Ezekiel 28: The king of Tyrus? Or Satan?

Being a very difficult chapter to explain away, believers in the eternal torment scenario have chosen one of two ways of dealing with it; ignore it, or claim that God was not speaking to Satan at all, but literally to the King of Tyrus.

We begin by admitting that God was indeed speaking to the king of Tyrus, just like he spoke to the prince of Tyrus in verses 1 through 9, and to the Zidonians in verses 20 through 26. But there is an element of scripture some of us sometimes forget to understand, which we will endeavor to explain first.

In keeping with the bibles rule of allowing it to explain itself (Isaiah 28:9-10, 1 Corinthians 2:13), we’ve chosen a familiar story as found in the New Testament to aid us in this explanation. The story is found in the gospel according to Matthew, chapter 16. Note what happens:

Matthew 16:21-23
(21) From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
(22) Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
(23) But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

At the news of the impending death of Messiah, Peter, seeming to ignore Jesus’ concluding statement “…and be raised the third day,” cries out, “be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Perhaps Peter was unaware that the spirit which incited him to respond in such a way was that of Satan of himself, for Satan well hates the idea that Jesus was to die and yet be raised back to life. In response, Jesus directs his rebuke towards Peter, but therein reveals who he was really talking to:

Matthew 16:23
(23) But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Carefully notice the accusation brought forth by our Lord:

(1) He is an offence unto him
(2) He savors not the things of God

In contrast, only a few verse before, we find just the opposite when it comes to Peter. Not only he is not an offence unto Jesus, he defiantly savors the things of God, being the first of the twelve disciples to allow the Father to speak through him in admitting that Jesus is in fact who he claimed he was… the Son of the living God:

Matthew 16:15-17
(15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
(16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
(17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Surely Jesus wouldn’t give Satan the keys of the kingdom of heaven as he did to Peter (verse 19)!

Logically, therefore, the person to whom Christ was really speaking to was Satan, and he directly his words towards Peter because Peter allowed his emotions to express the thoughts and actions of the enemy himself.

Such is the case in Ezekiel 28. The King of Tyrus was a rebellious king, using his beauty and talents to feeds his greedy heart. His words and his actions against the government of Jehovah were expressions of the Devil himself, the one behind the scenes.

Beginning with verses 11 and 13, we read:

Ezekiel 28:11-13
(11) Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
(12) 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.
(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.

From verse 13 we gather two important facts:

(fact 1) He was in Eden the garden of God
(fact 2) Tabrets and pipes were prepared “in” him

From this text is where most Christians get that idea that Lucifer was the leader of the heavenly choir, because it literally says that instruments were created “in” him on the day that he was created. Would our critics suppose that the King of Tyrus has pipes inside of him? Remember, the verse says this was put in him the day he was created. Therefore it was when he was in his mother womb when while developing his pipes were created. Not only is this unbiblical with respect to humans created in the image of God, but also biologically and logically impossible. This can, however, be said of a spirit being, like Satan himself.

Then we’re told this individual was in the Garden of Eden. Here we find our first hint that the person really being spoken to here is actually Satan, for the King of Tyrus lived at least three-thousand years after the Garden was banned from human population. On the other hand, we find Satan there:

Genesis 3:1
(1) Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

The only individuals the bible reveals were in the Garden of Eden were God (including, or course, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit), Adam and Eve, and the serpent, “which is the Devil, and Satan…” –Revelation 20:2. The nation of Tyrus didn’t even exist as of yet.

More evidence that God’s words are being sent directly to the Devil himself is in the next verse, verse 14:

Ezekiel 28:14
(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.

Here we gather two more facts:

(fact 3) He’s a “cherub.”
(fact 4) He wast upon the holy mountain of God, walking among the stones of fire

Cherub is singular for cherubims, which are angelic angels with wings. To get deeper into this text, we find, in comparing this with other portions of scripture, that Lucifer actually occupied the exulted and privileged position of being one of the two angels which stood on the sides of the heavenly throne, in the heavenly temple. Notice where else we find such words as cherub that covereth:

Exodus 25:20
(20) And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.

Exodus 37:7-9
(7) And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat;
(8) One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
(9) And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims.

This immediately tells us three things, that the individual being spoken to in Ezekiel 28:

(1) Had wings
(2) Held in position in the temple of God
(3) Was in heaven next to God

The third one is further confirmed by fact 4, which shows that he was in heaven “upon the holy mountain of God.” There is no doubt that heaven is the intended meaning here, for of course there are no such things as “stones of fire” upon the earth. But such stones could indeed exist in paradise.

If this isn’t enough to convince our critics that it is Lucifer to whom the Lord is really reffering to here, perhaps the next verse in Ezekiel 28 might:

Ezekiel 28:15
(15) Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

In terms of humans, the only ones ever created perfect were Adam and Eve, but as we have seen, they did not have wings, for they were not cherubs, nor they did occupy a position in heaven. Rather they lived upon the earth. The only other being which could fit all these criteria’s is Lucifer, the covering cherub.

Now we get to the crux of the matter, the point which our critics so desperately try to avoid. The annihilation of Satan. After describing why he sinned, we come to the final two verses:

Ezekiel 28:18-19
(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.
(19) All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

It’s difficult for a being to be both eternally alive and eternally devoured at the same time. We say eternally devoured because verse 19 clearly says… “never shout thou be any more.” The end result of his destruction will simple be ashes. We’re not concerned with explaining how a spirit being can be put to ashes, but simply with what the text says. We can take it or leave.

The wicked too will be put to ashes:

Malachi 4:3
(3) And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

Here lies the reason why our opponents have to somehow convince us that these verses are not speaking about Satan, for it forever annihilates their eternal torment doctrine. Yet as we have seen, although God is here directing his words towards the King of Tyrus, he is really speaking to the King of Sin… Satan.

For further study, see:

-Satan’s Biggest Problem (a must read for all interested in Ezekiel 28)
-2 Thessalonians 1:9: Everlasting Destruction?
-The Achilles Heel of the Eternal Torment Doctrine