Ezekiel 28:11-19. 11 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.
16 In the abundance of your trade
you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;
so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub,
from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty;
you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I exposed you before kings,
to feast their eyes on you.
18 By the multitude of your iniquities,
in the unrighteousness of your trade
you profaned your sanctuaries;
so I brought fire out from your midst;
it consumed you,
and I turned you to ashes on the earth
in the sight of all who saw you.
19 All who know you among the peoples
are appalled at you;
you have come to a dreadful end
and shall be no more forever.”
We need the advent of God because first there was an advent of Satan. We need the advent of God because first there was an advent of evil.
Satan may not be someone you think too much about. Maybe you’re not even sure if he exists. The Bible doesn’t say a lot about him. And when it does, it can often be in very mysterious ways like this vision in Ezekiel 28. Is this lament about the King of Tyre or is it some sort of allegory? Who is the anointed cherub? The king? Adam? Satan?
I believe the anointed cherub in Ezekiel’s vision is Satan. Satan was on the mountain of God. Satan is an angel of light (beauty, splendor). Satan, the great dragon, was thrown out of heaven and cast to the ground. Jesus himself said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning.” Of course this passage is extremely difficult to interpret and therefore highly debated. And so we read and write with much humility. But in the end we cannot deny the existence of evil, nor should we deny the existence of the Evil One.
The Fall of Lucifer (1933), Cecil Collins (1908-1989).
All of our questions about evil and Satan will never be answered this side of Christ’s return. But here’s what we can know. Evil is real. It is a force that seeks to destroy us. Just like it destroyed the anointed cherub. How? By filling him with pride. The pride of beauty and splendor – Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.
This is the evil that Satan brought to earth upon his advent. This is the evil that he tempted mankind with in Eden, the garden of God. The evil of pride. The evil of worshiping the beauty and splendor given by God instead of worshiping the God who is the giver of beauty and splendor. This is the evil that seeks to destroy us every Christmas. The beauty and splendor of Christmas time is very real. But it is also very dangerous.
How many arguments or stresses have you had about Christmas decorations?
How much time have you spent worrying about things going just right on Christmas day?
What expectations have you set for family members that you are judging them against?
What forms of materialism and consumerism have stolen your heart and blown your budget?
In what ways are you seeking to beautify your house (inside or out) in order to beautify yourself (make yourself look good or feel good)?
Has the beauty and splendor of Christmas pointed you toward the beauty and splendor of God or has it replaced the beauty and splendor of God? Has it made you humble or proud? Be honest. Look inside.
And that’s just Christmas. What about the rest of your life? In what ways have the good gifts of beauty and splendor become evil in your heart? God replacements? Sources of strength and power? Sources of pride?
You see this isn’t a warning to “beware of Satan.” That is important of course. But you don’t need Satan to make you forget about God for most of your day. You don’t need Satan to make you envious. You don’t need Satan to convince you that the universe revolves around you. You’re really good at being really bad on your own. So this is a warning to beware of the evil in your own heart. Your own pride. Your own desire to overrule God and self-manage your own existence.
Thank God the advent of Satan, the anti-Christ, was met with the advent of the true Christ. But more importantly, thank God the advent of evil was met with the advent of God himself into our lives. Our ultimate Good destroying the ultimate evil. Destroying Satan is not the end game. Destroying the pride inside of us is. That’s why we need the advent of Christ into our lives. That’s why we need union with Christ. That’s why we need the return of Christ to finally free us from our own selves. And that’s an advent we can all look forward to.
Can you identify areas of pride in your life? Where can you see God working the pride of beauty and splendor out of your life? Hint: even if you don’t think you’re beautiful that is still finding worth in beauty.