In a discussion on one of Nate’s posting at the Finding Truth blog, there was some discussion on the authenticity of Paul. Was he truly an apostle? Did he speak for Jesus? Were his teachings from God or were they his own? One individual claimed that Paul was a “false apostle,” and referenced Deuteronomy 13 as her evidence.
After reading the chapter, I could see where she was coming from. However, as someone noted, these scriptures could be applied to any number of persons. Thing is, this is true of the entire bible. There are innumerable passages that can be interpreted innumerable ways. How can we know which interpretation is correct? Christians will say the “Holy Spirit” will reveal the truth. Er … well … OK.
I’d like to offer my own perspective on another passage of scripture related to the existence of “Satan.” This is from Ezek. 28:11-19.
12 Mortal, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God: You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 With an anointed cherub as guardian I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the stones of fire. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from among the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. 18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries. So I brought out fire from within you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you.
This passage has long been accepted as pertaining to the “Big Bad Guy.” Even though the words, “devil,” “satan,” or “fallen angel” are nowhere to be found, scores of Christians are certain Ezekiel is writing about “someone” other than the person named in verse 12 (the king of Tyre).
What’s interesting is that throughout his book, Ezekiel speaks to several foreign rulers. So why do believers isolate this message written to the leader of Tyre and assign it a second meaning (i.e., Satan) — especially when Ezekiel specifically says he’s speaking to a mortal?
Personally, I don’t believe Ezekiel was talking about “Satan.”
Through extensive reading and research. I discovered this idea came from the writings of Origen of Alexandria, one of the early church fathers. It was his contention that Ezekiel could not possibly be talking about a human being and therefore must be referring to “some superior power which had fallen away from a higher position,” and who was then converted into a “wicked being.”(1) In case you don’t know this Origen fellow, he played a major role in the formation of Christian doctrine. In fact, it was his viewpoint on this matter (among others) that set a precedent in early Christianity, and remains the accepted teaching in many churches today.
What do you think? Is Satan in Ezekiel?
I discuss more on this topic in my book, along with several other passages that believers contend are about “Satan” (Garden of Eden, Book of Job, Lucifer in the Book of Isaiah, Revelation). I think many will be surprised at what I learned.
(1) Origen, De Principiis, Book I, Chapter 5, Verse 4
3 thoughts on “Do You See Satan in Ezekiel?”
“Personally, I don’t believe Ezekiel was talking about “Satan.”” – Nor do I. That’s just typically, flowery, Middle-Eastern phraseology, such as can readily be found in the Psalms. Clearly Origen was making a mountain out of a mole-hill.
Yep. It’s no surprise that I agree with you and arch. Ezekiel says he’s talking about the king of Tyre, and I see no reason to think it went any deeper than that. The prophets are notorious for using extreme imagery to get their points across.
Here’s what’s funny though: there are probably a number of Christians who would agree with us if they really looked at it. But what Origen did with this passage is actually no different than what Matthew did with Isaiah’s “virgin birth” prophecy.
Through my book research, I learned that many of the church doctrines in place today are a direct result of the interpretation of the early “church fathers.” And after hundreds of years of repetition, the average Christian accepts them at face value. Sad, really.