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The Devil and His Powers: Ezekiel 28:12-17
Paul J. Bucknell
What does the Bible say about the devil? The Bible uncovers the person and plan of the evil one sometimes called Satan. Let us first see discuss the evil one and then later his 'henchmen' the demons.
The devil has two kinds of powers. (1) He has his own power by virtue of how God made him. Satan was the angel with the highest power and beauty. (2) He also has stolen power over man and the earth originally given to Adam. Let's deepen our understanding of Satan by discussing him through these two topics.
"Thus says the Lord GOD, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 "You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. 14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 "You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created, Until unrighteousness was found in you. 16 "By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. 17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you." (Ezekiel 28:12-17)
The prophet used a description of the devil to identify the sins of the city kingdom of Tyre. Tyre was not in existence during the Garden of Eden. We know, though, of one stealthy creature that was there: the serpent. He deceived Eve. Adam assented with the evil one's plan to do contrary to what God the Maker had said.
Super wise (Ez 28.12)
Extraordinary beautiful (Ez 28.12)
Created and therefore not eternal (Ez 28.13)
Highest position - an anointed cherub (Ez 28.14)
Perfectly made - sinned on his own (Ez 28.15)
Filled with violence (Ez 28.16)
Cast out of God's presence (Ez 28.16)
Self-deceived about his wisdom and beauty (Ez 28.17)
From this description, we find that this one was of extraordinarily beauty. We also see, however, that he was created (Ez 28:13). He was not eternal but had the same limitations as us. He is totally dependent upon God for his existence and purpose.
Satan was in God's presence. He was the 'anointed cherub' in the presence of God. Satan had full access to God's presence. Truly he was most glorious and powerful. He was also 'blameless in your ways from the day you were created.' It could not have been elsewhere. If he stood in God's presence, then he had to be holy and righteous. Notice what happened, though.
"Until unrighteousness was found in you" describes the change of heart and devotion. At one point he praised and reflected God's glorious light, but then he turned to focus on his own praise and glory. Ezekiel 28:17 says, "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor." Once he focused on his own beauty and wisdom and not the source of the gifts, he became corrupted. He thought more of himself than God who gave and maintained such powers. We see this same pattern in Romans 1:18-32. His course changed quickly after this.
After the devil's delusion about himself, the Lord kicked Lucifer out of God's glorious presence. No longer did he reflect God's glory (Lucifer means light), but tried to have others adore him. Note how he used his 'secret knowledge' to bait Eve. He hates truth and light. He lives on lies, deceit and darkness. Note what Jesus says about the Devil.
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies." (John 8:44).
These are strong words about the devil. It would be good to evaluate what Jesus said here and evaluate the dark powers around us to see if they could in any way be connected.
Along with Satan, numerous other angels 'fell.' They went along with Satan's scheme. Angry Jewish leaders called Jesus, "Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons" in Luke 11:15. Jesus then interchangeably used Satan and Beelzebul in verses 19-20. The demons were Satan's workman who did most of the 'dirty' work. These demons used to be angels but fell when Lucifer defected and became Satan.
The devil is powerful on his own. He also managed to steal certain authority from man. People do this all the time by stealing inheritance rights and slandering others.
Jesus' statement, "You are of your father the devil" shows that the devil has great influence over many people's lives if not all. By calling him a 'father,' it seems that the devil is responsible for breeding his own corruptness into the lives of mankind. Like children, men imitate the evil one. They have the same evil nature.
The scriptures declare this takeover occurred when the devil sucessfully tempted Adam and Eve. He got Adam and Eve to think about themselves different from how God thought of them.
Who is influenced by him? Anyone who says lies. Have you ever said a lie? Do you deceive others? Do you draw attention to yourself?
The devil is a murderer. Ezekiel 28:16 says that he was filled with violence. Knowing that Adam and Eve would die if they ate that fruit, the devil deceived them so that they would eat of it. He was a murderer from the beginning.
The devil wanted mankind's authority no matter what consequences it brought to mankind. He was self-focused. He wanted what he wanted and didn't give a care about those who had to suffer because of it. This is a powerful statement. All the millions of people that are dying around us are dying because of the devil's desire to steal something that belonged to Adam and Eve.
Since this dark power is so intent on profiting himself, do you really think he cares for you? Do you think he will allow you to steal his powers and privileges without gaining more from you? No.
Do you wish the death or anguish of others? Do you get real mad at people at times? Then the devil's spirit is in you. You might want to read more about the power of God's love.
Don't believe him. Don't ever believe a word of Satan.
He can't speak the truth without the intention to deceive, distort and destroy. He knows God's Word but misuses it to cause confusion and disobedience. He is so clever that we need our Lord to protect us from him. Don't trust his words that suggest, "It won't make a difference." "A little won't hurt." "Just this time." These are the phrases by which he gains a deeper influence on your life.
Now just think a bit. Do you lie? When you lie, you are trying to get things in illegimate ways. You are willing to steal from others to gain what would please you. Do you exaggerate numbers so to get false attention? This in a sense is the 'blood' of the devil in your life. His spirit is in you operating. The consequences are great. The more you think that you can get away with lying, the more you are deceived. Try understanding more about the importance of truth and a person's integrity by the series, "Truth not Deception."
Jesus' model prayer in the Sermon on the Mount records a very interesting phrase, 'Deliver me from evil.' Actually, an equally if not more faithful translation is 'Deliver me from the evil one.' The William's translation says, "But save us from the evil one."
Save us from the evil one!
This phrase 'The evil one' is repeated again in Matthew and used several times in 1 John.
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. (Matthe 13:19)
I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. (1 John 2:13; also see 1 John 3:12).
At times we have seen how the evil one or Satan has himself confronted God's people. Usually he uses his demon assistants, but in important cases he himself encounters man such as David, Job, Jesus, Peter, Judas and Ananias.
Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1)
Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing?" (Job 1:9)
Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'" (Matthew 4:10)
But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." (Matthew 16:23)
And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. (Luke 22:3)
But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land?" (Acts 5:3)
We need deliverance from his powerful presence. Without deliverance, we will fall. Peter stood because Jesus prayed for him. We are not saying that Satan 'entered' everyone like Judas, but we do see that he is crafty and would lead us astray if possible. No wonder Jeus wants us to pray to be protected from the pernicious one.
Whenever you see yourself lying or willing to hurt others to gain your own way, you must see that you are under the influence of the evil one. What is worse, you cannot escape by yourself. You are trapped. The more you give into his ways, the more you share his evil ways. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can rescue you from the devil's grasp.
Is it possible that this is just a force? No. Death is not natural. Satan murdered from the beginning and thus brought man under his power by death. If death were natural, people would not cry about it. We know there is something wrong with it.
In the next page we will read how Satan often influences people through his demons.
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988