Ezekiel 1 -- 4
As a captive of Nebuchadnezzar and heathen Babylonians, Ezekiel was far from the Promised Land, and unable to offer sacrifices to God according to the Law. Yet the Lord, in mercy, revealed Himself in ways which must have overwhelmed Ezekiel and let him realize that God is not bound by space or time and is not limited to meeting with His people in only one place. 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 a whirlwind (that) 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 beings . . . they had the likeness of a man (1:4-5). The cherubim (angelic beings) were fulfilling the perfect will of God.
Each of the four cherubim had wings and hands and four different faces. The four faces were those of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (1:10). These heavenly beings typified Jesus Christ as seen in the four Gospels. The lion is the ruler of the animal kingdom and symbolizes the royalty and supreme majesty of Jesus Christ the King as presented in Matthew. The ox is the most valuable domesticated animal and represents strength and patient service as the servant of God the Father, symbolic of Jesus Christ as presented in Mark. The face of man illustrates the humanity of Christ as presented in Luke. Jesus Christ was, and is, perfect; fully human and fully divine. The eagle represents the Deity of Jesus as revealed in John. It is admired for its superior ability to swiftly rise into the heavens above all enemies on earth, the most majestic of all the birds. The swiftness of the eagle also represents Christ, who is quick to bring protection, provision, or judgment. Since the cherubim faced all directions, they were prepared at all times to instantly obey the will of God in any direction of flight.
The cherubim 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. They turned not when they went; but went every one straight forward (1:9,12,17). This reveals the unceasing activity of Christ in every direction. The Kingdom of Heaven is always moving forward in every direction to accomplish the purposes of God. One wheel touched the earth (1:15) and yet reached exceedingly high in the sky. The wheels had their rings (rims) full of eyes round about (1:18), indicating that they were controlled by the Creator. These innumerable eyes could look in every direction at the same time, without exception or limitation. This points out that nothing is concealed from the view or knowledge of our God. Wherever the spirit was to go, they went . . . and at the same time the wheels were lifted up with them (1:20), illustrating the omnipresence of God.
The whirlwind was like a tornado, beyond human power to control, foreshadowing the coming judgment of God. Above the cherubim was a firmament and above the firmament was a throne upon which God sat (1:22,26); and round about Him there was the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about (1:28; compare Revelation 4:3). The Lord is prepared to protect, direct, and perfect the lives of His people, even in Babylon. Not only would He deliver them from that Gentile world power and its idol worship, but He would also provide them with His Word, their greatest need. The rainbow is a message of encouragement and a sign of the covenant that God made with mankind. It is also a reminder that He is a God of mercy (Genesis 9:12-16). The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).
In a likeness with the appearance of a Man who sat upon the throne (Ezekiel 1:26-28). The description is that of the pre-incarnate Christ who alone is worthy to receive glory and honor and power (Rev. 4:3-11).
1:4 infolding itself means a motion inward flashing a flame continually; 1:18 dreadful means awesome; 1:20 up over against means close beside; 1:22 terrible means glittering; 2:4 impudent means stubborn, hard-hearted; 2:5 forbear means refuse; 3:9 an adamant means a stone; forehead means attitude; 3:12 rushing means shouting; 3:14 heat means anger; 3:26 dumb means unable to warn them; 4:16 break the staff means cut off the supply; care means anxiety and fear.
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.
BPM Staff: Dr. John A. Hash · Pray for your church leaders · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Bett Brown · Country: Brazil (155 million) in South America · Major languages: Portuguese and Spanish · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 7% Protestant; 4% various forms of spiritism · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that at all times you will find pleasure in what pleases the Lord (Philippians 2:13).
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:
II Thessalonians 2:12