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Question 113.

 

Dear Father,
Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, "I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas", Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god.
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor. They shall throw you down into the Pit, and you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas. Will you still say before him who slays you, "I am a god"? But you shall be a man, and not a god, In the hand of him who slays you. You shall die the death of the uncircumcised By the hands of aliens; For I have spoken, "says the Lord GOD."

My question(s):
1) Are these so called "strangers" & "aliens" other names for demons that God is speaking of? For all I know, it is only the devil and his angels that can cast souls into the Pits of Hell.
2) This message by God to Ezekiel is for the Prince of Tyre. Since this Prince has exalted his heart and says that he is a god, is this sin categorised as the sin of pride? It seems pride is such a dangerous sin since the first archangel Lucifer fell like lightning from heaven and is now known as Satan. (Luke 10:18). Also when the 70 disciples/apostles of Christ that were sent out in groups of 2 had returned with joy saying, "Lord even the demons are subject to us in Your name", He said to them "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Luke 10;19). Are these "scorpions" & "serpents" also symbolic names of demons?
3) What does it mean when it says "you shall die the death of the uncircumcised "?

In Christ,
Regards, John


Answer to Question 113.

 

Dear John,
This prophecy by Ezekiel has been cause for many debates by both Jewish and Christian scholars. There are certain differences between the translation you are using and the Greek Septuagint so I will use the Septuagint text in my answer.
The first problem is to see who is the Prince of Tyre. The Prince or king of Tyre at the time of Ezekial was according to Greek scholars Ithobaal II and according to western scholars Ithobaal III. Tyre was known for building its wealth by exploiting its neighbours. Ancient writers referred to Tyre as a city filled with unscrupulous merchants. Tyre was a centre of religious idolatry and sexual immorality. The biblical prophets rebuked Tyre for its pride brought on by its great wealth and strategic location. Ezekiel seems to be a particularly strong indictment against the king of Tyre, rebuking the king for his insatiable pride and greed. The text could be referring to the historical king, but when we get to verses 12-19 it describes the beauty of Lucifer and how his pride brought down his fall from heaven so the Prince of tyre could be referring to Satan. Origen, Tertullius, Ambrose, Jerome and Augustine attribute the chapter to Satan, Theodoritus attributes it to both the king and Satan with the king acting under the influence of the devil and Hippolytus attributes the chapter to the Antichrist. It would seem that the chapter is referring to two creatures, the first ten verses are directed to a man and then from verse 11 to 19 it is referring to Satan. Thus the Prince of Tyre could be a figurative image of the Antichrist under the influence of Satan.
1) To your first question "strangers" and "aliens" does not refer to demons, but to other nations who will march against Tyre. According to chapter 26 Ezekiel dates this prophecy to the eleventh year on the first day of the first month. The dating of Ezekiel's prophecies is based on the number of years of king Jehoiakimís captivity (Ezekiel 1.2), which would date chapters 26Ė28 to the year 586 BC. This was shortly after Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the first temple, so Ezekiel anticipates the king of Babylon to soon march against Tyre.
But you also say that "For all I know, it is only the devil and his angels that can cast souls into the Pits of Hell". The text does not mention hell but says "They shall throw you down into the Pit" It does not refer to hell, but to the destruction of Tyre. The Septuagint is very different and says "and they shall bring down thy beauty to destruction. And they shall bring thee down".
2) Like Satan, the human king of Tyre was prideful. Rather than recognize Godís sovereignty, the king of Tyre attributed Tyreís riches to his own wisdom and strength. Not satisfied with his extravagant position, the king of Tyre sought more and more, resulting in Tyre taking advantage of other nations, expanding its own wealth at the expense of others. But just as Satanís pride led to his fall and will eventually lead to his eternal destruction, so will the city of Tyre lose its wealth, power, and status. Ezekielís prophecy of Tyreís total destruction was fulfilled partially by Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 29:17Ė21) and ultimately by Alexander the Great.
The passage from Luke where the Lord gives his disciples authority to trample on serpents and scorpions is symbolic and represents not only Satan and his demons, but all the power of the enemy, every temptation and evil influence, whether this be from demons or from Satan's human emissaries and their craft. The Lord uses the image of serpents and scorpions, which have poison that can harm people, as a symbolical comparison for the poisonous and hurtful nature of evil.
3) For the Jews the uncircumcised were heathen and infidels and therefore God's enemies. Here the term uncircumcised is employed by the prophet in reference to the dead, who suffer death from the sword, and whose bodies either lie unburied and dishonoured or are flung indiscriminately into the earth with no funeral honours. The Septuagint again is different and says "Thou shalt perish by the hands of strangers among the multitude of the uncircumcised". What it is saying is that Tyre will fall and be destroyed by the hands of its uncircumcised enemies.

In Christ
Fr. Christopher