Ezekiel 28:1-26


J. Vernon McGee has, “In this chapter we find the judgment of the prince and the king of Tyre and Sidon.  The prophecy looks beyond the local ruler to the one who is behind the kingdoms of the world---Satan.  Again the word of the LORD comes to Ezekiel, and this time there are two messages:  one for the prince of Tyre and one for the king of Tyre.  In back of the great kingdom, the great commercial center, and the great stronghold of Tyre, we are going to find the one who apparently also controls all the kingdoms of this world.  He is Satan…Today, however, the Devil is still the prince of the power of the air.  He is the one who is in back of the kingdoms of our world, whether we like it or not.  Here is, I believe, a type of Antichrist.  Actually, it takes two persons to fulfill all that Scripture says about the Antichrist (and John says there are many).  One will deny the Person of Christ---be His enemy; the other will imitate Him.  There will be a religious ruler and a political ruler.  Now here in Ezekiel we have, I believe, the combination set before us.  This is the vicegerent of Satan: “Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God”---this is exactly what the Antichrist is going to say.  The apostle Paul says this of him:  “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4).  And this prince of Tyre says, “I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas.”  But God says, “Yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God.”  J. Vernon McGee just described “the prince of Tyre”, which is a type of the Antichrist, and represented the head of the Phoenician false religious system of Baal-worship which Satan used to destroy both the House of Israel and then the House of Judah from off the land God gave them to inherit.  This is an exact type for what the final Antichrist will do with the children of Israel, whomever they are and wherever they dwell. Concerning verse 3, McGee remarks, “Here is another reference to Daniel.  Ezekiel and Daniel, you remember, were contemporaries.  This young man Ezekiel had great respect for Daniel, who was prime minister in Babylon, and who really stood for the LORD.  I personally think Ezekiel had the hardest job.  He lived with and preached to the captives.  As I said earlier, I would have much preferred to live in the palace and spend one night in the lions’ den than to work with the captives, but Ezekiel had no choice in the matter.”  So we see this “prince” of Tyre represents the religious ruler of Tyre, a type of the coming Antichrist.  (And back in Tyre and Sidon their kings also held the rank of the head priest of Baal.)  But these kings are referred to by God to Ezekiel as “the prince of Tyre.”


The Prince of Tyre


Verses 1-10, “The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, ‘Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD:  Because your heart is lifted up, and you say ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas,’ yet you are a man, and not a god, though you set your heart as the heart of a god (behold, you are wiser than Daniel!  There is no secret that can be hidden from you!  With your wisdom and your understanding you have gained riches for yourself, and gathered gold and silver into your treasuries;. By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches),’  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, behold, therefore I will bring strangers against you, the most terrible of nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and defile your splendor.  They shall pull you down into the Pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the midst of the seas.  Will you still say before him who slays you, ‘I am a god’?  But you shall be a man, and not a god, in the hand of him who slays you.  You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of aliens; for I have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD.”  God says ‘he will bring strangers against this prince of Tyre (and Tyre itself), the most terrible of nations,’ and he will die the death of the slain in the midst of the seas.  First to partially fulfil this (and remember in Ezekiel 26 God said Tyre’s destruction would come in successive waves) was Nebuchadnezzar.  Then God raised up the Greeks, who at first won a stunning naval battle against the Persian fleet, which was mostly composed of Phoenician naval vessels, so the Greeks were getting control of the Mediterranean, driving the Phoenicians slowly out of their main sphere of influence.  Then Alexander the Great came along and fulfilled this prophecy for Tyre itself completely, conquering the island fortress of Tyre and breaking down their huge sea-walls, flooding the parts of this city-state that were build below sea-level.  Multiple story buildings, like the New York City of the ancient world, were built in this below sea-level portion of Tyre, and it was all put back underwater by Alexander.  From there, Rome came to power and defeated the majority of the Phoenicians, who had all fled in ships to Carthage, when they destroyed Carthage in the Punic Wars.  As we see, God had it in for the those who promoted this false religion of baby-killing Baal-worship, whom “the prince of Tyre” in this prophecy represents.


The king of Tyre


Verses 11-19, “Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD:  You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering; the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.  The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.  You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.  You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.  By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned;. Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.  Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.  You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you; All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever.”  Now this is what I absolutely hate about the new translations, even the New King James version.  They changed the tense for all the verbs used in verses 17-19.  This is a prophecy about Satan which is yet to be fulfilled, and yet they put it in the past tense.  Now I will have to give the proper rendering of verses 17-19 in the King James Version, due to this major translation error.  Verses 17-19, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness:  I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.  Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore I will bring forth 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.  All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee:  thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”  Ezekiel is not going to let anyone forget that he is not giving his own opinion, but he is telling forth God’s message (verse 11).  We have a lamentation of the city of Tyre.  We have talked about the prince of Tyre, and now we come to a lamentation of the king of Tyre.  Immediately we pass beyond the local king of Tyre---there were many of them.  It wasn’t safe to be a king in those days.  Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown…In the back of the kingdom of Tyre is Satan.  Ezekiel 28 is one of the few passages in the Word of God that gives us the origin of the Devil and of evil…Satan was the wisest creature God ever created.  Keep in mind that Satan is a created being.  He was created perfect in beauty…the Bible presents him as perfect in beauty.  If you could see him, you would find that he is the most beautiful creature you have ever seen…Paul has something to say about the ministers of Satan.  “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  And no marvel:  for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness…” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).  Ezekiel says of this one: “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.”  What was it that brought him down?  We will see that when we come to verse 15.  “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God”---no king of Tyre has been in the Garden of Eden!  “Every precious stone was thy covering”---can you imagine what a beautiful creature he was!  “The workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee.”  Not only could he sing, he was a band; he was music itself.  Do you know the origin of music on this earth?  Go back to Genesis 4:21, and you will see that it originated with the progeny of Cain.  And when I hear some of the music of my contemporaries, I am confident that it came out of the pit---it couldn’t come from any place else!  Satan was a musician.”  Verse 14, “Satan was the “anointed cherub that covereth”---that is, he protected the throne of God.  This is not the Eden which was on earth, but apparently is a picture of heaven itself [ie, the New Jerusalem, the third heaven].  Satan had access to heaven, of course.  Satan protected God’s throne.  He had the highest position a created being could have.  What was it that brought him down?  Ezekiel doesn’t tell us, but Isaiah 14:12-15 has already told us:  “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:  I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”  The thing that brought him down was pride!  Satan wanted to lift up his throne.  He wanted to divorce himself from God and be God.  He was in rebellion against God.  Now let me say this:  If you are one of the saints today who thinks you have arrived, that you are perfect, and you have set yourself up as a standard, remember that Satan was the angel of light; he was perfect---but he fell.  Since he fell, what about you?  What about me?  We are only frail human beings.  God cannot tolerate rebellion, so what is he going to do?”  And I might add to what J. Vernon McGee has said, that this is why the only route to Eternal life in God’s Kingdom is by and through being frail human beings who accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, accepting Jesus Christ into their lives, and then via the indwelling Holy Spirit leading them in a life of repentance from sin and sanctification, by walking “in the Spirit” so that we no longer fulfill the lusts of the flesh, as the apostle Paul said in Romans 8.  Satan is now being used by God to teach all of mankind a huge lesson about the way of Satan verses the way of God.  And most of mankind, all throughout history, has been learning the hard way.  So Satan serves a useful purpose in God’s overall plan of salvation, though he would never admit to it.  Most of Christianity today does not fully recognize God’s purpose for allowing Satan and his evil demons to remain on earth influencing mankind.  But it is an integral part of God’s overall plan of salvation for mankind.  J. Vernon McGee goes on, “Satan will be judged for his sin.  He is only a creature.  I don’t know about you, but this is comforting to me.  I frankly would not be able to overcome him.  I am no match for him.  I am thankful, therefore, that God is going to deal with him.  [Verse 17] “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty”---pride.  “Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.”  You see, Solomon, the wisest man, played the fool.  And here we see that the greatest creature whom God ever created, perfect (filled with all that could be learned), played the fool.  Oh, my friend, God’s children can do the same today!  “I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”  God is going to make a spectacle of Satan someday.  At some time in the future God is going to get rid of Satan in His universe, and we pray for that day to come.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, pp. 491-493]


Judgment of Sidon, sister-city of Tyre


Verses 20-24, “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD:  Behold, I am against you, O Sidon; I will be glorified in your midst; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I execute judgments in her and am hallowed in her.  For I will send pestilence upon her, and blood in her streets; the wounded shall be judged in her midst by the sword against her on every side; then they shall know that I am the LORD.  And there shall no longer be a pricking brier or a painful thorn for the house of Israel from among all who are around them, who despise them.  Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”


