While no man has seen God at any time, many have had visions of Him, displays of divine glory,
which prostrated man before Him in humbled sense of his own unworthiness,
and of the infinite distance between man and God.
The more God is pleased to make known to us of His glory,
the more humble we should be before Him.
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.
Ezekiel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezekiel 1:1-21 – A Vision of God’s Majesty
A dark storm-cloud approaches the prophet, from which an incessant blaze of lightning scintillated. As it drew near, the forms of four living creatures became visible, combining, under various figures, intelligence, strength, patience, and soaring aspiration. The wheels were evidently symbolical of the cycles of divine providence, which cooperate with the ministers of the divine will. The slab of blue expanse supported a human semblance, suggestive of that great after-event—God manifest in the flesh. The whole conception impresses us with the reality, order, majesty, and humanness, of the Eternal God. Those holy beings surely represent the intelligent company of innumerable angels and servants, while the wheels represent the material creation. All these are sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation. Angels and nature minister to us, if we are in union with God. All things serve the servants of the Most High. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Ezekiel 1:19—When the living creatures went, the wheels went by them.
These living creatures, whom Ezekiel afterwards recognized as cherubim, represented the entire round of animate existence. The lion’s majestic strength, the patient strength and labor of the ox, the keen vision and aspiring flight of the eagle, combined in perfect proportion in their noble forms. The wheels may represent the round of Providence—what we would call the circle of nature. The point for us to notice is the perfect harmony between the spirit, the living creatures, and the wheels; and from this we learn the deep and sacred lesson, that those who live and walk in the Spirit may count on the co-operation of all animate creatures, and the concurrence of Divine providence. When we live consciously and voluntarily in the center of the Divine will, we are at the center of many concentric circles, and all things serve us. All things are ours.
If we would be Spirit-taught and guided, we must die to ourselves, to sin, and to the world; no longer seeking anything for ourselves in this world. If, says Pastor Stockmayer, we have treasure outside of Christ, our heart will hasten to where our treasure lies. Only those who account themselves set loose from the things of this world to serve Christ entirely, amid the things of this world, can distinguish the movements of the Spirit.
Each is guided in a way that he knows; and has the special name written on the white stone. God speaks in the depths of our being, far deeper than the region of our feelings, dispositions, or impressions; and He will make Himself heard, if only we are set to obey Him. Let surrender become the abiding habit of life, and the spiritual hearing will be more and more acute. —Our Daily Homily