It’s an oft-repeated myth among a handful of fundamentalists. Was Satan the composer and orchestrator of music and worship in heaven?
Despite its reputation as an old wives tale of sorts (perhaps intended to keep young people away from music that could potentially harm them spiritually), the claim that Satan was the composer and orchestrator of music in heaven is really nothing more than a myth. The only major support for this idea comes from Ezekiel 28:13 which reads,
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. (Ezekiel 28:13)
If we were to grant the claimant’s assumption that the referenced passage in Ezekiel is indeed referring to Satan, the verse in question still does not carry a lot of weight in regards to Satan’s position as leader and composer of music. It does state that a variety of instruments were prepared for this person but there is nothing that says instruments could not have been or were not prepared for other angels as well. If all beings in Heaven worship their creator would it not make sense for them to play instruments as well? Satan most likely played instruments in Heaven, however, we have no evidence that Satan was the leader of music and worship from this verse alone. It seems the individual pieces of this claim were added later on as an attempt to “fill in the gaps.”
Nevertheless, it is extremely doubtful that this passage is even referring to Satan at all. A few weeks back I looked at a passage in Isaiah that was said to describe Satan and his fall. But at a closer, contextual look, the passage turned out to be a lament towards the King of Babylon and not towards the prince of darkness (see link 1 below). Our passage in Ezekiel (from verses 12 to 19) tells a similar story. Verse 12 reveals who the subject of the following lament actually is.
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. (Ezekiel 28:12 bold mine)
In his cultural background commentary of the Old Testament, professor John Walton notes that,
“In the history of interpretation, some have construed this passage as referring to Satan’s fall. Satan is not referred to in this passage, and he is never identified in the Bible as either having been a cherub (a guardian of sacred space, not an angel) or as having a role in the Garden of Eden….” Walton, J. Keener, C. (2016) Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. Zondervan. p. 1377
More support for this can be found in Tekton’s article in link 2 below.
So what do I think of the devil’s influence over music today? Does he have a hand in it? No more or less than the influence he has on any other form of entertainment. He can certainly use music to accomplish sinful or harmful ends, however, he can also use a number of other things to produce similar results. The only power the devil has is that of perversion. He can only take what is essentially good and twist or pervert it into something it was never intended to be. Everything on this earth was created for the glory of God, but it is sin that corrupts the use of those things and not the things in and of themselves. This is all contrary to what this myth appears to teach us. Music is not something that has been signalled out and given fully to Satan but it is a tool we can use to worship our Lord and Savior and experience everything good in the life He has given us.