We should never underestimate Satan's power nor his hatred for God and man. He surreptitiously broadcasts his evil, spiritual intents into our minds, subtly working to turn each member of the “little flock” away from God (Ephesians 2:2). We should carefully consider the account of his actions in Ezekiel 28:12-16 as typical of his modus operandi. Although nothing was withheld from him, as he was created by God as the ultimate in beauty and function, “perfect in [his] ways,” he did not remain true, turning away from God, a picture of cancerous discontent.
In verse 17, we see the source of this discontent—pride: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.” Satan was full of pride, the very thing we must guard against so that we do not corrupt the wisdom God has given us.
Satan is called “an angel of light” because he has a talent for presenting evil in a good light, which can confuse and deceive us if we let our guards down and drift away from God's truth (II Corinthians 11:3, 14-15; see Revelation 12:9). Without this truth as our guide, we can easily fall prey to Satan's darts of discontent. After all, this is Satan's world for a while longer. So while we continue to witness the growth of discord and discontent based on his false notion that life should always be fair, we should anticipate and be thoroughly prepared for life—occasionally and even frequently—to be unfair, for now.
However, as we head into the final stages of the age of man, we should keep in mind that each of us was created by God, complete with everything we need to function according to His will. While we may lack the power, wealth, talent, and beauty that Satan—or perhaps a brother—has been gifted, we will soon be given so much more, if, among other things, we learn to be content with what our generous and loving God has provided us.
We should always remember that discontentment is common and hurtful, while contentment is rare and of great benefit (I Timothy 6:6). For true contentment is a byproduct of the gift of faith that each of us, as the elect, has been granted by God.
Foolishly comparing our lot in life with that of anyone else's can never bear any good fruit (II Corinthians 10:12). We should, instead, only measure ourselves by the Word of God—the life of Jesus Christ. In doing so, we will discover a proper perspective, finding peace, security, and contentment within God's sovereign plan (Philippians 4:6-11). Like Job, our focus need not be on what seems fair—what we possess or lose today—but on God's promises for our future, when we will take possession of the most indescribable gift of all, eternal life with our just and loving God!
Geoff Preston (1947-2013)
It's Not Fair!
The being we know as Satan the Devil began his life as a glorious cherub covering God's throne. Before he sinned, this archangel, Hêlêl (“shining one”), had everything going for him. God had created him perfect, wise, and beautiful. He had astounding skills and talents, especially musical talents, which were probably used in praising God. He was given high position as “the anointed cherub who covers” (emphasis ours), meaning that his wings stretched over God's throne. Always at the hub of God's activity, Hêlêl was the perfect specimen of creation—beautiful, wise, talented, skilled, and eminent. Then he spoiled it all through sin.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Binding of Satan
This passage deals with an unusual being of great beauty who was in the Garden of Eden. Precious stones are part of his covering, which probably means they were part of the clothing that adorned him. This being is a created being, not one who was born. In addition to that, he is—or was—full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Obviously, God is not speaking of a human being. This personage was the sum total of all that God could create by fiat and put into a living being. In verse 14, He identifies him more clearly.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 1)
Consider what he was. He was the pinnacle of what God can create by fiat. That is what is suggested in the wording of this passage - he was the "seal of perfection," the most perfect creation, full of wisdom and beauty. He was made with precious stones as part of his body. Music - beautiful music - was intrinsic to him. He had an exalted position as the "covering cherub." He walked where God ruled, amidst the fiery stones. He had it all. It should have been enough for him, but he began to think, "I'm still one step down from the top. I really don't have it all. I want to rise to the next level of management. I want to be the CEO of the universe. I think I'll overthrow God."
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Ezekiel calls Helel/Satan "the anointed cherub who covers," which means he was one of the chief angels whose wings covered God's throne in heaven. He is specifically shown to be a created being, possibly the most beautiful, wise, and perfect of God's creations.
But this mighty angel grew proud and vain in his beauty. He began to become envious of God's authority over the universe, and over maybe millions of years, he schemed to induce other angels to support him in an attempt to overthrow God. When he finally led one third of the angels (Revelation 12:4) to war against God in heaven, God cast him and his angelic troops back to the earth (Luke 10:18).
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Satan's Origin and Destiny
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Ezekiel 28:12: