Last week, we read Ezekiel’s vision of the coming kingdom of God in the age to come. In this vision, Ezekiel saw the new garden city, with the temple presence of God in the middle of it all, giving life to everything around it via a river which flows from the temple presence. All things were being made new, even the Dead Sea Valley and every other lifeless place, by the glorious presence of God (Ezekiel 40-48).
Today we read how Jesus of Nazareth came into Jerusalem in His last days before He was crucified. He stood in the rebuilt temple, but one that was not yet like Ezekiel envisioned it. The prophecy had not yet come to pass. But something profound was still happening. Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God, made yet another prophecy about the temple, Jerusalem, Israel, and all the rest of the world.
What does He say this time? Owning the moniker, “Son of Man,” He warns of the chaos that is coming to the cosmos. More and more unsettling will come until the Son of Man returns and renews the world, finally bringing the garden city into reality, and through it life to the whole world (Luke 21:25–28).
Ezekiel could not be the enduring watchman for Israel (Ezekiel 33:7). His life and ministry were temporary. He could not always be the prophet acting out signs and giving allegories designed to lead God’s people and the nations to repentance. Ezekiel was just a son of man, a human being, created from dust and returned to dust.
But Jesus, the Son of Man, was not just a human being. He was and is God, in the flesh. His is more than a vision of a renewed world, more than just a call to repentance. He is the vision, the way, the means of renewal and the One to whom we return when we repent. His invitation is “come to me.” Come to life.
It was the sins of injustice and idolatry that brought about the righteous judgment of God in Ezekiel’s day. Sin led to destruction, and Ezekiel couldn’t stop it (v.21). So, in order to redeem the world from sin and death, God took on flesh and dwelt among us. And His name was Jesus. This Jesus loved the world and carried its sin all the way to the cross and into a grave. But the Son of Man rose again to life. Something Ezekiel could never do. Jesus Himself is the living water, which Ezekiel envisioned flowing from the temple presence, bringing the garden city to life and renewing the world (Ezekiel 47:1–12).
We are not stuck in our sin. This world as it is, is not how it will always be. The Son of Man will return “with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). And so will be the day of our redemption.