Do Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 refer to Satan?

In my ordination doctrinal statement I included this statement, “If Isa 14 and Ezek 28 allude to Satan, we learn of his pride and pride of place in creation.”  Well, the moderator was quick to point out that “if” statements do not belong in doctrinal statements.  Lesson learned.  But more importantly, the “if” statement revealed my ambivalence about applying these passages to Satan’s fall and Satan’s activity prior to the fall, respectively.

A member of our church recently asked me about these passages.  The material in a discipleship book she is working through uses Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 as proof texts for the splendor and activity of the Devil prior to the fall (Ezekiel 28) and the nature of Satan’s fall through pride (Isaiah 14).  Consequently, it provided me an opportunity to take a look at the texts and attempt to finally come to a conclusion on the meaning of these passages.  This post offers you the results of my brief study.

What you will find below is a brief interaction with Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, a survey of theologies, an overview of commentaries, and my conclusion.  I’ve also included some practical helps if/when you use Bible study material that differs with your view.  Here’s the fine print on the post: the investigation is limited by the resources available in my personal library.  The commentaries with an asterisk are those I do not own but referenced.  So I certainly invite you to pass along any resource(s) that contributes to the discussion.

The Passages

Isaiah 14:12-14, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! [13] You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God; I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; [14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’” (ESV).

Textual Considerations on Isaiah 14:12-14

In our Greek exegesis class, our professor taught us the “exegete’s cheer”: “Context! Context! Yeah Context!”  The point of the cheer is to keep a very important interpretive principle before us: the context is critical to determining the meaning of a passage.  The context in which Isaiah 14:12-14 is found is a lengthy section of oracles, or pronouncements of doom against nations and kings.  In Isaiah 14, we find an announcement of judgment against the king of Babylon, “you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon” (Isaiah 14:4, ESV).  As interpreters, we are faced with an important question now.  What clue in the text mandates that we move from a literal-historical approach to a figurative understanding of verses 12-14?  I do not see any such interpretative license make this shift.  Do we do this with any other nation or king mentioned in these oracles?  We do not.

Concerning the pride manifested in the five “I wills,” is this arrogance ever manifested by oriental kings or only ascribed to Satan?  Ancient kings, by virtue of their exalted position, were quite susceptible and all too often manifested this shameless conceit.  For instance, you find this in Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:30 when he arrogantly boasted, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”  There is nothing alien to a king expressing this kind of egotism, viewing themselves as the supreme figure.  There is nothing in Isaiah 14 that mandates assigning the “I wills” to Satan.

Ezekiel 28:11-15, “Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me: [12] “Son of man, 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, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings.  On the day that you were created they were prepared. [14] You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. [15] You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you” (ESV).

Textual Considerations on Ezekiel 28:11-15

There are some tough phrases to interpret with absolute certainty.  For example,

  • “You were a signet of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” (v. 12)
  • “You were in Eden” (v. 13)
  • “Every precious stone was your covering” (v. 13)
  • “You were on the holy mountain of God” (v. 14)
  • “You were blameless in your ways” (v. 15)

Some see a double reference in these verses.  It is a reference to the King of Tyre and Satan at the same time.  Is this a legitimate solution to the admitted difficulty of these texts?  Ryrie thinks so as does Charles Feinberg.  To apply some of these phrases to the king of Tyre seem difficult, especially “you were blameless in all your ways.” It almost seems like it takes more interpretive work to make them apply to an earthly king than to Satan himself.  But there are plausible explanations such as the label “blameless” applied to Noah (Genesis 6:9) and Job (Job 1:1) and Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:6).  Thus it is possible to have these phrases applied to a human king.  Nevertheless, while these phrases are admittedly difficult to interpret with absolute certainty, we must use the overarching guide of an oracle grounded in a historical setting with some poetic language interspersed.  Would Ezekiel’s readers have clearly discerned Satan in these verses?  I’m not convinced that they would have.

Survey of Theologies

Isaiah 14 and/or Ezekiel 28 refer to Satan:

  • Lewis Sperry Chafer (Chafer, Systematic Theology, 7:284-5).
  • Charles Ryrie (Ryrie, Basic Theology, 141-5).  Ryrie is one of the few theologians that interacts with the interpretative options for concluding that the passages apply to Satan.  A very worthwhile read.
  • Henry Thiessen (Lectures in Systematic Theology, 194-5).
  • Millard Erickson does not address Satan’s fall in his section on angels (Christian Theology, 472).  He does, however, point out that Isaiah 14 contains a picture of the fall of Satan (Christian Theology, 604).
  • James Boice applies Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 to Satan (Foundations of the Christian Faith, 173).

Isaiah 14 and/or Ezekiel 28 do not refer to Satan:

  • Berkhof, Systematic Theology and Dabney, Systematic Theology simply do not reference the fall of Satan or deal with Isaiah or Ezekiel.  However, I take their silence to mean that they do not apply to Satan (though admittedly it is an inference from silence).
  • As best as I was able to discern, Augustus Strong in his Systematic Theology does not apply Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 to Satan.  He only provides passing comments on these passages and does not address the fall of Satan.  He seems to take the approach in the brief remarks on each passage that it is referring to a historical, human figure (Systematic Theology, 450 and 518).
  • Charles Hodge speaks little about the fall of Satan.  Concerning evil angels in general he says, “When they fell or what was the nature of their sin is not revealed” (Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:643).  As far as Satan in particular, he only makes reference to the fact that he is fallen without reference to when he fell or the nature of his fall.  Hodge makes a great point about the pride of Satan, which is alluded to in 1 Timothy 3:6, “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.”  The connection is “the condemnation which the devil incurred for the same sin [i.e. pride].”  Hodge then goes on to say, “Some have conjectured that Satan was moved to rebel against God and to seduce our race from its allegiance, by the desire to rule over our globe and the race of man.  Of this, however, there is no intimation in Scripture.  His first appearance in the sacred history is in the character of an apostate angel” (Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:643).  So what Hodge seems to be saying is that there are no passages that refer to Satan’s fall.  When he comes onto the Biblical scene (in the garden) he is already a fallen angel.

Survey of Commentaries

Isaiah 14 and/or Ezekiel 28 refer to Satan:

  • I have a scant collection of commentaries on Isaiah and Ezekiel.  But of those that I do have, not one concluded that these passages refer to Satan.  However, I was able to track down a few which hold this view.
  • *W.A. Criswell, Ezekiel, 149.
  • * Lamar Cooper suggests that “the difficulty of the text makes it unwise to insist upon a particular interpretation, but the latter traditional view [that ‘the lament is an account of the fall of Satan not given in Scripture but alluded to elsewhere, especially in Isa 14:12-17’] appears to the present writer to account best for the language and logic of the passage” (Cooper, Ezekiel, NAC, 265).
  • *Charles Feinberg states, “But as [Ezekiel] viewed the thoughts and ways of [the King of Tyre], he clearly discerned behind him the motivating force and personality who was impelling him in his opposition to God.  In short, he saw the work and activity of Satan, whom the king of Tyre was emulating in so many ways” (Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel, 161).  This approach parallels Ryrie who views both the King of Tyre and Satan in view in the passage.

Isaiah 14 and/or Ezekiel 28 do not refer to Satan:

  • John Calvin (not surprisingly) is unequivocal in denying that Isaiah has anything whatsoever to do with Satan, “The exposition of this passage, which some have given, as if it referred to Satan, has arisen from ignorance; for the context plainly shows that these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians” (Calvin, Commentaries, 7:442).
  • Edward J. Young, says that Isaiah 14 has the king of Babylon in view, no more (Young, The Book of Isaiah, 1:441).  He contends that the phrase, “how are you fallen from heaven” “is to fall from great political height” (Young, The Book of Isaiah, 1:440).
  • Keil and Delitzsch say that applying the name Lucifer to Satan based on Isaiah 14:12 is “without any warrant whatever” (Keil and Delitzsch, Isaiah, 312).  They contend that Ezekiel 28 is referring to the King of Tyre and no one else (Keil and Delitzsch, Ezekiel, 411).
  • Matthew Henry also sees Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 as applying to the historical kings mentioned in each passage (Matthew Henry, Commentary, 4:67 and 4:721).
  • *John D.W. Watts sees this as a poem as “a simile to picture the fall and disgrace of the tyrant” (Watts, Isaiah 1-33, WBC, 212).  It is general in its scope and references neither the king of Babylon or Satan.
  • *John N. Oswalt concludes that this passage deals with human pride manifested by the king of Babylon (Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah 1-39, NICOT, 320).
  • *Jan Ridderbos straddles the fence saying, “there is an element of truth in the idea [that Lucifer is Satan]: by his self-deification Babylon’s king is the imitator of the devil and the type of the Antichrist (Daniel 11:36; 2 Thess 2:4); therefore his humiliation is also an example of Satan’s fall from the position of power that he has usurped (cf. Luke 10:18; Rev. 12:9) (Ridderbos, Isaiah, 142).
  • *Gray takes this portion to be based on a Babylonian genre of a mythical hero.  Strange as the interpretation is he does not find Satan in Isaiah 14:12-14 (Gray, Isaiah, ICC, 1:256-7).
  • *Block contends that “Ezekiel’s prophecy is indeed couched in extravagant terms, but the primary referent within the context is clearly the human king of Tyre” (Daniel Block, The Book of Ezekiel, NICOT, 119).
  • *Leslie Allen says that the interpreter who applies “vv 11-19 to Satan” is “guilty of detaching the passage from its literary setting” (Allen, Ezekiel 20-48, WBC, 95).
  • Youngblood quips, “In this case, the devil is not in the details” (Ronald Youngblood, “The Fall of Lucifer,” in The Way of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of Bruce K. Waltke, eds. J.I. Packer and Sven Soderlund [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000], 171).


Both Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are best interpreted in a grammatical-historical context.  Moreover, the larger context in which the passages are found, namely oracles against other nations and kings, provides the reader an interpretive guide to view them in a historical light.  Moreover, there is little problem ascribing the attitudes in each of the passages to ancient kings.  Other biblical data corroborates this, e.g., Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:30

The theologies seem to be divided: Chafer, Ryrie, Thiessen, Boice, and possibly Erickson affirm the position that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 refer to Satan.  Strong and Hodge deny that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 refer to Satan.  I gather that those who do not address the texts in their theologies don’t view these passages as allusions to Satan (Berkhof and Dabney), but I may be wrong.

As far as commentators, it seems that there is greater unanimity that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 do not apply to Satan (e.g., Calvin, Young, Keil and Delitzsch, and Henry).  I discovered in my reading that church fathers and conservative Christians apply Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 to Satan, while the reformers generally did not.  They interpreted these passages in their historical context.  This is significant because commentators are immersed in the text, while theologians are not in the text per se.


These passages are best interpreted in their historical contexts.  Therefore, Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 do not apply to Satan.  They are oracles directed at the king of Babylon and the king of Tyre respectively.

Has the doctrine of Satan, or any other Biblical doctrine, been radically altered by not applying Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 to his fall, splendor, and activity before the fall?

My short answer is no.  What we do lose is any knowledge of his activity prior to the fall.  But this is not really “lost” if Ezekiel 28 does not refer to Satan, which I am arguing it does not.  Is there really any question that Satan is a fallen angel without Isaiah 14?  No.  Consider Luke 10:18, 2 Corinthians 4:4, and Ephesians 2:2.  Satan is very clearly a fallen angel.  Is the understanding of Satan’s nature or activity impacted if Lucifer is not among his other appellations?  No.  Ryrie states that Ezekiel 28:15 is the only place that specifically identifies the origin of sin (Ryrie, Basic Theology, 143).  However, that sin originated and is sourced in Satan is easily discerned in Genesis 3:1-7; John 8:44; and 1 John 3:10.

Practical Helps

So what do you do when you encounter a differing position in the curriculum of an evangelistic Bible study or in discipleship material?

  • Don’t embroil them in the controversy.  It is of little value to make them aware of the debate and will probably lead to more confusion than help.
  • Cover the doctrine of Satan using texts that clearly refer to him.
  • Finally, it is a terrific reminder that while we should be disciple-makers, we are always disciples ourselves.  These questions require us to “search the Scriptures” ourselves to ensure we are rightly handling God’s word.

127 thoughts on “Do Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 refer to Satan?

  1. I tend to agree with you, but 1 Tim 3:6 tempts me to think maybe Paul had Isaiah in mind when he wrote of the devil’s conceit and condemnation. (1 Tim 3:6, He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.)

  2. It is possible. Unfortunately, we can’t know. If he would have quoted from Isaiah or even mentioned Isaiah in 1 Timothy, it would have cleared it up. One thing for sure is that pride is diabolical and always has been.

    • hey guys i am really glad to see iron sharpening iron, but remember the cause and reason for our seeking and searching so hard. Remember the text of context to which you witness the points will come across the same.
      with love, Min. Morgan

  3. You should have used a King James when quoting Isaiah 14, because at least then you could trace Lucifer back to the Hebrew word “Helel”. Helel does mean the morning star, or brightness. Satan in the Hebrew means opponent or adversary. One has to ask two questions: 1. Why the huge differences in not only the names, but the meanings? 2. Why was this the only time the word “Lucifer” or “Helel” mentioned in the entire Bible? Since the days of Adam, he has been known as Satan. He was the serpent, as was written in Rev. 20:2. The reason why Helel is mentioned only one time is because that is what he was known as when he committed his great crime. He was the morning star. Now he’s the adversary. There is much wisdom to learn from these points onward.

  4. Jesse,

    To make sure I’m tracking with you, it sounds like you’re arguing that a translation which uses the word “Lucifer,” which incidentally is used in the KJV and NKJV, would serve someone better because the Hebrew word would be more readily accessible to them? If I understand your flow of thought correctly, I disagree. First, I think a good case can be made that other translations bring out the meaning of the Hebrew word more effectively (e.g, ESV, NASB, HCSB). Second, I don’t think we can build our theology of the Devil’s fall on his name. What if we did this with Peter (Simon to Peter) or Paul (Saul to Paul)? Moreover, your argument presupposes that a person takes the name of Lucifer as a reference to the Evil One. Your argument falls apart if a person does not take “Lucifer” as a reference to the Devil, which many, including me, do not. His fall and adversarial role nevertheless remains a reality (cf. Genesis 3:1; Luke 10:18). My point is that to build a theology of the Devil’s fall on the name alone is precarious. To further establish my point, no theology or commentary that I checked out rested their case exclusively or primarily on the name change.

    Thanks for the comment and stopping by.

  5. Okay, for discussion reasons, why does he have two names that mean two totally different things? Helel is “morningstar”, and Satan is “opponent”. To say this means nothing is ending any further learning that might be done. There has to be a reason for the difference in the names. Peter didn’t really have his name changed since it was his surname, but the meaning of Peter does come into play. Peter is Greek for “rock”. Jesus said to Peter that he was the rock that Jesus would build his church from, didn’t he? Saul is just the Jewish name for Paul, so there was no real name change. The meaning of Saul in Hebrew is “to enquire”. That even might have come into play too because Jesus had to enquire of Saul why he is persecuting him. Another question is why is Isaiah 14:12 the only time the word “Helel” is mentioned in the entire Bible, but Satan is mentioned many times throughout the Bible? There is no reason for that either?

    • Hello Jesse,

      Thanks for your comment here which was a blessing.

      I was kind of surprised though to know that the name Saul means “to enquire”. Any reference to confirm this please?


    • Jesse, in terms of your logic, you seem to be starting from the assumption that Lucifer = Satan, but you never explain why this should be so. You also appear to have assumed that the word is a proper name rather than simply a transliteration of the Latin word that translates the Hebrew word for morning star. Please could you explain the basis for that assumption as well?

  6. Hi Jesse,

    I concede that name changes can be significant. We are also agreed that the Devil was once in a pre-fallen condition and now he functions as the adversary but we do not learn this from the Lucifer to Satan change. I will point out again that your argument is built on the fact that Lucifer is a reference to the Devil. I do not see contextual license for a person to do this. The premise on which your argument is built falls apart. The meaning and significance of Lucifer is not the pivotal interpretative question in Isaiah 14. The primary question concerns the identity of Lucifer: the pre-fall Devil or the king of Babylon. Isaiah 14:4 very clearly provides the subject of Isaiah’s taunt: the king of Babylon. The major point of contention between our viewpoints is that you view the name Lucifer as a reference to the Devil, I do not. I’m curious, what clue in the context do you find that warrants or mandates the reader to transition from the king of Babylon to the Devil in Isaiah 14:12?

  7. Due to the miswording of the KJV with Lucifer, there is a disconnect. It’s true Lucifer was the King of Babylon. Why it was written in the English as Lucifer is due to men making an assumption. There are many mistranslations in the KJV, as I’m sure you’re aware of. Some mistranslations were simply made by assumptions that didn’t need to be made. In another case is the original Greek with the NT where the phrase “end of the world” was mistranslated due to an assumption. That word “world” in th original Greek wasn’t “cosmos”, but “aion” which really means age. Men took it upon themselves to assume the gospels meant “world” wrongly. I guess using the word “age” would have confused people or went against their doctrine. In Matthew that phrase shows up four times, I believe, and everytime the original Greek word was “aion”. But some other times when the word “world” shows up in Matthew, it was “cosmos”. That means there was a reason for Matthew and other instances in the NT that the original Greek word “aion” was used.

    In the original Hebrew, that word is not Lucifer but Helel. If Isaiah were referring to the King of Babylon, in the original Hebrew the word there would also be Lucifer. There would have been no difference between the Hebrew and English, such as the word “Satan”. It’s the same. Read Isaiah 14:12-14 carefully. Was Isaiah talking about a man, or something greater?

    • First of all, please clarify your statement regarding Lucifer being a mis-wording in the KJV.
      It is also so rendered in the New American Standard Hebrew lexicon. The NAS (generally accepted as one of the best word-for-word translations provides this definition of helel (or heylel)
      Lucifer = “light-bearer”
      shining one, morning star, Lucifer
      of the king of Babylon and Satan (fig.)
      (TWOT) ‘Helel’ describing the king of Babylon Heylel is only used once (bookmark this thought) in the OT; it is Strong’s number H 1966, from Strong’s H 1984 “haw-lal’
      A primitive root; to be clear (originally of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence to make a show; to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively to celebrate; also to stultify: – (make) boast (self), celebrate, commend, (deal, make), fool (-ish, -ly), glory, give [light], be (make, feign self) mad (against), give in marriage, [sing, be worthy of] praise, rage, renowned, shine.
      Now I, for one,don’t have a lot of difficulty believing that the above translation doesn’t bring to mind many of the traits of the evil one, especially (to) shine, to boast, to be (clamourously foolish, rage, and others.
      One of the more compelling reasons to believe this word means satan (it does, of course refer to the king of Babylon as well, as students of prophecy will recognize as an example of the law of double reference). In Daniel, for instance, there are many references to Nebuchadnezzar by name, as would be expected. and much of the description of the king of Babylon in Isaiah chapter 14 fits Nebuchadnezzar. But, not all. One would have to make a gigantic leap to say vss. 12-23 speak only of a natural man. An argument (a weak one) could be advanced that part of this could be attributed to the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness (Dan ch 4), but his sanity was restored after he humbled himself before God. There is no Scriptural evidence that he immediately perished after this incident.
      Finally, Jesus used many metaphors in His teaching (“I am the light of the world, you are the light of the world, and son on). satan always tries to mimic who God is and what He is doing and tries to trick and lure away unsuspecting people and entice them to worship him rather than God. II Corinthians 11: 14 tells the story: “And G2532 no G3756 marvel; G2298 for G1063 Satan G4567 himself G846 is transformed (derivative of G4976; to transfigure or disguise) G3345 into G1519 an angel G32 of light.G5457. (Strong’s numbers included).

      So, what do we have? I think this may be the clincher: 2Co 4:4  In G1722 whom G3739 the G3588 god G2316 of this G5127 world G165 hath blinded G5186 the G3588 minds G3540 of them which believe not, G571 lest G3361 theG3588 light G5462 of the G3588 glorious G1391 gospel G2098 of Christ,G5547 who G3739 is G2076 the image G1504 of God,G2316 should shine G826 unto them.G846.

      More metaphors referring to light. I’ll end with this; something I wrote myself: (it’s under construction)

      The Impersonator
      Isa 14:12 How H349 art thou fallen H5307 from heaven, H4480 H8064 O Lucifer,H1966 son H1121 of the morning! H7837 how art thou cut down H1438 to the ground,H776 which didst weaken H2522 H5921 the nations!H1471

      The Genuine Article
      Rev 22:16 I G1473 Jesus G2424 have sent G3992 mine G3450 angel G32 to testify G3140 unto you G5213 these things G5023 in G1909 the G3588 churches.G1577 I G1473 am G1510 the G3588 root G4491 and G2532 the G3588 offspring G1085 of David, G1138 and the G3588 bright G2986 and G2532 morning G3720 star. G792

      Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the true bright and morning Star.

  8. I can see in my BHS that the the word is Helel in 14:12 but your case remains unconvicing. Anytime a different appelation is used in a passage it doesn’t mean a change of subject. In fact, it is typical in prophetic literature. And the literary setting is important. To take a quote from my original post: “*Leslie Allen says that the interpreter who applies ‘vv 11-19 to Satan’ is ‘guilty of detaching the passage from its literary setting’ (Allen, Ezekiel 20-48, WBC, 95).”

    So if I understand you correctly, the interpretative license to see the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:12 is because Isaiah does not use the title “King of Babylon” again? Your case is built on a single premise: the change from king of Babylon in v. 4 to Helel in v. 12 is the proof that Isaiah transitions from a historical king to the Devil in a pre-fallen state. This assertion is not exegetically driven, it is theologically driven.

    To answer your question: Isaiah is talking about the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:12 not someone or something greater. It is simply a different way to refer to him. If the name change is the strongest argument for the change of subject, I’m afraid that it is an interpretation built on sand.

  9. “So if I understand you correctly, the interpretative license to see the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:12 is because Isaiah does not use the title “King of Babylon” again?”

    No, I said if Isaiah meant Lucifer as in the King of Babylon, that in the original Hebrew it would have said “Lucifer” and not Helel. It was only the KJV and subsequent translations that changed that word to Lucifer. If you think that the KJV did well in changing the Hebrew word “Helel” to “Lucifer” when there is no other instance of changing a Hebrew name, then it’s not my argument that is built on sand.

  10. I want to make sure I’m not missing your point or that we’re talking past each other. Sometimes I think we agree and other times I’m not sure. So here’s a summary of my view stated in my original post: Isaiah 14:12 does not refer to the Devil in a pre-fallen state rather it refers to the historical figure of the king of Babylon.

    So the merits of the word “Lucifer” for Helel aside, do you agree with my conclusion or disagree? Up above you state that “It’s true Lucifer was the King of Babylon.” So on this point we appear to be simpaticos. So what am I missing? Can you summarize your point in a sentence or two? Is your contention the use the word “Lucifer” to render Helel?

  11. Here’s a hermeneutical point that I’ve wondered about. I have preached through the whole book of Isaiah and the whole book of Ezekiel, using the Hebrew text. Is there ever a type that refers backward in history? Don’t types move forward always? The point of a type, is it not, to foreshadow a reality in the future for us? So these types that supposedly find their reality in a distant past Satan seem to work against a Scriptural pattern. I’ve not read this point anywhere, so I wondered if it rang true with you?

    Second, and I don’t know for sure that you make any point about this above. I take the position that angels were created on the first day of creation, all at once, as part of the heavens. Do we have a basis for some pre-creation angelic existence? I believe we could argue better that since time began in Genesis 1:1 that nothing but a timeless God existed before then.

  12. Hi Kent,

    You raise an interesting point about the forward moving inertia of types. It is the nature of types to do this (though there may be some exceptions I’m not aware of). One commentator I found mentioned the possibility of a type here, but as you pointed out, it is that the king of Babylon is a type of the [future] Antichrist (see Jan Ridderbos in my original post).

    As far as your second point, I would agree that angels were created during the six days of creation. So I would say no, we do not have a basis for some pre-creation angelic existence. Though admittedly it is a logical conclusion since the text is silent on the time of their creation.

    • I enjoyed reading your blog. While reading the comments this one reminded me of a question I had about the day the serpent fell from heaven. Genesis 1:8 “God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day…” Note, this is the only day God didn’t say, “it was Good.”

      This could be the day the serpent fell like lightening, Luke 10:18?

      With the lack of any Devil or Demons in the Hebrew and their sudden influx in the Greek, I’ve already thrown out the entire doctrine of Lucifer the beautiful choir leader who fell with a third of the angels. That’s why your blog caught my attention, blessings on your research.

  13. I thoroughly enjoyed your post here and I found it helpful. We are currently going through a study on spiritual warfare and I have to agree with you that the context does not suggest a “Satan” interpretation. What struck me as perhaps a better reference to a “type”, if we are going to go beyond the context of the ignoble kings (Babylon and Tyre), is a picture of Adam’s fall and banishment from the garden. Indeed it seems that a pronouncement against the human kings would best be supported by a typological reference to another human being rather than a creature in a totally different category. There are also other references which type Israel’s rebellion after Adam’s – Hosea 6:7. However, we are bound by context and it seems unreasonable to assume that Ezekiel or Isaiah envisioned a “Satan” character as opposed to a general portrait of human rebellion as expressed through these kings who are in direct rebellion. To put it plainly, these kings transgressed in a similar fashion as their first parents (Adam and Eve). And yet we are still bound by context, which does not allow us to get too fanciful with allegory.

    In response to some comments:

    In regards to “types” as references to the future, this is not demanded per say. There are numerous passages which again view Israel’s rebellion as akin to Adam’s rebellion in the garden. Even Paul references our corporate head (Adam) vs. our new head in Christ…the second Adam.

  14. Jordan,

    Precisely. Their trangression was pride-driven and diabolical to be sure, but the context seems to reign in too fanciful an interpretation.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Let us not be blinded here, the King James version of Isaiah 14:12 clearly says “lucifer the morning star” that is nothing else than a clear literal interpretation of the devil. Why would he say Lucifer if he did not mean it. And Ezekiel 28 the King of Tyre is clearly compared to satan himself, as he says in 28:13 that he was in Eden, clearly that cannot be interpreted no other way. Perhaps they Isaiah and Ezekiel were refering to the spirit which dwelled within the kings whom may have been satan himself. This is not hard to believe since the intercrossing of Babylon and the Pheonicians is actually the source of all false religons in the world today. In those verses the prophets had seen past the physical and into the spiritial realm of things and god showed them the spirit controlling the region. And Ezekiel 28 was a message to him and what is going to happen to him in the end. Praise god.

  16. da TRUTH \ SEEKER,

    First, my response is way overdue. Sorry about the delay.

    Second, you assume way too much by saying, ““lucifer the morning star” is nothing else than a clear literal interpretation of the devil” This is the only time the word “Lucifer” is used in the KJV–and it’s far from conclusive. You need to come to that conclusion based on something other than the very fact that the word is present in this passage.

    I am more agreeable to the possibility (though I would keep it in this realm myself) that Satan himself may have been guiding these kings. We find this to be the case with Judas just before he betrayed Jesus.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  17. Not to throw another possible wrench in this but I am a Christian but I believe in the Ruin-Reconstruction Theory. This theory says there is a gap between Genesis 1 verse 1 and verse 2. Ezekiel is talking about Lucifer originally being good and then turning evil after the war in heaven. Isaiah is referring to the fact that Lucifer wanted to become greater than God and put his throne above God’s throne and rule over everything. That being said, how is it that the first part of Ezekiel 28 refers to the prince of Tyre (ruler of Tyre NIV) and then suddenly refers to the King of Tyre in the second part of the passage? That may very well be because the prince or ruler spoken of may have been a Nephilim, Satan’s son. The descriptions listed of the prince of Tyre are in alignment with that of a Nephilim and also with the descriptions of what Satan may have been like; meaning like the prince’s father he (the prince) was proud and thought of himself as a God. Also refer to the description of what the Nephilim were like in Genesis 6 verse 4 “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” The prince listed sure does sound like a man of renown (importance.)

    Something else I found in my studies is a short passage listed in the Quran. It talks about a character they call Iblis who after God summons all of His creation to come and bow to Adam, Iblis does not come. When God asks why he did not come, Iblis basically says Adam was inferior to him and he would not bow. He also tells God that he will try to turn all of mankind away from him. God believes him for what he says he will do and guarantees him eternal hellfire in the end. At that point God also calls him “Shaitan” which may have been where we get the modern name “Satan” which means advesary. I believe Satan and all his followers already had fallen during the great war in heaven and when God summoned them, they did not come to bow to Adam and it was at this point because of what Satan claimed he would do to man that he became known as Satan or the advesary.

    I am sorry if my comments offended anyone. I know that this is not a prevailing belief in Christianity but this is just my take on it.

  18. Pastor Roman,

    I’m just a “simple Christian” who loves the Lord and loves to search the Scriptures to “see if these things are so”. I’ve been trying to understand as much as I can about this issue and have been helped by this writing of yours and and the follow-up comments.

    A favorite source of mine after the Scriptures is the writings of the ancient Church Fathers. You mentioned that you had discovered in your reading that church fathers (among others) apply Is 14 and Ez 28 to Satan. Could you tell me which church fathers you found this in?

    Thanks for your help. Like Daniel, may God grant that “illumination, insight, and extraordinary wisdom” be found in you. (Dan 5:14)


  19. Maia,

    Thank you for the question. I commend you on testing what you read. Many of the references to the church fathers were secondary references in the commentaries and/or theologies I read. So I do not have primary sources in the church fathers to which I can point you. If I ever expand this study, reading the church fathers would be a great step to take.


  20. In reference to Maia’s question,

    Tertullian makes reference to it (c. 207, W), 3.305; he said “If you turn to the prophecy of Ezekiel, you will at once realize that this angel was good by creation. It was by choice that he became corrupt. For in the person of the prince of Tyre, it says things in reference to the devil.”
    Origen made several references to this also, however, I strongly question his salvation from his other writings.

    It appears that the Lord has left us to be like those in Barea “Acts 17:11 … in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Like many other questions in the Bible this one has divided answers. I happen to fall in the strong conviction that certain references are about Lucifer/satan due to the several unaswerable questions of references that go beyond the human possibility, unless of course they are taken from an extreme figurative viewpoint.

    In Christ,


  21. Hi Patrick,

    Thanks for the Tertullian reference. Much appreciated.

    Origen is an interesting character. Brilliant but a universalist and probably off on many other strange doctrines, as you indicated.

    As you read above, I concluded that I do not see the relevant Isaiah and Ezekiel passages as a reference to Satan but it remains an open question. I would caution against an unwarranted dogmatism on this conclusion. It is one that requires study, as you rightly pointed out.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  22. I’m always interested in the original language meanings or word-studies. Here is an interesting one on Ezekiel 28, particularly vs. 16, that supports the reference to Satan:

    Also, I disagree with the notion that misapplying passages, or calling for double-reference, means you are “guilty” of something sinister, or otherwise doing a terrible disservice, as I have read in some places. If it maligns God’s character, harms the the gospel message, etc. than yes, it is guilty of something. But in this case, how fascinating! This enriches our understanding of Satan as “the accuser of our brethren”, “father of lies”, etc. and as the tireless slanderer of God in his quest to capture the souls of men.


