Tuesday, February 23, 2010

#124-Thinking Satan Was The Minister of Music in Heaven



Note: Here's another one of those "informative blog posts"


INTRO
We’ve already covered the topic of describing youthful hypocrisy as praying through on Sunday only to curse and listen to rap music by Tuesday. While we all have heard this sermon, I think that there is usually something stated in this sermon that we could cover too.
We’ve all heard it. We believe it because of who said it. But we have absolutely no idea how to explain it or where it came from. I’m talking about the belief that “Satan was the minister of music/choir director in Heaven”.
After this statement we’re usually bombarded with 15 to 20 minutes of explanation of Satan’s exact role, as the choir leader, in charge of the Heavenly host of voices in their rendition of Order My Steps or maybe Kirk Franklin’s ‘Hosanna’. Following this we usually get another speech regarding the fact that the reason satan uses music to draw us away is because he used to be in charge of it, or perhaps that music is IN him (we’ll address this later). Also included in this is the declaration that those involved in a music ministry are more susceptible to satan’s attacks for the same reason previously stated. A lot of detail is given regarding satan’s very specific role as the music leader in heaven. This made me very curious recently so I thought I’d do a little digging.

Exegesis (Careful Study of Scripture)
Where does this concept come from?
The closest we get is a passage in Ezekiel 28 in which the King of Tyre is discussed, somewhat allegorically, using poetic imagery, as an exalted figure over taken by pride and greed to the point where he was cast down before all men.
Alright, now bear with me…breathe for a second….
We’ll make it through this….
The verses in question are Ezekiel 28:11-19 (Go and read them)…More particularly, verses 11-15:

12 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.
13Thou 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.
14Thou 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.
15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
The idea goes that in the description above, there is no way an actual king could be described. This “king of tyre” was allegedly around during Eden (v. 13). And it is also described as a Cherub aka an angel (v. 14). Therefore we must conclude that the “king of tyre” described is actually….some other angel that fell (that’s in verses 16-19).
What perfect being do we know that fell?
Hmmmm…..
Could it beeee…


Satan!


This all makes too much sense. Not only was Satan around during Eden, but we know he used be an angel that fell. And now that we know Satan is being talked about, we can use the verses to find even more information about Satan…And here in verse 13, we see Satan described as containing musical instruments (tabrets and pipes). So that means Satan invented music? Which means Satan was the minister of music in heaven. Which means the reason musicians fall so much in churches is because they are doing the role that Satan was doing in heaven.
Fantastic!

Except, if the above is true, we have become God over scripture, and have decided to make jumps and conclusions in scripture that scripture never asks us to make. We must let scripture evaluate our lives as best we know how, and not us be evaluators over scripture. To conclude that the King of Tyre is Satan is pure silliness.
The fact is, we need to begin to understand how to read scripture in context. To make doctrine out of a few verses ripped from it’s surrounding context is laughable. The fact is, much of Ezekiel is allegorical.
This means that for Ezekiel to give the reader a proper emotional response of what he is talking about, he will use hyperbole and metaphor to convey the descriptions of who/what he is addressing. Which of the following descriptions brings the reader to a better understanding of the Israelite’s defiling God’s holiness:
  • a) The Israelite’s defiled the bread they ate.
  • b) The Israelite’s sin is comparable to Ezekiel eating bread cooked with Cow poop (Ezekiel 4:13- 15)…
Obviously, eating food mixed with poop grosses you out more and thus you kind of get a better sense of how God perceived the Israelite’s sin.

Ezekiel 31:18 has Ezekiel comparing the neighboring kings to the trees of Eden. This is an analogy. It’s not that the Kings were around in the time of Eden.

So with that said, Ezekiel 28:11-19 is best understood as a way for Ezekiel to describe the King of Tyre’s situation and how they will fall one day. So, Ezekiel is saying, “King, you and your people have it real good. You could have fit right in with the perfection of Eden. You were beautiful. But one day, you will fall miserably because of your haughtiness.”

The story even has a context…the King of Tyre one time sent timber to help with the construction of the Temple (I Chronicles 14:1)…The dude who built all the wooden things within the temple was actually from Tyre. (II Chronicles 2:14). He even built the giant wooden CHERUB that surrounded the Ark of the covenant. (II Chronicles 3:11). Thus he calls the King of Tyre a Cherub. Naturally, God blessed the people of Tyre with their help of the temple. But the blessings became a curse and thus Tyre grew haughty in pride. It is here that Ezekiel prophesies the fall of Tyre, which did in fact come true in the 4th century B.C. when Alexander the Great destroyed the entire city.

So reader, we may like to make mystical the story of Satan and make far reaching conclusions about his occupation in heaven, but before we jump to such conclusions, let’s study the scripture out a little further in a bigger context and see if there is a more practical reasoning in scripture outside of the idea that Satan was somehow the choir director in heaven who would carefully instruct the angelic choirs into breathtaking renditions of “Waymaker.”

Conclusion/"Get your act together"
Now you may or may not agree that Ezekiel 28 was talking about satan, but that’s beside the point. Even if it was… Even if every word of it were undoubtedly about satan and this is irrefutable, how, just HOW do we make the jump from the idea that he had a tambourine and a kazoo to he was the ‘choir director’ and ‘minister of music’ in Heaven? The inference is almost laughable.

Try this: erase all prior knowledge and assumption about the bible. You have no knowledge. It is simply a dusty history book you’ve picked up from the library. You begin to read it as a story, beginning in Genesis. By the time you get halfway through this satan fellow has been mentioned three times, and very ambiguously those three times, convincing David to perform a census, asking God if he can tempt Job, and Zechariah sees him standing next to God and being rebuked. At this point he’s a mysterious character, you’ve picked up that he’s got a bad reputation and he tempts people to do things they shouldn’t do.

Yet somehow, though not having much biblical history or credible biographical information, we’ve come to think we know who satan is and exactly what he did before his fall, what he looked like, what his ministry was, what he said to God, what got him kicked out of Heaven, what his credit rating was, who he dated in high school, and his mothers maiden name.

But where did this info come from if not the bible? Dante Alighieri penned Divine Comedy sometime in the 1300’s, and then 300 years later John Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Both stories attempt to expand upon the little information given in the bible regarding the fall of satan and then the fall of man, and as well the framework of hell. Each are incredibly long and difficult to understand, hence the reason we don’t realize how much of our belief’s come from them (we don’t read).
Excluding Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 (whole other future post), we know very little about satan’s origins, but what’s happened is we’ve filled in the blanks from literature and exaggerations of small pieces of info. We don’t realize this because we don’t read, so we’re left accepting bad information on the basis that it sounds plausible.

Before I get too far into a tangent I’ll cut it off here. I’ll leave you with this:
Read. Please, please read. When someone who’s been charged with standing in front of a large group of people stands up and makes unchecked statements and passes them off as “from God” we’re in trouble. Misconceptions about satan have been perpetuated for hundreds of years because we’ve passed the days of looking things up to verify their authenticity, and simply regurgitated the bile spewed forth from pulpits on the basis that it must be true because of who said it.
Is it a big deal to think that satan was the music minister in Heaven? Maybe not. But what it does do is validate the statements made by people who don’t study. It gives a false perception of the enemy we face. Satan is very real and must be taken seriously but part of taking him seriously is understanding who he is, what he does and why he does it. It’s understanding that he’s not the boogeyman in your stereo; he’s far more tactical than that.

(Credit goes to Joel for doing the Ezekiel 28 research and scholarly review)

22 comments:

  1. I appreciate your analysis on these scripture I too have studied this. Another topic that goes right along with this is the fact that a lot of people think that Satan’s real name, or heavenly name was Lucifer. The reverence is somewhere in Isaiah I don’t remember where off hand. The problem is that people blindly listen to the man with the mic and no one takes the time to study the word of God.

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  2. We appreciate you're support! The Lucifer thing is a future post. I'm assuming you mean that Lucifer is used only once and means Morning Star, which, being that Jesus was called Morning Star He could also be called Lucifer..
    Anyways, thanks for the props. We'll be addressing that shortly.

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  3. to Glen,
    Yeah I think that is Pretty funny first of all lucifer is a latin word and Isaiah was Written in hebrew. Plus Jesus is called the morning star in like 1 john. I am sick of people teaching opinions and traditions as if they are a clear word from God. When it really comes done to it the only truth that we have is the Word of God. All these other convictions and traditions have to line up with the Word.

    Brad V. (guy who wrote the first post)

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  4. Thanks for the post! But I was under the impression that God incited David to number the people, not Satan (2 Sam 24).

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  5. Edwina, now you are getting in some theological crunkary up in here!

    You are certainly right about God inciting david for the census (per your scriptural reference)...

    But at the exact same time in a later account of the same story...I Chronicles 21 has Satan doing the inciting instead of God...

    That one stumped me once upon a time a few years back....( There was like a whole summer where I was obsessed with who exactly satan was and what exactly he does in comparison to what we as lay Christians think he does)...

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  6. I've never heard it preached that the name of the devil is Lucifer, however, I had read it in a book that was written in the 1950's. The concept of the devil being a music minster can also be found outside of the bible. Satanic Literature. such as the "Book of The Law" which teaches that anyone who practices Satanism will become a genius in music. From there we can look at modern rock stars who teach from this book in there music videos and lyrics. An example would be Led Zeppelin who posted an image of the author on his album cover or bought the author's estate. There are many examples of Rock-stars who teach from this book. So the concept of Satan being involved with music is rather well known and obvious.

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  7. Anonymous,

    I am very happy you brought up this point...

    We must be careful to not make everything found in the "Book of the Law" as dogma. Just because Satanic worshippers believe it, does not make it true.

    I have heard a minister argue the exact same logic for the fact that Satanists believe there is power in a women's hair as if to confirm what we already know.

    Using this stuff as grounds of truth is just dangerous.

    Satanists also believe there is power in wearing red. Does that mean there is actual spiritual power in the color and therefore we should not wear it?

    Is everything in the book of the law true then? Now we have a second bible. And we can't pick and choose what we want to believe is true out of that book according to what is convenient for us...

    And just because jimmy page (Led zeppelin guitarist)is a follower of the occult, it does not mean music in general is run by Satan. I have a personal conviction about listening to led zeppelin because of my past lifestyle, but because one of the members has some "out there" beliefs, it does not logically follow that rock music is evil (or music in general).

    Even if 1000 rock stars were self-declared Satanists, this does not mean therefore that rock is satanic. Nor does it confirm that Satan is in rock music. This is a fallacy on many fronts if such a claim is made including an Argumentum Ad hominem which claims that we can know something based on beliefs of the people within this belief system. Just because rock stars believe in Satan, it does not mean satan love rock music....otherwise i can start making the following arguments:

    Because I know of many of preachers who fell into adultery, i know that Satan uses the church as a place to promote fornication. while this may in fact be true, I cannot use my case examples as proof that every preacher is involved with fornication in some way (whether he knows it or not).

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  8. I do happen to be a Christian and a Led Zepplin music fan. Not endorsing anything they do in their personal lives...but i dig the drums on "When the Levee Breaks"...

    What album cover had Anton Lavey or Aleister Crowley on it? I know that one of the guy's owned Alister Crowley's estate, but the Book of Law is pagan mysticism...not Satanism in the sense of actively worshiping Satan as a deity.

    Anyway...as much as I like to jam to Zepplin...

    I definitely agree with the main point that we need to "study to show ourselves approved."

    One thing that does concern me is that many preachers I have heard recently in large forums have not taken a holistic view of the scriptures they are teaching from.

    They might pull a scripture that is simply a footnote to the main idea of a chapter and focus an entire sermon around that one footnote that if you viewed it in context has no relation to what the author intended.

    As a fellow with a B.A. in Literature I want to stand up and protest at times...or maybe just raise my hand and ask "So is that really what the author was getting at in this passage?" Why not teach on the bit at the end of the Book about adding to and taking from the scripture?

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  9. Wow. It's the first time I've ever ran into someone (in a manner of speaking) who actually had the courage to say that Ezekiel isn't talking about Satan.

    Thanks! It's amazing what a person can discover when they actually take the time to read the context of Scripture before preaching about it.

    Keep them coming!

    http://cdnclipper.wordpress.com

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  10. To Stanton. He's on the fourth album as a bust, surrounded by the band.

    Understand that I don't go out just to pin point all types of things which are evil, and I understand very little about the devil, and I can't argue against each one of your points, Joel. A topic well done by Glenn as we think we know something of the devil, but he is more mysterious and cunning then we'll ever know.

    but I am convinced from the large amounts of evidence that there is something up with Rock n' Roll bands. Surly not all of them, but can we not deny that they proclaim a message of sin. Myself being a Christian, I'll listen to a rock song and feel that I am perfectly fine. But what of to someone that is not filled with the Holy Ghost or of a sheltered life?

    On top of that, and outside of the evidence, I believe the Holy Ghost leads many from what they watch and listen too. A year ago I would watch or listen to anything I wanted to. I was watching a cartoon and I heard a quote, "Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law". I didn't know what it meant, I didn't know where it came from, and I didn't like how I felt. (I really didn't like that it came from a cartoon!) From there I studied it, and became more aware of what I watched and listen too, and now I turn off the radio when I hear a band that I know proclaims this message..

    There are bands that I liked, but I won't listen to them anymore because I am simply convicted of it.

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  11. Anonymous above,

    Very good points. It's all about honesty in the Spirit. I don't really listen to classic rock like I used to and that was because of the connotations it had in my life, or stuff I would research in the songs. I loved Zeppelin. I loved the Doors. But there were things in their songs and in my research that struck me raw. SO I absolutely agree with you.

    I guess if there is an ultimate point, it is that satan is mysterious in his ways, and operates in a realm that goes unseen. It is entirely possible Satan works "this way" and "that way," but there is no way to prove for sure objectively that Satan is doing what we think he is doing. Ultimately what we say about Satan is very subjective, and I just don't agree with people trying to pinpoint places that they don't like or believe Satan works in, and make objective dogma out of their opinions.

    I think listening to the Doors and Zeppelin is wrong for my life. I would be a buffoon to try and claim that Satan is the catalyst behind those two bands and no one else should listen to them..

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  12. and Stanton, I know we are usually on the same page, but what do you think of Paul's declaration that the pagan gods are indeed demonic forces in I Corinthians 10?

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  13. Isn't it awesome how God can take the things of the Devil and use them for His own purposes! Even though Ezekiel 28 clearly shows us that rock music comes from Satan, Matthew 16:18 shows just as clearly that rock music can lead to supernatural revival and the ultimate defeat of Satan!! "Thou art Peter, and upon this, Rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." (of course there are no punctuation marks in the original Greek so we pretty much just fill those in for ourselves-exegesis) Look for my forthcoming book: "The Redemption of Rock: Screaming Guitars and Satanic Defeat"

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  14. Josh I don't know who you are but I love you.

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  15. I do as well...

    Joel- I do agree that paganism is a tool of Satan. I was distinguishing between philosophies.

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  16. Great blog and it goes a long ways to dispell some of the "leaps" apostolics have taken over the years that has led to misconceptions of the truth.

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  17. Upon giving my letter of resignation to the pastor of the church I led worship for over a 7 year span, he conveniently preached on Satan as the Worship Leader in Heaven. Thanks for shedding light on this subject.

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  18. This is very interesting...I am a lifelong professional musician. I have also been blessed/cursed with psychic abilities. i feel compelled to help others but afraid to do readings. I was taught that if the prophecy was from God, it would come true. It ran in my mother's side of the family--they were all very religious.

    i am tormented by it personally, and feel it either attracts attention from satans side, or at the very least, makes me a target. The bible says to wish for prophecy, a gift of the holy spirit, but some catholic saints had this same gift and they say "with extraordinary gifts come extraordinary trials". i was BORN with this gift. I would rather not have it and have prayed for it to be taken away. Yet i often feelo compelled by god to help people with it. It is a nightmare, seriously. I fear for my soul and am tormented by it. I try to stay close to God....I'd love to hear from all of you who seem so much smarter than me on these subjects!

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  19. Quick, Psychic! What are the winning numbers for Mega Millions?!?!

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  20. While I do see the points of this blog and the logic being used I want to ask you about it.

    Daniel 10:13 NKJV

    13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.

    Here the angel sent to Daniel was withstood by the prince of Persia. Obviously the physical prince of Persia could not be resisting the angel. Also in v. 21 the angel calls the angel Michael, Daniel's prince. Following this line of thinking it can be shown that demonic forces are used to represent some of the heathen rulers described in there Bible.

    So then would it be too far of a stretch to say that God sent Ezekiel to speak to the spiritual force that gave the king of Tyre his power?

    Ephesians 6:12 NKJV says:
    For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

    I agree that we can't necessarily say that satan is or was the minster of music from anything written in the Bible but we can't conclusively say that the being spoke about in Ezekiel 28:11-19 isn't some sort of fallen formerly superior spiritual being.

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  21. Have you ever considered that we all are fallen angels from heaven? The book of Romans states that the wages of sin is death. We are all sinners who come to die. The moment we are born we are destined to die. Then where did we commit our sin...on Earth or in Heaven? If you study the law of the city of refuge in the old testament you may understand.

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