The Prince of Tyre 

Man Not God The Prince and Jesus
Power Behind the Throne

Man Not God

The prophet Ezekiel denounced doom against the prince of Tyre, a man who made himself out to be a god:

  • “The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
  • “Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: 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. 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. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.”

  • (Ezekiel 28:1-10).

Jesus Christ Pantocrator

Definition number four in Merriam-Webster's definition of the word 'God' is "a powerful ruler." The prince of Tyre was that. Perhaps an asterisk is needed beside this definition, to warn the unwary reader that, if you employ this definition, you might be subject to the death penalty. Or wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, 'it's OK! I read it in Merriam-Webster!'

Some people think men are of the same race with God: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. God himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned, and supreme." (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.  249). If any such thing were the case, it is difficult to understand the death sentence handed down to the prince of Tyre.


The Prince and Jesus

Some people look at the prince of Tyre and see. . .Jesus of Nazareth!

"What the Rabbis strongly objected to was the deification of man. Thus with reference to Exod. 6 and 7.1, God is represented by the Rabbis as having said to Moses, 'Though I made thee a god to Pharaoh, thou must not become overbearing (and think thyself God); I am the Lord.' To Hiram, the Prince of Tyre, who said, 'I am God; I sit in the seat of God' (Ezek. 28.2), God is supposed by the Rabbis to have answered, 'Did Elijah, notwithstanding his reviving the dead, bringing rain, and making the fire to come down from heaven, ever make the claim to be a God?' Both Pharaoh and the Prince of Tyre are, of course, only prototypes of persons deified in the times of the Rabbis, be it Roman emperors or Jewish Messiahs." ('Aspects of Rabbinic Theology,' by Solomon Schechter, pp. 38-39).

The prince of Tyre was a man who made himself God. If we turn the proposition around, and ask, can God become man, what objection can we raise? Surely God can do as He pleases:

"And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Daniel 4:35).

"But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." (Psalm 115:3).

There is no logical impossibility involved in God taking on human nature in addition to His own divine nature. Christians do not believe God ever ceased to be God, but that the Son of God became incarnate. The truth of the claim, 'I am God,' must surely be a satisfactory defense against the Tyrian accusation.


Power Behind the Throne

After condemning the prince of Tyre, who is a man who proclaimed himself God,— this is precisely his moral failing,— the prophet Ezekiel widens the focus, pulls back the curtain, and looks at the power behind the throne:

"Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 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: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 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. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: 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. 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." (Ezekiel 28:11-19).

Who is condemned here? Was it an arrogant human king who boasted of these insane pretentions? Or are we looking now at the power behind his throne, and every corrupt, God-defying throne?: