Satan Before Eden: Ezekiel 28:11-19

The other passage that discusses Satan’s career before the Garden of Eden is found in the prophecy of Ezekiel against the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11-19.  This prophecy reads:  “Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God:  “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.  The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.  You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.  You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.  By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.  Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.  You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you.  All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever.” ’

There are at least a few notable aspects about this passage and how it relate to the Bible’s discussion of Satan that are worth discovering.  For one, it is notable that in viewing Satan with a title, namely that of the King of Tyre, this prophecy repeats the pattern that we saw earlier in Isaiah 14.  It is also notable that the very title of King of Tyre here relates to the trading in gossip and lies and innuendo that Satan did against God to drive up strength for his rebellion.  Just as the city of Tyre became corrupt through its trading, so too Satan and those who follow him make merchandise of improper things and often become filled with violence within.  It is not surprising that we see this same matter discussed as a factor of the Babylonian religious system in Revelation, which we will discuss later on.  The titles given to Satan matter, and we should pay attention to them, as they are patterns that are often repeated throughout the scriptures that relate to certain aspects of Satan’s character and behavior that it is important to understand and avoid repeating.

It is also notable that just as was the case in Isaiah, this particular prophecy also spends a lot of time talking about the internal sins of Satan prior to his rebellion that led to his corruption.  And as in Isaiah, pride was a big part of the problem, as Ezekiel states that Satan’s heart was lifted up because of his God-given gifts.  Rather than being grateful for what he was given he let his gifts, his divinely created perfection that did not include perfection in character, go to his head and he was lifted up above the place of servant.  In this case the ambition of Satan to be like God led to violence within, a fitting description of the envy and hostility and rebellion that so often take place within the hearts of ambitious beings.

It is also notable that just as Isaiah spends a lot of time talking about the fate of Satan that so too Ezekiel comments on the destruction of Satan in ways that suggest his ultimate fate is to be annihilated and to serve as a horror for the rulers that he terrorized during the course of his existence.  Characteristic of speaking of the future as if it is the past, this prophecy discusses the way that Satan will be turned into ashes on the earth for people to walk on top of.  This is a notable mention of the ultimate fate of those who are condemned to be destroyed, and is something that is well worth keeping in mind as a way of disciplining our own speculation about the fate of Satan.  It is all too easy for us to think of Dante’s Inferno or other pictures and to think of Satan as freezing (where the Bible shows no such indication) or as being immortal and impossible to destroy, which again does not have any support from scripture.  The Bible comments on Satan being denied a burial place but being consigned to destruction, and that is an encouraging thought.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical Guide To Demonology, Christianity, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Satan Before Eden: Ezekiel 28:11-19

  1. Pingback: A Biblical Guide To Demonology Project | Edge Induced Cohesion

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