The Cedar Who Fell
There is an interesting section in Ezekiel, chapter 31 on which I have never heard much comment from pastors, or any other believers of His Word.
Though it is perhaps easy to read it as being addressed to a nation, there are certain themes within it which would never apply to any nation or ordinary ruler.
Here we see Egypt’s Pharaoh being warned in a comparison of himself to some manner of great and wicked leader, which is identified in KJV and other English translations as “the Assyrian”.
The word Assyrian in Old Testament scripture is translated from the word “Ashshur”, which is spelled : aleph, shiyn, reysh. This word can refer to the second son of Shem, or his descendants, or their country; but another word exists which is worth noticing for its similarity and possible confusion with the word Ashshur.
The word “ashur” which is also spelled : aleph, shiyn, reysh is used as a shortened form of a longer word – te’ ashshuwr – that is the name of a specific type of “box” cedar tree.
The difference in the words Ashshur and ashur is only noted in a vowel point, and it must be remembered that vowel points are not original to the language, and where they make the difference between a translation which makes sense and one which makes less, it is not always the better option to trust the given translation as the best choice.
A reason that it should be questioned that Ashshur should be the correct choice is in the next few words – and supported further by the rest of the text of the chapter.
“Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.” – Ezekiel 31:3
It is here plainly said that a Cedar is the object of reference. Might this not make sense if the translation were this instead:
“Behold, the Box Tree was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.”
The symbolism of the cedars of Lebanon is very prominent in scripture.
“And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.” – 2 Kings 14:9
“Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down. There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled. ” – Zechariah 11:1-3
“The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. ” – Psalm 29:5
“For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,” – Isaiah 2:12,13
The idea which follows the symbol of a cedar of Lebanon is pride, strength and rulership, and perhaps more that that. The first time tall, proud trees are mentioned in historical writings of non-canon scripture they appear in the book of giants, which exists now in fragments from the dead sea scrolls.
“In the Dead Sea text entitled the Book of Giants, the Nephilim sons of the fallen angel Shemyaza, named as ‘AhyÄ and ‘OhyÄ, experience dream-visions in which they visit a world-garden and see 200 trees being felled by heavenly angels. Not understanding the purpose of this allegory they put the subject to the Nephilim council who appoint one of their number, Mahawai, to go on their behalf to consult Enoch, who now resides in an earthly paradise. To this end Mahawai then:
[… rose up into the air] like the whirlwinds, and flew with the help of his hands like [winged] eagle [… over] the cultivated lands and crossed Solitude, the great desert, […]. And he caught sight of Enoch and he called to him…
Enoch explains that the 200 trees represent the 200 Watchers, while the felling of their trunks signifies their destruction in a coming conflagration and deluge.” piney.com
Mt Hermon, the place of descent of those 200 Watchers, sits on the border between Lebanon and Israel, so that it is evident why a cedar of Lebanon is a very likely symbol for a fallen Watcher.
The rest of this chapter begins to look less like a comparison of pharoah with another great human ruler, and more like a historic comparison to those who ruled the world before the deluge.
“The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent her little rivers unto all the trees of the field.” – Ezekiel 31:4
In 1 Enoch it is described as the fate of the women who became wives of the Watchers that they should be, after their mortal deaths, “Sirens” roaming the earth, and their children became “demons”.
Sirens are understood in legends around the world to be female spirits connected always with water. Perhaps here we see a reference to these human women that were the fuel that fed the reign of these fallen angels on Earth.
“Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations. Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters. ” – Ezekiel 31:5-7
This describes a world government, much like one that will exist in the near future as it is foretold by Messiah that the last days should be just as the days of Noah were.
“The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height; ” – Ezekiel 31: 8-10
There becomes little doubt in this section that what is being referred to is not a human ruler or a nation, by reference to those in the “garden of Elohim (God)” and “Eden” – which obviously has had no human inhabitant since Adam and Eve.
“I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness. And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him. ” – Ezekiel 31:11,12
“the mighty one” is translated from “el” which is used to refer to deity, whether the True Creator or a falsely worshiped being. It should be remembered that the Watchers who rebelled did so much after Satan had led his own rebellion, and Satan was, and is still, the primary ruler over the dominion of sin.
These two factions of rebels have not always cooperated with one another, but in the end Satan is given dominion to rule over all who stand in transgression against the Creator.
When the Watchers were imprisoned just before the flood, the world under their rule became a legend and a myth until this day. People have left that history behind them in a past they do not recall.
“Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches: To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit. Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him.” – Ezekiel 31:13-15
The fowls and beasts can be likened to those who have retained the occult knowledge which originated in those pre-flood days, and who strive toward a resurrection of that age, the ruling families and secret societies of the present world.
The ruin to which the rebel watchers came is a reminder before the heavenly host to beware of entertaining pride and transgression.
The rebels have had their bodies which existed in the physical world destroyed, and they have been thrown into subterranean prisons, dying as mankind does, a form of mortal death.
It is mentioned in 1 Enoch how some of the holy host mourned the downfall of their brethren.
“I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth. They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen. To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.” – Ezekiel 31:16-18
The whole world was changed with the end of the Watchers reign and the flood. It would begin over again, with a small remnant.
The phrase “shall be comforted” comes from the word “nacham”, which means to sigh or be sorry for, to pity or repent. These are the whole host of rebel Watchers, “they that were his arm” mourning the defeat of their leader.
Perhaps all should do their own research, and yet this is a chapter which i believe has relevance in this day, and which is worthy of taking notice.