Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13- A Portrait Of The Devil

November 13, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Ezekiel 27:1-28:26; Hebrews 11:17-31;
Psalm 111:1-10; Proverbs 27:15-16

A brave man is a man who dares to look the Devil in the face and tell him he is a Devil. 
~James A. Garfield

Ezekiel 27:1-28:26

Why study the Bible?  One should study the Bible in order to know God and His story.  The amazing thing about studying the whole Bible in one year and reading each part systematically is that many of the important characters of the Bible and their background stories are not found in the easiest or most often read parts of the book.  For instance, God's top antagonist in this story is Satan.  We meet Satan in the the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, as the serpent who tempts Eve to rebel against God, but Genesis does not tell us the origin of this great enemy of mankind.  It is not until we read the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel that we get a description of the Devil's origins and his fall.

Today, Ezekiel is given a message about the fall of the city of Tyre that also explains Satan's origins and his fall from grace. Tyre was the capital city of the Phoenician people.  The Phoenicians were ancient sailors and navigators of the seas.  They were merchants and chiefs of international trade.  Not unlike Hong Kong, New York City, London, and Los Angeles, Tyre was a hub of commerce.  But does the city of Tyre exist today?  The answer is no.  Why not?  God judged Tyre and decided that Tyre would be no more.

The problem with the inhabitants of Tyre was that they relied on their materialism.  Remember that Tyre was the city of King Hiram, who provided all of the materials to David for the building of the Temple. Not unlike what we are experiencing today, the people of Tyre trusted in their wealth, rather than God. Trye was destroyed at the same time that Jerusalem was destroyed. If God is against you, you are doomed, my friends.

Next, we have prophecies about the prince and the king of Tyre.  Who is this prince that is being prophesied about?  This section of Scripture actually gets into a description about the ruler of this world (Satan) and his agent, the Antichrist.  Tyre, this great center of commerce and politics, leads us to examine the one who truly controls the cities of the world- Satan.  We saw in the wilderness that Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world (Luke 4:5-7) and he had the authority to do so.  Jesus did not act upon this temptation.  Jesus knew that if He followed God's will in death, He (Jesus) would become the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in the future, rather than being a vice regent/governor in Satan's kingdoms.

The prince of Tyre is the earthly vice-regent/governor of Satan.  This is the role of the Antichrist found in the political and religious system Satan sets up in the end times. The political leader is the enemy of Jesus Christ our true Messiah, but sets himself up to be god.  The religious leader in the end times imitates Christ. There is a religious and political aspect to the Antichrist and his rule.  This prophecy deals with this.

We see that Ezekiel is familiar with his contemporary, Daniel, who is the prime minister of Babylon.  God uses Daniel as an example in saying that the prince of Tyre believes he is wiser than Daniel. This gives us the possible interpretation that the Antichrist will be a Gentile who has a religious advisor/administrator who is Jewish.  The Anichrist is a political ruler who will sit on a divine throne in the heart of the seas according to this vision. "Out of the seas of the nations" implies that the Antichrist is a Gentile.  His religious ruler/prophet, who is key in the end times, comes out of the land.  This would be a reference to Israel and the Promised Land. This false prophet would be like Daniel in that he would be a prime minister to the Antichrist, just as Daniel was Jewish and was the prime minister to Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon.   The prophecy confirms that God will ultimately destroy this international ruler, who will dominate the world through commerce, politics, and religion. The Antichrist will be pierced with many wounds and taken down to the pit in the heart of the sea. God will destroy this world leader through war and condemn him for eternity. God pronounces that He has spoken on this and it shall be as He has pronounced. 

The next sorrowful message comes against the king of Tyre.  Who would this king be?  It is Satan, of course.  The king who God has allowed to rule the kingdoms of this fallen world is none other than Satan, himself.  Here is the fascinating back story to Satan in Ezekiel chapter 28:
  • He was the perfection of wisdom and beauty. Vs. 12
  • He was in God's garden in Eden. Vs. 13
  • He was clothed in brilliant precious gems set in gold, crafted for him by God and given to him on the day he was created. Vs. 13
  • He was ordained and anointed by God to be an angelic guardian.  Vs. 14
  • He had access to God and to heaven. Vs. 14
  • He was blameless, initially, until evil was found in him. Vs. 15
  • Satan's wealth (given to him by God) filled him with violence and he sinned. Vs. 16
  • God banished him from His presence. Vs. 16
  • His beauty caused his heart to be filled with pride. His wisdom was corrupted for the sake of physical splendor. Vs. 17
Now we see that Satan was God's highest angel, formed in tremendous beauty and wisdom.  He is not some creature with horns and green eyes.  He is delightful and enticing.  He is so beautiful and wise that pride overwhelmed him.  Do not think that the mythical interpretation from Greek mythology about Satan being a goat man with horns is accurate.  Satan is much more enticing than that.  Satan is at the heart of all things material, secular, lustful, and desirable in this world. 

We see that God intends to judge Satan.  First, Satan will be thrown down and looked upon by the kings of this world in his defeat. God will bring fire down upon Satan and he will be consumed (vs. 18).  This fire will be seen by all of God's creation.  In the end, Satan will be completely consumed by the fire and no longer exist (vs. 19).  This is also the fate of all people and angels who followed Satan. God will one day put an end to the existence of evil.  It will be annihilated from God's presence and from those who love God and are His children through faith in Christ.

Our reading ends with God punishing Sidon, a sister city to Tyre, but deciding not to completely destroy her.  Today, Sidon is still a city in our modern day. 

Finally, God reaffirms that He intends to have the people of Israel return to their land.  He will gather them from distant lands, where they have been scattered, and He will reveal His holiness to all of the nations here on earth by living among His chosen people and all of those who have loved Him.  This is how God's creation will know Him. This is how God has chosen to complete His story.  As the Creator, God has constructed His story and is pleased to reveal Himself in this way.

God's Word is true, my friend.  Listen and learn.

Where do you fit in God's story?

Hebrews 11:17-31

Here we have more actions that are a result of people who believed God's story and acted in faith based on their belief that what God says is true:
  • Abraham offered Isaac because of his faith.  Why? Because he believed in the resurrection of those who follow God.
  • Isaac blessed his boys because he believed that God was going to bless them in the future.
  • Jacob blessed his Joseph's sons through belief in what God would do in the future.
  • Joseph, in faith, spoke that God would bring the Jews out of Egypt when he was about to die.
  • Moses' parents hid him as a baby because of their faith that God had given them a special child.
  • Moses, in faith, refused to act as Pharoah's son once he was grown, but instead, shared the oppression of his people, the Israelites.   He suffered for the sake of the Messiah, rather than rely on the wealth of the Pharoah to sustain him.
  • Moses did not fear the Egyptian king, he feared the invisible king who is Christ!
  • Moses commanded the people to keep the Passover, by faith in the future Messiah.
  • By faith, the people crossed the Red Sea, while the Egyptians drowned behind them.
  • By faith, the Israelites marched around the city of Jericho until the walls came down.
  • Rahab protected the Israelite spies and then saved her and her family's lives when Jericho fell.
What will God record that you have done by faith?

Psalm 111:1-10

Everything that God does reveals His glory and majesty.  This sums up the Bible very well.

Proverbs 27:15-16

Wow.  Nagging wives...

What did you learn today?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton