Does Ezekiel 28 refer to Satan?

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Ezekiel 28:12-19

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 workmanship of your timbrels and pipes

Was prepared for you on the day you were created.

“You were the anointed cherub who covers…

on the holy mountain of God

You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,

Till iniquity was found in you…

And I destroyed you, O covering cherub…

“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty…

Therefore I brought fire from your midst;

It devoured you…And shall be no more forever.”

Application to Satan

Verses 11–19, though presented as a lament upon the king of Tyrus, can hardly be restricted in its application to this prince. The imagery certainly exceeds such a local reference. And it fails to answer the problems created if a completely local application is given to these verses. The following can’t apply to the literal “king of Tyrus”:

(1) “You were in Eden, the garden of God” (v. 13).

(2) “You were the anointed cherub who covers…You were on the holy mountain of God” (v. 14).

(3) “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you” (v. 15).

(4) “Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub” (v. 16).

Ezekiel saw the character and activities of the literal king of Tyre in vision. And he also saw the invisible powerful being whom the king of Tyre served. Thus, the prophet saw beyond the literal king of Babylon (Jeremiah 14:4). He saw Satan, whose character and policies the king of Babylon copied (vs. 12–16).

Satan’s fall

Lucifer was a “covering” cherub, or angel. He was one of these highly exalted angels and was a leader. His beauty was flawless and breathtaking. Also, his wisdom was perfect. And his brightness was awe-inspiring. Ezekiel 28:13 seems to indicate that he was specially created to be an outstanding musician.

But Pride, jealousy, and discontent arose in Lucifer’s heart. And he soon began to desire to unseat God and to demand that everyone worship him instead. He desired to be like God. Lucifer deceived a third of the angels (Revelation 12:3, 4) and caused a rebellion in heaven.

The Creator had no choice but to cast Lucifer and the other fallen angels out of heaven, because Lucifer’s aim was to usurp His throne even if it meant murder (John 8:44). After his expulsion from heaven, Lucifer was called Satan, meaning “adversary,” and the devil, meaning “slanderer.” Also, the angels who followed Satan were called demons (Revelation 20:14, 15; 21:1).

Conclusion

Ezekiel 28 gives us a history of the origin, initial position, and downfall of the angel who later became known as the devil and Satan. God created a beautiful angel, holy and undefiled, but this angel made a devil out of himself.

Aside from this passage and the one in Isaiah 14:12–14, we don’t have a complete record of the origin, and causes of the fall of the prince of evil. The NT references to Satan (Luke 4:5, 6; 10:18; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7–9; etc.), though fully consistent with these ancient prophecies, do not give us the complete history.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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