It is extremely urgent that we understand Satan. The book of Ezekiel exposes him in an exceptional way.
Lucifer was one of only three archangels mentioned in the Bible. He was one of the highest-ranking angels God created, if not the highest. His prestigious position was that of a covering cherub, and he directly served at God’s throne.
After God set him on the throne of this Earth, he rebelled. Today he still retains a lot of that power as the evil god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). How does he operate? Specifically, how has he destroyed God’s Church? As you examine the Scriptures, you will see that he follows a pattern of deception. The only difference is, he is much more wrathful today than ever before (Revelation 12:12).
Remember that vision of intense brightness in Ezekiel 1. As we shall see, God almost repeats that same vision later in Ezekiel.
But there is another god discussed in Ezekiel. It is important that we keep bringing that vision of the true God back into our lives, because there is this other god, a great deceiver, who knows God and knows His plan and is trying very hard to foist upon us a counterfeit of the true God.
This other god is deeply involved with God’s Church as it turns away from the true God. Let’s get some background on this god.
The Garden of God
Ezekiel 28 describes a very interesting scene: It starts talking about a man—a king over a giant commercial enterprise—and then morphs into talking about the devil. God does that for a great purpose, to teach us a tremendous lesson.
“Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12). This prophecy about “the king of Tyrus” is clearly not speaking of a mortal man. In fact, this is referring to Lucifer, who became Satan.
The way this is explained, it almost looks like a science-fiction scene: a man who is part-man, part-Satan. But God tells us it is actually about politics in this world.
Ezekiel is an end-time book. Chapter 28 is about the end-time Holy Roman Empire and a powerful leader, a man who rules over it and is heavily influenced by Satan the devil—maybe even possessed.
This shows you the power that the devil has! Satan knows the value of controlling a king. This political leader will have Satan dictating his every move. That man would never dream this would happen, but Habakkuk 1:11 says he will have a mindchange. Daniel 8:24 says this end-time Antiochus is mighty, but not by his own power. He doesn’t even have his own power, though he probably thinks he does. Perhaps he attributes a lot of it to his god, but he doesn’t know who that god is!
This is an alarming scene when you see what is happening on Earth today. Herbert W. Armstrong explained these end-time events throughout his ministry, and it seems all of it is converging in the time we are living in right now. This world is not like it was 15 or 20 years ago. Satan—the father of liars, and a murderer from the beginning—has been cast down. His time is very short, and he is full of wrath! (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9-12).
Many strange things are happening because of this reality. Media commentators try to tell you what is happening, but frankly, not one of them knows. They are confused. They don’t really understand what is happening because they don’t believe in the devil.
2 Corinthians 4:4 calls Satan “the god of this world.” What we are seeing today goes even beyond that: Many leaders in America and other nations are in captivity to the devil! They won’t do their job; they won’t uphold their responsibility to protect the supreme law of the land! This is the equivalent of God’s people saying, “Let’s get rid of the Ten Commandments!”
Satan the devil is tearing this nation down and casting the truth to the ground! He and the demons have been cast down, and he knows his time is short. He hates the spiritual house of Israel most of all—followed by the superpower among the physical house of Israel. He knows that if he can take down America (Manasseh), he can take down Ephraim and Judah much more easily.
The earlier part of Ezekiel 28 prophesies of the end-time Holy Roman Empire. “Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:6-7). This is speaking about when the kings of the east will attack Europe, humbling it.
“They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee” (verses 8-9). This political leader is very arrogant, but he will be severely humbled.
This is exactly what we experienced in the Church (2 Thessalonians 2). This little man sat in the very Church of God showing that he was God! It is horrible when you have a man thinking that way.
Eden, the Garden of God
“Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 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 …” (Ezekiel 28:12-13). Lucifer was right there in Eden, the garden of God. But he turned against God and tried to overthrow Him in what had to be the greatest crisis ever in the universe to that point.
God is always trying to get angels and men to create “Eden, the garden of God.” That is what we are here to create and what we will be creating in the World Tomorrow.
Satan tried to destroy that garden of God, but wasn’t able to. He was able to conquer Adam and Eve because they hadn’t kept the Garden of Eden as the garden of God. He worked on Eve, got her on his side, and then Adam just weakly went along.
Mr. Armstrong was given several “gardens of Eden,” and he turned them into gardens of God. He transformed the three campuses of Ambassador College into examples of godly beauty—physically and spiritually. Today, God has given us some land to create a garden of God. He wants to see us create that garden and conquer Satan in the process—something at which the first Adam failed, and the second Adam, Christ, succeeded.
What vision there is in the Garden of Eden! God wants to make the whole Earth and universe blossom like a rose. But that won’t happen until angels and men fulfill their God-given potential.
“Thou art 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” (Ezekiel 28:14). Lucifer had a very responsible position. What did he cover? The very throne of God—“in the midst of the stones of fire.”
Let’s look for a moment at the instructions God gave on building a type of that throne here on Earth—the mercy seat on top of the ark of the covenant. “And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof” (Exodus 25:17). Remember, inside the ark were the Ten Commandments, the rod of Aaron, and some manna (Hebrews 9:4). It all revolves around the government (symbolized by Aaron’s rod) and the law. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the holy of holies in the tabernacle and sprinkle blood on the mercy seat. This was a type of Christ’s blood, which is what it takes to truly cover the sins of the people who break the Ten Commandments that were located inside that ark.
Notice what was on top of that seat: “And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be” (Exodus 25:18-20). Here is a representation of the exalted position Lucifer held at one time. He was the covering cherub before he rebelled.
