In the first 7 parts, Satan's fall is explained, why and how. The narrator focused on Ezekiel 28 and especially verse 16 to describe how satan convinced 1/3 of the angels to follow him into rebellion against a Holy God whom they personally knew and worshiped. I've often wondered how angels who saw God's power in the creation (Job 1:6-7) and who visited the throne room (Ex 37:9) could possibly follow satan? What did he tell them exactly to make them a better offer?? That is answered in Ezekiel 28:14-16 --
"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. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned."
The scene here is a prophecy against the King of Tyre. The previous chapter is spent lamenting the city of Tyre (Lebanon) and its earthly ruler. But as we know from so many examples and passages in the bible, satan is often the puppet master pulling the strings behind the power that is shown through the earthly ruler. The Prince of Persia is another example. Satan is the power behind the throne, so to speak, in many cases. He is the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4), prince of the powers of the air (earth and near environs; Eph 6:12) and at one point remember, he offered Jesus every kingdom on earth (Mt 4:8-9).
In the Ezekiel chapter the scene sifts from the earthly ruler in the flesh (Prince of Tyre, ch. 27) to the supernatural power of the King of Tyre (satan, ch. 28). It is said that wickedness was found in him and through his "widespread trade" he was filled with violence. In this case, the widespread trade does not mean economic traffic. Does one believe there were shops in heaven, with checkouts and money exchanged? No, surely not! What would satan possess that would be better than hat the angels already had? No, instead, the phrase widespread trade comes from the Hebrew word r'kullah, the main word rakil, meaning slander.
Satan went on a whispering campaign against God, the same as he did later to Eve ("Hath God said? Genesis 3). he went around and around and around ceaselessly to the angels, whispering that God was a tyrant, He was egotistical, He was withholding from them the good stuff, whatever that was. With Eve we know satan insinuated God was withholding the knowledge of good and evil. Whatever satan said to the 1/3 of the heavenly host that ended up following satan, it was lies and we know that he was a liar from the beginning.
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44). Devil means slanderer.
Revelation 18:12-14 alludes to this satanic lying bill of merchandise. When Babylon the false economic system is fallen, satan is accused of trading in "merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men." The last phrase, souls of men, is a merchandise not in the physical but in the celestial. A good, short study on 'Satan's Celestial Slander' is from Dr. Richard Davidson from Andrews Theological Seminary (7th Day Adventist) here. If you want a thorough examination of the Hebrew word for merchandising used in this context of Ezekiel 28 and the wider exhortations in the bible not to be a slanderer, go here. (Truth Magazine).
A whispering campaign according to Wikipedia, is "A whispering campaign or whisper campaign is a method of persuasion in which damaging rumors or innuendo are spread about the target, while the source of the rumors seeks to avoid being detected while spreading them." Whisper campaigns are considered unethical, but are used frequently in political campaigning as a strategy. If you apply all the corruption, lies, and unethical behavior from any current Presidential campaign in the US to satan's original merchandising campaign of busily flitting from angel to angel, painting himself as the better candidate for God-hood, you have the idea of the meaning behind the Ezekiel verse and satan's method of achieving it. No wonder there are so many prohibitions against slander in the bible!
|Agostino Carracci, Whispering Angels|
If you also put in your mind the energy expended in any political campaign, and think of the Ezekiel verse where the visual image is of satan going all around heaven whispering his bill of goods to the angels, several other scriptures come to mind.
Job 1:1 "The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
Job: 2:2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
Dan 12:4 "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.""
It is the eternal restlessness of a fallen angel, now a demon, who seeks his will above all and is relentless in stalking the world and its inhabitants. One of the names for satan is Beelzebub (Baal-zebub) and the entire name is Lord of the Flies and zebub means fly. This kind of fly is a hard-to-kill, strong and biting fly that lives entirely by sucking blood of cattle or people. It is the zebub and also known as tsetse fly in Africa. Satan was given that name because he was supposed to be able to be lord over these much-feared flies that caused destruction to cattle and sickness to people. It is one of the reasons God sent a plague of flies to Pharaoh, to show HIS mastery over the flies in the face of helpless false gods. This name was given to the god because he was supposed to be able to avert the plague of flies which in that region was to be feared.Flies never settle for very long Anyone who is not saved will feel that eternal restlessness n his spirit as well. Satan is truly Baal-zebub, Lord of the Flies.
That is satan, flying here and there, to and fro, roaming up and down, claiming blood from victims and buzzing in your ear. There are two lessons here. One: satan is relentless. Flies always come back to garbage no matter how often you swat them away. Second: satan's lies are powerful. He cold sway angels who knew God in person, in heaven, for perhaps eons. Do you think he cannot sway you? I know he can sway me, if I let him. I use my flyswatter often: studying the Word. It is, after all, how Jesus rebuffed that pestilential fly, He repeated the Word back to satan in each temptation.
Jesus has won the victory. Satan is merely a created being who was completely crushed at the cross and only has been in his frenetic death throes this last 2000 years. But the time the Tribulation comes, he really panics, for he knows he has but a short time. (Rev 12:12). For us, though, beware slandering each other, engaging in 'widespread trade.' Do not be a fly, going here and there, whispering things that murder someone's reputation. Certainly be sterling in all your communications about the LORD. Because His are perfect unto us! And that is a campaign worth participating in!