God is beautiful beyond imagining
1 Now in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 The word of the LORD came specifically to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was on him there. 4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire enfolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst of it like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
- Remember in Job 38:1, 40:6 God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind?
- Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
5 Also out of the midst of it came the likeness of four living beings. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. 6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. 7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the color of polished bronze. 8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and the four had their faces and their wings. 9 Their wings were joined one to another; they did not turn when they moved; every one went straight forward.
- These are cherubim, mentioned more in Ezekiel, attendants around God’s throne.
- Joshua 23:6 Be therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that you turn not aside to the right hand or to the left.
- 1Samuel 12:20 And Samuel said to the people, Do not fear: you have done all this wickedness: yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.
10 Their faces were like this: the four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and the four had the face of an ox on the left side; the four also had the face of an eagle. 11 This was their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
- Think of the majesty of a lion and the elegance of an eagle.
- Do not consider these beings horrible, like monsters from man’s science fiction imaginings.
- These are awesome and beautiful beings. God would not have ugly monsters around His throne.
- Life is about God, not us or the other beings that He made.
- The face of the lion, like the book of Matthew, shows forth Jesus as king.
- The ox, like the book of Mark, displays Jesus as God’s servant.
- The face of the man, like the book of Luke, shows God as man.
- And the face of the eagle, like the book of John shows Jesus as the Son of God.
12 And every one of them went straightforward: where the spirit went go, they went; and they did not turn as they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living beings, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living beings; the fire was bright, and lightning went out of the fire went. 14 And the living beings ran and returned like a flash of lightning. 15 Now as I watched the living beings, behold one wheel was on the earth by the living beings, with his four faces. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like the color of a beryl: and the four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was like a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they went, they went on their four sides: and they did not turn when they went.
- They are steadfast in God and His purpose, never turning from Him.
- Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
18 As for their rims, they were so high that they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes all around the four of them. 19 And when the living beings went, the wheels went beside them: and when the living beings were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit went, they went, there was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up along with them: for the spirit of the living being was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up beside them: for the spirit of life was in the wheels.
- The description of the wheels brings to mind the diagrams of atomic elements.
- The eyes represent seeing. Full of eyes means that they see much; however, they are not all seeing like God.
22 And the likeness of the expanse over the heads of the living being was like the color of awesome crystal stretched over their heads from above. 23 And under the expanse their wings were straight, the one toward the other: every one had two that covered their bodies on this side, and every one had two that covered their bodies on that side. 24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an army: when they stood, they let down their wings.
- Notice that we are told how God’s voice sounds.
25 And there was a voice from the expanse that was over their heads, when they stood still they let down their wings. 26 And above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and on the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. 27 And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins upward, and from the appearance of his loins downward, I saw the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.
- This was the Shekhinah glory of God that appeared to
Moses from the burning bush and that led Israel through the desert in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
- In 586 BC God appeared to His priest, Ezekiel, while His people Israel were captives in exile.
- Furthermore, right now every person who has passed from this life into eternity having believed that Christ died for his sins sees this great sight—is with our God.
- Revelation 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat looked like jasper and a sardius stone: and there was a rainbow around the throne that looked like an emerald.
God sent Ezekiel to speak to His children
1 And he said to me, Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you. 2 And the spirit entered into me when he spoke to me, and set me on my feet, that I heard him that spoke to me. 3 And he said to me, Son of man, I send you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even to this very day. 4 For they are impudent children and stiff-hearted. I send you to them; and you are to say to them, The Lord God says this.
- ‘Impudent and stiff-hearted’ is correctly translated hard of face and stiff-necked.
- The spirit is God the Holy Spirit.
- God enables what He requires.
- The Holy Spirit entered Ezekiel and enabled him to listen to God while he saw this great vision of God, the sapphire throne with the form of a man upon it of fiery amber shining forth rainbows (Ezekiel 1:26-28).
- John 14:16 And I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
5 As for them, whether they will listen or not: for they are a rebellious house: yet they will know that there has been a prophet among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or of their words, though briers and thorns are with you, and you dwell among scorpions: do not be afraid of their words or be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house. 7 And you will speak my words to them, whether they will listen or not: for they are rebellion.
- When God spoke to the children of Israel from Mt. Sinai they were terrified and said to Moses, You go up to God and then come tell us what He says to us.
