August 30, 2007
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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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- And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
- And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
- And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.
- For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.
- And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.
- And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
- And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
- But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
- And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
- And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
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- Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.
- So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.
- And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
- And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.
- For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel;
- Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee.
- But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.
- Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.
- As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
- Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.
- Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
- And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
- Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
- When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
- Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
- Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
- Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
- And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee.
- 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.
- Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house.
- But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them:
- And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house.
- But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.
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- Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:
- And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.
- Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.
- Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.
- For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
- And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.
- Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it.
- And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.
- Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.
- And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.
- Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.
- And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight.
- And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.
- Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.
- Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.
- Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment:
- That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.
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Thought for the day:
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Ezekiel's prophecies come during the time of the Babylonian captivity. Many of his prophecies are directed towards the Jews, warning them of the future judgments that were going to befall Jerusalem, and also providing encouragement concerning the future kingdom of Christ. He sees numerous visions during his prophetic life, and the book that bears his name opens with one of them. In verse 1 he states that while he was at the river Chebar,
"the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God."
Many different and varied attempts have been made to explain all that is found in this vision. Suffice it to say that, if we take the words of Ezekiel at face value, we see a tremendous picture of the majesty of the Lord. In verse 1 he says that he saw a vision of God. In verse 28 he says that he sees
"the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD."
He concludes by stating that he heard a voice. In Ezekiel 2:1 the voice gave commands to Ezekiel and in verse 4 the voice declares,
"Thus saith the Lord GOD".
There may be symbolism in this vision, but it is obvious that this is intended to reveal to Ezekiel exactly Who he is representing when he prophesies.
Look at the picture given to us here. Ezekiel sees storm clouds rolling in from the north that contain fire (4). He sees four beasts, each with wings and multiple faces (6). The faces are of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Perhaps this represents the high points of creation, for man is certainly the crown of creation; the lion is the "king of the beasts"; the ox is the most powerful of the domesticated animals, and the eagle is considered by many to be the most noble of birds. Without question, these beasts must be some form of angelic beings whose purpose for existence is to serve God. They sparkle like brass, and fire and lightening go with them (7, 13). They go wherever the spirit leads them to go (12), showing that they are in complete submission to the Lord. By these angels are wheels, turning together as if they were part of a celestial chariot. It seems that these wheels were connected to a "firmament" which was above them (22), and on top of the firmament was a throne (26). Upon the throne sat One Who had the appearance of a man (26). He appeared as if He were fire (27), and a rainbow surrounded Him (28). Comparing this picture with those found in Revelation 1:12-15 and Revelation 4, we must come to the conclusion that Ezekiel is being given a special glimpse of the chariot-throne of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is interesting to note that when David was giving Solomon the pattern for the Temple that He had received from the Lord he makes this statement,
"and for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubim, that spread out their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord" (I Chron. 28:18).
He refers to the top of the ark of the covenant as the "chariot of the cherubim", which sounds very similar to what Ezekiel is seeing.
In chapter 2 the Lord gives the prophet a difficult task. He instructs him to preach to the rebellious house of Israel. God warns that they probably will not respond because they are so stubborn. He encourages Ezekiel not to be afraid of them, despite how they might react to his message. In chapter three he calls Ezekiel to serve as a watchman on the wall, crying out the warning to these belligerent Jews. He also informs the prophet that there will be times that he will be unable to speak at all because of the Lord's disgust with His unresponsive people. He shows Ezekiel that his work will not be an easy one.
I would assume that there were times during Ezekiel's 22 year ministry, particularly the early years, when he wondered if it was worth going through all that he had to in order to serve the Lord. I believe this is why God gave him that incredible vision to begin his ministry. Ezekiel saw the majesty of God in a way that few have. He saw the greatest of the created beings carrying God incredible throne. He saw the Lord "high and lifted up" as Isaiah did. Having realized Who God is, how could Ezekiel do less than serve Him?
You and I have never had this kind of vision, but we have seen the Lord through the Scriptures and through the eyes of faith. Realizing how wonderful He is, shouldn't we serve Him too?
Pastor Mark J Montgomery