2 Cor. 11:14
1 Peter 5:8
2 Peter 2:4
- Ezekiel 28:13-15
- "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God . . . Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; . . . Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee."
- This passage is cited to prove that Satan is a fallen angel. A S.D.A. publication puts it this way:
- "Thus we believe Satan to be but a created being, though of the highest rank. He was once called the 'anointed cherub that covereth' (Ezek. 28:14). He was described as 'full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty' (verse 12). He was the embodiment of created perfection, and apparently led the worship of the universe. He was in the 'mountain of God,' where God manifests His glory, and was 'perfect' in his ways until 'iniquity' developed in him (verses 14, 15). His heart became lifted up because of his beauty, and his wisdom and corrupted because of his brightness (verse 17). Unholy ambition and jealousy ruined him, and he led a host of angels in rebellion against God and Christ (Rev. 12:7-9). As a result he was 'cast' out of the mountain of God (Ezek. 28:16), and down to the 'ground', or earth (verse 17; Isa. 14:12)."1
- This passage nowhere mentions the terms "devil", "satan", or "fallen angel". The argument in support of a "fallen angel" interpretation, is therefore, an inferred argument.
- The anointed cherub (accepting the A.V. translation)2 is identified in the passage, but not with a rebel angel: "Son of man, say unto the prince3 of Tyrus . . ." (vs. 2). In chapters 26 and 27 prophecies recorded the then impending doom of the city of Tyre.
- Some questions require answering:
- In chapters 26 and 27 of Ezekiel's prophecy the destruction of Tyre is recorded - and literally enough, since today the site of ancient Tyre is like "the top of a rock . . . a place to spread nets upon" and has never been rebuilt. (Ezek. 26:14). The remainder of chapter 28 is a prophecy directed against Sidon and the future restoration of Israel. Why, in this context, would the prophet introduce a "revelation" about the origin of Satan?
- If Satan is a rebel angel, why is he called "a man"? (vs. 2, 9 R.S.V.).
- Does Satan the devil really traffic in riches - gold and silver? (vs. 4, 5). Is not his concern for humans?
- It is said by J.W.'s that Satan rebelled "because of developing a greed for power over mankind."4 But how is this to be squared with vs. 4, 5 "and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches"?
- Since Jesus stated that angels do not die: "neither can they [children of the resurrection] die any more: for they are equal unto the angels' (Luke 20:36), how is Satan to die "by the hand of strangers" (vs. 10), to be devoured by fire and brought "to ashes" (vs. 18), and "to be no more for ever" (vs. 19, R.S.V.)?
- "There is no secret that they can hide from thee." (vs. 3). This is an illustration of the way in which "the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." (Luke 16:8). The king of Tyre was wise in his ability to increase his riches through trade (vs. 5, Zech. 9:2), but this does not mean that he was wiser than Daniel in divine matters.
- "Thou has been in Eden the garden of God." (vs. 13). It is reasoned that the real character must have been Satan the devil since the king of Tyre could not have lived contemporary with Adam and Eve. But the passage does not require the King of Tyre to have lived contemporary with Adam and Eve. It just requires the king to have been in Eden, the garden of God, but without specification as to time. Eden appears to have been an extensive area in which the garden was placed in the east. (Gen. 2:8; cf. Ezek. 27:23). In figurative language, Pharaoh, king of Egypt is depicted as being a cedar in Lebanon taller than any of the other trees of Eden (trees are used here symbolically for nations). (Ezek. 31:2, 3, R.S.V., 8, 9, 16, 18). But this reference to Eden does not imply that Pharaoh must have lived contemporary with Adam and Eve.
- "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." (vs. 15). It is sometimes argued that the passage cannot refer to the literal king of Tyre since he was not "perfect". The Hebrew word "tamim" translated "perfect" means "perfect, plain, whole, complete".5 Noah was a "just man and perfect" (Gen. 6:9 - same Hebrew word, "tamim"), but there is no question of his being an angel.
- It is sometimes argued that the literal king of Tyre would have been procreated, not created (vs. 13, 15), therefore, the passage must refer to an angel. But the Hebrew word, "bara" translated "create" means "to be prepared, formed, created."6 The same word is used for the creation of "people" (Psa. 102:18) and the Ammonites (Ezek. 21:30). Clearly in these passages the word cannot imply the creation of angels.
