Doctrine Article
Expanded Internet Edition - April 1, 2007 

Assumptions About Satan

by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., Mid 1970's
Edited and expanded by David Sielaff, April 2007

Read the accompanying Newsletter for April 2007

 

“Assumption: 3. The act of taking for granted: assumption of a false theory. 4. Something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof; a supposition: a valid assumption. 1

Listen to the Byte Show Interviews on this article:

Assumptions About Satan Part 1 - ListenDownloadMP3
Assumptions About Satan Part 2 - ListenDownloadMP3

More Byte Show Interviews...

This rather technical subject is one that we need to be aware of. I have titled this lecture by one word: “Assumption.” 2 It is a lecture based on assumption. It is going to be about assumption. I believe that assumption by people is the curse of biblical interpretation. People assume things that the Bible says and in actual fact the Bible does not say it at all. I have been amazed in my own life over the past years how many things I have assumed that the Bible says, and the Bible did not say anything of the kind.

Major doctrines have been built upon assumption. You can write article after article based upon these assumptions and people just swallow them hook, line, and sinker, because they themselves assume this is what the Bible says. You do not even need proof, you already know it is right. The trouble is, it is not correct in many cases. We tend to assume too much, and we should not do it. The more lazy we are (as I am sometimes), the more we tend to assume. The more we assume, the more we get ourselves into difficulty. Many people today think they believe and accept the plainly written revelation of God as found in the Bible, but in actual fact the so-called revelations are “revelations of men” and not of the Bible. Major beliefs have been based upon utter assumption by many people, and no less by religious leaders, including us all in the past.

We should look at some of the assumptions which we have garnered into our repertoire of belief. I want to go into one, and it concerns the subject of Satan the Devil. So many people assume things about Satan the Devil that do not really exist in Scripture. Let us look at certain assumptions concerning this subject, which I am sure you have accepted into your beliefs, and that we often think come from Scripture.

The Origin of Satan

The origin of Satan, most people feel, can be found in the Bible in Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28. People have taken all types of beliefs from those two chapters, which they have blended into a montage of belief for a description of Satan the Devil. In actual fact the Scripture itself says they were not talking about Satan the Devil at all. It is quite clear. What we have done in many cases is to read into the Bible things that are not there.

I will not give all the answers on the origin of Satan but I will give a few Scriptures. I will not say that I can give you every answer to Isaiah chapter 14 or Ezekiel chapter 28, not every detail, but we ought to understand enough to see what they actually do say and not to make assumptions. This is the point. We must not make assumptions on these things. What we need to do is to be very careful and pay close attention to what God is saying and not make our own erroneous assumptions.

What about the origin of Satan? We are all interested in knowing about the great Adversary, which is what the word Satan means, it simply means “adversary.” Notice that even with Peter in Matthew chapter 16, Jesus looked at him right in the eye and said:

“But he [Jesus] turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offence unto me: for you savor not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.’”

Jesus said this shortly after He said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church [ekklesia, in Greek] (Matthew 16:18). Just after that He looks him in the eye and calls him “Satan.” Peter was an adversary to Jesus at that particular time.

Satan is a personality. I do not believe like the Christadelphians that there is no such thing as Satan. There is a being named Satan, sometimes called the Devil. We know there is a personality and we find that Christ speaks about him and to him. 3 Let us see some of the things concerning Satan that we can absolutely depend upon from the Scriptural revelation without assumption. Take a look at First John. If people would only pay attention to this one verse right here I think that much of the confusion over the origin of Satan would be alleviated tremendously.

Note what John said under divine inspiration: “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning (1 John 3:8). We are not told what the beginning is, that is quite true. He means the beginning of something, but what would that be? The beginning of the world? The beginning of the universe? The beginning of something. Whenever that beginning took place, Satan was sinning from that beginning.

Do you know what the Jews call the Book of Genesis? They call the Book of Genesis by the first words that introduce it. Those first words are “In a beginning” or “In the beginning,” let us say. If you would to ask a Jew today (and they say it in Hebrew and not in English), to turn to Genesis chapter 12 and verse 1, he would understand what you mean, but technically, he would say, turn to “In the beginning” 12:1. Or if you talk about Abraham when he became 99 years of age, they would say, turn to “In the beginning” chapter 17. That is their technical name for the book, the first words that introduce it.

Maybe that is what John is talking about here, from the very beginning, from the first revelation that we have any record of, “In the beginning” Satan sinned. He was a sinner “from the beginning” (1 John 3:8).

How many of us have been taught that Satan was not a sinner from the beginning. It is most remarkable. Whatever and whenever that beginning was, John says Satan was a sinner, a lawbreaker, from that beginning. That is one point to take into consideration.

Satan in Heaven

Satan has been in heaven in the past, of that we can be assured. We find that in the Book of Job, the first two chapters, when the Sons of God appeared before God in heaven. The topic concerned Job, a very righteous and holy man on earth. You know the outcome. Satan says to God, you bless Job with this and that: you put a hedge around him. He is protected in every way. No wonder he is so good. Take away all those things and he will curse you to your face. I am paraphrasing the narrative, but that was virtually what was said. God gave Satan permission to go down from heaven to earth and to tempt Job by taking away all his possessions, including his most precious, his children. Yet Job maintained his integrity and his righteousness through all this.