  23. Hi Kevin,

    I couldn’t tell, are you making a general observation when you say, “Also, I disagree with the notion that misapplying passages, or calling for double-reference, means you are “guilty” of something sinister, or otherwise doing a terrible disservice, as I have read in some places” or are you saying that there is a double understanding of a historical figure and Satan in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28?


  24. I guess I am. Something like Psalm 22, except in this case rather than a future reference, it is to one in the past. Maybe future too, with v. 19, “And shall be no more forever”. Can’t come soon enough.

    I think what I was trying to say also, is that perhaps people choose to believe it applies to Satan in part because, even if they are wrong, it is seemingly not an egregious error. Or, maybe I’m being naive. Yes, accuracy is important, but we want to believe that the Bible is much more than just a book of history.

  25. I agree that there are other passages in the Bible where holding one interpretation over another may lead to greater consequences (e.g., Genesis 1 and seeing a literal six days or a not, soteriological passages, and Christological passages).

    What we are attempting to discover is what the Biblical authors intended to communicate, in this case Isaiah and Ezekiel. They intended to say something, and we are trying to discover what that something is. In some cases, it’s alright to let the Bible give us history. That’s what different genres are for.

  26. No other Biblical writer refers to Lucifer, Isa. 14 or Ezek. 28 in connection with a fallen Satan. Satan name is Baalzubub or something similar. Satan is called a sinner from the beginning which causes me to think that he was created evil to do God’s work of evil. He’s never referred to as a fallen angel. He undoubtedly was used to cause angels to fall who are demons.

  27. Hi Melvin,

    Sorry about my delayed interaction.

    You said, “Satan is called a sinner from the beginning which causes me to think that he was created evil to do God’s work of evil.”

    This is possible but unlikely in my mind for two reasons: 1) God created everything and said it was “good”. While I think it would be a stretch to say God meant “good” in a moral sense, I think the word implies that evil/sin was not part of the created order in its original state and 2) your statement is argument from silence which on the one hand is impossible to refute but on the other hand is impossible to establish with certainty.

    I’m also not quite sure what you mean by “God’s work of evil.” It appears to me, however, that you are treading on dangerous grounds by assigning evil work (in the moral sense) to God.

  28. Hi Doug,

    I just found your blog – thanks for your discussion on this.

    In in treating the fall of Satan in my master’s thesis (not the main topic) I also rejected Isa 14 and Ezek 28 as references to Satan. I see 1 Tim 3:6 as the only reference in Scripture to his fall. But speaking to someone else with a more relevant dissertation on Satan, he suggested that Paul may be drawing on a rabbinic interpretation of Isaiah.

    Are you aware of any sources on this?

    • Hi Elmer,

      Sorry it has taken me a few days to reply. I did not encounter a resource that would help you chase that down, though it is an intriguing question. FWIW, it appears that in order to take 1 Timothy 3:6 as a reference to the fall of Satan, one would need to presuppose that Paul is 1) alluding to Isaiah 14 and 2) suggesting it has Satan in view. These seem to be difficult assumptions to support conclusively.


  29. Doug,
    I agree incontrovertibly! I taught in my Old Testament Survey course that these passages described human kings, not the Adversary, and every student was taken aback by that statement. I then had them read Ezekiel 28 and asked them what the king’s greatest sin was according to the text: dishonesty in matters of commerce. Is that the Adversary’s greatest sin? Of course not! Your presentation here is quite thorough! Thank you for sharing your research/study!

  30. Doug:
    Which translation of Delitzsch’s Isaiah commentary are you using? I just checked S. R. Driver’s 1892 translation of the 4th edition German, and the line you quote is absent. Was there a translation of an earlier edition to which you are referring? Thanks.

  31. The Reason that i Believe that in Isaiah we can know that this is the Devil is because #1 it says “How art thou fallen from heaven.” did the king of tyre actually fall from heaven? if he didn’t and it was referring to him why would they use this language? and it is kind of interesting that Satan Has the same characteristics that are mentioned here if you look at revelation 12:7-9 the dragon or the devil was cast out of heaven. The bible writers did not always understand their own writings. 1 Peter 1:10,11.

  32. It is possible that “heaven” is a location but with all of the poetic language in these passages, such as “You were a signet of perfection” (Ezekiel 28:12), I’m not sure “heaven” needs to be a location but a position of power, a “high position.” Otherwise, “ground” needs to be the corresponding location upon which he fell. This proves to be a problematic interpretation.

  33. I just wanted to note that Calvin does not comment on Ezekiel 28, as his commentary on Ezekiel is in 2 volumes (1-12; 13-20)…

    …and to ask a question for clarification: how should we understand Revelation 12.3-4?

  34. I really enjoyed reading these! I was a Mormon for 46 years, and I have just come into the Christian faith. The Mormons clearly use these scriptures to indicate they are of Satan. I think Doug did a nice job of enlightening me. I think it is an open question, but I am leaning with Doug,

  35. Doug, greetings from South Africa. Thank you so much for this. I am doing a sermon series on the Cross and it’s relationship to sin, Satan, the flesh, self and the world, and am busy with ‘Experiencing the power of the cross over Satan’ at the moment’. However, as I desire to be true to the text I had to put the brakes on as far as these verses are concerned as I just could not see any direct reference to Satan in these verses. This is after I referred to these verses in my sermon notes (fortunately not yet preached). This called for taking many hours aside on this topic and I believe with you that to see Satan in these verses is ‘I say gesis’ and not ‘exegesis’. To see Satan in the lives of these kings, I don’t have a problem with. So these kings are an example of the work of Satan in people’s lives but that is as far as I am willing to go with the texts.

    It is interesting that Grudem, sees the possibility of reference to Satan, but he does not give me solid arguments in that regard, but pure speculation. He does what you did at your ordination by using words like ‘it is possible’, ‘suggests’, ‘would not be uncommon (without examples)’ and ‘if this is so”. So I guess he has his own doubts, because he is not emphatic.

    Culver seems to support your view as he cautions against simply embracing doctrinal sources to easily, and then makes reference to Isaiah and Ezekiel, and then states that most theology books do not say much in this regard based on those texts.

    Thanks again for a great read.

    • Nicki, thanks for stopping by and the good interaction. Taking a look at the texts themselves force us to recognize that an airtight case is difficult to make.

  36. first above all,
    the text you quoted is from NIV, which is incorrect devious translation..
    You have to take it from KJV, a very different story told in comparison from NIV.

    • I read the AV pretty much exclusively (when I don’t read the AV, I read the 1599 Geneva), and I agree with Mr. Roman’s conclusions. What am I missing? What substantive differences do you see that changes things in an exegetical sense?

    • Dear Hyeon,
      I would think that if one is objective and respects the Word of God, they would want to quote it from the Hebrew Old Testament text in order to preserve the accuracy of the text that God “breathed out” (2 Tim 3:16). The KJV uses the word “Lucifer”, which is a transliteration from the Latin text, not a literal translation from Hebrew to English. I favor the literal translation of many of the other translations, rather than the Latin influenced transliteration of the KJV.
      Why do you disagree with a literal translation of the word of God ?

      • To All Concerned:

        Lucifer [the light bearer or bringer]. The planet Venus, as the morning star. With the exception of the sun and moon, Venus is the brightest object in the sky. It appears as a morning or an evening star according as it is west or east of the sun, returning to the same position about every nineteen months. As the former, Venus is the harbinger of daylight. The prophet likened the splendor of the king of Babylon to Lucifer (Note: see following link for origin of the word), son of the morning (Is. xiv,12; in R.V. day-star), and Jesus calls himself the bright, the morning star (Rev. xxii.16; cp. 2 Pet, i.19). The application of the name Lucifer to Satan, the rebel angel hurled from heaven, has existed since the third century, especially among poets. It is based on the erroneous supposition that Luke x.18 is an explanation of Is. xiv.12.

  37. Doug,

    I agree with your conclusions here, and I appreciate the amount of work you put into this, along with the cited references. A very helpful post!

    • The Two Greatest Bible Secrets Finally Exposed?

      While widespread apostasy is definitely possible, the thought that it took “us moderns” (or “a” modern) to finally figure out what “100% of all preachers and students” missed comes across as a bit, oh, I dunno, prideful, maybe?

      Bob, what practical effect do you see your teaching will have on the life of the church and the believer?

      • Well, first of all I got your attention. Next I would say that my favorite subject is “Truth” Then I would say, except for two preachers;(they never change what they think) everyone that has discussed my study with me has agreed that I am correct.
        Justin and Doug, you are asking “what does TRUTH have to do with anything? Read the study and see if you agree or disagree. Have you all ever attended a bible study? If so, why?

      • Bob,

        First, grabbing someone’s attention by implying that you have a corner on a truth does not mean you’ve gained a hearing. It is disingenuous to suggest that you alone have gained an insight to Scripture. Not only is it disingenuous, it has a tendency to show that you are seeking affirmation rather than desiring genuine dialog.

        Second, your passing dismissal of a key interpretation allowed by the semantic range of the word pas (“all”) is unconvincing and irresponsible. It is unconvincing because you have failed to actually explain why “all kinds of evil” is not a legitimate interpretation except for the statement: “It is now possible to have exceptions for this verse with this thoughtful retranslation.” It is irresponsible because you did not convey why some interpreters employ this understanding. You never fairly represent the view of those with whom you disagree.


      • Whoa, chill out….Getting someone’s attention is smart. You do it all the time and so does everyone else. Secondly, my statement IMHO is still true. No one except my acquaintances know about this study. Show me one other person in the world that says what I say.
        Doug, by reading your comment I can clearly tell one thing. You didn’t read it…

      • Bob,

        How did you move from 100% of people get this wrong to IMHO?

        Anytime someone advances a new idea that can’t be found anywhere in the corpus of Christian teaching (as you claim), especially on a subject like the origin of evil, that is more reason for concern than celebration.

        Bob, if I read your piece through 1,000 times, it does not mean that I will agree with you. I read it and I have serious reservations about your conclusion. That’s all there is to it.


      • Yes and I stand by my comments that you did not address the the reasons that some interpret the phrase “all kinds of evil.” You simply dismissed it.

  38. Hi! Thanks for this helpful post. I’m just a mom who likes theology, and I was in a Bible Study once that proved to be occult-like in the end, and Ez 28 was one of its flagship passages. I’d love to fall in line with your blog’s position, and I am thankful for the reading/research you have done.

