From the very beginning, the Bible is specific about who our true adversary is. In Ezekiel, God gives us a short but highly significant insight into this in his “Lament to the King of Tyre.” On the surface this lament is addressed to a man, the King of Tyre, but in reality it is directed at the real power behind the throne—Satan himself.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).
“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.
‘So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries.
‘So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more’” (Ezekiel 28: 11-19).
This is about Satan. When Satan entered the Garden of Eden to destroy mankind through Adam, Satan was already a fallen being. Sin did not originate on Earth; it began in Heaven.
This Lament to the King of Tyre tells us how and why this once majestic being became the enemy of all mankind. It is important that we understand this because an innumerable multitude have died throughout time due to this event, and the battle that was waged in the Garden of Eden is the same battle waged in this world today, and in each of our lives.
“You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” It is a truth many Christians fail to understand; but Lucifer, before he fell, was the embodiment of perfection. God tells us here, not that Lucifer thought he was perfect in wisdom and in his beauty, but that he actually was perfect in wisdom and in beauty.
“You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.” Lucifer was the very pinnacle of God’s creation. He was with God from the very beginning. He had a privileged position with God in Eden—God’s very own garden where the Creator Himself dwelt. He enjoyed an intimate and perfect fellowship with his Creator.
In fact, so perfect was Lucifer that “every precious stone adorned you.” These stones are likely symbolic of light: “carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.” Impressive, attractive, multi-colored, beautiful light clothed him. He was clearly resplendent in obvious glory. These stones together represent complete perfection. Exactly the same descriptions of multi-colored, precious stones are used to describe the radiant glory and indescribable beauty of the new Heavenly Jerusalem:
“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband…The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst” (Revelation 21:2,19-20).
This New Jerusalem is your destiny if you believe in and follow Jesus Christ. When the apostle Paul talked of his rapture into paradise, he wrote that he was witness to “inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell” (2 Corinthians 12:4).
This is what awaits us all in Christ!
“You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.” Lucifer was of a specific class of angel placed in charge of all of God’s creation. He was not just a part of this royal angelic class; he was “anointed” even from within that special group. God ordained him this way, ordained him perfect, appointed him first amongst all angels and ordained his position of vast leadership over His creation.
This is also probably why God placed another Cherub to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden after man fell. “After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). It was to keep Lucifer out. God sent a powerful Cherub to fight a powerful Cherub, not a normal angel.
“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” Lucifer was created perfect, until wickedness, in the form of pride, was found in him. Pride in his position, pride in his power, pride in his resplendence and glory, and pride in his wisdom and beauty. Pride in himself.
“Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.” At this point Satan became totally and completely corrupt and he sinned. It was because of the wide variety of power, gifts and blessings bestowed upon him that he became corrupt. He looked upon himself and wondered why he should not become as God.
How wonderful when we compare this “son of God” to the attitude of God’s Own Son Jesus, who, “…although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross….” (Philippians 2:6-8).
That he was “…filled with violence” indicates his objective, then and now, to destroy God’s creation. Satan looked upon this man, Adam, and saw a new creation, a new son of God. Satan no doubt recognized a threat to himself and his own position, and he sought to destroy this man’s new relationship with the Creator God. Equally, none of us today should be under any illusion; just as Satan sought to destroy Adam all those eons ago in that long lost Garden, he also seeks to destroy us through sin, separating us from our God.
It is this relationship that Jesus, the Son of God Himself, came to restore through his own personal death.
“So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.” Ultimately, this rebellion failed and Satan lost his privileged position. That does not mean, however, that his influence or the danger he poses is passed.
Satan’s aim is to prove God to be a liar. This accounts for his insatiable hatred for Israel and the Jews.
In the Old Testament God made a solemn promise to Abraham that he would deliver his seed: and because there was nothing that existed holier than Himself, God swore on his own name that he would deliver a remnant of Israel. If Satan can thwart that by destroying the Jews, which he is about to attempt once again in the Tribulation period, then he can prove God to be a liar. This would mean that because God swore to Abraham on the holiest thing there is, on His Own Holy name, then God would be obliged to destroy his own temple and altar in Heaven. He would be obliged to destroy his own seat of power.
This is the battle we find ourselves in the middle of today. It is a real battle with eternal consequences for all involved. This is one of the reasons why, along with the loosening of the restraints on evil, our world is increasingly becoming characterized by horrors. As the end approaches, the intensity of this battle is increasing; and if the Lord tarries much longer we will all be touched by it. Real, tangible and painful persecution lies just around the corner for every professing believer in Jesus. The longer the Lord tarries, the more certain it becomes.
At the root of all the evil we see in the world today, lies just another created being, Satan. All the suffering, pain and brokenness can be laid at his door. Yet there is hope. C.S. Lewis puts it succinctly:
“This is our situation and there is only one recourse that is open to us, and it is found in Jesus Christ alone. He is the Lord of lords and the Kings of kings, above all powers, including this evil angelic one. Through His Sacrifice He has provided a way for our relationship with Almighty God to be restored.”
All we need to do is believe. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
The world today for Christians is without question full of difficulties, and sometimes “…we are hard pressed on every side” (2 Cor.4:8). We must remember that our true battle, “…is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
God himself has promised us that “…never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus has promised us that “…I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:20).
This life, and the trials we will face within it, is not a path that we must walk alone. God is saying to us today the same thing he said to Joshua all those years ago in the dessert, when he instructed him to go forth and take the Promised Land: “…be strong and courageous” (Joshua1:9).
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Cor.10:4).
So in these last and increasingly dark days, in the time that is left to us before the coming of the Lord, be strong and be courageous, and stand steadfast in the power of your Saviour’s might (Ephesians 6:10).
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7).