The Anointed Cherub
Ezekiel 28 vs. 13-15: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every
precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond,
the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the
carbuncle, and gold; the workmanship of they tabrets and of thy pipes
was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou are the anointed
cherub that covereth and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain
of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till
iniquity was found in thee”.
It is assumed that this refers to satan once having been in Eden, totally
perfect, but because of his pride, he had been cast out.
1. The words “devil” , “satan” and “angel” do not occur in this chapter,
nor in the rest of Ezekiel.
2. It is commonly believed that satan was thrown out of heaven into Eden,
or that he gained access to Eden in order to tempt Adam and Eve, but this
passage says that this person was in Eden before he sinned and was cast
out when he sinned. The garden of Eden was on the earth, not in heaven
(its boundaries are given in Gen. 2: 8-14), therefore the casting out
was not out of heaven.
3. The person was to “die the deaths of the uncircumcised” (Ez. 28;10),
but angels cannot die (Lk. 20:35-36). That a man is referred to is confirmed
by v. 9: “thou shalt be a man...in the hand of him that slayeth thee”.
Verse 2 defines him as the “prince of Tyrus”.
4. “Thou was perfect in thy ways,” is no proof that a super-human person
is being spoken of, seeing that the word is applied to Noah, Abraham,
Job and David (Gen. 6: 9; 17:1; Job 1:1; Ps. 18:23 & 25).
5. “Perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,” refers
to this man being “perfect” (upright) from the time of his spiritual birth
- which is how the word “created” is used in Ezekiel 21:30 and Psalm 102:18
(cp. 2 Cor. 5:17).
6. “Thou hast been in Eden”, refers to where the king of Tyre was in
place, not in time. Pharaoh and Assyria are similarly described as being
a “cedar in Lebanon”, no “tree in the garden of God was like unto him
in his beauty...all the trees of Eden envied him...yet shalt thou be brought
down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt
lie in the midst of the uncircumcised” (Ez. 31:2,3,8,9,16,18).
The trees in Eden are not to be taken literally, they represent the nations
whom Pharaoh and Assyria conquered, possibly referring to the fact that
they were all within the old geographical boundaries of the garden of
Eden. Pharaoh being the greatest of the trees in Eden and the most appealing
maybe, suggests that he was taking to himself the place of the tree of
knowledge, which was in the midst of Eden and probably the most attractive
of them all, seeing that it fascinated Eve so much with its tempting fruit.
Pharaoh was not literally that tree, but in the parable he was making
himself like it. Similarly the king of Tyre is likened in this parable
to the cherubim in Eden.
7. There are numerous parallels between Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. We
have shown that Isaiah 14 was not concerning satan but about a human king.
Ezekiel 28 and Ezekiel 31, are also about such human kings, each of whom
went through the same pattern of being used by God for His purpose, getting
proud in what He used them to achieve, blaspheming the God of Israel and
therefore being punished.
8. As with Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28 is one of a series of prophecies about
various nations, in this case about Tyre.
9. “Thou art wiser than Daniel” (v. 3) is no proof that a super-human
being is referred to; this is an illustration of Luke 16: 8: “And the
lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the
children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children
10. “Thou art the anointed cherub…and I have set thee so” (Ez. 28:14)
shows that God was in control of the cherub.
1. We have seen that “the king of Tyrus” (v. 12) is the subject of this
prophecy. Verses 4 and 5 describe him as getting rich by his trading in
silver and gold, and getting proud because of this - much more applicable
to a human king than to an angel.
2. Tyre occupied a privileged position in its relationship to Israel.
David and Hiram had been close friends (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Kgs. 5:1,6,7,10),
and Hiram and Solomon had made a league in which Hiram supplied materials
for the building of the temple (1 Kgs. 5:12,17,18). The language of Ezekiel
28:13-18 is taken from Israelitish worship and used symbolically for the
relationship of Israel and Tyre (by implication suggesting the divine
favour which rested upon Tyre because of its association with Israel).
Consider the following:
a) ‘Every precious stone was thy covering’ (v.13); ‘thou hast walked
up and down in the midst of the stones of fire’ (v. 14). This is an allusion
to the stones set in the breastplate of the high priest of Israel (Ex.
39:10-14).They were ‘stones of fire’ because of the way they would shine
when exposed to the brilliance of the Shekinah glory of the sanctuary.
