TODAY’S READING: EZEKIEL 13-15
“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: “Hear the word of the Lord!”‘” – Ezekiel 13:1-2
In this passage of scripture, we find two of Ezekiel’s favorite phrases – son of man and the word of the Lord. Not only do we have two of Ezekiel’s favorite phrases, but we have them used together in “the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man…” This combined phrasing is unique to Ezekiel and used often in the book.
So how do these phrases and their connection reveal Jesus?
SON OF MAN (BEN ADAM)
The phrase “son of man,” ben adam in Hebrew, is used 106 times in the Old Testament. Abraham had Isaac, the promised son, when he was 100 years old. And, the number 6 often symbolizes man. Hence, in the number 106 we can see the promised son of man. Of course, we know from Paul that Isaac was a type of Jesus, the true promised son of man.
In the book of Ezekiel, the phrase “son of man” is used 93 times. The only two numbers that can be multiplied together to get 93 are 3 and 31.
The number three symbolizes divine perfection in the Bible.
The number 31 is written with the letters lamed aleph in Hebrew. This means the authority of the strength or the authority of the first. Also, aleph lamed spells El in Hebrew, which is the simplest name for God. The numerical value of El is 31.
The son in the house is the heir with the authority of the birthright. Therefore, the number 31 often symbolizes offspring. Several times in the lives of the patriarchs when their names are mentioned for the 31st time it is in relation to their offspring.
So, we can see in the number 93 the divinely perfect offspring of God, Jesus.
Speaking of Jesus, Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
And, Hebrews 1:2-3 say, “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”
SON OF MAN (HUIOS TOU ANTHROPOU)
Son of man, huios tou anthropou (with some minor variations in huios) in the Greek, is used 85 times in the New Testament. But, a few of these do not refer Jesus.
Ezekiel chapter 1 presents the four living creatures around the throne. These living creatures have the face of a lion, a face of an ox, a face of a man, and a face of an eagle. These symbolize four faces symbolize Jesus in the four gospels. Matthew is Jesus as the king, the face of the lion. Mark is Jesus as the servant, the face of the ox. Luke is Jesus as man, the face of the man. And, John is Jesus as God, the face of the eagle. So, when we look to the gospels, we find the phrase “son of man” 82 times.
Almost all of the 82 uses of the phrase “son of man” in the gospels are spoken by Jesus in reference to himself. In fact, Jesus refers to himself as the son of man 77 times.
Seven is the number of spiritual perfection. When a number is repeated, it intensifies the meaning of the number. Jesus is the son of man in all his spiritual perfection.
Even the number of times “son of man” is used in each gospel are a fascinating witness to Jesus.
In Matthew, “son of man” is used 30 times. Every time the phrase is said by Jesus. The number 30 symbolizes dedication for rulership. And, Matthew is the gospel of Jesus as king.
In Mark, “son of man” is used 14 times. The number 14 symbolizes deliverance and release. And, Mark is the gospel of Jesus as the servant of God who delivered us from our bondage to Satan, sin, and death.
In Luke, “son of man” is used 25 times. The number 25 symbolizes blessing. Since 25 is 5 x 5, it has the idea of grace multiplied. And, Luke is the gospel of Jesus as the spiritually perfect man who leads us into blessing.
In John, “son of man” is used 13 times. The number 13 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word for love. And, John is the gospel of Jesus as the son of God who came to reveal the Father’s love to us.
By calling himself the son of man, Jesus is linking himself back to the phrase so often used in Ezekiel, ben adam, or son of Adam. This is interesting because of Paul’s comparison of Adam and Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:42-49.
“What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
Adam, the first man, was natural. But, Jesus, the last Adam, the second Adam, the son of Adam, the son of man, is spiritual. First the natural, then the spiritual. Jesus it the spiritually perfect son of man.
We can see that Jesus’ continual referral to himself as the son of man is linked back to Ezekiel’s use of son of man in another way.
In Matthew 20:18, Jesus said, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death.” Mark 10:33 and Luke 6:44 say virtually the same thing.
When the women went to the tomb after Jesus was crucified they ran into two angels. In Luke 24:5-7, the angels said, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
Jesus, the son of man, had to be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, to men, and to the Gentiles, to be crucified. But, it is in his crucifixion, Jesus Christ on the cross, that God is fully revealed. It is in the cross that we know God is love.
1 John 4:8-10 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
We know love because Jesus, the son of man, was crucified for us. God’s love is agape. The numerical value of agape is 93. The same number of times Ezekiel uses the phrase son of man, which is the name Jesus referred to himself more than any other.
THE WORD OF THE LORD (DEBAR YAHWEH)
Ezekiel uses the phrase “the word of the Lord,” debar Yahweh in Hebrew, repeatedly. Of course, we know that Jesus is the word of God. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
This first sentence of the gospel of John has an interesting relation back to the phrase “son of man” in Ezekiel. The numerical value of this sentence is 3,627. This is a multiple of 93.
93 x 39 = 3,627
We’ve already seen how 93 is the divinely perfect offspring of God.
What about the number 39?
It is 3 x 13.
Again, three symbolizes divine perfection.
The number 13 can stump us here. Typically, the number 13 represents rebellion, depravity, and Satan. But, 13 is also the numerical value for the Hebrew word for love.
And, where is the word love first used in the Bible?
Genesis 22:2, which says, “He said, ‘Take you son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” This is when Abraham believes he is instructed to offer Isaac, his only son, the son that he loves.
How amazing that the first mention of the word love in the Bible is connected to a shadow of God and Jesus as Jesus laid down his life on the cross to fully reveal God’s love for us.
So, in the number 39 we have the divine perfection of love.
Therefore, John 1:1, which is all about the word of God, Jesus, is 39 x 93, or the divine perfection of love fully revealed in the divinely perfect offspring of God.
Ezekiel uses the phrase “word of the Lord,” debar Yahweh in Hebrew, 57 times. We know Jesus is the Word of God. And, the number 57 related to that.
What is 57?
The number 57 is 3 x 19.
Again, three is the number of divine perfection.
The number 19 symbolizes faith and hearing. I’ll leave that to research yourself.
But, Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” So, the divine perfection of faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ, or the word of the Lord.
THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME TO THE SON OF MAN
Throughout Ezekiel the phrases “word of the Lord” and “son of man” are closely linked. Almost every time they are used together it is like the passage quote at the start of this post, “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man…'”
How do we see Jesus in this?
Jesus is the son of man. This is Jesus as man, in the flesh.
Jesus is the word of God, or the word of the Lord. This is Jesus as God, part of the trinity.
However, whenever Ezekiel was to prophesy to Israel, the book of Ezekiel says, “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man…'”
Is this not true of how God came to speak to Israel in Jesus? Is this not true of how God came to speak to us?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
The Word of God and the son of man came together and dwelt among us, revealing the grace and truth of God.
In Ezekiel, the direct combination of the phrases “word of the Lord” and “son of man” are used 48 times.
The Levites received no inheritance in the promised land. But, they did receive cities from the other tribes. Joshua 21:41 says, “The cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the people of Israel were in all forty-eight cities with their pasturelands.”
What is significant about the number 48?
The number 48 is 3 x 16.
Again, three is the number of divine perfection.
The number 16 symbolizes. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Paul lists sixteen characteristics of love.
So, the number 48 is the divine perfection of love.
While there are no more Levites, there is still a priesthood because every believer is a priest. And, instead of an inheritance of land in the earth we have received the word of the Lord in the son of man, the word of God made flesh, the divine perfection of love, Jesus Christ.
Surely, Ezekiel’s uses of “son of man” and “word of the Lord” were truly inspired to witness to Jesus.