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Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 32

The Messenger Must Be the Embodiment of His Message

Now we come back again to the prophecies of Ezekiel. There is a large section of this book with which we shall not be able to deal in detail, so we must find some comprehensive way of dealing with it simply. I think that way will be by looking at the three different titles by which Ezekiel was called. Perhaps you have noticed that in these prophecies Ezekiel has three different titles, and these three titles gather into themselves this large section of the book - 1. "Son of man," 2. "a watchman," 3. "I am your sign."

"Son of Man"

The first three of these three titles is "Son of man." Look at chapters two and three:

And He said unto me, Son of man ... (2:1)
And He said unto me, Son of man ... (2:3)
And He said unto me, Son of man ... (3:1)
And He said unto me, Son of man ... (3:3)

And so it goes on right through the book. That is one of the main titles of the prophet. Perhaps you would like to go right through the book and note how many times "Son of man" occurs.

We note then, at the beginning, that this title was peculiar to the Prophet Ezekiel. No other prophet is called by this name in the same way. It marks out Ezekiel in a special way. Now we know that the Lord  Jesus chose as His favorite title for Himself, "The Son of Man," but we must not think of Ezekiel in the same way. Ezekiel was unique among the prophets in this title, but Jesus as The Son of Man was unique among all men. So let us be careful not to confuse the two titles "Son of man" and "The Son of Man."  If there is any relationship or similarity, it is in the function, and not in the person. That is the matter that we shall now consider.

We have seen that on the Throne above it there was the likeness as of a man, and we have seen that the predominant feature of the cherubims was the man. Therefore, we take note of this place of man in this book; it is a special idea. We also know that man means representation and speech for God. Man is not only a person, he is a Divine idea. There is a man upon the Throne, and while that man is a person, he is not only a person, he is a Divine idea. The idea in God's mind in creating man was that he should represent God. "Let us make man after Our Own image, in Our Own likeness." Man is God's fullest thought, and God's final thought.

In the creation God ended with man, and He headed all things up into man. When God has reached such a man, He pronounces His verdict and takes His rest. When He has the man according to His intentions, then He says about everything, "It is very good"; and then God takes His rest. God finds His rest when He has His man according to His Mind.

However, that is not the end of everything. At that point God looks for reproduction. He says to that man: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the law of creation was that everything should reproduce "after its own kind." Things were never intended to change their form, but everything was given a definite and distinct form. It was a kind of creation, and everything was reproduced after its kind.

You see, God has made man, and before man has fallen, God says, Be fruitful and multiply. God's idea was that unfallen man should multiply, and that unfallen man should fill the earth. But we know that man fell, and the earth was filled with a kind of man that God never intended. Therefore, God put a limit to his life; He fixed the number of his years so that man should not go on indefinitely. I think you see from this that God's idea is a man according to His Own Mind. In a full way, the Lord Jesus was that; therefore, He is "The Son of Man," and in a sense we can say He was the only Son of Man.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 33)

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