THE POEM: THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY (with footnotes)
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2Timothy 3:16-17, NASB).
This poem was in the making for just under 20 years, but it was not a continuous composition. It came in fits and starts with about five main inputs, the last and biggest one in the last 3 weeks of December 2019 and January 2020.
The inspiration for it came through one main event. I had taken an interest in the work of Dante (Dante Alighieri 1265-1321 A.D.), in his epic poem “La divina commedia” (The Divine Comedy). I was researching a matter and had cause to check something out in his writings, and became impressed with the style he used in composing his poem. Also, I was looking into the origin of evil and the work of the devil. The combination of those research areas suggested to me a poem I would call “The Mystery of Iniquity.” It proved to be quite an adventure.
I decided to adopt the same style Dante used because I liked the controlled form of writing, as it contributed an effectiveness to the reading, apart from being quite a challenge to write in that format. The poem’s rhyme scheme is the terza rima (ABA, BCB, CDC, etc.). Thus, the divine number of three is presented in every part of the work. The middle rhyme in each triplet begins the rhyme in the following triplet. This creates a very controlled and difficult writing style. Try it if you don’t believe me. Each line has a 10 metre. 10-10-10.
[Dante’s poem consists of 100 cantos, which are grouped together into three sections, or canticles, “Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.” Technically there are 33 cantos in each canticle and one additional canto, contained in the Inferno, which serves as an introduction to the entire poem. For the most part, the cantos range from about 136 to about 151 lines.] (From Encyclopaedia Britannica)
That makes for a very long poem consisting of maybe 14,000 to 14,500 lines. It shows Dante’s brilliance. I don’t even pretend to emulate Dante in any way. That is not a slightest consideration. This is my own interest and thoughts. Some people may not agree with me on every aspect raised in my ideas, but that is beside the point. If you disagree on every aspect, then I’d be very concerned.
There are 7 Parts to the poem. Each Part has footnotes where I wanted further explanations. If you disagree with some points in those footnotes, all is fine if you have biblical support. The purpose of the poem is to examine Satan’s origin and activity to his final demise in the lake of fire. The seven Parts are:
- Ancient Origins
- Subtle Deception
- Continued Hunting
- The Naming
- Current Conditions
- World Alignment
- Everlasting Destruction
My desire is twofold. The first is that you will enjoy this composition. It has turned out to be my longest poem, and the most difficult of my poems to write. The second desire is that you may learn something from it. It is not a poem you can read with any haste; just little by little. God bless those who read.
This poem is copyright. You don’t need my permission to use it, or to quote from it. Acknowledgement of authorship is all that is needed. It must not be taken and used as someone else’s work. It must not be taken and altered in any way without my approval.
THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY PART I – Ancient Origins
Anointed cherub,1 crowned with beauty much –
The pinnacle of God’s creation stands.
Of all angelic hosts, God’s special touch.
In you, the full worked beauty of God’s hands,
In the display of His great majesty –
The special one ranked among heaven’s clans.
All heaven shouted in festivity:
All pure joy that was for God’s delight.
And who, but God, would know your destiny?
The morning star2 bathed in reflected light:
O, shining one, resplendent glory yours!
Where darkness would withdraw and take its flight.
Creator God, the universe adores!
Not glory to creation’s parts, assume.
O foolish is the one who God, ignores;
Who God, rejects, His glory to entomb;
Casts God aside, despising His true place,
Devising things amiss from his mind’s womb.
God’s truth, he is not prepared to embrace.
The evil root has enlivened his mind,
And separate from God, he’ll seek his space.
For everyone, neglect of God will blind
One’s vision, as to truest things to keep,
And that neglect will see the truth maligned.
Then evil takes the swiftest path, to seek
To permeate corruptness through the soul,
And cause life’s very fabric thus to reek.
O Lucifer, what evil claimed its goal,
The work of God in you, to overturn?
What inner choice or defect, your heart stole?3
God’s gracious, loving ways you would not learn,
Or heed, O morning star, son of the dawn,
But God’s omnipotence you chose to spurn!
An evil heart through pride, in you was born
Because of your beauty. Exalting pride
You used; your character, to so adorn.
Your wisdom corrupted; by splendour, tried –
Your gateway foremost to iniquity.
Such beauteous form – your God you denied.
You raised your heart on high, ambitiously –
“I will ascend to God’s high-heaven throne.”4
And in your heart, you dealt deceitfully.
Corruption claimed you fully, as its own,
As saturated evil you became,
To lead rebellion’s forces all alone.
But in the silence of your heart, your fame!
“Above the topping clouds I will ascend.”
Above the Most High God to place your name!
O vile corruption – who can apprehend?
Above the stars of God, your throne to raise!
What vile deception – who can comprehend?
What moral balance, then your evil weighs
When multitudes of sins are multiplied,
If on your filth, earth’s total hosts could gaze?
In Eden5 past, you were identified –
That garden of God in which you were placed:
Perfection’s seal, of yourself signified.
And in the stones of fire6 you could be traced,
And on God’s holy mountain you were there,
And all God’s lovely blessings you embraced.
