Total Hereditary Depravity (Sixteen)

It is written:

“You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:15)

Our studies of the Old Testament have so far demonstrated that children are born into this world in a state of innocence, free of sin and pure in being.

This passage in Ezekiel is another that confirms this truth.

Let’s notice two things about this text.

First, the subject of the passage is the king of Tyre. Ezekiel 28:11-19 is a passage which was written by Ezekiel to the wicked king of Tyre. The king of Tyre at this time would have been Ethbaal or Ithobalus, according to the Jewish historian Josephus. Scholars have long observed that this wicked king is being compared to another being who fell from grace, and we find here a likely reference to Satan.

“Two passages of Scripture often referred to regarding Satan’s early history are Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:12-14. A closer look at these passages will assist us in drawing some conclusions regarding Satan’s origin. From the Ezekiel passage it is clear that the prophecy is addressed to the king of Tyre. However, the language seems to indicate that the application must go beyond the earthly ruler to a supernatural being of some kind. Ezekiel speaks concerning contemporary events, but seems to go beyond them from the king of Tyre to Satan, using them as a type. Rex Turner writes, Ezekiel, when delivering a burden against Tyre and the king of Tyre, also represented the king of Tyre as being a personification of Satan. Ezekiel’s personification of Satan is seen in his charge: “Because thy heart is lifted up” (Ezek. 28:2, KJV). “Thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas” (vs. 2); “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” (vs. 12); “Thou wast in Eden, the garden of God” (vs. 13); “Thou wast the anointed cherub that covereth” (vs. 14); “Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God” (vs. 14); “Thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire” (vs. 14); “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created till wickedness was found in you” (vs. 15); “Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty” (vs. 17); “Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (vs. 17). Now all these statements could not have been true of the king of Tyre. He, therefore, apparently personified the spirit of Satan.1…Although in their original settings these passages have reference to the kings of Tyre and Babylon, there are many who believe that too much is said to have reference only to these kings. These passages, then, are taken as a personification of Satan himself. In these passages we have an account of Satan’s past career as Lucifer in his pre-fall splendor. For example, Victor Knowles writes, It is hard to understand how some can rule out any reference to Satan at all in this passage, Ezekiel 28:12-19. The passage fairly reeks with Satanic overtones. True, not everything that is said about the wicked king of Tyre can be paralleled with Satan. But enough is said to lead us to believe that the many accusations God made against the king of Tyre are also made against Satan. This man was so evil in his deeds that Scripture uses him as a personification of evil, or, more properly, the evil one—Satan. The wicked king of Tyre helps us to understand how evil this once-holy angel, Satan, really is.2. And again, writing of the passage in Isaiah, “This portion of Scripture, like the Ezekiel passage, was directed against a human king who was so evil that God compared him to the devil himself. Both kings exhibited attitudes, ambitions, and actions that are characteristic of Satan. Hence we are able to learn more about the evil nature of the once-holy angel, Satan.”3”. (Edward P. Myers, A Study of Angels, 54-56 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY: Howard Books)

Some have used this information to try and suggest that Ezekiel 28:15 is not a reference to the king of Tyre, yet that simply will not do. The text is primarily about this wicked king, and any comparison to Satan is secondary in nature.

Second, the text says that the king of Tyre had been sinless from the time of his creation and that he remained in that condition until he chose to sin against the Lord. The word translated here as “perfect” is an interesting word chosen by the Prophet. In fact, it is hard to imagine a better word then this one to depict sinlessness!

“tamim (8549), “perfect; blameless; sincerity; entire; whole; complete; full….Tamim means “complete,” in the sense of the entire or whole thing…This word may mean “intact,” or not cut up into pieces…Tamim may mean incontestable or free from objection….In several contexts the word has a wider background. When one is described by it, there is nothing in his outward activities or internal disposition that is odious to God….“Another adjective, tam, appears 15 times. With a cognate in Ugaritic the word means “complete or perfect” (Song of Sol. 5: 2, RSV), “sound or wholesome” (Gen. 25: 27), and “complete, morally innocent, having integrity” (Job 1: 8).” (W.E. Vine & Merrill F. Unger, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index (Word Study), 741-742 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added, M.T.); Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Publishers)

My friends, the doctrines of original sin and total hereditary depravity are the inventions of men. They are not found in the Old Testament Scriptures, and the earliest reference to the teaching is from long after the close of the Old Testament itself. One researcher has noted:

“The latter prophets (such as Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah) helped men see the moral character and moral requirements of God with a clarity not before available to men. Repentance was something people both inside and outside of Israel (cf. Jonah) needed. Jeremiah and Ezekiel show that individual men are personally responsible for their sins; the guilt of the fathers sins is not something that hereditary can be passed on to the children (Ezekiel 18:4, 20)….This book (2 Esdras, M.T.), which was written late in the first century A.D., shows that at the time it was written, there was in Judaism a doctrine of inborn, inherited sin. 2 Esdras 4:30, 31 read, ‘For a grain of evil seed was sown from the beginning in the heart of Adam, and how much ungodliness it has produced up to this time and will produce before the judgment comes. Estimate for yourself how great a crop of ungodliness a grain of evil seed has produced.’….A most difficult question to answer concerns the source of this ‘inherent evil heart’ idea-did it come from Romans, or from Greek philosophy?” (Gareth L. Reese, New Testament Epistles: A Critical And Exegetical Commentary On Paul’s Epistle To The Romans, 219-222; Moberly, Missouri; Scripture Exposition Books)

When we turn to the New Testament, we find an equal amount of evidence that children are born sinless into this world.

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