Lucifer and Sin

by Troy Lacey on July 18, 2008
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Do verses in Ezekiel and Isaiah referring to earthly kings or Satan’s fall? Troy Lacey revisits his argument on the first sin.

I want to respond to some information you shared in the First Sin article on this website. You said that Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 passages are referring to the devil’s sin. I used to believe and teach that. But then I actually read the chapters and found out that Ezekiel 28 is referring to king of Tyrus (Ezekial 28:12). Isaiah 14 is referring to the king of Bablylon (Isaiah 14:4). The word Lucifer is not another name for the devil, but a play on words (light bearer). I am truly surprised that you would include this hogwash in your teaching when you are so insistent about what a day means in Genesis 1, and which I concur with.

—T. S., US

Facts of Faith

Your website just becomes more useful by the day! I am a preacher, and I have begun sharing “Faith Facts” for a couple of minutes before my sermons. The goal is just to point out evolutionary inconsistencies, reaffirm biblical truth with examples, and get the congregation to think critically. God is never afraid of examination. In fact, He commands us to “test the spirits” and see if these things are true. Your News to Note stories have been instrumental in this ministry. Thank you so much for your hard work.

—R.L., U.S.

Reaching Out

Our church just completed the Amazon Expedetion VBS yesterday. One sixth grader told me that it was the second best week of his life; he said that you can’t beat Disneyland! Your team did a fantastic job putting this together. It was basic, thorough, informative, easy to use, and lots of fun. There was a depth to Amazon Expedition that left the children with a greater understanding and appreciation for who God is and what He has done for them.

We had many unsaved families come to the Jungle Jive program and express their appreciation for what we had done for their children this week. I could write a ten-page essay on all of the possitive feedback we have recieved from parents, children, and the workers. Thank you for providing a curriculumn that is not only fun, but life changing. We had the opportunity to lead 22 children to the Lord.

—K. B., Australia

Have Something to Add?

Let us know what you think.

Thank you for expressing your concern. The first thing that needs to be addressed is the nature of biblical prophecies. Unlike historical narrative (such as Genesis), they often contain much figurative language. But also, many prophecies do have a near and far fulfillment. Take, for example, Psalm 22 describing not only David’s own troubles with his enemies and how he felt about it, but also describing Christ’s death on the cross over 1000 years later.

In studying Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 for “The First Sin,” numerous commentaries and Bible margin notes were consulted, as well as checking for context in the passages themselves. The vast majority of these reference tools concur that in both of these passages, Satan is the ultimate focus in these prophecies, though, of course, the scholars all readily see that the king of Tyre and the king of Babylon, respectively, are in view also (at least with part of the prophecies). Conservative scholarship through the ages has by and large attributed these passages to statements concerning past actions and past or future judgment against Satan.

The Ezekiel passage is a lament regarding the King of Tyrus (Tyre), most probably Ittobaal II, but the prophecy extends far beyond the immediate king and includes attributes that could not and do not apply to a mortal man. For example, in Ezekiel 28:13, it is stated that this being was in “Eden the Garden of God”; according to the scriptural record only God, Adam, Eve, Satan, and the two Cherubim placed there to guard it were ever in Eden. Ittobaal II certainly was not.

Also, in verse 14, this being is referred to as a cherub; no man is ever referred to as a cherub anywhere else in Scripture. With the possible exception of the “angels” of the churches in Revelation 2–3, no man is ever clearly called an angel (scholars seem to be divided on whether these are the elders of the churches or actual guardian angels). Even if this were the case, it may not be wise to argue semantics of a Greek word in application to a Hebrew word used in Ezekiel.

In verse 15, the being is described as perfect in all his ways—until iniquity was found in him. This means that this being was created (not born) perfect, and remained so until he sinned. This statement could only apply to Adam, Eve, Satan, or demons, not to any earthly king. The king of Tyre was “shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin,” just like all other humans (Psalm 51:5). While it probably is true that the king of Tyre was the immediate target of the prophecy (at least in part), and while it may be possible that he exhibited many characteristics of Satan (pride and deceitfulness), the ultimate “woe” of this lament is directed at Satan—and this is not unprecedented. Jesus spoke directly to Legion (Mark 5:1–14) and directly to Satan when influencing Peter (Mark 8:33). Also, Daniel 10:13 indicates demonic forces are behind (at least some) political leaders and Ephesians 6:11–12 strongly suggests the same. So, the idea that Satan was working behind and through the king of Tyre and the prophecy was about both is not a ridiculous notion.

The passage in Isaiah 14 is a proverb or taunt addressed to the king of Babylon (verse 4). But, again, the prophecy goes beyond the description of a mortal man. Verse 12 states that Lucifer (“the shining one” or “the day star”) had fallen from heaven. Mortal men do not fall from heaven; however, twice we read of Satan falling from (or being thrown out of) heaven (Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:9). It is highly unlikely that a mortal man could honestly think that he could ascend into heaven and dethrone God, as this Lucifer thought, according to verses 13 and 14. Ultimately, the creature that is being addressed here is Satan, the shining one, who disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Regardless of the play on words, Lucifer can rightly be used as a name as well. Most of God’s names that He reveals constitute a play on words as well (e.g., Jehovah Jirah means the Lord provides, etc.).

There was one concordance reviewed that did not hold the position that these passages speak about Satan (Jamiesson, Faucett, and Brown). Instead, they hold the position that the prophecies were ultimately directed at the Antichrist, while being immediately directed at the kings of Tyre and Babylon. So, they still see a near and far fulfillment. I do understand that there is not 100% agreement on these passages, but the majority of Christian scholarship down through the ages has either actively promoted or accepted this understanding of these two prophecies. So, to us there seems to be both strong Biblical reasons and confirmation from the history of Christian interpretation that Satan was the one influencing these kings and is the ultimate subject of these prophecies.

Respectfully submitted,

Troy Lacey


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