UNDERSTAND the ‘FATE’ of ‘UNGODLY’ people: "To which of the trees in Eden will you then be likened in glory and greatness? Yet you shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the depths of the earth; you shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with those slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, says the Lord God." (Ezek. 31:18)
The empire of Assyria was extremely powerful, affluent and influential, like one of the beautiful cedars of Lebanon (Ezek. 31:3). Yet just as God humbled the arrogant Assyrians, He promised to humble the Egyptians, who were just as arrogant. Assyria was the perfect example to show Egypt the effects of God’s judgment, and Assyria’s fall was an object lesson to Egypt. If the strong “cedar” (Assyria) could fall, then how could any lesser “tree” (like Egypt) hope to remain standing? The implication for Egypt was clear: like Assyria, God says, you shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the depth of the earth (v. 18).
We need to understand here that Egypt never could match Assyria’s greatness, and Assyria had been brought down by the Babylonians. What, then, was the basis for Pharaoh’s pride? Like powerful Assyria, the weaker Egypt also would be brought down (see vv. 2, 3, 5–9). The Assyrians enjoyed on a gigantic scale Eden-like privileges which they abused through their pride and sin. Just as in the case of the first man in Eden who ended in ruin, the same fate was to be repeated in the case of Egypt. It was as if God was pointing His finger at the previous Pharaoh buried in the depth of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:30, 31) and stating that this Pharaoh also will be delivered to the depths of the earth (v. 18).
Our unchangeable God governs the world on the same unchangeable principles! The trees in Eden refer to the nations, with the outstanding one being Pharaoh and his people. As the other proud nations were brought to hell, so also will Pharaoh. This message was for Pharaoh, who thought his nation was indestructible. Assyria once had the same idea, but look what God did to her. God would rebuke Pharaoh’s pride, cut down his nation, and cast it into hell as well (vv. 15, 17).
From this allegory, we can understand the fate of ungodly people. The fall of proud ungodly people is for warning to others, to keep them humble. It is best to be a lowly tree of righteousness, yielding fruit to the glory of God, and to the good of men. The wicked ungodly people are often seen flourishing like the cedar, and spreading like the green bay tree, but they soon pass away, and their remains are no more found. Let us therefore remain humble and obedient to God, who will exalt us in due time (1 Peter 5:6).