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LESSON 1 EZEKIEL BIBLE STUDY

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Everyday Publications, Toronto and R.E.Harlow. Copyright 1970 by R.E. Harlow


LESSON 1 - EZEKIEL

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Ezekiel was a priest in Judah whom God called to be His prophet. In this, he was like Jeremiah who was born about the same time as Ezekiel. Both of these men lived in or near Jerusalem, both were born into a priestly family, both were called to warn God’s people about their sins and the judgment of the LORD. Ezekiel’s name means God will strengthen.

 

The sins of Judah were many. Jehovah protected His people when their enemies came up against them, but they would not repent or give up their sinful ways. Finally God allowed the Babylonians to capture Jerusalem and take His people away as slaves.

 

Jeremiah prophesied during the reigns of the last five kings of Judah. Josiah was the only good king of the five. Two of his sons reigned for a few years but neither would listen to the words of God. After them Jehoiachin was king for three months but he surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar and was taken to Babylon as a prisoner, along with 10,000 others, 2 Kings 24:10-14 - At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.

One of these was Ezekiel the son of Buzi, a young man about 25 years old at the time. Jeremiah stayed in Jerusalem, and God used him to warn the people who were left there.

 

Ezekiel was married, Ezekiel 24:18 - So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded; we do not read that they had any children.

 

Isaiah had Sons but Jeremiah was not married, Isaiah 7:3 - Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field; Isaiah 8:1 - Moreover the Lord said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man's pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz; Jeremiah 16.2 - Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.

 

Ezekiel mentions his own name only in Ezekiel 1:3 - The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him, and Ezekiel 24:24 - Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

 

It is not found in any other book of the Bible but the Holy Spirit often used words from Ezekiel in the New Testament. Ezekiel does tell us a great deal in his book about his own feelings and experiences; God called him son of man many times.

 

Jeremiah was not able to convince many people in Jerusalem that they should repent. Nebuchadnezzar set Zedekiah as king of Judah, but he disobeyed God and rebelled against Babylon.

 

Finally the LORD sent Nebuchadnezzar again to destroy Jerusalem. God told Jeremiah and Ezekiel in advance what He was about to do. The first part of Ezekiel records the messages of God before the holy city was captured; the third part was written after it was destroyed. In between there are eight chapters of God’s warning to Gentile nations.

 

A) Prophecies against Judah before the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 1-24

B) Prophecies against seven Gentile nations, Ezekiel 25-32

C) Promises of future glory for Israel after Jerusalem fell, Ezekiel 33-48

 

A) PROPHECIES AGAINST JUDAH BEFORE THE FALL OF JERUSALEM, chapters 1-24

 

The first half of Ezekiel contains different kinds of warnings to the people of Judah in Babylon and to those still in Jerusalem. But first God called and prepared His servant.

 

1. God prepared Ezekiel for His work, Ezekiel Chapters 1-3

2. Teaching by action pictures, Ezekiel Chapters 4-7

3. God’s reasons for judging Jerusalem, Ezekiel Chapters 8-11

4. Prophecies against Judah and Jerusalem, Ezekiel Chapters 12-24

 

1. GOD PREPARED EZEKIEL FOR HIS WORK, EZEKIEL CHAPTERS 1-3

 

First God gave Ezekiel a wonderful vision of His glory, Ezekiel Chapter 1. Then He called him to serve the LORD, Ezekiel Chapters 2 and 3.

 

CHAPTER 1 - THE VISION OF GOD’S GLORY

 

The first three verses give us the date of this vision and the place where Ezekiel was at the time.

 

Ezekiel 1:1 - Now it came to pass 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, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. - Ezekiel was born a priest; no one could serve as a priest unless his father was a priest, a descendant of Aaron.

 

Today all true children of God are priests and only they can worship God in spirit and in truth, John 4.24 - God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth; Philippians 3.3 - For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; 1 Peter 2:5 - Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:9 - But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

 

The sons of Levi could serve the Lord when they were thirty years old and until they were fifty, Numbers 4:3 - From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation, Numbers 4:23 - thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation, Numbers 4:30 - From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.

 

The priests were sons of Aaron and of the tribe of Kohath, and no doubt began their service at this age. Ezekiel was in Babylon with the exiles of Judah, so he could not serve in the temple in Jerusalem. Instead the LORD called him to be His prophet.

The river Chebar was near the city of Babylon, perhaps a canal which the Babylonians dug to get extra water; it is mentioned only in Ezekiel, eight times in all,

 

Ezekiel 1:1 - Now it came to pass 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, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God,

 

Ezekiel 1:3 - The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him;

 

Ezekiel 3:15 - Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days,

 

Ezekiel 3:23 - Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face;

 

Ezekiel 10:15 - And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar,

 

Ezekiel 10:20 - This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims,

 

Ezekiel 10:22 - And the likeness of their faces was the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward;

 

Ezekiel 43:3 - And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.

 

The Spirit gives us the exact date, about the same as our July 31. There and then Ezekiel saw visions of God through the open heavens.

 

Ezekiel 1:2 - In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity - This was the fifth year since Jehoiachin left Judah, and Ezekiel and many others also. Isaiah gives a few dates telling us when he received some of his messages from the LORD, and Jeremiah gives more after chapter 20.

 

But Ezekiel gives us many dates:

 

Ezekiel 8:1 - And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me;

 

Ezekiel 20:1 - And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the Lord, and sat before me;

 

Ezekiel 24:1 - Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

 

Ezekiel 26:1 - And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

 

Ezekiel 29:1 - In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in the twelfth day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

 

Ezekiel 29:17 - And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

 

Ezekiel 30:20 - And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, in the seventh day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

 

Ezekiel 31:1- And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

 

Ezekiel 32:1 - And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

Ezekiel 32:17 - It came to pass also in the twelfth year, in the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

 

Ezekiel 33:21 - And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.

 

Ezekiel 40:1 - In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the self-same day the hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me thither.

 

These dates extend over a period of twenty years (except Ezekiel 29:17 - And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying ) so Ezekiel was about fifty when he ended his prophetic ministry. This is the age when priests had to stop their temple service. However two years later the LORD added a short message to the other prophecies against Egypt in Ezekiel Chapters 29 to 32.

 

You could read more about Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah and Coniah) in 2 Kings 24:8-16 - Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done. At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon;

 

2 Chronicles 36:9-10 - Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the Lord, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem;

 

Jeremiah 22:24-28 - As I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? Wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not?

 

Jeremiah 52:31-34 - And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison, And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon, And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life. And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.

 

Daniel and his three friends came to Babylon twelve years before this time. The young prophet revealed to Nebuchadnezzar the meaning of his dream and the king of Babylon gave him and his friends important positions in his kingdom, Daniel 1:2 - And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god; Daniel 2:48-49 - Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

 

It is possible that the events of Daniel 3 had taken place before Ezekiel saw his vision of God.

 

Ezekiel 1:3 - The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him. The Holy Spirit tells us here that the word of Jehovah really and fully came to Ezekiel. These words, “the word of the LORD” are found 59 times in the book, in Ezekiel Chapters 1 to 37.

 

Buzi was a priest, the father of Ezekiel, but we know nothing more about him.

 

The Bible is God’s book and it is important to know the different names of God. Most of the Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language, and uses three great names for the Creator:

 

Name

Meaning

Translated in Ezekiel

Adonia

Master , Lord

216 times

Elohim

God the Powerful One, God

36 times

Jehovah

Self-existent One LORD (alone)

218 times

Jehovah

Self-existent One LORD (with Adonia) GOD

212 times

 

The name Adonai is almost always used with Jehovah in Ezekiel, translated Lord GOD or Sovereign Lord, Ezekiel 2:4 - For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Ezekiel 3:11 - And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, and many more times.

 

Jehovah is used alone more often than it is with Adonai. The name Elohim is found a number of times in this book, but not LORD of hosts. This title means that Jehovah is King of the armies of heaven, and is very common in Isaiah and Jeremiah, but never used in Ezekiel.