- A prophet tells the people the words of God (Amos 3:8).
- When the last verse was written in the New Testament, God had completed His message to man.
- Today prophets are not given any new revelations; they just speak forth what God has recorded through the Holy Spirit in the scriptures.
- The Holy Spirit filled Ezekiel to give him these words, just like the rest of scripture.
- 2Timothy 3:16 All God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
- 2Peter 1:21 For the prophecy did not come in ancient times by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
8 But you, son of man, hear what I say to you; Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house: open you mouth, and eat what I give you. 9 And when I looked, behold, a hand was sent to me; and, behold, a roll of a book was in it; 10 And he spread it before me; and it was written on the front and back: and there was written in it lamentations, mourning, and woe.
- Most misery is self-induced.
- All judgment is self-induced.
- God’s plans blessing, blessing and more blessing His people.
- Our disobedience brings judgment from His holiness.
- God’s purpose in woe is to bring man back to Himself (Deuteronomy 30.)
1 Moreover he said to me, Son of man, eat what you find. Eat this roll, and go speak to the house of Israel. 2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. 3 And he said to me, Son of man, cause your belly to eat, and fill your bowels with this roll that I give you. Then I ate it; and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
- Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them; and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by your name, O LORD God of hosts.
- John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life.
4 And he said to me, Son of man, go to the house of Israel, and speak to them with my words. 5 For you are not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel; 6 Not to many people of a foreign speech and of a hard language whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not listen to you; for they will not listen to me: for all the house of Israel is hardheaded and hardhearted. 8 Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. 9 As emery, I have made your forehead harder than flint: do not fear them or be dismayed at their looks, they are a rebellious house.
- Genesis 15: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.
10 Moreover he said to me, Son of man, all my words that I will speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. 11 Then go to those of the captivity, to the children of your people, and speak to them, and tell them, The Lord God says this: whether they will hear, or whether they will stop. 12 Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place.
- Ezekiel 1:26-28 describes the glory of the Lord as a high sapphire throne on which sits the form of a man of fiery amber radiating rainbows.
The hand of the Lord was strong on Ezekiel
13 I heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that kissed one another, and the noise of the wheels opposite them, and a noise of a great rushing. 14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitter and hot anger of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong on me. 15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-aviv that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there among them astonished seven days.
- Ezekiel was the priest (Ezekiel 1:3).
- The people he was priest to were captives in exile for their idolatry.
- God sent him to speak His word to them but told them beforehand that the people were still not going to listen even after all they’d been through.
God warns the wicked
16 And it happened at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 17 Son of man, I have made you a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to the wicked, You will surely die; and you do not give him warning or speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man will die in his iniquity; but I will require his blood at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he will die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. 20 Again, When a righteous man turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he will die: because you have not given him warning, he will die in his sin, and his righteousness that he has done will not be remembered; but I will require his blood at your hand. 21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man to not sin, and he dos not sin, he will surely live, because he is warned; also you have delivered your soul.
- By application, God has given His people the task of warning people to turn from idols to faith, from evil to God.
- As with Ezekiel, God has given us His Holy Spirit to do this task (Acts 1).
- John 3:36 He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that does not believe the Son will not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.
22 The hand of the LORD was on me there; and he said to me, Get up, go out into the plain, and I will talk with you there. 23 Then I arose, and went out into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory that I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. 24 Then the spirit entered into me, and set me on my feet, and spoke with me, and said to me, Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25 But you, O son of man, behold, they will put ropes on you, and will tie you with them, and you will not go out among them: 26 And I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth, that you will be dumb, and will not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you will say to them, The Lord God says this; He that hears, let him hear; and he that stops, let him stop: for they are a rebellious house.
- God didn’t let Ezekiel go out and warn everyone continually on his own.
- God kept him home and kept his mouth shut until God gave him words to speak and God then opened his mouth.
- In verse 10 he was to receive all God’s words into his own heart first.
- God’s words are alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12).
- Our words are not.
- Once the words were spoken, that was it.
- God allowed the people to make their own decisions.
- Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
SUMMARY: Ezekiel 1-3
- God is beautiful beyond imagining
- God sent Ezekiel to speak to His children
- The hand of the Lord was strong on Ezekiel
- God warns the wicked