Ezekiel - Lesson 28A

Chapters 27:25-36; 28:1-19

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  • After our holiday break, we’re returning to our study of Ezekiel, and specifically to the third major section of his book

    • The third section runs through Chapter 32, and in this section the Lord explains to Israel how He plans to judge the nation’s long-time enemies

      • This section is a bridge between the first half of the book, where we studied Israel’s offenses and the Lord’s response of judgment

      • And it leads us into the second half of the book, which reveals the amazing glory awaiting Israel in the Kingdom to come

    • In between we find this section where the Lord reassures Israel that He will deal fairly with Israel’s enemies

      • After all, if the Lord was willing to go to such terrible lengths to hold His own people accountable, what would He do to Israel’s adversaries?

      • He tells Israel that they too will be judged, some in Ezekiel’s day and some in a time to come in the Kingdom

    • So far we’ve studied Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia, and we’ve started the fifth enemy, Tyre

      • In Chapters 26-27 we learned about God’s judgment of this wealthy and independent city state 

      • They were proud and began to think that their immense wealth and influence was their own making

      • But they overlooked how the Lord had placed them in the perfect position to profit from the world’s trade

    • Therefore, because of their arrogance and pride, blinded by their wealth, the Lord said He would judge the nation

      • They were an enemy of Israel, but their offenses included failing to glorify the Lord

      • So the Lord promised to level the city, remove its prominence

      • And the merchants of the world would mourn its loss

  • As we ended, we reached the last part of Chapter 27, where the Lord asked Ezekiel to pronounce a eulogy against the city

    • The Lord reminded the city how they conveniently overlooked their obvious dependence on the rest of the world and ultimately on God

      • He used a metaphor of a tall, majestic sailing ship to picture the city in its splendor

      • Now we pick up in the second half of the chapter

    • In v.25 the chapter moves from prose to poetry where we see that “ship” experiencing shipwreck

      • The poem doesn’t give us much new information on the future of the city

      • It simply presents it in more succinct and therefore powerful ways, playing upon a picture that was uniquely appropriate for this city

      • Being the king of the seas, the Tyrians could appreciate the symbolism better than anyone 

Ezek. 27:25  “The ships of Tarshish were the carriers for your merchandise. 
And you were filled and were very glorious 
In the heart of the seas.
Ezek. 27:26  “Your rowers have brought you 
Into great waters; 
The east wind has broken you 
In the heart of the seas.
Ezek. 27:27  “Your wealth, your wares, your merchandise, 
Your sailors and your pilots, 
Your repairers of seams, your dealers in merchandise 
And all your men of war who are in you, 
With all your company that is in your midst, 
Will fall into the heart of the seas 
On the day of your overthrow.
Ezek. 27:28  “At the sound of the cry of your pilots 
The pasture lands will shake.
Ezek. 27:29  “All who handle the oar, 
The sailors and all the pilots of the sea 
Will come down from their ships; 
They will stand on the land,
Ezek. 27:30  And they will make their voice heard over you 
And will cry bitterly. 
They will cast dust on their heads, 
They will wallow in ashes.
Ezek. 27:31  “Also they will make themselves bald for you 
And gird themselves with sackcloth; 
And they will weep for you in bitterness of soul 
With bitter mourning.
Ezek. 27:32  “Moreover, in their wailing they will take up a lamentation for you 
And lament over you: 
‘Who is like Tyre, 
Like her who is silent in the midst of the sea?
Ezek. 27:33  ‘When your wares went out from the seas, 
You satisfied many peoples; 
With the abundance of your wealth and your merchandise 
You enriched the kings of earth.
Ezek. 27:34  ‘Now that you are broken by the seas 
In the depths of the waters, 
Your merchandise and all your company 
Have fallen in the midst of you.
Ezek. 27:35  ‘All the inhabitants of the coastlands 
Are appalled at you, 
And their kings are horribly afraid; 
They are troubled in countenance.
Ezek. 27:36  ‘The merchants among the peoples hiss at you; 
You have become terrified 
And you will cease to be forever.’”’”
  • Once again we have the metaphor of the ship sailing the open seas