But, Lucifer, your beauty was a snare,
And pride exalted you beyond your place,
But in your heart, thought nothing could compare
With you, so you became a flawed disgrace.
Rebelliousness warped hosts of angel minds,
Who looked no longer on God’s holy face,
But spurned His grace, and drew their sinful lines;
One-third who followed usurpation’s way7 –
The path that through disaster surely winds.
Angelic ones, another would obey,
To turn their power to corruption’s will,
To become, judgement’s lawful castaway.
But down in Sheol, they will have their fill;
Far down to the recesses of the pit;
Cast down to hell, with all their triumph, nil.
From heaven you’ve fallen in one swift hit;
Cut down to the earth8 in your deservéd fall.
Forever on your head, your pride will sit.
O covering cherub, expulsion’s call
From all that is pure and holy and good!
O shining one – so low – who once stood tall.
Blameless from first creation’s time you stood,
Until iniquity your self, did claim.
To take God’s throne – your scheming never could!
Notes on Part One:
- Ezekiel 28:14. This passage penned by the prophet, viz Ezekiel 28: 11-19 has intrigued commentators from ancient times. The lamentation is specifically directed at the king of Tyre, but the language it contains must elevate it beyond the king into a celestial setting. Some suggest the prophet, by using cutting irony, is depicting Tyre’s king as the first man, perfect in creation. Others see more in this. According to Jewish tradition, the prince of Tyrus (king) was Ithobaal II (from Josephus), and as Satan stands behind this wicked king, then a good number of commentators conclude that Ezekiel is directing his comments beyond the king to the King of Evil, Satan himself.
As the pristine creation is presented in the passage, then it is considered Lucifer is being addressed, and his downfall through pride is what this passage really means, exegetically. Various expressions have been selected from this passage in Ezekiel for Part 1 of the poem. One must always remember that Satan is a created being and is not omnipresent, omniscient or omnipotent, the divine attributes that God alone has.
- “Morning star.” Isaiah 14:12. From the Latin light bearer. The word is the translation of the Hebrew helel (heosphoros in the LXX – Septuagint) meaning shining one. The Arabic uses for bright, shining one the word zuhratun, the name for the planet Venus, which is what the word Lucifer is in Latin. Jerome, when translating the Vulgate, had difficulty in rendering the Hebrew helel, and because it was associated with light, (luc/lucens Latin) decided on Lucifer, and the name has remained. It has become the name for Satan. A minority of commentators claim Isaiah is referring, not to Satan, but to the king of Babylon. [Will be mentioned in Footnote 20 in Part 3]
- The question is posed, “What inner choice or defect, your heart stole?” The origin of sin and of evil is the question that has occupied theologians, apologists and philosophers for all time. I do not endeavor to answer that apart from the standard accepted explanation, which is PRIDE and vaulting ambition. Of course, the additional question arises, “From where did pride arise in a perfect creation?” Again, what is the origin of sin in a sinless heavenly creation? It is beyond human speculation. There is much depth in contemplating this verse – Ezek. 28:15 “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.”
- Isaiah 14:13-14. All conservative scholars see this passage as describing the rebellion of Satan and his demon hosts (Matthew 25:41 and Luke 10:18) in the effort to dethrone God Himself, and set up himself as the malevolent ruler of the universe. These two verses in Isaiah contain five “I wills.” The whole passage from which material has been drawn for the poem is Isaiah 14:12-17.
- Ezekiel 28:13. “You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald, and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared.”
In that verse I see Eden as the perfection of God in creation. In Genesis the earthly Eden (a homophonous root meaning delight, or from Summerian edin, meaning a plain or steppe, or from the Akkadian edinu) was the perfection of creation for man. Eden is translated paradeisos by the LXX, which comes from the Old Persian pairidaeza (park, pleasure ground), which in time became paradise in English. I do not think this Eden of Ezekiel is at all related to the Genesis Eden but is the special created setting God made for Lucifer.
- Ezekiel 28:13-14, 16. The imagery of these gemstones is to highlight the diverse glory with which God endued Lucifer. Each has its specific brilliance and quality. The indication is that Lucifer must have been truly a beautiful and masterful creation of God. The imagery of gemstones is further continued by their use in the breastplate of Israel’s high priest (Exodus 28:15-22) and the future City of God, the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:8-27). Ezekiel 18:16 reveals that God has removed from Lucifer some or all of that distinctive glory that seemed to be uniquely his.
- “One-third.” This is interesting. The speculation is considered reasonable enough to include in the poem. Rev 12:3-4, “Another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems, and his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.”
The one-third is considered to be the contingent which followed Satan in his fall. Also interesting is this verse – Zechariah 13:8, “And it will come about in all the land,” declares the LORD, “that two parts in it will be cut off and perish, but the third will be left in it.” That is referring to the Jews at the end of the Tribulation period when one-third are left to enter the 1,000 years of the Messianic reign (Rev 20).
- Ezekiel 28:17. Isaiah 14:12. Lucifer is called “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). This verse and the ones in Ezekiel and Isaiah would indicate that Lucifer’s realm now is the earth and its atmosphere.