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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Ezekiel 1 -- Part 2


Ezekiel’s First Spiritual Vision

God opened up the heavens for Ezekiel to reveal the spiritual realm similar to what He did for the Apostle John in Revelation. Everything in Ezekiel’s vision was living and active. Ezekiel is seeing a vision of the spiritual realm before Jesus came to earth as Man. God is showing His prophet what is to come! Ezekiel saw a “windstorm – an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living beings. In appearance their form was human, but each of them had four faces and four wings.” vv2-6 These living, spiritual beings had the form of humans but were also spiritual and had the four faces of the offices Jesus carries. Most of us know that the wind symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The cloud with flashing lightning, brilliant light and fire is God's glory. Flashing lightning is the power of the quickening Word of God that brings light and/or judgment, and is quickened to our spirits.The brilliant Light symbolizes the Light of the world. In the “natural,” clouds move by the power of the wind. In the “supernatural,” the glory and fire of God moves by the power of the wind (ruach) of the Holy Spirit. God is both a Light (Illuminator) and Fire (Eliminator of Sin and Judgment). God, the Light (Jesus) and the wind (Holy Spirit) operate in perfect harmony and agreement.

The spiritual beings in Ezekiel’s vision are messengers or agents of God who are in the image and likeness of Jesus and are the Divine chariot of God -- the carriers of God‘s Word and will. Holiness and the cherubim are connected. These cherubim declare the “Man” on the throne's holiness, transcendence and glory. They guard the holiness of God's throne. In the Older Testament, the Israelites were the agents of God on earth. When Christ came to earth and established the New Covenant, those who love and follow Him no matter what race, tribe, nation or gender become God’s divine living agents.

The appearance of the living beings was like burning coals of fire or like torches.” In other words, fire and light. “Fire moved back and forth among the living beings; it was bright and lightning flashed out of it. The living beings sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.” vv13 -14 They went quickly to and fro to do God’s will. Fire and light were quick and active among these four living beings. The pillar of fire and light led the Israelites through the wilderness in route to God's Promised Land showing God’s people the way to go. The Anointed Word of God is living, active and powerful – a quickening Word full of fire and light -- because Jesus is the Word of God -- all Truth. Both the written and the Living Word are full of light and fire that lead and guide us and also burn sin out of us so we walk in the glory and light of Jesus Christ. Those who love and follow Jesus are the light of the world by reflecting His Light, just as Jesus reflects the Father's light.

The prophet Daniel also had a dream where he saw the throne of the Ancient of Days. Daniel said, “His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. Daniel 7:9 God’s throne is one that glows and moves. Our hearts and lives are to be the living, moving throne of God on earth.

These living, moving beings in Ezekiel's vision went “straight ahead. Wherever the Spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went.” Ezekiel 1 In other words, they went the straight way (the way of holiness) led by the Holy Spirit—not turning to the right or to the left. These living creatures went one way. They had one way, one purpose and one direction and will.

These living, moving beings had four faces. Each of these faces are in Christ– the face of a Man (Luke); the face of a Lion (Matthew); the face of an Ox (Mark) and the face of an Eagle (John). They were like Jesus -- in His image and likeness. The Lord was giving Ezekiel a vision of Jesus and His Body which would eventually become a reality in the four gospels. Ezekiel is trying to describe the indescribable! I doubt that Ezekiel fully knew the meaning of what He was seeing.

Let's take a closer look at these living beings and how they reveal Christ and His Body.

Four Faces

As I noted above, these living spiritual beings had four faces -- one of a lion, an ox, a man and an eagle. Jesus is the Perfect Man; the Lion as Perfect King over all the universe; the Ox as the Perfect Servant and Burden-bearer; and the Perfect Eagle with perfect spiritual vision who soars higher than all the others as the Son of God. The four Gospels of Jesus Christ reveal Jesus in these four offices of His Divine nature. As His Body, we are to be like Him as we carry out His work on earth. Jesus makes us kings and priests. We are to also be His servants and bear the burdens of others with them. He will give us spiritual vision as we seek Him and study His Word.

