How art thou fallen from heaven
This is not to be understood of the fall of Satan, and the apostate angels, from their first estate, when they were cast down from heaven to hell, though there may be an allusion to it; see ( Luke 10:18 ) but the words are a continuation of the speech of the dead to the king of Babylon, wondering at it, as a thing almost incredible, that he who seemed to be so established on the throne of his kingdom, which was his heaven, that he should be deposed or fall from it. So the destruction of the Roman Pagan emperors is signified by the casting out of the dragon and his angels from heaven, ( Revelation 12:7-9 ) and in like manner Rome Papal, or the Romish antichrist, will fall from his heaven of outward splendour and happiness, of honour and authority, now, possessed by him: O Lucifer, son of the morning!
alluding to the star Venus, which is the phosphorus or morning star, which ushers in the light of the morning, and shows that day is at hand; by which is meant, not Satan, who is never in Scripture called Lucifer, though he was once an angel of light, and sometimes transforms himself into one, and the good angels are called morning stars, ( Job 38:7 ) and such he and his angels once were; but the king of Babylon is intended, whose royal glory and majesty, as outshining all the rest of the kings of the earth, is expressed by those names; and which perhaps were such as he took himself, or were given him by his courtiers. The Targum is,
``how art thou fallen from on high, who was shining among the sons of men, as the star Venus among the stars.''Jarchi, as the Talmud F3, applies it to Nebuchadnezzar; though, if any particular person is pointed at, Belshazzar is rather designed, the last of the kings of Babylon. The church of Rome, in the times of the apostles, was famous for its light and knowledge; its faith was spoken of throughout all the earth; and its bishops or pastors were bright stars, in the morning of the Gospel dispensation: how art thou cut down to the ground;
like a tall tree that is cut down, and laid along the ground, and can never rise and flourish more, to which sometimes great monarchs and monarchies are compared; see ( Isaiah 10:18 Isaiah 10:19 ) ( Ezekiel 31:3 ) ( Daniel 4:10 Daniel 4:22 ) and this denotes that the king of Babylon should die, not a natural, but a violent death, as Belshazzar did, with whom the Babylonish monarchy fell, and never rose more; and this is a representation of the sudden, violent, and irrecoverable ruin of the Romish antichrist, ( Revelation 18:21 ) : which didst weaken the nations!
by subduing them, taking cities and towns, plundering the inhabitants of their substance, carrying them captive, or obliging them to a yearly tribute, by which means he weakened them, and kept them under. So the Romish antichrist has got the power over many nations of the earth, and has reigned over the kings of it, and by various methods has drained them of their wealth and riches, and so greatly enfeebled them; nay, they have of themselves given their power and strength unto the beast, ( Revelation 17:12 Revelation 17:13 Revelation 17:15 Revelation 17:17 Revelation 17:18 ) . Several of the Jewish writers observe, that the word here used signifies to cast lots; and so it is used in the Misna F4, and explained in the Talmud F5; and is applied to the king of Babylon casting lots upon the nations and kingdoms whom he should go to war with, and subdue first; see ( Ezekiel 21:19-23 ) . The Targum is,
``thou art cast down to the earth, who killedst the people:''a fit description of antichrist, ( Revelation 11:7 ) ( Revelation 13:7 Revelation 13:10 Revelation 13:15 ) .
F3 T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 89. 1. Gloss. in Pesachim, fol. 94. 1. & Chagiga, fol. 13. 1.
F4 Misn. Sabbat, c. 23. 2. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.
F5 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 149. 2.