The Identity of Ezekiel’s Prince image

The Identity of Ezekiel’s Prince

The identity of the prince in Ezekiel 40-48 is puzzling, and understandably disputed. Why is he called a prince, rather than a king? Is he a regular king in the manner of Zedekiah or Jehoiachin, and if so, why does he have priestly privileges? Is he even a Messianic figure? And so what?

Here’s Robert Jenson in his commentary on Ezekiel:

Who is this prince whose responsibilities are here laid down? The princely line that cheated on the offerings is finished: the prince cannot within Ezekiel’s purview be a reformed successor to Zedekiah. Thus, reference to what is possible within the history of this age becomes shadowy again. This leaves one possibility: whatever picture Ezekiel may have had in his own mind, the prince of an eschatological Israel, responsible for her offerings in the perfect temple, can only be that prince whom tradition came to call the “Messiah,” the “Christ.”

Thus, in my judgment, we may with full loyalty to the text as it stands read “Christ” for “the prince.” When we do that, we learn something vital about the reign of Christ: he now and eschatologically continues to mediate our creaturely presence before the holy God. He now and in all eternity provides the sacrifice that enables us to survive life with and in the holy God. And from the Gospels and the book of Hebrews we further learn that this sacrifice is himself.

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