    • The great ship represents the fate of the great city

      • The ship entered open waters, which was the most dangerous part of a sea journey for any ship

      • And at that moment a gale blows in from the east and breaks the ship

    • East in the Bible is a picture of sin or evil

      • And in this case, it’s also the direction from which the Babylonians arrived to conquer the city

      • As the “ship” was broken, its cargo and crew were tossed into the sea

    • In v.26-27 we see all the fine things that were cataloged in the prior chapter falling into the deep

      • Remember, the sea is a picture in the Old Testament of the abyss, of the place of judgment in the center of the earth

      • So this scene is picturing what we learned in the earlier chapter when the Lord promised to bring those in the city into Hades

    • Secondly, as the Lord the promised, the destruction of the city would lead the world of merchants to cry out in despair as their livelihood is gone

      • The Lord says in v.28 that pasture lands would shake with their cries

      • Seaman who depended on the trade stand at the seashore and gawk at the destruction of the great ship

      • Men will weep bitterly…this is what the world of commerce did when the Lord brought down Tyre

    • As we studied last time, these laments are similar to what will happen when the Babylon of Tribulation is destroyed by God

      • The world will have trouble grasping that something so great could be destroyed

      • I think this will be the state of humanity when great nations like the U.S. or other world powers today are brought low by God

      • The Bible promises that the world will be reshaped in dramatic fashion in preparation for the rise of the antichrist during Tribulation

  • Then in v.32, the Lord gives us the lament of those who mourn for Tyre, beginning with a question of “Who is like Tyre?”

    • Tyre’s historic strength and resistance to invasion made it the envy of the world

      • Therefore, its fall was as stunning as it would be today to hear that the U.S. or China had fallen to an enemy

      • So the lamentation is a mixture of amazement and horror

    • In vs.32-34 the lament recounts the fall of the ship, which tells us that the people of the earth were retelling the fall of Tyre for years after

      • It was the news no one could stop talking about

      • This is a good example of how the Lord brings Himself glory even among the ungodly

      • His works are so stunning and awe-inspiring that it causes the world to testify to God’s greatness without even knowing Who they credit

  • Finally, the fall of this great city will cause the kings of the world to become horribly afraid

    • The world has been rocked

      • When your hope for the future doesn’t come from knowing the Lord’s promises, you only have the world as your foundation

      • And for the world, Tyre was the “sure bet”

    • So if you wanted to rest your confidence for the future on something that you felt couldn’t be shaken, you bet on Tyre remaining strong

      • You threw your lot in with Tyre’s so that your business depended on Tyre’s prosperity

      • And your security depended on Tyre’s mercenary armies and  your trading partners depended on access to Tyre’s ships

      • Nothing in the world was more dependable, or so the world thought 

    • So when the city fell, it rocked the world, leading kings to be troubled

      • Because if Tyre could be taken, who could be safe?

      • And if Tyre wasn’t dependable, what was?

      • That’s why the word of God says:

Is. 28:16  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, 
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. 
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
  • So the Lord pronounced judgment on the city, and it came to pass shortly after Ezekiel revealed it

    • Babylon subjugated the city immediately after conquering Jerusalem for the third time

      • Later when the city is conquered by the Greeks, they penetrate the walls, the city is taken and ransacked for the first time

      • Eventually, the city ceases to be a place of importance 

    • But the Lord isn’t done speaking judgment against Tyre, and now He moves to naming certain individuals specifically

      • These two characters are the subject of the final chapter dedicated to Tyre

      • The first is the prince of Tyre, while the second is called the king of Tyre

      • Let’s look at each in turn:

Ezek. 28:1  The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,
Ezek. 28:2 “Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, 
“Because your heart is lifted up 
And you have said, ‘I am a god, 
I sit in the seat of gods 
In the heart of the seas’; 
Yet you are a man and not God, 
Although you make your heart like the heart of God —
Ezek. 28:3  Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; 
There is no secret that is a match for you.
Ezek. 28:4  “By your wisdom and understanding 
You have acquired riches for yourself 
And have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries.
Ezek. 28:5  “By your great wisdom, by your trade 
You have increased your riches 
And your heart is lifted up because of your riches —
Ezek. 28:6  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 
‘Because you have made your heart 
Like the heart of God,
Ezek. 28:7  Therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon you, 
The most ruthless of the nations. 
And they will draw their swords 
Against the beauty of your wisdom 
And defile your splendor.
Ezek. 28:8  ‘They will bring you down to the pit, 
And you will die the death of those who are slain 
In the heart of the seas.
Ezek. 28:9  ‘Will you still say, “I am a god,” 
In the presence of your slayer, 
Though you are a man and not God, 
In the hands of those who wound you?
Ezek. 28:10  ‘You will die the death of the uncircumcised 
By the hand of strangers, 
For I have spoken!’ declares the Lord GOD!”’”
  • This section pronounces judgment against a man who is very rich and as a result is proudly declaring himself to be a god

    • He is called a “prince” which indicates he is a ruler, and the title obviously  contrasts with the later section in this chapter

      • Notice down in v.12 Ezekiel is given another lamentation about the “king” of Tyre

      • Yet we know that there was only one ruler over the city at any given time and there were no significant secondary rulers (i.e., princes)

      • So who do these two characters represent?

    • We don’t want to jump ahead to the second character just yet, but when we get there, you’ll see that the description of that king is very unusual

      • Things said about the “king” of Tyre don’t match any known details of the city’s rulers

      • As a result, we have to look in an entirely different direction to find this “king”, look to an entirely different ruler

    • On the other hand, the things God says about the prince of Tyre do fit the historical records of the rulers of Tyre

      • Therefore, the “king” of Tyre doesn’t refer to the actual king of the city but to a different leader who has a special relationship to Tyre

      • Meanwhile, the  “prince” of Tyre is the actual city ruler, a man called Ithobaal II who ruled in Ezekiel’s day

      • He is called a prince instead of a king to distinguish him from another ruler of sorts who was the real power behind the scenes

      • That will become clearer as we study the second part of this chapter

  • But first, looking at what the Lord says about this prince, we find a similar message as before: the king’s problem was pride

    • Specifically, the king’s (prince’s) heart was lifted up by his wealth and power

      • He reached a point where he declared himself to be a god, much like the Pharaohs and the Caesars of Rome

      • He didn’t just tell others that he was a god, but he came to believe it in his own heart

    • Notice at the end of v.2 the Lord says he has a heart like the heart of God

      • That isn’t intended to suggest that the prince of Tyre had a godly heart

      • It refers to the man’s inflated sense of power, that his heart perceived itself to be like the heart of God

      • But the Lord points out a line earlier that he is just a man, a statement that should be obvious to everyone

    • Yet if we lack true spiritual knowledge, our evil heart is capable of fooling itself into thinking it is god 

      • This is particularly true when that heart has access to almost unlimited wealth and power

      • That kind of limitless authority leads the person into thinking that no one and nothing is more powerful…

      • Until the person meets the true God face-to-face

  • Nevertheless, the king (prince) of Tyre did have real abilities that contributed to his pride and self-deception

    • First, the Lord says in v.3 that the king was an intelligent person, by God’s grace

      • In fact, the Lord says that the man is smarter than Daniel

      • Remember, Daniel and Ezekiel were contemporaries living in Babylon together

    • By the time Ezekiel wrote this prophecy, Daniel had been in Babylon for about 20 years 

      • And by that time he had ascended to his position next to Nebuchadnezzar 

      • He has interpreted those dreams and been placed in charge of the court of magi

      • His story was probably known throughout the empire, and he was admired as an intelligent man

    • Yet the Lord acknowledges that the king of Tyre was actually a smarter man than Daniel

      • And because of his intelligence, the man had amassed great wealth

      • With the combination of his intelligence and wealth, he had risen to a place of great power

  • This comparison between the king and Daniel offers us a useful reminder that we can’t judge the quality of a person, nor his importance to God, based on human performance statistics

    • The world would have compared Daniel and the king and concluded the king was the better man

      • He was smarter, mightier, and richer

      • And the Lord made him that way…the Lord granted this man the skills that propelled him into his position and success

      • Of course, the Lord did the same for Daniel

    • The point is that the Lord often gifts the unbelieving world with great skills, which allows them to achieve great achievements and wealth