In chapter 2 of Job there was another time when the Sons of God met before God in heaven “and Satan came also among them” (Job 2:1). God said to Satan, look at my righteous servant Job. He still maintains righteousness no matter what you have done to him. Again I am paraphrasing.

Satan says, yes, but if you take away his health, if you touch him personally, then is when he will curse you to your face. God then gave Satan permission to go down and take away Job’s health; but he gave one command. Satan was not allowed to take Job’s life. To me that has always been a great comfort because it shows quite clearly from divine revelation that Satan is under the control of Almighty God. He cannot, underany circumstances, go beyond the limits that God places upon him. God said to Satan plainly: do not take Job’s life. This means he could have taken Job’s life if God had permitted it because Satan does takes people’s lives. He has done it in the past.

In this particular case God says you, Satan, are not going to take Job’s life. And Job’s life was not taken, but he was put in great torment. We know that Job finally got back his health and he got back more children, etc. But here was Satan in heaven talking with God.

In the time of our Lord we find that Christ spoke about Satan and He said that some time in the past (He did not say when it was), He saw Satan fall from heaven (Luke 10:17–18). Christ sent out seventy disciples into Israel preaching the Kingdom of God.

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through your name.’

And he said unto them, ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.’”

These verses show that Satan is a spirit just like the demons are spirits, quite true. But Jesus then singles out Satan as the chief adversary and He says “I saw him fall from heaven.” That means that God has power over Satan in every detail. He saw him fall from heaven some time in the past. This Scripture has given a little trouble to some when they go to Isaiah chapter 14 or to Ezekiel chapter 28 because they want to show that those verses apply to Satan because he did fall from heaven, did he not? Yes, that is what it says here. We ought to pay attention to the contexts in Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28 before we assume that Satan is being talked of there.

There is coming a time in the future when Satan will be cast out of heaven, Revelation chapter 12. Satan will be cast out of heaven with his angels. They are going to come down here on this earth and persecute the woman that is given the wings of an eagle to go to a place of safety. Then Satan puts out a flood, but the earth opens up a chasm and swallows the flood. Then it says that Satan goes to persecute the remnant of those who “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). There is coming a time in the future when Satan will be expelled from heaven and he will not have any opportunity at that time to go back and forth to heaven.

All of these things are divine Scripture, and you can pay a good deal of attention to them because maybe a little assumption has to come in here and there, but not too much.

Let us look at some of the information that people give on the origin of Satan which they extract from parts of the Old Testament, notably Isaiah chapters 13 and 14, and Ezekiel chapter 28. We have to be careful and remember that we are all prone to assume things, every one of us. I do not think we ought to assume on these matters.

Chapter 13 of Isaiah starts out with a burden, a prophecy, concerning Babylon. Isaiah saw the vision of this prophecy of Babylon in the day of Hezekiah. He goes on to describe the destruction of Babylon in Isaiah chapter 13. 4 The prophecy continues on into chapter 14, but let us go on down now to verse 4 of chapter 14 because this is where people begin to make a satanic identification. Notice that the theme of Isaiah chapters 13 and 14 is all concerning Babylon. The king of Babylon will be discussed, and the subject is Babylon. If we want to say that the subject is Satan, that is fine, but we must say that upon our own authority because I am afraid the Bible does not really say it is Satan.

“That you shall take up this proverb against the king of Babylon …” (Isaiah 14:4). This is in the time of Isaiah. The King of Babylon in those days was not very important, the Assyrians were important in those days. The King of Babylon became very important in the time of Jeremiah some 130 years later when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, came on the scene. 5 This prophecy concerns the King of Babylon: “…and say, How has the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!” (Isaiah 14:4). What is “the golden city”? The city of Babylon. Who is “the oppressor”? The King of Babylon. That much we know. Going on:

“YHWH has broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he [Babylon’s king] that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hinders. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they [the nations ruled by Babylon] break forth into singing.”

Why are they going to “break forth into singing”? The whole context here is the destruction of the city of Babylon and the King of Babylon and his power.

“Yea, the fir trees rejoice at you [the end of Babylon’s king], and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you are laid down, no feller [tree cutter] is come up against us [and cut us down]. Hell [sheol, the grave] from beneath is moved for you to meet you at your coming [this king will go to the place of the dead]: it stirs up the dead for you, even all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto you, Are you also become weak as we? are you become like unto us?”

Remember, this is a proverb being given here. That is what it says in verse 14:4. It is not something that is actually taking place, though it does describe something in a literal sense in one way, but the description is proverbial. It is talking about the King of Babylon going down into sheol where the dead are. We know that the Bible says that “the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). There is no consciousness in the grave of any kind, but here he is going down in there, and what does he meet when he gets there? He meets all the kings of the nations, the ones he ruled over before, and been on top of in the past, “the chief ones of the earth.” He comes amidst all of these people. It is a parable, like Lazarus and the rich man is a parable.

“Are you also become weak as we? are you become like unto us? Your pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of your viols [the instruments for playing, the time of happiness cease]: the worm is spread under you, and the worms cover you.”

What do worms do to ordinary human beings when they are dead and put into graves? They consume them. They are gone. The worms eat up the dead bodies.

“How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!?”

Lucifer here is a term for the evening or the morning star, depending. In this case he would be the morning star, “the son of the morning.” Venus. “Lucifer” is a Latin term; it is not a Hebrew term. Unfortunately every time you look at the word Lucifer you think of Satan the Devil, do you not? That is correct.

Satan the Devil did not even get the name Lucifer until wrong interpretation was made based upon this very verse, mainly coming through the Latin Vulgate translation where Lucifer was used. A mistake has been made to identify this King of Babylon with Satan the Devil through the name Lucifer. “Lucifer” means “light bringer” or probably “brilliant.” I believe that the Massoretes vowel-pointed this as “to howl” or something like that. That would be the verb form although I think we have a noun being talked of here. This Lucifer simply means “light bringer.”

I will tell you who the Lucifer is: From the context Lucifer is the King of Babylon. We have, by reading Satan the Devil into that name, assumed that Satan is being talked about, and it is not the case at all when you look at the context. “Lucifer, son of the morning!” If he is the son of the morning, it is an astronomical reference that is being indicated, which it seems like, this King of Babylon is compared to the Day Star, the bright and morning star. Christ is referred to as “the Bright and Morning Star” in Revelation 22:16. It is a sign of Venus, the bright and morning star.

What Venus does as a morning star is to come up, depending on how far it is away from the sun, it can get on its farthest 46º away from the sun. If it is 46º away from the sun it gets above the eastern horizon about three hours before sunrise, and do you know what that planet does? It introduces the new day.

A New Day, A New Civilization

This King of Babylon was claiming to introduce new civilization into the world. You know, the King of Babylon did introduce a new civilization. In the Book of Daniel, you know where the head of the beast starts? It does not start with Tiglathpileser of the Assyrians. It does not start with the ancient Pharaohs of Egypt. It starts with Nebuchadnezzar the head of Babylon. What happened at that time was a new civilization came in, a new dawning of a new day. Unfortunately it was the Babylonian civilization that was being introduced. We are still in that to this very day.

There is, however, coming a new “bright and morning star.” His name is Jesus Christ. If you have an astronomical type of association you would say there is coming a new day star, the bright and morning star, Jesus Christ, who will bring in a brand new civilization. And it will not be like the Babylonian one, that Nebuchadnezzar introduced, or this King of Babylon here, that he wanted to last for all time to come. No, it will be a civilization based upon God’s government, His way, that will come on earth. 6

Christ Himself is “the bright and morning star.” This King of Babylon in Isaiah chapter 14 calling himself, if an astronomical basis is used here, “the bright and morning star.” It is a term really designated for the Messiah, for the Christ, and not for Satan the Devil.

The Babylonian civilization did come in. It was quite glorious. No question about it. The remnants of it, according to the prophecy of Daniel, exist with us today. We will not see the end of it until the 10 toes of the image are destroyed by the Second Coming of Christ. We are still in that Babylonian civilization. So this king of Babylon is saying he is the “son of the morning.” However, he will be

“… cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart,

I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will be like the most High.

Yet you shall be brought down to hell [sheol], to the sides of the pit. They that see you shall narrowly look upon you, and consider you, saying, ‘Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms.’”

It says he is a man, and the King of Babylon was a man. But when you look at this highly symbolic language in verses 13, 14, and 15 about ascending into heaven, exalting his throne above the stars of God, sitting in the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north, well, certainly these are symbols of the heavenly throne. You get the feeling that some power beyond just man is being met here. That is one of the reasons why Satan is used, they say this is Satan. It could not be an ordinary King of Babylon.

But Brethren, what are we told that this is? It is a proverb. It is a parable. That is what it says in Isaiah 14:4. It is not something actual. It is a parable being discussed here in symbolic language to show the pomp and arrogance of this man, this King of Babylon, who was to bring in a new civilization like God is prophesied to bring in.

What about this? If it is a parable, I suppose we would have to say that when it says “I will ascend into heaven” maybe it just does not mean directly into heaven itself, but he would like to do something of that nature. Look at this.

We have to take the Hebrew into consideration here. Hebrew is a language which uses a great deal of exaggeration in its description of things. That is not necessarily wrong. We do not use exaggerations so much in English, but we do on occasion. We often say, that was a whale of a meal I had last night. You do not mean really that your meal was as big as a whale. But you get the point? We exaggerate quite often. You might say I was scared to death when I stepped off into the road and a car almost hit me. Well, if you were scared to death, you died, literally, but you did not die. That is a figure of speech. Hebrew is filled with such figures of speech. You have to be very careful about them.