Israel’s Future Blessing


Verses 25-26, “Thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to my servant Jacob.  And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgment on all those around them who despise them.  Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God.”  J. Vernon McGee says, “God says, ‘I intend to regather Israel.’  Satan cannot disturb His plan and program with the children of Israel.  Neither can any theologian today dismiss God’s plan to restore Israel to the land in peace. One reason so many theologians are believed when they say that God is through with the nation of Israel is because God’s people are not acquainted with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the minor prophets.  The theme song of these prophets is that God is not through with Israel as a nation.  For this reason they should be studied.  They throw new light on the Word of God so that it is no longer a jigsaw puzzle, but everything falls into place.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p.493, par.2]  J. Vernon McGee couldn’t have said it better.  The only thing I want to add, is that verse 25 specifies the house of Israel, which is a specific reference to the ten northern tribes of Israel which made up the House of Israel.  Thus, Israel is more than just the Jews.  What nations today compose the House of Israel?  Well, that is still up to conjecture.  But to view solid historic evidence that this is referring to more than just the Jewish nation of Israel, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html and read through to http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html.  The regathering of all Israel, all 12 tribes, into the territory we know as the Holy Land, will truly be an awesome event.  But sadly, those nations that make up these 12 tribes will have to go through the tribulation, World War III, before they are ushered back into their ancient lands in the Middle East, lands they were expelled from by God himself.  We are getting very close to these prophecied events, the opening stages setting the world up for World War III.  Major geopolitical power-blocks are forming in the world (China, Russia, Europe and a unified Arab power-block of nations), and smaller nations are in the process of aligning themselves to one or the other of these four major powers for security purposes.  The English speaking peoples are being slowly but steadily squeezed out of this new global re-alignment process.


Ezekiel chapters 29, 30, 31 & 32


This new section deals with six visions about Egypt, encompassing chapters 29 through 32. 


Ezekiel 29:1-16


Halley has “predicting Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Egypt, and Egypt’s reduction to a place of minor importance for all future time” [up to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ].  Nebuchadnezzar invaded and plundered Egypt [in] 572 and 568 BC.  Egypt never recovered its former glory, and ever since has played a very minor role in world history, fulfilling in a very real sense Ezekiel’s prophecy that it would be “the basest of kingdoms” (29:15).  29:1-16: [written] January, 586BC, 6 months before Jerusalem fell, 15 years before Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt.  In this vision Egypt is pictured as a Crocodile, monarch of the Nile, was one of the gods of Egypt.”  [Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 331]  This Pharaoh Hophra (Apries) was under the vain illusion that no god could dislodge him, the fierce Crocodile-god-king of the Nile.  In his reign he had sent a naval/army expedition against Cyprus (a Phoenician colony of Tyre), besieged and conquered Gaza (the Philistines) and the city of Sidon, and mounted a successful sea campaign with his navy against Tyre by sea.  So it was, he felt secure.  This was because God has inspired Nebuchadnezzar to mount a 13-year siege against the city-state of Tyre.  For all this, Nebuchadnezzar only succeeded in conquering the mainland portion of Tyre and it’s surrounding farmland and territory of cedar forests for shipbuilding.  He did finally succeed in conquering the mainland portion of Tyre after 13 long years of siege warfare, but Tyre then moved all its wealth and shipping headquarters to the island fortress-city portion of Tyre, safe from Nebuchadnezzar, who did not have a navy.  So for these 13 years Pharaoh Hophra thought he was safe.  But God planned on rewarding Nebuchadnezzar for all his hard service of doing his will against Judah, Jerusalem, Tyre and Sidon, for which he had received little monetary compensation.  In 572BC Pharaoh Hophra found Nebuchadnezzar and his powerful army crossing his northern border.  The imagery here in Ezekiel given by God is intended to match Pharaoh’s vain image of himself as the Crocodile-god-king of the Nile and all Egypt.  God says (vs 4) he’s going to pull this Pharaoh-Crocodile out of the Nile with hooks and leave it in the desert like a piece of carrion.  Verses 6-10: the imagery changes to Egypt as being like a weak river plant, a reed in the Nile, a nation that cannot be relied upon (and militarily the Houses of Israel and Judah, and then later the Assyrians themselves discovered this, when they all tried to rely on the Egyptian army for their deliverance).  Verses 11-14:  The prophecy in these verses predict the land of Egypt would remain desolate for 40 years.  Although secular history does not really document such an event, a Babylonian chronicle suggests that Egypt was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar in 568BC.  Also from just after the fall of Jerusalem to 568BC Egypt had been in a state of civil war where Hophra had to flee from the forces of his general, Amasis (Ahmose II).  Pharaoh Hophra was executed around the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion (568BC) and Amasis (Hophra’s former general and opponent during the previous period of civil war that had driven Hophra out of Egypt) took over as Pharaoh, as a vassal ruler under Babylon.  This Amasis or Ahmose II continued to rule as Pharaoh and died one year before the Persian invasion of Egypt in 525BC.  Egypt was “in captivity” to Babylon, which may have been nothing more than that of being a vassal state of Babylon under a native Egyptian Pharaoh, until the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539BC.  Then in 525BC, one year after Ahmose II died, Egypt was conquered by Cambyses (son of Cyrus) and ceased from then on to be the great nation it had been.  Egypt would continue on first as a vassal state to the Persian Empire, then the Greek Empire (under the Ptolemies), and finally the Roman Empire, and then as a province of the Islamic Empire, never truly achieving independence even as a nation until it received it’s independence from the British Empire after World War II.  After it became an province under the Islamic Empire the true Egyptian race became supplanted by people of the Arab race, the true Egyptians being the Coptic race, the Copts of Egypt now being a distinct minority race in Egypt.


