SATAN, THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS AND SIN
One looks about and sees evidence of beauty, symmetry, order, and design throughout the entire realm of nature. At the same time one observes much distortion, disorder, disarrangement, decay, and corruption. These two sets of facts must be accounted for adequately and scientifically. We have already seen that the evidence in the world points to the fact that there is a Supreme Mind or Intelligence who brought into existence and who has preserved to the present day the great material universe and all things contained therein. Being the character that He is, He is doubtless the author of this symmetry, order, and beauty. But is He likewise the cause of all the disorder and corruption? Our answer must be an emphatic No! It is inconceivable! If He did not produce this disorder, who did? The philosophers through the centuries have been seeking an answer to the question, What is the origin of evil? This information can be found only in the Scriptures. To them we must now turn.
From what we see of Satan and his work through the centuries, we are led to the irresistible conclusion that he has caused all the wreckage and ruin observable everywhere. Only such a powerful being, as we know him to be, could accomplish this devastation.
A. Satan As Presented In Ezekiel 28:1-19
In Ezekiel, chapters 26-28, we find an oracle directed to the king of Tyre. This prediction is such an important one that it behooves every Bible student to study it most carefully in order to get its full import. We shall have to investigate more fully the being, character, and works of Satan as presented in Ezekiel, chapter 28, although we did, to a certain extent, investigate this phase of our theme in Chapter VI. I trust that the reader will bear with me because of the necessary repetition.
Ezekiel prophesied in Babylon during the Exile. He was a contemporary of Jeremiah who remained in Jerusalem throughout the terrible days of the siege under Nebuchadnezzar and who finally was taken to Egypt.
1. The King of Tyre
28 The word of Jehovah came again unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art man, and not God, though thou didst set thy heart as the heart of God; 3 behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that is hidden from thee; 4 by thy wisdom and by thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures; 5 by thy great wisdom and by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches, and thy heart is lifted up because of thy riches; 6 therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because thou hast set thy heart as the heart of God, 7 therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. 8 They shall bring thee down to the pit; and thou shalt die the death of them that are slain, in the heart of the seas. 9 Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou art man, and not God, in the hand of him that woundeth thee. 10 Thou shalt die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord Jehovah (Ezek. 28:1-10).
According to verses 1 and 2 the prophet was to address an oracle to "the prince of Tyre." In these lines we learn much about the personal habits and the attitude of this heathen monarch.
a. His Blasphemous Claims
In the beginning of the oracle, the Lord stated that the king's blasphemous attitude was the reason for the pronouncement of the impending judgment: "Because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas ..." This man was indeed conceited; he was puffed up with pride. No longer did he consider himself as an ordinary human being. On the contrary, he believed and asserted that he was a god and that he was sitting in the seat of God. b. His Wisdom and Knowledge
It is difficult for us to understand how a man could become so very warped in his thinking as to believe that he is actually a god. Nevertheless, various monarchs, both in antiquity and at the present time, have become obsessed with this idea. Such exalted opinions can be only the result of the blinding of the mind on the part of evil powers and an exalted, and exaggerated estimate of one's own worth and merit.
To this prince of Tyre the Lord made the following statement: "Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that is hidden from thee." Daniel indeed was a wise, discreet, and prudent man. He was also very pious and godly. It appears to have been his daily habit to read the Word of God which makes men wise and gives them understanding. Moses assured Israel that by her studying the revelation given her, by teaching it to her children, and by observing it, she would become a nation recognized for great wisdom, possessing an understanding far above that of the nations round about her (Deut. 4:5,6). This partly accounts for her superior intellectual endowments. Notwithstanding the fact that Daniel was one of the wisest men in the world, the prince of Tyre was wiser than he. Doubtless this man was an educated and cultured gentleman. In all probability he studied, as did Moses, the arts and the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22), as well as the arts and sciences of other nations. In addition to his acquired wisdom and learning, he probably received special insight into the affairs of life by the aid of evil spirits, that were called demons by the Greeks. There were oracles through the priests and priestesses of which demons worked and to which the Greeks and other peoples resorted for advanced information regarding coming events. All heathenism is backed up by demonism, as one can see in Psalm 106:34-38:
They did not destroy the peoples,
As Jehovah commanded them,
But mingled themselves with the nations,
And learned their works,
And served their idols,
Which became a snare unto them.
Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto demons,
And shed innocent blood,
Even the blood of their sons and of their daughters,
Whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with blood.
Everyone who is acquainted with the occult world knows that there are those who are in touch with demons today and who can get much information from them. This should be no surprise to anyone who knows the Scriptures, for the Apostle Paul in I Timothy 4:1-3 warned Timothy that these demons would engage in extensive activity in the latter days. Though there is such a thing as one's being in league with demons, let us not believe that everyone who makes claims to being able to foretell the future has such a connection with the powers of darkness and can reveal coming events. Of course no Christian, well-informed with regard to scriptural teaching, will ever consult anyone who dabbles in the occult. God hates spiritism--it is an abomination to Him. Our attitude should be the same. (See Isa. 8:19-22; 47:12-15, I Tim. 4:1-3.)
19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto the wizards, that chirp and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? on behalf of the living should they seek unto the dead? 20 To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them. 21 And they shall pass through it, sore distressed and hungry; and it shall come to pass that, when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse by their king and by their God, and turn their faces upward: 22 and they shall look unto the earth, and, behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and into thick darkness they shall be driven away (Isa. 8:19-22).
c. His Wealth
By his wisdom and understanding, the prince of Tyre was able to build up a very extensive trade with the nations surrounding him. Eventually it became international in its scope and Tyre became the dominant emporium--in fact, the mart of the ancient world. It was by his wisdom and understanding that this prince was able to manipulate affairs and become the commercial czar of his day. Of course everything turned to his advantage, and he heaped to himself enormous riches and untold wealth. This fact is seen in verses 4 and 5 of Ezekiel 28.
d. The Threat of a Stroke of Judgment
Because of the arrogance of this king, and because of his wisdom and great wealth, prestige, and power, the Lord hurled a threat at him, found in verses 6-10 of our quotation. First He called his attention to his having set his heart "as the heart of God." He no longer thought of himself as being a mortal. On the contrary, he had climbed upon a self-built pedestal and thought of himself as God, assuming an attitude of infinite superiority to all men.
The sentence of judgment because of this arrogance was "… therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations; and they shall defile thy brightness." From all the circumstances we know that Ezekiel was carried by the Spirit of God something like two and a half centuries into the future and that he saw the king of Tyre who was on the throne at the time of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Thus the strangers, who are spoken of as being terrible, were none other than the invincible phalanxes of Alexander. We are told in verse 8 that they would bring this prince down to the pit; that is, they would slay him and he would be one of the slain "in the heart of the seas." In the days of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians besieged Tyre for thirteen years, but were unable to conquer it. After that great ordeal the Tyrians moved their city to an island about half a mile from the shore and there built the strongest and most impregnable fortress of that day. Notwithstanding its great strength, the Lord declared that this king would die in the heart of the seas--in his island empire.
Continuing this line of thought as he addressed the prince, the prophet asked, "Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God?" If he were a god, of course he could not be slain by men. The fact that these armies and conquerors would slay him would prove that he was not what he claimed to be. The guarantee that this prophecy would be fulfilled is: "… for I have spoken it, saith the Lord Jehovah" (vs. 10).
From the history of the conquests of Alexander the Great we can see that this prediction was literally fulfilled. God watches over His word to perform it. "Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond-tree. Then said Jehovah unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I watch¹ over my word to perform it" (Jer. 1:11,12).
God will redeem and make good every promise that He has made and will carry out every threat that He has hurled against unrepentant sinners. It therefore behooves every one to seek the will of the Lord and in faith and loving obedience to conform his life thereto.
2. The Anointed Cherub
11 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou wast in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, the 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 in thee; in the day that thou wast created they were prepared. 14 Thou wast the anointed cherub that covereth; and I set thee, so that thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created till unrighteousness was found in thee. 16 By the abundance of thy traffic they filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore have I cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I have cast thee to the ground; I have laid thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18 By the multitude of thine iniquities, in the unrighteousness of thy traffic, thou hast profaned thy sanctuaries; therefore have I brought forth a fire from the midst of thee; it hath devoured thee, and I have turned thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19 All they that know thee among the peoples shall be astonished at thee; thou art become a terror, and thou shalt nevermore have any being (Ezek. 28:11-19).
a. The Uniqueness of the Character Portrayed in This Passage
In verse 12 the prophet was still addressing the king of Tyre. Notwithstanding this fact, he spoke of many things and experiences which far transcend anything that pertains to mortal man. For instance, in verses 13 and 15 this one is said to have been created: "… in the day that thou wast created they were prepared … Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created …"
He was in Eden, the garden of God (vs. 13). This Eden must be differentiated from the one of which we read in Genesis, chapters 2 and 3. Adam was created and placed in this latter Eden, which was simply of the vegetable kingdom. But in the former Eden there was what might be called a "crystal Palace," built of "every precious stone" (vs. 13), in which this mighty cherub resided.
He was the perfection of beauty and full of wisdom (vs. 12). This statement could not be made in regard to any mortal man. He is also called "the anointed cherub that covereth" and is said to have "walked up an down in the midst of the stones of fire." Certainly this statement could not be made of the king of Tyre of Alexander's day. This language far transcends all human experiences.
