Ezekiel, a priest and a prophet, ministers during the darkest days of Judah’s history; the seventy-year period of Babylon captivity. Carried to Babylon before the final assault on Jerusalem. Ezekiel uses prophecies, parables, signs, and symbols to dramatize God’s message to His exiled people.
Author: Ezekiel, the son of Buzi (1:3), had a wife who died as a sign to Judah when Nebuchadnezzar began his final siege on Jerusalem. Ezekiel was privileged to receive a number of visions of the power and plan of God, and he was careful and artistic in his written presentation of it.
Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 3 stages. First in 605 B.C., he overcame Jehoiakim and carried off hostages including Daniel and his friends. Second, in 597 B.C., the rebellion of Jehoiakim and Jehoiahin brought further punishment. Then Nebuchadnezzar made Jerusalem submit a second time where he carried off ten thousand hostages including Jehoiachin and Ezekiel. The third time was in 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city after a long siege.
Ezekiel was twenty-five years old when he was taken to Babylon and thirty years old when he received his prophetic commission. Ezekiel was about seventeen when Daniel was deported in 605 B.C., so Ezekiel and Daniel were about the same age. Both men were about 20 years younger than Jeremiah who was ministering in Jerusalem.
The Book of Ezekiel is an awesome book, so don’t miss any of it!
Verse 1 – Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
Ezekiel, born and raised in Judah, was preparing to become a priest when the Babylonians attacked and carried him away. Four or five years later, when Ezekiel had turned 30, God called him to be a prophet.
Verse 2 – On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiahin’s captivity,
Verse 3 – the word of the Lord came expressly 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 upon him there.
Verse 4 – Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Verse 5 – Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. (These living creatures are also seen in Revelation 4:6, 7.)
Verse 6 – Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings.
Verse 7 – Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze.
Verse 8 – They had the hands of man under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings.
Verse 9 – Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.
Verse 10 – As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man, each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle.
Verse 11 – Thus were their faces. Their wings were stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies.
Each of the four living creatures had four faces, symbolizing God’s perfect nature. The lion – strength; the ox – diligent service; the man – intelligence; the eagle – divinity. They also represent the four Gospels; the lion, Matthew – presenting Christ as the Lion of Judah; the ox with Mark – portraying Christ as the Servant; the human with Luke – portraying Christ as the perfect human; the eagle with John, portraying Christ as the son of God, exalted and divine. The vision of John in Revelation 4, parallels Ezekiel’s vision.
Verse 12 – And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the Spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.
Verse 13 – As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of torches. Fire was going back and forth among the living creatures; the fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning.
Verse 14 – And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.
Verse 15 – Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces.
Verse 16 – The appearance of the wheels and their works was like the color of beryl (a precious bright yellow stone), and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their works was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of the wheel.
Verse 17 – When they went, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went.
Verse 18 – As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them.
These rims with eyes, symbolize God’s divine omniscience and watchfulness. God is everywhere and sees all at all times.
Verse 19 – When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
Verse 20 – Wherever the Spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the Spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the Spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
Wow! This is amazing! All four creatures together with their wheels are here called “the living creature,” because they formed a whole, one in motion, and one in will, for one Spirit was in them.
Verse 21 – When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the Spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
The same wisdom, power, and holiness of God, the same will and counsel of His, that guides and governs the angels, does by them, order and dispose all the motions of the creatures in this lower world.
Verse 22 – The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads.
Verse 23 – And under the firmament their wings spread out straight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered the other side of the body.
Verse 24 – When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings.
Verse 25 – A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.
Verse 26 – And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a Sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.
“A man” – Christ, God, man, who appears here as King and Judge. We recognize in this vision the prophetic annunciation of the Holy Incarnation.
Verse 27 – Also from the appearance of His waist upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around.
Verse 28 – Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.
Being in the presence of the Magnificent, all Powerful God, brought Ezekiel to his face! One day every person that stands before God will bend down in His presence.
Just as God sent a rainbow to Noah to symbolize His promise of never again to destroy the earth by a flood, so this rainbow around the throne symbolizes God’s promise to preserve those who remain faithful to Him.
We only see a half of a rainbow here on earth. Surrounding the Throne, it is full and complete!!!!!