Son of Man – Ezeliel 3: Part 2

By on September 15, 2019

Scripture reading from Ezekiel 2:9-3:27

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One Comment to “Son of Man – Ezeliel 3: Part 2”

  1. Donald McMahon
    September 16, 2019

    “Ezekiel 3 (Part 2) Son of Man” (Ezekiel 2:9–3:27)(9.8.19)
    Ezekiel 2:9–3:27 (NIV84)
    9 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
    3 And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.
    3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
    4 He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel— 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.”
    10 And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. 11 Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.”
    12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound—May the glory of the Lord be praised in his dwelling place!— 13 the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound. 14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord upon me. 15 I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days—overwhelmed.
    16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
    20 “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 21 But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
    22 The hand of the Lord was upon me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.” 23 So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.
    24 Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25 And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people. 26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, though they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ Whoever will listen let him listen, and whoever will refuse let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: “Ezekiel 3 (Part 2) Son of Man”
    Have you ever felt like an exile? We were created to live in the presence of our God. Every possible need we had was met in the Garden of Eden. Because we doubted God and His goodness and listened to the voice of that serpent, Satan, we fell into disobedience. The price of the disobedience was being expelled, exiled, from the Garden, the presence of God.
    As mentioned last week, Ezekiel was an exile prophesying to other exiles. They must turn back to God or suffer terrible consequences. For the lost in this world, there is that unidentifiable yearning for something that always seems just out of reach. For those of us in Christ, believers and followers of Jesus, our citizenship is in heaven. And, our earthly existence should reflect our heavenly perspective.
    In a certain sense, the Lord Jesus was a voluntary exile from His heavenly abode in order to effect his rescue mission. Jesus became Emmanuel, God with us. In humility, he took on human flesh and became the second Adam. In Hebrew, Adam means man. Jesus was the perfect man. The title, Son of Man, commemorates the mystery enfolded in the Incarnation: Jesus, fully human, fully divine.
     It is striking to me that in Ezekiel the term ‘son of man’ is used 93 times. In the gospels, Jesus refers to himself as Son of man 82 times. And yet, the emphasis of most scholars in relation to the title Son of Man is one verse in Daniel. Now, the Daniel reference is referring to “one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven;” whereas the Ezekiel references are at first glance somewhat mundane. They refer to a mere mortal man being used by the Sovereign Lord. Is this scholarly focus due to a minimizing of Christ’s humanity? Or maybe it is humankind’s infatuation with the Apocalyptic and fantastic visions of End Times?
     Think about it for a moment. If we magnify the human side of Jesus, if Jesus is representative of what every mere mortal should be, would not that be a significant argument for us to live sanctified lives on mission from God our father? I think the obvious answer is YES! And, wouldn’t that be consistent with Ezekiel? Again, YES! We need to emulate Ezekiel for we will be held accountable.
     By far, Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man more than by any other name. Our Savior knew the scriptures better than any other person, backwards and forwards, up and down, and inside out. Jesus could have assumed any title he thought most fitting; and, he chose Son of Man.
     After reading all 48 chapters of Ezekiel again this week, I was reminded why it is not one of the favored books of the Bible. When you are done reading it, there is no doubt in your mind how much God hates sin. You will know about the wrath of God and how terrible is that wrath. At the same time, God’s hand on human history is unmistakable. The book of Ezekiel shows the Almighty’s relentless pursuit of his people.
     We have a dramatically mistaken concept of the Lord Jesus. Our understanding of Jesus is largely one expressed in the hymn “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling.” “Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading?” Yes, Jesus has wonderful love for us; but, it is not some mushy melancholy love of an emasculated man. It is the sacrificial love of the Bridegroom for his bride, the Church.
     One argument that tries to explain Jesus’ selection of the son of man moniker is that it emphasized his humanity. While at first that argument seems plausible in this 21st century, it would have made no sense in Jesus’ day. Of course he was human. They could see him; touch him; talk to him; see him eat, sleep, cry, and do all the things a human does (all the sinless things). As a matter of fact, if you read through all of Jesus’ son of man statements he is making his divinity clear to all his hearers, if they have ears to hear.
