Is Ezekiel 28 Referring to Satan’s Fall?

In Ezekiel 28, I have understood that this is referring to the King of Tyre. However, I’ve heard parts of it referred to as describing Satan’s fall, especially verses 11 and following. Could this be a dual meaning in this chapter?

Let’s read together verses 11-19. First of all, the context is set in verse 1 that Ezekiel is prophesying regarding the king of Tyre. This is the plain meaning of this verse and we have no other scriptures that would indicate that we should take the passage in any other way. Verses 1-10 talk about the pride of the king of Tyre and describe him as one who has “set thy heart as the heart of God.” In other words, he has put himself in the place of God. Due to this pride, he was going to be destroyed and killed. Verses 1-10 are the clear prophecy regarding Tyre. Verses 11-19 constitute a lamentation regarding the king of Tyre. The lamentation is a figure of language that compares and contrasts both the blessings of God as the result of righteous behavior with the curse of God as a result of wicked behavior. The conclusion is that the person being lamented either has fallen or will fall as a result of his sin. Having this in mind, when we read verses 11-19 we must understand that this is figurative language describing the former blessing of the king of Tyre when he was being faithful to God. Remember that the king of Tyre, at one time, was a friend of David and helped to build the temple. The passage goes on to describe the subsequent ruin of the king after losing faith and putting his trust into material possessions. We should also keep in mind that Ezekiel is not describing just one kingship, but a dynasty of kings. The expression “king of Tyre” doesn’t refer to just one man, but to the succession of kings that governed Tyre.

The figurative language that Ezekiel uses describes the great blessings that were once shed on this dynasty. These blessings were comparable to Eden, God’s garden. Although we don’t know much regarding God’s relationship with non-Jewish people in the Old Testament, we know that God still observed them and extended salvation to them. In this regard, the king of Tyre was like the anointed cherub; he walked in the mountain of God and in the midst of the stones of fire–all figurative language describing a relationship with God that was approved. Notice verse 15 says that he was “perfect in his ways.” Again, this emphasizes that a right relationship with God was maintained for a while. But then the kings started to choose wickedness over righteousness and lost their good relationship with God. This was due both to sinful commerce and pride on the part of the kings of Tyre. Notice the relationship changed. He was cast out of the mountain and destroyed so that he could no longer approach God to have a relationship with Him. We have additional language describing the pride of the king of Tyre in verse 17. In verses 18 and 19 we have the final promise of destruction and bewailment of those who knew the king in his former glory.

This is highly figurative language and as such we should be careful only to interpret it in light of clear biblical teaching. Verses 1 and 11 are clear that this is speaking regarding the king of Tyre. In the absence of other clear Biblical teaching regarding Satan’s fall, it would be a very unwise course of action fraught with questionable hermeneutics to declare this scripture as a description of the fall of Satan.

There are some, however, who do interpret this passage in this way. Those who do are they who have a point to prove regarding their doctrine of Premillennialism. They are eager to go forth into such highly figurative passages such as this and apply them readily to Satan in order to justify their fanciful interpretations of the book of Revelation particularly in regard to the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth. It did not take me very long to find a reference to this 1000 years when looking at one of their commentaries. Those who interpret this passage in this way argue for the following things:

1) That the mention of Eden in this passage is referring to a literal place upon the earth before God created the Garden of Eden we read about in Genesis 1.
2) That the mention of this person being a cherub of God meant that he was literally a cherub or an angel in the presence of God.
3) That the “mountain of God” refers to a literal pre-Adamic kingdom upon the earth over which Satan ruled upon a literal throne.
4) That the expression “cast to the ground” in verse 17 means that he was literally cast out of heaven.

Such an exegesis of this passage of scripture simply cannot be taken seriously as it completely ignores the immediate context regarding the destruction of the city of Tyre (chapters 26 and 27) and the clear language that chapter 28 is referring to the fall of the king of Tyre. It also ignores the clear statement in verse 12 regarding this section of scripture being a lamentation–a type of a figure of speech. In other words, it is not to be taken literally, but is figurative in nature.

It also ignores one of the primary accusations against the king–material corruption. Verses16 and 18 state that it is because of merchandising that the king was being brought down and his subsequent pride as a result of the great material wealth that came and went through the city of Tyre. Why would Satan be concerned with material wealth if he was a cherub or angel of God?

We better stay with the clear teaching of scripture in the immediate context as to what these things are referring. Now there are some lessons to be learned from this passage regarding what God thinks about materialism and pride. Certainly these lessons could be applied to anyone who would lift themselves up as God and act in such a way so as to be materialistic and boastful so that he no longer shows a dependency upon God. In this sense, as an application of the lessons that we can learn from the fall of the king of Tyre, we can apply this passage to anyone who would be prideful and materialistic, and that may very well apply to Satan. However, it is fanciful to say that this passage contains DIRECT references to the history of Satan.

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Who and What is a High Priest?

Who and what is a high priest?

The Bible speaks of many different kinds of priests. In Genesis 14:18 we read of the first high priest that the Bible introduces to us. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” In the context we read that Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek thus acknowledging him as God’s high priest. The book of Hebrews points out that Jesus is a priest after this order of priesthood.

In the Mosaic covenant, God mandates that there be a high priest to intermediate between God (who is holy) and the people (who are sinful). We have a tremendous amount of detail regarding the office of this priest. He was to be of the tribe of Levi of the descendents of Aaron the brother of Moses. Aaron was the first high priest under the Mosaic covenant. This high priest was to consecrate and dedicate himself to the worship of God within the tabernacle and later the temple. The high priest was ceremonially installed into the office per the instructions found in Exodus 29:29 and following. Each new high priest had to wear holy garments and undergo a special anointing (Leviticus 21:10). The high priest was also to wear the vest of the ephod which was a sleeveless garment worn over the upper torso. A description of this item of clothing is found in Exodus 28. In this vest were engraved in various places the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The vest also had a pocket wherein the Urim and Thummim were kept which he alone could consult. The headdress was of fine linen and inscribed upon the gold plat of the crown were the words, “Holy to Jehovah.” This special tunic inscribed with the names of Israel on it represented the nation of Israel where as the headdress labelled “holy to Jehovah” represented the interests of God. In combining the two we see a picture of mediation in the person of the high priest.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the office of high priest is that he was to enter the most Holy place once a year and offering an atoning sacrifice both for himself and for the children of Israel (Leviticus 16). He was not to wear his priestly garments, but was to dress in pure linen. After the sacrifice he was then to preside over the sending of the scapegoat into the wilderness.

The high priest also had to keep his person pure. One could not be a high priest who had physical defects or deformities. He was to marry a virgin woman of pure character. He was not to defile himself by contact with any dead bodies and he was not to show the signs of public mourning while attending to his duties. He was not to eat anything that had died of itself. He was to wash both hands and feet before nearing the altar. He also acted as a judge for various diseases, for legal questions, and ultimately for questions regarding spiritual leadership.

This is a basic description of who and what the high priest was under the Old Covenant. However, under the New Covenant we have a different kind of high priest. Fifteen times in the book of Hebrews Jesus is named as high priest. The burden of the book of Hebrews is to show that the way of Christ is the better way. That Judaism cannot hold a candle to the blessings that are bestowed on us in Christ. Part of these great blessings is the high priesthood of Jesus. The high priest that we have in Jesus is superior to that of the high priesthood under the Old Covenant because 1) It was after the order of Melchizedek (Heb.5:10; 6:20). 2) Jesus lived a perfectly sinless life (Heb.5:9) 3) He therefore does not need to offer sacrifice for himself daily because he offered up a perfect sacrifice once for all people and all times (Heb.7:27). 4) While the high priest under the Old Covenant went into the Holy Place and then came out, Jesus went into the Holy Place and sat down (Heb.10:12). 5) This makes him a mediator for a better covenant (Hebrews 9:15).

