Lesson #6 - Ezekiel 1:15-21

The Chariot Wheels of the Cherubim

Ezek 1:15
15Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.

"And I looked at the living creatures"

The Chariot of God approaches. Ezekiel now sees more clearly. It is a living chariot that is transporting the living God. These four living creatures made into one surround the throne of God. It is not that they protect God, but rather they are a shield that keeps the glory of God from consuming everything cursed. Everything that is filthy and sinful. Everything that is corrupted by Adam's sin. The angelic Cherubim is a miraculous creation of God that is designed to contain His glory so He can manifest His physical presents here on this cursed earth. 

God is Spirit, and is everywhere at every time. 

1 Kings 8:27
27But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

Ps 139:3-10
3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Jer 23:23-24
23Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?

24Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

Acts 7:48-50
48Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,

49Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

50Hath not my hand made all these things?

Yet here, Ezekiel is about to come into the physical presents of that same God who can manifest Himself as He pleases. He can be the ever present Spirit of God of all time, all space, and beyond space while yet manifesting His presents at a specific time to specific people in physical form. He sits on His throne and can travel, throne room and all, to wherever and whenever He wants. 


"and behold, one wheel was on the earth beside the living creatures with the four faces."

Ezekiel sees a wheel. The chariot is now close enough for Ezekiel to see new features that he did not see before. The Cherubim now clearly has the appearance of a chariot that surrounds the Throne of God.  The chariot touches down, and Ezekiel sees a wheel touch the earth beside the living creatures. God is coming from Glory, and now one wheel of His chariot makes contact with earth. Daniel also was taken to the throne of God, and he also saw the same wheels.

Dan 7:9
9I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

Solomon reproduced what the Cherubim look like in the base of all the columns that supported the First Jewish Temple. Notice he also included the same four wheels sculptured in brass.

1 Kings 7:27-30
27And he made ten bases of brass; four cubits was the length of one base, and four cubits the breadth thereof, and three cubits the height of it.

28And the work of the bases was on this manner: they had borders, and the borders were between the ledges:

29And on the borders that were between the ledges were lions, oxen, and cherubims: and upon the ledges there was a base above: and beneath the lions and oxen were certain additions made of thin work.

30And every base had four brasen wheels, and plates of brass: and the four corners thereof had undersetters: under the laver were undersetters molten, at the side of every addition.

Solomon received the drawings of exactly how the Temple should be constructed from his father King David, and David received his directions from God Almighty. What Ezekiel saw was exactly the pattern God gave David when God told him how the Cherubim should be sculptured on the base of all the pillars ("all the works of this pattern"). The Cherubim were displayed as a chariot surrounding each pillar. Other Cherubim where sculptured to cover the Ark of the Covenant which was placed in the Holy of Holies; the innermost room in the Temple (God's physical presents dwelling place) where only the High Priest once each year was allowed to enter.

1 Chron 28:18-20
18And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.

19All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.

20And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.

The link between the Cherubim and the Temple is clear. God had a dwelling place here on earth where His physical presents was manifested. Where His glory could be shielded by the Cherubim so the world would be safe from consummation. The High Priest could make contact as is the experience here with Ezekiel. The Temple was still in existence at this time that Ezekiel had his vision, but not for long. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon where Ezekiel is a captive was about to destroy it. 


Ezek 1:16
16The 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.

"The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was the like of the color of a yellow crystalline stone"

Ezekiel now sees more clearly that it was not a wheel, but rather wheels that he was looking at. They had a recognizable color.

Ezek 1:15-18
The prophet next saw beside the living creatures (RSV) wheels. 16. Their appearance was like the gleaming (lit., eye) of a chrysolite (RSV; AV, beryl). Hebrew, tarshish. The stone named from Tarshish, or Tartessus, in southern Spain, is probably the ancient chrysolite (goldstone), corresponding to our gold-colored topaz, not the pale green aquamarine or beryl. A wheel in the middle of a wheel. The most common explanation is that each wheel looked like two wheels cutting each other at right angles to form a compound wheel, which could move in different directions without changing front (v. 17). 18. The Hebrew text is in disorder. The LXX suggests: And they had rims (or, felloes; AV, rings). And I looked at them (instead of Heb and terror was to them). And their rims were full of eyes, symbolizing life and intelligence.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)


"and the likeness was one to the four of them" 

The wheels were four, two pair molded together into one. The Cherubim were four creatures that were created to form one. The creative power of God is magnificent. He does what seems to be impossible. Were His glory be left to it's own, all sin would be consumed. The earth, the universe would be burned to cinders in the presents of such glory. The Cherubim shields His Glory so He can manifest Himself here on this cursed earth. His integrity remains intact. His spotless purity remains untouched by the filthiness which runs rampant. The Cherubim chariot protects the consummation of all the cursed thing until the time of His choosing. What wonderful design. Sin can have it's season until God is ready to end it. Filthy sinners do their best to drive away God. They think that in their flagrant immorality the glory of God will be pushed from the earth. What planning God has made to keep His glory intact while reaching into the fiery midst of judgment itself, and plucking brands out of this hell hole under the curse of sin so that sinners can be saved. That God can give time for the lost to call upon Christ for redemption. 

Eph 1:6-7
6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

The sinner who stood alone in his rebellion against God is now united through the blood of Christ into one body. A body of believers whom Christ has made acceptable to the pure and absolutely glorious God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit God of the Bible has again made into one that which is many. He not only can create, but He can recreate. It is all so marvelous. It is all so heavenly. It goes beyond human concepts. It must also not be taken beyond what is understandable for now. 


"and their appearance and their workmanship was like the wheel in the middle of the wheel."

A wheel in a wheel. Two pairs of four wheels all molded into one. Their appearance was difficult to comprehend. The old Negro spiritual caught the vision of Ezekiel as well as any.

"Ezekiel saw the wheel turnen, way up in the middle of the air ...

Ezekiel saw the wheel turnen way in the middle of the air ...

and the big wheel runs by faith ...

and the little wheel runs by the grace of God ...

a wheel in a wheel, way up in the middle of the air ...

Look out sister how you step on the cross, your foot might slip, and your soul be lost ...

a wheel in a wheel, way up there in the middle of the air."

"The big wheel run by faith." Faith is the conduit by which salvation flows. "The little wheel runs by the grace of God." The inner wheel of the grace of God  is continually turning so faith can operate.

Eph 2:8-10
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ezekiel clearly saw the creative workmanship of God in the Cherubim. There is a workmanship that can be seen among the saved also. A changed life. The drunkard changes when Christ comes into his life. The filthy pornographer who's wares are so prevalent on the internet has the desires of his mind changed. Those who formerly only thought of their own gratification now think about others. They have concern for the little girls and boys who are being lured into lives of habitual sin. They are offended as sin rules this cursed world for it's season. They are changed. They are born anew. They are a new creation in Christ. Old things have passed away, and all things are new. God has accomplished a miracle, and His workmanship is manifested in His children. The lone rebel has been recreated into a new existence. He has become another addition, another part of the body of Christ.   

Matthew Henry that great Puritanical Preacher saw providence in the wheels. God in complete control of all things. Nothing is a surprise in providence. Everything has purpose and plan when providence is understood. Providence turns about some core purposes of God. God's glory is one because it represents who God is. Who God is is not debatable as some would define is. God is what His Biblical attributes are! They are unchangeable in all their glory. Another core purpose of God in providence is His plan. Everything revolves in providence around the plan of God for salvation. This makes the Lord Jesus Christ core to everything in providence. It all turns around Him. There is no other way! The Old Testament saint put faith in His promised coming, and the New Testament saint puts his faith in the only savior who has come!

John 14:6
6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Providence must be like a broken record in a sense. Everything in providence keeps turning the course of events back to the central core. Have you ever heard the phrase "history repeats itself?" Have historians acknowledged that providence is really the controlling force in the course of human history? It is true that in providence the wheel is continual turning. The top becomes the bottom, and the bottom the top in turn after turn.

