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BibliaTodo Commentaries

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Smith Chuck - Through the Bible C2000 Series
Ezekiel 1

1. Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

2. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,

3. The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.

4. 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.

5. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.

6. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.

7. And 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.

8. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.

9. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.

10. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

11. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.

12. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.

13. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.

14. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.

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

16. The 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.

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

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

19. And 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.

20. Whithersoever 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.

21. When 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.

22. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.

23. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.

24. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.

25. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.

26. And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.

27. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.

28. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

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Ezekiel 1

Shall we turn at this time to the prophecy of Ezekiel. Ezekiel said, It came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month ( Eze 1:1 ), So that would be July the fifth. It would be probably the thirtieth year of Ezekiel's life, when he was thirty years old. as he was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God ( Eze 1:1 ). Ezekiel was taken to Babylon in the second captivity at the time when Jehoiachin was also taken captive. There were three times that Nebuchadnezzar's armies came against Jerusalem, taking captives back to Babylon. Daniel went back in the first captivity. Ezekiel went in the second captivity. Now, basically Ezekiel was prophesying to the captives, and when he began his prophecy Jerusalem was still standing. Now, there were false prophets in Babylon that were telling the people, "Look, don't settle down. Don't get a house. God is going to soon defeat Babylon, and we're going to go back right away. So, hang loose, because we're only going to be a little while. The Lord is going to deliver His people, and we're going to return from Babylon very shortly. So just don't settle down." Now, Jeremiah had been writing to them saying, "Don't listen to the prophets or so-called prophets who are telling you not to settle down. But instead, settle down, get adjusted, because you're going to be there for seventy years. Most of you are going to die in Babylon. So you might as well get used to that fact and just settle down, make the best of the situation." And so, there were two schools of prophets: the true prophets, the false prophets. But Ezekiel, the true prophet of God, was declaring to them the same thing that Jeremiah was saying--that Jerusalem is not going to be restored immediately, but that Jerusalem is going to be completely destroyed by Babylon. The people are going to be destroyed and scattered, and he is telling the people in Babylon. Now, Jeremiah is writing from Jerusalem, but Ezekiel is there among them, saying, "Now, look, listen to the word of the Lord. Just go ahead and settle down here and settle in, because it's going to be a long time that you'll be in captivity." So, at the beginning of Ezekiel's prophecies, he began his prophecy before Jerusalem was destroyed in 596. So, in the beginning of his prophecies, he is predicting the destruction of Jerusalem. As he moves further into his prophecy, as time goes on and the prophecy is fulfilled and Jerusalem is destroyed, then there is a change, and now he is encouraging the people that God, in His time, is going to restore again the glory to Israel. Now, he saw the glory of God depart from Jerusalem through the east gate. But as the prophecies continue and as the people are discouraged, when they hear the news that Jerusalem has been devastated, destroyed, he then begins to encourage them, "God is going to work yet again among His people. The glory of God shall return. The glory of God is going to fill the house and the latter glory is going to be greater than the former glory." Israel has not yet seen its heyday, in a sense. It's not yet seen the peak. God is going to yet restore His glory and all, upon Jerusalem and upon Israel. Hard times will intervene or be in the intermittent periods, yet God's work will yet be accomplished among His people. So, Ezekiel's prophecies actually then go out beyond even our present day. Now Ezekiel saw the restoration of the land. He saw the nation being reborn. He predicted the modern Zionist movement, and the rebirth of the nation Israel. And he predicted that when Israel was born again as a nation, that Russia would come and invade Israel. And as we move on into the prophecy of Ezekiel, we get into all of these interesting, marvelous things, because we move actually from the present on into the future. And we see not only what is happening now, but Ezekiel continues to move on and we see things that will be happening within a year or so, or five, ten years at the most. And then he moves on even beyond that. And we see things that will be happening in Israel during the Kingdom Age and the glorious reign of Jesus Christ, as He comes again and enters in through the east gate of the city and establishes His kingdom here upon the earth. And so, the prophecy of Ezekiel really begins from this point, when he was about thirty years old, when the word of the Lord first came to him, when he saw these visions of God. This is before the fall of Jerusalem, the complete destruction, and he describes here his vision of God. Now, Isaiah had a vision of God. Ezekiel had a vision of the throne of God, and John in the New Testament had a vision of the throne of God. And so from these insights of these three men, we gather our information, concerning the throne of