|Judah's Septere and Joseph's Birthright
Chapter 7 - The Sceptre or the Promise of a Perpetuated House, Throne and Kingdom to David
The Prince of the Scarlet Thread and The Royal Remnant United In connection with the record of the fact that the "high," or ruling, Prince of Judah has been uncrowned and dethroned, and that the "low" has been crowned and placed on the throne, we find that a royal prince, a royal princess and the ten-tribed kingdom of Israel are all together in the same country, also that this royal pair are united and placed on a throne, and are ruling over the kingdom of Israel.
These facts are recorded in the seventeenth chapter of Ezekiel in the form of a riddle and a parable, which, together with their explanation, make up the subject matter of the entire chapter, which opens as follows:
"And the word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; and say, Thus saith the Lord God, etc." (Ezekiel 17:1-3)
The Hebrew word which is here translated riddle is defined as "A puzzle; hence a trick, conundrum, dark saying, hard question," etc. These definitions correspond to our English thought of an enigma, or something proposed which is to be solved by conjecture; a puzzling question; or an ambiguous proposition. A parable, on the other hand, is more like a fable or an allegorical representation of something which is real in its relation to human life and thought, and is represented by something real in nature.
Thus the prophet in his introduction prepares us to expect that the words which follow shall be enigmatical; and, since the Lord commanded him to use this veiled language, we must adjust ourselves accordingly, remembering that "it is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings to search out a matter." (Proverbs 25:2). So, then, let us, in a spirit that shall be worthy of kings, search out the matter of this riddle, which we will notice is put forth unto the house of Israel, and not to the Jewish people.
The first part of the riddle is given, as follows:
"Thus saith the Lord God: A great eagle with great wings, long-winged, full of feathers, which had divers colors, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar; he cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it to a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants." (Ezekiel 17:3-4)
A few moments' reflection will convince us that, whatever else it may mean, the great eagle is intended to represent a means of transportation; for the declaration is that "it came" to a certain place, "and took" something which was in that place to which it came, and "carried it into" some other "land."
We are also told that this means of transportation came to Lebanon. Since Lebanon is a mountain range in Palestine, then the place to which it came, and from which it departed is, most certainly, Palestine.
That which was taken away is declared to be "young twigs," which were taken from "the highest branch of the cedar" of Lebanon. Since the personal pronoun "his" is used, having "the cedar" for its antecedent, it must represent a person. This person is of the masculine gender, and father of the "young twigs"; hence, these young scions are also persons.
Furthermore, it is a well-authenticated fact that the cedar of Lebanon is a symbol of royalty. Since the riddle contains within itself such abundant evidence of this fact, which will be made clear as we proceed, we will not need to go elsewhere for proof.
Again, inasmuch as it is true of twigs that they must be set, grafted, or planted, in order that they may grow and bear fruit, Or increase, so also it is declared of these young royal scions that they were "set." The place also where they were set was certainly well adapted for increase of population, or subjects; that is, "a city of merchants, in a land of traffick."
The second part of this riddle reads as follows:
"He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree. And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were tinder him; so it became a vine, and shot forth sprigs." (Ezekiel 17:5-6)
"The seed of the land" is most certainly the people of the land. The land from which "he took" this seed, or people, is Palestine; and the people of Palestine are distinctly Israelites. And numerically, hence preeminently, they are always the ten-tribed kingdom of Israel.
So these people who had been taken out of their own land were "planted" in another, and that other has become to them " a fruitful field," which is located "by great waters." Not by the Mediterranean Sea, or the Great Sea, as it is called in Scripture. But the new home of this removed people is "by great waters." In their new home Israel "grew and became a spreading vine." And since this riddle is dealing with the breach —as we shall see — in which the "high" and the "low" princes of the royal house are to exchange places, we are not surprised that this spreading or out-reaching vine is said to be of "low" stature, nor that its branches and sprigs turned toward him, or that its roots, or growing power, was under him. If under him, then he was over them, i.e., their ruler.
This riddle further says:
"There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers; and behold this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation. It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine." (Ezekiel 17:7-8)
Here we have the record of the arrival of another passenger, who also came to that land of "good soil," which is by "great waters," and who was brought there by the same means of transportation, i.e., a "great eagle with great wings," as that which brought the royal sons. This was not the same eagle, but "another" eagle, or ship, for we believe this means of transportation to have been the ships of Dan; since it is declared that "Dan abode in ships," and that "they have taken Cedars from Lebanon to make masts" for their ships. We also know that the seaport of Tyre, in Palestine, was the port into which they must come for the cedars of Lebanon. Yes, for the cedars of Lebanon!!! be they used as masts for their ships, or as types of their royal princes.
The tribe of Dan also used the eagle as their standard, and they are said to have used great carved eagles with outstretched wings as the figureheads on the bows of their vessels. Also it is a common thing to symbolize ships which are under full sail as flying birds; and in this riddle the "long wings" represent the long sails, which, like wings carry the "great" ship — the large bird, or eagle ship — and her passengers to the land of traffic.
We are forced to the conclusion that the object which the writer has in view in mentioning the coming of this second ship is, that we may guess that another important personage had arrived; for, after mentioning the ship's arrival, his next expression is: "Behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him."
Thus we learn that the person who came in the second ship was a woman, and that her inclination and desire was toward the prince who had preceded her into the same land.
