The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezekiel 1

Eze 1:1

See Lesson, Prophet, the.

See Lesson, Ezekiel-Revelation pattern.

THIRTIETH YEAR: The age when priests assumed office (Num 4:3). As did the "son of man" Jesus (Luk 3:23). Ezekiel prophesied between 30th and 50th years -- ie 5th to 25th years of captivity (cp Eze 40:1).

KEBAR: "A river in the land of the Chaldeans, on the bank of which some of the Jewish exiles, including the prophet Ezekiel, were settled. It was there that Ezekiel saw some of his visions (Eze 1:1,3; 3:15,23; 10:15,20). It has been identified as a navigable canal called naru Kabari, 'great river,' in Akkadian cuneiform tablets, just east of the ancient site of Nippur adjoining one of the great ship canals of Babylonia" (WyE).

I SAW VISIONS OF GOD: Ezekiel, in captivity, sees visions of glory of God (the cherubim) in preparation for his mission (Eze 2:3; 3:1). Cp Isa 6.

Eze 1:3

THERE THE HAND OF THE LORD WAS UPON HIM: This phrase occurs 7 times: here; 3:14,22; 8:1; 33:22; 37:1; 40:1. Nearly always, this denotes Ezekiel's taking an active part in the vision seen.

Eze 1:4

A WINDSTORM: Air in motion repr God's spirit ("born of spirit": Joh 3:8; "wings of wind": Psa 18:10), often in destruction (Hab 3:14; Pro 1:27; Hos 8:7; Jer 23:19). These visions of Eze 1 came out of a whirlwind -- suggesting that they were a result of God's anger (Isa 21:1; Jer 6:1; 23:19).

OUT OF THE NORTH: The direction of Babylon, Gog. Sig "dark, obscure, hidden".

AN IMMENSE CLOUD: Repr the multitudinous Christ. Individual drops drawn from sea by sun, being purified, and gathered together.

"Clouds are opaque congeries of aqueous particles, exhaled from the waters of the earth into the air by the electricity of the expanse. This being their nature and origin, they furnish a beautiful and expressive symbol representative of those who are present with the Lord in his apocalypse. In the revelation given to John, the inhabitants of the earth, in their various subdivisions, are styled 'many waters;' as, 'the waters which thou sawest, upon which the Harlot sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and languages': Rev 17:1,15. From these waters have been exhaled by 'the Spirit, which is the truth,' from the generations of the past, particles which, when viewed in mass, constitute, as Paul terms them, 'a great cloud of witnesses.' But this cloud is only seen as a matter of testimony. The subjects of it are in the earth; and perceived only as particles to be exhaled, or drawn out, by the power of those beams, soon to irradiate from the Sun of Righteousness. When He shall 'arise with healing in his rays,' they will come forth from the womb of the dawn as dew. Every resurrected saint will be a dewdrop, sparkling in the star-like glory of a divine refraction. The appearance of dew from the womb of dawn, as representative of the resurrection of the saints, in the most beautiful of scripture similitudes. Before the sun rises, all nature is concealed in the womb of night; and although the herbage is wet with dew, yet is it invisible by reason of the darkness. The dew is, as it were, in Hades, waiting for the birth to be given it by the rising of the sun. As soon as the eastern portals of the sky begin to open to the light, which is the life of dew, its drops begin to sparkle with the prismatic glory of its refraction. The apocalypse, or appearing of the dew, is its birth from the womb of dawn; and, however clear the air may be at its birth, oftentimes the heat of the sun's rays exhales it from the herbage, and it becomes invisible until it reappears at the atmospheric dew point in the form of clouds. If the reader understand this he will be enabled to discern the relations of the saints to Jesus, as the Dew and Clouds of the Millennial Dawn to the Sun of the New Heavens, prepared 'as a Bridegroom emerging from his canopy, and rejoicing as a Conqueror for the running of a course': Psa 19:5" (Eur vol 1).

SURROUNDED BY BRILLIANT LIGHT: Self-sustaining, like Moses' burning bush. Cp the great light at the Transfiguration (Mat 17:5).

GLOWING METAL: "Amber" (AV): LXX translates "electron", sig electrical brightness. An alloy of silver (sig atonement: Exo 30:16; 2Ki 12:16); ransom: Num 3:49) and gold (sig faith: Job 23:10; 1Pe 1:7).

Eze 1:5

The cherubim, although not so called until Eze 9:3; 10:1... Derived from "kerab" = "ke" (like, appearance), and "rab" (multitude, greatness, or power). The cherubim (1) kept or preserved the way to the tree of life (Gen 3:24); (2) were found in tabernacle (Exo 25) Solomon's temple (1Ki 6); and Ezekiel's temple of vision (Eze 41:18); and (3) are around the throne in Rev 5:9,10. Thus, cherubim sym the sureness of God's purpose, covenants, and provisions for salvation. See Lesson, Cherubim.

FOUR: Why four? Sym Israel, divided into 4 sections (Num 2); 4-square breastplate (Exo 28:16); 4-square altar (Zec 9:15); and the new Jerusalem (Rev 21:16; 4:6). On the 4th day of creation, God made the sun (Christ: Mal 4:2), and the moon (Israel: Psa 89:34-37; Dan 12:13).

LIVING CREATURES: Heb "chay" -- who praise God unceasingly (Rev 4:8).