God, concerning the heavenly scene. Now, immediately there arises a difficulty because we are talking now of heavenly things. But we are seeking to describe them in earthly language. Now, there is, no doubt, words we do not yet know that aptly describe the things in heaven. But at the present time they have to remain to us only as word pictures. So, you take the language that is common to man, words that are common to man, and you use them to the best of your ability to express things that you've never seen before. Weird-looking creatures like you've never dreamed of, intelligent beings, and you try to describe with human language what you're seeing. And immediately you're limited by language, even as if we tried to describe, if we should suddenly have an insight to, say, the year 2000 and we could see all the technical advances and all that man will have achieved by the year 2000. And we try to describe now with our present language, the modes of transportation and all that man will have developed by that time. As we're looking at weird gadgets that we have no concept what they are all about, and yet we see them operating and moving and all, and we say, "You know, the thing just has these stacks or whatever, and the smoke comes out. And people, you know... " and you try to describe the things, but you're limited because of language. So, it makes the defining of them or the relating of them difficult because of limitation of language. So, we'll have to sort of try to envision those things which Ezekiel is talking about. You remember when Jesus was talking with Nicodemus, and talking about the fact that a man has to be born again. And he was trying to explain to Nicodemus these concepts that were unfamiliar to Nicodemus. And Nicodemus was asking these questions, "Well how can a man be born again when he's old? You know, you can't return again to your mother's womb to be born. How can you do it?" And Jesus said, "Look, if I have talked to you about earthly things and you can't understand them, how would you understand if I tried to talk to you about heavenly things? Now the Bible says, "No man understands the things of God, save the Spirit reveal them unto him." So, in getting into these areas, we're talking about things of God. We definitely need the help of the Holy Spirit in our understanding and comprehension of these things. That we might get somewhat of a glimpse or a grasp of them. Now, I am convinced that what they saw we will be seeing when we enter into the heavenly scene. So it is well for you to acquaint yourself as best as possible with these things, though for right now they may seem to be difficult to really comprehend in your mind, yet one day when we actually see them, and we put, you know, this side by side, we'll say, "Well, he didn't do too bad a job. Yeah, it looks pretty much like that, you know." So, this was the fifth year in which Jehoiachin had been brought as a captive unto Babylon. Zedekiah was presently the king in Judah, in Jerusalem. Jehoiachin had reigned only three months when Nebuchadnezzar came and took him captive along with his mother and his family, and others of Judah. And the word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river of Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him ( Eze 1:3 ). Ezekiel uses this expression seven times, "the hand of the Lord was upon me." And this is the first of the seven times that he uses it. We'll find it again in our study tonight in chapter 3, verses Eze 1:14 , and Eze 1:22 , and then we won't find it again until chapter 8. And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the noRuth ( Eze 1:4 ), Now the north here would be actually the dwelling place of God. In Isaiah in speaking of Satan's exalting of himself, he said, "I will ascend into the sides of the north." It is thought that in relationship, of course, to the earth that that heavenly kingdom of God dwells somewhere in the area of the north. Recently this past week, in fact, there was an interesting article in the paper of a vast empty space that has been found in the universe that is baffling to the scientists. And it is sort of upsetting certain theories that they have had in the past. It could really be very disturbing to the big bang theory, because supposedly the debris of the big bang was sort of distributed equally throughout the entire universe and doesn't really give place for vast areas of empty space. But yet, there has been discovered recently this extremely vast area of empty space. And the area happens to be actually towards the North Star. And there is this vast area of emptiness in space, which at the present time is a real enigma to the astronomers that are studying it, as they try to align this discovery with the current theories that exist of the origin of the universe. This whirlwind came out of the north. This would not be out of Babylon. He was in Babylon when he saw it. a great cloud, and a fire that is infolding itself ( Eze 1:4 ), Now, have you ever seen fire that enfolds itself? It sort of rolls when there is an explosion of highly volitable materials. And as the fireball goes up, it enfolds itself. It rolls around and catches into itself as it goes up. It's quite a phenomena to observe. I was coming home from Los Angeles years ago, when I was going to school up there and living in Santa Ana. And there was this... there used to be a lot of olive orchards over here in the area of La Mirada. And there was an olive oil factory there and the thing had caught fire. As we were coming home, we came by and of course, you know, you're always fascinated by fire. We got out to watch the fire. We were getting up sort of close, and suddenly the thing exploded. And we watched this ball of fire going up, and the fire enfolding itself as it went up. This ball of fire is going up, but it keeps coming around and enfolding itself on into this ball. And it's a fascinating phenomena to behold. And as Ezekiel is seeing now, coming out of this area of the north, this great cloud, and it is interesting that the Bible speaks so often of God being covered with a cloud. The clouds of glory that surround God. There on the mount when God came down and spoke with Moses, there was the cloud of God's glory that covered Mount Sinai and the fire, again, the fireballs that were emitting forth from it. the brightness was about it [there was a brightness about it], and out of the midst [or the middle] thereof was the color of amber, that was coming out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the middle thereof there came the likeness of four living creatures ( Eze 1:4 ). So here in the middle of this glorious brightness