Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair
branches, and with forest shade, and of a high stature; and his top was among
the thick boughs.
The waters made it great, the deep set it up on high with its
rivers running round about its plants, and sent out its little rivers unto all
the trees of the field.
Therefore its height was exalted above all the trees of
the field, and its boughs were multiplied, and its branches became long because
of the multitude of waters, when it shot forth.
All the fowls of heaven made
their nests in its boughs, and under its branches did all the beasts of the
field bring forth their young, and under its shadow dwelt all great nations.
Thus was it beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches: for its
root reached to great waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it:
the fir trees were not like its boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like its
branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto it in its beauty.
I have made it beautiful by the multitude of its branches: so that all the trees
of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied it.
Ezekiel prophesied this parable to the Pharaoh of Egypt, who was apparantly from Assyria. Egypt often had foreign Pharaohs. Quite an odd thing. We wouldn't do well to have a Japanese President of the United States, I don't imagine. Oh, but this Pharaoh had prospered, and multiplied his greatness. He saw himself as a cedar, so to speak, but forgot he was planted in the Garden of God.
If you compare the NKJ text above to the Old King James, it only differs basically by substituting male and female pronouns for the pronoun "it," when referring to the Cedar and the waters of the deep. The Old King James uses "He" for the Cedar because the Cedar is symbollic of the Pharaoh, a man. Likewise, the groundwaters (waters of the deep) are personified as "her." The waters in Revelation are symbolic of "many people." That leads you to see many people here who are fed and made rich by the Assyrian, putting them on the receiving, or feminine, end of the trade. In the same way today, America is a woman, Russia is a Mother, etc. They are feminine because they are traditionally led by men, it seems. It is only metaphoric, so they are basically the same.
God had bad things in store for the Assyrian, Pharaoh of Egypt, which is a symbolic name of the devil and of the Antichrist, along with the name, "the Man of Sin." You see, God sees you in respect to whose side you are on... or rather, whose work you are doing. Are you against Christ? Then He sees you as Antichrist. Are you for Christ? Then you are a Christian. There is no middle of the road, no purgatory either, no other garden in which to be planted.
Luke 11:23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathers not with me scatters.
No neutral territory it seems. Either you become a planting of the Lord, or you become plucked out of the Garden of God. But, that's not my point. What most strikes me about this parable sleeping among the prophets, is the fact that the Assyrian was in God's Garden. He was planted by God. He was given his dominion from the Lord of Hosts. The Magnificent Creator delivered all this into his hands, then judged him for his works.
We are saved by grace, through faith in the blood of Jesus. But, that does not cause us to despise works, does it? James says that if we say we have faith without works, then he will show us his faith by his works.
James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me
your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
But, we are judged by grace, right? Wrong. try door #2.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;
and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of
life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the
books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it; and death
and hades delivered up the dead who were in them: and they were judged every man
according to their works.
This pretty much measures up to what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Talents. The Master judged the servants for the works they did with the talents they had been given. But, there are two interesting things to note here in this Old Testament Parable.
1. We all belong to God... whoever you are...however you see yourself.
2. God is in charge.
Whose side are you on?
Matthew 25:14-15 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling
into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his
goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to
every man according to his own ability; and immediately took his journey.