 

The hand of the LORD was on Ezekiel. Before Christ was born, God did not have a man’s body, a hand or arm, but the Spirit used these words so we could understand what God is like. God’s hand means His power, 18 times in Ezekiel, and He lifts it up as in taking an oath, eight times.

 

THE GLORY OF THE LORD

 

The rest of the first chapter tells us about the vision of God’s glory which Ezekiel saw. No man can see God and live, Exodus 33:20 - And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live; 1 Timothy 6:16 - Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen, but Christ has come, and He shows all that God is, John 1:18 - No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

 

Here Ezekiel describes what he saw, but we can hardly imagine what it was like.

 

a) Four living creatures, Ezekiel 1:4-14

b) The chariot of God, Ezekiel 1:15-21

c) The wide-spread expanse of heaven, Ezekiel 1:22-25

d) The throne of God, Ezekiel 1:26-28

 

a) FOUR LIVING CREATURES, EZEKIEL 1:4-14

 

There are different kinds of angels serving God in different ranks or levels: some are called seraphim, Isaiah 6:2 - Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly; others, cherubim.

 

These living creatures are angels called cherubim in Ezekiel 10:20 - This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.

 

Each looked like a man but with four faces and four wings. They moved straight forward as the Spirit led.

 

Ezekiel 1:4 - And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.

 

First Ezekiel saw a great storm of wind coming from the north with clouds and lightning. The clouds were not black, they were very bright, like shining metal. Moses received a great revelation of God when thick clouds came over Mount Sinai with thunder and lightning, Exodus 19:16-18 - And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

 

God also spoke to Job out of a storm, Job 38:1 - Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, and Elijah went to heaven in a storm of great wind, 2 Kings 2:11 - And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven

 

Ezekiel 1:5 - Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. Ezekiel then saw what looked like four living creatures.

In the beginning God created many animals called living creatures, Genesis 1:21 - And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good; Genesis 1:24 - And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so, Genesis 1:28 - And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth, and Ezekiel used the same word for animals, Ezekiel 5:17 - So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it; Ezekiel 14:15 - I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts, Ezekiel 14:21 - For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?

 

In this chapter, the Spirit is speaking of angels,

 

Ezekiel 1:5 - Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

 

Ezekiel 1:13-15 - As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.

 

Ezekiel 1:19-22 - And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature 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 over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 22 And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above,

 

also in

 

Ezekiel 3:13 - I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing

 

Ezekiel 10:15 - And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.

 

Ezekiel 10:17 - When they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also: for the spirit of the living creature was in them.

 

Ezekiel 10:20 - This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims,

fifteen times in all. He says they looked something like men and the next verses describe their appearance.

Still, it is hard to imagine what they looked like. Ezekiel uses the word appearance in Ezekiel 1:5 - Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

 

Ezekiel 1:13-15 - As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.

 

Ezekiel 1:16 - The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.

 

Ezekiel 1:26 – And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it;

 

Ezekiel 1:27 - And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about; (four times) and Ezekiel 1:28 - As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round. (three times).

 

He also uses the word likeness nine times: Ezekiel 1:5 - Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

 

Ezekiel 1:10 - As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

 

Ezekiel 1:13 - As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.

 

Ezekiel 1:16 - The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.

 

Ezekiel 1:22 - And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.

 

Ezekiel 1:26 - And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.

 

Ezekiel 1:28 - As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so 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 upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

 

We cannot make a picture of what Ezekiel saw, but we can understand a little of what the living creatures looked like.

Ezekiel 1:6. - And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. Each one had four faces and four wings; more about these in verses Ezekiel 1:9-11 - Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.

 

The seraphim have six wings, Isaiah 6:2 - Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly; the living creatures of Revelation 4:6-8 - And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come; have six wings and four faces. These wings suggest that they can go anywhere very quickly.

