Ezekiel 1

** Ezekiel was one of the priests; he was carried captive to

Chaldea with Jehoiachin. All his prophecies appear to have been

delivered in that country, at some place north of Babylon. Their

chief object appears to have been to comfort his brethren in

captivity. He is directed to warn of the dreadful calamities

coming upon Judea, particularly upon the false prophets, and the

neighbouring nations. Also to announce the future restoration of

Israel and Judah from their several dispersions, and their happy

state in their latter days, under the Messiah. Much of Christ

will be found in this book, especially in the conclusion.

* Ezekiel's vision of God, and of the angelic host. (1-14) The

conduct of Divine Providence. (15-25) A revelation of the Son of

man upon his heavenly throne. (26-28)

1-14 It is a mercy to have the word of God brought to us, and a

duty to attend to it diligently, when we are in affliction. The

voice of God came in the fulness of light and power, by the Holy

Spirit. These visions seem to have been sent to possess the

prophet's mind with great and high thoughts of God. To strike

terror upon sinners. To speak comfort to those that feared God,

and humbled themselves. In ver. #4-14|, is the first part of the

vision, which represents God as attended and served by a vast

company of angels, who are all his messengers, his ministers,

doing his commandments. This vision would impress the mind with

solemn awe and fear of the Divine displeasure, yet raise

expectations of blessings. The fire is surrounded with a glory.

Though we cannot by searching find out God to perfection, yet we

see the brightness round about it. The likeness of the living

creatures came out of the midst of the fire; angels derive their

being and power from God. They have the understanding of a man,

and far more. A lion excels in strength and boldness. An ox

excels in diligence and patience, and unwearied discharge of the

work he has to do. An eagle excels in quickness and piercing

sight, and in soaring high; and the angels, who excel man in all

these respects, put on these appearances. The angels have wings;

and whatever business God sends them upon, they lose no time.

They stood straight, and firm, and steady. They had not only

wings for motion, but hands for action. Many persons are quick,

who are not active; they hurry about, but do nothing to purpose;

they have wings, but no hands. But wherever the angels' wings

carried them, they carried hands with them, to be doing what

duty required. Whatever service they went about, they went every

one straight forward. When we go straight, we go forward; when

we serve God with one heart, we perform work. They turned not

when they went. They made no mistakes; and their work needed not

to be gone over again. They turned not from their business to

trifle with any thing. They went whithersoever the Spirit of God

would have them go. The prophet saw these living creatures by

their own light, for their appearance was like burning coals of

fire; they are seraphim, or "burners;" denoting the ardour of

their love to God, and fervent zeal in his service. We may learn

profitable lessons from subjects we cannot fully enter into or

understand. But let us attend to the things which relate to our

peace and duty, and leave secret things to the Lord, to whom

alone they belong.
15-25 Providence, represented by the wheels, produces changes.

Sometimes one spoke of the wheel is uppermost, sometimes

another; but the motion of the wheel on its own axletree is

regular and steady. We need not despond in adversity; the wheels

are turning round and will raise us in due time, while those who

presume in prosperity know not how soon they may be cast down.

The wheel is near the living creatures; the angels are employed

as ministers of God's providence. The spirit of the living

creatures was in the wheels; the same wisdom, power, and

holiness of God, that guide and govern the angels, by them order

all events in this lower world. The wheel had four faces,

denoting that the providence of God exerts itself in all parts.

Look every way upon the wheel of providence, it has a face

toward you. Their appearance and work were as a wheel in the

middle of a wheel. The disposals of Providence seem to us dark,

perplexed, and unaccountable, yet are all wisely ordered for the

best. The motion of these wheels was steady, regular, and

constant. They went as the Spirit directed, therefore returned

not. We should not have to undo that by repentance which we have

done amiss, if we followed the guidance of the Spirit. The

rings, or rims of the wheels were so vast, that when put in

motion the prophet was afraid to look upon them. The

consideration of the height and depth of God's counsel should

awe us. They were full of eyes round about. The motions of

Providence are all directed by infinite Wisdom. All events are

determined by the eyes of the Lord, which are in every place

beholding the evil and the good; for there is no such thing as

chance or fortune. The firmament above was a crystal, glorious,

but terribly so. That which we take to be a dark cloud, is to

God clear as crystal, through which he looks upon all the

inhabitants of the earth. When the angels had roused a careless

world, they let down their wings, that God's voice might be

plainly heard. The voice of Providence is to open men's ears to

the voice of the word. Sounds on earth should awaken our

attention to the voice from heaven; for how shall we escape, if

we turn away from Him that speaks from thence.
26-28 The eternal Son, the second Person in the Trinity, who

afterwards took the human nature, is here denoted. The first

thing observed was a throne. It is a throne of glory, a throne

of grace, a throne of triumph, a throne of government, a throne

of judgment. It is good news to men, that the throne above the

firmament is filled with One who appears, even there, in the

likeness of a man. The throne is surrounded with a rainbow, the

well-known emblem of the covenant, representing God's mercy and

covenanted love to his people. The fire of God's wrath was

breaking out against Jerusalem, but bounds should be set to it;

he would look upon the bow, and remember the covenant. All the

prophet saw was only to prepare him for what he was to hear.

When he fell on his face, he heard the voice of One that spake.

God delights to teach the humble. Let sinners, then, humble

themselves before him. And let believers think upon his glory,

that they may be gradually changed into his image by the Spirit

of the Lord.

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