Moreover, this individual was perfect in all his ways from the day that he was created until unrighteousness entered into his heart. This statement could not be said of the king of Tyre, nor of any other mortal man since Adam's fall. The facts just stated prove conclusively that, although the prophet addressed this unique being as the king of Tyre, he was not speaking to a literal king, but to a created being who was associated with the throne of God and who was perfect at the beginning of his career.
b. The Creation of the Anointed Cherub
The word create in the Hebrew means to bring into existence that which has had no prior form or substance. As we have already seen in a former chapter, God alone can perform the act of creation. There was a time when this one was not. God put forth the creative act, the result of which was his coming into existence. In verse 12 we learn that this one "sealest up the sum." The marginal reading of sum is measure or pattern. In the original it literally means measurement, proportion. These ideas fundamentally mean that this one was perfect when he was created.
In Job 40:15-24 we read of behemoth. This word is rendered hippopotamus in the marginal reading of verse 15. He is called, in verse 19, "the chief of the ways of God." The word translated "chief" also means head or first. This one then was the first one whom God created. In view of this statement we can see that the Lord was not thinking of a literal hippopotamus or some earthy monster, but was speaking of the first creature whom He brought into existence and was representing him under the symbolism of a terrible monster. Again, in chapter 41 God spoke of leviathan. Though the description seems to be that of a huge sea monster, the last verse of this chapter shows that we are not to take the description literally as referring to such a monster, but are to understand that the Almighty was referring to someone who was and is king over those who are designated "the sons of pride." It seems quite obvious that in both of these chapters God was speaking of the same being although two different symbols were used. As we have just seen, this one was the beginning of the ways of God. When these passages are studied in the light of Ezekiel, chapter 28, it seems obvious that the same individual is under consideration in the three chapters. It appears therefore that this one was the first created being whom God brought into existence.
c. The Perfection of the Anointed Cherub
"Thou sealest up the sum [or measure], full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty." This one was created perfect, since he filled up the full measurement of perfection. Moreover, he was the very quintessence of wisdom and prudence. In addition to this qualification he was perfect in beauty. The statement refers to his entire being and appearance (vs. 12). Being thus created, he was perfect in all his ways. No mistakes, no misjudgments, no errors, and no sin could at that time be found in anything that he thought, said, or did. Thus he was perfect in his entire being and in all his ways.
d. The Abode of the Anointed Cherub
"Every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, the 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 in thee; in the day that thou wast created they were prepared" (Ezek. 28:13). The word rendered covering is in the plural and means booths or abodes. This form of the word is kindred to the one that is regularly rendered booths and refers to the structures erected by Israel at the Feast of Tabernacles. Its use in this connection shows that the prophet was speaking about the abodes of this anointed cherub which were in Eden, the garden of God. These dwelling places or palaces were constructed of every precious stone (nine of which are mentioned) and gold.
This Eden, as has already been suggested, must not be confounded with that one mentioned in Genesis, chapters 2 and 3. It existed during prehistoric times (the reader is urged to glance again at the chart in Chapter VI). These palaces were indeed mansions which defy description by mortal tongue--yes, they surpassed our wildest imagination.
"The workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was in thee." This statement means that Satan was created with the ability of a master musician, a designer and architect, and that he built these magnificent crystal palaces.
From the above data we know that this anointed cherub was not only in Eden, the garden of God, here upon this earth during prehistoric times, but that he was also in the very presence of God in heaven. The position which was entrusted to him when he was created, and which he occupied until the creation of the universe, was still held by him. He only accepted greater and larger responsibilities when he was given the lordship over this earth. When, however, he sinned, as we shall see presently, he lost both of these positions.
e. The Position of the Anointed Cherub
"Thou wast the anointed cherub that covereth: and I set thee, so that thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." This cherub is called the "anointed" one "that covereth." The word rendered "covereth" has a little different shade of meaning from that appearing in verse 13. It is true that the root form of the verb from which these terms come--the first a noun, the second a participle--are closely related. Nevertheless, the one appearing in verse 14 has a different shade of idea. It literally means to overshadow, to screen, or to cover. It sometimes refers to a panoply or a canopy over some dignitary. Light may be thrown upon this passage by referring to the ark of the covenant in the Tabernacle and the cherubim that covered the mercy seat. The Shekinah of glory rested upon the mercy seat. It is altogether possible that this anointed cherub occupied a position with reference to the throne of God analogous to that of the cherubim over the mercy seat. But on this point I shall not be dogmatic. Nevertheless, we can see from this quotation that the anointed cherub occupied a very high position with respect to the throne of God and His government. In this connection one would do well to read Ezekiel, chapter 1.
Another statement in this passage is, "… and I set thee, so that thou wast upon the holy mountain of God." What is meant by "the holy mountain of God"? A reference to it is found in Isaiah 14:13,14: "And thou saidst in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." As has already been seen, the heaven of the heavens where God has His throne is in a position north from this earth. It is a very definite and specific locality in the universe. We can accept the Bible teaching on this point and at the same time believe that God is omnipresent--everywhere in the universe. We may not be able to understand how we can localize God in heaven and at the same time believe that He is everywhere; nevertheless, such is the biblical teaching which we most enthusiastically accept as true. Is this a literal mountain? Of course no one can be dogmatic in answering this question. One may draw an inference however, from the statement found in Ezekiel 40:2: "In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain, whereon was as it were the frame of a city on the south." This mountain here referred to can be none other than Jerusalem in the Millennial Age where the God of Jacob will reside as He reigns over the earth (Isa. 2:1-4; Mic. 4:1-8). It may be that there is likewise something which at least corresponds to a mountain in the heavenly region where God's throne is located. We know that the Tabernacle and later the Temple were patterned after the spiritual realities in the heavenly region. (See Hebrews 8:1-5.) John caught a glimpse of this Temple of God in heaven (Rev. 11:19). Since the things on earth authorized by the Lord seem to be a replica of the things in heaven, and since during the Millennial Age the place where Christ will have His centralized government will be this great high mountain in Palestine (Jerusalem in its beauty and glory), it is altogether possible that the mountain in Ezekiel may refer to some exalted place of eminence where the Almighty sits enthroned in glory and sovereignty.
If however "mountain" is not to be taken literally, it must be interpreted symbolically. When it is thus used, it signifies a government, as we see in Jeremiah 51:25. In this case the high mountain of God referred to by Ezekiel would indicate the government of the Almighty. This cherub would then occupy a very high position in the administration of the Almighty.
One is led to infer that this cherub was the highest type of being that could be created; for, as we have already learned, he sealed up the measure of completion or perfection, was full of wisdom, and was perfect in beauty. This language can mean nothing other than that he was the highest type of creature who was placed over all other beings whom God brought into existence. He was the one who was next to God. Of course his life was derived from the Lord, and it was in Him that he lived and moved and had his being. Concerning the dignity, power, and authority which were given to him, we have a hint in the Book of Jude. Upon the death of Moses there was a dispute between Michael--the archangel and this cherub--"the devil" as he later is called. Michael would not challenge the right and prerogatives of Satan, but turned the matter over to the Lord Jesus Christ to handle. Who did this? None other than the archangel, the highest in authority among the good angels at the present time. The fact that he would not challenge the authority of Satan probably implies that the latter had even greater authority and power than did the archangel.
He was given this authority and power when he was created. There was no being in all the universe, with the exception of Deity, who could successfully challenge him. It became necessary therefore that Michael turn the matter in discussion over to the Lord Jesus, who, being one of the Holy Trinity, could deal adequately with him. We must always remember this high position, might, and unquestioned power that were granted to Satan in order that we might evaluate some of the most fundamental principles of the Word of God. The correct understanding of this teaching paves the way for the proper comprehension of the necessity of the incarnation, the death, burial, resurrection, and atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, this doctrine will throw a flood of light upon almost every fundamental teaching of the Word of God. Thus we cannot have it too firmly fixed in our minds that Satan doubtless was created the most powerful and authoritative being of God's creatures.
f. The Sin of the Anointed Cherub
"Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till unrighteousness was found in thee." From these statements we see that this anointed cherub was perfect in every part of his being. He sealed up perfection. He was full of wisdom, was perfect in beauty, and was perfect in all his ways until unrighteousness was found in him. Whatever God does is perfect. On the contrary, what fallen man does is imperfect and marred with blemishes. When the Lord created this anointed cherub, he was a powerful, holy, righteous, just, loving, loyal creature. Notwithstanding these facts, unrighteousness was found in him and he sinned. How was it possible for such a holy, consecrated, loyal subject to commit sin and engage in unrighteousness? The answer to this question reaches the very heart of the age-old problem of the origin of evil and sin. Philosophers and theologians have speculated and guessed in regard to this matter. Many strange, weird, and unreasonable arguments have been advanced for the various positions taken by thinkers, but the proper understanding of this case will, in my judgment, give the answer.
This anointed cherub was a being, possessing the attributes or characteristics of personality, which are intellect, sensibility, and free will. As stated above, he was a holy being, with his affections and loyalties directed to his Maker. The bent of his soul and mind, his inclinations, his sentiments, his loyalties were all definitely focused upon the Almighty, His plans, and His purposes. Blessed fellowship and communion existed between them. It was his will to do the will of God. Doubtless the following motto expressed the very sentiment of his heart: "God's will; nothing more, nothing less, nothing else." This position is demanded by the fact that he sealed up the measure, completion, proportion and was full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Nevertheless, he sinned and unrighteousness was found in him.
¹ The meaning of the word in the original translated almond-tree is "watcher." When the prophet pronounced this word, the Lord immediately, by a play on the word, declared that He watches over His Word to perform it. History proves the accuracy of this statement.
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