“Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: 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. And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it” (Ezekiel 17:22-24).
At the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty cedar of Israel’s ancient kingdom became a lowly vine, and eventually even the vine was destroyed, leaving only a field of dry furrows (Eze. 17:1-21). It appeared that Israel’s kingdom was finished. A king has not sat on the throne of David since the first temple was destroyed in 586 BC. But in the prophecy of Ezekiel 17:22-24 we see the return of the cedar, which refers to the Messiah. This is one of the beautiful little Messianic prophecies that are scattered throughout the prophets in the midst of the proclamations of doom and gloom. We find the interpretation of these little prophecies by comparing them to the major Messianic prophecies such as Isaiah 2; 35; 53; and 60.
The Messiah is “the highest branch of the high cedar” (Eze. 17:22). He is the greater Seed of David. He is not only the king of Israel; He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion” (Eph. 1:21). He has been given a name that is above every name (Php. 2:9). He is the firstborn of every creature (Col. 1:15).
The Messiah is “a tender one” (Eze. 17:22). Tender refers to young, frail. It refers to Christ as a seemingly helpless baby. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin and was born a babe in a manger in lowly Bethlehem. Tender refers to pitiable, as the child is pitied by its mother. Jesus grew up before God “as a tender plant” (Isa. 53:2). The Son has dwelt with the Father and has been the special object of the Father’s delight from all eternity (Joh. 1:1). He is in the bosom of the Father, referring to a place of special affection (Joh. 1:18). Even as a babe, Jesus hoped in God (Ps. 22:9-10). He grew up under the special watchcare of God, and when He was twelve, He was already about His Father’s business (Lu. 2:49). He was well pleasing to the Father in every way. Twice the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mt. 3:17; 17:5). Tender refers to dependence. The incarnate Son of God was dependent on the Holy Spirit. “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (Joh. 5:19).
The Messiah’s kingdom will be as “an high mountain and eminent” (Eze. 17:22). “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it” (Isa. 2:2).
The Messiah’s kingdom will “bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar” (Eze. 17:23). It will be fruitful and glorious and prosperous beyond our present comprehension. “He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (Isa 27:6). “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God” (Isa. 35:1-2). “For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isa. 51:3). “Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD” (Isa. 60:5-6).
The Messiah’s kingdom will be shelter for “all fowl of every wing” (Eze. 17:23). Christ will rule the whole earth and will help the needy and save the oppressed. “For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight” (Ps. 72:12-14). “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isa. 40:10-11).
The Messiah’s kingdom is the low tree that is exalted above the high tree (Eze. 17:24). The high governments of this present world will be cut down, and the low tree of Israel will be exalted. “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold…” (Da. 2:44-45). “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Re. 11:15).
The Messiah’s kingdom is a dry tree that flourishes (Eze. 17:24). He came to His own and was rejected and cut off. It appeared that the tree was dead and finished, but He rose from the dead the third day and ascended up on high and sits today at the right hand of the Father, waiting until His enemies are made His footstool (Ps. 110:1).
The Messiah’s kingdom is as certain as the Word of God (Eze. 17:24). These things are so sure that even 2,600 years ago, God spoke of them as already done. “I the LORD have spoken and have done it.” Nothing can stop the Word of God from being fulfilled. It is more certain than the rising of the sun!
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