that's sort of a ball of fire enfolding itself in the cloud, there in the midst of it was this beautiful amber color and also these four leaving creatures. And this was their appearance; they looked somewhat like a man. But every one of them had four faces, and every one had four wings. And 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 color of burnished brass ( Eze 1:5-6 ). So, again, he's using human language to describe creatures like he had never seen before. And so we have to use our imaginations in trying to, in our minds, picture or visualize these four living creatures, looking somewhat like a man, each one having four faces, each of them having four wings. Their feet are sort of like a calf's, sort of cloven like a calf's foot, but they look like bright burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. And their wings were joined one to another, and they turned not when they went; but they went every one straight forward ( Eze 1:8-9 ). So, their movement was in a straight-line type of movement, rather than rounding, sort of straight type of movement of these creatures. Now as we go on with the description of these four living creatures, we realize that these are paralleled to the four living creatures that John saw, when in the book of Revelation, chapter 4, he also had a vision of the throne of God. And he saw these four living creatures with their four faces, and John also describes them in the book of Revelation. Ezekiel describes them again in chapter 10, when he sees them in chapter 10. And there he identifies to us what these living creatures are, and there we discover that these are cherubim--a created being of God, intelligent beings of God, beings that surround God. In Revelation we are told that they cease not day or night saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which is, which was, and which is to come." Now this ties in then with God's directions to Moses in the building of the tabernacle, which the book of Hebrews tells us is a model of heaven. Now most of you fellows have built at some time or other in your life a model of either a car or a plane. And you're not building a P-51, but you're building a model of the P-51. You can't get in and fly it, but when you build the model, it looks like, it resembles the real thing. A model is just a resemblance of the real thing. So, the tabernacle was just a model of the real thing. The real thing is in heaven. The tabernacle was a model of heaven. And in the tabernacle, in the Holy of Holies, which is a model of the throne of God in heaven, Moses was told to have these cherubim made out of gold above the mercy seat. Their wings touching each other, and the edges of their wings touching the edge of this little cubical, which was fifteen feet cubical, golden room, and this is again the model of the heavenly things. So, there are these cherubim, these living creatures, no doubt highly intelligent creatures, though they look like they are, perhaps, some kind of a genetic freak, as far as combining with four faces and feet like a calf and all, but yet they are these creatures that are there about the throne of God. He goes on to describe them. As for the likeness of their faces, the four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they had the face of an ox on the left side; and they also had the face of an eagle ( Eze 1:10 ). So, there were four faces on each of them. The front face was like a man. The right side of it was like a lion. The left side like an ox, and behind like an eagle. Now, as I say, they looked like some kind of genetic monstrosity as you look at them. There are some who see in these four faces the four gospels as they describe Jesus Christ. For in the gospels, Christ is described as the Son of man in Luke's gospel. In Matthew's gospel He is described as the Lion of the tribe of Judah--or rather, Mark's gospel. Matthew's gospel, He is the servant, the ox, the beast of service. And in John's gospel, the deity, the eagle. But thus were their faces: their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went everywhere straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went ( Eze 1:11-12 ). Now because they had faces going in every direction, you just, you know, move you straight. You don't have to turn your head to go, you just move in straight movements. And as for the likeness of these living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire ( Eze 1:13 ), Now picture your barbecue and the burning coals of fire on it. and like the appearance of lamps: and it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire there came forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning ( Eze 1:13-14 ). So they could move with the speed of light almost. Their movement was extremely fast and like a lightning bolt, just, you know. The appearance of a flash of lightning. Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. And the appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of a beryl: and they four ( Eze 1:15-16 ) Which would be green. they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel ( Eze 1:16 ). So, again, he's using human language trying to describe their appearance and so forth, and these wheels. And it was like a wheel within a middle of the wheel and these flashes of light and so forth as they move in this green glow, like a beryl in color. And when they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went ( Eze 1:17 ). This is the third time he mentions this, so it's probably quite remarkable to him. He hasn't seen anything like this, as far as, you know, the earth and on the earth. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful [awesome]; their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And 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 whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, and 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. Now when those went, these went; when those stood still, these stood still; and when they were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature ( Eze 1:18-21 ) Again he repeats, was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament [above their heads] upon the heads of the living creatures was the color of an awesome crystal, stretched forth over their heads above ( Eze 1:21-22 ). In other words, now he's describing the area around the throne of God. These creatures were under the throne of God. And this was like an awesome crystal. John saw this sea of glass likened to crystal that was there before the throne of God. And as you read, Rev 4:1-11 , you'll find that it parallels very much this vision of Ezekiel as both