A MAN: Christ -- the true "son of man". The medium of salvation (1Co 15:22,45). The perfect man of Eph 4:13.

Eze 1:7

THEIR LEGS WERE STRAIGHT: Cp Heb 12:13: clear purpose with no obstacle. Heb "yashar" = blessed, upright. Ref walk, life in the Truth (Psa 119:105; Jer 31:9; Pro 4:18,23-27).

THEIR FEET WERE LIKE THOSE OF A CALF: That tread down grain (Deu 25:4), with brass hooves (Mic 4:13).

BURNISHED BRONZE: Purified human nature: Num 16:38; 31:22,23; 21:9.

Eze 1:8

THE HANDS OF A MAN: Hand sym power, judgment: Psa 32:4; 1Sa 5:6,7. God's power given to Christ (Joh 5:27) and saints (Psa 149).

Eze 1:9

THEIR WINGS TOUCHED ONE ANOTHER: Saints, a great number(Rev 5:11), but with oneness of name and purpose (Zec 14:9; Joh 17:21).

EACH ONE WENT STRAIGHT AHEAD: Cherubim in motion sig the heavenly powers going to war!

Eze 1:10

The four faces of the cherubim: Ref to the 4 leading tribes of Israel: Num 10:14-25: Judah = lion (Gen 49:9); Reuben = man (Gen 30:14,15); Ephraim = ox (Deu 33:17; Jer 31:18); and Dan = eagle (Num 2:25). The 4 great heads of God's creation: wild beasts, humanity, tame beasts, and birds.

A MAN: The man of v 5 is the angel-driver of the chariot.

Eze 1:11

SPREAD OUT UPWARD: Protection (v 24); dominion (Rev 12:14); and elevation (Isa 40:31).

Eze 1:12

EACH ONE WENT STRAIGHT AHEAD: Cherubim in motion sym judgment, on strong nations afar off (Mic 4:3). See Isa 30:27; Rev 19:11-14.

STRAIGHT AHEAD: No military strategy or cunning necessary: "If God be for us" (Rom 8:31).

Eze 1:13

BURNING COALS OF FIRE: An altar of sacrifice kindled by God (Lev 9:24) and never put out (Lev 6:12,13) -- which may consume in judgment (Lev 10:2; Psa 18). Sym a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).

TORCHES: Or lamps. Seven lamps in Rev 4:5; cp Zec 4.

Eze 1:15

WHEEL: Showing that this is a real chariot: cp 1Ch 28:18; Hab 3:8; Zec 6:1. A wheel suggests a circle, never-ending, and thus immortality.

Eze 1:16

A WHEEL INTERSECTING A WHEEL: Two wheels at right angles, to go in any direction (v 17).

Eze 1:18

FULL OF EYES: Repr the saints (Zec 3:9; 4:10). Omniscient -- to oversee God's affairs in the earth (Mal 3:16).

Eze 1:20

Vv 20,21: Despite their various duties, talents, etc, all saints repr one united spirit (ie Eph 4:4) -- brethren dwelling together in unity (Psa 133:1).

THE SPIRIT OF THE LIVING CREATURES WAS IN THE WHEELS: The Holy Spirit is the motivating force, not the wheels!

Eze 1:21

// Pro 30:27 --"they advance together in ranks."

Eze 1:22

AN EXPANSE: Or "firmament" (AV). The new "heavens" of the Kingdom of God (Isa 65:17). Christ is the Sun (Mal 4:2), to destroy the powers of darkness (Isa 60:1). The saints are stars (Dan 12:3; Mat 13:43), "in the air" (1Th 4:17).

Eze 1:24

ALMIGHTY: "Shaddai". From rt "to destroy", or poss "to nourish" ("shad" = breast). Sym "goodness and severity" of God (Rom 11:22): mercy (Psa 2:10-12) and judgment (2Th 1:8).

THEY LOWERED THEIR WINGS: The overshadowing of the wings = protection: Mat 23:37; Rth 2:12; Psa 17:8,9; 36:7; 91:4.

Eze 1:25

A VOICE FROM ABOVE THE EXPANSE: When the earth is quiet and at peace, one voice sends out the Law from Zion (Isa 2:2,3).

Eze 1:26

A THRONE: The throne of David (Luk 1:32; 2Sa 7:12-16), to be restored (Act 15:14; Amo 9:11).

SAPPHIRE: Blue, or heavenly, or godly -- as the hems on Jewish garments (Num 15:38).

A MAN: Christ (1Co 15:45).

Eze 1:27

FULL OF FIRE: Appearance of sacrifice (v 13). Christ, the altar of mankind (Heb 13:10).

Eze 1:28

RAINBOW: The token of the covenant in Gen 9:12,13. Also shows God's glory (7 colors, perfection, full circle, manifested in saints). Cp Rev 4:3; 10:1.

CLOUDS: The saints in multitudinous manifestation (v 4n).

RAINY DAY: Rain suggests the blessings of God coming down from heaven: Eze 34:26; Joel 2:26; Psa 72:6.

I FELL FACEDOWN: As Roman soldiers in Mat 28:3,4. Also a prophecy of death: cp Dan 10:9; Rev 1:17.

I HEARD A VOICE: Resurrection from the dead: "trumpet of God" (1Th 4:16), heard by those in graves (Joh 5:28,29). Cp Dan 10:11,19.

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