As we’ve been studying books like Ezekiel and Daniel in our Bible classes, and it can be easy to lose sight of the real driving message of these books behind the various visions in their vividness and imagery. That message is this: the Messiah is coming. In this lesson, we are going to look at four prophecies in Ezekiel that dramatically anticipate the arrival of the Christ.
Four Messianic Passages in Ezekiel
In Ezekiel, one of God’s driving points is that He is the God of time and space. He controls the future. He drove the past, and He is in complete control.
The Eagle and the Tree: Ezekiel 17. Ezekiel 17 uses the cutting and planting of trees as an allegory of Nebuchadnezzer taking the ruler from Jerusalem and Judah then trying to lean on allies for support. However, toward the end of the chapter (verses. 22-24), we have God claiming he will plant a twig atop the mountain that will grow to provide shelter to all lands. This mountain image is also used in Isaiah 2 speaking of the house of the Lord. This twig is the Messiah whose kingdom can provide shelter and protection to peoples of all nations – regardless of race, background, or history.
The Priest and King: Ezekiel 21. Beginning in verse 25, God speaks to the exalting of the humble and the overturning of all, but He promises One who will comes whose right it is to claim all things. Remember Genesis 49:10, when Judah, son of Jacob, is promised a scepter in his line – to be passed to the one whom should rightfully inherit it. This is very similar to the wording in Ezekiel 21:25-27, symbolizing the coming of the Messiah through the tribe of Judah. What had Ezekiel told Zedekiah to do? Remove the symbols of priesthood and kingship until the true ruler/priest comes.
The Servant Shepherd: Ezekiel 34. Late in Ezekiel 34, God promises a shepherd who will feed them and bring them back to God. He vows a covenant of peace and showers of blessings. This idea of God providing a shepherd is in many other parts of the Old Testament, and Jesus speaks of being the good shepherd in John 10. He seeks that which was lost and broken to restore and heal it. One shepherd is promised (David) in verses 23-24 – one to care for and rule the people – and He is called God’s servant, connecting with the servant psalms of Isaiah’s prophecies.
The Two Sticks: Ezekiel 37. Again, David is named as king and shepherd in verse 24 as God is describing how His people will be divided no longer. Again, an everlasting covenant of peace is promised, and God promises His presence among the midst of His people. The return of the remnant and rebuilding of the temple was the physical fulfillment, pointing to Christ and His church as spiritual fulfillment. However, God’s presence did not fill the rebuilt temple until we get to John 1. It is recoded in John 1 the coming of the Word as flesh to walk among men. He was tabernacled among us, and His glory came – filled in Jesus Christ.
These passages build up to the culmination of God’s plan of salvation. They anticipate the Messiah and all the blessings associated with Him. Christ’s coming completed the puzzle, and these great promises re now available to us. We can be a part of that kingdom. We can accept Jesus as our king and shepherd, and we can enter into that promised covenant of peace if we but approach Him on His terms and submit to His word.
lesson by Tim Smelser