Lesson #4 - Ezekiel 1: 6-9
6And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
"And to each had four faces"
The Apostle John just like Ezekiel was taken into the presents of God some six hundred years later. He also saw this same four faces which he described not as a single entity, but as four beasts.
6And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
7And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
8And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Ezekiel in the tenth chapter clearly identifies what he is now describing to us as Cherubim. Ezekiel saw a single living creature which he sees in the plural cherubims where John saw four beasts. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What is very obvious is that both were describing the indescribable.
20This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.
21Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.
22And the likeness of their faces was the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward.
"and four wings to each of them"
Each has four wings, and four make up one so a total of sixteen wings is being described here by Ezekiel. John saw even more wings, and he described each of the beasts as having six wings filled with eyes. Did John see the Cherubim or the Seraphim? Did Ezekiel see from one perspective while John saw from another? Isaiah also was taken to the throne of God. He clearly identified what he saw not as Cherubim, but Seraphim.
1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Three different prophets are taken to the throne of God, and each gives us the description of what they saw. I know from experience that our eyes are not as reliable as we may think. I worked as a cowboy on a Montana ranch one summer. I and another fellow were putting up miles and miles of barbed wire fence. We were in rattlesnake country, and I was being very careful where I stepped. I walked behind the pickup keeping the four strands of wire untangled as we set each quarter mile section. Suddenly a rattlesnake struck at my leg. I leaped to the other side of the truck rolling over as I hit the ground. My partner jammed the breaks, and came to my aid. What we found was a prairie chicken that would not abandon her nest, and the truck wheel had rolled over her. She was still flapping her death beats as we both looked. There was no rattlesnake! I did not see a prairie chicken! I saw a rattlesnake coiled and then strike just as I jumped. Ask six people what they saw at a crime scene, and you will inevitably get six different descriptions of what happened. Our eyes send a message to our brains, but often the brain makes it's own assumption of what it just analyzed. I have no problem here with the different descriptions of what the cherubim or seraphim look like. In fact, it is far more real because of possible discrepancies or blending by the human witnesses. I'm sure if I saw the cherubim or the seraphim there would well be another description that could be added to what Ezekiel, Isaiah, and John saw. There is a lot of symbolism drawn into these descriptions by many commentators. I do not want to detract from their views for certainly God who made the cherubim and seraphim, made them with purpose. There is a reason why they have wings whether two sets of two, or three sets of two. There certainly must be purpose between two sets and three sets. It's just the answers to these questions are cutting scriptures more then is possible by our inexperienced minds. Some things are better left for heavenly answers, and that is where I should leave the descriptions by Ezekiel, Isaiah, and John.
7And 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 their feet were the feet of straightness"
"There was no bending" is the best I can make of the jest of this statement. Now, I will go where I should not which is beyond the text with a little symbolism on my part. Today, the standard of Christianity is to bend! Doctrine is presented as a bad thing because it will not bend. It separates Christendom into all it's competing factions. For secular unity to take place, doctrine must be abandoned, or bent to mean what the Bible will not allow it to say. We are told that unless it is big, it can't work. The bigger the better. As it is in the world, so it must be in Christianity (we are told). We must bend if a united effort is to be accomplished as the way to evangelize the world. This is the message of Billy Graham, and most other evangelical leadership in today's Christianity. We have been misled! It is not God's way. His way is not to bend, but be straight. Our straightness should be in the doctrine that we learn from the Bible. It never changes or bends! It is designed to separate those who follow the Bible from those who follow their own philosophies. It separates Catholics from Protestants. It separates Charismatics from Biblical fundamentalists. It separates truth from man made tradition. The same Hebrew word (vasharah) for straight is also translated in other places as "right," "upright," or "righteousness." That is a good description of what Bible doctrine is. It is pure, and unadulterated by man. It can't be bent by Billy Graham or any other. Man must come to correct Bible doctrine for unity. As God can not change, so also correct Bible doctrine can not change. Whenever the Bible speaks of Christian unity, it is unity in the unchangeable Bible doctrines to which it speaks. Those who come to unite have been numerous in some ages, and rather spars in others. Today, the straightness of doctrine is being tested. Apostate Christianity must bend doctrine into unintelligible pretzels to survive. You make the evaluation of how straight Christian doctrine is becoming as you witness the changes in mainstream Christianity! Why was Bob Jones University so maligned in it's Protestant, Evangelical, anti-Charismatic position when George W. Bush visited? Do you think the pressure is being put on them to bend and conform? Well, I don't think this was in the mind of Ezekiel when he wrote about the straight feet (really legs), but it certainly is what I perceive as I contemplate the "being of straightness."