    Can you help me with one thing? You said, “Nevertheless, while these phrases are admittedly difficult to interpret with absolute certainty, we must use the overarching guide of an oracle grounded in a historical setting with some poetic language interspersed.” I can see your points with the word blameless, and Eden being symbolic. However, how am I to interpret- even poetically- the references to God as Elohim in v 13, 14, and 16? As well as the anointed cherub reference in v 14? Thanks so much. I really have appreciated your blog.

    • Hi Becky,

      Thanks for the questions. Concerning the references to “God” (Elohim) in Ezekiel 28:13, 14, and 16, the word “God” is found attached to phrases: “Eden, the garden of God” (v. 13), “the holy mountain of God” (v. 14), and “the mountain of God” (v. 16). It seems to me that these point to the places where God dwells and rules to highlight the desire to usurp God’s glory and authority.

      As far as the phrase “you were an anointed guardian cherub,” this is a difficult phrase to conclusively interpret, as I mentioned in the post. Whatever the precise meaning of this phrase, we must be careful to dismiss that this is found in a prophecy that was directed to the king of Tyre according to Ezekiel 28:11. The notion that the King of Tyre embodied a Satan-like opposition to God is attractive to help explain this and the other difficult references though this possible solution has its difficulties as well.
      I know my answers do not satisfactorily set forth a clear answer with airtight support. However, because your good questions deal with the more difficult part of the passage, I have to reiterate that I have not yet found an irrefutable answer to the references in Ezekiel 28.

      Grace and Peace,


  39. Great discussion. Has anyone noticed the gemstone lists in LXX version of Ezekiel 28:

    1. σάρδιον
    2. τοπάζιον
    3. σμάραγδον
    4. ἄνθρακα
    5. σάπφειρον
    6. ἴασπιν

    7. ἀργύριον (silver)
    8. χρυσίον (gold)

    9. λιγύριον
    10. ἀχάτην
    11. ἀμέθυστον
    12. χρυσόλιθον
    13. βηρύλλιον
    14. ὀνύχιον

    And how it compares to High Priest’s breastplate in Exodus 28 in LXX:

    1. Sardios
    2. Topazios
    3. Smaragdos

    4. Anthrax
    5. Sapphiros
    6. Onychion

    7. Ligurios
    8. Achates
    9. Amethystos

    10. Chrysolithos
    11. Beryllios
    12. Iaspis

    The last gem (onyx/jasper) is swapped.

    Maybe this will help identify?

      • Hi Doug thanks for reply. I’m not sure of the meaning but it’s a weird coincidence don’t you think? Have you read anything connecting the high priest to king of tyre?

      • Lee, sorry for being out of the loop for the last week. I did not encounter the connection between the high priest and the king of tyre. It would be, as they say, a minority view. 🙂 It would be interesting to see if–along the lines of Justin’s question–whether or not it was common for rulers to wear these stones in some fashion. I’m not aware of this one way or the other. In any case, I would very tentatively hold any connection to the high priest if the stones are the only connection.

  40. Thanks for response. A Wikipedia article notes the similarity to the revelation 20 list too. I guess perhaps a good starting point for me would be a biblical theology study on gemstones and precious metals.

    • Hi guys! I just had to weigh in on this discussion. This is one of the best discussions I have run across on the Internet in a long time and one that I feel is of critical importance in Glorifying God our Creator and not one of His fallen angelic creations through the act of free will. I am currently doing a study of Ezekiel 28, primarily 28:12, to assess and resolve for my own understanding, who is being referred to in these passages. The question is “was Satan created perfect” if so “why did he fall (sin)?,” yet our Lord says in John 8:44 “He was a murderer from the beginning.” I have never heard ANY contemporary pastor or ‘bible teacher’ ever teach otherwise that this is NOT referring to Satan. In my review of what the commentary scholars have to say, I was surprised to learn that a majority of them, as you have said, ‘interpreted these passages in their historical context.’ And, as aptly stated ‘this is significant because commentators are immersed in the text, while theologians are not in the text per se.’ What? Pastors & Bible Teachers don’t study commentaries anymore? I don’t get it! This teaching is rampant in the church today. May God give us us Wisdom.

      This in reference to Lee’s question regarding Ezekiel 28:13 regarding gemstones and any similarity to the OT High Priest and Justine’s question “Did any earthly rulers commonly wear these stones at the time?”

      ‘The prince of Tyre, placed in the pleasant land, was also adorned with the greatest earthly glory. Costly jewels were his coverings, that is to say, they formed the ornaments of his attire. This feature in the pictorial description is taken from the splendour with which Oriental rulers are accustomed to appear, namely, in robes covered with precious stones, pearls, and gold. מסכּה, as a noun ἁπ. λεγ.., signifies a covering. In the enumeration of the precious stones, there is no reference to the breastplate of the high priest. For, in the first place, the order of the stones is a different one here; secondly, there are only nine stones named instead of twelve; and lastly, there would be no intelligible sense in such a reference, so far as we can perceive. Both precious stones and gold are included in the glories of Eden (vid., Genesis 2:11-12). For the names of the several stones, see the commentary on Exodus 28:17-20.’
      Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary


  41. Ezekiel was during exactly what our creator instructed him…..speaking directly to Satan who was over that kingdom…..over that religion and behind the throne… different from the Angeles of the seven churches of revelations…..Satan has not changed his tactics or his devices…..Satan has been over kingdoms….long before he offered them to Christ our Redemer…..

  42. I am excited to see that you have found the light in relation to the Isaiah, Ezekiel contention (in that they have nothing to do with a fallen angel devil). For a deeper understanding of what is written in Isaiah 14, I have attached a link to an extract from a thesis on this subject which deals with the content in detail.
    In regards to your references to Luke 10:18, 2 Corinthians 4:4, and Ephesians 2:2 being related to your fallen angel devil, the only reference that remotely suggests anything falling from heaven is Luke 10:18. But I appeal to your comment at the start that ‘a text without a context is a pretext’ (my own spin). Why did Jesus make this remark?
    Yours in Christ

    • Ontrack,

      That’s a very difficult question to answer. Do you have a theory on why Jesus made the remark? It seems like a futile question to ask because we can’t ultimately know why Jesus said it. We can only know what He said and then seek to interpret it. Maybe you’re after something else with your question?


      • Hi there Pastor I am just now reading this. This is great. I have been raised in church all my life and am saved, with baptism of the water and of the Holy Ghost. Pretty much all of my life I have been preached to that those scriptures are alluded to Satan in some format. I will definitely check out more history on the kings of Babylon as well because of these blogs. But my question is when do we apply the function of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in wisdom and understanding in the questions of scripture. Doesn’t the bible say that God will reveal to the mystery of His word to those who believe in Him and are saved. I totally believe when reading the bible it must be done line upon line precept upon precept and you must understand the audience the author was writing to. But as did the Holy Ghost influence the writers/prophets/apostles/disciples who wrote the Bible, shouldn’t or rather doesn’t that same Holy Ghost guide us in are reading and studying instead of us going off of opinion? This is not a rhetorical question, I would like to hear your take. Thank you and may God continue to bless your ministry sir.

      • Hi Julian,

        I believe that Holy Spirit leads us to understanding through the literal-grammatical-historical method of interpretation. I would also add two items that the role of the Holy Spirit in interpretation does not mean (see Roy Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, 23). First, the Holy Spirit’s role in interpretation does not mean that one’s interpretations are infallible. Second, the Holy Spirit’s role in interpretation does not mean that He gives some interpreters a “hidden” meaning divergent from the normal, literal meaning of a passage. I hope this helps.


  43. Doug, appreciate your comments to Julian. Maybe the following story will help. I never watch TBN, but one day just decided to check it out again after a long absence. One of our local South African pastors was preaching on Ecclesiastes 4:12. The only part he quoted was: “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”. The context is clear, but he made the following statement: “I prayed to the Holy Spirit for three months to give me the meaning of this text, and then He told me, ‘it is all about giving’. Where there is a gift there is always a giver and there is a receiver. That is the threefold cord that must never be broken.” He actually wrote a book on it now.

    He then started with Abraham giving to Melchizedek and so forth. The context of Ecclesiastes is abundantly clear, and clear that it has zippo to do with giving. Do we accept that his claim that the Holy Spirit gave him the meaning is correct? I believe not!

    It is not Holy Spirit without exegesis, but exegesis with utter dependence on the Holy Spirit.

    • Nicki,

      Three hours of digging into the text would have served him well. Your last statement succinctly captures what should guide the interpreter. Well said. Thanks for stopping by.


  44. Hi Doug! I appreciate very much the emphasis of context. I have been studying through John’s Revelation recently, and came across your blog post as I was considering the cherubim. Have you considered Daniel 10 and any bearing that the reference to the “prince of kingdom of Persia” and “Michael, one of the chief princes,” might have on the interpretations of Ezekiel and Isaiah? There is clearly an unseen kingdom of angelic powers that we are largely unaware of, as Paul references occasionally (powers & principalities, etc.).

    I believe it is clear that there are many examples of a dual fulfillment of prophecy in the OT, both a clear fulfillment for the people of Israel, for example, and a second, later, possibly greater fulfillment, especially as prophesies relate to Christ. Could it not be possible that we are seeing in these passages both a condemnation of a human king as well as a reference to a heavenly judgment?

    In a similar fashion, G. K. Beale sees the 24 elders seated around the heavenly throne as likely representative of the whole of God’s people, 12 symbolically representing the 12 tribal leaders of Israel, and 12 symbolically representing the 12 apostles. Similarly, Jesus speaks to the angel of each of the churches, which I believe really are angels (not pastors), representatives before the Lord of the churches.

    I am not typically enthralled with the realm of the angelic; I am often frustrated by the overemphasis of angels and their works among the Christian bookstore crowd. But I do want also to understand carefully what the Bible does actually reveal about them. I appreciate the work you have already done on this, and was simply curious if you had considered these observations already.


    Todd Young

    • Hi Todd,

      I am sympathetic to the struggle about the possible influence of the angelic realm in Isaiah and Ezekiel. I have not found that consideration compelling. In my estimation, there are fewer problems with taking these passages to refer to historical kings as opposed to seeing Satan or other angels in these passages. I appreciate you stopping by Todd.


  45. Pingback: Is God Horrible? | True and Reasonable

  46. (This may be a long one, so buckle up.)

    Greetings from Scotland!

    I really admire your openness with scripture and intelligence, please lose neither 🙂

    I was discussing the origin of Satan with my girlfriend tonight and I realised I really didn’t know much about it, if anything, and hadn’t ever researched it for myself. So, naturally, I’m here because of Google.

    Context really IS the key to understanding the bible – I believe that what is recorded in the bible is not intended to be hard to understand, but christians often never question or research what they have been taught and tend to interpret scripture through what has been handed down to them, wether it is accurate or not. Also, one has to bear in mind that the bible wasn’t written in chapters and verses, and although this makes finding passages much easier, it also makes it much easier to pull scripture out of its context.

    So here’s my take on Ezekiel 28 for what it’s worth, admittedly after only 4 hours of research so please bear that in mind, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

    Verse 11 begins with the word “Moreover” – I was taught that “if you ever see the word ‘therefore’, you need to ask yourself: what is it there for?”, meaning that anything you will read after that word will only make sense when you read the previous section. The word ‘moreover’ got me thinking like this too – moreover from what exactly? Obviously the passage before is linked to what is being said.

    It’s worth noting that I couldn’t find any hint of this word in the hebrew, as from what I can gather this part of the verse should just read plainly “the word of the lord came to me” – although I am by no means a scholar of hebrew.

    But it got me thinking that perhaps 28:1-19 should be read as a whole.

    The word for prince in verse 2 is ‘Nasiy’, meaning: one lifted up, chief, prince, captain, leader
    rising mist, vapour”. The word for king in verse 12 is Melek, with one definition: king. Putting together all the possible meanings of nasiy, and the use of the word ‘moreover’ in verse 11 (in our translations), I really get the impression that these two prophecies are directed towards one being – the ruler and king of Tyre.

    Following this logic, interpreting the king of Tyre to be Satan in v11-19 would mean that it also has to be referring to Satan in the first 10 verses.

    One thing to note would be that verse 2 states ‘… you have said “I am a god,” … yet you are but a man, and no god, …’. The word for man here is adam, which can only be interpreted as a human man. Satan is not a man… but this wasn’t the point I was wanting to bring up.

    Verses 1-10 basically paint a picture of a ruler who was very wise, possibly even cunning, and that his wisdom brought him great wealth because he understood how to make money (either fairly or corruptly, the text doesn’t lean either direction), but he was so proud and mad with power and wealth that he boasted of being deity, and God was to bring judgement on him/his nation by the hand of another nation.

    In verse 12 God says “raise a lamentation”; the word for lamentation being qiynah, meaning: lamentation, dirge, elegy – a song or poem that passionately expresses mourning. As such, the words here should not be taken literally and the meaning of the passage should be interpreted through the use of its poetry.

    So in this context, I think it is clear that God is comparing this man’s life to what we read of Satan in the beginning of Genesis in order to emphasise: his distaste for this man; how swift and definite his punishment would be; what God does to beings that try to play god, as Satan was the first and therefore the prime example.

    Here’s how I would explain the ‘problem passages’:
    “You were in Eden, the garden of God” – he had everything he possibly needed and more, he lived a life of luxury and paradise.
    “On the day you were created they,” being the precious stones that covered him, “were prepared. You were anointed guardian cherub.” – he was of royal descent, clothed in luxury from birth, and given a place of authority.
    “I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God” – God gave him his power and high status.
    “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till unrighteousness was found in you” – he was good… until he was bad.
    “So I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God” – God took away his power.

    Interestingly, “you were anointed guardian cherub” could point more towards the origin of Satan than anything else I’ve read here – perhaps God created Satan as a cherub to watch over the garden? We know God placed cherubim to guard the way to the tree of life after Adam had been banished, but perhaps the cherubim were already present in the garden for another purpose before the fall? This would explain why Satan is even in the garden in the first place. We first find him next to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – perhaps he was to monitor the tree but found it just as desirable as Eve did, gave in to temptation and ate, and being the first thing in all of creation to experience evil… he embodied it and sought to forever be the ying to God’s yang. Maybe by tempting Eve to eat he was trying to take possession of humanity away from God, and become God for himself. This wouldn’t take away from sin entering the world through man, the way I see it anyway. All of this is conjecture, just a thought I had while writing.

    As for Isaiah 14, the description in verses 16-17 make it clear that this is a man and not Satan:
    • people who saw him would ponder “Is this the man…”, the word for man being ‘iysh, meaning: man, man/male (in contrast to woman, female), husband, human being/person (in contrast to God), servant, mankind, champion, great man, whosoever, each (adjective) – clearly talking about a dude.
    • “… who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?’” – Satan has done no such thing in scripture, and God doesn’t lie.

    I’m sorry this was so long… but you got this far, so I might as well add to it! Reading your comment about the dragon in Revelation – have you considered the interpretation of Revelation as God coming in judgement over Jerusalem in 69/70AD by the hand of the Roman Empire? If not, I’d really encourage you to look into it, it is fascinating. This is the stance I tend to take as the symbology and figures of speech in that book match what you’ll find in the OT when God would foretell his coming judgement over a nation. Most commentaries I’ve read that take this position would interpret the red dragon as Satan working through Rome (dragon = satan; the heads/horns/diadems = a ruling power), which fits perfectly in context as verses 1-6 of chapter 12 seem to describe Jesus coming forth from Israel and Herod trying to kill him. However, they also take the view that verse 4 is speaking of Satan raising an army of angels pre-fall… which, to me, would be taking this one section completely out of its context if you hold the view that we’re talking about Rome here. Considering what we read of “stars in heaven” and “casting to the earth” in Isaiah and Ezekiel, I’d say this is possibly more a metaphor for something in authority being brought low, I just do not know what that could be. Possibly, since it is Satan doing the casting down of heavenly stars, this could indicate him corrupting a large number of the Jewish leaders to not accept Jesus as Messiah from the moment of his birth? I’ll look into it 🙂

    • I just realised my own suggestion for what the dragon’s tail casting down a third of the stars of heaven could mean doesn’t include the presupposition that this is Satan working through Rome… so a better suggestion could be that this is referring to the corruption of the Jewish leaders in terms of their allegiance no longer truly being with God, bearing in mind the massive divides in politics and motives among the different Jewish leaders and groups – I remember learning that some leaders who sided with Rome were completely self-obsessed in the level of authority/power/status granted them. I can’t provide any proof for this right now, but as I said previously, I’ll look into it.

    • Hi Scott,

      The phrase “you were anointed guardian cherub” in Ezekiel 28:14 is admittedly one of the more challenging phrases. Like you mentioned, there is a possible connection between Satan and a guardian cherub. The problem, as you rightly pointed out, is that in order for that argument to stand, we have to stack one chair of conjecture on top of another which makes the argument rather unstable. It’s a very intriguing phrase to be sure.

      As far as the symbolic interpretation of the dragon as God’s judgment over Jerusalem in AD 70, I’ve not pursued this option. For the sake of full disclosure, I approach Scripture as a futurist. The proposed interpretation you offered sounds like a preterist position, at least on the timing of the fulfillment of Revelation. So this option would be highly unlikely from my vantage point because I understand the events in Revelation to be yet future. While I would agree with you that there is a great deal of symbolism in Revelation, I see the reality of those symbols to be fulfilled in a time yet to come.
      Thanks for your kind and thoughtful interaction. Blessings on you as you continue your study.


      • Thank you for the reply good sir!

        And fair enough, I don’t consider anything in Revelation at all vital to one’s salvation so I’m happy to agree to disagree 🙂 although I will point out that I was not saying that the dragon symbolised God’s judgement on Jerusalem, rather that the whole book is talking about God’s destruction of Jerusalem, and that would be how the dragon might fit in there.

        I know this is off-topic from your original post here, but in light of our conversation I’m interested to know how you would interpret what Jesus says in Matthew 24, if not in relation to the destruction of Jerusalem as well?

  47. Hi Scott,

    I’m sorry for the severe delay in my response. Thanks for the clarification on the symbolism of the dragon. If one understands “this generation” in a strict, literal sense, then “all these things” must be taken with the same strict literalism. Based on the understanding of “all of these things” in the chapter, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 does not comprise “all these things” Jesus mentioned (e.g., what about the phenomena of vv. 21-22, 29-31?). This seems to be a problem for the understanding that the destruction of Jerusalem comprises the entirety of “all these things” that “this generation” would experience before it passes away.

    • Don’t worry about taking a while to respond, we all have lives! Thank you for the response though, I enjoy challenging what I believe because it’s fun to search the scriptures and learn more 🙂

      Interesting points good sir!

      I would say that I believe those listening to Jesus at the time would understand v29 to have been apocalyptic language, and not literal, as it is the same imagery found in Ezekiel 32:7-8 referring to the desolation of the king of Egypt, and in Isaiah 13:10 speaking of the coming destruction of Babylon.

      It is totally worth noting that the destruction of Jerusalem was immensely significant for both Jews and gentiles, as it completely sealed the end of the old covenant. Worship of God in the old way has been impossible since AD70 as all genealogical records were destroyed, meaning no Jew could ever prove themselves to be of the tribe of Levi, and they would never have true priests again.

      If you’re willing to read verse 21 in the context of Jesus speaking to Jews, warning them of coming trouble, it shouldn’t pose any problems as far as I can see. When the Romans laid waste to Jerusalem, they besieged it twice, one followed quickly by the other, and the latter was when they brought in the big guns and completely razed the city. The Romans made death and suffering an art, a long, drawn-out process. I believe Jesus was telling them the severity of what they were about to endure, if they didn’t listen to him, as it was unmatched to anything that had ever befallen God’s people written in the scriptures, and wouldn’t ever happen again to his people.

      There are several early christian writers who state that after the first siege, the christians fled Jerusalem to towns in the hillside nearby, on prior warning from Jesus, as they read the signs and understood. One even writes that not a single christian died in the destruction because of this warning. Research the flight to Pella for more information, but it definitely fits verse 22’s, “And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Not only does it fit verse 22, but it fits verses 15-20 as well, where Jesus specifically talks of reading the signs and fleeing Judea to the mountains.

      For v31, I wouldn’t take gathering together God’s elect from the four winds as the saints meeting Christ in the air at the end of time, but rather that until the end of time God’s elect will come from everywhere, all over the earth (and amen to that, for I am not of Jewish descent!), and this would make sense understood like this after what he’s just said in verse 30:

      “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

      Would those listening to Jesus not have been instantly reminded of this passage?

