The King of Babylon is just like the city of Babylon that represented an actual city but also a belief system. The King of Babylon was an evil dictator but these verses also show the works of Satan as well. Today we will see the outcome of the King of Babylon and what is really important in life because everyone has to answer the question as to what happens after we die. There are many thoughts and opinions but it is something we cannot get wrong because eternity is on the line.
Isaiah 14:9-11 Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. 10 All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’ 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers.
- Death is an equalizer
Sheol is a Hebrew term that refers to life after death meaning a place below or a realm where the departed gather.(Genesis 15:15;49:33; Ezekiel 26:20; Job 26:5-6) The New Testament was written in Greek and the term is called Hades which has the same meaning as Sheol. The King of Babylon was a ruthless ruler who invaded and took whatever he wanted and built his power and wealth and although he was not a man who was to be crossed he still met the same fate that all humans face and that is death.
“In his dying words, the French infidel Voltaire said to his doctor, “I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six-months life.” So desperate where his cries when his time was gone that the nurse who attended him said, “For all the wealth in Europe I would not see another infidel die.”
An infidel is someone who does not believe in a religion other than themselves and the nurse said all the money in the world would not be enough to stand by the side of a person without Christ and watch them die. We might put people up on pedal stools or they may be powerful in this life but the reality is death does not care how much money you make or how famous you are.
2) Death does not always mean Rest In Peace
If you attend a funeral or see condolences on social media you will see people say Rest in Peace of rest easy because many believe that once we die that all the pain and suffering is over. The bible gives us a peak of what the after life is like with this peak behind the curtain we see what God has to say about the eternal future of individuals who die.
Sheol beneath is Stirred up
It is important that Isaiah says that Sheol beneath is stirred up because Hebrew Rabbi’s taught that Sheol had two compartments one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous. When the King of Babylon arrives it causes an unaccustomed disturbance and it’s a picture that the spirits of the great kings of the past that have died before have come to see this soul that was so great earth but they only find out that the King of Babylon was nothing. Some of these Kings may have even been killed by this King but humanly no matter how great someone is on this earth they are nothing in the sight of God.
This passage of scripture also shows that the person does not lose their identity which shows the importance of every human being who is created in the image of God because their image will live for eternity. Some believe Hell to be a cruel invention of God but the Bible is clear that Hell was not created for humanity but for Satan and his rebellious angels.
Matthew 25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
People that go to Hell go there by their own choice and because they have suppressed the truth of what they knew about God and decided to live their life as if they were god. (Romans 1) At the end of this life it will not matter how much money and or power you had on this earth because you will be going to the grave and you will live eternally knowing where you are and why you are there.
“You have been made weak like us” No matter what achievements the King of Babylon thinks he made they are worthless where he went. Jesus tells a similar story about a rich and a poor man.
Luke 16:19-31 There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.[f] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
No matter what your position in this life it does not compare to your position in the life to come and once you have exited this life your position in the next is permanent. With this peak behind the curtain we see that The Rich man was fully conscious, he had memory of his family, he was speaking and was in pain. He also did not complain about where he was because he knew what he was experiencing was fair punishment but he also knew he did not want his brothers to be there with him. The Rich man became interested in telling others about Jesus after death so maybe we should be interested in telling people about Jesus while we are still alive.
In the parable Jesus says neither will they be convinced if someone rises from the dead was Jesus way of saying His death and resurrection for our sins would be a sign to the world and a sign that everyone must give an answer for. (Matthew 12:39) This is why every religion has something to say about Jesus Christ but what we say and believe about Him matters.
There is a difference between Sheol and Hell and people who die without Christ go to Sheol until the final judgment day to await their punishment at the end of time.
2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,[d] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment
When people died they would go to Sheol either to Torment or Paradise now people only go to Sheol the place of torment. For Christians it is not the same experience as those who died without Christ because Christ died and rose again defeating sin and death those who died in faith are now able to go straight to Heaven to be with Christ. (Philippians 1:21-24) Paradise (Luke 23:43) and Torment are no longer side by side as they were before Christ died and provided the way back into the presence of God.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Christians who die before us are in heaven with the Lord because all of their sins have been forgiven.