      • And the world celebrates such achievements because that’s all they have to cheer about

      • Wealth and power is “heaven” to the world that has no eternal future

    • So when we see the unbelieving world blessed in these ways, we need to be careful about making value judgments about their standing with God

      • Conversely, when believers are less successful in worldly terms, that doesn’t mean God isn’t happy with us

      • Daniel was less successful than the king of Tyre, nevertheless he was far more blessed in the long run

  • Then we see the final accounting of who was actually the better man, starting in v.7

    • Strangers would come against this king, and this ruthless nation would draw its swords and take away the king’s wealth and power

      • When that same ruthless nation came against the less-intelligent Daniel, it resulted in him being exalted to a position of power

      • This is how God commonly works…he turns the tables on the world to show that the world’s wisdom is actually foolishness

    • Then in v.8 the Lord promises this leader of the city would be brought down to his appointed end

      • He would die the death of those who are slain in battle

      • He would be no different than those who are buried at sea

      • So that in the end, the man who was so powerful and wealthy was indistinguishable from the pauper who dies in the gutter

    • Death is the great equalizer

      • It treats everyone the same, and it leads everyone to the same place

      • Nothing you gain in this world will make a difference in that end moment

      • Only the state of your relationship with the Lord will bring you distinction in that moment

  • Finally, the Lord mocks the king by asking in v.9 if he will be able to say he is a king when he stares in the eyes of the soldier who slays him?

    • What a wonderful way to expose the folly of any man claiming to be a god

      • We may be able to fool many ignorant people into thinking we are a god, as the ancient kings of the world often did

      • And in many cases, such leaders might become so arrogant that they are able to convince even themselves that they are gods

    • But when the moment an adversary comes against the man ready to cut him down as easily as any other human being, he will know the truth

      • As the Lord says, will that person still maintain they are a god?

      • Won’t they know in that moment that they have no power at all?

    • As you read the Lord’s retort to the king, you might be tempted to compare this situation to that of Christ on the cross

      • After all, Christ is God and yet He too was struck down by His adversaries

      • Couldn’t we say the same things about Christ…would He say He is a god if He can be struck down?

    • The difference is that no one took Christ’s life from Him…he was struck and He was pierced, but He didn’t die until He chose to die

      • Nothing took His life…He lay it down for His sheep, He said

      • Presumably, had Christ not given up His spirit He never would have died

      • That’s the difference between a God Who chose to die for His Creation 

      • Vs. a creature who cannot stop death despite claiming to be god

  • The king of Babylon dies the death of the uncircumcised, the Lord says in v.10, 

    • This may sound strange as if it suggests that there is a different death for Gentiles vs. Jew, but it’s speaking of something else

      • The Tyrians practiced circumcision too, but obviously not for the reasons Israel received circumcision

      • The mark of circumcision was seen as a mark of distinction for that culture

    • So the Lord is promising the king would die shamefully at the hands of those who were not privileged in the way he thought himself to be

      • His mark didn’t save him because the Lord has judged him

      • So King Ithobaal II was deposed when Nebuchadnezzar attacked 

    • But this lament applies to all the kings of Tyre, including those who followed Ithobaal during the short periods that the city retained power

      • Each was defeated at a point and died

      • Eventually, the city ceased to be and there were no more successors

  • Now we reach the second half of the lament for the “king” of Tyre, a mysterious figure

Ezek. 28:11  Again the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Ezek. 28:12  “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, 
“You had the seal of perfection, 
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
Ezek. 28:13  “You were in Eden, the garden of God; 
Every precious stone was your covering: 
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; 
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; 
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; 
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, 
Was in you. 
On the day that you were created 
They were prepared.
Ezek. 28:14  “You were the anointed cherub who covers, 
And I placed you there. 
You were on the holy mountain of God; 
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
Ezek. 28:15  “You were blameless in your ways 
From the day you were created 
Until unrighteousness was found in you.
Ezek. 28:16  “By the abundance of your trade 
You were internally filled with violence, 
And you sinned; 
Therefore I have cast you as profane 
From the mountain of God. 
And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, 
From the midst of the stones of fire.
Ezek. 28:17  “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; 
You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. 
I cast you to the ground; 
I put you before kings, 
That they may see you.
Ezek. 28:18  “By the multitude of your iniquities, 
In the unrighteousness of your trade 
You profaned your sanctuaries. 
Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; 
It has consumed you, 
And I have turned you to ashes on the earth 
In the eyes of all who see you.
Ezek. 28:19  “All who know you among the peoples 
Are appalled at you; 
You have become terrified 
And you will cease to be forever.”’”
  • This character is called the king of Tyre – though we know the earlier character, the prince, was actually the man running the city

