This is Episode #242 and today we’ll read Ezekiel 1-4 together. Four creatures, a throne, and a wheel within a wheel. Get ready for an incredible vision.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #242 and today we’ll read Ezekiel 1-4 together. Four creatures, a throne, and a wheel within a wheel. Get ready for an incredible vision.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Intro to Ezekiel
The book of Ezekiel is a book of visions. Weird, almost – at least to me – incomprehensible visions. It takes place after the Israelites have been taken into captivity at Babylon. Ezekiel will soon after receive the news that Jerusalem has been ravaged and burned. Right off the bat, when God calls and commissions Ezekiel, you will hear Him take a pretty harsh tone in regard to the Israelites. We know this accusation by heart now…they had broken and forgotten their covenant with God. In something like several human object lessons, God will direct Ezekiel to do some pretty bizarre things, each of which symbolize a message from God to His people.
Although God is brutally honest about where the Jews have fallen short, He also, as in the book of Jeremiah, promises a this-will-change-everything transformation. In Ezekiel 36:26, God says, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Coupled with the new covenant promised thru Jeremiah, we start to see glimmers of what God has in store to restore His relationship with mankind.
I highly recommend watching the two – yes, two – overview videos done at The Bible Project. Trust me, any resource you can get your hands on is a help.
Ezekiel Chapter 1
In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, while I was among the exiles by the Chebar Canal, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
On the fifth day of the month — it was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile — the word of the Lord came directly to the priest Ezekiel son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar Canal. The Lord’s hand was on him there.
Vision of the Lord’s Glory
I looked, and there was a whirlwind coming from the north, a huge cloud with fire flashing back and forth and brilliant light all around it. In the center of the fire, there was a gleam like amber. The likeness of four living creatures came from it, and this was their appearance: They looked something like a human, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the hooves of a calf, sparkling like the gleam of polished bronze. They had human hands under their wings on their four sides. All four of them had faces and wings. Their wings were touching. The creatures did not turn as they moved; each one went straight ahead.
Their faces looked something like the face of a human, and each of the four had the face of a lion on the right, the face of an ox on the left, and the face of an eagle. That is what their faces were like. Their wings were spread upward; each had two wings touching that of another and two wings covering its body. Each creature went straight ahead. Wherever the Spirit wanted to go, they went without turning as they moved.
The likeness of the living creatures was like the appearance of blazing coals of fire or like torches. Fire was moving back and forth between the living creatures; it was bright, with lightning coming out of it. The creatures were darting back and forth like flashes of lightning.
A Wheel Within a Wheel
When I looked at the living creatures, there was one wheel on the ground beside each of the four-faced creatures. The appearance of the wheels and their craftsmanship was like the gleam of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. Their appearance and craftsmanship was like a wheel within a wheel. When they moved, they went in any of the four directions, without turning as they moved. Their four rims were tall and awe-inspiring, completely covered with eyes. When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them, and when the creatures rose from the earth, the wheels also rose.
Wherever the Spirit wanted to go, the creatures went in the direction the Spirit was moving. The wheels rose alongside them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures moved, the wheels moved; when the creatures stopped, the wheels stopped; and when the creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose alongside them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
Over the heads of the living creatures the likeness of an expanse was spread out. It gleamed like awe-inspiring crystal, and under the expanse their wings extended one toward another. They each also had two wings covering their bodies. When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings like the roar of a huge torrent, like the voice of the Almighty, and a sound of tumult like the noise of an army. When they stopped, they lowered their wings.
A voice came from above the expanse over their heads; when they stopped, they lowered their wings. Something like a throne with the appearance of lapis lazuli was above the expanse over their heads. On the throne, high above, was someone who looked like a human. From what seemed to be his waist up, I saw a gleam like amber, with what looked like fire enclosing it all around. From what seemed to be his waist down, I also saw what looked like fire. There was a brilliant light all around him. The appearance of the brilliant light all around was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the likeness of the Lord’s glory. When I saw it, I fell facedown and heard a voice speaking.
Ezekiel Chapter 2
Mission to Rebellious Israel
He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak with you.” As he spoke to me, the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and I listened to the one who was speaking to me. He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to the rebellious pagans who have rebelled against me. The Israelites and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this day. The descendants are obstinate and hardhearted. I am sending you to them, and you must say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says.’ Whether they listen or refuse to listen — for they are a rebellious house — they will know that a prophet has been among them.
“But you, son of man, do not be afraid of them and do not be afraid of their words, even though briers and thorns are beside you and you live among scorpions. Don’t be afraid of their words or discouraged by the look on their faces, for they are a rebellious house. Speak my words to them whether they listen or refuse to listen, for they are rebellious.
“And you, son of man, listen to what I tell you: Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.” So I looked and saw a hand reaching out to me, and there was a written scroll in it. When he unrolled it before me, it was written on the front and back; words of lamentation, mourning, and woe were written on it.