This is why there is no such thing as purgatory which is a teaching that you are not good enough to go to Heaven right away but must go and have your sins purged.
Hebrews 10:17-18 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
No more offering or sacrifice has to be made in order for you to be declared clean before God. It is not by your works or added works that get you into Heaven but the work of Jesus Christ who died and rose again on our behalf. Hebrews 1:3 says Jesus is the one who made purification for our sins and Hebrews 9:26 Jesus put away sins by Himself. Jesus does not need us to add anything to what He has already done.
Your Pomp has been brought down to Sheol worms are your blankets
All the great parades he had to display himself as something great mean nothing and now he is laid with the worms like everyone else. The bible teaches that none of your greatest achievements are worth the cost of your soul. (Matthew 16:26) To reiterate that nothing is as important as eternity Jesus gives a dramatic illustration
Mark 9:47-48 7 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.
No matter what this world has to offer it does not compare to Heaven but too many times we get focused on this world without regard for the next. If Satan can keep us distracted and busy enough then our thoughts will not be on what is really important and Jesus says that you need to cut those things out of your life even if it cost you physically right now because it will be worth it for eternity. No one knows the day or the hour in which they will leave this earth and many times we think it is down the road but are you prepared to stand before God today?
Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
Many people have moved away from having viewings which is just a way for people to see the body of the loved one when in the past they would send the body back to the house of the person for people to gather around. It was a time of reflection of what is really important and how quickly this life will pass away. All the business deals we made, all the plaques on the wall, all the names on the buildings and all the accolades one can gain mean nothing once death hits us.
3) Death Is not all bad news
It is difficult to talk about these topics without mentioning the hope we have in Christ. Death is sad and seeing loved ones die is heartbreaking and painful but there is a hope that we have that goes beyond what we can see. We said that the Bible gives us a sneak peek about eternity and with that we can know that there is more than this life has to offer.
Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
“Donald Grey Barnhouse, on the way home from the funeral of his first wife, was trying to think of some way of comforting his children. Just then a huge moving van passed by their car and its shadow swept over them. Instantly, Barnhouse aske, Children, would you rather be run over by a truck or by its shadow? The children replied, Of course we’d prefer the shadow! To which Barnhouse replied, Two thousand years ago the truck of death ran over the Lord Jesus…. now only the shadow of death can run over us.” (One minute after you die, Erwin Lutzer, Pg 75)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[a]I
will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ death is not something we have to fear and we no longer have to wonder if we will be acceptable to God because it was Jesus who made us acceptable to God by His sacrifice. Although this life is not easy we have a home that we look forward to that will be greater than anything we can imagine.
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us
Nothing will compare to what is waiting for us. This includes all the pain and suffering that we have experienced in this world will be nothing compared to the joy we will have as we will spend eternity with God.
God gave us the scriptures about the afterlife and about Heaven for a reason; He did it to encourage us that our focus should not be on the things of this world but on the world to come. As we take a sneak peek behind the curtain we see that death is a great equalizer but it also means that death is not restful for everyone. Although the subject is difficult we realize that God has provided a way through Jesus Christ for us to not have to worry about death because He has already defeated death. Have you been ignoring death and what it means if you died today? Have you been ignoring Christ thinking you have more time to get things right? Are you so focused on this life that you are not worried about the life to come?
Acts 16:31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Believe in Jesus and that the work He did makes you right with God and not by your own works (Ephesians 2:8-9). You are believing that one day you will stand before God and you have been declared clean not because you did more good than bad but that Jesus took your sins upon Himself and paid the penalty for them which is death. (Romans 6:23) Romans 5:1 says we are declared righteous not because of us but because of the work of Christ. Will you do good works? Of course but you will do them out of gratitude not to earn your way to God. s