 

Ezekiel 1:7-8 - And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

 

Their legs were straight, their feet like the hoofs of a calf or bull, but shining brightly like bronze. The ox used its feet for treading out the grain, Deuteronomy 25:4 - Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn, which is a picture of God treading down or judging wicked persons, Psalm 60:12 - Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies; Isaiah 63:6 - And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

 

God used the cherubim to guard the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:24 - So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

 

The living creatures had hands like a man’s hands, under their wings, on four sides. So they were more like men than four-footed animals.

 

Ezekiel 1:9-10 - Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

 

The wings of each living creature touched the wings of another, and they all four moved together as one. Each one had four faces, like a man, facing forward; like a lion, on the right side; like an ox, on the left side; and like an eagle, no doubt, at the back.

 

Ezekiel 1:11-12 - Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.

 

Their wings stretched upward, two wings touching the wings of another living creature, and two spreading downwards to cover the body. (The seraphim covered their faces with two wings, their whole body down to their feet with two, and used the other two for flying. They cried together proclaiming that God is holy, Isaiah 6:2-3 - it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. )

 

The four living creatures could move, but always together, as guided by the Spirit.

 

Ezekiel 1:13-14 - As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.

 

The general appearance of the living creatures was like fire, like coals of fire and lamps burning. This fire moved up and down, and flashed like lightning. The living creatures themselves also moved very quickly in any direction and back again.

 

It is hard for us to know what these living creatures are like. Many verses in the Bible are hard to understand by themselves, but other verses often help us. Are there other Scriptures which would help us to understand these cherubim? We have mentioned the cherubim in Genesis chapter 3 and the seraphim in Isaiah 6. The book of Revelation gives us more light. (see chart page 48).

 

b) THE CHARIOT OF GOD, EZEKIEL 1:15-21

 

Ezekiel kept looking at these wonderful creatures, and then he saw wheels. This would make us think of a chariot for God to travel in, Psalm 68:17 - The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.

 

Ezekiel 1:15-17 - Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.

 

The prophet saw a wheel on the earth for each of the living creatures. The four wheels were all alike, the colour of a yellow (or green) precious stone. Each wheel had another wheel at right angles, so it could move forward or sideways without turning.

 

Ezekiel 1:18 - As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.

 

The wheels were so high that they were frightening to Ezekiel. A little later Daniel saw a vision of God on His throne with wheels of fire, Daniel 7:9 - I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

 

Ezekiel saw that the rims of the wheels had eyes all around. Men know what they see with their eyes, so these eyes speak of the complete or total knowledge of God who knows all things, Psalm 139:2 - Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off, Psalm 139:4-5 - For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

 

Ezekiel 1:19-21 - And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 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 over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.

 

The wheels went with the living creatures, up or down, wherever the Spirit commanded, going or standing still. The Spirit controlled the wheels as well as the living creatures. With his chariot, a king could travel to any part of his country. So we know that God can be anywhere in heaven or His whole universe at any time, indeed, at the same time. God is omniscient, He can know everything; the eyes speak of this. He is also omnipresent, He can be anywhere and everywhere He wants to be, instantly, or at the same time, Psalm 139:7-12 - Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

 

c) THE WIDESPREAD EXPANSE OF HEAVEN, EZEKIEL 1:22-25

 

Ezekiel 1:22 - And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.

 

The storm clouds of Ezekiel 1:4 - And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire; have passed away and Ezekiel could see the clear expanse of heaven over the living creatures. This looked like crystal, as clear as ice, and again Ezekiel felt frightened, it was so wonderful. In the beginning God made this expanse between the clouds and surface of the earth, Genesis 1.6 - And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters .

 

Ezekiel 1:23 - And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: everyone had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.

 

The wings of the living creatures were straight. They used two of their wings to cover their bodies and the other two touched those of another cherub, when they were moving, Ezekiel 1:9 - Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward, Ezekiel 1:11 - Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.

Ezekiel 1:24 - And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.

 

When they moved their wings made a great sound, like many waters, like the voice of God Almighty, like the sound of an army, Job 37:4-5 - After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. 5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend; Psalm 29.3 - The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters; Jeremiah 4.29 - The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein; Jeremiah 10.22 Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.

