Lesson #5 - Ezekiel 1:10-14
10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle
"And the likeness of their faces, the face of Adam (a man)"
The hands of Adam under the wings, and now the face of Adam (possibly) as an eternal reminder of God's eternal plan for creation, and it's eternal purpose. What face of man did God use? Could it be that the first Adam, and the last Adam look alike? Could it be that that face is stamped forever in the creation of the Cherubim? There will be no statues or paintings of Christ in heaven, but there may be living representations pointing to Him for all to acknowledge continually. The beginning and the end of all things. The Alpha and Omega! The face of Adam. The first Adam, and the last Adam.
It appears that each Cherubim has four faces. Four Cherubim unite to make one creature. The face of Adam is the out looking face of the united Cherubim. Like a square, the four sides seem to unite into one. It is not four heads to each Cherubim as is the case of the great red dragon of Revelations which has seven heads representing the separate major governments of the world in their united, satanic, determined effort to thwart God's plan of salvation through Israel and Jesus Christ, but rather the Cherubim have four faces that make up each single creature with a single purpose as four come together to make one. There is not unity in a cause, but rather a oneness in divine creation.
The best religion can do is unite in a cause. It is a weak unity that falls apart quickly when personal parameters change. As power is seized, sides must be taken, and unity takes on new definitions. Only God can form the perfect unity of eternity future by divine creation. Only God can create the eternal oneness in Christ. It is the "new birth" that accomplishes this great miracle of an everlasting unity that will last unchangeable throughout eternity future. It was planned from the very beginning in the created face found in the Cherubim.
6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
9Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
10Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
"And the face of a lion on the right side to the four of them"
"And the face of an ox on the left side to the four of them"
"And the face of an eagle to the four of them"
The meaning of the faces is best summed up by the Puritan Preacher Matthew Henry who as a Puritan I believe came closest in understanding the the depths of the Bible.
[2.] By their faces: Every one had four faces, looking four several ways. In St. John's vision, which has a near affinity with this, each of the four living creatures has one of these faces here mentioned (Rev 4:7); here each of them has all four, to intimate that they have all the same qualifications for service; though, perhaps, among the angels of heaven, as among the angels of the churches, some excel in one gift and others in another, but all for the common service. Let us contemplate their faces till we be in some measure changed into the same image, that we may do the will of God as the angels do it in heaven. They all four had the face of a man (for in that likeness they appeared, v. 5), but, besides that, they had the face of a lion, an ox, and an eagle, each masterly in its kind, the lion among wild beasts, the ox among tame ones, and the eagle among fowls, v. 10. Does God make use of them for the executing of judgments upon his enemies? They are fierce and strong as the lion and the eagle in tearing their prey. Does he make use of them for the good of his people? They are as oxen strong for labour and inclined to serve. And in both they have the understanding of a man. The scattered perfections of the living creatures on earth meet in the angels of heaven. They have the likeness of man; but, because there are some things in which man is excelled even by the inferior creatures, they are therefore compared to some of them. They have the understanding of a man, and such as far exceeds it; they also resemble man in tenderness and humanity. But, First, A lion excels man in strength and boldness, and is much more formidable; therefore the angels, who in this resemble them, put on the face of a lion. Secondly, An ox excels man in diligence, and patience, and painstaking, and an unwearied discharge of the work he has to do; therefore the angels, who are constantly employed in the service of God and the church, put on the face of an ox. Thirdly, An eagle excels man in quickness and piercingness of sight, and in soaring high; and therefore the angels, who seek things above, and see far into divine mysteries, put on the face of a flying eagle.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
This is not a religion that the Cherubim represent! It is rather holiness, purity, and the perfection of everything that makes up the God of the Bible! It is that perfect God who sent His perfect Son as a Jew to accomplish the only perfect salvation offered freely to any who will come to the "new birth." There is no other way. There is no other holy, pure, and perfect righteousness then that found in Christ.
6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies.
"So were their faces"
So were their (panichem) faces!!! A concluding remark as this angelic creature of creators came into the clear view of Ezekiel in a vision by the river side. An astounding description as Ezekiel comes face to face with the throne of God! The God of the Bible! The God of all creation! The one and only God! The triune Father, Son, and Holy Ghost God! The God who is everywhere at all time! The God who's power knows no limits consistent with His holiness. The God who is Spirit, but yet able to manifest His presents in these awesome ways.
"And their wings were spread upward"
One pair of wings on each individual Cherub were raised heavenward. Four (with four faces each) created into one creature. Four sets of their eight sets of wings (two sets to each of the four), one Cherub on each of the four sides, were raised in readiness for flight. Swiftness to action is the picture here presented. This is the God of salvation. Swift to move where a heart is broken from sin, and ready to repent - ready to turn to Christ! No fear that the moment be lost! This God is prepared so none will find Him late.
