September 01

Read Ezekiel 1 -- 4

In Today's Reading:

Ezekial's vision of God's administration; his call and commission; warning of judgment against Jerusalem and Judah.

Verses for Today:

A whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself (flashing out), and a brightness was about it . . . out of the midst of the fire. . . . came the likeness of four living creatures. . . . they had the likeness of a man. . . . they turned not when they went. . . . they went every one straight forward. . . . whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went (1:3-5,9,12,20).

As a captive of Nebuchadnezzar and far from the Promised Land and its Temple, Ezekiel could not offer sacrifices to God according to the Law. But, to Ezekiel's great joy, the Word of the Lord came . . . and the hand of the Lord was there upon him (Ezekiel 1:3).

Ezekiel's first vision appeared as angelic beings were fulfilling the perfect will of God. Each of the four had wings and hands and four different faces. These heavenly beings typified Jesus Christ, as seen in the four Gospels. The lion represents the ruler of the animal kingdom and symbolizes the royalty and supreme majesty of Jesus Christ the King as presented in Matthew. The ox represents the most valuable domesticated animal and represents strength and patient service as the servant of God, symbolic of Jesus Christ as presented in Mark. The face of man represents the humanity of Christ as perfect, fully human and fully divine, as presented in Luke. The eagle is admired for its superior ability to swiftly rise into the heavens above all enemies on earth and represents the deity of Jesus as revealed in John. The swiftness of the eagle also represents Christ, Who is quick to bring protection, provision, or judgment. Since the cherubim faced all directions at once, they could instantly obey the will of God in any direction of flight.

The angelic beings stood beside the wheel within a wheel (1:16), in which one wheel was revolving north-south and the other east-west, so there was no need to turn the wheel in any direction. This reveals that the Kingdom of Heaven is moving forward in every direction to accomplish the purposes of God. The wheels had their rings (rims) . . . full of eyes round about (1:18), indicating that they were controlled by the All-Seeing Creator. These innumerable eyes could look in every direction at the same time, without exception or limitation. Nothing is concealed from the view of God.

The whirlwind was beyond human power to control. It foreshadowed the coming judgment of God. Above the cherubim was a throne upon which God sat (1:22,26), and round about Him was the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain (1:28; compare Revelation 4:3). The rainbow is a sign of the Covenant that God made with mankind through Noah. It is a reminder of His mercy (Genesis 9:12-16). This marvelous vision assures us that the Lord will protect, direct, and perfect the lives of all who repent of their sins and desire Him to be Lord of their lives.

Not only did He deliver them from Babylon and from idol worship, but He provided them with His Word to fulfill their greatest need. The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).

Christ Revealed:

In a likeness as the appearance of a Man Who sat upon the throne (Ezekiel 1:26-28). This foreshadowed God appearing as a Man, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

Word Studies:

1:18 dreadful = awesome, wonderful; 1:20 up over against = close beside; 3:12 rushing = shouting; 3:14 heat = anger; 3:26 dumb = unable to speak to warn them; 4:16 break the staff = cut off the supply.

NOTE: Definitions may not agree with present-day usage as given in your dictionary; we attempt to explain the thought expressed in the original language.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Ander Crenshaw (FL) and Rep. Michael Ross (AR) · Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Suriname (431,000) on the northeastern coast of South America · Major languages: Dutch and English · Very limited religious freedom · 27% Hindu; 22% Roman Catholic; 20% Protestant; 20% Muslim; 6% witchcraft and spirit worship · Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that the Lord protects you and provides your needs (Philippians 4:4).

Optional Reading: Revelation 6

NOTE: Bible Pathway covers the Old Testament with devotional and commentary insights over a nine-month period, January through September. Each day during these months, an optional reading of one chapter a day from the New Testament will also be listed. The October, November, and December issues will provide a daily commentary on the New Testament readings. Thus, the reader goes through the New Testament twice each year using the Bible Pathway plan.

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28