The USA Connnection
As discussed in the previous article of this series, Ezekiel 17: A Riddle of Two Eagles and a Vine, I believe that the actual riddle that is being posed in this scripture is prophetic in nature and had nothing to do with the political events of Ezekiel's day. In fact, I believe that the conundrum that is being presented can only be found by interpreting the allegorical symbols from a much more modern perspective of history - by looking back from today! To begin, please read the following:
and speak a parable to the house of Israel,
3 and say, 'Thus says the Lord God:
"A great eagle with large wings and long pinions,
Full of feathers of various colors,
Came to Lebanon And took from the cedar the highest branch.
4 He cropped off its topmost young twig
And carried it to a land of trade;
He set it in a city of merchants.
Ezekiel 17:2-4 (NKJV)
The eagle is a prominent symbol of the United States of America and it is even emblazoned on our Great Seal shown below. Though the eagle on this Great Seal doesn't hold a cedar branch, it does indeed clasp a branch in its right talon. But this branch is from an olive tree which is a symbol of divine blessing and peace!1
Above the eagle's head on this seal is what is known as a "glory" and it is made up of 13 stars arranged in rows which form a six pointed star.2 This six pointed star is known as the "Star of David" or the "Shield of David" and was named after the biblical King David.3 This "Shield of David" is also a direct representative of the Lord, Himself, as David named Him as "my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour."4 Therefore, the "glory" on the Great Seal of the United States clearly depicts the "Glory of the Lord" above this eagle!
I believe that the eagle portrayed on the above seal is the great eagle spoken of in Ezekiel 17:3. I also feel that this eagle brought the Lord's blessing to our country on May 14th, 1607 when the settlers of the London Company arrived in Virginia. The very first act of these settlers on arriving was to erect a large cross at the site where they would later establish the first American colony of Jamestown. The second thing that these Christian settlers did was to celebrate the Lord's Supper by kneeling down and taking communion right there on the banks of the James River!5
And planted it in a fertile field;
He placed it by abundant waters
And set it like a willow tree
6 And it grew and became a spreading vine of low stature;
Its branches turned toward him,
But its roots were under it.
So it became a vine,
Brought forth branches,
And put forth shoots.
Ezekiel 17:3-5 (NKJV)
Our great nation, the fertile field of Ezekiel 17:5, was founded by Christians to be a Christian nation.6 In fact, King James, the authorizer of the King James Version of the Holy Bible, stated in the First Charter of Virginia, "We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God... DO, by these our Letters Patents, graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble and well-intended Desires."7 It is clear that the people who settled and founded the United States of America are the seed which grew into the spreading vine of Ezekiel 17:6. They were firmly rooted in their faith and looked thankfully upon our Lord, Jesus Christ, even as they first set foot in this new land!
Curiously, there are also a lot of parallels in the history of the United States and Old Testament Israel. For example, there are 13 named tribes of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan,Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manesseh;8 and there were 13 original states. Israel had to conquer the land of Canaan and the colonial settlers had to conquer the American Frontier. Also, Israel fought a civil war which divided the kingdom into the North and South9 and the U.S. was divided between the North and South during the Civil War.
Furthermore, there is another curious similitude between Old Testament Israel and Early America. This resemblance can be found in the events which transpired after each had completely settled the land. The Bible records that after the Isrealites had conquered Canaan and settled into the promise land, they began to turn away from God and even demanded a king to rule over them in place of the judges whom the Lord had appointed as His representatives. The Books of 1 & 2 Kings clearly demonstrate the subsequent decline of the Isrealite society under the rulership of men after they had subdued the land.
Interestingly, after the American Frontier was declared to no longer exist in the census of 1890,10 Frederick Jackson Turner developed his "Frontier Theory" to explain the effect of this loss in light of the ensuing decline in the moral fabric of American society. According to this theory, as the land was conquered and subsequent generations settled farther in land, the old European characteristics and institutions became increasingly out of place in society, including the established churches! People "became more violent, more individualistic, more distrustful of authority, less artistic, less scientific, and more dependent on ad-hoc organizations they formed themselves".11 They had turned away from God and begun to rely more on their own strength - just as the Israelites had done after they had conquered Canaan!
And behold, this vine bent its roots toward him,
And stretched its branches toward him,
From the garden terrace where it had been planted,
That he might water it.
Ezekiel 17:7 (NKJV)
This second eagle, which captured the attention of the vine in the above scripture and caused it to turn away from the first eagle, is clearly depicted in the history of the United States of America. History confirms that after the westward expansion of the territory had been completed, the American government became more dependent upon their own man made institutions than on the Lord. This second eagle, lead by human pride and not the Lord, is clearly depicted on the Presidential Seal of the United States of America.
Eventhough this seal is very similar to the Great Seal, the most noticeable difference is the absence of the "Shield of the Lord" above the eagle's head. It has been replaced by "an arced cornea of thirteen stars representing the original states... and above the stars, thirteen clouds".12 This seal was first authorized by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 and represents, in my opinion, the turning point where the U.S. government began to change its policies. The replacement of the "Lord's Glory Cloud" with the thirteen stars and thirteen clouds demonstrates that the American government pridefully valued their accomplishment in having colonized the "New Land". Their actions after the introduction of this new seal confirm that they had forgotten the God ordained mission of the original settlers which had landed in Virginia 273 years before.
Sometime between the 1880 and 1890 census, the American Frontier had disappeared and as discussed above the values of Americans had changed for the worse as they turned away from God. During this same period, the U.S. government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which racially discriminated against the Chinese immigrants which they had encouraged to settle here and help build the Transcontinental Railroad;13 they also broke a treaty with the Lakota Indian tribe which resulted in the deaths of 300 unarmed men, women and children in the Wounded Knee Massacre;14 and the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which granted full equality under the law to all citizens of every race and color, was ruled unconstitutional.15 In addtion to that, "as early as 1890, many states were rolling back mandates of state sponsored devotional exercises in the classroom".16 These actions on the part of the U.S. government vividly substantiate the fact that they had begun to turn away from the Lord. But, this was only the beginning when the vine began to bend its roots towards the second eagle spoken of in Ezekiel 17:7!
It wasn't until the 1960's that the branches of the vine also began to stretch towards this second eagle. The 60's were a decade not only known for its increased civil rights for all people but also for its more radical social changes. The sexual revolution, which promoted the idea of "free love", was launched at this time with the advent of the birth control pill coupled with an increased tolerance towards homosexuality. This very liberal and extreme change within the culture resulted in a startling rise of sexual immorality within a large segment of the American population17. The promotion of eastern mysticism, illicit drug use and rebellion amongst teens and young adults was also promoted through the "hippie revolution" which adopted the motto of "Tune In, Turn On, and Drop Out" to popularize their radical social platform.18
In light of these major social changes which occurred as a result of the sixties counterculture movement, it can not be denied that a large part of the American society had turned away from the Christian foundation which had been laid by the first American settlers. Instead, of following the Lord and his precepts, they had chosen to pursue the materialistic American Dream of a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. This change in the values of the American people is allegorically represented by the turning of the branches towards the second eagle in Ezekiel 17:7. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to see this second eagle rise to prominence on the Kennedy Halfdollar which was first minted in 1964 - the very same year that Bible reading was removed from public schools.19
The eagle emblazoned on the Kennedy Halfdollar proudly proclaims its elevation in status, having captured not only the heart of the government's presidential office but now the entire nation as well. It is no coincidence that it has chosen to make this declaration on a coin, either. Hasn't the pursuit of money taken precedence over everything else in the mind of the average American man? Hasn't the Lord, Himself warned us of this folly when he stated,
for either he will hate the one and love the other,
or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 (NKJV)
The ruler of this second eagle, mammon, has captured the minds and hearts of the vine, the American people, from the Ruler of the first eagle which is the Lord! Our Lord has even warned us of the outcome of this foolishness in this very chapter of Ezekiel which we are discussing! Please read the following:
Will he who does such things escape?
Can he break a covenant and still be delivered?
19 Therefore thus says the Lord God:
(Please notice that in the above scripture I have omitted verses 16 - 18 as they apply to the first fulfillment of this warning which took place in Ezekiel's day as previously discussed in the prior article, Ezekiel 17: A Riddle of Two Eagles and a Vine. This second pronouncement of punishment is the one that is for the second fulfillment which was concealed as the riddle which has just been revealed to you.)
The passages above make it very clear that the Lord will indeed punish us in Babylon for despising His oath and breaking His covenant! Many of you will be wondering which oath has been despised and which covenant has been broken by our nation. The answer to that is very simple. As a Christian nation we were blessed... As a pagan nation we are cursed. Remember what the Lord told us in Deuteronomy 30:15?
16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God,
to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments,
His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply;
and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear,
and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them,
18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish.
Deuteronomy 30:15-18 (NKJV)
Will you join me today in turning away from this second eagle who is leading our nation to destruction in Babylon? Will you join me in repenting of our national greed which worships the American dollar more than our Lord, Jesus Christ?