Summary: Crisis and Choice, Pt. 7
THE ORIGIN AND DESTINY OF EVIL (EZEKIEL 28:11-19)
The biggest winner after the events of 911 did not show up to claim the prize. Oddly, people stop noticing, blaming or challenging him once a war or disaster breaks out. He is not a Taliban official, an Al-Qaeda fighter or a suicide bomber. George W. Bush did not want him, dead or alive; America did not offer $25 million cash reward for information leading to his arrest or ratting on his hideout, and America’s Most Wanted did not put his photo on TV. Who is he? The biggest winner was undoubtedly the devil, Satan himself. He took a vacation, ducked out of sight and the citizens of the world were left attacking one other and calling one another names.
To the Arab coalition, America is the Great Satan and Israel is the Lesser, Small or Little Satan. To the Americans, Hitler was the embodiment of Satan. Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire” at the height of the Cold War in the 80s, and the senior Bush demonized Saddam Hussein in the 90s.
Two passages in the Bible point to the devil’s origin, undoing and condemnation. Ezekiel 28 is one of two passages that give us the clearest understanding of the Satan; Isaiah 14 is another. Ralph Alexander, the commentator of Ezekiel in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, says that this passage is the hardest passage in the Bible to understand. The chief problem is the debate on the identity of the subject in this passage. The three possibilities are the devil, man himself and the king of Tyre. However, a regular reader of Ezekiel 28:11-19 may not see the devil in the details. The probable answer may be that the rise and fall of the king of Tyre is emblematic of Satan’s downfall and doom, and the passage is a restatement and reenactment of the devil’s fate.
Tyre was an eye-catching, a breath-taking and a well-watered city by the coast northwest to the land of Israel. It was a unique city; part of Tyre was on an island a short distance from the shore and the other on the opposing mainland. The Bible refers to Tyre as the “strong” or “fortified” city (Josh 19:29). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states that the city’s borders on the mainland were protected by a 150 feet wall. Tyre was famous for her fertile land, her busy ports and her enormous affluence (Ezek 27:3-7).
What was the devil’s original status? Why was he rejected by God? When will God complete His judgment on the devil?
Satan was a Captivating but Created Being
11 The word of the LORD came to me: 12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ’This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “’You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. (Ezek 28:11-14)