That is why Dr. Bullinger many years ago wrote a thick volume on the Figures of Speech.  7 It is a very excellent work in which he shows clearly that if you took all the figures of speech in the Bible and looked at them literally, you would not only have a hodge podge, but you would have utter confusion. That does not mean that the Bible cannot be understood. We must understand it by the way that the writers of the Bible understood it, and not our way.

About “ascending up to heaven,” for example. I know it means in a parabolic form that the man had such arrogance and pomp that he felt he could be like God. No question about that. That is what the context shows. But that he actually, literally, ascends into heaven is not the case. Not at all. We can go back to such verses as Genesis 11:4, and we have term “heaven” being used when obviously it does not mean to really go into the heavens. No sane person would believe the Bible is saying that. At the tower at Babel:

“And they said, ‘Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’”

Those italicized words may reach in the King James Version are not in Hebrew, but notice may reach unto heaven.” It means a very, very high building. Of course it did not go into the heaven of heavens. That was not to be understood in that fashion. 8

“I will ascend into heaven” (Isaiah 14:13). It means to ascend very high, to be the highest of all. Though you will have to admit that the parable here is showing him trying to take the place of God, granted, but yet he is a man and he is the King of Babylon. He is the Son of the Morning, but he is going to be cut down to the ground. “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God” (Isaiah 14:13). That takes it pretty high. “I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north (Isaiah 14:13).

That expression “sides of the north,” is a rather interesting one. It is a little difficult to understand precisely, but the identification of it, is not a difficulty. It means heaven. It means where God’s throne is. There is no question about that. Why the term “sides of the north” is used, I am not quite sure. I have studied this subject quite a bit. I have not come to any completely satisfactory reason for it, but I will give you an explanation in just a moment. We know though that the “sides of the north” represent certainly the throne of God. It is not the sides of the south, or the west, or the east, it is the “sides of the north.” It says, “I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north (Isaiah 14:13).

It is a mountain of the congregation of Israel, as it would be on earth, or the congregation within heaven, if it be in heaven. Recall that the Temple built on Mount Moriah by Solomon was representative of what was in heaven where God lives. Everything connected with the Temple in Solomon’s time, and later on, was a physical description on this earth of something spiritual in the heavens. 9 Sometimes it gets confused because the sanctuary is sometimes known as Zion, though Zion was a little farther to the south of Mount Moriah, but sometimes the whole hill of Moriah gets known as Zion, particularly after the time the Temple was built.

You have to go a little farther south where there was formerly, apparently, a mountain down there, a little hill which was really the Zion where David constructed his citadel. Then I want to ask you this question, all of you who went down with me: what was the name of the valley just to the south of Zion, just to the south of the Pool of Siloam, the one where you had all the olive trees? It was known as the valley of Gehennom. It is most interesting that if you said “the sides of the south” using Jerusalem as the guide, “sides of the south” would be Gehennom, or as we have it in English, “hell,” “sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13) from Zion would be Moriah, this is one interpretation. Whether it is right or not, I do not know, but it is a possibility. The “sides of the north” could mean from a physical point of view the north part of Jerusalem where the Temple was built, where God resided. Perhaps that is so.

We do know this, that this representation here on earth, at Jerusalem with Zion and extending Zion north to Mount Moriah where the Temple is, 10 was very typical of the heavenly throne of God in heaven. Instead of the Mount of the Congregation being up in heaven, down here would be the Mount of the Congregation of Israel. The “sides of the north,” up there in heaven in the north quarters with the “sides of the north” down here on the earth would be north of the hill of Zion where David built his citadel. It would make good sense if it be that way.

We know, however, that God does dwell in the north quarters of the universe. The “sides of the north” is a description of His throne, of that there is no doubt. In Psalm 75:

“For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he puts down one, and sets up another.”

Notice these two verses. Promotion comes from the north (unstated) because that is where God, “the judge,” is located. I do not know exactly why it is used in reference to heaven, I am not absolutely certain, but you can also go to Psalm 48:

“Great is YHWH, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. …

Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark you well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that you may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever [for the age, olam, and beyond]: he will be our guide even unto death.”

The whole description here in Psalm 48 gives you the feeling he is talking about the Zion here on earth. If that is the case then the “sides of the north” in Isaiah 14:13 would probably be where the Temple was located. That might be. But here it certainly has a heavenly situation. Let us go back to Isaiah 14 very quickly. This being says I will be so important and so powerful, he said:

“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet you shall be brought down to hell [sheol, the grave], to the sides of the pit.”

I want to point out something. If this illustration that I am giving you here is correct, that the “sides of the north” would be Mount Moriah, the northern extension of Zion, and if Zion here is where David built his city and citadel, what would be “the sides of the pit”? The “sides of the north” are in the north side of Zion, what is on the south side of Zion? Gehenna, when you look at it. It could very well mean that he is not going to go up here to the Temple Mount, to the north, but he is going to go south down into Gehenna. It is most interesting that when you go down to Israel and you see the geographical areas; some of these verses may become clearer. I am not saying this is the answer exactly, because it is in parable form.

Is it not interesting that he wanted to go to the “sides of the north” are on the side of Zion where Mount Moriah was, where God dwelt. He is not going there; he is going to “the sides of the pit.” We are even told this is sheol. Sheol and Gehenna are in some ways synonymous.

“They that see you shall narrowly look upon you, and consider you, saying, ‘Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?’

All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory [in sepulchers, like pyramids or other sepulchers], every one in his own house [his own grave house, mausoleum]. But you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword [can Satan be killed with a sword?], that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcass trodden under feet. You shall not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, and slain your people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned [your posterity will be ignoble].

Prepare slaughter for his children [the king of Babylon’s children] for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them, says YHWH of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, says YHWH [the posterity of the king of Babylon]. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom [broom] of destruction, says YHWH of hosts.”

This is talking about a literal king of Babylon — a man. Do you know what people have done? They have made it to be Satan the Devil. It is not Satan the Devil. I looked up in every single commentary that I have on Isaiah chapter 14, which is a good number of them, whether Catholic, Protestant, conservative, fundamentalist some of them, and others are very liberal. Every one of them, including the fundamentalist, now deny that those verses refer to Satan the Devil. There is nothing in the context that would support it except our reading back into it what we have learned from channels that were polluted.

Ezekiel Chapter 28

You might say there are a few more problems in this passage. In actual fact there are not any at all when you analyze the passage carefully. Ezekiel himself on many occasions used parables as well. He talked about the kings of Judah being like trees (Ezekiel chapter 17, also a riddle and a parable, 17:2). He can talk about the Prince and King of Tyre being exalted and high and mighty if he wishes. He can use very exalted terms which might make you feel, if you take it in a literal sense, that He is talking about a spiritual being of some kind. We have to be very careful on these things and not try to read into them things that are not there.

The first section of Ezekiel chapter 28 speaks about the Prince of Tyre. You all know where Tyre was. It was an island city, later on to be a peninsula, 11 just north of Israel. It was a very famous port city where they used to have merchandise going out from the Middle East to other areas of the Mediterranean. It was very famous in ancient times. Most of the craftsmen of the ancient world, in the Middle East, came from Tyre.

Before I even go into this subject, I want to mention one thing. When Solomon wanted to build the beautiful Temple and his own palace in Jerusalem, he went to Tyre to get craftsmen to construct those buildings. He went to King Hiram the king of Tyre to get building materials, not only [timber] from the mountains of Lebanon, but also hewn stones. He went to this man who had the artisans available to come down here and to build that Holy Temple. Israelites built it, that is true, but also Tyrians. 12

That might be helpful for us to understand when we read Ezekiel 28:11 on down because the King of Tyre and many of his people helped build God’s physical throne here on earth, His Temple. No other nation did so, not Egypt, not Babylon, not the Arameans or Assyrians, but these people of Tyre did help. In fact that Temple on occasion was called Lebanon. Even the Book of Isaiah called the Temple itself “Lebanon” because the cedar trees came from Lebanon. Many of the artisans that helped build the Temple were Tyrians. They were Gentiles, though many of them were circumcised. We know that there were Israelites mixing with the Tyrians up there, but it is most remarkable that the Bible says that the Temple would not have been built in its glory and sumptuousness if there had not been those artisans, those merchants, those craftsmen, that came from the city of Tyre to help build up the “sides of the north” here on this earth.

The first section is about this “Prince of Tyre.” Everyone accepts him as being a man. It is the King of Tyre that people do not want to be a man. They want him to be Satan the Devil. But this first individual, beginning with verse 2, the Prince of Tyre, everyone accepts as a man.

“Son of man [adam], say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus says the Lord YHWH; Because your heart is lifted up, and you have said,

     ‘I am an El, I sit in the seat of Elohim, in the midst of the seas’;

yet you are a man [adam], and not El, though you set your heart as the heart of Elohim.”

He is talking about the literal prince of Tyre back there at the time of Ezekiel. It was becoming a fad, a fashion, for leaders at that time, particularly in the Middle East, to call themselves gods while they yet lived. Pharaoh Nephthys of Egypt called himself a god. This man here called himself a god. The Babylonians were also calling themselves god in the flesh. It was later taken up by the Greeks and the Romans, and they began to call themselves gods in the flesh, etc. This Prince of Tyre called himself god (El) sitting “in the midst of the seas.” He was in his island empire:

“With your wisdom and with your understanding you have gotten you riches, and have gotten gold and silver into your treasures: By your great wisdom and by your traffick have you increased your riches.”

“Traffick” refers to trade throughout the Mediterranean. That is how they got the riches. Tyre was the jewel of the Mediterranean and Near East. It was the emporium of the east, the market center for the Babylonians, for the Assyrians, for the Egyptians, for the Israelites. Tyre was the center of trade in the ancient world. This Tyrian prince was calling himself like god. He will be brought down. That is what Ezekiel was saying, to:

“… die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, says the Lord YHWH.”

Up to this point everyone accepts that this is a man. Let us go on.

