3/25/2015

What Happens to You After You Die (Isaiah 14): The Destiny of the Arrogant

Isaiah 14:9-21; 12

"How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!" (Isa 14:12, NIV)

What happens to you after you die? What happened to the king of Babylon after he died? By extrapolation and inference, could we not say that this is how Isaiah explains what happens to all people after they die? If anyone is proud or arrogant, oppressive, violent, cruel or unjust like the king of Babylon, will this not be what will happen? Let us draw this out from Isa 14:9-21:
  1. You still exist, even though you have died.
  2. You will be in Sheol (Isa 14:9, 11, 15). Sheol is the abode of the dead. It is a place where the soul continues to live on, but without your body which is decaying in the cemetery (Isa 14:18).
  3. You are still "you" (Isa 14:9a). You do not cease to be who you are after you die. According to Scripture, after you die you will continue in the same trajectory during your lifetime. You will still be the person you are when you are alive. "Let the one who does wrong [unjust, unrighteous, evildoer, doing harm] continue to do wrong; let the vile [filthy] person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy" (Rev 22:11).
  4. You will meet and be with others who are just like you (Isa 14:9b).
  5. You will be different, even though you are still you. You will become "weak" (Isa 14:10)--a fraction of yourself--like everyone else in Sheol (Isa 14:9, 11, 15). Sheol is the abode of the dead. It is a place where the soul continues to live.
  6. All your pomp and glory will be no more (Isa 14:11-12).
  7. You will no longer be able to oppress others (Isa 14:12b, 16-17, 19-20).
  8. You will be brought low, even though all of your life you were trying to:
    • "ascend to heaven,"
    • rise "above the stars" "on the utmost heights" (Isa 14:13),
    • "ascend above the tops of the clouds" (Isa 14:14a),
    • make yourself "like the Most High" (Isa 14:14b; Gen 3:5).
  9. You will become like the way you treated people (Isa 14:19).
  10. Your children and descendents will not be blessed or remembered (Isa 14:20b-21).
This is simply downright scary, because all of the elements of evil, cruelty, injustice and oppression are still in all of us. The accounts of how people who were once humble and kind change after they attain wealth, fame, success or power are simply astronomical. I can clearly see in myself how even my meager degree of success can get to me and to swell my Chinese head. Lord, have mercy! None of us, especially I, can change ourselves. But thank God that by God's mercy and grace alone, God may transform us from the inside out to be new people (2 Cor 3:18; 5:17).