My friend, He is ready for you! If you are willing, He will be there. You don't have to wait until Sunday, or any other day. Today, is the day when you can have your encounter with God.
Know you are born under the curse of the first Adam. Know that the last Adam came into this world because He loves you, and wants to free you from that curse.
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
"to each of the two were joined of one each, and two covering their bodies"
The other set of wings covered their bodies. Is it modesty, or something more? It might be that the glory manifested by their full exposure would have consumed Ezekiel even in this his vision? The day will come when those who enter heaven having been miraculously perfected will see without fear the glories that were hidden to Ezekiel. Not everything can be revealed to us about God and heaven. It is too much for our present status. It would be beyond our limits while we languish under the curse. I personally look forward to the moment when the Cherubim unfold their wings. That moment is very clear in the Bible. It is when sin is ended! Sin has a beginning in the Bible, and an end.
The beginning of sin in the Bible is with Satan saying in his heart he will be his own God. He will do it his way! He will have his own universal religion open to all who would come based on his own personal design.
13For 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:
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
The end of sin is also revealed!
13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
21:1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God
This moment is the end of sin, and when the Cherubim will open
their wings! All the saved will be in the presents of God.
There is only one way to have your name written down in the book of life. There is only one way to be witness to these future events. There is only one way to see what is now hidden by the wings of the Cherubim. That is to come to Christ! To be born again!
12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
12 And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.
"And each toward the front of their faces went to where was there"
The movement of the Cherubim was always forward. It was forward to the right, and it was forward to the left. It was forward behind, and it was forward ahead. Eternity is continually moving forward (even where past and future blend together), and this is surly a creature designed for eternity. Soon we will see that God takes Ezekiel into the future. He will describe a Jewish Temple in the city of Jerusalem that has not yet been built. Ezekiel, by the power of the Omnipresent God sees what is not even happened in our day. Time loses meaning in the presents of God. The past and the future blend together into an everlasting present. These thoughts go beyond human comprehension, but here is a creature that seems made for this reality. They are able to go to where ever was there. They were ever going forward be it into the past or back from the future. These words are too glorious to translate. They are beyond language be it Hebrew or English.
"The Spirit to go they went"
The movement was not by chance in some blind methodology as is the theory of evolution which claims that chance over eternity past produced the diversity of life present here on earth. Ezekiel reveals there was, is, and always will be purpose in every move that the Cherubim make in their eternal movements. The Spirit was and is the absolute controller of every move. Order, and purpose is revealed in Ezekiel's description. Nothing happening by chance; rather the express purposed Spirit of God monitors and controls every moment of all eternity (forever). It is the Spirit that determines where the Cherubim are to go, and where they went throughout God's ever-present eternity. Sin is but a bump in the road of eternity. Sin has a beginning, and has an end. Eternity future will never see sin again! It is forever eradicated in the blood of Christ. He will never have to go to Calvary again. Sadly, sin has eternal consequences by God's decree. Those who refuse God's eternal salvation through Christ will find God's eternal wrath abiding upon them. Both heaven and hell are eternal places in the Bible. Doctrine dictates there can't be eternity in one, and not the other. The lake of fire is an eternal place where lost souls will spend a hopeless eternity. What God did in sending His own Son to die on Calvary's cross is so great that to reject Christ - to reject God's eternal plan of redemption, is as great in the opposite direction so as to result in abiding under God's wrath forever. The greatness of Christ's sacrifice is balanced by the greatness of God's wrath toward the rebels who are too proud or feel no need to come to Christ for salvation.
24And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
43And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
44Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
45And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
46Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
47And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
48Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
"they did not turn in their going"
They did not turn? Where ever they went in their goings, they did not turn. They were unchangeable by creative design. They did not turn. They could not turn. We will see they went left, they went right, they went forward, they went back, they went up, they went down, but they did not turn? Are we beyond human comprehension? I think so!
