The kings of Tyre

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fallen-angelReading through the prophecies of Ezekiel can be a daunting task. His use of imagery and props can make it difficult to determine whom or what he is referencing. Even when it is clear what nation/people he is speaking of, the constant destruction and punishment for sin can be depressing at best. After all, it is important to remember that Ezekiel is in Babylon, surrounded by Jewish leaders who are struggling to understand what is happening. Communication is slow, and rumors abound of the fate of their beloved city and homes. They are temporary residents in a foreign land, yet no one knows just how temporary! As I’m sure you can understand, Ezekiel’s message is not exactly what the Hebrew people want to hear!

In chapter 28, after a collection of prophecies of danger and destruction for a whole list of nations, Ezekiel concludes with what is known as a Double-Reference. He speaks a prophetic warning to the earthy king of Tyre, a man; as well as a spiritual king, Satan or Lucifer. Verses 1-10 speak of an earthly prince of Tyre whose heart is lifted up and claimed he was God. Although there are many differing opinions on exactly who this prince was (the ancient Jewish historian Josephus said he was Ithobalus II), the main point is the correlation between the fall of this earthly human king and the fall of the spiritual “king” Satan. According to Ezekiel, this earthly king claimed to be God, exalted himself into that object of worship, was wise as Daniel (in his own eyes), and was exalted due to his great prosperity. Basically, this king had everything going for him – yet he grew proud and allowed his accomplishments to lead him astray. This earthly king ended up placing himself in the same position as God – only to be overthrown and destroyed.

In verses 11-19 Ezekiel then shifts his imagery to another king of Tyre – but this one is no human man. Like Ithobalus, at one time Satan was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (vs 12). He was present in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3) and was created with everything any created being could ask for (vs 13). He was an “anointed cherub” (angel) and had been placed by God as ruler of the earth from the “holy mountain of God” (vs 14).

This obviously all took place before Mankind and the Fall in Gen2-3.

Ezekiel then says that Satan was “perfect in his ways” from the day he was created until “sin was found within him” (vs 15). This clearly is referring to Satan’s rebellion and subsequent fall from heaven. His pride caused his “heart to be lifted up” (vs 17) by reason of his “brightness” and the end result was God “cast him to the ground” and promised to reduce him to ashes in full view of all those who “behold him” on the earth (vs 18). The comparisons between this earthly prince and Satan are stark – something that Ezekiel was counting on to make the point. Greed and self-righteousness caused one who was great to fall. Amazingly – this same trap continues to spell the demise of many great men.

The Good News is that fresh on the heels of this collection of doom prophecies, Ezekiel reveals God’s heart once again. The plan is for God to “gather the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered” (vs 25). For the Jews listening to Ezekiel on the banks of the rivers in Babylon this would have caused their hearts to leap with expectation! All is not lost! God has not forgotten us! He will forgive and restore us back to what we lost!

In the same way, Ezekiel’s prophetic vision can speak volumes of encouragement for all of us today. We all have had those moments when we blew it. Our pride caused us to think ourselves more then what we ought. We are all born into this rebellious nature – set up to take a fall just like Satan. Yet, God has not abandoned us… He offers forgiveness! He will restore the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).

Don’t listen to the fall King of Tyre – instead heed the words of Ezekiel…
Be Fruitful & Multiply,


Ezekiel 4 – How to beseige a toy city

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a toy cityIf you are reading along with us, you have listened to Jeremiah plea with his fellow Israelites to turn from their sin and back to God in repentance to ward off an impending invasion.  In glaring detail, the prophet warns of calamity and destruction on the horizon – all to no avail.  Babylon/Chaldeans invade Judah – Jerusalem is sacked and destroyed.  Jeremiah writes 5 poems of lament while sitting in the ashes of the smoldering ruins.

Sin caused this.

Now we enter Ezekiel, one of the strangest guys in the Old Testament.  Part of the group of Israelites sent in chains to Babylon (2 Kings 24:11-16), Ezekiel is further proof that God loves His people and is grieving over what has happened.  Despite constant warnings and prophetic visions, God’s people have ignored Him and brought destruction upon themselves.

God is determined to not let that happen again.  So He sends Ezekiel to explain why they are in exile and how to prevent it next time.  Ezekiel is writing mainly to the Jews in Babylon during about 23 years – from around 593 B.C. to 571 B.C.

As you begin reading – brace yourself.  Things get weird pretty quickly.  In fact, right out of the gate Ezekiel is hanging out at one of the major rivers about 200 miles north of Babylon, when he sees a vision from the Lord.  This vision sets off series of events typically only found on those late night TV shows.

The vision has a bunch of strange creatures in it.

A voice speaks out of a throne.

Ezekiel eats a huge scroll.

(Then things get really weird).

God tells Ezekiel to build a small replica of the city of Jerusalem.

Then pretend to attack this city model.

He is told to lay siege to this toy city.

Do you know what that looks like?

There are 5 basic steps to besieging a city:

1.      You build a fort against the city walls that serve as watch towers.  You can intimidate the citizens as you surround them.  (So Ezekiel does this…)

2.      Next you create a mount of earth, branches, and stones up against the city walls so that you can fight up and over them into the city.  (So Ezekiel does this…)

3.      Then you set up camp against the city – surrounding it so no one escapes.  (So Ezekiel does this…)

4.      Then you start battering against the city walls to find a weak point and eventually break in through a hole. (So Ezekiel does this…)

5.      Last you set up a shield to protect your army from archers defending the city walls.  (So Ezekiel does this…)


What do you think this looked like to the average person walking by?

Oh look – there is crazy Zeke playing with his toy city again.  What is wrong with that guy?


He does this for 390 days… then 40 more, all while cooking his food in cow dung.

(I bet he is really glad God changed His mind on the first fuel choice!).

All of this makes me wonder… how far is God willing to go to help me understand how deadly my sin is?


            Have a prophet look silly?

            Kill His own Son?

Be Fruitful & Multiply,