17 Dec. Ezekiel 1:1-17,22-28

17 Dec. Ezekiel has a vision of God on his throne

“It was the fifth day of the fourth month of the thirtieth year of our captivity. I was by the River Kebar among the people who had been carried away as captives. The sky opened, and I saw visions of God. It was the fifth day of the month of the fifth year that King Jehoiachin had been a prisoner.”

“The LORD spoke his word to Ezekiel son of Buzi in the land of the Babylonians by the Kebar River. There he felt the power of the LORD.”

“When I looked, I saw a stormy wind coming from the north. There was a great cloud with a bright light around it and fire flashing out of it. Something that looked like glowing metal was in the centre of the fire.

“Inside the cloud was what looked like four living creatures, who were shaped like humans, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight. Their feet were like a calf’s hoofs and sparkled like polished bronze.”

“The living creatures had human hands under their wings on their four sides. All four of them had faces and wings, and their wings touched each other. The living creatures did not turn when they moved, but each went straight ahead.”

“Their faces looked like this: each living creature had a human face and the face of a lion on the right side and the face of an ox on the left side. And each one also had the face of an eagle… Each had two wings that touched one of the other living creatures and two wings that covered its body…”

“The living creatures looked like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire went back and forth among the living creatures. It was bright and lightning flashed from it. The living creatures ran back and forth like bolts of lightning.”

“Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground by each of the living creatures with its four faces. The wheels and the way they were made were like this: they looked like sparkling chrysolite. All four of them looked the same, like one wheel crossways inside another wheel. When they moved, they went in any one of the four directions, without turning as they went…”

“Now, over the heads of the living creatures was something like a dome that sparkled like ice and was frightening. And under the dome the wings of the living creatures were stretched out straight towards one another…”

“A voice came from above the dome over the heads of the living creatures. When the living creatures stopped, they lowered their wings. Now above the dome there was something that looked like a throne. It looked like a sapphire gem. And on the throne was a shape like a human.”

“Then I noticed that from the waist up the shape looked like glowing metal with fire inside. From the waist down it looked like fire, and a bright light was all around. The surrounding glow looked like the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day. It seemed to look like the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I bowed face down on the ground and heard a voice speaking.”

          (Ezekiel 1:1-17,22-28)

 

 

The Book of Ezekiel was written by the prophet Ezekiel between 593 and 573BC while in exile in Babylonia, before and after the final fall of Jerusalem in 587BC. He warned of the impending fall of Judah, then offered hope of a brighter future with the eventual return of the exiles and the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon with King Jehoiachin of Judah in 597 BC (see 2 Kings 24:10-20). Five years later, in the summer of 593BC, Ezekiel had a vision beside the River Chebar (Akkadian, meaning ‘the great river’) – now called the Shatt en-Nil waterway – which ran from the River Euphrates north of Babylonthrough Nippur and re-joined the river near Uruk.

In his vision, Ezekiel saw four living creatures and the LORD sitting on a throne: "And on the throne was a shape like a human. Then I noticed that from the waist up the shape looked like glowing metal with fire inside. From the waist down it looked like fire, and a bright light was all around. The surrounding glow looked like the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day. It seemed to look like the glory [the radiant, shining presence] of the LORD." (Ezekiel 1:26-28)

In Chapters 2 and 3, Ezekiel tells how he was called to be a prophet to the Jewish exiles living at Tel Abib (or ‘Tel Aviv’ - ‘Hill of Spring’) beside the River Chebar (the Shatt en-Nil canal) in Babylonia. In Chapter 4, Ezekiel re-enacts the siege of Jerusalem by drawing a map of the city on a brick, and using an iron plate to represent the walls, the siege ramps, trenches and battering rams.

The photo shows a stone frieze (in the British Museum) depicting the Assyrians attacking a city with a wheeled battering ram.

You can read more from Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Book of Ezekiel @ The Bible Journey | Ezekiel is called to be a prophet


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