of these men, bound by human limitations, tried to describe the heavenly scene, the throne of God and the glory of God that they behold in these visions. And under the firmament were their wings straight, and one toward the other: every one had two, which they covered their side, every one had two, which covered the sides of their bodies ( Eze 1:23 ). With two they touched each other, with two they covered the sides of their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters ( Eze 1:24 ), Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? Ever been up in Yosemite to Vernal Falls or Nevada Falls and you hear this noise of great waters, sort of a roar. And so, as they moved there was this roar. The flash is like lightning and the straight direction type movements. as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of a host: when they stood, they let down their wings ( Eze 1:24 ). So, when they were standing, their wings would come down to their side. And there was a voice from [this heaven] this firmament [this expanse above them] that was over their heads, when they stood, and they had let down their wings. And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone [which is blue]: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake ( Eze 1:25-28 ). So, you might find it interesting when you have your own study to read Dan 7:1-28; Dan 9:1-27; Dan 10:1-21, as Daniel describes his vision of God. Isaiah chapter 6, as he describes his vision of the throne of God, and then Revelation chapter 4, as John describes his, and you put them all together and you get a pretty good composite of what the heavenly scene must look like. This bow, John describes it in Revelation chapter 4, a bow like emerald, sort of a greenish in color that is around about the throne of God. Ezekiel describes it here. John had much the same reaction of just falling on his face. Daniel was weak as a result of his vision. He just was totally weakened by it. Ezekiel fell on his face and he heard the voice of one that spake. Now, flying saucer buffs declare that Ezekiel actually sighted a flying saucer. That there are extraterrestrial beings that have visited the earth and have been visiting the earth during the historic period of man. And that they actually account for many of the otherwise unaccountable phenomena of history, some of the mammoth building projects of ancient man, which still baffle us today. And they, of course, go out to the desert or to various areas, and they have these sightings of these flying saucers, and there is just an awful lot that has been written, has been discussed, has been talked about flying saucers, and there have been many reports and much interesting phenomena surrounding these flying saucers. Many of them can be accounted for as, perhaps, swamp gases and other things, but yet there are others that reasonably intelligent men have expressed and described and it's hard to discount them all. Lambert Dolphin who is a scientist up at the University of Stanford, one of the scientists, I believe his area is that of astrophysics, quite outstanding, very intelligent man, was asked to speak at one of these flying saucer conventions. And so he prepared a paper on flying saucers in which he thought that he would, before the convention, thoroughly debunk this whole flying saucer kind of a... what he thought mythology. And he was approaching it from just a purely scientific standpoint, and was going to take so many of the concepts that they had about moving on the magnetic forces and all of this, and seek to thoroughly, from a scientific standpoint, debunk the thing. As he was sitting there on the platform, and there were about three thousand people at this convention, the speaker, and of course he was interested that these weren't freaky people. You know, you think that people who see flying saucers and all are sort of fringe, freaky kind of people. But he realized that among them there were professors, other scientists, peace officers, a wide cross-section of our society. The leader of the convention asked the people, "How many of you have ever seen a flying saucer?" And he was shocked that about two-thirds of the hands in the auditorium went up. People had said they had sighted flying saucers. He then asked, "How many of you have been taken aboard a flying saucer?" And a third of the people raised their hands. And he began to get a little concerned. When he stood up to speak, he heard this screaming noise that was extremely distracting to him. And he wondered, "Where is that coming from?" And he looked around the audience to see what direction the people might be looking, because he figured that those that were closest to the screaming noise would be looking at it and he could localize where it was and then ask the ushers or someone to take care of that and get rid of it. But he said, suddenly he realized that nobody was looking around anywhere and that he was the only one that was hearing this screaming noise. And to this man of science there came suddenly the awareness, "Hey, this whole thing is demonic." And he got so shook that he was unable to deliver his paper in which he was going to debunk the whole flying saucer theory or ideas, concepts. He was just totally shaken. Now, the interesting thing to me is that these people do try to bring Ezekiel into their fold, into their number. "Look, he describes it. He perfectly describes it in his book." Wait a minute, what does Ezekiel describe? As I said, in chapter 10 Ezekiel again describes it, but he tells us what it is, "These are the cherubim that are there before the throne of God." These wheels within the wheels, with the flashes of lightning and the movements and so forth. And if you heard them describe how the flying saucers move in the straight type of lines, they don't make a wide arc when they turn. They just... straight line type of movement, being able to change directions and so forth with tremendous speed. Able to hover and then suddenly move off with tremendous speeds. Is it possible that these people who are sighting these UFO's are also dabbling into the occult and are seeing fallen cherubim? We know that when Satan fell that one-third of the angelic host went with him. It is interesting that the Bible says that Satan was indeed a cherubim. He was the anointed--not a cherubim, because cherubim is plural. Cherub is the singular. He was an anointed cherub that covered. But there are cherubim, plural. It is very possible that we are dealing in an interesting area of the occult and that there are these cherubim that are making themselves visible to those who are dabbling into that realm of occultism. Now what Ezekiel saw were the cherubim there at the throne of God, but it would also stand that the cherubim who fell would have a similar likeness or appearance and movements. So, it is possible that we cannot thoroughly discount this whole flying saucer phenomena as a bunch of junk, but it could indeed be that in these last days, as satanic forces are growing, as far as the demonstrations of their power. That as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man. And there was strong demonic activity in the days of Noah, and we're coming into the area again of strong demonic activity. Now I offer that as only a suggestion. I'm not declaring to you, "Oh, I've got some great mysterious truth I'm revealing now, you know. This is the way it happened or this is the way." This is just a suggestion. Something to think about. And I'll let it go at that. Shall we turn at this time to the prophecy of Ezekiel. Ezekiel said, It came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month ( Eze 1:1 ), So that would be July the fifth. It would be probably the thirtieth year of Ezekiel's life, when he was thirty years old. as he was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God ( Eze 1:1 ). Ezekiel was taken to Babylon in the second captivity at the time when Jehoiachin was also taken captive. There were three times that Nebuchadnezzar's armies came against Jerusalem, taking captives back to Babylon. Daniel went back in the first captivity. Ezekiel went in the second captivity. Now, basically Ezekiel was prophesying to the captives, and when he began his prophecy Jerusalem was still standing. Now, there were false prophets in Babylon that were telling the people, "Look, don't settle down. Don't get a house. God is going to soon defeat Babylon, and we're going to go back right away. So, hang loose, because we're only going to be a little while. The Lord is going to deliver His people, and we're going to return from Babylon very shortly. So just don't settle down." Now, Jeremiah had been writing to them saying, "Don't listen to the prophets or so-called prophets who are telling you not to settle down. But instead, settle down, get adjusted, because you're going to be there for seventy years. Most of you are going to die in Babylon. So you might as well get used to that fact and just settle down, make the best of the situation." And so, there were two schools of prophets: the true prophets, the false prophets. But Ezekiel, the true prophet of God, was declaring to them the same thing that Jeremiah was saying--that Jerusalem is not going to be restored immediately, but that Jerusalem is going to be completely destroyed by Babylon. The people are going to be destroyed and scattered, and he is telling the people in Babylon. Now, Jeremiah is writing from Jerusalem, but Ezekiel is there among them, saying, "Now, look, listen to the word of the Lord. Just go ahead and settle down here and settle in, because it's going to be a long time that you'll be in captivity." So, at the beginning of Ezekiel's prophecies, he began his prophecy before Jerusalem was destroyed in 596. So, in the beginning of his prophecies, he is predicting the destruction of Jerusalem. As he moves further into his prophecy, as time goes on and the prophecy is fulfilled and Jerusalem is destroyed, then there is a change, and now he is encouraging the people that God, in His time, is going to restore again the glory to Israel. Now, he saw the glory of God depart from Jerusalem through the east gate. But as the prophecies continue and as the people are discouraged, when they hear the news that Jerusalem has been devastated, destroyed, he then begins to encourage them, "God is going to work yet again among His people. The glory of God shall return. The glory of God is going to fill the house and the latter glory is going to be greater than the former glory." Israel has not yet seen its heyday, in a sense. It's not yet seen the peak. God is going to yet restore His glory and all, upon Jerusalem and upon Israel. Hard times will intervene or be in the intermittent periods, yet God's work will yet be accomplished among His people. So, Ezekiel's prophecies actually then go out beyond even our present day. Now Ezekiel saw the restoration of the land. He saw the nation being reborn. He predicted the modern Zionist movement, and the rebirth of the nation Israel. And he predicted that when Israel was born again as a nation, that Russia would come and invade Israel. And as we move on into the prophecy of Ezekiel, we get into all of these interesting, marvelous things, because we move actually from the present on into the future. And we see not only what is happening now, but Ezekiel continues to move on and we see things that will be happening within a year or so, or five, ten years at the most. And then he moves on even beyond that. And we see things that will be happening in Israel during the Kingdom Age and the glorious reign of Jesus Christ, as He comes again and enters in through the east gate of the city and establishes His kingdom here upon the earth. And so, the prophecy of Ezekiel really begins from this point, when he was about thirty years old, when the word of the Lord first came to him, when he saw these visions of God. This is before the fall of Jerusalem, the complete destruction, and he describes here his vision of God. Now, Isaiah had a vision of God. Ezekiel had a vision of the throne of God, and John in the New Testament had a vision of the throne of God. And so from these insights of these three men, we gather our information, concerning the throne of God, concerning the heavenly scene. Now, immediately there arises a difficulty because we are talking now of heavenly things. But we are seeking to describe them in earthly language. Now, there is, no doubt, words we do not yet know that aptly describe the things in heaven. But at the present time they have to remain to us only as word pictures. So, you take the language that is common to man, words that are common to man, and you use them to the best of your ability to express things that you've never seen before. Weird-looking creatures like you've never dreamed of, intelligent beings, and you try to describe with human language what you're seeing. And immediately you're limited by language, even as if we tried to describe, if we should suddenly have an insight to, say, the year 2000 and we could see all the technical advances and all that man will have achieved by the year 2000. And we try to describe now with our present language, the modes of transportation and all that man will have developed by that time. As we're looking at weird gadgets