They symbolized the twelve tribes of Israel (Ex. 39:14). The king of Tyre
walked in the midst of these stones of fire when he moved among the children
of Israel (as in the preparation of the materials for the temple). The
position of Israel in the divine purpose provided a ‘covering’ for Tyre
on the basis of the decree in Genesis 12: 3: “I will bless them that bless
thee, and curse him that curseth thee’. God blessed the house of Potiphar
because of Joseph: ‘...the LORD blesses the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s
sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house,
and in the field’ (Gen. 39:5). Similarly, Tyre was ‘covered’ by Israel.
b) ‘Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth’ (v. 14). The cherubim
were figures of beaten gold at either end of the mercy seat (Ex. 37: 7-9).
Their wings overshadowed the mercy seat with which they were of one piece
(Ex. 25:19-20). Although the translation of the Hebrew is uncertain (accepting
the A.V.), the suggestion may be that Tyre as a great mercantile power
was privileged to cast its ‘wings’ over Israel. It was the abuse of this
exalted position that was a factor in the ruin of Tyre (vs. 4-5).
c) “Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God’ (v. 14). This holy mountain
is Mt. Zion, the future site of God’s house of prayer for all people (Is.
2: 2-3; 56: 7). This ‘holy mountain of God’ is on the earth, not symbolically
in heaven as J.W.’s assert (see Ez. 20:40).
d) ‘Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities’
(Ez. 28:18). This verse may imply that Tyre had set up forms of worship
similar to that of Israel. Hiram was ‘ever a lover of David’ and rejoiced
with Solomon in the building of the temple ( 1 Kgs. 5: 1-12). The king
of Tyre would so doubt have learned about God’s kingdom in Israel from
these two kings of Israel. Or, the verse may be interpreted this way:
Tyre’s sanctuaries were in Israel when the divine presence and favour
were manifest. But Tyre failed to appreciate its privileged association
with Israel. When Nebuchadnezzar came down into Jerusalem (586 B.C.),
the prince of Tyrus said: ‘Aha, the gate of the peoples is broken, it
has swung open to me; I shall be replenished, now that she is laid waste’
(Ez. 26:2 R.S.V.). In so saying, Tyre had spoken her own nemesis according
to the decree of Genesis 12: 3: ‘I will...curse him that curseth thee’.
Tyre, in her self-centred, mercantile interests, had profaned the sanctuaries
and was herself to be reduced to ashes.
e) ‘I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour
thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all
them that behold thee’ (v. 18). Tyre could not with impunity violate her
privileged relationship with Israel. When Nadab and Abihu treated the
sacred as secular, ‘there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them,
and they died before the LORD’ (Lev. 10: 2). Similarly, Tyre had failed
to make a difference between the holy and unholy. It was, therefore, to
be reduced to ashes - devoured like Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19: 24-25).”
(From Ron Abel, Wrested Scriptures, p. 171-173, Section 8).
3. The question still has to be answered as to why there are so many
allusions to the events in Eden in this chapter. It appears that the prophecy
of the fall of Tyre is being consciously framed to mirror the fall of
man, e.g. v. 2: “thou art a man”; “man” is Adam in Hebrew, as
if God is saying to the prince of Tyre, “You are like Adam in this parable”.
Verse 17 tells how he will be brought to the ground - as Adam had to return
to the dust.
4. Another approach is suggested by recent archaeological discoveries
in Tyre. A large cherub-sphinx with a king’s head and animal’s body set
on a base of sculptured mountains was discovered, evidently a deification
of a king of Tyre. With Hiram’s knowledge of the true God, it is evident
that he was putting himself in the position of God, seated between the
cherubim on Mount Zion, in the same way as the king of Assyria effectively
aspired to the same thing - Phoenician inscriptions have been uncovered
calling the king of Tyre “Lord of the Heavens”. Even more amazingly, the
jewels described in v. 13 were all found embedded in this sphinx-cherubim.
The three jewels of the breastplate missing from the list in v. 13 were
also missing from the sphinx. Inscriptions also describe Tyre as the “garden
of God”, and reliefs of cherubim guarding Tyre as they did Eden have been
found. Thus the king of Tyre had set up a blasphemous system of worship
copying that of the temple and of Eden, with himself as God in the midst
“Thou sealest up the sum” (v. 12). The Hebrew for “sum” can also mean
“pattern, imitation” - as if God is saying that He is aware that this
replica of His system of worship has been pushed by the king of Tyre as
far as it can go - “thou sealest up the sum” (imitation of God). No wonder
a prophecy like Ezekiel 28 was necessary to expose his sin!