    • Yet this character is called the king, meaning the one who truly had the power over Tyre

      • But as I said earlier, we know the city didn’t have multiple leaders or levels of kings operating

      • So there was only one king over the city at any given time and no princes

      • Since the prince we studied earlier was the true king of the city, who is this second, greater “king”?

    • Our answer comes from examining the description of this individual carefully

      • Beginning with noticing the similarities and differences to the prince

      • First, like the earlier prince who ruled the city, this king meets his end because of pride over his wisdom and beauty

      • And like the first leader, this one will be thrown down and brought low despite his high view of self

    • But very quickly, we start to see major differences between the two characters

      • First, this king’s wisdom and beauty exceed that of the prince

      • The king’s wisdom and beauty are perfect, the Lord says

      • In fact, he has the seal of perfection, meaning the Lord has judged this leader to be without flaw – at least at the start

    • These statements are not hyperbole, because the context indicates they are to be taken literally

      • This king had perfect wisdom, meaning no created thing had more wisdom

      • And likewise, no created thing was more beautiful than this king

  • Now at this point, we’re struggling to think of all that God made in Creation, what was most wise and most beautiful

    • If we look back at the Creation account, we get an important clue

Gen. 3:1  Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
  • The serpent of Genesis 3 was the most crafty, meaning most wise, of any creature God created

  • Why was the snake so wise? Because in that particular moment, the snake was being indwelled by Satan who was the wisest creature on earth

  • Revelation 20 tells us this:

Rev. 20:1  Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
Rev. 20:2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
  • The serpent was Satan, and therefore the testimony of Scripture is that Satan is the wisest creature God ever made

    • Therefore, the king of Tyre is Satan, which begins to fit the text very well

    • The prince of Tyre was the evil, earthly king ruling the people

    • But the king of Tyre was the true spiritual power behind the scenes, directing the king and ruling through him

  • That’s Satan’s M.O. in every situation:

Eph. 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Eph. 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
  • The devil, Paul says, is our true adversary

  • In fact, the word Satan comes from the Hebrew word spelled the same meaning “adversary”

  • So our spiritual struggles — and often our earthly struggles — are against him, not against the human agents he is working through

    • Those human agents are pawns

    • And should God rescue them out of Satan’s hands, they would become our brothers and sisters

  • So the king of Tyre was the power behind the scenes in the city, and therefore he is also the true enemy of Israel

    • In fact, he is the power behind every evil thing we face on earth and the father of lies

      • And in this passage, we’re reading about not only his promised downfall and judgment for Israel’s sake but for all humanity

      • But what’s even more fascinating about this account is its record of Satan’s backstory including his fall into sin

    • That story begins in v.13 where we’re told Satan was in Eden, the Garden of God

      • Now at first, that sounds like something we know well; the Garden of Eden, humanity’s first home

      • But notice this garden is called the Eden, the Garden of God

      • That may seem like a minor difference, but it’s our first clue that Scripture is referring to a different place

  • Secondly, notice Satan’s own appearance later in that verse

    • He was covered by every precious stone in God’s creation

      • Altogether, there are nine precious jewels covering Satan, like a garment made of sparkling sequins 

      • And the setting for these jewels in his covering were gold

      • Satan must have sparkled like a disco ball

    • We remember elsewhere in Scripture as Paul describes Satan as an “angel of light” 

      • Paul was referring to the way Satan disguises himself as truth and enlightenment, though the opposite is true

      • Well now we know that Paul’s description is also literally true…Satan glitters and shines, reflecting light from his many jeweled appearance 