      Daniel 7:13-14
      “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”

      It really fits that Jesus was saying that this was when this prophecy would be fulfilled, and begin Jesus’ reign, with his kingdom (which we’re now part of). Which is why I see Revelation so inter-linked with this passage, and why Revelation such an important book in this context – this was the complete end of the old testament, and Jesus being crowned King – reigning from then, to now, and until the end:

      1 Corinthians 15:24
      “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.”

      As a side-note, if these verses aren’t speaking plainly of the fate of Jerusalem, then I find it pretty impossible to believe that God would warn Israel every time they would be taken into captivity, but that when he was cutting them off completely he would remain silent. This is very uncharacteristic of the God I read about.

      Take your time responding and don’t apologise for it, I’d rather you had a chance to look for yourself than a hasty reply 🙂

      • Hi Scott,

        Thanks for the explanation. I want to cordially express that I don’t find the explanation compelling. I think there are several assumptions in your explanation concerning what texts the original audience had in mind when they heard Jesus speaking that may or may not be what they had in mind (e.g., Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel). This would be more compelling, even undeniable, if Jesus had alluded to these passages but He didn’t. However, this is is not to deny that Jews were familiar with apocalyptic language; they most certainly were. I do agree with you that Matthew 24 and 25 contains apocalyptic language. But I want to go back to my original point because I’m not sure you addressed it. When I mentioned a literal understanding of “this generation” (i.e., those listening to the very words of Jesus) requires the same literal understanding of “all these things” in v. 34, I wanted to see if you believe that the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was the sum total of “all these things”? No one can deny that the destruction of Jerusalem was horrific and thorough, indeed one stone was not left standing on another, but does this event exhaust the phrase “all these things”? So to state my question as clearly as I can, are you saying that the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 is the sum total of “all these things” in Matthew 24:34?

      • Apologies for the way I wrote my reply, but I thought that would have been clear as in your reply you mentioned specific verses which could not be a part of “all these things”, and all I did was give explanation as to how those verses would fit into “all these things” in the context of the destruction of the city.

        I do currently believe that the destruction of Jerusalem and the events surrounding it would cover “all these things” that Jesus mentions, as I’ve yet to come across anything Jesus says there that didn’t actually happen around those times. And I haven’t came across anything which would disprove this understanding so far. I am not phased with “doctrine”, and don’t claim to hold to hold fast to anything except what’s written in the word – I only care to understand God’s word better, and frequently change views on topics if something comes along that makes more sense. Revelation and these passages in the gospels being one of them.

        If you read verse 15, this is what starts the list of things that were to happen (and it is a chronological list, as every new event starts with “then…”), which would include the passage about the son of man in verse 30. And he specifically mentions Daniel:

        “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then….”

  48. Hi Scott, this is likely my final rejoinder on this issue. You mentioned that “…I’ve yet to come across anything Jesus says there that didn’t actually happen around those times.” I’m not sure that the severity of the destruction of Jerusalem, while severe, fulfills the description Jesus offered in v. 21, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” Is v. 21 hyperbole? The future judgments in revelation seem to be much more severe than the destruction of Jerusalem (as bad as it was). Are the events mentioned in Matthew 24-25 for first-century Jews only? Were vv. 29-31 already fulfilled (with a special emphasis on vv. 29-30)? If all of these things were fulfilled in AD 70, has the coming of the Son of Man already taken place (v. 37, 39, 42, 44)? These are questions that your statement raises in my mind that I find very difficult, if not impossible, to allow for the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 to be the sum total of “all these things.” I appreciate you stopping by and conversing.

  49. First, do you really think we as finite beings should put our creator in a linear box? The scriptures are cyclical and contain levels of meaning. This is an endless argument. Focus on the weightier matters like following and teaching the truth. For example, jesus is not our Messiah’s real name. It is Yeshua. Jesus is a terrible transliteration of His name and Yahweh is the Father’s name, not Lord God. Those are just titles. Learn the Torah or law as most translations say. Psalms 119 praises Yahweh for His Torah. Who is the dragon waging war with? Those who hold the testimony of Yeshua Messiah and keep the commandment of Elohim (god). Revelation 12:17. These are those who do not practice iniquity or lawlessness. Those who work lawlessness, or Torahlessness, will be told: Psalms 6:8 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. Also Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    Do you think Yeshua was joking? Get the foundation laid first then seek out these matters you seek now.

    All Praise and Esteem to Yahweh the Father and Yeshua Messiah,

    • Aye alright, keep your hair on haha we were just having a friendly discussion.

      Doug, I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. I hope you’re blessed in all that you do and I’ll see you up there one day 🙂

  50. It’s wonderful to have these friendly discussions but time is short and the truth must be spoken. I do agree with Mr. Roman on context though. How many people use Acts 10 to say pork and other unclean meats are now clean? Keeping context in mind, Peter clearly explains that the vision was about the gentiles.

  51. Hey Jordon. With respect. I am quite confident that Doug is not ignoring the weightier matters, as has been clearly illustrated by other articles on his blog. To widen this debate will simply be to use your words: “an endless argument.”

    I think this discussion over time has served it’s purpose and there is so much to chew on while enjoying a nice pork chop.

    Thanks Doug, for initiating this great discussion. I have been blessed by both your original comments, the participation of others and your responses. I believe that honesty and truth prevailed. I think all and sundry can now more sensibly draw their own conclusions and if necessary question their own approach to the interpretation of Scripture.

    Soli Deo Gloria

  52. I understand but I am afraid your lawlessness has been exposed Nicki. Please turn back to the Torah of Yahweh. The law was never done away with. That’s why I say if context is truly important to all of you then read the context with Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. This is not an abolishment of the law. 1st John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. I am really concerned for you. Please consider these words.

    • Please forgive me if I offended anyone. I am not trying to offend, just trying to present the word and truth to you in it’s entirety. Unfortunately, christianity has failed to do so. Please read the WHOLE word. Not just the part that confirms false doctrine by picking out verses and removing context.

  53. Lol. thanks Jordan. I knew you would pick up on the pork chop.

    All the best, and I really pray that you find the grace to keep every one of the laws faithfully.

    Just on a personal note. Oh, how I desire to know and understand the WHOLE word in it’s entirety, but I guess this side of glory I will never be able to make that claim, because as soon as I think I have a handle on it all, a dear brother like you will come along and disagree with me, and I need to make a shift again. So, praise God if you have it all together. All I have 100% together is the desire and the effort. More than that I refuse to claim. So, don’t be too concerned for me. I sadly have not had the privilege and never will to sit at your feet. I simply keep on standing on the shoulders of many giants of the faith, both dead and alive. Sadly most of them will join me in claiming that they do not understand everything in it’s entirety and that there is scope for disagreement.

    If you were to read my comment earlier in this discussion, way up on this thread, you will notice that I agree with you on the importance of ‘context’. A text out of context remains pre-text, and this I dread.

    God bless. Nothing to add.

  54. I’m not saying I have everything figured out, I just want people to know that when they believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Yeshua is Messiah that there is a covenant relationship made. It’s not a relationship where you are saved and that’s the end. You are saved and obedience is now required. Not salvation of works but of faith. The works show your faith. You don’t need to sit at my feet, I am no scholar. Just seek the truth, which is Yeshua and the word/Torah. He is the word/Torah and the truth.
    John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
    Psalms 119:43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
    for I have put my hope in your laws.
    Psalms 119:142 Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.


  55. Jordan. You do not know me. You have judged me on the basis of my comment regarding enjoying a pork chop, which drove you to serious concern for me.

    At the same time you seem to be questioning my theology which you also do not know. My simple issue is this, that you expanded the discussion from where it was to something else as if others are ignoring the weightier issues, which is not true. I live in the Word brother, I seriously do not need you to preach to me as if I am a Christian who does not believe in sanctification.

    Now, if a pork chop is the weightier issue for you, then we will agree to disagree, as there are far more serious issues in the Christian faith. My conscience is clear. We can start dissecting the rest of the Torah, and I guess you will be found wanting. But again I do not know you. I do not regard the law as a step ladder by which we get to heaven. I am saved by grace, and I am kept by grace. I love the law, as the law shows me I am a sinner, and I live by grace while daily making dead the sin that so easily rears it’s head, for those who are the sons of God are led by the Spirit and they make dead sin by the same Spirit. I am saved from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and one day when I see Him face to face I will be saved from the presence of sin.

    Now Jordan, I appreciate you saying that you have not got everything figured out. Sadly, you did not come over that way. Your statement in a previous comment creates that impression when you say: “I am not trying to offend, just trying to present the word and truth to you in it’s entirety. Unfortunately, christianity has failed to do so.” I am always worried when somebody claims that all others have failed and they have the word of truth. Maybe I am overly concerned. This forum will also not allow for us to engage on truth in it’s entirety.

    Let’s leave it at that. I do not want to turn this into a debate forum. You cautioned regarding an endless argument, and I would not like this to become one. If you knew me, you would not be concerned.

    Shalom Aleychem

    • Please forgive me. I understand how my words could have come off as arrogant but it wasn’t my intention. You are right: Christianity has much bigger issues than pork chops. The pork is just a door for conversation lol. No I don’t know you and no you don’t know me and if you did you would have understood me better. I did say, “Not salvation of works but of faith. The works show your faith.” I know the law is not the way of salvation. When I said,” just trying to present the word and truth to you in it’s entirety,” I am saying that there is more to the faith than the lawless gospel that christianity preaches. I know nobody wants to hear that but it has to be said. People need to know the truth. We will be hated for His name’s sake. Yeshua be with you Nicki. Shalom.

  56. Pingback: Ezekiel 28: A prideful king, or Satan? | Bible in a Year Blog

  57. Hi Doug,

    I just have one response to your comment in reference to “you were blameless in your ways from the day you were created”.
    You mentioned that ” there are plausible explanations such as the label “blameless” applied to Noah (Genesis 6:9) and Job (Job 1:1) and Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:6). ”

    While I agree with you that Noah and Job both were described as blameless, but there was one primary difference between your references and Ezekiel 28.
    Only Ezekiel has the words “Thus says the Lord God” before it described the King of Tyre as blameless.

    Genesis and Job can be easily explained away because both Noah and Job were blameless compared to the people of their time. However in Ezekiel, it is God Himself saying that the king of Tyre was blameless, the signet of perfection and was in Eden etc. And here there is no doubt that the King of Tyre, according to God Himself was existent in Eden. I personally believe at this point the text is literal when it refers to “Eden” and not a metaphorical one. So I disagree with you that “it is possible to have these phrases applied to a human king.”

