Saturday, August 8, 2015

How did you find Satan in Ezekiel 28? (Part #1)


Place yourself in the shoes of prophet Ezekiel for a moment. You are a captive in a hostile nation and Jehovah God asks you to do a few things like:
  • shaving of the hair on your head and casting it into the wind, (Eze 5)
  • lying on one side for 390 days and then 40 days on the other, (Eze 4)
  • prepare food on (human) dung, (Eze 4)
  • not to mourn while Jehovah takes away your beloved wife. (Eze 24)
In your extreme zeal you may do most of these things. Unlike Ezekiel, you may not ask Jehovah to permit you to substitute human dung with cow dung as the fuel in preparing food. But, if you were to address a gentile king and pronounce things that are totally unrelated to him, I doubt you will ever do it. Being aware of the fact that Jeremiah was thrown into a well for prophesying against the kings of Judah (Jeremiah 37, 38) and even a mighty prophet like Elijah feared for his life after prophesying against Jezebel - one of the most notorious characters of the Bible, I doubt whether you will ever dare to repeat the same.

If most of the Christian theologians and scholars are correct, you (Ezekiel) are supposed to address a king of the kindred of Jezebel and tell him things that have to do with a celestial monster called Satan and nothing to do with him. Do you have a doubt that your head will roll on the floor, if ever you venture to do it?

I think this should be the last major post I will ever be making on the subject of Satan/Devil. Not that I am about to finish my earthly sojourn, I have covered almost all the major topics in the Satan Myth series. Of the entire series, this one is the most challenging one, it took many revisions and more than a month of effort in preparing this one. I do not claim that this is perfect; probably, feedback from knowledgeable brethren would help in making it perfect. I strongly suggest you may read the post on Lucifer before reading this one.

This humble attempt of mine is drastically different from those of scholars like Br. Duncan Heaster (The Real Devil), so that you may have to read through the whole post to see the difference.

Very much unlike their opinions on Isaiah 14, almost every well known Biblical commentator is unanimous in stating that the narrative of Ezekiel 28 (especially Eze 28:14) is all about, Ethbaal III, the king of Tyre. It is really hard passage and their reasoning for their conclusions vary vastly. Only one of the 10 commentators associates the passage with Satan. Before we get into our study of Ezekiel 28's "Satan" let us see:

The Context of the so-called Satan in Ezekiel 28

Chapters 3 to 39 of book of Ezekiel is series of prophecies / lamentations / proverbs against various nations and groups of people. In the table below we have a list of nations or groups against/about which these prophecies / lamentations / proverbs are made.

Chapter(s) Against Reference
Eze 3 Israel Eze 3:1
Eze 4, 5 Jerusalem Eze 4:1
Eze 6 mountains of Israel Eze 6:2
Eze 7, 8, 9 the land of Israel Eze 7:2
Eze 13 the prophets of Israel Eze 13:2
Eze 16 Jerusalem Eze 16:2
Eze 17 the house of Israel Eze 17:2
Eze 18 the land of Israel Eze 18:2
Eze 19 the princes of Israel Eze 19:1
Eze 20 the elders of Israel Eze 20:1
Eze 21 the land of Israel Eze 21:2
Eze 22 the bloody city - Jerusalem Eze 22:2
Eze 23 Samaria and Jerusalem Eze 23:4
Eze 24 the rebellious house of Israel Eze 24:3
Eze 25 Ammonites, Moab Eze 25:2, 11
Eze 26, 27, 28 Tyre Eze 26:2; 27:2; 28:2
Eze 28:20f Sidon Eze 28:21
Eze 29 Pharaoh of Egypt Eze 29:2
Eze 30 Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia Eze 30:4-5
Eze 31, 32 Pharaoh king of Egypt Eze 31:2; 32:2
Eze 33 the children of thy people (of Judah & Jerusalem) Eze 33:2
Eze 34 the shepherds of Israel Eze 34:2
Eze 35 mount Seir (Edom) Eze 35:2
Eze 36 the mountains of Israel Eze 36:1
Eze 37 the valley of bones Eze 37:1
Eze 38, 39 Gog, Magog Eze 38:2

A cursory glance through the list shows us that most of these prophecies / lamentations / proverbs are targeted towards Judah, Jerusalem and Israel; the rest of them are against various enemies of Israel. This list is no way complete; there are many minor enemy nations mentioned within the text.
It is a known fact that Tyre and Sidon are the same nation. (for instance, Isaiah 23 uses Tyre and Sidon interchangeably.) For the sake of brevity, we are not even venturing to prove this scripturally. Very often, Tyre is spelled as Tyrus and Sidon is spelled as Zidon.

Was Satan behind the kings of Tyre and Babylon?

While it comes to the harm done to God's people, Israel, none of these enemy nations come anywhere near Egypt. The first half of the book of Exodus is about the atrocities committed by Egypt and its Pharaohs on the people of Israel. Throughout the history of national Israel, Egypt has been troubling her. Even the kings of Babylon and Assyria have done much harm to Israel, with frequent invasions, extraction of tributes and at last burning down their city and the temple and taking them into captivity.

While compared to Egypt, Assyria and Babylon, Tyre had a very friendly relation with Israel. During the days of David and Solomon, Tyre supplied artisans, materials and workmen for the construction of the temple and the palace in Jerusalem (1Ki 7 to 9). Other than the fact that the king of Tyre was displeased by the cities given to him by Solomon as his rewards (1Ki 9:12), the relation between Israel and Tyre was more or less cordial.

Many commentators opine that the so-called Satan passage in Ezekiel 28, though addressed to the king of Tyre was in fact alluding to Satan who was "behind" the king. Let us ask ourselves, if that were the intended purpose of the passage, wouldn't it be more convincing if such a passage be addressed to a more evil king, like the Pharaoh of Egypt or the kings of Babylon or Assyria? There are no scriptures which say that Satan/Devil was "behind" any of the evil kings mentioned in the Bible. On the contrary,
  • it is told 18 times that Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh, resulting in the latter precipitating hardships on the children of Israel.
  • it is told 5 times that Jehovah sold Israel into the hands of their enemies.
  • Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned as the servant of Jehovah.
The only king who ever had anything to do with Satan was David, the renowned king of Israel. (1Ch 21:1) So, the theory that Satan was behind any king (including the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14) does not hold water.

Commentators can say whatever meets their agenda, but Ezekiel was supposed to raise this lamentation against the king of Tyre. If the king cannot relate himself to what is told to him, Ezekiel's head would roll on the floor.

"Satan" was a Cherub placed on the mountain of God, hmm, interesting!
Eze 28:14 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.
Nowhere in the Bible it is stated that there are mountains or hills in heaven (the dwelling place of God). Mount Sinai and Mount Horeb are mentioned as mount/mountain of God in the scriptures. (See Exo 3:1; Deu 1:6, 19; 1Ki 19:8). Also, the mount on which the temple of Jehovah was situated also is termed as Mount of God in many a Psalm. (Psa 68:15, 16)

Before this passage it is said that this "Satan" was in Eden the garden of God (Eze 28:13).
Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; 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: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
These two passages put together proves that the character mentioned here is not Satan. The only job that cherubs had in the garden of Eden was to ensure that man does not return there.
Gen 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
  • If the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve were a cherub, God would not have placed cherubim to protect the garden.
  • Cherubim (plural of cherub) have wings (Exo 25:20; 37:9; 2Sa 22:11; 1Ki 6:24, 27; 8:6, 7; 1Ch 28:18; 2Ch 3:11, 12; 3:13; 5:7, 8; Psa 18:10; Eze 10:5; Eze 10:8, 16, 19; 11:22).
  • Serpents (snakes) have no wings.
  • If cherubims caused the fall of man, and if the fall of some angels happened after the fall of man, what a cherub was doing on the mountain of the LORD?
  • Was this so-called Satan on the mount of the LORD (Sinai) when Jehovah descended on it? (Exo 19:18)? Was it not told that any human being or animal that touches the mount would die? (Exo 19:12, 13) Was this "Satan" exempted from such death?

What kind of trade this Satan could have done with 2 naked human beings?

The obvious reason for this so-called "Satan" to be thrown out of the mountain of God was his merchandise:
Eze 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

The Hebrew word translated as merchandise is H7404 in Strong's Lexicon.
H7404 רְכֻלָּה (rekûllâh, rek-ool-law') Feminine passive participle of H7402; trade (as peddled): - merchandise, traffic.
Note: This word is used only 4 times in the scriptures and all the 4 times it is in connection with Tyre. (Eze 26:12; 28:5, 16, 18;)

There are 3 possible places where this so-called Satan could have conducted his trade:
  1. Heaven (according to mainstream Christianity, "Satan" was in heaven before he was evicted from there. Tell me, what kind of trade one can conduct in heaven?
  2. Eden. There were two naked human beings in Eden. They had no reason to be ashamed about their nakedness. What sort of trade he could have done with them? Is it even remotely likely that those naked human beings were interested in purchasing some of his sardius, topaz, diamond, beryl, gold, etc. even while they remained nude? If this "Satan" were into trade in Eden, those two humans should have bought some clothing for themselves to cover their nakedness, instead of sewing fig leaves to cover themselves.
  3. Mount of God. Could this "Satan" have done trading in mount Sinai or mount Horeb? Was this "Satan" conducting his trade on the mountain of God even while Jehovah descended on it?
Friends, there is no way that a spirit being could conduct trade in heaven, Eden, Mount Sinai or Mount Horeb. It is unlikely that a spirit being could have conducted trade with human beings. In other words, the passage has nothing to do with a celestial being called Satan.
 ...continued in Part 2

In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal

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