that we have no concept what they are all about, and yet we see them operating and moving and all, and we say, "You know, the thing just has these stacks or whatever, and the smoke comes out. And people, you know... " and you try to describe the things, but you're limited because of language. So, it makes the defining of them or the relating of them difficult because of limitation of language. So, we'll have to sort of try to envision those things which Ezekiel is talking about. You remember when Jesus was talking with Nicodemus, and talking about the fact that a man has to be born again. And he was trying to explain to Nicodemus these concepts that were unfamiliar to Nicodemus. And Nicodemus was asking these questions, "Well how can a man be born again when he's old? You know, you can't return again to your mother's womb to be born. How can you do it?" And Jesus said, "Look, if I have talked to you about earthly things and you can't understand them, how would you understand if I tried to talk to you about heavenly things? Now the Bible says, "No man understands the things of God, save the Spirit reveal them unto him." So, in getting into these areas, we're talking about things of God. We definitely need the help of the Holy Spirit in our understanding and comprehension of these things. That we might get somewhat of a glimpse or a grasp of them. Now, I am convinced that what they saw we will be seeing when we enter into the heavenly scene. So it is well for you to acquaint yourself as best as possible with these things, though for right now they may seem to be difficult to really comprehend in your mind, yet one day when we actually see them, and we put, you know, this side by side, we'll say, "Well, he didn't do too bad a job. Yeah, it looks pretty much like that, you know." So, this was the fifth year in which Jehoiachin had been brought as a captive unto Babylon. Zedekiah was presently the king in Judah, in Jerusalem. Jehoiachin had reigned only three months when Nebuchadnezzar came and took him captive along with his mother and his family, and others of Judah. And the word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river of Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him ( Eze 1:3 ). Ezekiel uses this expression seven times, "the hand of the Lord was upon me." And this is the first of the seven times that he uses it. We'll find it again in our study tonight in chapter 3, verses Eze 1:14 , and Eze 1:22 , and then we won't find it again until chapter 8. And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the noRuth ( Eze 1:4 ), Now the north here would be actually the dwelling place of God. In Isaiah in speaking of Satan's exalting of himself, he said, "I will ascend into the sides of the north." It is thought that in relationship, of course, to the earth that that heavenly kingdom of God dwells somewhere in the area of the north. Recently this past week, in fact, there was an interesting article in the paper of a vast empty space that has been found in the universe that is baffling to the scientists. And it is sort of upsetting certain theories that they have had in the past. It could really be very disturbing to the big bang theory, because supposedly the debris of the big bang was sort of distributed equally throughout the entire universe and doesn't really give place for vast areas of empty space. But yet, there has been discovered recently this extremely vast area of empty space. And the area happens to be actually towards the North Star. And there is this vast area of emptiness in space, which at the present time is a real enigma to the astronomers that are studying it, as they try to align this discovery with the current theories that exist of the origin of the universe. This whirlwind came out of the north. This would not be out of Babylon. He was in Babylon when he saw it. a great cloud, and a fire that is infolding itself ( Eze 1:4 ), Now, have you ever seen fire that enfolds itself? It sort of rolls when there is an explosion of highly volitable materials. And as the fireball goes up, it enfolds itself. It rolls around and catches into itself as it goes up. It's quite a phenomena to observe. I was coming home from Los Angeles years ago, when I was going to school up there and living in Santa Ana. And there was this... there used to be a lot of olive orchards over here in the area of La Mirada. And there was an olive oil factory there and the thing had caught fire. As we were coming home, we came by and of course, you know, you're always fascinated by fire. We got out to watch the fire. We were getting up sort of close, and suddenly the thing exploded. And we watched this ball of fire going up, and the fire enfolding itself as it went up. This ball of fire is going up, but it keeps coming around and enfolding itself on into this ball. And it's a fascinating phenomena to behold. And as Ezekiel is seeing now, coming out of this area of the north, this great cloud, and it is interesting that the Bible speaks so often of God being covered with a cloud. The clouds of glory that surround God. There on the mount when God came down and spoke with Moses, there was the cloud of God's glory that covered Mount Sinai and the fire, again, the fireballs that were emitting forth from it. the brightness was about it [there was a brightness about it], and out of the midst [or the middle] thereof was the color of amber, that was coming out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the middle thereof there came the likeness of four living creatures ( Eze 1:4 ). So here in the middle of this glorious brightness that's sort of a ball of fire enfolding itself in the cloud, there in the midst of it was this beautiful amber color and also these four leaving creatures. And this was their appearance; they looked somewhat like a man. But every one of them had four faces, and every one had four wings. And 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 color of burnished brass ( Eze 1:5-6 ). So, again, he's using human language to describe creatures like he had never seen before. And so we have to use our imaginations in trying to, in our minds, picture or visualize these four living creatures, looking somewhat like a man, each one having four faces, each of them having four wings. Their feet are sort of like a calf's, sort of cloven like a calf's foot, but they look like bright burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. And their wings were joined one to another, and they turned not when they went; but they went every one straight forward ( Eze 1:8-9 ). So, their movement was in a straight-line type of movement, rather than rounding, sort of straight type of movement of these creatures. Now as we go on with the description of these four living creatures, we realize that these are paralleled to the four living creatures that John saw, when in the book of Revelation, chapter 4, he also had a vision of the throne of God. And he saw these four living creatures with their four faces, and John also describes them in the book of Revelation. Ezekiel describes them again in chapter 10, when he sees them in chapter 10. And there he identifies to us what these living creatures are, and there we discover that these are cherubim--a created being of God, intelligent beings of God, beings that surround God. In Revelation we are told that they cease not day or night saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which is, which was, and which is to come." Now this ties in then with God's directions to Moses in the building of the tabernacle, which the book of Hebrews tells us is a model of heaven. Now most of you fellows have built at some time or other in your life a model of either a car or a plane. And you're not building a P-51, but you're building a model of the P-51. You can't get in and fly it, but when you build the model, it looks like, it resembles the real thing. A model is just a resemblance of the real thing. So, the tabernacle was just a model of the real thing. The real thing is in heaven. The tabernacle was a model of heaven. And in the tabernacle, in the Holy of Holies, which is a model of the throne of God in heaven, Moses was told to have these cherubim made out of gold above the mercy seat. Their wings touching each other, and the edges of their wings touching the edge of this little cubical, which was fifteen feet cubical, golden room, and this is again the model of the heavenly things. So, there are these cherubim, these living creatures, no doubt highly intelligent creatures, though they look like they are, perhaps, some kind of a genetic freak, as far as combining with four faces and feet like a calf and all, but yet they are these creatures that are there about the throne of God. He goes on to describe them. As for the likeness of their faces, the four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they had the face of an ox on the left side; and they also had the face of an eagle ( Eze 1:10 ). So, there were four faces on each of them. The front face was like a man. The right side of it was like a lion. The left side like an ox, and behind like an eagle. Now, as I say, they looked like some kind of genetic monstrosity as you look at them. There are some who see in these four faces the four gospels as they describe Jesus Christ. For in the gospels, Christ is described as the Son of man in Luke's gospel. In Matthew's gospel He is described as the Lion of the tribe of Judah--or rather, Mark's gospel. Matthew's gospel, He is the servant, the ox, the beast of service. And in John's gospel, the deity, the eagle. But thus were their faces: their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went everywhere straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went ( Eze 1:11-12 ). Now because they had faces going in every direction, you just, you know, move you straight. You don't have to turn your head to go, you just move in straight movements. And as for the likeness of these living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire ( Eze 1:13 ), Now picture your barbecue and the burning coals of fire on it. and like the appearance of lamps: and it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire there came forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning ( Eze 1:13-14 ). So they could move with the speed of light almost. Their movement was extremely fast and like a lightning bolt, just, you know. The appearance of a flash of lightning. Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. And the appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of a beryl: and they four ( Eze 1:15-16 ) Which would be green. they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel ( Eze 1:16 ). So, again, he's using human language trying to describe their appearance and so forth, and these wheels. And it was like a wheel within a middle of the wheel and these flashes of light and so forth as they move in this green glow, like a beryl in color. And when they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went ( Eze 1:17 ). This is the third time he mentions this, so it's probably quite remarkable to him. He hasn't seen anything like this, as far as, you know, the earth and on the earth. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful [awesome]; their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And 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 whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, and 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. Now when those went, these went; when those stood still, these stood still; and when they were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature ( Eze 1:18-21 ) Again he repeats, was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament [above their heads] upon the heads of the living creatures was the color of an awesome crystal, stretched forth over their heads above ( Eze 1:21-22 ). In other words, now he's describing the area around the throne of God. These creatures were under the throne of God. And this was like an awesome crystal. John saw this sea of glass likened to crystal that was there before the throne of God. And as you read, Rev 4:1-11 , you'll find that it parallels very much this vision of Ezekiel as both of these men, bound by human limitations, tried to describe the heavenly scene, the throne of God and the glory of God that they behold in these visions. And under the firmament were their wings straight, and one toward the other: every one had two, which they covered their side, every one had two, which covered the sides of their bodies ( Eze 1:23 ). With two they touched each other, with two they covered the sides of their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters ( Eze 1:24 ), Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? Ever been up in Yosemite to Vernal Falls or Nevada Falls and you hear this noise of great waters, sort of a roar. And so, as they moved there was this roar. The flash is like lightning and the straight direction type movements. as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of a host: when they stood, they let down their wings ( Eze 1:24 ). So, when they were standing, their wings would come down to their side. And there was a voice from [this heaven] this firmament [this expanse above