“Moreover the word of YHWH came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus.’”

A distinction is made here by some. They say that the first one in verse 2 is a “prince.” This one here is a “king.” There must be a difference. There is a difference between the word “king” and “prince” when you really look at it. But I want to ask you this question, in the time of Solomon when he went up to a man named Hiram and got his craftsmen to come down and help build the Temple, the Bible calls that Hiram by what term? Does he call him a “prince” or does he call him a “king”? He is called King Hiram. This king here is a man. He has called himself as being like God. He wants to ascend also up to the heights like God. But it is a man being talked of here. 13

“Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, ‘Thus says the Lord YHWH; you seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.’”

What does it say back in verse 28:4: With your wisdom and with your understanding you have gotten you riches.” Even the prince of Tyre had wisdom. Now he calls him the King of Tyre. “You have been in Eden the garden [paradise] of God” (Ezekiel 28:13). The garden means in paradise, something that would be just beautiful and wonderful, a paradise here on earth. Of course we think of Eden back in the time of Adam and Eve. That is true. Or, we think of the heavenly Eden. I suppose you would say that was true also.

But what was this Prince of Tyre (who later became king) calling himself? He was calling himself God (El) in the flesh. So Ezekiel is using the language, you have been in beauty, you have been in Eden, yes, you have really been living it up.

“every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets [a musical instrument, a tamborine] and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. You are the anointed cherub that covers.”

Satan Is Not the Anointed Cherub in Ezekiel

That is very interesting. He is the anointed cherub, and he identifies him as the one that covers. Go back to Exodus chapter 25. Moses was told in the construction of the Old Tabernacle that when he made the Holy of Holies, he was to make a mercy seat. On one side of the mercy seat he was to construct cherubs, one cherub on one side with wings stretching out over the mercy seat, a cherub on the other side with wings stretching out over the mercy seat, and both of the wings would come and virtually touch each other.

“You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”

Many say this is a description of Satan the Devil. But is it not interesting, the King of Tyre is compared to the anointed cherub that covers the very throne of God. When you analyze this carefully, could you possibly say that the adversary was one of the cherubs overshadowing the throne of God on all occasions?

Satan, the adversary, came and went to heaven (Job chapters 1 and 2, for example). But every time you read about the cherubim in the Bible you will find them always in association with either God’s throne in heaven, or guarding that throne like in the Garden of Eden with the sword, but you find them in close association with God. They have wings. 14 The cherub that is being talked about in Ezekiel chapter 28 is one of the cherubs that covered the very mercy seat.

If this passage is talking about Satan the Devil, then Satan is a cherub next to the very throne of God, always at His side. That is most remarkable when you think about it. This King of Tyre is certainly compared to such a cherub. But is Satan the Devil a cherub? The description of cherubs by Ezekiel himself is found in the first chapter. He sees these four living creatures:

“Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.

As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.”

They have a face of a man, the face of an eagle, the face of a lion, and the face of an ox. In chapter 10 of Ezekiel he tells us clearly that the face of all cherubim is really that of an ox:

“And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.”

The only animal that is left out of verse 14 of the animals mentioned in chapter 1 of Ezekiel dealing with the cherubim is the ox. Obviously it means that most cherubs have the face of oxen themselves. We know that these beings are cherubs being described here in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 because in Ezekiel 10:22 it says:

“And the likeness of their faces was the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward.

So the beings that were seen in Ezekiel chapter 1 were identified with the same ones described in chapter 10. This is complicated but it comes down to this: what is being described are cherubim. The central face of a cherub is that of an ox. Every time we read of Satan the Devil, however, he is a serpent or a dragon. 15 Have you ever heard of Satan the Devil constantly covering the throne of God as one of the cherubs? In Isaiah chapter 37 I want to show you about these cherubs that cover the throne of God. Let us see if they could possibly represent Satan the Devil.

“And Hezekiah prayed unto YHWH, saying, ‘O YHWH of hosts, God of Israel, that dwell between the cherubims, you are the God [in Hebrew, the Elohim], even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: you have made heaven and earth.”

This is in the 8th century B.C.E., some 130 years before Ezekiel wrote. We find Hezekiah seeing God as dwelling between the cherubims. If Satan is one of the cherubs that covered (Exodus 25:20, 37:9; 1 Kings 8:7; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 5:8; Ezekiel 28:14, 16), then there at the throne of God in the time of Isaiah when Hezekiah was praying, there was Satan the Devil covering and overshadowing God Himself. This does not make sense when you look at it that way. Look at Psalm 80:

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you that lead Joseph like a flock; you that dwell between the cherubims, shine forth.”

Here are the cherubs that cover. They are still covering God’s throne. Those two cherubs were covering God’s throne back in the time that Moses made the Tabernacle in the wilderness. We find Hezekiah saying that God dwells between the cherubim, the ones that cover, in his time. Whenever the Psalmist wrote this (we are not absolutely certain), but here is the Psalmist showing about the glory of God and where is He? God is dwelling between the cherubim. If one of those cherubs is Satan the Devil, believe me he is right there as close as he can possibly get. Look at another psalm:

“YHWH reigns; let the people tremble: he sits between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.”

