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The Anointed Cherub Ezekiel 28: 13-15

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CHAPTER 28 Oct. 2 
Tyre: The Anointed Cherub
The word of Yahweh came again to me saying, 2Son of man, tell the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because your heart is lifted up, and you have said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet you are man, and not God, though you set your heart as the heart of God.3Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that is hidden from you. 4By your wisdom and by your understanding you have become rich, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasures. 5By your great wisdom and by your traffic you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches. 6Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because you have set your heart as the heart of God, 7therefore, behold, I will bring strangers on you, the terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and they shall defile your brightness. 8They shall bring you down to the pit; and you shall die the death of those who are slain, in the heart of the seas. 9Will you yet say before him who kills you, I am God? But you are man and not God in the hand of him who stabs you. 10You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, says the Lord Yahweh. 11Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me saying, 12Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and tell him, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: You seal up the imitation, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz, emerald, chrysolite, onyx, jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and beryl. Gold workmanship of tambourines and of pipes was yours. In the day that you were created they were prepared. 14I put a terrifying messenger there to guard you. You lived on My holy mountain and walked among sparkling gems. 15You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you. 16By the abundance of your trading they filled the midst of you with violence, and you have sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane out of the mountain of God; and the angel who guarded you drove you away from the midst of the stones of fire. 17Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness. I have cast you to the ground; I have laid you before kings, that they may see you. 18By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trading, you have profaned your sanctuaries; therefore have I brought forth a fire from the midst of you; it has devoured you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all those who see you. 19All those who know you among the peoples shall be astonished at you. You have become a terror, and your life shall end evermore.
Against Sidon
 20The word of Yahweh came to me saying, 21Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against it 22and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I am against you Sidon. I will be glorified in the midst of you; and they shall know that I am Yahweh when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her. 23For I will send plague into her and blood into her streets. The wounded shall fall in the midst of her, with the sword on her on every side; and they shall know that I am Yahweh. 24There shall be no more a pricking brier to the house of Israel, nor a hurting thorn of any that are around them, that scorned them; and they shall know that I am the Lord Yahweh. 25Thus says the Lord Yahweh: When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the nations, then shall they dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. 26They shall dwell securely therein; yes, they shall build houses, and plant vineyards, and shall dwell securely, when I have executed judgments on all those who do them despite all around them; and they shall know that I am Yahweh their God.


28:13-15 It is wrongly assumed that this refers to Satan once having been in Eden. But the words “devil” and “satan” do not occur in this chapter, nor in the rest of Ezekiel. The context shows this is a prophecy about the King of Tyre; the preceding chapter 27 is an oracle against Tyre, and now chapter 28 speaks specifically about the King of Tyre. Ezekiel chapters 27 and 28 clearly hold together as a literary unit. The city of Tyre and the King of Tyre are described in similar terms, e.g. "perfect in beauty" (compare 27:3 and 28:12; 27:16,17 with 28:13; 27:33 with 28:16). The passage plainly speaks of the King of Tyre, not anything that happened at the beginning of the world. It is commonly believed that Satan was thrown out of heaven into Eden, but this passage says that this person was in Eden before he sinned and was cast out when he sinned. The garden of Eden was on the earth, not in heaven (its boundaries are given in Gen. 2:8-14), therefore the casting out was not out of heaven. The person was to “die the death of the uncircumcised” (:10), but angels cannot die (Lk. 20:35-36). That a man is referred to is confirmed by v. 9: “you are man”. Verse 2 defines him as the “prince of Tyre”. The Hebrew word for “perfect” is applied to Noah, Abraham, Job and David (Gen. 6: 9; 17:1; Job 1:1; Ps. 18:23 & 25); it doesn’t imply a supernatural being.  “You were in Eden” refers to where the king of Tyre was in place, not in time. Pharaoh and Assyria are similarly described as being like trees in Eden, and having these trees in awe (31:2,3,8,9,16,18). The trees in Eden are not to be taken literally, they represent the nations whom Pharaoh and Assyria conquered, possibly referring to the fact that they were all within the old geographical boundaries of the garden of Eden.  Eden was a geographical area on earth known to Ezekiel's readers- this is how it is used elsewhere in Ezekiel (Ez. 27:23; 31:8,9; Is. 51:3; Gen. 13:10). 'Eden' was not understood as a historical reference to the garden of Eden in early Genesis, but rather to a known nation / region of Ezekiel's time. The sin of the King of Tyre is defined in :16-18 as dishonest accumulation of wealth. The sin in view wasn't some Angelic rebellion against God. The language of precious stones in :13,14 is an allusion to the stones set in the breastplate of the high priest of Israel (Ex. 39:10-14). Tyre was “on the holy mountain of God” (:14)- but this holy mountain is Mount Zion, Jerusalem here on earth (20:40). The prophecy of the fall of Tyre is being consciously framed to mirror the fall of man, e.g. v. 2 “you are man”; “man” is Adam in Hebrew, as if God is saying to the prince of Tyre, “You are like Adam in this parable”. Verse 17 tells how he will be brought to the ground - as Adam had to return to the dust. The passage is often skim read, leading to the assumption that the King of Tyre is being likened to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, or to some Satan figure who fell from Heaven at that time. But careful reading shows that the King of Tyre is being likened to Adam in Eden, not to the serpent. Verses 14,16 sound like a reference to the King of Tyre as Adam: "I put a terrifying angel there to guard you… the angel who guarded you drove you away " (:14,16- this is also the reading of the G.N.B. and T.E.V.)
Another approach is suggested by archaeological discoveries in Tyre. A large cherub-sphinx with a king’s head and animal’s body set on a base of sculptured mountains was discovered, evidently a deification of a king of Tyre. With Hiram’s knowledge of the true God, it seems that subsequent Kings of Tyre came to put themselves in the position of God, seated between the cherubim on Mount Zion, in the same way as the king of Assyria effectively aspired to the same thing - Phoenician inscriptions have been uncovered calling the king of Tyre “Lord of the Heavens”. Even more amazingly, the jewels described in v. 13 were all found embedded in this sphinx-cherubim. The three jewels of the breastplate missing from the list in v. 13 were also missing from the sphinx. Inscriptions also describe Tyre as the “garden of God”, and reliefs of cherubim guarding Tyre as they did Eden have been found. Thus the king of Tyre had set up a blasphemous system of worship copying that of the temple and of Eden, with himself as God in the midst of it. "The king of Tyre" (:12) may be a reference to the Tyrian god Melkart ("King of the city"). Perhaps Tyre had installed a system of Yahweh worship similar to that which was in Jerusalem (perhaps a result of Hiram's relationship with Solomon and assistance in building Yahweh's temple)- but this had become mixed with the worship of Melkart. “You seal up the imitation” (:12) show how God was aware that this replica of His system of worship had been pushed by the king of Tyre as far as it could go. According to the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary: "This feeling of superhuman elevation in the king of Tyre was fostered by the fact that the island on which Tyre stood was called "the holy island" [Sanconiathon], being sacred to Hercules and Melkart, so much so that the colonies looked up to Tyre as the mother city of their religion". The city was thought of as rising from the waters like the rock-throne of God. This would explain why the King of Tyre is criticized for saying " I am a god, I sit in the seat of God " (:2). It would also explain all the allusions to Israelite worship- he was setting himself up as a rival to Zion, dressing himself in clothing featuring all the jewels in the High Priestly breastplate (Ex. 28:15-20); the word used for his "workmanship" with those jewels in :13 is used in Ex. 31:3,5; 35:31 of the workmanship of the tabernacle and associated garments. The King of Tyre claimed to be "perfect in beauty" (:12)- just as Zion was described earlier in Ezekiel in the same terms (16:14).