Ezekiel Chapter 3
He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find here. Eat this scroll, then go and speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. “Son of man,” he said to me, “feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving you.” So I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak my words to them.
“For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or a difficult language but to the house of Israel — not to the many peoples of unintelligible speech or a difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. No doubt, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not want to listen to you because they do not want to listen to me. For the whole house of Israel is hardheaded and hardhearted. Look, I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. I have made your forehead like a diamond, harder than flint. Don’t be afraid of them or discouraged by the look on their faces, though they are a rebellious house.”
Whether They Listen or Refuse to Listen
Next he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully to all my words that I speak to you and take them to heart. Go to your people, the exiles, and speak to them. Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says,’ whether they listen or refuse to listen.”
The Spirit then lifted me up, and I heard a loud rumbling sound behind me — bless the glory of the Lord in his place!— with the sound of the living creatures’ wings brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound. The Spirit lifted me up and took me away. I left in bitterness and in an angry spirit, and the Lord’s hand was on me powerfully. I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were living by the Chebar Canal, and I sat there among them stunned for seven days.
Ezekiel as a Watchman
Now at the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman over the house of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, give them a warning from me. If I say to the wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but you do not warn him — you don’t speak out to warn him about his wicked way in order to save his life — that wicked person will die for his iniquity.Yet I will hold you responsible for his blood.
But if you warn a wicked person and he does not turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have rescued yourself. Now if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and acts unjustly, and I put a stumbling block in front of him, he will die. If you did not warn him, he will die because of his sin, and the righteous acts he did will not be remembered. Yet I will hold you responsible for his blood. But if you warn the righteous person that he should not sin, and he does not sin, he will indeed live because he listened to your warning, and you will have rescued yourself.”
They Are a Rebellious House
The hand of the Lord was on me there, and he said to me, “Get up, go out to the plain, and I will speak with you there.” So I got up and went out to the plain. The Lord’s glory was present there, like the glory I had seen by the Chebar Canal, and I fell facedown. The Spirit entered me and set me on my feet. He spoke with me and said, “Go, shut yourself inside your house.
As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and bind you with them so you cannot go out among them. I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth, and you will be mute and unable to be a mediator for them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you will say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says.’ Let the one who listens, listen, and let the one who refuses, refuse — for they are a rebellious house.
Ezekiel Chapter 4
Jerusalem’s Siege Dramatized
“Now you, son of man, take a brick, set it in front of you, and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. Then lay siege against it: Construct a siege wall, build a ramp, pitch military camps, and place battering rams against it on all sides. Take an iron plate and set it up as an iron wall between yourself and the city. Face it so that it is under siege, and besiege it. This will be a sign for the house of Israel.
“Then lie down on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it. You will bear their iniquity for the number of days you lie on your side. For I have assigned you the years of their iniquity according to the number of days you lie down, 390 days; so you will bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. When you have completed these days, lie down again, but on your right side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah. I have assigned you forty days, a day for each year. Face the siege of Jerusalem with your arm bared, and prophesy against it. Be aware that I will put cords on you so you cannot turn from side to side until you have finished the days of your siege.
Lie On Your Side
“Also take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt. Put them in a single container and make them into bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the number of days you lie on your side, 390 days. The food you eat each day will weigh eight ounces; you will eat it at set times. You will also drink a ration of water, a sixth of a gallon, which you will drink at set times. You will eat it as you would a barley cake and bake it over dried human excrement in their sight.” The Lord said, “This is how the Israelites will eat their bread — ceremonially unclean — among the nations where I will banish them.”
But I said, “Oh, Lord God, I have never been defiled. From my youth until now I have not eaten anything that died naturally or was mauled by wild beasts. And impure meat has never entered my mouth.”
He replied to me, “Look, I will let you use cow dung instead of human excrement, and you can make your bread over that.” He said to me, “Son of man, I am going to cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem. They will anxiously eat food they have weighed out and in dread drink rationed water for lack of bread and water. Everyone will be devastated and waste away because of their iniquity.
Okay, I am dizzy right out of the gate. Every single time I read the description of God’s heavenly chariot and try to imagine these four creatures going in the same direction at the same time, I’m Gonesville. Just so I can keep my balance and avoid distraction, I usually Google an artist’s rendering of this…thing. I never told you, but I do the same thing for the tabernacle in Exodus. In this case, it’s a video, kinda like the one we have for Solomon’s Temple. I hope it helps…I put it in the Show Notes.
And then there’s chapter 3. Are you squirming in your seat as much as I was when I read God’s warning to Ezekiel about being left with blood on his hands? The same message is directed to us, is it not? When we do not share the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ with someone and they die in their sins, is there not blood on our hands too? Hear me, Christians, this is not about losing your salvation! There is nothing He will not forgive if we ask and repent. However, God will not be able to give that reward, that, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That will make both Him and us sad. Our mantra must be, “I can’t stay silent! There are people that God brings into my path who desperately need Jesus.”
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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