. Obviously, the Enemy of our souls is more than a mere animal. In some way that we cannot know, the animal became possessed, then became an agent of our Adversary, Satan.
In Genesis, Satan appears to humanity as a slender snake; in Revelation, he appears as an oversized dragon (20:2). Another clear identification of the Adversary is in the story of the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14.
How you are fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . . I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High." Yet you shall be brought down. . . . Those who see you will gaze at you . . . saying: "Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities . . . Because you have destroyed your land and slain your people" (vv. 12-17, 20).
Clearly, the king of Babylon was a man. At the same time, he represents an incarnation of Lucifer. Many interpreters agree that the reference to the king of Babylon here is talking about Satan.
In verse 12, the king of Babylon is called Lucifer. The New Living Translation (NLT) uses the meaning of the word: "0 shining star, son of the morning."
The issue here is whether Isaiah is talking about a fallen angel or a human being. In verse 16, we find the question, "Is this the man?" He is described as one who died and went to the grave, as do human beings. The NLT translates 14:10, "Maggots are your sheet and worms your blanket." This obviously refers to the decay that follows death.
The king of Babylon is clearly a man, but the fall of Lucifer was used to represent him and his destructive reign. Thus, Lucifer has come to he called, in the Bible and in history, the king of Babylon.
Satan should be seen in the light of what Paul tells us about our Adversary:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
This scripture says our Adversary can include—and be identified as "principalities . . . powers . . . rulers" and "spiritual . . . wickedness." The NLT employs the words "evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world," "mighty powers of darkness, and - "wicked spirits." The NASB uses the words rulers, powers, world forces of . . darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
In reading all these verses together, the truth becomes clear. The Babylonian system under the Babylonian king was controlled by the spiritual authorities of darkness. The Babylonian Empire was a totally evil empire.
the authority of evil
Through magazines, movies and music, there has been a renewed emphasis on the subject of the devil and the powerful forces of evil that exist in our world. The secular press has noted a revival of interest in witchcraft, the occult and Satan worship itself. Where does Satan get his authority?
The first king of Babylon was Nimrod. He was defined as a gibbor. This is the same word used in Genesis 6:4, where the "sons of God" were called gibbor. In 10:9, Nimrod is described twice as a gibbor hunter. Where did the king of Babylon acquire his power to be a mighty one and function as a warrior conquering the nations that were in existence then? It is best to see the power of Nimrod as a spiritual force coming from heavenly or spiritual places, not from this world.
It is a serious mistake for us to underestimate our Adversary and the positions of power he controls in the world political system today. While Nimrod as the king of Babylon was a human with a father identified in the Bible, lie should also he clearly linked to Lucifer, who is identified as the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14.
the world ruler
Daniel, in his visions of the last days, saw the major world rulers come together. He saw them become as one person in the image he described in Daniel 231-35. The king of Babylon can be the pharaoh in Egypt, the ruler of Persia or the king of the Roman Empire. But Satan is the one who provides the authority for the ruling powers of darkness. They take over and pull the world downward to judgment.
How many nations or national leaders are controlled by the dragon of Revelation 20 today? Our assurance is that God brings victory over them. The final victory is still in the future.
The future, ultimate defeat over the King of Babylon is certain, however. Until that time, spiritual warfare against the Babylonian system is certain. Only those who prepare themselves for this warfare through discipleship will be able to win the victory.
- Do you understand the serpent in the Garden of Eden to be an animal or something else?
2. In your opinion would the world be a better place if God had removed the serpent before Adam and Even were tempted?
3. Who is Lucifer and what does his name mean?
4. Is the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14 a man or a fallen angel?
5. How did Nimrod the mighty hunter become a warrior leading an army?
6. When did warfare become a part of life, according to the Bible?
7. Do you see warfare as engaged in by nations as the outgrowth of spiritual warfare? Explain.
8. Do you see spiritual warfare as a major theological issue or is it being overstated?