them] that was over their heads, when they stood, and they had let down their wings. And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone [which is blue]: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake ( Eze 1:25-28 ). So, you might find it interesting when you have your own study to read Dan 7:1-28; Dan 9:1-27; Dan 10:1-21, as Daniel describes his vision of God. Isaiah chapter 6, as he describes his vision of the throne of God, and then Revelation chapter 4, as John describes his, and you put them all together and you get a pretty good composite of what the heavenly scene must look like. This bow, John describes it in Revelation chapter 4, a bow like emerald, sort of a greenish in color that is around about the throne of God. Ezekiel describes it here. John had much the same reaction of just falling on his face. Daniel was weak as a result of his vision. He just was totally weakened by it. Ezekiel fell on his face and he heard the voice of one that spake. Now, flying saucer buffs declare that Ezekiel actually sighted a flying saucer. That there are extraterrestrial beings that have visited the earth and have been visiting the earth during the historic period of man. And that they actually account for many of the otherwise unaccountable phenomena of history, some of the mammoth building projects of ancient man, which still baffle us today. And they, of course, go out to the desert or to various areas, and they have these sightings of these flying saucers, and there is just an awful lot that has been written, has been discussed, has been talked about flying saucers, and there have been many reports and much interesting phenomena surrounding these flying saucers. Many of them can be accounted for as, perhaps, swamp gases and other things, but yet there are others that reasonably intelligent men have expressed and described and it's hard to discount them all. Lambert Dolphin who is a scientist up at the University of Stanford, one of the scientists, I believe his area is that of astrophysics, quite outstanding, very intelligent man, was asked to speak at one of these flying saucer conventions. And so he prepared a paper on flying saucers in which he thought that he would, before the convention, thoroughly debunk this whole flying saucer kind of a... what he thought mythology. And he was approaching it from just a purely scientific standpoint, and was going to take so many of the concepts that they had about moving on the magnetic forces and all of this, and seek to thoroughly, from a scientific standpoint, debunk the thing. As he was sitting there on the platform, and there were about three thousand people at this convention, the speaker, and of course he was interested that these weren't freaky people. You know, you think that people who see flying saucers and all are sort of fringe, freaky kind of people. But he realized that among them there were professors, other scientists, peace officers, a wide cross-section of our society. The leader of the convention asked the people, "How many of you have ever seen a flying saucer?" And he was shocked that about two-thirds of the hands in the auditorium went up. People had said they had sighted flying saucers. He then asked, "How many of you have been taken aboard a flying saucer?" And a third of the people raised their hands. And he began to get a little concerned. When he stood up to speak, he heard this screaming noise that was extremely distracting to him. And he wondered, "Where is that coming from?" And he looked around the audience to see what direction the people might be looking, because he figured that those that were closest to the screaming noise would be looking at it and he could localize where it was and then ask the ushers or someone to take care of that and get rid of it. But he said, suddenly he realized that nobody was looking around anywhere and that he was the only one that was hearing this screaming noise. And to this man of science there came suddenly the awareness, "Hey, this whole thing is demonic." And he got so shook that he was unable to deliver his paper in which he was going to debunk the whole flying saucer theory or ideas, concepts. He was just totally shaken. Now, the interesting thing to me is that these people do try to bring Ezekiel into their fold, into their number. "Look, he describes it. He perfectly describes it in his book." Wait a minute, what does Ezekiel describe? As I said, in chapter 10 Ezekiel again describes it, but he tells us what it is, "These are the cherubim that are there before the throne of God." These wheels within the wheels, with the flashes of lightning and the movements and so forth. And if you heard them describe how the flying saucers move in the straight type of lines, they don't make a wide arc when they turn. They just... straight line type of movement, being able to change directions and so forth with tremendous speed. Able to hover and then suddenly move off with tremendous speeds. Is it possible that these people who are sighting these UFO's are also dabbling into the occult and are seeing fallen cherubim? We know that when Satan fell that one-third of the angelic host went with him. It is interesting that the Bible says that Satan was indeed a cherubim. He was the anointed--not a cherubim, because cherubim is plural. Cherub is the singular. He was an anointed cherub that covered. But there are cherubim, plural. It is very possible that we are dealing in an interesting area of the occult and that there are these cherubim that are making themselves visible to those who are dabbling into that realm of occultism. Now what Ezekiel saw were the cherubim there at the throne of God, but it would also stand that the cherubim who fell would have a similar likeness or appearance and movements. So, it is possible that we cannot thoroughly discount this whole flying saucer phenomena as a bunch of junk, but it could indeed be that in these last days, as satanic forces are growing, as far as the demonstrations of their power. That as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man. And there was strong demonic activity in the days of Noah, and we're coming into the area again of strong demonic activity. Now I offer that as only a suggestion. I'm not declaring to you, "Oh, I've got some great mysterious truth I'm revealing now, you know. This is the way it happened or this is the way." This is just a suggestion. Something to think about. And I'll let it go at that. "



King James Version

This is the 1769 King James Version of the Holy Bible (also known as the Authorized Version). "Public Domain"




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