      • No wonder he dazzles any who see him

    • Truly, Satan was the most beautiful thing God created, and beyond this God assigned Satan a most-privileged position 

      • In v.14 we’re told that Satan’s job was to be the anointed cherub who covers

      • That language immediately takes us back to the Law God gave to Israel

Ex. 25:17  “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide.
Ex. 25:18 “You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat.
Ex. 25:19 “Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends.
Ex. 25:20 “The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat.
Ex. 25:21 “You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you.
Ex. 25:22 “There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.
  • The ark God commanded Moses to build had a lid called a mercy seat

    • This golden lid had two statues molded into its top 

    • These statues were cherubim, angelic beings we studied earlier in this book

    • Those cherubim guarded the glory of God

    • As the Lord tell Moses, His glory would appear in the space above the mercy seat underneath the guarding wings of the cherubim

  • Now we’re told that Satan’s job was as the “covering cherub”

    • Obviously, the gold cherubim on the mercy seat of the ark were not real angels…they were gold statues

      • But the book of Hebrews tells us that the design God gave Moses for the tabernacle and all its furnishing was a pattern

Heb. 8:4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law;
Heb. 8:5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “SEE,” He says, “THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.”
  • Every element of the design of the tabernacle was a copy, a shadow, of something in heaven, the writer says

  • So in Heaven stands the actual temple of God

  • And the tabernacle on earth is patterned after that heavenly structure

  • So if there are gold cherubim guarding God’s glory over the ark on earth, then it means there is an actual mercy seat in the heavenly tabernacle

    • And that heavenly tabernacle also had guardians for God’s glory

    • Those guardians weren’t golden cherubim but actual cherubim

    • Remember, the ones on earth made of gold were patterned after real things in heaven

  • And now we’re learning that Satan’s job in Heaven was to be the covering cherub, the angelic being guarding the glory of God

    • And then we get another clue concerning where this is taking place

      • In v.14 we’re told he’s serving on the holy mountain of God

      • Walking in the midst of the stones of fire 

    • These two details point to the heavenly throne room of God

      • The throne of God is often called the mountain of God or Mt. Zion in scripture

      • And descriptions of God’s throne by Ezekiel and others include descriptions of stones of burning fire around the throne

    • Putting that together with the earlier reference to the Garden of God, and we begin to understand that we’re talking about another pattern again

      • Just as the tabernacle was constructed according to a pattern of something found in Heaven, so was Eden

      • Eden on earth was patterned after the Garden of God in Heaven

      • Satan served in the heaven tabernacle on the heavenly mercy seat 

  • But before long, he disqualifies himself from the position

    • In v.15 the Lord says that Satan served in his role perfectly without a flaw from the day he was created

      • Until a day came when unrighteousness was found in Satan

      • The sentence construction makes clear that the origin of sin was within Satan, not from an outside source

      • This is why Jesus says Satan is the father of lies…he gave birth to all that opposes truth

    • What caused sin to manifest in Satan? In v.16 we see the chain of events

      • First, the abundance of Satan’s trade filled him internally with violence leading to sin

      • We have to read between the lines a little to decode this cryptic sentence

    • First, Satan’s trade was covering the glory of God in the heavenly tabernacle

      • In a sense, we can say that Satan was the closest created being to the glory of God

      • Of the three branches of angelic beings — angels, seraphim and cherubim — cherubim served closest to God’s glory

      • And of all cherubim, Satan served the closest of all

      • That’s what the Scripture means when it says Satan’s trade (or occupation) was abundant

  • Secondly, this supreme privilege became cause for him to be filled internally with violence 

    • That means inside Satan came the desire to act in malice against God 

      • We don’t know exactly what action Satan took (or was intending to take)

      • But we know what Satan is seen trying to do throughout Scripture

    • From the beginning, Satan has tried to replace God’s authority with his own

      • He began by deceiving woman in the Garden

      • He continues to seek to encourage mankind to worship him instead of God

      • He tried to tempt Jesus to do the same during the wilderness temptations

    • And perhaps most telling, Daniel tells us that after Satan indwells the Antichrist during the Tribulation he will declare himself to be God

Dan. 11:36  “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.
  • I believe Satan’s goals have always been the same

  • Therefore, I propose that his act of violence was attempting to assume God’s place

  • Satan stared at God’s glory in the mercy seat and thought to himself he could sit in God’s place and rule

  • Furthermore, remember he was called the anointed cherub

    • The word anointed in Hebrew is messiah

    • So Satan was the messiah’d cherub, which certainly must have suggested to him that he could be a replacement for Jesus

  • That act of violence was sin, and it introduced rebellion into God’s creation

    • And though Satan’s sin was much greater than that of the prince of Tyre, we should take a moment to look at how similar they are

      • The prince of Tyre, the human leader, was judged for pride also

      • His pride was the result of the abundance of his earthly trade

      • He had so much power and wealth that he let it go to his head, and he began to think himself a god

    • Pride was so powerful in the man’s heart, that it caused him to think crazy thoughts and believe them

      • And as he acted according to those thoughts, he offended the God who granted him those privileges in the first place

      • And as a result, the Lord cast him down

    • Now we se that this man’s sin was following a pattern in heaven also

      • Satan was the heavenly model, and he blazed the path that all sin follows today

      • It begins with blessing from God, which endows us with certain things we take fro granted and begin to take credit for

      • That generates pride, and that pride causes us to act out against the God Who gave us what we have

    • So abundance leads to self-satisfaction

      • And self-satisfaction leads to pride 

      • And pride leads to malice toward God, which manifests in many ways, but in all cases is sin

    • Satan pioneered the pattern, and we who share in Satan’s nature follow his pattern

      • It’s interesting that not only do good things in heaven serve as patterns for things on earth (like the tabernacle of Israel)

      • But our sin is also patterned on the original sin of Satan

  • Satan’s corruption of the heavenly tabernacle and our following in sin after his pattern come together in another way also

    • Both were reconciled in Heaven by Jesus’ blood

      • When Jesus was resurrected, He traveled to the throne room of God to make atonement for sin with His blood

      • He took His blood and applied it to the mercy seat that Satan used to guard

      • And by that application, Jesus cleansed the heavenly tabernacle

Heb. 9:22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Heb. 9:23  Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Heb. 9:24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
Heb. 9:25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.
  • You may remember that after Jesus resurrected, there was a short time when He wouldn’t allow anyone to touch His body

John 20:16 Jesus  said to her, “Mary!” She turned and  said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).
John 20:17 Jesus  said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”
  • Jesus couldn’t become unclean by the stain of sin now that He was purified in His resurrected state

  • His blood needed to be pure for the purpose of atonement in the Heavenly throne where He was to ascend

  • And Hebrews said that His blood was applied to heavenly things to cleanse them 

  • The article being cleansed in heaven was the mercy seat, because of Satan’s sin

  • So go back to the time when Satan was serving God on the mercy seat and imagine the scene…

    • God has created the most beautiful and wise creature in all existence, Lucifer

      • His assignment is to guard the mercy seat and cover the glory of God

      • At this point there is no sin anywhere in God’s creation, since not even Satan himself has fallen yet

    • But what is a mercy seat for? What is mercy for?

      • A mercy seat is the place where sin is cleansed by the application of blood atonement  

Lev. 16:15  “Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.
Lev. 16:16 “He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities.
  • A mercy seat is only necessary because sin exists and must be atoned for through blood sacrifice

  • Yet as we established, at the time that Satan was serving in this capacity, there was no sin

  • So there was no need for a mercy seat…yet

  • So I wonder if Satan ever pondered the purpose in his job guarding a mercy seat?

    • Did he ask God why do I guard this mercy seat? Who is the mercy for?

    • To which God may have answered, just wait a little longer…you’ll find out

  • And before Long, Satan’s fall made the mercy seat necessary

    • Yet it was Satan’s job guarding that seat which brought about sin in the first place

    • So if God hadn’t made a mercy seat, would sin have ever come into existence?

    • The paradoxical nature of this situation suggests that God not only knew sin was coming but made a way for it to arrive

    • And therefore, the entire plan of redemption was planned before anything even existed

  • Next time we return to study the Lord’s judgment against Satan