Ezekiel witnesses a magnificently sad event. Undergirded by cherubim and wheels, the glory of the LORD God begins to depart the temple and Jerusalem. UPDATED.
VERSE 1. Then I looked, and see, in the expanse that was over the head of the cherubim there appeared above them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.
the likeness of a throne. Ezekiel sees the sapphire throne of the LORD God:
Ezekiel 1:26. Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone. On the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above.
VERSE 2. He spoke to the man clothed in linen, and said, “Go in between the whirling wheels, even under the cherub, and fill both your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” He went in as I watched.
the man clothed in linen. This character first appeared in the previous chapter.
coals of fire. They represent the heat of divine judgment. They will purify Jerusalem.
VERSE 3. Now the cherubim stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court.
the cloud. We want to see God. But we are unable to apprehend the LORD God in all his glory. So at the great moments of biblical history, he appears in the hidden form of a Cloud. Read more »
VERSE 4. The LORD’s glory mounted 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.
stood over the threshold of the house. The glory of the LORD God moved from the throne-chariot to the periphery.
the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’s glory. This manifestation of the glory of the LORD God illuminated the whole plaza where Ezekiel stood.
VERSE 5. The sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.
heard even to the outer court. The wings of the cherubim were so loud that they were heard in the outer court.
VERSE 6. It came to pass, when he commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, “Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim,” that he went in, and stood beside a wheel.
VERSE 7. The cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire that was between the cherubim, and took some of it, and put it into the hands of him who was clothed in linen, who took it and went out.
put it into the hands of him who was clothed in linen. This triggers the divine purification of Jerusalem.
It was by fire that the Babylonian Empire destroyed Jerusalem.
VERSE 8. The form of a man’s hand appeared here in the cherubim under their wings.
VERSE 9. I looked, and behold, there were four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside one cherub, and another wheel beside another cherub. The appearance of the wheels was like a beryl stone.
VERSE 10. As for their appearance, the four of them had one likeness, like a wheel within a wheel.
VERSE 11. When they went, they went in their four directions. They didn’t turn as they went, but to the place where the head looked they followed it. They didn’t turn as they went.
VERSE 12. Their whole body, including their backs, their hands, their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes all around, even the wheels that the four of them had.
full of eyes all around. Perhaps this represents divine omniscience.
the whirling wheels. The Hebrew word is haggalgal. It means rolling or revolving.
The glory of the LORD God was about to whirl out of his temple on “the whirling wheels.”
VERSE 14. Every one them had four faces. The first face was the face of the cherub. The second face was the face of a man. The third face was the face of a lion. The fourth was the face of an eagle.
Every one them had four faces. Here is one way to interpret the meaning of the four faces:
The front face is a man. It represents intelligence.
The right face is a lion. It represents power.
The left face is an cherub. It represents service.
The back face is an eagle. It represents swiftness.
These faces also appeared in chapter 1:
Ezekiel 1:10. As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man. The four of them had the face of a lion on the right side. The four of them had the face of an ox on the left side. The four of them also had the face of an eagle.
There is only one difference between the faces in these two verses. It is the left face. Chapter 1 refers to it as an ox. But this chapter refers to it as a cherub.
Maybe people imagined a cherub’s face looked like the face of an ox.
VERSE 15. The cherubim mounted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river Chebar.
VERSE 16. When the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the wheels also didn’t turn from beside them.
VERSE 17. When they stood, these stood. When they mounted up, these mounted up with them; for the spirit of the living creature was in them.
VERSE 18. The LORD’s glory went out from over the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim.
The LORD’s glory went out. This is a deeply sad moment. Through their own willful disobedience, the religious leaders forfeited the direct presence of the Living God.
VERSE 19. The cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight when they went out, with the wheels beside them. Then they 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.
they stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’s house. Before the LORD God departed the temple and the city, there is one final pause.
VERSE 20. This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim.
VERSE 21. Every one had four faces, and every one four wings. The likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.
VERSE 22. As for the likeness of their faces, they were the faces which I saw by the river Chebar, their appearances and themselves. They each went straight forward.
CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.