    Personally, I don’t think anyone here has any need to build a theology of the Devil’s fall on the name alone is precarious. The theology of the Satan/Lucifer/Devil’s fall is there in historical books. Thru the centuries, the Catholic church has always interpreted Lucifer to be Satan. The Anglican churches have always interpreted Lucifer (isa 14:12 KJV) to be Satan.Even the mormons do that. It is only in recent times that somehow people have become more “enlighted” and started being the authority because somehow they have more “contextual license”. Something which has little history behind it has less backing than beliefs that have been there for centuries. Which is why you have chosen to dichotomize between traditional and more liberal point of viewing. Both of which have their merits.

    So the premise that your argument is valid just because some famous Christian authors believe that Isa 14:12 wasn’t refering to Satan dosn’t hold water. because at the end of the day, no one has that “contextual license” to decide what’s really right or wrong but God himself. we are however free to interpret whatever we want. However, it is the Holy Spirit who guides us to the right conclusion.
    I don’t see much of your points warranting or mandating the reader to interpret the king of Babylon as the literal King of Babylon or King of Tyre apart from textual, and contextual references while ignoring the clear references in each of the texts that have a clear hint that the description of these kings are not refering to mortal men.

    Even a boastful and arrogant king in the past was scared of priests and witches and warlocks. They would not be so foolish as you have pointed out to arrogantly claim godhood so presumptuously. Even the wicked kings in the bible sacrificed to Molech, Ashteroth, Baal, and what have you nots. I don’t think kings are that foolish as you have painted to claim a throne to heaven which they revere and are powerless against.

    My simple response to your false statement is that these verses are indeed referring to Satan. Lucifer or whatever you want to call , is Satan.

  58. I respect you disagreement Richard. However, I think it is illegitimate to say that you are paying attention to textual details while I (and others who would hold the same position) are disregarding them. It’s interesting that you make such a strong statement of your view based on “a clear hint.” My use of contextual license is simply a way to elevate the context as the main guide for how we understand certain terms in any given passage. Moreover, my conclusion weighs what others have said but if you read it, it is based on the historical context of the passage not on what one/some famous Christian authors believed. As I noted, there is not a clear consensus among well-known and respected interpreters on who this passage is referring to. Thanks for stopping by.

      • I hold it to be unscriptural and an abomination to our Lord and Savior.

        Please visit my website and check out the article “Augustinian Original Sin Attacked” to find out more 🙂

        Contary to what many say: it’s rejection not sectarian (EOC believes this too) and it’s rejection was held by legendary theologians.

  59. I like your conclusion:
    “So what do you do when you encounter a differing position in the curriculum of an evangelistic Bible study or in discipleship material?

    Don’t embroil them in the controversy. It is of little value to make them aware of the debate and will probably lead to more confusion than help.
    Cover the doctrine of Satan using texts that clearly refer to him.
    Finally, it is a terrific reminder that while we should be disciple-makers, we are always disciples ourselves. These questions require us to “search the Scriptures” ourselves to ensure we are rightly handling God’s word.”

  60. Very intelligent ( and polite!) discussion, with many points well thought out, reasoned, etc.; nevertheless, I am frankly appalled that there is no mention of OTHER middle-Eastern peoples, beliefs/ mythologies that ANTEDATED ( and apparently, pre-figured) many Biblical motifs – all of which can be interpreted in so many ways.
    Do no theological studies – since there is frequent mention of HISTORICAL CONTEXT – do none of them refer to earliest writings known ( yes, pre-Biblical, if we take the Pentateuch, Torah, as recorded by Moses – or some ‘Moses-like’ rabbinical committee, group) -namely, Sumerian and Egyptian sources ( see Kramer: History begins at Sumer)?

    For instance: what about the betrayal by “dark god” SETH ( any relation to Satan? I don’t know – he represented the destructive forces of the desert and man’s fruitful cultivation of the earth’;what is everyone’s status of profound Hebrew/ Semitic linguistic knowledge? relation to Egyptian, etc.?) of the god OSIRIS, and his murder, mutilation – cut into pieces – and restoral, magically by the original sorrowing, divine mother ISIS? In a word, the betrayal “passion” if you will, by evil one; death and resurrection? or the descent of the “morning star” ISHTAR into SUmerian hell, only to be sought and restored to earth by divine intervention (sacrificial replacement, to be precise, by atoning victim THAMMUZ)? To say nothing of tales of Gilgamesh – wild but good animal-like man who is robbed of his animal power by a prostitute’s trickery and CUTTING his hair, leaving him powerless – sound familiar? ( check it out: much older than the Samson and Delilah story)

    And contained in the same source, the story of Utnapishtim/ Atrahesis being instructed by god Ea to build an impregnable fortress boat, since other gods are angry at the human race and mean to flood, cleanse all the bad people – ALL OF WHICH acknowledged by all to be much earlier than Moses ( or whoever); finally, perhaps most notably, the creation of the human race by the slaughter of an ornery, grown-too-old god’s beheading, and his divine blood mixed WITH CLAY OF THE EARTH to create the first human beings, by the god ENLIL

    TIAMAT is the ancient name of the slain first goddess, whose carcass was stretched out to form the heavens – “firmament” – probably some relation, according to knowledgeable Hebrew scholars, to the “tohu-bohu” chaos of Genesis.

    But all these sources are undeniably before MOSES. ( Hammurabi lived many centuries before Moses, and claimed his LAWS OF HAMMURABI were given to him, the king, by the sun-god SHAMASH – similar to modern Hebrew and Arabic word for sun). I don’t pretend to know any exact relation of ancient Sumerian/ cuneiform gods EA and ENLIL to Hebrew “Jah” as in Jahweh, and ELOHIM ( plural, I’m sure theology students must learn – as in Yahwistic vs. Elohistic writings in Genesis – but would loved to be informed! I just think there’s a lot of mystery “out there,” and am open-minded; but am disturbed, don’t think it’s honest not to bring all this ancient CONTEXT background in, to pretend the biblical writings were “unique” and totally other than all the other ancient writings. Meanwhile, God bless us everyone, but for more depth, see Kramer, as mentioned; also Frazer’s Golden Bough ( tho’ somewhat dated) and of course Joseph Campbell’s HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES; THE MASKS OF GOD; and a good deal of Gustav Jung’s writings: Symbols of Transformation – and Jungians’ Neumann’s THE GREAT MOTHER; Kerenyi THE DIVINE CHILD MOTIF, etc. Cheers, Sam ‘Scot’ Wallace

  61. Pingback: Bible Daily Devotional – Ezekiel 28 – A prideful king, or Satan? | ChristianBlessings

  62. Hey, guys, I believe you are over thinking here. It’s good to explore other theologians take on a passage, but in the the end, the Holy Spirit is the only infallible interpreter. What is He telling YOU about it?

    • Hi Denise, it is worth remembering that God is a God of wisdom and that we are called to love the Lord with all of our being, including our minds (Matt 22:37). God has given us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. We have been told to seek understanding.

      I have submitted my mind to God and have diligently searched the scriptures, which are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and I feel that his Holy Spirit has led me to conclude that these passages are primarily about two kings. Do you therefore agree with my conclusion since I have been led by the Holy Spirit?

  63. I read a book some 23 years ago, Satan Who by Carl Barden which shifted me on this topic.
    After much study on Satan its clear even the Jewish concept of Satan is not a personified being but rather “The Satan” or accuser. I was indoctrinated that Satan was lucifer with many fantastical stories. Extra bibilical sources support it, book of Enoch etc

    Also relying on Holy Spirit alone as infallible interpreter is difficult to measure see so much contrast in our interpretations lol Personally I don’t believe in a devil that was once an angel, certainly not satan having sex with eve then on further to the two seeds doctrine and original sin. Its all interconnected unfortunately and I would rather read scripture in its historical context and leave mythology aside for the pro’s hahaha

    Adam Clarke also refutes.
    O Lucifer, son of the morning – The Versions in general agree in this translation, and render הילל heilel as signifying Lucifer, Φωσφωρος, the morning star, whether Jupiter or Venus; as these are both bringers of the morning light, or morning stars, annually in their turn. And although the context speaks explicitly concerning Nebuchadnezzar, yet this has been, I know not why, applied to the chief of the fallen angels, who is most incongruously denominated Lucifer, (the bringer of light!) an epithet as common to him as those of Satan and Devil. That the Holy Spirit by his prophets should call this arch-enemy of God and man the light-bringer, would be strange indeed. But the truth is, the text speaks nothing at all concerning Satan nor his fall, nor the occasion of that fall, which many divines have with great confidence deduced from this text. O how necessary it is to understand the literal meaning of Scripture, that preposterous comments may be prevented! Besides, I doubt much whether our translation be correct. הילל heilel, which we translate Lucifer, comes from ילל yalal, yell, howl, or shriek, and should be translated, “Howl, son of the morning;” and so the Syriac has understood it; and for this meaning Michaelis contends: see his reasons in Parkhurst, under הלל halal.

  64. Wow! All these years about one chapter in Ezekiel! How fascinating the Bible really is!
    I have been taught and see for myself, the best explanation for this. The prophets in the Old Testament are mostly telescopic which means that almost all of the prophecies are meant for their time and again for the future. Many are even for OUR future and have come true and will come true in another form as well. Therefore, Ezekiel can be referring to BOTH, the king of Tyre and to a TYPE or foreshadowing of Satan, or the anti-christ.

  65. Thank you very much for this careful study. I myself (based on less study than yours) have come to the conclusion that these passages refer to human kings. I have observed a significant growth in demonology that appears to be linked to a new Gnosticism. These people draw together a large number of texts to identify orders of demons and reinterpret sin as demonic “attack” that has to be repelled by special prayers and by people with “advanced spiritual gifts”.

    Nevertheless, I find it interesting that some of the Early Church Fathers saw these passages as pointing to the Accuser. My interpretation of this is that it is a Midrashic approach to scripture that we see elsewhere in the New Testament (such as Paul’s “allegory” of the children of the free woman and the slave in Gal 4:21-41). However, as a result of the thinking of the Age of Reason, we are accustomed to look only for what we call “facts”, and we look for one-to-one “scientific” correspondences. We are less able to see the pattern and focus instead on the “thread count”. This leads people to use these passages as absolute references instead of being helpful allegories, and they build a rigid theology out of them. Conversely, this is why the theologians of the Reformation rejected the satanic allegory.

    I would be interested in your thoughts on this.

    I think your advice to avoid digging into this is important. However, we need to teach something so that people are not easily led astray by false theology, so your approach of leading people to other passages is so necessary.

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