Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 140 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Ezekiel 28 today and our focus is on the origin, pride and downfall of Satan. A most strange episode focus, I know. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Today we are talking about the king of Tyre…or are we? Ezekiel 28 is a fascinating and hotly debated passage. On the surface, it is a lament and a pronouncement of judgment by God on the king of Tyre, a country very close to Judah. Modern day Tyre is in the country of Lebanon, and is the fourth largest city there. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, dating back to 2750 B.C. Humans have lived in this city for almost 5,000 years – that is utterly mind boggling to me! In the early days of the kingdom of Israel, King David and King Solomon were staunch allies with Hiram, King of Tyre, and free trade happened between the kingdoms. King Ahab, a wicked king, married Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Tyre many years after David and Solomon. By Ezekiel’s day, relations between Judah and Tyre were not so good, and Ezekiel 28 contains a strong censure and criticism of the pride and arrogance of Tyre’s king, who viewed himself as a god among men.
6 “‘Therefore, this is what the Lord God says:
Because you regard your heart as that of a god,
7 I am about to bring strangers against you,
ruthless men from the nations.
They will draw their swords
against your magnificent wisdom
and will pierce your splendor.
8 They will bring you down to the Pit,
and you will die a violent death
in the heart of the sea. Ezekiel 28:6-8
The historical king in question here is Ithobaal III, an able ruler who was even able to resist a significant siege from Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Now – before you skip to the next episode, let me assure you. We are not today going to cover the career of Ithobaal III and have more facts about Tyre. Why not? Because I, along with many, but not all Bible teachers and scholars, believe something much more significant is going on in Ezekiel 28 than just a takedown of a prideful human king named Ithobaal. A few verses into Ezekiel’s criticism of the king of Tyre, things change. God says to write a lament now for the king of Tyre, and the lament begins:
You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God.
Every kind of precious stone covered you:
carnelian, topaz, and diamond,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
lapis lazuli, turquoise and emerald.
Your mountings and settings were crafted in gold;
they were prepared on the day you were created. vss 12-13
These are strange words, when spoken by God, of a human king. We can perhaps understand the references to all of the precious stones that covered this being as a reference to having lots of wealth and jewelry. Less understandable is God’s statement that this being was, “in Eden, the garden of God.” Could this be an exaggeration of sorts? If so, it is a very, very strange exaggeration that we find nowhere else in Scripture. In terms of those who were in Eden, I count 3 beings, other than God Himself (not counting the cherubim that guarded the entrance) Those beings were Adam, Eve and the serpent, Satan.
Further, in reading God’s description, He says that this being that is referenced was PERFECT in beauty, FULL of wisdom, and the seal of perfection. This is an interesting description if we take things at exact face value. How could a human king of a pagan nation be PERFECT in beauty and FULL of wisdom, and the very seal of perfection? This isn’t making sense so far. Let’s keep reading.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
15 From the day you were created
you were blameless in your ways
until wickedness was found in you.
16 Through the abundance of your trade,
you were filled with violence, and you sinned.
So I expelled you in disgrace
from the mountain of God, Ezekiel 28:14-16
So – are we to believe that a human king – Ithobaal III was on God’s holy mountain?? Could a human king be BLAMELESS in his ways from the day of his creation, until wickedness was found in him? This is a very strange statement from God, considering King David’s declaration:
Indeed, I was guilty when I was born;
I was sinful when my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5
When we realize that the Bible calls David the man after God’s own heart, and we see many other teachings in the Bible that point to the doctrine of original sin – that all humans and babies are sinners – then I can’t see how God would call a pagan king blameless. As well, we see in this passage that the individual being discussed was expelled in disgrace from the mountain of God. That sounds an awful lot like the description in Revelation 12 of the expulsion of Satan from Heaven, and it sounds like nothing at all that could be applied to a human king of Tyre. One more bit of evidence:
You were an anointed guardian cherub,
for I had appointed you….So I expelled you in disgrace
from the mountain of God,
and banished you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones. Ezekiel 28:14 and 16
Twice God calls this being a guardian cherub. How this could possibly apply to a human, pagan king, I’ve no idea, but one could easily see how it could apply to Satan, the accuser. Satan is, quite clearly, a heavenly being, created by God, just like the cherubim. So much of what is spoken in Ezekiel 28:11-19 couldn’t possibly be applied to a human being without a tremendous amount of stretching, exaggeration and hyperbole….but it could most certainly apply to a cherub, a heavenly being…potentially the only fallen heavenly being that we know of which is named in the Bible: Satan. If that theory is correct, then why is Satan euphemistically referred to here as the king of Tyre? The best theory that I can give you is that, much like Isaiah 14, this passage begins by targeting a real human king – a human king that was so full of pride and ambition that he began to think of himself as a god. The comparison seems to be that Satan made this exact error, but from the perspective of a heavenly being. He was beautiful, flawless, wealthy, wise and perfect….until pride reared up and became sin for him, which led to rebellion and being cast out of Heaven/the mountain of God. I believe that this is what we are seeing in today’s passage, but you prayerfully listen as we read the passage together, do some studying, and see what you discover!
Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
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