Ezekiel 10 - Outline of Ezekiel (Book Notes menu page)
The vision of the Glory of the LORD continues (ch.8-11), as He reluctantly and progressively removes His Presence from Jerusalem, in repudiation of the nation's corruption, and in preparation for its judgment.
1. Then I looked, and, behold,
in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims
there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone,
as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.
2 And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said,
Go in between the wheels, [even] under the cherub,
and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims,
and scatter [them] over the city. And he went in in my sight.
3 Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house,
when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court.
4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub,
[and stood] over the threshold of the house;
and the house was filled with the cloud,
and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory.
5 And the sound of the cherubims' wings was heard [even] to the outer court,
as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh.
...then I looked, and, behold... as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.
The focus of this chapter is upon the Glory of the LORD. Many features of Ezekiel's first vision (in ch.1) were again observed, here. It was perfectly clear, to the prophet, that the One, upon the throne above the chariot of the cherubim, was the LORD. It was He Himself who issued the command to the man clothed with linen.
...Go in between the wheels... under the cherub... and fill thine hand with coals of fire... and scatter them over the city.
  • 'Coals of fire' depict the heat of God's wrath against all impurity (eg., Psa 18:12,13; 140:10).
  • That the coals of judgment fire were obtained from the cherubim is appropriate.
    A burning zeal, for the holiness of God, is intrinsic to the 'cherubim' {'captive ones'} and 'seraphim' {'burning ones'} (Eze 1:13; Isa 6:1-5).
  • God's hot judgment of sin purifies His children,
    to prepare them for His Presence and for His service (eg., Isa 6:6-9; Joh 14:2,3; Heb 1:3).
  • God's wrath will be poured out without mercy, upon unrepentant sinners,
    to purge away all that cannot stand in His Presence.
    The coals of fire, scattered over the city, depict the thorough judgment required to purge the corruption of the "Holy City." cp. Eze 24:9-14
...then the glory of the LORD went up {lit., 'was lifted up'}... and stood over the threshold of the house...
Defiled by sin, the Most Holy place in the Temple was no longer Holy. Therefore, the Glory of the LORD had departed from between the cherubim upon the Mercy Seat, within the inner chamber, and stood exalted above the doorway at the entrance of the Temple building (Eze 9:3). His movement was obscured from the eyes of man, by the cloud and brightness which filled the house, as He passed through. v.4; cp. Ex 40:35; 1Kin 8:10-12
     He pauses, as though reluctant to leave, and grieved that the fires of judgment must fall. But it must be so. And to that end, He has spoken. (And so, also, it will be in the end of the age. Rev 15:5-8; 16:1)
6 And it came to pass,
[that] when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying,
Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims;
then he went in, and stood beside the wheels.
7 And [one] cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims
unto the fire that [was] between the cherubims, and took [thereof],
and put [it] into the hands of [him that was] clothed with linen:
who took [it], and went out.
8. And there appeared in the cherubims
the form of a man's hand under their wings.
9 And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubims,
one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub:
and the appearance of the wheels [was] as the colour of a beryl stone.
10 And [as for] their appearances, they four had one likeness,
as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.
11 When they went, they went upon their four sides;
they turned not as they went,
but to the place whither the head looked they followed it;
they turned not as they went.
12 And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands,
and their wings, and the wheels, [were] full of eyes round about,
[even] the wheels that they four had.
13 As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel.
14 And every one had four faces:
the first face [was] the face of a cherub,
and the second face [was] the face of a man,
and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
15 And the cherubims were lifted up.
This [is] the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.
16 And when the cherubims went, the wheels went by them:
and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth,
the same wheels also turned not from beside them.
17 When they stood, [these] stood;
and when they were lifted up, [these] lifted up themselves [also]:
for the spirit of the living creature [was] in them.
Every action and movement, of the angel, the cherubim, and the chariot, is in perfect harmony with the will of the LORD.
  • He has commanded coals of fire to be taken and scattered.
    His command is obeyed perfectly.
  • He has determined to depart from the city.
    Cherubim, wheels and chariot respond, with no turning from the direction He has set.
    The cry to the wheels, 'O wheel,' may be understood as a command, to 'Roll.'
  • He sees all. His eyes, permeate every aspect this living creature's being,
    ensuring that everything conforms to His will.
...every one had four faces: the first the face of a cherub...
Compare Eze 1:10. Here, the four faces are described in a different order. Here, the face of an 'ox' becomes that of a 'cherub.' The differences may be explained as follows:
  • An ox is symbolic of a servant.
    As we have observed, the cherubim are completely faithful servants of the Lord.
  • The faces are listed in the order which Ezekiel observed them from different angles.
    • In ch.1, as the cherubim approached Ezekiel, he saw the 'face of a man,' first.
      The cherubim moved unwaveringly straight, in the direction which the head {ie., the 'face of a man'} looked (v.11).
    • Here, as cherubim and chariot move eastward, Ezekiel (apparently, watching from near the brazen altar, north of their path, 9:2) sees first the face on the left (ie., of an ox).
...this is the living creature that I saw by the river Chebar.
At Ezekiel's first vision of the Glory of the LORD, in ch. 1, his description is even more detailed.
[See the Book Notes at Ezekiel ch. 1, concerning the described features.]
18 Then the glory of the LORD departed
from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.
19 And the cherubims lifted up their wings,
and mounted up from the earth in my sight:
when they went out, the wheels also [were] beside them,
and [every one] stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house;
and the glory of the God of Israel [was] over them above.
20 This [is] the living creature that I saw
under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar;
and I knew that they [were] the cherubims.
21 Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings;
and the likeness of the hands of a man [was] under their wings.
22 And the likeness of their faces [was] the same faces
which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves:
they went every one straight forward.
Lifted up and borne on the chariot of the cherubim, the Glory of the LORD departs from the door of the Temple building, to stand above the east gate of the Temple courts. Here again, He pauses, as though grieving over the sorrows, of which He had warned His unhearing people (Jer 6:8). Yet, what must be done, must be done. He has spoken the Word, from which there can be no deviation. cp. Mat 23:37-39
At His first coming, Israel's rejected King also departed from Jerusalem to the east (Mat 24:1-3). When He returns, in power and great glory, to establish His Millennial Kingdom, He will enter the Temple via the eastern gate (Eze 43:1-8).

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