15That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
KJV (man's way)
4Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
6And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
KJV (God's way)
What man can't do - God can!
"and the soul of their feet was like the soul of the foot of a calf"
This sounds like some evolutionary nightmare of a thing not cow not whale, not dinosaur not bird, not monkey not man. Yet, the evolutionists of our Harvard's and Yale's have no problem proposing such between types as having existed. Here is a critter that would baffle academia. They can only scoff in their ignorance. They would have us believe their Dumbo science that does not say elephants can fly, but rather that dinosaurs did. The imagination must approach the ridiculous as we would contemplate the between stages of a hoof changed to a flipper in the most recent evolutionary proposals for a cow type mammal evolving into the whale. Imagine this between flopping around on not yet quite a flipper, but not a hoof either. Imagine a Tyrannosaurs Rex type hopping and flapping little feet with feathers that are not feet anymore, but not wings either. It is as laughable as Dumbo the flying elephant when we really think about it. Yet, this is science to our most prestigious Universities, and what Ezekiel is describing here to us is considered foolishness. I wonder who is the fool?
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools
They can believe and promote the wildest imaginations from the mind of man, but scoff at the detailed descriptions from the prophets of God.
"and they sparkled like the color of burnished copper."
The critter with calf's feet which Ezekiel saw had a glow. It appeared as a color and radiance which closest resembled what he saw at the ancient copper foundries of his day. The molten metal had a glow, and sparks would flash as it contacted anything with a lower flashpoint among the dust and water vapors that floated in the very atmosphere through which it was transported in that molten state. It was a consuming fiery environment which he now found himself. This angelic creature was powerful. Ezekiel was endangered in this environment. He was not pure, he was not perfect. He was endangered with the possibility of being consumed by the holiness of this being he has encountered. Just as the sawdust or water molecules that contacted the molten copper, so also Ezekiel could find his sin filled body turned to a spark, and consumed in an instant as this perfectly pure angelic creature approached. It is a terror filled experience to come into the presents of pure, holy, perfection when we are still unperfected and sin filled. A terrible gap exists between fallen man, and a perfect God.
8And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
"And the hands of a man were from under their wings on the four of their sides"
"The hands of Adam" - The Hebrew word for "man" is "adam" or "Adam." When God created Adam, He created him perfect. There was not spot or blemish. A perfect man was placed in the perfect universe of God's creation. The Garden of Eden represented all of this purity, and holiness, and perfection. Righteousness had meaning with Adam (man) in this perfect environment. He walked in the presents of God without endangerment of being consumed. Something dreadful happened. Adam sinned, and everything changed. Adam was banned from the perfect Garden of Eden.
17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Wow! Not only was Adam cursed, but the entire universe came under the curse of the Holy God. Thorns and Thistles mark the end of perfection. Here is the source of all pollution. I'm convinced the very stars began to degrade and burn out with Adam's sin. Notice who is given the responsibility to protect the Garden of Eden from the polluting effects of sin! Who are commanded to consume to embers with their holy flaming swords any sinfull thing that would enter and pollute. It is the Cherubims which Ezekiel is describing to us right now! Longevity is not in the genome. It is in the tree of life that can only grow in the perfectly pure Garden of Eden. The pollution of sin will kill the tree (it killed Adam, and every man and woman after him who was born under the same curse), and it must be protected by the Cherubims if it will ever have a roll in eternity future. Eternity is based on sinless perfection. If any of us hope to get close to the tree of life so it's beneficial fruit can be partaken, we must reach sinless perfection. We must be able to pass by the Cherubims who keep the way. This task is beyond the powers of fallen man. Folks, this is why Jesus Christ died on Calvary's cross as the perfect sacrifice. This is why the Jewish Temple where sacrifice was given and accepted by God is so important. The Easter resurrection of Jesus Christ proved it was an acceptable sacrifice. Only the application of His blood can produce sinless perfection. The perfect salvation! Only Jesus has the power to clean away all the pollution of sin. Only He can restore the cursed universe; only He can redeem the cursed sinner. The answer to the environmental problem is not in politics, but in the heart! The cure can only be found in Jesus Christ!
The Lord Jesus Christ as God came into this world, and became a man. He had the same hands as Adam. Ezekiel said he saw the "hands of Adam" under the wings of the Cherubim. The plan of God for salvation was well thought out long before the seven literal days of creation. It was well thought out before the creation of the angels.
1 Cor 15:45-47
45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
Only the last Adam has the power to fix what the first Adam has ruined.
9Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
"their wings joining each one to the other"
A bond, a union of their wings is seen by Ezekiel. They have become one who once may have been separate? John saw four separate beasts. Ezekiel saw one creature with four separate descriptions. Whatever is happened there is a union. It is a canopy of sorts where separate things flow into oneness. There is no way to tell where one ends, and the other begins. So are the wings of the Cherubim as described by Ezekiel. I do not know what all the implications are of this creative design. I do know that there is a promise in the Bible to me, and my relationship with Christ.
4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
I am bonded to Christ, and in turn bonded to all other truly "born again" Christians. I am separated forever from the world, and all it's apostasy whether Christian or not. God has designed the Cherubim, and He has designed the true Church. There is a false weave in Christendom promoted by such groups as Promise Keepers who would have us believe that Catholic and Evangelical are one in Christ. They have put together what God intended to be separate. The worship of Mary is blasphemy to the identity and sacrifice of Christ. Doctrine separates what the Promise Keepers are intent on joining together. A foolish and gullible generation is ushering in the end of the true Church's witness over the centuries. The failure of our generation is that the distinction between the saved and the unsaved has been so blurred so God will out of necessity remove the true Church with the rapture. We will have failed to maintain the Biblical separation that true doctrine dictates. The Jew lost his privileged position, and found himself removed from the erits (the land, the Holy City, and the Temple). Ezekiel was the prophet who brought them to reality. I'm afraid it is too late for this Church of today. There will be no Ezekiels. They have mocked the voice of our Puritan heritage. They have turned the word "fundamentalist" into meaning the crazed antics of the most vial of professing Christian behavior. The voice of Ezekiel has been silenced by the Evangelical compromises who have taken main stream Christianity into what is a false Church. I call myself the fundamental missionary, but the word "fundamental" to me has a very different meaning then what it means to most others. I hope to have kept my sanity. I hope to have still been able to recognize true Biblical doctrine from the adulterated hogwash of today.
"they did not turn in their going each one had their face toward the front of where they went."
First, stiff unbendable legs and feet, now a stiff and unbendable body. Each one faced outward in a different direction. Like the four directions of the compass, one faced North, one East, one South, and one West. They were fixed and unmovable. There was no front. There was no back. The front became the back, or the back the front depending on which way they moved. The same held true for the sides. An unusual creature to say the least. It is angelic. It is heavenly. It is spiritual. It is out of this world! No flying saucer ever was described like this. No space creatures from the annals of science fiction come even close to what Ezekiel here describes.
I have often contemplated what heaven will be like? Eternity future will be a long time to just pluck on a harp. What I see whether looking in a microscope, binoculars, or a telescope is a God who's creative powers are awesome. What He did in seven short days has dazzled and awed the most brilliant minds through the centuries. There are things which God has created that may even go beyond what Ezekiel here describes. The complexity and diversity of life is not paled by the complexity and diversity of the universe which He created. All this in seven short days! What, Oh what, does this creative God have in store for those He loves throughout eternity??? What new creations await us? All perfect - no fear of anything cruel or menacing. It is more then I could ever imagine. Today, I await with great expectation the promise I have in Christ. I expect perfection through His blood. I expect the robe of His righteousness will be mine forever. I will come into the presents of these Cherubim with no fear.
7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
5And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
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Edited by DDSrail - July 25, 2000