 

El Shaddai, God Almighty, is a beautiful name of God. It speaks of His tender care, like a mother looking after her little baby. It is used by Ezekiel only here and in Ezekiel 10.5 - And the sound of the cherubims' wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh ; but very often (31 times) in Job. The first time God used this name was to Abraham, Genesis 17.1 - And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

 

He promises us that we can remain under His wings for total protection and safety, Psalm 91:4 - He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

 

Ezekiel hears 0ne sound even after the living creatures stood still and folded their wings. He is getting ready to hear the voice of the LORD in the next chapter.

 

d) THE THRONE OF GOD, EZEKIEL 1:26-28

 

Ezekiel 1:26 - And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.

 

The expanse was over the heads of the living creatures and it included space where birds fly, and also the starry heavens, Genesis 1:14-20 - And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

 

The cherubim may provide a chariot for God, but always remember that His throne is above everything and everybody else. Ezekiel saw the colour of the throne, blue, like a precious stone. The One who sat on the throne was like a Man.

 

Today a Man does sit on the throne of heaven. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ.

In this vision Ezekiel saw yellow wheels and a blue throne, both the colour of two precious stones. We read about these stones, and others, in the breast piece of the high priest, Exodus 28:18-20 - And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.

 

John saw a vision of the heavenly Jerusalem with beautiful precious stones for its foundation, Revelation 21:18-20 - And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

 

Ezekiel 1:27 - And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.

 

All the heathen nations around Judah made images of their gods, and God’s people often did the same. But God does not want anyone to worship an image, and He never revealed anything about Himself which men could copy and worship, Deuteronomy 4:15-19 - ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of anything that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

 

Here Ezekiel saw fire and the colour of melted metal as the upper part of the body of the One sitting on the throne, and the appearance of fire as the lower half. This means God will burn away all sin and judge sinners, Hebrews 12:29 - For our God is a consuming fire .

 

Ezekiel 1:28 - As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so 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 upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

 

Around the throne Ezekiel saw the appearance of a rainbow, as John did, Revelation 4:3 - And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

 

We can sometimes see a beautiful rainbow in the sky after a rainstorm. This reminds us of the grace of God, who promised that He would never again destroy the whole world with a flood, Genesis 9:13-16 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

 

So we have the righteousness of God in Ezekiel 1:27 - And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about , and His grace in Ezekiel 1:28 - As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so 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 upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

 

But the whole vision is the glory of the LORD. Ezekiel did right when he fell down on his face before this revelation of God, like Joshua, Joshua 5:14 - And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?; three apostles, Matthew 17:6 - And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid; and John, Revelation 1:17 - And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

 

Ezekiel often spoke about the glory of God, Ezekiel 3:12 - 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 3:23 - Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face.

 

Ezekiel 8:4 - , behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.

 

Ezekiel 9:3 - And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side;

 

Ezekiel 10:4 - Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory

 

Ezekiel 10:18-19 - Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord's house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.

 

Ezekiel 11:23 - And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.

 

Ezekiel 43:2 - And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.

 

Ezekiel 43:4-5 - And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. 5 So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.

 

Ezekiel 44:4 - Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord: and I fell upon my face . . . 15 times in all.

 

Twenty years later he saw a vision of the new temple in Jerusalem, and the name of that city will be The LORD is there. At this time Ezekiel is ready to hear the voice of the LORD in chapter 2.

 

TEST – LESSON 1 – EZEKIEL

True or False

1. Ezekiel was a priest by birth

2. He prophesied against seven nations

3. The living creatures were angels

4. Ezekiel saw a vision of a new temple in Jerusalem

5. God used angels to guard the garden of Eden

Please fill in the blanks with CAPITAL LETTERS

6. ______ up into ______, thou art there.

7. And the ____ of the Lord went up ___ the midst of the ____

8. Thou shalt not _____ the __ when he ____ out the corn.

9. And when I ___ him, I fell at his ___ as_____

10. The ___of the Lord __filled____ ___ of the Lord:

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