TODAY’S READING: EZEKIEL 28-32
God’s judgment on the prince/king of Tyrus (chapter twenty-eight); God’s judgment upon Pharaoh (chapter twenty-nine); God’s judgment upon Egypt (chapter thirty); The fall of Assyria (chapter thirty-one); A lamentation for Pharoah/Egypt (chapter thirty-two)
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Chapter twenty-eight concludes God’s judgment against Tyre. This passage has been dated shortly before the siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar (585-573 BC). The prince in view in verse two was Ithobal II who reigned during this seige. His arrogance is demonstrated by the fact that he considered himself a god (28:2). Princes of Tyre believed they were descendents of the gods. The precision of the imagery and the verbiage in this passage reveals this judgment not only speaks to the historical ruler of Tyre, but to another being as well.
Ezekiel mentions that this prince is wiser than Daniel, which indicates that Daniel was well-known throughout the world by this time. At the time that Ezekiel made this statement, Daniel would have served in Nebuchadnezzar’s court for an estimated twenty-five years.
While Ezekiel states that this prince has been successful in accumulating wealth, it is the prince’s pride that brings about God’s judgment (28:6). The demise of the prince is prophesied in 28:10. The invasion of Tyre by Babylon was also prophesied in Jer. 27:1-7.
Verse eleven of chapter twenty-eight brings a transition. The word “moreover” emphasizes that Ezekiel is about to go further in his condemnation of the ruler. The careful reader will observe that the ruler is referred to as “the king” (28:12) rather than the prince (28:2). While it is true that the terms king and prince are often used interchangeably in Scripture, it is also true that secular history does not record a king of Tyre, only a prince. Why the distinction? Why did Ezekiel change terms?
The answer lies in the identity of this king. This king is said to be “full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.” While the case may be made that this description could refer to a mortal man in some sense, the next phrase cannot. This king has been in Eden the garden of God. Some scholars say that Ezekiel was referring to a garden that was so beautiful it could be compared to Eden. However, this is not what the text says. This ruler has literally been in Eden. It is apparent that Ezekiel is no longer referring to the ruler of Tyre, but is speaking to the spirit behind that ruler. The pride that the ruler of Tyre possesses comes from a being that actually said at one time, “I will be like the most high” (Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:16-17). Ezekiel is speaking to someone who had been in Eden over 3,000 years prior to this prophecy. This is none other than Satan himself.
It is not uncommon for the Word of God to speak to Satan through a man (Matt. 16:23). Here Ezekiel provides a description of Lucifer before his fall. He was covered in precious stones with musical instruments inside of him. He is called the “anointed” cherub. He was created perfect until the day iniquity was found in him (Isa. 14:12-24).
The ruler of Tyre pictures not only Lucifer, but the coming anti-Christ. Within this chapter we find this ruler described as:
1. A man – vs. 2
2. A prophet – vs. 3
3. A king – vs. 2
4. A priest – vs. 13 (as symbolized by the precious stones which were also worn by priests in the OT)
This ruler represents the presence of Satan (who was once in Eden) personified through a man who will seek to counterfeit the offices of a prophet, priest, and king. The judgment upon this man is also revealed (28:17-19). God will one day bring fire from within this adversary (anti-Christ) to devour him. He will be reduced to ashes and scattered for the world to see, and “never shalt thou be anymore.” A man who is the rightful prophet, priest, and king – who is the very presence of God – will defeat him! This chapter ends with a promise to Israel concerning the millennial reign of this man – Christ (28:25-26).
Chapters twenty-nine through thirty-two record God’s judgment against the nation of Egypt. Israel had turned to Egypt for help against Babylon contrary to God’s instruction (Jer. 42:14-22, 43:7-11). Egypt had been successful in causing the Babylonians to lift the siege against Jerusalem (Jer. 37:5-7). However, in time, Egypt returned to their homeland and Jerusalem was eventually invaded and burned.
Now Egypt is falling under the condemnation of God. Once again God is using Nebuchadnezzar to accomplish His will (29:17-20). From a historical perspective Nebuchadnezzar was running out of resources as he continued to wage war against Tyre (29:18). He ended up spoiling Egypt and paying his army to continue to fight. Verse 18 says he had no wages, nor his army. God’s gift of the land of Egypt became their wages. Chapter Twenty-nine ends with a prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ describing Him as the horn (Christ) of the house of Israel to bud forth.
In chapter thirty-one Satan is once again addressed through a man – Pharaoh (31:1-9). Satan is likened to a tree in Eden. The trees of Eden envied him (31:8-9), but he stood above the rest of the trees (31:5). During this same time period, Daniel, who is also in exile, uses the metaphor of a tree to describe Nebuchadnezzar, who is a type of the anti-Christ (Dan. 4:10).
Why does God use the Gentile leaders of these nations to picture the anti-Christ (Tyre, Babylon, Egypt)? The anti-Christ’s kingdom will be a culmination of Gentile kingdoms that will unite in an effort to destroy Israel and to rule this world. We have to remember that God had promised that a man would be born that would eventually crush Satan’s head (Gen. 3:15). God had revealed that this man would come from the nation of Israel. Throughout history, Satan has raised up, and will continue to raise up, Gentile nations to destroy Israel. The tribulation is Satan’s last attempt to organize these nations in an effort to destroy Israel.
Speaking to Satan through these Gentile leaders, God continually reminds him that one day both he and his kingdom will be destroyed. Then, as a preview of what the future holds in store for them, God does what He says He will do and destroys each one of these Gentile nations. No doubt about it, God gets in Satan’s face. The conflict is a personal one. This is about a war for a kingdom and God continues to remind Satan just how the story is going to end!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As the HORN OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL – Eze. 29:21.