     In calling himself son of man, Jesus is identifying with the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel. Son of Man identifies the role Jesus was fulfilling. A prophet proclaims a message from God. And, a prophet can foretell the future. Jesus did both. Think about the glorious reunion on the Mount of Transfiguration when Moses and Elijah, the greatest prophets, joined Jesus to the amazement of Peter, James, and John.
     On several occasions, when Jesus foretells of his return, he is invoking the image of the son of man from Daniel. In Daniel 7:13–14 (NIV84), Daniel said, 13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
     In Ezekiel 4:4-8, Ezekiel is told that he is to bear the sins of Israel and the sins of Judah. We all know that Jesus bore all of our sins on that cross. His crucifixion is what satisfied the justice of God and allows us to escape His wrath.
     Twice in Ezekiel, the Sovereign Lord foreshadows the necessity of divine intervention because salvation is not available through any human agents.
    o Ezekiel 14:12–14 (NIV84) 12 The word of the Lord came to me: 13 “Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, 14 even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.
    o This same thought is repeated six verses later
    o Only Jesus, the Son of Man can save others through his righteousness.
     Twice Ezekiel is asked if he will judge:
    o Ezekiel 20:4 (NIV84) “Will you judge them? Will you judge them, son of man? Then confront them with the detestable practices of their fathers.
    o Ezekiel 22:1–2 (NIV84) The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, will you judge her? Will you judge this city of bloodshed? Then confront her with all her detestable practices.”
    o Jesus says in John 5:22 (NIV84) “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,”
    o Then he continues a few verses later John 5:26–27 (NIV84) “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.”
    o Jesus says in Matthew 25:31-32, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” Jesus is quoting from Ezekiel 34.
     Ezekiel the son of man is obedient and says what the Sovereign Lord tells him to say. Likewise, Jesus, the Son of Man is obedient and says only what the Father directs:
    o John 7:16 (NIV84) Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.”
    o John 12:49 (NIV84) “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.”
     Three times in Ezekiel chapter 3, Ezekiel acknowledges the Holy Spirit as an active agent in his ministry. After Jesus is baptized, he is led into the desert by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the Devil. Unlike the first Adam, Jesus is not deceived by Satan. Though he has not eaten for 40 days, he is sustained not by bread but by every word of God.
    o Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:45–49 (NIV84) 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
    o Because believers have been born again into the likeness of the man from heaven, we have an obligation. We have been enlisted in His mission. We are to proclaim the gospel to the captives, the exiles of this world. We are to warn of the wrath to come and the blessed salvation available through the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus.
     Read the vision of Ezekiel chapter 47 and John’s vision in Revelation 22, the last chapter of our Bible. They both saw the same river from the Temple of God. Yes, the human race will once again dwell in the presence of Almighty God. The exile will be ended. The prophetic word will have proved true. Will you be there to see it? Will you be there to experience it?
    When I started my sermon study this week, I had no idea where it would lead. My conception of Jesus’ ministry evolved significantly and I don’t think I will ever be able to sing Softly and Tenderly Jesus is calling again in the same way I have in the past. For the record, no place in the scriptures does Jesus plead with people to come home. Instead, he does call us to repent because the kingdom of God is at hand. I challenge you to read through the 48 chapters of Ezekiel this week. It will take you a couple of hours. See if you do not see Jesus in a new way.
    The criteria for joining Methodist classes in the 18th century was a desire to escape the wrath to come. One of the most famous sermons of all time was Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Today, preachers, including myself, tend to soft sell the gospel. We don’t want to scare people off. With our recent decline in attendance, I was hesitant to bring today’s message. But, when Jesus repeatedly called himself the Son of Man, He was deliberately reminding the people of Israel of the prophetic work of Ezekiel, who the Sovereign Lord called the son of man those 93 times.
    We are to be like Ezekiel. We are to be like the Lord Jesus. If we fail to warn the wicked man, we will be held accountable for his death. If we fail to warn the righteous man and he stumbles, we will be held accountable for his death. It wasn’t easy for Ezekiel. It wasn’t easy for Jesus. But my friends, Hebrews 10:31 (NIV84) It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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