Then, still under the similitude of a vine, and that which is essential to its life and growth, viz., land and water, there follows that which clearly indicates a unity of life, claims and purpose. In fact, there was a marriage between the "her" and the "him" of this riddle, the result of which was that she, too, was " set " or "planted" in that land of a "goodly vine," albeit that goodly vine is of "Low Stature"; and bore "fruit." That is, offspring.
Since it is true that a prince can wed only with a princess, it will be well for us, at this juncture, to remember that we left Jeremiah and his little royal remnant of king's daughters on their way to a land which was strange, or unknown, to them; yet to a place where this preserved seed of David's line was to be "planted," again "take root," and "bear fruit."
Now, it is a fact that the man and the woman of this riddle were united. Also it is a fact that the woman was "planted" in that land of good soil, into which she did "take root," and these things were accomplished in order that she "might bear fruit." In other words, that which hitherto has been the subject of prophecy concerning Jeremiah's commission, and concerning his royal charge, is now recorded as a matter of history. The analogy is complete.
Still the explanation of this riddle makes all these things so plain that we are not left to conjecture. For at the eleventh verse the prophet says:
"Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? Tell them, Behold the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof and the princes thereof, and led them to Babylon." (Ezekiel 17:12)
The king of Babylon was Nebuchadnezzar, as we know. The king of Jerusalem, and the princes thereof, were, as we also know, Zedekiah and his sons.
Then follows a brief account of Zedekiah's treachery with the king of Babylon, how he rebelled against him, and sent to the king of Egypt for help.
Then comes a prophecy concerning the fact that King Zedekiah shall die in Babylon.
After this comes the prophetic account of that band of fugitives going to Egypt, and the declaration that they should fall by the sword, etc., all of which we have given in detail.
But the outcome of it all, and that which pertains to our immediate subject, begins again with the twenty-second verse. The prophet, still using the symbols of the riddle, explains as follows:
"Thus saith the Lord God, I will take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it." (Ezekiel 17:22)
This is the royal prince who came in Ship Number 1. He then proceeds to say:
"I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will PLANT it upon a high mountain and eminent." (v. 22)
This is the second importation of royal branches, but this time it is the "top" or one whose right it is to rule, a "tender one." That is, it is a tender young girl, the topmost one of the young twigs that came in Ship Number 2.
Where was she planted? "In the mountain of the height of Israel," is the Divine reply. "What, ISRAEL?" Yes, Israel, national Israel. Israel as a nation; but not Jewish-Israel, for that kingdom is overthrown; the people are gone into the Babylonish captivity; the king, with his eyes put out, is doomed to die in chains in a Babylonish prison; the princes are dead; the king's daughters have escaped out of Jerusalem; and the topmost one of these tender twigs is planted here in the height of the mountains of Israel, i. e., the THRONE.
"And it [that which was planted] shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell." (Ezekiel 17:23)
The purport of this is so glaringly plain that the most obtuse mind can see that it refers to the mixed population which Israel, of necessity, must have gathered while being sifted through other countries.
The prophet further declares:
"And all the trees of the field, (i.e., all the people of that kingdom of Israel), shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the HIGH tree, have exalted the LOW tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish. I the Lord have spoken and DONE it," (Ezekiel 17:24).
"Done what?" Brought down the HIGH from the throne, and exalted the LOW to the throne.
"What else?" Made the long-foretold breach, remembered his covenant with David, and kept faith with Jeremiah.
For, since these trees are the royal cedars, and the male heirs of the former reigning line have been dethroned in favor of him that was low, who also is the "spreading vine of LOW stature" of the riddle, and who is now exalted by being enthroned, and since a royal princess found her way to the land of the "vine of low stature" and united her interests with his, "that he might water the furrows of her plantation," (Ezekiel 17:7) we are safe in saying that God has taken the crown from off the head of Zedekiah, the high, who was of the Pharez line, and has placed it on the head of a prince of Zarah, the low, to whom Zedekiah's daughter, the heir to crown and sceptre, made her way, in company with Jeremiah, who had charge of the royal paraphernalia, and who was divinely commissioned to plant and build anew the plucked-up and overthrown kingdom of David.
Christ came through the family line of Judah, David, Josiah, and Jeconiah, not through the breach; the breach ran through Judah, David, Josiah and Zedekiah. So, the two branches of the Judo-Pharez-David line diverge at Josiah. One of these lines eventually gave birth to the Messiah; and, as we shall prove, the other line, after having been united to the brother line of the Scarlet Thread, are still holding that preserved throne and sceptre, and raising up seed unto their fathers, Judah and David; so that there shall never be a lack of some one of David's children to sit upon that throne as rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that the sceptre may not depart from Judah till SHILOH COME.
Thus it is that one of these lines holds that sceptre, and wears that crown as a fact, but the Judo-David house has a greater son to whom they belong by "RIGHT." When he comes, as Shiloh, God will give it to him, for unto him shall the gathering of the people be. At that time the breaches will be healed, and he shall be called "The Restorer of the BREACH."
The question now is to find where that sceptre and throne are today, for we are not only confronted with the question of "Lost Israel," or the "Lost Birthright," which involves the whole house of Joseph and the many nations into which they were to develop; but we are also confronted with the question of THE LOST SCEPTRE which involves the Zedekiah branch of the house of David and all its Heraldic Blazonry.