“And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony [the Ten Commandments] that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat,from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel” (verses 21-22). God was making a covenant. What a history Lucifer had with God! It is hard to even fathom.
The terrible tragedy of Lucifer’s failure forced God to change His whole plan. He went from Plan A to Plan B, because He could see by the fruits that the angelic plan simply wouldn’t work. The angels didn’t have a high enough level of character. Request a free copy of my book The God Family Vision to understand this history.
Men have been repeating this terrifying history throughout the ages! In the 1970s, when Mr. Armstrong was traveling a lot, some rebellious ministers exploited his absence from headquarters as an opportunity to liberalize the Church. After some tumultuous years and multiple disfellowshipments, Christ put the Church back on track through Mr. Armstrong. At the end of his life, Mr. Armstrong warned the Church that if they didn’t learn from the history of the ’70s, they were doomed to repeat it. Most of God’s people have done just that! They failed to learn from their history and the history of Lucifer’s failure.
We must also be aware of how a great cherub can deceive one third of all the angels—apparently all of those who were assigned to Earth with Lucifer. And again, how can Satan deceive almost all of God’s people in this end time? As we will see, he used a similar pattern in both deceitful rebellions.
One day, everything will be set right again. Here is the prophecy spoken by the Apostle Peter: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times ofrestitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21). This is talking about the restoration of everything that the fallen Lucifer took from this Earth—most importantly, God’s government.
Before the restitution of all things to this Earth, all things must be restored to God’s Church. Then we can help Christ to restore all things worldwide. God has called us to reverse what Lucifer did!
Winston Churchill once said that the farther backward you look, the farther forward you can see. He understood the importance of history.
Satan is very hostile to history and works extremely hard to destroy it. He wants Israel to forget its history. He wants the Church to forget its history. Most of all, he is working to destroy his own history. He has been quite successful in these endeavors. When you forget your history, you lose your perspective and you don’t know what is happening. If you are lost in the present, you can never cope with Satan’s deceptions! Either we learn history or we will repeat it—and that includes the history of this fallen cherub. Without context, you’re just like Eve—making your decisions based on whatever looks good.
I would suggest you think deeply about that paragraph.
Let us not underestimate the power of this great fallen cherub. Satan knows how God works with His people. Satan works to destroy their history with God. He knows that if God can’t get His people to learn from their history, they are easy targets for deception. (To learn about that history, request my free book The True History of God’s True Church.)
Ezekiel 28:14 says, “[T]hou wast upon the holy mountain of God,” and the word for God is Elohim. Why would God mention Elohim in the context of Lucifer? To God’s people, Elohim means family. God and the Word wanted to create a type of family with the angels. If you look at that Ezekiel 1 transportation system, the living creatures—in addition to having the faces of the lion, ox and eagle—had the face of a man. God was trying His best to unify Himself with the angels. If you know Elohim, you know that was His fervent desire. God wanted family unity as much as possible. That didn’t work out, and He had to resort to the much more difficult Plan B.
The only real difference between when it was God and the Word and when they became Father and Son was that God had opened up His Family to all mankind—those beings who were made in His “likeness” and “image” (which means God’s character). God had to re-create Himself—develop His own character in man!
Satan hates Elohim. He hates the God Family idea. He has tried to obliterate it through the false trinity doctrine, which excludes everyone else from the God Family.
God risked a great deal for the chance to have mortal men enter the God Family. He risked losing the Word! That would have left the Father alone in the God Family for all eternity!
It only makes sense that He is very concerned about our character development. So He gives His people charge over certain things—college campuses, acreage, a global work. He wants to see how we will handle these responsibilities, because He never wants to risk having another tohu and bohu, a wasted and desolate Earth, as described in Genesis 1:2.
Look at what Mr. Armstrong was able to do with those blessings. What a vision God had for us in those beautiful campuses. Then look at what happened to God’s Church after he died! What a difference! Their legacy has been one horrific disaster! We must learn from these past successes and failures.
Learn From History
“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:15). The word iniquity should be translated lawlessness. Sin is transgression of the law. God found lawlessness in Lucifer. That exalted cherub broke the covenant God had made with him. God’s people have made a covenant with God and are obliged to keep it.
“By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned …” (verse 16). Look at the world today! Why do we see all this violence around us? Why are our major cities plagued with crippling violence? Because Lucifer was filled with violence after he rebelled. He is the god of this world. It is a lawless way of life that will never work.
Verse 16 concludes, “… 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.” God is simply reminding Satan of his history. His responsibility was to cover the majestic throne of God. No angel was closer to God! Look what he had, and look where he is now! “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 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. 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” (verses 17-19). It is all over for Satan. He has no future, no hope. God promises that he will never rise again.
We must look closely at what happened to Lucifer and to the Laodiceans, because Satan is still in power on this Earth! He despises having his failures exposed. He detests the thought of being cast into outer darkness. He knows his time is short. He is discouraged, depressed and passionately hateful! He has terribly deceptive power, and his primary target is the very elect of God—that means you, if you are in that category!
Sometime you ought to read what the commentaries say about Ezekiel 28. That will surely make you go to your knees and thank God for the revelation given to Mr. Armstrong about Ezekiel 28 and Satan the devil! How wonderful that we can understand this! The people of this world have no concept of the God of Ezekiel 1, and they are hopelessly deceived about the god of Ezekiel 28!
Those angels who are loyal to God are developing a level of character, but it isn’t the God Family character. Still, of course, God will use them, we will love them, and we will all work together to make the universe blossom into an Eden, the garden of God.