- Tyre occupied a privileged position in its relationship to Israel. David and Hiram had been close friends (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Kings 5:1, 6, 7, 10) and Hiram and Solomon had made a league in which Hiram supplied materials for the building of the temple. (1 Kings 5:12, 17, 18). The language of Ezek. 28:13-18 is taken from Israelitish worship and used symbolically for the relationship of Israel and Tyre (by implication suggesting the divine favour which rested upon Tyre because of its association with Israel). Consider the following:
- "Every precious stone was thy covering" (vs. 13); "thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." (vs. 14). This is an allusion to the stones set in the breastplate of the high priest of Israel.7 (Exod. 39:10-14). They were "stones of fire" because of the way they would shine when exposed to the brilliance of the Shekinah glory of the sanctuary. They symbolized the twelve tribes of Israel. (Exod. 39:1). The king of Tyre walked in the midst of these stones of fire when he moved among the children of Israel (as in the preparation of the materials for the temple). The position of Israel in the divine purpose provided a "covering" for Tyre on the basis of the decree in Genesis 12:3: 'I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee". God blessed the house of Potiphar because of Joseph: ". . . the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field." (Gen. 39:5). Similarly, Tyre was "covered" by Israel.
- "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth." (vs. 14). The cherubim were figures of beaten gold at either end of the mercy seat. (Exod. 37:7-9). Their wings overshadowed the mercy seat with which they were of one piece. (Exod. 25:19, 20). Although the translation of the Hebrew is uncertain, (accepting the A.V.), the suggestion may be that Tyre as a great mercantile power was privileged to cast its "wings" over Israel.8 It was the abuse of this exalted position that was a factor in the ruin of Tyre. (vs. 4, 5).
- "Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God." (vs. 14). This holy mountain is Mt. Zion, the future site of God's house of prayer for all people. (Isa. 2:2, 3; 56:7). This "holy mountain of God" is on the earth, not symbolically in heaven as J.W.'s assert. (See Ezek. 20:40).
- "Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities." (Ezek. 28:18). This verse may imply that Tyre had set up forms of worship similar to that of Israel. Hiram was "ever a lover of David" and rejoiced with Solomon in the building of the temple. (1 Kings 5:1-12). The king of Tyre would no doubt have learned about God's kingdom in Israel from these two kings of Israel. Or, the verse may be interpreted this way: Tyre's sanctuaries were in Israel where the divine presence and favour were manifest. But Tyre failed to appreciate its privileged association with Israel. When Nebuchadnezzar came down into Jerusalem (586 B.C.), the prince of Tyrus said: "Aha, the gate of the peoples is broken, it has swung open to me; I shall be replenished, now that she is laid waste." (Ezek. 26:2 R.S.V.). In so saying, Tyre had spoken her own nemesis according to the decree of Gen. 12:3: "I will . . . curse him that curseth thee." Tyre, in her self-centered mercantile interests, had profaned the sanctuaries and was herself to be reduced to ashes.
- "I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee." (vs. 18). Tyre could not with impunity violate her privileged relationship with Israel. When Nadab and Abihu treated the sacred as secular, "there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." (Lev. 10:2). Similarly, Tyre had failed to make a difference between the holy and unholy. It was, therefore, to be reduced to ashes - devoured like Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen. 19:24, 25).
- Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine: An Explanation of Certain Major Aspects of Seventh-day Adventist Belief, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Ass., 1957), p. 619. Return
- The A.V. rendering of this verse identifies the cherub with the "king of Tyrus". The R.S.V. translates this verse as follows: "With an anointed guardian cherub I placed you" - in which case the guardian cherub does not refer to the king of Tyre. Return
- Or "king of Tyrus". (vs. 12). "Prince" is translated from the Hebrew word "nagid" which means "leader". It is translated most often by "ruler" in the A.V., "King" is translated from the Hebrew word "melek" which means "king, counsellor". Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible, (London: Lutterworth Press, 1965). Return
- "Things In Which It Is Impossible For God To Lie", (Brooklyn, New York: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of N.Y., Inc., Int. Bible Students Ass., 1965), p. 159. Return
- Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible, (London: Lutterworth Press, 1965). Return
- Ibid. Return
- Only 9 of the 12 stones are recorded in the Hebrew text. The Septuagint, however, has 12 stones. Return
- Wings suggest protection. See Matt. 23:37. Psa. 36:7; 91:4. The Hebrew word "kanaph" (the usual Hebrew word for the wings of the cherubim) carries the meaning of wings as covering and protecting. See Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible, (London: Lutterworth Press, 1965). Return