The prophecies that Ezekiel brings against the city-state of Tyre are among the most extensive of any that God decrees upon an enemy of Israel. Only those heaped on Babylon exceed them. Is it not interesting that the prophetic Word against both countries has a deeper significance than with prophecies to any other nation? Discerning readers of God’s Word know that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 look beyond the human kings in view. Isaiah speaks of the king of Babylon; Ezekiel points toward the king of Tyre. In both instances, although those monarchs exhibited the traits and characteristics of which they’re accused, it is actually Satan to whom God is speaking and pronouncing His judgment upon. In any truly evil circumstances, is not Satan inevitably behind the curtain pulling the strings of his human minions?
The reason for the extensive description of the wealth generated by the trade of Tyre as the merchant on the seas to the world is to give us an analogy to Satan’s position in God’s spiritual kingdom. Consider in Ezekiel 27 the wealth of Tyre generated by all this commerce. Rather than conquer other nations militarily, Tyre made itself so valuable to them that they became dependent on their trade. In effect, Tyre overcame the hostilities of the surrounding nations with the merchandise that only it was able to provide. It brought to market every kind of good known to man, including man himself in its slave trade (Ezekiel 27:13). For its position in the world, Tyre’s arrogance knew no bounds. It caused God to say through the prophet about Tyre in Ezekiel 28:2:
“Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God:
“Because your heart is proud,
and you have said, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of the gods,
in the heart of the seas,’
yet you are but a man, and no god,
though you make your heart like the heart of a god—”
The Lord then repeats this observation in Ezekiel 28:6,9, cementing this fact of Tyre’s excessive pride that caused the king to elevate himself as a god in his own eyes. The king of Tyre was simply the human stand-in for Satan. He indeed had all the wealth described, but it is Satan that the Lord addresses.
Satan, the Day Star and son of the Dawn (Isaiah 14:12), was a created being just like every other (Ezekiel 28:13). The Lord had given him much and elevated him to a very high position in the spiritual realm, as noted in Ezekiel 28:14:
You were an anointed guardian cherub.
I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
However, that realm operates, Satan engaged in commerce, just as the king of Tyre did. He was known throughout the kingdom as being exceptionally wise and beautiful (Ezekiel 28:12). He walked in the Garden of Eden on God’s holy mountain amidst the fire and glory that God had created and made magnificent for all, divine beings and mankind alike. But Satan had a fatal flaw. His heart was no different than that of man’s. He had free will just like men whom God created in His own image, and his heart was deceptively wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). It led to pride, arrogance, and violence (Ezekiel 28:16).
As has been said, Satan was the first rebel (see Saul Alinsky’s acknowledgment of Lucifer in his book Rules for Radicals). Indeed, Satan’s rebellion led to extreme disobedience. Ezekiel 28:18 addresses him and states:
By the multitude of your iniquities,
in the unrighteousness of your trade
you profaned your sanctuaries;
so I brought fire out from your midst;
it consumed you,
and I turned you to ashes on the earth
in the sight of all who saw you.
Do you recall the incident in which the sons of Aaron burned unholy, or strange, fire in their censers in violation of God’s command? Leviticus 10:2 states:
And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
It’s an awfully similar passage to that condemning Satan, isn’t it?
Satan may not have died right then and there like Nadab and Abihu, but his transgression caused the Lord to make this pronouncement upon him in Ezekiel 28:19:
“All who know you among the peoples
are appalled at you;
you have come to a dreadful end
and shall be no more forever.”
Although Satan is an immortal spiritual being, God will remove that immortality. This decree upon Satan is similar to what the Lord subsequently proclaimed upon another group of rebellious beings. The sons of God (bene Elohim) who violated the Lord’s trust at a later time following the Tower of Babel incident (Genesis 11) also faced His wrath during a Divine Council assembly. They had made themselves gods over the nations and directed the worship of man to themselves rather than to Yahweh. For this, we see the penalty in Psalm 82:6-7:
I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
These immortal beings will lose their immense privilege and die just as any mere unbelieving and disobedient man will. Their fate is to perish. Just as Satan, the dragon, will be cast into the fiery pit of the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10), so too will the bene Elohim. That is the eternal destination of all who rebel and transgress against God Almighty, the Holy One of Israel.
The Lord gives us this glimpse behind the scenes to show that no created being can profess to be greater than God. Only He is I AM. It is God alone who is worthy of all our worship and praise. To Him be the glory!