Summary: In terms of realized eschatology the kingdom has come, the kingdom is coming and the kingdom will co. Ezekiel's vision of the temple is a picture like that of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and the results that followed.
THE GIFT OF THE EVANGELIST
Today is Pentecost Sunday -- the day in our Church calendar when we remember not so much the Jewish feast, but what took place on that most memorable of all Jewish Pentecost feasts -- the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Some of us may associate the naming of Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In fact Pentecost was a Jewish feast day that drew thousands to Jerusalem. It just happens that God chose that particular day to pour out his Holy Spirit.
This morning I am not just going to speak about what happened there and then. I intend to speak about the here and now of what God the Holy Spirit is doing in our world, and what God intends for us through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit today. And we are going to look at both the OT and NT
Ezekiel received a vision from God that had both meaning for the people who heard his message, and had further fulfillment in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that began on the day of Pentecost.
READING Ezekiel 47:1-12
1 FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT
The imagery here is an unmistakable description of the power and effect of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son and as the giver of life.
1. A VISION OF RESTORATION
Let's not forget that the Jews were in Exile in Babylonia. Ezekiel prophesied during the exile.
Ezekiel had already described the vision of the value of the dry bones, asking the question:
'Can these dry bones live?'
This was a message that was difficult for the people to hear because it was too hard to believe (and too painful if Ezekiel got it wrong)
It was a bit like when Loren Cunningham of YWAM prophesied that the Berlin wall would be torn down. The message did not go down well with the German listeners because it would be too painful if the person had got it wrong and their hopes were dashed.
But the vision here of the Dry Bones coming to life is followed up by the imagery of the water flowing from the Temple.
Ezekiel was hearing from God. And the people were restored, just as he had prophesied.
God was indeed going to restore the people to their land and give them new life.
- A Trickle turning into a torrential flood (even though there were no tributaries).
Like the vision of the valley of the dry bones this is SYMBOLIC of RESTORATION.
Like will exist again, flowing from Jerusalem, where there was no hope of life existing before.
= The further the water travelled the greater the land flourished. Ankle deep, knee deep, enough to swim in.
God is able to restore his presence, giving new hope to his covenant people when hope is gone. This is not a result of human effort but of divine sovereignty.
It is a picture of:
HEAVEN INVADING EARTH
God's Kingdom come 'As it is in heaven' when the Kingdom comes in full:
cf Rev 22 v1-2 'Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb downs the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.'
It is also a picture of God's Kingdom come 'on earth' where the age to come overlaps with this present age.
It is a picture of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost:
Gospel proclaimed in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, uttermost parts of the earth
Bringing life where there was no life before.
It is a picture of the new birth of the new believer (the power and presence of the Holy Spirit flowing, like fresh waters into the Dead Sea) in such abundance that life can be supported.
ON INTO THE NEW TESTAMENT
JESUS ILLUSTRATES THE OUTWORKING OF THE SPIRIT PROCEEDING FROM THE FATHER AND THE SON in the way he ministers to others:
READ John 5:1-24 -- Healing at the Pool
This feast may well have been Pentecost, though we cannot be for certain.
It is illuminating to see how Jesus went about his ministry because, and how the Holy Spirit gives new life.
Jesus gives a pattern for us to follow.
"the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
Remember Jesus also said: