Blogging the Bible 185 – Isaiah 12-16 – The fallen star

In the midst of the oracles of judgement and rescue, tangled up with the fate of the nations is the passage which inspired Milton and shaped much of our understanding of Lucifer, the fallen angel.

Isaiah 14:12-21 abruptly changes the focus from the arrogance of earthly rulers (and their inevitable downfall) to the fall of the Day Star, one of the first-created angelic beings, who tried to rise above God the Most High and so inevitably fell instead to the depths.

It’s a powerful image, and it’s no wonder that Milton took it up in Paradise Lost. It’s also a useful reminder that Lucifer is as real as any tyrannical human despot – but not, in the end, of an entirely different nature.

Any overreaching ambition, whether human or satanic, carries within it the seed of its own destruction. In the long run we need fear no oppressor, human or spiritual. In the shorter term, we may suffer defeat at the hand of either, but this will not last. Each prophecy of destruction in Isaiah is followed by a prophecy of restoration to a better place than before. Our spiritual enemy is not separated out for different treatment – he has no more power to harm us eternally than did Stalin or Pol Pot.

That doesn’t in any way diminish the need to fight against evil, of whatever kind. But it keeps it in perspective. In the end, God wins.

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