Jehovah is a farmer: he has a vineyard (Is. 5:1). He planted it as an excellent vine, himself, a perfectly faithful seed (Jer. 2:21). But Jehovah either is not a very good farmer, or he is unlucky. Isaiah says that he surrounded it and moved the stones, and built a tower in the middle of it, and also hewed out a wine vat in it; and he expected it to produce grapes, but it produced worthless fruit. Then he complains, saying: “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?” (Is. 5:4). “I will lay it a wasteland. It won’t be pruned nor hoed, but it will grow briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it. For the vineyard of Jehovah of Armies is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant” (Is. 5:4-7).
Israel is compared to different trees: “How goodly are your tents, Jacob, and your tents, Israel! As valleys they are spread forth, as gardens by the riverside, as aloes which Jehovah has planted, as cedar trees beside the waters” (Num. 24:5-6). But the trees that Jehovah was proud to plant were the cedars of Lebanon (CEDRUS LIBANI). They formed great forests on the slopes of Lebanon, and were the principal material in the construction of temples and castles. They were twenty or thirty meters high, with a circumference of up to twelve meters. It was the only tree that produced beams for large constructions and the masts of ships. And it was an aromatic wood (Ezek. 27:5). The Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians used the cedars of Lebanon for a thousand years before Christ. What is left of them nowadays are some four hundred trees, two thousand meters high up the mountains, for the ones below were all cut down.
The cedars of Lebanon are part of the figurative language of Jehovah. They are the symbol of strength, height, and majesty of some kingdoms; metaphorically, the royal house of Judah is compared to a cedar of Lebanon (Ezek. 17:2-3).
And Jehovah declares one more time: “Jehovah’s trees are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon, which he has planted” (Ps. 104:16). Now there are other kingdoms. Jehovah spoke to Ezekiel, the prophet, saying: “Son of man, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude: Whom are you like in your greatness?” (Ezek. 31:2). And the same Jehovah answers: “Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with beautiful branches, and with a forest-like shade, and of high stature; and its top was among the thick boughs. The waters nourished it, the deep made it to grow: its rivers ran all around its plantation; and it sent out its channels to all the trees of the field. Therefore its stature was exalted above all the trees of the field; and its boughs were multiplied, and its branches became long by reason of many waters, when it shot [them] forth” (Ezek. 31:3-5).
All the language in this text is metaphorical: The cedar of Lebanon is the symbol of pride, arrogance, greatness, and power, for the cedar is a majestic tree. The waters that made it to grow were the conquered peoples (Rev. 17:15). The abyss that exalted it is the satanic power of hell (Is. 14:13-15). The streams it sent to all the trees of the field were its armies, for Isaiah said: “Behold, the Lord brings upon them the mighty flood waters of the River: the king of Assyria and all his glory” (Is. 8:7-8). Its planted fields were the cities of Assyria; and the streams that flowed from it were its military units that protected the cities. This is why this cedar was the highest.
Assyria overpowered Babylon for 700 years. The Assyrians’ religion came from Babylon, except for Ashur, the protective god of the city of Ashur, the main deity of all Assyria. There were eleven more deities. Marduk was a god imported from Babylon. Below these there were innumerous gods of lesser importance.
The Assyrians were a barbarous people, and they were cruel with those they overcame in battle, which they beheaded and quartered. The conquered king remained in the tent of the sovereign, tied to a chain connected to a ring attached to his lower lip. A guard armed with a javelin pulled the chain; the cries of pain revealed that the Assyrian sovereign was invincible. Beside the throne there was a huge basket filled with heads of generals. Outside the tent a multitude waited in terror for their turn to die.
This is the cedar of Lebanon, of great stature and leafy boughs, which Jehovah planted. The other cedar of Lebanon, similar to this one and not less cruel and barbarous, was Egypt, for Ezekiel says: “Whom are you like in your greatness?” (Ezek. 31:2). Behold, Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon (Ezek. 31:3). These two cedars of high stature were in the garden of the true Eden, described by Ezekiel (Ezek. 31:1-9,18). The other cedars of Lebanon, planted by Jehovah, were the seven nations that occupied the Palestine when Israel came in, led by Joshua (Deut. 7:1), for these nations were exactly in the Garden of Eden, which is Palestine, including Sodom and Gomorrah.
Now, all these corrupt trees, cruel and diabolic, which worshipped demoniac gods, were planted by Jehovah, and not by the Father of Jesus (Ps. 104:16).
The only tree that God; the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, planted was Jesus himself. He said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer” (John 15:1). And said more: “Every plant which my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be uprooted” (Matt. 15:13).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira