The Invisible War – Satan’s Fall
Due to the Christmas holiday I am going to keep this week’s post short. I may not be providing quantity but I do believe that there is quality in this post. I am continuing with Ezekiel 28:15-19 which provides details about Satan’s fall:
15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 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.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I 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.
19 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 28:15-19 (KJV)
My purpose in these posts is to track the series of events in the Invisible War which explains why the world is in the mess that it is currently in. Pastor Barnhouse, author of the Invisible War, prefers to use the King James Version of the English Bible so that is the translation I have provided. I am also going to provide a quote from Arnold Fruchtenbaum regarding this same passage and he prefers to us the American Standard Version. As long as you keep in mind that differences in wording are due to different translations you shouldn’t get confused.
Pastor Barnhouse and Dr. Fruchtenbaum have slightly different takes on the exact details of Satan’s sin but I don’t think that this affects the conclusions that we can make about this passage. If pressed to chose between the two authors I would choose Fruchtenbaum’s interpretation just because I believe he has a better handle on Hebrew idiom. Here is the quote from Dr. Barnhouse:
The next verse in Ezekiel’s account gives us the key to the origin of evil in this universe. “Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (verse 15). What this iniquity was is revealed to us in some detail in the prophecy of Isaiah, but there are already interesting indications in our passage that we may not pass by. The fact given here is that iniquity came by what we might term spontaneous generation in the heart of this being in whom such magnificence of power and beauty had been combined and to whom such authority and privilege had been given. Here is the beginning of sin. Iniquity was found in the heart of Lucifer. So far as we know, here is the only verse in the Bible which states clearly the exact origin of sin. Other passages only amplify this one; for instance, the passage we will consider later when we come to the nature of man’s sin and what we might call the rules under which sin is practiced (Isaiah 45:7). But the passage before us is the stark declaration by God that sin originated in the heart of Lucifer.
We have one more phrase in Ezekiel’s account to consider closely. The Authorized Version reads: “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned” (verse 16). We shall see this whole picture much more sharply if we realize that each word is like a lens that needs to be finely focused to give a clearly etched image. First of all, we must not be led aside by our common use of the word merchandise, indicating things bought and sold. In Ezekiel’s usage it means anything that passes through the hands. For example, we would say, in common speech, that a judge who used his high position for personal profit had made merchandise of justice. We knew of a distinguished musician who used his great talent, acknowledged throughout the world, to make himself the immoral master of the lives of some of his pupils. His merchandise was personality and artistic ability.
So Satan, passing through his hands the merchandise of authority from God above to the creation below, and returning the merchandise of worship from the world of spirit beings to God above, decided, that, since he was wise and beautiful to such a degree, he could retain some of the worship for himself, and that he could originate some of the authority in himself. Thus he filled his heart with the violence of rebellion. He had been entrusted with God’s government, priesthood and spokesmanship, but he wanted to act independently of God. He who was prophet — could he not give orders under his own authority instead of being utterly dependent upon the invisible God? He who found himself, as he was in truth, so magnificent, so beautiful, so filled with power, sealing up the sum — could he not take some of the worship of the multitudes for himself? Was there not some worthiness in himself that should be acknowledged? Here is the origin of sin.
The Invisible War
Now here is Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s interpretation of the same passage:
In this passage, Ezekiel provides some details concerning the fall of Satan. The statement in verse 15 is the closest the Bible ever comes to spelling out the origin of sin: unrighteousness was found [in Satan]. Somehow, a perfect and holy being was found with unrighteousness. And what this unrighteousness consisted of is given in verse 16: you have sinned. How did he sin? He sinned by the abundance of your traffic. This Hebrew expression means, “to go about from person to person or from place to place.” The picture is that when unrighteousness was found in Satan, he went from angel to angel trying to secure their allegiance by slandering God. One-third of the innumerable number of angels were convinced by Satan and joined him, but two-thirds did not. The specific sin here was the act of slandering God from angel to angel. This act of sin originated from the sin of pride; then the sin of slandering God led to violence; Satan caused violence in Heaven by leading a revolt.
Because Satan sinned in these two ways, he was cast out of his first two abodes according to verse 16. First, he was cast… out of the mountain of God; he was no longer the guardian of God’s throne, and he was no longer the high priest in Heaven who led in worship. Secondly, he was destroyed ..from the midst of the stones of fire; he was no longer in control of the original earth, which was covered by these precious stones when it was first created.
Satan’s revolt against God initiated a series of events that led directly to the creation of mankind. We are on this earth for a purpose and that purpose is to resolve questions raised by Satan’s revolt against God.