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Ezekiel;- The eagles and the vine

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posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 05:02 PM
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Ezekiel is the prophet of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians.
His prophecies have been about the approaching judgement, when the city is to be besieged and destroyed.
God has long-term reasons for allowing this to happen, but the immediate cause of the event will be the city’s defiance of the king of Babylon.
Ezekiel turns to allegory once more (ch17) to explain the essential features of the crisis.

The allegory comes in two stages.
Just as Nathan deals with David in the episode of Bathsheba, Ezekiel tells the story first in general terms, inviting his audience to judge the outcome for themselves (vv1-10).

There is a great eagle, “rich in plumage of many colours”.
This eagle comes to a cedar of Lebanon and breaks off “the topmost of its young twigs”. The real point of this image is about the height of the twig (tall tree on high mountain), showing that it refers to a member of the royal dynasty.
The eagle “carried the twig to a land of trade and set it in a city of merchants”.

Then the eagle “took of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil; he placed it beside abundant waters”, where it prospered as a low spreading vine.
In this case, at least, the image does not represent a physical movement.
It is a metaphor about nurturing someone and establishing them in their place.
A second eagle appears on the scene, with great wings and plumage, but not “rich in many colours”.
The growing vine “bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him” ,and he transplanted it once more to his own “good soil by abundant waters”.
Nevertheless, the vine cannot last in its new location, because it’s roots are not firmly planted.
It will wither away when the east wind (from the desert) strikes into it.
Another way of putting it is that the eagle who planted it in the first place will have no difficulty in pulling up its roots again and cutting off its branches.

Taken as a whole, the story is full of anomalies, because it has been moulded around the intended interpretation. This is not how eagles and vines normally behave. Vines do not reach out to eagles, and eagles do not carry vines and plant them.
The opening image of the eagle snapping off a twig is more realistic, but the twig scene is detached from the rest of the story and plays no part in the conclusion.
Nevertheless, we can grasp the main point; this vine has no security and cannot survive.

Next comes the application of the story; “Thou are the man” (vv11-15).

The first eagle is to be understood as Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
He has come to Jerusalem once already, taking the current king Jehoiachin (“the twig”), and removing him to Babylon, the city of merchants in a land of trade.
But that scene is merely establishing the background, locating the story in the eleven-year interval between this preliminary exile and the main siege.
The “twig” is not the real subject of the allegory, so it plays no part in the rest of the story and can be left there in Babylon.

At the same time, Nebuchadnezzar took Zedekiah, the previous king’s uncle (“one of the seed of the land”) and raised him up as the new king in Jerusalem. That is what is meant by “planted the vine beside abundant waters.”
At least that is what it looks like from a distance, on the other side of the desert.
In the chapters of Jeremiah, which give us a closer view, we may see that Zedekiah is nearly powerless, and terrified of displeasing the nobles who are the real rulers of the city.
Nebuchadnezzar had him proclaimed as king, but does not seem to have done anything really useful such as providing him with a Babylonian bodyguard.

The second great eagle is the king of Egypt.
Zedekiah has been sending ambassadors into Egypt, requesting horses for his own army and the more direct help of an Egyptian army.
The Egyptians have been responding; their support is portrayed by the image in which the second eagle takes possession of the vine, moving it into a new bed of good soil with abundant waters.
In practice, though, most of the support must have come in the form of generous promises.
The Egyptians may have sent horses, but they weren’t able, when the time came, to send out an adequate army of their own.
It was easy to predict, then, that the vine would shrivel under the “eastern” wind coming from Babylon, and that Nebuchadnezzar would find it easy to pull the roots out of the ground.

The moral (vv16-21);
An alliance with Egypt is decidedly the wrong choice, in two different ways.
In the first place, “Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war”. This is true, and a sufficient reason in itself, yet it is the lesser reason.
The more important reason is that Zedekiah has already committed himself to the king of Babylon, by making a covenant with him and swearing an oath.
The point is that this oath was sworn in the presence of God. It was a covenant which was made with God himself. So when Zedekiah breaks his covenant oath with Babylon, he is also breaking his covenant oath with God. It is a clear breach of the third commandment, “taking the name of the Lord in vain”.
Therefore he must face the punishment of all those who break their covenant with God.
“I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will take him to Babylon and enter into judgement with him there for the treason he has committed against me”.
The image means that the king of Babylon will be hearing and giving judgement on God’s case against Zedekiah.
Zedekiah’s fall will be the tribunal’s verdict.

There is one final allegory, which returns to the first basic image of the eagle and the twig (vv22-24);
This time, God himself will be taking the twig from “the lofty top of the cedar”- that is, from the house of David.
However, it will only be a “tender sprig”.
This God specialises in taking what is weak, and raising it up himself, in preference to those things which have more obvious power.
He will plant it “on the mountain height of Israel”, on Zion, so that it may “bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a noble cedar”
Its shade will shelter birds and beasts of every kind. Here we see part of the source of the parables of Jesus about the Kingdom.