The Bible does not turn. It remains the same throughout time. The great truth coming out of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is this truth - that the Bible does not turn. The religious scholars of our great Universities made pompous, ignorant statements as to the authorship and development of the Bible. They said prophecy was nothing more then someone writing after the event took place claiming a more ancient authorship. They stumbled over each other proclaiming the word "dedactive" as the source of all the Bible. Each generation rewrote (dedacted) what went before. According to them, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and all the Old Testament was the product of this dedactive methodology giving only the appearance of prophecy which then came to pass. Because Jewish scholars through the ages held the Bible in such regard, they destroyed all the older frayed copies much as we do with the American flag. The result was that the oldest copies of the Old Testament available were dated around 1000 years after Christ. It was easy for the secular scholars to mock the Old Testament - that is until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls! What they found were books of the Old Testament that were 1000 years older then the oldest Old Testament manuscripts then in existence. !000 years of dedactive scholarship. The problem was that the books of the Old Testament Dead Sea Scrolls were exactly the same as those written 1000 years later as they are today. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a testament to the accuracy of Jewish Scholars to prevent even the slightest turn of what the scriptures say over a 1000 year time span. It would be expected that if we were to go back another 1000 years that the same meticulous scholarship would be the rule. That would go right through the very ages when the original authors lived. I read Isaiah 53 off the original Isaiah Scroll at the Museum of the Scrolls in Jerusalem back in the 1970's. I give witness and testimony that it reads just like Isaiah 53 reads today! The scroll is dated 100 years before the birth of Christ.
53:1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Whenever you think or hear of the Dead Sea Scrolls, you should be reminded that the Bible does not turn. It is the same today as it was when written. Forty authors wrote over some 2000 years, and the product of their authorship remains unchanged. The Bible has not turned as the secular scholars have mockingly claimed in their willful ignorance. They would have you follow them if they can get you to close your eyes as they have.
13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning.
"And the likeness of the living creatures, they appeared like coals of burning fire"
Their color was that of molten copper, and now Ezekiel revels their appearance is that of burning coals. A consuming inferno seems coming straight for Ezekiel. Daniel, a contemporary prophet with Ezekiel in Babylon, had three fellow captive compatriots who shed some light on what Ezekiel must have felt with the approach of the Cherubim. They faced a man made inferno.
19Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
20And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
22Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellers, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
25He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
27And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellers, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
28Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
So also Ezekiel survives an even greater consuming inferno as he comes into the presents of the living God. The glory of perfect holiness is yet to be seen by Ezekiel. He is exposed only to these angelic beings at this point. It seems hard to imagine that greater glories are guarded and sheilded by the Cherubim.
"And the like of the appearance it was torches continually circling among the living creatures"
Moses said the Cherubim who guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden where the tree of life is preserved have flaming swords. Here, Ezekiel sees what appears to him as torches that are continually circling among these living creatures. Constant vigilance seems to be an attribute of the Cherubim. Continually ready to administer justice and judgment with power that is all consuming. The greatest armies of the world would be no match to the power these Cherubim poses. Unleashed, they would have no match from any worldly power. A-bombs, H-bombs, are nothing to the power here described. The greatest earthquakes or volcanic eruptions pall in the face of the Cherubim.
"and bright was the fire, and out of the fire went forth lightning"
An awesome sight to describe, but Ezekiel seems up to the challenge. A summer lightning storm of the greatest intensity may be the closest experience you or I can muster, but Ezekiel describes power far beyond our puny experiences. These creatures are barring down on Ezekiel. There is no place to run. There is no place to hid.
15And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.
"And the living creatures kept running and returning like the appearance of a flash of lightning."
A strobe light might best relate what Ezekiel now tells of the approach of the Cherubim. The zig-zag lightning movement is what is emphasized here. It is so fast that the eye can't follow. One instant they are here, and the next blink of the eye they are there. The jerky movements of an early motion picture is what Ezekiel seems to see. They move in and out of time so quickly the eye can't follow. One moment in the present, the next in the future or past. They are here, then they are there. They are running always forward, then return just as quickly from where ever they went. Faster then the eye can see, they perform the bidding of God. Swift is His judgment. There will be no appeals, no time consuming arguments. The rich man closed his eyes in death only to open them in hell. God is not slack when it comes to His Son Jesus Christ. The judgments are clear, and not needful of any contemplation.
What have YOU done with the LORD Jesus Christ? God knows perfectly if Jesus is in your heart, or whether you have ignored His pleads. Are you "born again," or will you abide under God's wrath for all eternity? Consider what Jesus Christ said to some folks just like you and me.
28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Won't you come to Him for salvation? Won't you turn from sin unto righteousness bought for you through His blood? The appeal to come is as valid today as it was the day it was uttered. The Bible has not turned. The words of Christ have not changed.
When I was seven years old, I understood enough to pray, and ask that my sins be forgiven. I came to Christ that day, and the burdens of sin were lifted forever. I found the perfect Christ (rather He found me), and the perfect salvation of the Bible. It is as available to you this very moment. Won't you come to Him? Right now is the time! Right now is the moment!
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