Eccl 1:9-11
9The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

10Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

11There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after

Because God is who He is, He can not change. His attributes are fixed for all eternity. His love to His children is eternal, and so never fear He may become mean or vindictive at some later date. His judgment is also eternal, and all rebels will be condemned to a hopeless eternal hell. The providence of God is clear to any who read the Bible. Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of all Biblical history. His death and resurrection fulfills the plan of God in providence. A perfect sacrifice for sin. The perfect redemption plan. 


Ezek 1:17
17When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.

"On the four of their sides in their going they went, they did not turn in their going."

A wheel that turns yet in another sense goes straight (a straight circle)? Einstein proposed to the secular scientists of this world if one went in a straight line through space that he would eventually come to where he started? Well, here the chariot could rotate on it's four sides, and it's wheels turn as it travels throughout time, "going where it went", and yet not turn? There seems to be the idea of always going forward whither going into the past, present, or future. I guess it's all just relative? We do not have to necessarily understand, but Ezekiel is telling the truth regardless of our comprehension. 

Ezek 1:18
18As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.

"And their rims to them were even high, even awesome to them"

I want to say something about manuscripts at this point. There are variants in the testimony of the manuscripts of the Bible. The manuscripts are those handwritten Bibles of antiquity. The authors made typographical and sometimes intentional changes that are errors as they copied the Bible. It is rather easy to recognize these variants, and compensate when translating as I am doing here for you. I would be amice if I did not mention that here variants do occur in the manuscripts. The LXX (Septuagint) does not read exactly as the Mazoretic Text does right here. The Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) was used by Christ at times. It in no way authenticates that version as being a perfect translation and manuscript of the entire Old Testament. It should be considered when translating, but it's testimony should never be absolute when comparing it to all the other manuscripts.  There are those today who promote the King James Version of the Bible (an English translation) as being perfect (and it's New Testament underlying Greek Textus Receptus manuscript). They would say that it alone was divinely preserved for all Christendom of today. This is an intellectual lie. It eliminates the reality of variants in both the Old Testament and New Testament, and the need to factually and intellectually deal with them. I could spend reams explaining how I deal with variants, but we would never get anywhere in Ezekiel. Rather, let me make a statement! I follow the Mazoretic Text of the Old Testament except where overwhelmingly compelled not to do so, and I mean overwhelmingly. I follow the Byzantine majority of manuscripts for the New Testament except where I am overwhelmingly compelled not to do so. Again, I mean overwhelmingly. The best representative of the Byzantine Text in English is the King James Bible. Am I a KJV fanatic? NO! Do I promote KJV onlyism? NO! What version of the Bible do I recommend you read, and stick with? The KJV! Are you a terrible sinner if you do not listen to me and use another version? OF COURSE NOT! Is there value in other versions? YES! Should you be cautious when using other versions? YES! Should you be cautious when using the KJV? YES! Is the Bible reliable? YES! Is the Bible without error? YES! Textual criticism is the science that deals with the variants, and where applied successfully eliminates all error! It is the task of the Textual Critic to do his job correctly. I must trust the engineer every time I cross a bridge, and you must trust the Textual Critic every time you read the Bible (unless you can read Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, and have access to the manuscripts). The job must be done correctly or there will be calamity. It is calamity for those who follow Westcott/Hort as the final solution, and it is calamity for the KJV onlyists too.

"And their rims to them were even high, even awesome to them"

The rims, the outer part of the wheels, were high. They were way up there in the middle of the air. It was an awesome sight! This angelic chariot was huge! The closer it came, the greater was the realization of it's size. Despite it's great size, it's movement was quick, and going on everywhere! It was a vibrant living creature full of life, full of energy, and full of power. 



"and their rims were full of eyes all around the four of them."

The eyes indicate intelligent awareness of everything going on around them. Nothing hidden as the eyes are everywhere, and see everything. The ocean is not deep enough nor the heavens so vast that God can not see. He sees where man has no ability; He sees the heart. Everything is laid open and naked to His eyes. The design of the Cherubim is with purpose. It reflects the attributes of the God who's physical manifestation is contained within.


Ezek 1:19
19And 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.

"And in the  going of the living creatures went the wheels beside them"

The wheels went where the Cherubim went. Were the wheels separate from the Cherubim? I think not! I think in perception they may have seemed separate, but in reality they were all one. This chariot is alive! It's moving parts are just as alive as is it's main body. A living wheel to a living chariot. What God can do when He creates! 


"and in the up lifting of the living creatures from upon the earth, the wheels were lifted up."

When the Cherubim went up from the earth, the wheels went with them. The physical manifestation of God comes down to touch the earth then goes up to Glory. It seems to be continuous; up in Glory while touching the earth. A sight that is as difficult to express as is difficult to translate. Ezekiel is far from earthly experience now that the vision is in full view. This is far from any earthly storm, far from any earthly chariot. If we are to understand, we must leave earthly thinking behind. I'm not talking about abandoning common sense as the Charismatic movement has done, but I am talking about rising above all we've ever experienced to look into new unknown areas of revelation. God is an awesome God! Ezekiel reveals this awesomeness in real terms. 


Ezek 1:20
20Whithersoever 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.

"Where upon was there the Spirit to go, they went there their spirit to go"

This phrase is extremely important. It is a statement that indicates it is God who controls the angelic world (the spirit world) just as He controls this earthly realm. Providence is as real in angelic spheres as it is here on earth. These are powerful beings. Their size and power make man seem very puny. Yet, with all this power they too are reduced to fate as dictated by God Almighty. They can do nothing other then that which God has already prearranged as part of His plan. They are but pawns under the complete control of God. Some rebelled, and are now incarcerated in chains rendered harmless by the power of God. Satan, who roams the earth like a devouring lion is limited by the power of God. Nothing is devoured which God did not preordain under divine providence. This mighty Cherubim whom Ezekiel is describing is submitted forever to God, and His plan of salvation through Christ. He only does what God in His wisdom allows. It is the Spirit of God who is absolute. All other spirits, no matter what their power, are under His absolute control. Where the Spirit of God directs, so goes the spirits all connected to this great chariot! These spirits are so created, and so put together as to be referred to as one, as a single spirit. This Cherubim that seems to be four Seraphims recreated into one Cherubim, only goes where God tells it to go. God is a triune God from all eternity to all eternity. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost has existed as the God of the Bible throughout eternity. The incarnation of Christ does not effect the reality of the Trinity. "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is One! It is a truth I well researched, and have drawn firm Biblical conclusions. Does this make some sense that a Triune God would have within His creative strength a concept of putting more then one into a single creature? This specific angel is greater then man, but it is and can only ever be a created angel. Man is offered something more magnificent. Only to man has God made the offer of becoming His children. To be a  child of God is greater then all the power and glory given to all the angelic beings. To be part of God's family under the direction of the Father's Spirit is something that causes one to swoon if the reality is taken into the depths of our understanding.

Rom 8:15-19
15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Will it not be something when this angelic living chariot of God, this great and powerful Cherubim, will step aside because a Child of God has entered the room. Folks, if your saved, this will be the reality of heaven for you. The greatest privilege ever offered to created beings is offered to us. So great is Christ. So great is the shed blood of Christ as the perfect sacrifice! So great is the salvation that He offers to any who will come! It can make one swoon with excitement and wonder.

The same Spirit that directs the Cherubim directs the child of God. The child represents his Father's family which is an awesome responsibility. We must know the Bible! It is our guide book which shows us the right path to follow. We must be obedient children for our Father's sake! For the world's sake! For the sake of Christ!


"and the wheels were lifted up along with them for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels."

