Ezekiel 28 • Then They Will Know that I Am the Lord
In America the courts operate on the principal “innocent until proven guilty.” It doesn’t matter what the judge thinks, what the jury thinks, what the lawyers think, or even what the defendant thinks—everyone acts out their respective role assuming the person on trial is “innocent until proven guilty.” When the trial comes to an end and judgment is rendered, everyone views the person that was on trial according to the verdict, whether they were found to be guilty or innocent. In other words, everyone comes to KNOW with absolute certainty exactly the state of that person. Through God’s Final Judgment, this is precisely the knowledge everyone obtains whether they are for or Him or against. The working of His judgment on everyone’s heart—Believer and unbeliever alike—is that “they will know that I am the Lord”.
There are 4 distinct groups or personalities addressed in this chapter: the leader of Tyre, the king of Tyre, Sidon, and Israel. It’s important to compare and contrast them and what God says in particular of each.
Read verses 1-2
Q: Compare v.2 with v.12. Although both are connected to the city of Tyre, how do we know that it’s two different personalities that are being addressed?
A: “Leader” in v.2 can also be translated “prince”, wherein “king” is used in v.12. A prince or leader is subordinate to a king.
Q: What does God find wrong with the prince of Tyre?
A: Pride. Such pride that he considers himself to have replaced God.
Q: How might this have applied to the literal kingdom of Tyre at the time of this writing?
A: The ruler of Tyre at the time was named “Ithbaal II”, indicating a very close relationship to the false god “Baal”. Tyre sat on an island (“in the heart of the seas”) that was thought to be impervious to attack and that was also the eventual center for the worship of Hercules. (Note the reference “I sit in the seat of gods”.) Therefore it was given the nickname “the holy island”. It was also a center of trade between the Middle East and all nations using the Mediterranean. Contrast this to the fact that the Hebrew word for God is “El”, which means “the Mighty One”. Tyre is something imitating God.
Q: What is this a “type” or representation of?
A: Someone whose pride, false worship, and trust in their own abilities have replaced God with self. This is not just a type of person, but also a type of community/group or even nation.
Read verses 3-5
Q: How would you contrast Tyre with Daniel in terms of what each did with their wisdom and understanding?
A: Whereas Daniel’s wisdom was employed in the course of being a servant of God, Tyre’s was used only to serve and enrich themselves. Daniel acquired spiritual riches, Tyre earthly. As a result, Daniel’s heart was subject to God, Tyre’s heart had no room for God.
Read verses 6-10
Q: How was Tyre conquered?
A: Alexander the Great laid siege and destroyed it.
Q: According to v.9, what is the main point of God’s judgment against Tyre? What is the main issue?
A: “Will you still say, ‘I am a god’ in the presence of your slayer”. For all their wisdom and understanding, it will not be until judgment is at their doorstep that they finally know the sovereignty and place of the One True God that was wrongly given over to their self. They will finally know in the most real way that HE is God.
Q: What does it mean to “die the death of the uncircumcised”?
A: This is most likely a reference to “the second death”, eternal damnation. Those who refuse God’s circumcision to be marked and conformed to HIS way of life are making an eternal choice to reject Him and will suffer not just the judgment of dying in THIS life according to their sins, but will die the second death at Final Judgment.
Q: Although these things were literally fulfilled against the community of Tyre, is there a parallel fulfillment to come in the Last Days?
A: Yes. Tyre represents any person, group, or nation that uses its resources to elevate itself above God. Scripture tells clearly of nations that will side with “the uncircumcised” rather than with God and suffer both earthly and eternal judgment.
Read verses 11-19
Q: Who, exactly, is the king of Tyre? Of whom is this speaking?
Q: What are the positive attributes that were originally bestowed on Satan by God?
“...the seal of perfection...” (v.12)
“...full of wisdom...” (v.12)
“...perfect in beauty...” (v.12)
“...every precious stone was your covering...” (v.13)
“...anointed cherub who covers...” (v.14)
“...placed...on the holy mountain of God...” (v.14)
“...walked in the midst of the stones of fire.” (v.14)
“...blameless in your ways...” (v.15)
Q: How did Satan use what was given to him so that “unrighteousness was found in you”?
“By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence...” (v.16)
“...you sinned...” (v.16)
“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty...” (v.17)
“You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.” (v.17)
“...profaned your sanctuaries...” (v.18)
Q: How would you summarize Satan’s issues?
A: Pride. Just like Tyre, he used what was provided to serve and elevate himself rather than God.
Q: How would you summarize the effect and purpose of God’s judgment on the king of Tyre?
A: First cast out forever from God’s presence, then from God’s places, then made a public example as a testimony to all others of God’s power and sovereignty, and finally “you will cease to be forever”. Everyone will ultimately know he is not God and the Lord is.
Q: Look at all the imagery and terminology used as a whole in this passage such as “cherub who covers”, “the mountain of God”, “the midst of the stones of fire”, etc., etc. What do they combine to teach about the king of Tyre and Satan himself?
A: The imagery is of one who imitates God Himself in every way, trying to usurp the very authority and position of God by acting like Him. It’s the basic role that Satan plays in relation to every generation and period of time on this earth (the general work of the spirit of the antichrist), and the defining characteristics of the single person called the Antichrist.
Application: What might we glean as a key behavioral indicator of whether one is truly following God or on the path to replacing Him with another? How we use what God has provided, whether for His name or our own. To what does this speak of your own life? Your local church or organization?
Read verses 20-24
Q: Historically, what was the principal god worshiped by Sidon? How might this relate to God’s judgments herein described?
A: The principle deity was “Eshmun”, the god of healing. They relied not on God’s power and grace but in their false beliefs which ultimately will not heal, much less save them. They will die from their wounds, both physically and spiritually.
Q: If the king of Tyre represents Satan and the prince of Tyre those who openly align themselves with him, what might Sidon represent?
A: Those who in general reject God and replace Him with something else.
Q: According to v.22, 23 and 24, what will they come to know as a result of God’s judgment?
A: “Then they will know that I am the Lord.” There will be no question that they have believed and trusted in the wrong thing.
Point: If we examine all the Scripture concerning nations and peoples not just throughout history but also in the Last Days, we see that some are outwardly and publicly devoted to Satan (the antichrist) while others are deceived by him to follow him through false gods and false doctrine. In the end, however, God’s judgment will bring clarity to every mind and heart.
Read verses 25-26
Q: What is the phrase used in v.22 regarding Sidon that is also used in v.25 regarding Israel?
A: “I will manifest My holiness in her” (v.22) and “I...will manifest My holiness in them” (v.25).
Q: How does the same working of God produce completely different results in Sidon than for Israel?
A: In Sidon, where they worship another in God’s place, His holiness produces destruction to remove sin from His presence. They become a public testimony of what it means to reject God and His abhorrence of sin. In Israel, where they will worship and cling to the One True God, His holiness works to set them apart from unbelievers as a public display of the results of a right relationship with Him.
Q: What is the word used to describe Israel’s or Believers’ physical and spiritual state in these verses that shows a very stark contrast to the state of those that reject Him?
A: “Securely”. (v.26) Faith in God is the assurance of salvation that brings eternal security, rejection brings the assurance of judgment for both death in this life and the one to come.
Q: What is the same final result for Israel as for the previous 3 examples?
A: “Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.”
Point: Figuratively this has an application for Believers, but it’s important to note that this has a literal application yet to be fulfilled as part of the End Times. If you think it’s been fulfilled because Israel is a nation once again to which Jews are returning, that is only the first step in the overall fulfillment; the sign of its completion is the spiritual return of Israel to God by embracing Jesus as the Christ so that they are, indeed, a spiritual contrast to all the nations around them.
Read Philippians 2:5-11
Q: Comparing this Scripture with Ezekiel 28, how would you contrast Christ with Satan, Believers with non-believers?
Christ “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped”, whereas Satan and company seek that equality if not something even greater.
Christ was “obedient to the point of death”, Satan and company are never obedient even at the moment of death.
Christ was given by God “the name which is above every name”, Satan and company’s names are erased forever.
Q: How is the end result here the same as described for each of the 4 types listed in Ezekiel 28?
A: Wherein in Ezekiel 28 “They will know that I am the Lord” it is here expanded “so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
How are you or your local church using what God has provided? Do you recognize that everything you have was given by Him in the first place? Is it acceptable if “most” of it’s being used for God’s kingdom?
If you clearly see and believe in the different final endings for Believers versus non-believers, what should we do in this life on behalf of non-believers? Who has the Spirit placed on your heart to whom you need to communicate the Gospel?