Read Ezekiel 1 -- 4
As a captive of Nebuchadnezzar and far from the Promised Land, 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 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. 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, they were prepared 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 that the Kingdom of Heaven is moving forward in every direction to accomplish the purposes of God. One wheel touched the earth (1:15) and yet reached high in the sky. 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. Wherever the spirit was to go, they went (1:20).
The whirlwind was like a tornado, beyond human power to control, foreshadowing 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 Lord is prepared to protect, direct, and perfect the lives of His people. Not only did He deliver them from Babylon and idol worship, but He provided them with His Word, their greatest need. The rainbow is a sign of the covenant that God made with mankind, and a reminder of His mercy (Genesis 9:12-16). 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 who would appear as a Man the Man Christ Jesus who is the One Mediator between God and men (I Timothy 2:5).
Word Studies: 1:18 dreadful means awesome, wonderful; 1:20 up over against means close beside; 3:12 rushing means shouting; 3:14 heat means anger; 3:26 dumb means unable to speak to warn them; 4:16 break the staff means 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.
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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: Philippians 3:8