Son of Man

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Ezekiel 33:7-11
Psalm 119:33-40
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

 

The reading in Ezekiel begins with, Son of Man. That title occurs 94 times in Ezekiel, once in Psalms, and twice in Daniel. We should recognize it as Jesus’ favorite name for himself, often used in the Gospels. It is also helpful to know that several writings were done in the fourth through first centuries BC using the Son of Man frequently to refer to the coming Messiah, especially the Book of Enoch.

Babylon conquered Judah, the Southern Kingdom, about 597 BC. Ezekiel was part of the first group of Judahites forced to march north to Babylonia, along with King Jehoiachin. Ezekiel was a priest of the Temple who remained faithful to God.

Note first that his faithfulness did not save him from captivity. He suffered along with those who sinned. He lived for nine years in the Babylonian Empire before they destroyed the Temple, but God gave him a vision of that destruction which he shared with his people.

Even in hard times, Ezekiel chose to stay with God and to encourage his people to do the same. Before his captivity, he served God in the Temple, but in Babylon God gave him a new responsibility, that of a prophet.

His prophecy was hard-nosed, giving no quarter to the Judahites. “Repent or Die!” Remember that the people had been given many, many, many chances to repent in the preceding five centuries and chose to ignore those chances most of the time. It is little wonder Ezekiel was so blunt.

Contrast his message with that of John the Baptist. “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” With Jesus walking the earth, the Son of Man had arrived, the Kingdom is present. The urgency is just as great, but the tone is gentle, as was Jesus.

Buried in this passage is this Word of God:  Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? ESV

This is more like the message of John and Jesus. God wants every person alive today to continue to live in His Kingdom.

Read my comments on these NT readings here.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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