In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it 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 KJV)
The phrase “Fowl (or Birds) of Every Wing” caught my interest. Remembering the article I recently wrote about the Sunbittern with it’s beautiful wings, I thought that might be neat to show some of the other bird’s fancy wings. Also, since I have been busy updating the Birds of the World pages, I thought that showing different birds from around the world would be interesting for you. But, first, what is that verse referring to anyway?
Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible summarized Ezekiel 17:23 as a future prophecy referring to Christ,
“In the mountain of the height of Israel – He shall make his appearance at the temple, and found his Church at Jerusalem.
Shalt bring forth boughs – Apostles, evangelists, and their successors in the Gospel ministry.
And bear fruit – Multitudes of souls shall be converted by their preaching.
And under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing – All the nations of the earth shall receive his Gospel.
In the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell – Trust in him alone for salvation, and be saved in their trusting.”
“But it left room for the sovereignty of God, who would bring down the high tree and exalt the low tree, who would dry up the green tree and make the dry tree to flourish. His grace would take the little forgotten branch of the house of David and raise it up in Israel upon the mountain of His power, where He would cause it to become a goodly cedar, bearing fruit, and sheltering all that would seek the protection of its shadow. All the powers of the earth should know the word and the works of Jehovah.” (John Darby’ Synopsis)
“Both the Jews and Gentiles will be gathered into it.” (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
“and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell; by whom are designed converted sinners of all sorts, and of all nations, Jews and Gentiles; compared to birds, because weak, defenceless, and timorous; exposed to danger; and wonderfully delivered; are subject to wander and go astray; and for their chirping and warbling notes: now these may be said to “dwell” under the “shadow” of the “branches” of this “goodly cedar”, Christ and his church; that is, under the ministration of the word and ordinances, which is a very delightful and refreshing shadow, a very safe and fruitful one, Son_2:3; and here saints choose to dwell, and determine to abide and continue, as it is their interest and happiness so to do; and what a flocking and tabernacling of these birds here will there be in the latter day, where they will chirp and sing in the height of Zion? Isa_66:4; compare with this Mat_13:32; where our Lord is thought by some to allude to this passage.” (John Gill’s Exposition)
“under it … all fowl — the Gospel “mustard tree,” small at first, but at length receiving all under its covert (Mat_13:32); the antithesis to Antichrist, symbolized by Assyria, of which the same is said (Eze_31:6), and Babylon (Dan_4:12). Antichrist assumes in mimicry the universal power really belonging to Christ.” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown)
“under it … all fowl — the Gospel “mustard tree,” small at first, but at length receiving all under its covert (Mat_13:32); the antithesis to Antichrist, symbolized by Assyria, of which the same is said (Eze_31:6), and Babylon (Dan_4:12). Antichrist assumes in mimicry the universal power really belonging to Christ.” (Life Application Study Bible)
There are other commentaries I could quote, but these are sufficient to understand that these “fowl of every wing” represent those who from around the world have accepted or will accept Christ the Lord as their Savior. (Gospel Message) We have shelter and refuge under this tree. There was a tree of life in the Garden of Eden, but access to it was forbidden because of sin, but two verses in Revelation speak of future access to that tree.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7 KJV)
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14 KJV)