Ezekiel became my favorite Old Testament prophet early in my Jet Cadets years. An older girl made a federal case out of a lesson, insisting that “awesome” (Ezekiel 1:18,22 NIV) wasn’t a real word, and, therefore, couldn’t be in the Bible. (Yes, this was back in the day of “awesome” and “cowabunga”…Embarrassing as that is, I’ll always be able to say that I never wore bellbottoms.)
Being the know-it-all homeschool girl, I happily informed my subordinate (I was probably Second Class Petty Officer by then, while she was still Airman) of the correct definition of “awesome” (although not Webster 1828). I also announced that Ezekiel was my favorite prophet, despite the fact that my knowledge was limited to that lesson’s text and a half-hearted attempt to memorize “Dem Bones.”*
After a few years, I got around to reading the book for what became the first of many times. Unlike the other prophets, Ezekiel’s sort of like a spooky novel you can’t put down. Yet, familiarity has its negative side too. I probably didn’t find anything new and exciting for fifteen years, until I was reading it again this last June.
At first glance, the prophecy-gospel parallel appears straightforward like many others in the Bible: Ezekiel, the “Son of Man,” brings warning of impending doom and calls people to repentance. Jesus Christ, the “Son of Man,” brings warning of impending doom and calls people to repentance. (Cue yawn.) But when Ezekiel and the evangelists are read together, the result is outright frightening.
The power of these Scriptures together lies in the highly repetitive use of the “Son of Man” throughout the prophecies of terrifying judgment. Anyone hearing the phrase during Jesus’ time would’ve likely stopped dead in his tracks. It’s no wonder people went hysterical, demanding that our Savior be put to death. Ezekiel most certainly wouldn’t have been a fun guy to hang around with. Anyone claiming to be him is a shoe-in for Most Unpopular. No reason to even take a vote.
*My chiropractic student baby sister actually sings an anatomically-correct version of this.