Here is a glorious description of God sitting on His mercy seat. The actual cherubs that cover are still right there covering the mercy seat of God. Clearly they are there. If one of them is Satan the Devil, I thought he fell from heaven years ago. It is a little difficult when understood in this way.

What do we have over in Revelation chapter 4? We find these four living creatures again that Ezekiel mentioned in chapter 1 and chapter 10. Here they are, and you know that they are certainly descriptions of cherubim, and the cherubs that cover over God’s throne, they are still there, and they were there when the Book of Revelation was written.

“And before the throne [the throne of God] there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”

That is an exact description of what Ezekiel saw around God’s throne in the first chapter of Ezekiel in the 6th century before Christ. Here in the Book of Revelation we see John being taken forward into the Day of the Eternal, he sees God resting on His throne in His heaven, and what does he see? He sees the cherubimic figures very much there without any difficulty whatsoever. If Satan the Devil was one of them, something difficult is coming into the whole thing.

Let us go back to Ezekiel chapter 28 and take a look at some of the description here. Surely this King of Tyre is being compared to a god-being, a being in the heavenlies. That is quite true. But it is a parabolic type of language that is being talked of here.

“You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”

Speaking of this King of Tyre, he was like one of the cherubs, 16 perfect in his ways until iniquity was found in him. Do you know something? That could not be Satan the Devil, clearly, not if we take it from divine revelation.

What does John tell us in 1 John chapter 3? I mentioned this at first, at the beginning [of this article]. Now I repeat it: “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning (1 John 3:8). Satan the Devil, the adversary, was created by God to do the very things that he does. He was created to be an adversary from the beginning. He was not perfectly sinless like Adam was at first, who then sinned, or like somebody else, and then fell. Not at all. Satan the Devil was created as a sinner from the very beginning, and that is what it says here, for a particular purpose.

But this being in Ezekiel chapter 28 (which is really the king of Tyre) is compared to a cherub:

“You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the midst of you with violence, and you have sinned.”

What did the king of Tyre do? Were they in “traffick”? Did they merchandise? Were they the emporium of the east? The answer is yes.

“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you. You have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your traffick [going in and going out of merchandise].”

That is exactly what it says about the prince of Tyre: “By your great wisdom and by your traffick have you increased your riches” (Ezekiel 28:5). The same thing is said in verse 18:

“You have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of you, it shall devour you, and I will bring you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold you.”

If this is Satan the Devil, how in the world could he become ashes under people’s feet if he is a spirit being and not subject to the elements that you and I are? The whole description here is a very parabolic and symbolic description. I grant that. Ezekiel takes him in his pomp and in his arrogance up to the very throne of God, or so he thought.

This is one of my feelings on the matter, why is all this description of the king of Tyre, being amongst Temple symbolism and all of that, who was it that helped Solomon build the Temple of God in the first place, with all his craftsmen. It was Hiram, King of Tyre. From the very beginning the Tyrians had something to do with the physical Temple of God, there in Jerusalem.

If we want to say they represent Satan the Devil, we are stretching the meaning far beyond the limits of revelation in Scripture. That is my judgment on the matter. So many people have built up a complete cosmogony on the origin of the history of man and the spirit beings and all of that. They build up a teaching about Satan the Devil based upon these two chapters of Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28. What they have done is taken parabolic language to begin with, appropriated it to Satan the Devil, when the Bible says it is talking about the king of Babylon on one hand, and the king of Tyre on the other. If people would just understand a little bit more of how this Bible was written by the prophets, and that their symbolic language was used time and again for descriptions of human beings on this earth, let us keep them as being human beings. If we do so we will be in far less trouble than bringing all these assumptions that we have brought in from other areas into our minds.

Believe me, we have assumed, we have assumed, we have assumed. When the Bible is talking about the king of Babylon, let us leave it as the king of Babylon. When it is talking about the prince or the king of Tyre, let us leave it as the prince and the king of Tyre. When He says that Satan the Devil was created as a sinner from the beginning, let us accept Satan the Devil, the adversary, was a sinner from the beginning. Let us not mix things up. It is far better that we believe in biblical revelation rather than our own assumptions.

Ernest L. Martin, mid-1970s
Edited by David Sielaff, April 2007

Addendum

This presentation by Dr. Martin presents three major points. First, Satan is not the person called the King of Babylon as discussed in Isaiah chapter 14. Satan is not “Lucifer” as imagined by many Christians in the world today. 17 Second, the Prince of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:1–10 is not Satan either. He is clearly a man, just as the biblical text says. He is an historical figure, although he is not otherwise identified in Scripture or in history. Third, the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11–19 is also not Satan.

The passages of Ezekiel 28:1–10 and 28:11–19 begin with identical Hebrew words, translated as “the word of YHWH came unto me, saying …” These words distinguish between separate messages with separate subjects, neither of which are Satan the Devil. Ezekiel 28:1–10 refers to a man, 28:11–19 refers to a cherub.

Passage Dr. Martin’s view, 1970s Dr. Martin’s view, 2000  View
Isaiah chapter 14 A man (not Satan) A man (not Satan) unchanged
Ezekiel 28:1–10 A man (not Satan) A man (not Satan) unchanged
Ezekiel 28:11–19 Same man (not Satan) A cherub, named Moloch changed

Initially Dr. Martin believed that the subject of Ezekiel 28:11–19 also was a human being. He came to understand through later research that this being was in fact the cherub named Moloch. The article “Lingering Idolatry in the Temple of God” (note 14 above) will clarify your understanding on this matter.

David Sielaff, April 2007


1 Third edition. The first and second definitions were not relevant.  DWS

2 The original title of this lecture was “Assumption” but I altered the title to better reflect the subject matter.  DWS

3 Read Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13. This was not some fantasy story. This event actually happened.  DWS

4 See “The Prophetic Future of Iraq” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p030401.htmDWS

5 Nebuchadnezzar is not the subject of Isaiah chapter 14. In all of the biblical writings about Nebuchadnezzar, he never claimed any type of divinity — ever. The person of Isaiah chapter 14 fits well with the future king of Babylon, the Man of Sin, the Antichrist.  DWS

6 See Dr. Martin’s “Prophetic Birth of Our Civilization” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p020701.htmDWS

7 See portions of the 1898 book outline at http://www.godstruthfortoday.org/Library/bullinger/FiguresOfSpeech.htmlDWS

8 In Deuteronomy we find hyperboles, exaggerations, quite a number of times in the Scripture. They use them all the time in their parlance, but you and I do not use them so much today. Upon the entrance to the land, the spies were saying:

“Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.”

   Here are cities “walled up to heaven.” I suppose if they were 80 or 90 feet high, that means they were like “up to heaven.” They were not in heaven, they were like up to heaven. I could go on and on. In Deuteronomy 9:1 and Psalm 107:26 there are other descriptions like this.  ELM

9 See Dr. Martin’s expanded presentation on this topic in his article “Temple Symbolism in Genesis” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d040301.htmDWS

10 This statement by Dr. Martin would still apply to his later discovery (after 1995) of the true location of the Temple above and west of the Gihon Springs, although when he gave this lecture in the 1970s he understood the location of the Temple to be on the Haram esh-Sharif (as most scholars erroneously believe today).  DWS

11 To capture Tyre, Alexander the Great had his army construct a mole, a causeway of rocks and earth from the mainland to the island city of Tyre. It was one of the great construction projects of ancient times and it took years to accomplish. His troops crossed the mole, captured the city in 332 B.C.E. Over the centuries the island has become a peninsula.  DWS

12 See 1 Kings chapter 5 and 2 Chronicles chapter 2 for the story.  ELM  Regarding the people of Tyre, see the Dr. Martin’s presentation “The Most Significant Gentile Nation in the Bible” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p060701.htmDWS

13 Remember that this article is from the 1970s. Further study convinced Dr. Martin to change his understanding. His later analysis from September 2000 is found at http://www.askelm.com/temple/t000901.htm in his article “Lingering Idolatry in the Temple of God.” While Satan still was not the subject of Ezekiel 28:11–19, nor was Satan the King of Tyre, other biblical passages informed and convinced Dr. Martin that verses 11–19 did indeed refer to a spirit being, a cherub, as the text says. Dr. Martin identifies that being of Ezekiel 28:11–19 from Scripture as having the name Moloch.  DWS

14 A number of verses indicate that cherubim have wings. See Exodus 25:20, 37:9; 1 Kings 6:24, 27, 8:6–7; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 3:11–13, 5:7–8; Ezekiel 10:5, 8, 16, 19, 11:22; and Revelation 4:8. This is where the idea arose that angels have wings. While cherubim are angelic beings (and they do have wings), not all angelic beings have wings.  DWS

15 Satan is described consistently as having reptilian features. Satan is never described as having any features of a cherub.  DWS

16 Ezekiel 28:14 says, “You are the anointed cherub,” which is what Dr. Martin came to accept. This is a spirit being, not a man in this section of Ezekiel. Dr. Martin corrected himself in the article “Lingering Idolatry in the Temple” (note 14 above). We should all change our views willingly when proven wrong. We all should have corrected Dr. Martin in this matter in the past. Correct me with biblical evidence if you think I am wrong. I have the right, in turn, to disagree if your evidence is not convincing.  DWS

17 However, analysis of the King of Babylon as described in Isaiah reveals a man known by various names in the Bible, a person who will come on the scene in a time yet future to us. This is the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, with all his arrogance, pride, human and supernatural power, and a false claim of divinity which he shall apply to himself. He will be supported (and even possessed for a time, as Judas was) by Satan the Devil, even though Satan is not the King of Babylon in Isaiah 14. Further discussion of this goes beyond the scope of this article.  Read Isaiah chapter 14 with this concept in mind.  DWS

Go to ASK Home Page •  Print Page

© 1976-2014 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions