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Bible: What Does Ezekiel 27-28 Teach Us About the Fall of Lucifer, "King" of Tyre?
Tyre: A Type
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The Downfall of Tyre
Part poetry and part prose, this section laments the downfall of a wealthy, worldly merchant city situated at the entrance of the Mediterranean (vv. 1-3).
Verses 3b-11 are poetic, celebrating the beauty of Tyre. Its ships were excellent vessels, partly because of the materials and wood products Ashurite carpenters employed to build them (vv. 5-7).
Tyre also utilized the very best experts available to carry on its flourishing seaport trade industry as well as well-trained warriors to protect the city (vv. 8-11).
Prose reporting about the many lands that traded numerous wares with Tyre fills up the next thirteen verses (vv. 12-24).
The rest of the chapter (vv. 25-36) is poetic, chronicling the widespread lamentation for the destroyed city.
It repeats, in a negative tone, many of the facets of the earlier poetic section that Ezekiel stated positively at that time.
He mentions Tarshish (see v. 12); the phrase "in the midst of the seas" he repeats several times (see verse four).
Tyre’s ruin (v. 27) affected oarsmen and pilots (see v. 8), caulkers (see v. 9), men of war (see v. 10), and other groups.
Those who made a good living from the Tyrian trade mourn in typical near-Eastern fashion when they see the city go under (vv. 29-32).
They lament bitterly the loss of her wealth and theirs, and speak of the fear her fall will bring upon many nations (vv. 33-36; cf. fall of Babylon in Revelation 18).
Babylon: "The Most Terrible of the Nations"
The Fall of the King of Tyre
Yahweh changes His focus from the destruction of the city to the humiliation of her king.
This individual thought himself a god because he had acquired great wealth through international trade (vv. 1-5).
God had given him broad wisdom and understanding, but the king turned away from Him.
Therefore, the LORD informs him that his reign shall end at the hands of "the most terrible of the nations" (vv. 6-8).
Learning that he would die such a humiliating death will convince this king that he is only a man (vv. 9-10).
The Fall of Lucifer
Lucifer's Role in Heaven
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The Original "King" of Tyre
Verses 11-19 probably comment upon the "creation" and "fall" of Lucifer ("Day Star" [Isa. 14:12ff]), the one who may have been the original “king of Tyre.”
[If the passage does not describe Lucifer, it surely draws a grandiose picture of an unknown king.
It would be atypical for a writer of inspired Scripture to spend so much time describing a relative nobody].
The lamentation begins with superlatives regarding the character, appearance, lofty responsibility, and position (status) of this king; “perfect” appears to be the most accurate word to describe him (v. 12).
As the passage continues, interesting facts about this person accumulate:
(1) He spent time in the Garden of Eden;
(2) His bejeweled appearance must have dazzled the eye,
(3) He was musically oriented (v. 13);
(4) God refers to him as the "anointed cherub who covers (v. 14)."
[This designation resembles the description of the cherubim who cover the mercy seat in the tabernacle (see Exodus 25:20); it alone disqualifies any human being from fulfilling this role];
(5) He visited the "holy mountain of God" (Jerusalem) [v. 14];
(6) He was perfect until God found iniquity in him (v. 15).
The context suggests that pride undoubtedly surfaced and brought him to ruin because he was unable to handle his high privileges.
Verse 16, however, offers an enigma.
The reference to trade makes it difficult to maintain the identification of this king with Lucifer, for what "trading" did Lucifer ever do?
This commercial activity truly depicts the king of Tyre, and not Lucifer; yet God declares that He expelled him from the "mountain of God" and calls him "O covering cherub" (v. 16).
[Perhaps God merely returns to the present situation, comparing this expulsion to the fall of one who once was exalted in the distant past.
The verse therefore serves as a transition back to Ezekiel's time].
The proud use of his gifts of beauty and wisdom brought him divine judgment, including everlasting humiliation and desolation before the world (vv. 17-19).
Sidon is the next city to receive a warning (vv. 20-21).
Her experience of pestilence and sword will convince her that her punishment issued from Yahweh's hand (vv. 22-24).
[Three times He says, "Then they shall know that I am the LORD."]
Finally, God reiterates His promise to bring back and prosper Israel in the land, spiritually and in every other way.
By this act of grace, Israel will know their God (vv. 25-26).
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