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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary

Ezekiel 28

Verses 11-26

God's Description of Satan

Ezekiel 28:11-26

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

We read in the Epistle of Peter that Satan goeth about seeking whom he may devour. He is, indeed, the great enemy who hounded Christ every step of His way, and who, since the day of the birth of the church, has followed hard upon the heels of every spiritual church attempt.

He also is the adversary of each individual believer. This being the case it behooves us to consider, as far as we can, his strategies against the Church as a whole, and against us individually; and to learn as much as we can of his origin and his power.

The chapter before us will teach us many things we need to know.

1. The beauty and the glory of Satan in his original creation. Ezekiel 28:12 of our Scripture says: "Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty." The prince of Tyrus, as discussed in Ezekiel 28:2-10 refers to the earthly ruler. The king of Tyrus in our verse, presents Satan as the one who was the real power back of the throne.

(1) Satan was full of wisdom. Of all the creatures which God had made, he, no doubt, held a place supreme in wisdom. We need to know this when we meet him and his emissaries. Truly, those of us who lack wisdom will not dare to meet him unless we are clothed with the power and wisdom of God. Satan's wisdom is easily discerned as we watch his attacks and strategies against the children of God. He knows just how to man his forces and to prepare the strategy of his attacks.

(2) Satan was full of beauty. Satan was far from the hideous monster that he is usually pictured to the young. Were he half as hideous as he is painted, everybody would run from him. It is his beauty which appeals, and adds subtlety to every attempt he makes against the children of men.

2. Satan as an angel of light. Even to this hour the devil transforms himself into an angel of light, and his ministers transform themselves into the ministers of righteousness. It is Satan who goes about over the world making all kinds of promises of betterment, and of advance. He seeks to inculcate, on the one hand, every consummate denial of God and of Christ; while, on the other hand, he acclaims the very highest and the best idealisms in the realm of commercial life, political Utopias, and moral and ethical climaxes.

Satan even enters the realms of moral uplift and of social advancement. He preaches the contagion of good, and that man has within himself every possibility of upward achievement.

3. Satan surpasses himself in presenting a substitute faith, patterned after the lines of the true faith. Does the Bible teach righteousness? So also does Satan. However, God's ministers teach a righteousness which is by faith in the Blood, and Satan's ministers teach a righteousness which is by self, developed from the inner man.

God's ministers teach moral victory, sobriety, and holy living through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Satan's ministers teach the same ideals of right living, but through human effort and development.

God's ministers proclaim Heaven as the goal of the believer. Satan and his ministers proclaim an earthly heaven, an eternal happy hunting ground as a goal, self attained, and possible through one's own achievement.

I. SATAN IN THE GARDEN OF GOD (Ezekiel 28:13 )

The expression "Thou hast been in Eden the Garden of God" may not refer to our earthly Eden, because the Scripture goes on to say, "Every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold."

Satan was certainly decked out in glory, and he dwelt in an Eden similar to the Eden in which man was placed.

The truth is, however, that Satan came to the earthly Eden. He met Adam and Eve there. First, he tempted the woman, and then, through the woman, tempted the man. He came clothing himself in the serpent, which was the wisest of God's creation, so far as beasts were concerned. He came promising that if they would eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree, that they would be as gods, understanding good and evil.

Thus did Satan instill into man the ambition for self-glorification. He played upon their desire to attain supreme illumination. It was this which had caused his own fall from Heaven. He had said, in his own heart, that he would be as God.

Man quickly yielded to his voice and intrigue, and fell from his place of obedience and submission to the Almighty.

Satan is still using this same method against man. He knows that every high look God will bring down. He knows that self-exaltation means God-dethronement. Herein is the key that unlocks the present-day attitude of the modernistic world. The present age is an age of self-deification and of Christ humanization. On the one hand, men, led by the devil, are exalting themselves, boasting of their own learning and prowess; while, on the other hand, they are denying everything vital to the Deity of Christ, and to His glory as God manifest in flesh.

II. SATAN'S DOWNFALL (Ezekiel 28:14-15 )

1. Satan's former glory. Ezekiel 28:14 says, "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." We may not understand all that these words suggest. We do understand that Satan held a very high and prominent place among the holy ones of God.

2. "Thou wast perfect in thy ways." It must have been a long, long time in which this mighty son of the morning ruled under the hand of God. He ruled perfect in every way from the day that he was created. In him there was no fault to be found in those days of his former glory.

3. "Till iniquity was found in thee." There came a time when Satan turned from his God-invested glory, seeking higher altitudes of glory. Having power, he sought more power. He was not satisfied to be God's great one, clothed with authority. He sought to be equal with God. All of this spirit of Satan will be found manifested in the antichrist when he shall go into the Temple of God, proclaiming himself as God. The antichrist will do more than that. He will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. This was the spirit which dominated the devil and which caused his downfall.

Let every one of us beware lest some of the overflow of that spirit strike into our own souls. God has warned that he that exalteth himself shall be abased. Every high look must be brought down. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled; and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down. The day of the Lord shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and every one that is lifted up.

III. THE REASON FOR SATAN'S FALL (Ezekiel 28:17 )

"Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." Recently a man here in India came to me in all seriousness and asked: "Why was it that God made man so he could sin?" I reached over and plucked a flower, and I asked him if he could understand it. He quickly answered, "No." I said, "Neither do I understand why God did many things, nor do I know how He did it." I told him I was not in the explaining business. Then I said: "But I am glad He did make man, because if He had not made man so he could sin, He had not been able to recreate him in His own image, and thus to make him so he couldn't sin." Then I said: "Neither would He have been able to have made it possible for us to ascribe all honor, and glory, and might, and power, unto Christ who gave Himself for us and who saved us from our sins."

I told the Indian inquirer that he should not judge a picture before it is finished. It is not fair to the painter so to do. A daub here and a daub there seems altogether incongruous and inexplicable. When, however, the picture stands before us in its completion, it presents a perfect rhythmic beauty, and every touch of the brush only proves its necessity to the completed whole.

So, dear readers, where we cannot understand, let us trust, and let us believe that all things are working out for good to them who love God, and who are the called according to His purpose.

IV. FROM THE HEIGHTS TO THE DEPTHS (Ezekiel 28:17 , l.c.)

1. "I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee." These are the words which God spake unto Satan in the day that his heart was lifted up in pride. In Isaiah 14:1-32 we have some further light upon this matter. We read in Isaiah 14:12 : "How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground!" Then God adds in Isaiah 14:15 , "Thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."

We can almost see the angel with a great chain coming down to bind Satan, and to cast him into the pit of the abyss, known in Revelation as the bottomless pit.

We can almost see the Lord as He destroys Satan's antichrist and false prophet, and casts them into the Lake of Fire.

We can almost see Satan at the end of the tribulation period, cast into the Lake of Fire where the beast and the false prophet are.

As we see the overthrow of these, we can also see in our mind's eye the setting up of the Great White Throne, and the wicked standing before God to be judged.

We can see those who joined with Satan, and later on with the antichrist, and who lifted up themselves against the Most High, being cast into the same Lake of Fire, which is the second death. This shall be the end of all men who have sinned against Jehovah, and have refused the sacrifice which is in Christ Jesus.

2. How great will be the fall of those who lift themselves up against the Lord ! Think you that it pays to seek self-glory, self-pride? Consider the ones in the Book of Jude who denied the Lord God, and our only Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible says: "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

It is to these that God has reserved the blackness of darkness forever. May God grant that we may never fall as fell the angels who kept not their first estate, and as fell Satan from the heights of his glory.

V. THE GREAT DISPLAY (Ezekiel 28:17 , l.c. and 19)

The last clause of this remarkable verse says: "I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee." What a display this will be! In order to get the full grasp of this, we need to read Ezekiel 28:19 , and then to study with it some other Scriptures in Isaiah 14:1-32 .

1. The overthrow of Satan will be complete and final.

"They that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." When Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire, that hour will be his last, so far as any power or authority among the nations is concerned. Thank God that the days of his wreckage will be over.

He will be put into the pit of the abyss, during the thousand years. From thence, however, he will be loosed for a little season. After that he will be cast into the Lake of Fire, never to be a menace in the affairs of the new Heaven and of the new earth.

2. The overthrow of Satan will be in the sight of those whom he had led in the train of his downfall. Isaiah 14:16 reads: "They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof?"

It will be a remarkable day in hell when Satan is cast down and the kings of the earth shall behold him, and cry out: "Art thou become like unto us?" How they will marvel as they think that the one who sought to exalt himself above God, is brought down to hell! They will see the one who made the earth to tremble, himself trembling; they shall see the one who shook kingdoms, shaken under the power of the almighty God.

VI. THE DESTRUCTION OF TYRE (Ezekiel 28:18 )

Our Scripture now turns away from Satan as we understand it, and speaks once more to Tyrus. God is showing what happens when a people are under the dominion and power of the devil.

Here are the words of Ezekiel 28:18 : "Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I 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."

This prophecy has been literally fulfilled. The ancient city has been utterly destroyed. It stands today as a mark of the wrath of God against unrighteousness and sin when it is ripened in iniquity.

We turn from Tyre to the world as a whole. "What sorrow, what heartaches, what anguish, has Satan brought to men. Time and again the judgments of God have fallen. First the whole earth was swept from its moorings by the Flood. Then the tower of Babel was thrown down. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Tyre was overthrown. The cities of Capernaum and Bethsaida were likewise destroyed. What has been true of God's judgments against cities and the populace, is true of God's judgment against individual sinners.

How strange it is that men are willing to follow Satan when they know his tyranny, when they know that the judgments of God are not only upon him, but upon those who follow after him! "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."

The Book of Revelation gives the most tragic view of the destructions which await the nations. They have turned from the Lord and have followed after Satan. The antichrist will soon be appearing and the world will wonder after him. We read in chapter Revelation 13:4 , "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?"

Thus it is that the men who move around us today, and who will, no doubt, live until the Rapture of the Church, will even worship the devil himself, and worship his antichrist.

It does not lessen their worshipful adoration because the antichrist blasphemes against God and His Name and His Tabernacle, and they that dwell in the Heavens. In the midst of this Satanic power, an angel will be heard, saying with a loud voice, "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb."

Let those who, like the king of Tyrus and his people, follow after Satan, remember that they must receive from God the same chastisement that shall be given to Satan himself. If Ezekiel 28:1-26 tells us about Satan's being cast down, it also naturally follows that it would tell us how the people who followed him would be cast down.

Remember that God has said: "The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."

The Lord Jesus Christ is going to come down from Heaven in flaming fire taking vengeance upon all those who know not God. With the Sword of His mouth He will smite the nations and rule them with a rod of iron. He will come to tread out the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Even now we can hear the loud voice as it tells all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven to come and eat the bodies of the slain at Armageddon.

The beasts and the kings of the earth and their armies will all be overwhelmed.

Let us remember that Ezekiel 28:1-26 and Isaiah 14:1-32 will have their counterpart in the days that will mark the closing of the Great Tribulation.

AN ILLUSTRATION

How the Lord must await the time when we shall be taken from Satan's power. He is ever ready to deliver us.

"Some one has related the experience of a husband-lover whose wife became deranged. Periodic seizures gave her mania most distressing aspects. At times she could not be controlled. So terrible was her screaming agony that frequent complaints of neighbors drove him from one residence to another, both to shield her and to encourage the faint hope of her ultimate recovery. Finally a physician friend advised him to return with her to the scenes of her childhood and of their love-making. So all one summer he lived over with her the scenes of those other and saner years. They walked and rode and worked. With her he waded brooks, climbed hills, exhausted every resource of ingenuity. One day at evening, he brought her home in a condition of utter exhaustion. He had been told that if sanity should ever return, it would be after such a sleep as her present exhaustion produced. All the night he sat beside her, holding her hands, watching the changes upon her countenance, giving his heart to an agony of prayer. Then, as day dawned, and the deep darkness of the night began to be shot through with the gray of the coming light, she stirred, opened her eyes, and with the tired bewilderment of a child asked, "Where am I?"

To which the husband replied, "Here in your own home, beloved, safe sheltered by love." "But where have I been?" she asked. "Far, far away, upon a bewildering journey." "And where were you?" "With you all the way, my own, with you all the way, and waiting for you to come back to me."

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Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Ezekiel 28". "Living Water". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lwc/ezekiel-28.html.