Ezekiel 21:25-27 “O profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of punishment has reached its climax, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! It will not be restored until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs; to him I will give it.’”
As I read these poignant prophetic words given by the Sovereign LORD to his faithful servant, Ezekiel, I tried to imagine how the LORD felt as he spoke with such intensity. Earthly ‘crowns’ were exalting themselves and exerting their influence as if they alone were the masters of the nation’s destiny without any thought of listening to, let alone submitting to, God’s Word. And this wasn’t in some godless, pagan nation who knew no better, but among God’s own Chosen Covenant People with whom he had dealt so graciously and powerfully for more than a Millennium (as spelt out in Chapter 20)!
Their continued wicked and rebellious apostasy now required their perfectly just and righteous God to pour out his ruinous punishment upon them. But in the midst of the pronouncement of his harsh sentence upon them is an indication of the ultimate means by which his justice would be finally satisfied. It would involve a complete reversal of man’s God-defying, humanistic thinking, and, instead would see the ‘lowly exalted’ and the ‘exalted brought low’. It would see the final and complete restoration of all things by the One to whom it ‘rightfully belongs’.
Just reflecting on this arouses two things in my mind: Firstly, that the Lord Jesus Christ is this One to whom God is pointing through Ezekiel, because “He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:2-4), and “by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). Yes, he alone is the One ‘to whom it rightfully belongs’!
But, secondly, the implication is that all this ‘humiliation-exaltation’ reversal is pointing to what the apostle Paul will declare about him: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11), and that he alone will be the one who ultimately bears the outpouring of a just God’s wrath against human sin and arrogance in order to protect us from it.
Let us encourage one another in these things as we labour patiently for the truth of the Gospel in a culture that is so confidently and arrogantly shaking its fist in God’s face.
– Bruce Christian