In this way, the judgement theme of the main allegory is modified by a promise of restoration.

And God will do these things so that his power may become more evident.
All the trees of the field will know that only he can instigate these reverses;
“To bring low the high tree and make high the low tree
Dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it”.




posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 05:19 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Yep, a person wrote all that stuff.



posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 05:21 PM
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a reply to: Woodcarver
That is not in dispute.



posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 05:27 PM
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I guess in some way we see how the church is/has replaced Israel as a nation under Christ who is God
Depending if you are a dispensationalist or covenant theory believer
If Israel has been removed? Because of sin, does that mean that our salvation is not guaranteed ?



posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 05:34 PM
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a reply to: Raggedyman
I'm developing the view that Israel expanded to include the Gentiles. Paul defines those who live by the Cross as "the Israel of God", but he is unwilling to accept that the old Israelites have been rejected altogether.
Salvation is promised to God's people, including both Jews and Gentiles.



posted on Mar, 9 2018 @ 11:58 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Dispensationalist as opposed to covenant theology then
It's an interesting argument
Yes there seems more in store for Israel I think as well.



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 01:43 AM
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a reply to: Raggedyman
I thought the dispensationalist view was that "Israel" and "the church" were distinct bodies with separate identities?
My view is basically the traditional understanding which the dispensationalists apparently disparage as "replacement theology". Somebody on this site once accused me of confusing my ecclesiology with my Israelology, which I take to be a dispensationalist criticism.

I was trying to outline the version of "replacement theology"which I find in Paul's language.
Those who hold by the Cross of Christ are "the Israel of God" (Galatians ch6v16).
That includes both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians, since the barrier has been broken down (Galatians ch3 v28).
Those Jews who rejected Christ are the "faithless" portion of God's people. Their branches have been broken off the tree (the dispensationist appears to believe there are two trees). But God cannot have rejected them altogether, and he believes they will be restored. (Romans ch11). That seems to make them part of God's people with what amounts to "suspended membership".



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 05:07 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Yes that seems a clear understanding of dispensationalism, something I tend to agree with
No argument there



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 06:09 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I used to think it was a "either or" from which to choose from . But because of the "already but not yet" ambiguity of end times , I climbed back up on the fence . Call me a small "p" preterits and a pre-wrath dispensationalist . Your OP was pretty much on the mark and speaks volumes that ring true in James . Be careful when making a oath .



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 06:24 AM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1
I think the hardline dispensationalist (e.g. NotURTypical, who accused me of being confused) is offended by the fact that I don't distinguish between Israel and the church. I regard them as two ends of the same continuous history of God's people. As traditional Bibles did, when they captioned the psalms with comments like "God comforteth his church".

You need to remember that I was brought up in a traditional church outside America. I've never even seen the Scofield Bible. So the dispensationalist outlook is completely new territory for me.



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 06:41 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI




You need to remember that I was brought up in a traditional church outside America. I've never even seen the Scofield Bible. So the dispensationalist outlook is completely new territory for me.
I at one time wanted to go and study theology . Darby's dispensationalism with the Scofield Bible along with a raft of commentary's put me on a swinging pendulum as far as end times goes . His first appearance was ambiguous enough to put the powers of darkness in check and His second coming will probably be even more ambiguous . It will be like a thief in the night . Always enjoy your posts .



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 06:49 AM
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originally posted by: the2ofusr1
His second coming will probably be even more ambiguous . It will be like a thief in the night .

When you find yourself tied up with a gun pointing at your head, you know that you've been burgled.



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 08:18 AM
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Actually, he hasn't abandoned Israel at all and they always were the bride. Christianity is actually the Whore riding on the back of the Beast that clearly can be seen now with the evangelicals riding Trump. We will eat crumbs that fall from the promises made all along to Israel. No one has that new heart or knows god like the promises state at least yet. If you need further proof, 666 X 3 = perfect man, or Jesus. Receiving that mark is receiving Jesus and the rest should be self explanatory. That wounded head is the last kingdom to rule over Israel and it's religion it was built on is represented in that head.
The saying the first shall be last means the ones expecting to be first (raptured) will now need to rub that stupid mark off their forehead, which will put them behind.



posted on Mar, 10 2018 @ 08:33 AM
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a reply to: JerryMH
I gave you your answer last time;

"Antichrist" is a concept belonging to the New Testament religion which establishes Jesus.
If you don't believe in that religion, you have no rational reason to believe in an antichrist either.
There are two logical possibilties.
Either the New Testament is true, in which case the antichrist is the opposite of Jesus. (That how it is defined by John, who seems to have invented the word in the first place)
Or the NewTestament is not true, in which case there is no such thing as antichrist.

(Yes, this time you used the concept without using the word. The argument remains unaffected.)





edit on 10-3-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



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