The Fall of “Greatness”
11. The word of the Lord came to me: 12. “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountingsc were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
14. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
15. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
16. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
17. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
19. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.’ ”
- The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. – Psalm 138:8
- Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries. – Ezekiel 28:17-18
- Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! – 1 Corinthians 6:9
From the God’s Perfection to Adversary
Today’s reading from Ezekiel 28 focuses on God’s lament through his prophet over the King of Tyre, a real earthly King, but also a symbol for all mankind.
The foolish pride of this fallen man, imbued with a perfection of wisdom and beauty, should serve as a warning for all of us. But, sadly, it does not. For many, the meaning, the warning, has been enveloped in a symbol of error.
For this passage is where many believers derive their myth of the personage of Satan. I find the pervasive nature of the symbollic myth of Satan to be heartbreaking because what could have (and should have) served as a bleak and general truth for all mankind about the dangers of pride and hubris, was mutated into a specific tale of the fall of God’s singular adversary, Satan. In this act of personifying the consequence of pride, we remove its pertinence for all of us, and make it all only a cautionary tale about the origins of “The Adversary of God”.
Little do we realize that the greatest trick “Satan” ever pulled was to convince the world he even existed.
Oh, Satan “The Adversary” is real, I assure you, but it is not some fallen angel from Heaven who rules the evil forces of this world with almost God-like power. No, “The Adversary” is real and “The Adversary” does have real power, and I warn you, he is very close to you… even right now.
Do you wish to see The Adversary of God? I can show you him, if you dare…
All right, I want you to get up and follow my directions exactly:
- Get up and go to the bathroom mirror.
- Stare into the mirror, right into you own eyes.
- Now repeat this incantation three times, “Satan is real, God is real.”
- Now you will see The Adversary. And you will see God.
Do you see? Do you understand?
The Hands of Evil, the Hands of Good
As I already wrote yesterday in the post , “Wake up, Lord! We are Perishing!“, we are the hands of “The Adversary”, or the hands of God, in this world.
The most dangerous myth the greater Church ever pervaded was the concept that the source of both evil AND good lay outside of us! This allowed us to blame something else for the evil we perpetrated, “But it wasn’t me! It was SATAN!”
Yes, it was “Satan”: the meaning of the Hebrew word “satan (7853)” is “adversary” or “enemy”.
When we become consumed with our own self-interests and our pride eclipses a gratitude for creation and life, we have become the incarnation of The Adversary on Earth. We become God’s enemy.
When we hold gratitude for God’s Grace, and a deep appreciation for God’s creation closest to our hearts, and live self-less lives of compassion, we have become the incarnation of God on Earth. We become God’s beloved children.
We are both possibilities at once, and even the smallest, most seemingly insignificant decisions of our everyday lives can begin to shift us closer to one polar opposite or the other. Every minute of every day is accounted for in the whole of our being: are we working as God or The Adversary in this life and world?
The key to righteous living in the name of God is to be conscious of this tremendous power. We must accept the responsibility that comes with such great power. We must ask ourselves:
- Will I create or destroy?
- Will I create love or fear?
- Will I create justice or injustice?
- Will I glorify God, or shame God’s creation?
What will I do?
8. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. LORD, Do not forsake the work of your hands.
We are our own worst enemies. We are God’s worst enemies.