Ezekiel Chapter 1




The Bible says in Ezekiel chapter 1 verses 1:-3, “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.  In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,  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 book of Ezekiel, like many other books of the prophets in the Bible follows a progression of God pronouncing judgment against sin both nationally and individually and then the restoration that is brought to those who find forgiveness in Jesus. During the time that Ezekiel wrote these chapters of the Bible, the nation of Israel was undergoing captivity by the empire of the Chaldeans, that is the Babylonians. They had conquered Israel and many of the people were taken way from their homeland and taken as prisoners and slaves to the land of the Chaldeans.


By Ezekiel’s time there were many who had lived and were born in that land of the Chaldeans and who had never even seen the land of Israel. God took them from their land as punishment for their extreme wickedness and He put them in another land. But sometimes God will kill two birds with one stone. Because the children were so engrossed in the wickedness of their society that not only was God punishing them but He was taking them out of that society so that He might take their abominations out of their lives.  However the Babylonian nation itself was an ungodly and depraved society and after a time the children of Israel had become accustomed to their new lives. When things had begun to improve for them from a material standpoint, the wickedness of that society began to corrupt them further.


In the beginning of the book of Ezekiel we are told concerning Ezekiel that the hand of God was upon him. The name Ezekiel means, “One whom God strengthens.” Ezekiel was one of few whom in his day truly sought to serve God. He lived in a nation that was not his own kingdom, and he was prisoner and a slave. The world around him was completely corrupted and evil and many of those who were supposed to be the children of God and followers of Jesus were completely wicked and corrupt. And even later on in the book of Ezekiel God warns him that he is being sent to speak the truth, but that even though he does, there are many that will not believe him and that will resist. It is no wonder that the book Ezekiel begins by God telling Ezekiel that his hand is upon him. And it is no wonder that Ezekiel was a given a name which means, “One whom God strengthens.” For Ezekiel to have been given such a name by his mother when he was a young child she must have understood somewhat the purpose God had planed for his life.


And the same is true for everyone. God has a purpose and a plan. Ezekiel had many great challenges to face in his circumstances: in some ways he was very alone and surrounded by great evil. You many never be a captive in a foreign land but you can guarantee that anywhere in the world you go you will find that society is very corrupt and many of those who claim to be servants of God are not or have fallen away a long time ago. It’s important to know that the hand of God will be upon you if you are doing His will. The Bible says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me The Bible also says in Second Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Men are weak and men are sinners, of themselves they can do nothing but fail. That is why the children of Israel failed so much. And it is the same reason that to be successful at anything you must have the hand of the Lord upon you. If you trust in Him it will be upon you just as it was upon Ezekiel whom God strengthened.


The Bible goes on to say in verses 4-20, “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.  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.  And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.  And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.  And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.  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.  And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.  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.  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.  As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.  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


A lot of detail is given here in the Bible about these strange and fantastic creatures. These creatures are in fact angels. They are cherubim. An angel of course is a messenger. So what could be so significant about these creatures? If they are messengers then they must have a message? And the message is the same message that it has always been since the beginning of time when God first spoke and said, “Let there be light” and there was light. Isaiah saw these cherubim standing before the throne of God and in his vision in Isaiah chapter 6 and verse 3 these cherubim stood about the throne crying , “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory


Undoubtedly when Ezekiel saw this vision he must have been filled with both great fear and awe. It says in verse 4, “And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire enfolding itself, and brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.” It’s not hard to believe that the presence of God might be compared to something like staring at the sun in all its nuclear brightness. It’s no wonder that God said to Moses, “No man may see my face and live.” It’s no wonder that the cherubim gather round the throne of the great Eternal and cry, “Holy, holy, holy.” This vision must have brought not only fear and awe to the prophet Ezekiel but it must hath strengthened him for “...If God be for us who can be against us?”


A lot could be said about these angels, a lot of interpretation and emphasis could be put into their description. But as we read these verses we can see that what is being emphasized about these magnificent angels whom have the faces of men and whom spend all their existence in the very burning presence of God,  is as it says concerning them in verse 20, “Whithersoever the Spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go.” The thing to notice though about these Angels is that they went wherever the Spirit was to go and thus are they always in that burning Presence.  It must have been good for Ezekiel to see that glory and that power because he would have to face both the depraved nation of Babylon and his own kindred. It must have been good for Ezekiel to see those Angels going whithersoever the Spirit was to go because if Ezekiel was to go whithersoever the Spirit was to go, he would have to be strengthened enough to stand against two nations of ungodly people whom were guilty of every sin under the sun.


The Bible says in Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God And the Bible also says in, John 6:44, “No man can come unto me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Don’t expect visions of burning bushes, fiery chariots, and flaming cherubs. 2500 years ago God did things differently. Today we have the complete Word of God to give us such a vision, to both strengthen us and draw us to Christ so that whithersoever the Spirit is to go we may go.


Even the people of the world understand a basic principle about the Spirit whether they realize it or not. Spiritual things are often hidden and subtle you have to seek them out and you have stand still and listen. It is like the gentle breeze blowing through the trees that gingerly makes the leaves move, and it is like the currents in the sea which move one direction and not another. But once you come to understand these things through a pure and a clean conscience and once you learn to respond to the Father whenever He draws you, then as a natural result you will have a clear vision of things just as Ezekiel did.


The hand of the Lord came upon Ezekiel, and he a saw a vision of the cherubim and they went whithersoever the spirit was to go. The Bible says in Ezekiel chapter 1:21-28, “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. 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. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.  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. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. 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. 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. 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


These verses go into more detail concerning the appearance and the glory of God. In this vision in which Ezekiel beheld the cherubim and the glory of the presence of God there is one more very important detail. Verse 28 says, “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of this brightness round about The bow in the cloud refers to the rainbow. In the days of Noah God destroyed the world with a flood because of the wickedness of man. But he spared Noah and his family because Noah trusted in God. Genesis chapter 9:16, “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.” The bow symbolizes the promise of God.  When God makes a promise He keeps it. And God has made many, many, many promises. Some promises concerning judgment for sin against the world and others promises concerning the wonderful blessing He will give to those whom have turned from their sins and found forgiveness in Jesus Christ.


When Ezekiel beheld this bow in his vision surely he thought about these things and surely he was reminded of all the promises and covenants that God had made with Abraham and the children of Israel. This surely strengthened him so that he might walk straight and go whithersoever the Spirit went. He needed to be strengthened because he was a captive in wicked Babylon and his nation more or less had been destroyed and brought to ruin by the judgment of God: an evidence that the promises concerning Israel were yet unfulfilled.


Whenever you in your mind’s eye have a vision of the glory of God or ponder such things make sure you can visualize that bow in the clouds because God does not ever forget His promises and He does not want us to forget them either. And especially in times when we have failed and we face judgment just as Israel did. Perhaps one of the greatest promises of all is what it says in First John 1:9, “And if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus died for the sins of the world. And it is confession of sin and repentance to Jesus that brings us where the Spirit would have us go, and it is that same forgiveness which both strengthens us and lets us see that bow which is in the clouds.





Copyright; 2010 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved