Lesson #3 - Ezekiel 1:4,5
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.
"And, I looked, and behold the wind of a storm came out of the North."
This was only revealed to Ezekiel. The rest of the crowd experienced another normal day, but Ezekiel taken by vision saw the weather change suddenly. A storm wind out of the North came up quickly. The calm became a tempest as the wind blew a warning of things coming. God had grasped the attention of Ezekiel.
What is happening? First we know the "Word of the LORD" is coming!
1) Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
2) Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
3) The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
4) The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5) The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
6) He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
7) The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
8) The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
9) The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.
10) The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.
11) The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
You won't see this on the 700 Club or any of the other Charismatic or Catholic TV programs!
Why out of the North? God is mostly associated with coming from the East as in the Second Coming of Christ where he will enter the city of Jerusalem and the Temple through the East Gate, the Golden Gate. The only plausible answer that makes sense to me is it is God's way of showing He has full power over Satan who said in his heart that he would control the earth from the sides of the North.
13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15) Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
In the days of Nebuchadnezzar the mountain of all their false gods (the
invention of Satan put into the minds of men) was thought to exist somewhere in
the extreme North. It was these gods that they attributed their victories over
all the nations. I believe God was showing Ezekiel who was the real power of the
North - the West, the South, and the East!
"a great cloud, and fire flashing itself, and it had a brightness to it all around"
The source of this mighty storm wind out of the North is now coming into Ezekiel's view. A great cloud is first recognized. Notice how often clouds are associated when contact takes place with heaven:
11And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
12And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
2 Sam 22:7-12
7In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
8Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
9There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
10He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
11And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
12Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!
13And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?
14Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.
10And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
12At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.
21Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;
22Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:
23Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,
13I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
64Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
9And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
12Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
Ezekiel's encounter with heaven stays consistent with the Biblical record.
Within the cloud Ezekiels now sees a fire!
For our God is a consuming fire.
Holiness, purity, glory, are the consuming unchangeable
attributes of God that dictate the eternal end of sin. Heaven is a sinless place
where the God of glory dwells. Those who desire God's heaven must also desire to
dwell in holiness and purity. This is a far cry from the heaven that Southern
Baptist Bill Clinton wants where "is" is not is, where filthy sex with
a young girl is not adultery, and lying publicly about the matter is called an
attempt at maintaining family values.
"and out of it's midst like the color of polished bronze out of the middle of the fire."
In the midst of all this holiness, purity, and glory emerges something which has sustenance. He sees color to something solid now coming into view. The thing is not worldly, but seen through worldly eyes. An attempt at a worldly description of a heavenly being is made. The closest association is molten bronze as seen in some foundry of his day. Ezekiel sees the Cherubim!
The Cherubim title speaks of their high and holy position and their responsibility as such is closely related to the throne of God as defenders of His holy character and presence. In a note under Ezekiel 1:5, Dr. C. I. Scofield, in his Reference Bible, makes the following statement: "The ‘living creatures’ are identical with the Cherubim. The subject is somewhat obscure, but from the position of the Cherubim at the gate of Eden, upon the cover of the ark of the covenant, and in Rev 4, it is clearly gathered that they have to do with the vindication of the holiness of God as against the presumptuous pride of sinful man who, despite his sin, would ‘put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life’ (Gen 3:22–24). Upon the ark of the covenant, of one substance with the mercy-seat, they saw the sprinkled blood which, in type, spake of the perfect maintenance of the divine righteousness by the sacrifice of Christ (Exod 25:17–20; Rom 3:24–26, notes). The living creatures (or Cherubim) appear to be actual beings of the angelic order. Cf. Isa 6:2, note. The Cherubim or living creatures are not identical with the Seraphim (Isa 6:2–7). They appear to have to do with the holiness of God as outraged by sin; the Seraphim with uncleanness in the people of God. The passage in Ezekiel is highly figurative, but the effect was the revelation to the prophet of the Shekinah glory of the LORD. Such revelations are connected invariably with new blessing and service. Cf. Exod 3:2–10; Isa 6:1–10; Dan 10:5–14; Rev 1:12–19."
The Cherubim first appear at the gate of the Garden of Eden after man has been expelled and as protectors lest man return to pollute the holy presence of God. They appear again as protectors, though in golden images, over the ark of the covenant where God was pleased to dwell. The curtain of the tabernacle, which separated between the divine presence and the unholy people, was embroidered with figures of Cherubim (Exod 26:1). Ezekiel refers to these beings under this title nineteen times and the truth concerning them is to be derived from these passages. He presents them
as having four appearances-the face of a lion, the face of an ox, the face of a man, and the face of an eagle (Ezek 1:3–28; 10:1–22). This symbolism relates them at once to the Living Creatures of John’s vision (Rev 4:6 to 5:14, etc.-the translation of zo„on by beast is unsatisfactory).
Angelology: Part 1-BSac-V98 #392-Oct 41-408
5Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
"also from it's midst's came the likeness of four living creatures"
The Cherubim is one being (an angelic being) that is four living creatures. This is not within our earthly vocabulary. We have problems with words like trinity. It is beyond our mental capacity to grasp. Some things must just be taken by faith! They are too great! They are too magnificent! I remember looking into the heavens over Lake Superior on a cold Minnesota night, and thinking I am looking at something that is beyond me. I remember looking over the edge of the Grand Canyon and seeing what I first thought was a bird, but soon realized it was an airplane. Again, I realized I was looking at something beyond me! Here Ezekiel witnesses something like trinity. Something that goes beyond him, but he tries his best to put it in words that we his readers might in some way connect.
"and this was how they looked, the likeness of a man was to them."
The God who created the heavens. The God who created all living things has a consistency to His creative genius. God rejecters in their rebellion see such foolishness as evolution in the similarities that all can clearly identify. Here, Ezekiel testifies to a similarity with man in the creative work of this Cherubim. Clearly the God who created man is also recognized as the creator of this heavenly angelic being to Ezekiel. This Cherubim has life. It has thought. It has similarities to a man, but as we shall see it's powers are enormous. It's responsibilities are immense. It stands in the gap between this fallen sin-filled universe, and the unchangeable holy God of the Bible.
There is only one way that any man can bridge such an impossible gap. There is only one way to pass by such a power as is manifested in the Cherubim. It is the sacrificial blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! Only the power in the blood can break through such a barrier. God can't change! His holiness is an eternal attribute. It is man who must change if he wants heaven. This is what the power in the blood does. It changes man!
"Would you be free from the burden of sin? There's pow'r in the blood ...."
Back to Ezekiel Bible Study
Edited by DDSrail July 6, 2000