Today we have no system of worship that demands a segregated priesthood. All Christians are considered by God to be priests under the New Covenant (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Rev.5:9). However, we only have one high priest–Jesus the Christ. He is now sitting on the right hand of the throne of the Father and he “ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25). As our High Priest, he is both the one who offered the sacrifice for our sins and the sacrifice itself. That one sacrifice makes Him the only High Priest that God recognizes today. As high priest, He was tempted just like we are tempted each and every day (Heb.2:17). He understands both man’s side of the issue of sin and God’s side of the issue of sin and thereby can act as the perfect mediator. Just as the high priestly garments under the Old Covenant symbolized mediation, so today Jesus embodies mediation. Who is our High Priest? Jesus. What is a high priest? A mediator between God and man.

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Would you explain the meaning of Matthew 10:34-36 as quoted from Micah 7:6?

Would you explain the meaning of Matthew 10:34-36 as quoted from Micah 7:6?

Let’s read together Matthew 10:34-36. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man�s foes shall be they of his own household.” The last part of this verse is a quotation from Micah 7:6 which says, “For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man�s enemies are the men of his own house.” So this is a quotation from the Old Testament that Jesus applies to Christians. At first glance, it seems rather strange for Jesus to be quoting pre-Babylonian prophets, but upon inspection of the context and meaning of both passages, I think that this will become clear.

First, in the prophecy of Micah, we see a dialogue between God and Micah. Chapter six of Micah is key to this dialogue because God is setting forth an accusation or “controversy” with the children of Israel and calling for their repentance. Scholars believe that in chapter seven, Micah is speaking on behalf of the faithful congregation within the midst of a rebellious people. Verses 1-6 of Micah chapter six are a description of the wickedness that surrounds the faithful of God. Verses 7-13 are a confession of sin on the part of this congregation and an acceptance of the punishment that the Lord is going to mete out. This style of writing is commonly found in the Old Testament especially in the Psalms. The Psalmist will often describe the characters and attributes of the wicked and then state what the faithful’s response to wickedness should be. Psalm 2 is an excellent example of this type of comparison and contrast. So having these thoughts in mind, verse 6 is a description of how wicked people are going to act in the presence of the faithful. How will they act? The wicked son will dishonor the father. The wicked daughter will rise up against her mother. The wicked daughter-in-law will do the same against her mother-in-law. In essence, when it comes to wicked people, “a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.”

Now, how does this apply to Matthew 10:34-36? If you go back all the way to the beginning of the chapter you will notice that this chapter concerns the sending of the disciples on the limited commission. The entire chapter is devoted to instruction on what the disciples should expect when they go out into the world and preach the gospel to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (verse 6). There are two types of instruction given to the disciples in this chapter. First there is positive instruction as to what they are to do on the limited commission. This comprises verses 5-15. Then there are various and sundry warnings given to the disciples about what they could expect from the unbelievers. This comprises verses 16-42. Chapter 11 verse 1 clearly indicates that this entire section of scripture was given as instruction for this limited commission because it gives this conclusion to the commission in these words: “When Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples.”

The section of scripture with which we are concerned falls within the sundry warnings that Jesus is giving to his disciples regarding the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Jesus words to them are basically this. Don’t expect that you will receive a warm welcome out of the unfaithful. When you preach the gospel, people are going to become your enemies. In this sense, Jesus’ came to bring a sword. The warning of Micah describing the unfaithful holds true here. Even among families, there will be division. This is the typical response of the unfaithful. So Micah’s description of the unfaithful apply to the situation where disciples would be going into the very houses of the unfaithful to preach the gospel, and they were to be aware as to how the unfaithful would respond to this preaching. So in essence, that is the reason Jesus quotes from Micah.

One further question presents itself. What applicability does this passage have, if any, today? While the passage specifically addressed what the twelve disciples were to do on the limited commission, we can learn from both Micah and from this passage what the attitude of the unfaithful will be. When it comes to preaching the gospel, the unfaithful will not want anything to do with it. They will oppose it. They will reject it. They will even sever family ties over it if they disapprove of it. It is our responsibility, however, to preach the gospel regardless of what kind of problems that may cause. So this passage serves as a warning to us as well regarding what kind of attitudes we should expect from some people in regard to the preaching and teaching of the truth. We should also note that Jesus mentions that some will respond in a positive way to the gospel. Notice verses 40-42, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet�s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man�s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

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