Verses 1-5, “In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt.  Speak, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD:  Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster who lies in the midst of the rivers, who has said, ‘My River is my own; I have made it for myself.’  But I will put hooks in your jaws, and cause the fish of your rivers [ie, smaller nations allied to Egypt and its Pharaoh] to stick to your scales; I will bring you up out of the midst of the rivers,  [the term “rivers” refers to all the secondary rivers the Nile divides up into in the Nile Delta region where Pharaoh was headquartered.] and all the fish in your rivers will stick to your scales.  I will leave you in the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers; you shall fall on the open field; you shall not be picked up or gathered [Hebrew: buried].  I have given you as food to the beasts of the field and to the birds of the heavens.”


Egypt seen as a useless reed to all who would alley themselves to her


Verses 6-10, “Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.  When they took hold of you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke and made all their backs to quiver.’  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast.  And the land of Egypt shall become desolate and waste; then they will know that I am the LORD, because he said, The River is mine, and I have made it.  Indeed, therefore, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Migdol to Syene [ie, from Suez to Aswan], as far as the border of Ethiopia.


Egypt to remain desolate 40 years


Verses 11-16, “Neither foot of man shall pass through it, and it shall be uninhabited forty years.  I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and among the cities that are laid waste, her cities shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries.’  Yet, thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. I will bring back the captives of Egypt and cause them to return to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom.  It shall be the lowliest of kingdoms; it shall never again exalt itself above the nations, for I will diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations anymore.  No longer shall it be the confidence of the house of Israel, but will remind them of their iniquity when they turned to follow them.  Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.’”


Ezekiel 29:17-21


Halley has, “April 570BC: 16 years after the Fall of Jerusalem.  This vision, given many years after the other five visions, and on the eve of Nebuchadnezzar’s march [into Egypt], is inserted here for unity of subject.  “No wages for his army” (29:18):  Nebuchadnezzar, God’s servant in punishing the nations, had besieged Tyre for 13 years (585-573BC).  In proportion to the time expended, the booty had been disappointing, because so many inhabitants fled with their wealth.  But now he will make up for it in Egypt (20).  30:13 [Egypt will] “no more [have] a prince” (30:13), that is a native ruler of importance.”  [Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 331]


Ezekiel 29:17-21, “And it came to pass in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw [a condition caused by the constant wearing of brass helmets and the leather shoulder straps holding on a soldiers breastplate armour, day in and  day out for 13 years of siege warfare]; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it.’  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage; and that will be the wages for his army.  I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor, because they worked for me,’ says the Lord GOD.  In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel to spring forth, and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst.  Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”  This last verse, verse 21, has two possible interpretations imbedded within the same verse, and it’s fairly simple to unravel.  The first half of verse 21, “In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel to spring forth,” has been fulfilled in the direct transfer of the crown of David by Jeremiah taking two of Zedekiah’s daughters to what is now Ireland, where one of them married into the Irish line of kings.  The Blessings of Abraham along with the royal crown of David were now over and upon whomever the ten tribed House of Israel is now (not going to even speculate what tribes are what nations).  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/6.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer12.html. Then we have Ezekiel 29:21b, the last half of verse 21, “and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst.” (whose midst?  “the house of Israel”, the subject of this sentence and verse.)  So this “opening of Ezekiel’s mouth in their midst” would apply to Ezekiel’s prophecies being preached to whomever the ten tribes of Israel are today, “the House of Israel.” This applies to the end-time prophecies of Ezekiel concerning the house of Israel being preached to them during the end times.  Are you beginning to comprehend why the Book of Ezekiel is so important to the subject of end-time prophecies?  The period of time referred to as the Great Tribulation, World War III, is very close to us now, and God through Ezekiel has some important things he wants to say to his people, the House of Israel.