The wheels are alive! The same spirit in the living creatures is present in the wheels. It is all one! One mind, one body! It is not a three headed dragon, or a two headed cow as I saw on the news recently. This is a single creature that is sometimes called a creature by Ezekiel, and then at other times called creatures. It is all so difficult to understand. When the living chariot lifted up off the ground so did the wheels. It traveled as a single unit. All the parts that made up this chariot stayed together. My first car was not so. Parts kept falling off, and I would have to stop and throw them in the trunk for later repair. I don't know what will be our source of travel in heaven, but that old car, I'm sure, will not be there.


Ezek 1:21
21When 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.

"In their goings these went, and in their standing still these stood still,"

Everything was in perfect harmony. When it went, it all went, and when it stood still everything was there. No one had to bring the muffler, and say they saw it fall from the bottom of the chariot. When God makes something perfect, it is perfect for all eternity. What happened here on earth with the sin of Adam, and the resulting curse is an enigma when it comes to God. It is not normal. It is a one time event with a one time solution, and will never happen again! It is all allowed because God has given man a special privilege. He gave man the ability and freedom to choose. I'm a Calvinist by doctrine. I even lean more toward irresistible grace in election then most. Yet, free will is Biblical. It becomes unbiblical when Arminianism tries to teach that it is possible to lose the perfect salvation provided by Christ. Oral Roberts is a good Arminianist. He set high standards for his university (ORU). I've always been overweight, and because of that I would have been rejected for admission much less a teaching position at ORU (not that I would have ever applied). The standard was high, and a divorced person found themselves just as rejected. Oral's son married a woman who had big problems with honesty when it came to the burgeoning television ministry and other things she was involved with. In the end, Jr. divorced her with Oral's blessings. I wondered how Oral would deal with the heir to all his possessions now that this irreversible action had been done? It was slick! They made the claim in the book "Second Chance" by Jr. that he just lost his salvation! He was resaved and then remarried another woman more compatible to the honesty standards of Oral, and on they go. Well, it seems to me the muffler fell off, and everyone is pretending they did not see it. There is a loud noise coming from ORU that is just being ignored by all those Charismatic folks who claim they love the Lord so much.


"and in their being lifted from upon the earth, the wheels were lifted up along with them"

The living chariot went up, and the wheels went up. A lot of repetition here, and probably for good reason. We have a problem with beans. They plug up our ears, and we often don't hear the first time. The Westcott/Hort people have removed many of the repetitions in the New Testament. They follow the principal that shorter is better. Their thinking is that honest scribes would have a tendency to to repeat a word word or phrase by accident, and so where those repetitions are found in one manuscript as opposed to another they should be removed. It is a trueism, but should never be an uncompromising  principal. I read an e-mail from a KJV only fanatic that the amount of removal by the Westcott/Hort crowd of what are called glosses is equivalent to the removal in amount to First and Second Peter. I haven't done the counting, but I would say Dr. Cloud is far more honest then Oral. I would trust this as true. All versions except the King James follow the Westcott/Hort philosophy of Textual Criticism. It is something to be aware! Most versions do include the implied glosses, but you have to go to the index to find them. That is a frontal attack on the integrity of those glosses, and error in most cases in my estimation.

The problem as I see it is the beans! God does repeat Himself often! The truth needs repetition!!


"for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels."

Creature creatures are such repetitions. The depths of the scriptures runs deep at times. The beauty of it all is the simplicity of salvation. I was seven years old, but I was able to understand what Einstein with all his brains never grasped. My Sunday School teacher in Cicero, Illinois held up a black card, and I knew that was the condition of my heart. Filthy and filled with sin. She held up a white card, and I knew that was what I wanted. A clean heart that could come into the presents of the glorious God of the Bible. She held up a red card, and explained to all us children that Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross so that our sins could be washed away. Not all the children responded, but I did. When she read John 3:16, I knew it was for me that Christ died, and I asked Him to save me. That simple for a little seven year old. That simple for you!

John 3:16
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.


Rom 8:15-19
15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Back to Ezekiel Bible Study

Edited by DDSrail - August 16, 2000