The face of Man is on the right side -- the place of power and authority. Jesus who came to earth as Man, is seated at the right hand of the Father in power, authority and great glory. He has given mankind the same power, authority and glory as they walk with Him leading and guiding them.

Body

These living, moving beings had the form of man, but they had these four faces. Jesus came in the fashion of a Man and is the perfection of these four faces. He and the Holy Spirit are shaping and forming us as His servants, His priests, His kings and His eagles. Although we have a flesh body, Jesus wants us to put on these four offices through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Wings

These living beings also had four wings to carry out God's will over the four corners of the earth, as well as guard against any evil or sinful entity from God's throne. Nothing unholy is to come into the holy presence of God. Four is the number of creation. Jesus came to do the Father's will on earth. His earthly journey produced the four spiritual gospels that are to be carried to the whole world through His followers by the power of the Holy Spirit. David in the psalms often spoke about being under the shadow of God’s wings. And Psalms 18:10 says that God rides on a cherub and flies on the wings of the wind. These living beings, later revealed as cherubim in Ezekiel 10, are God’s wings. They are the carriers of the Divine Spirit. On earth, followers of Jesus are the carriers of the Divine Word and Holy Spirit in all the earth.

The wings of each of these living beings “touched the wings of another.” In other words, they were connected as one and they traveled as one. They went straight ahead not turning as they moved. There was no turning back! They are moving forward to carry out the will of God over the four corners of the earth. Although there were four faces, they moved as one united body. The four gospels of Jesus touch each other and are one in Him. The Body of Christ who now carries the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world are to be connected as one being also, reflecting Jesus and His four faces as we bring the message of Jesus to the four corners of the earth. They each had two wings spreading out upward...v11 These two wings of each of the four reached out to each other as one and up to heaven in reverence and faith as one. 2 x 4 = 8 – the number of a new beginning and the eternal number. The Body of Christ is to reach up our hands to heaven in reverence and faith as one Body and are to operate as one as we do His kingdom work. Jesus is our new beginning and gives us eternal life.

Each had two other wings covering its body. The two wings that cover the Body of Christ are grace and truth which are revealed in the two testaments of the Word of God. Both testaments testify of Jesus. “In Him (Jesus), we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28 They had two wings upward to God and two downward covering their bodies. It is grace and truth that take us higher into the spiritual realm with Jesus. These living beings in Ezekiel’s vision were the bridge between heaven and earth, just as Jesus is the bridge between heaven and earth. His true followers are to also be the bridge between heaven and earth for others.

Ezekiel goes on to say that the “the sound of their wings” was “like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army.” The power of the sound of their wings moving was like the sound of the roar of rushing waters (powerful Anointed Word). This sound was like the voice of the Almighty and the onslaught of a mighty army. Believers are carriers of the Word and Spirit of God. When we are united in Spirit and in Truth, we are the voice of Almighty God and a mighty spiritual army that will defeat the enemy of the souls of people.

Under their wings, these living beings had the hands of a man. Jesus came as a Man to carry the Good News to all creation. Those who believe in Him are to also serve (hands) Him and carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world through our actions, words and deeds. We are to be His hands, feet and heart to the world.
 
Legs
Their legs were straight (upright). In other words, these living, moving beings were like pillars in the Heavenly Home of God. Jesus walks in righteousness, and the four gospels reveal His righteousness in His Incarnate form. The two pillars that uphold His House are grace and truth. Jesus wants believers to also walk uprightly filled with grace and truth. When Solomon built the temple according to the father’s instruction, he put two pillars at the entrance. The one on the right he named “Jachin” which means “He shall establish.” The one on the left was named “Boaz” which means “fleetness.” Fleetness is rapidity in motion. Jesus will establish the temple in the hearts of His followers through His grace and His quickened Word anointed by the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to note that both Jews and Gentiles worked on building Solomon’s temple. Solomon went to Tyre (gentile territory) to get Huram and his skilled workers to make the vessels and utensils for the temple. Huram had both Jewish and Gentile blood. His mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and His father was from Tyre. Throughout the Older Testament scriptures, God used both Jews and Gentiles to paint a picture of His Kingdom in Christ. Jesus today is establishing His temple in the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles!
Feet
The feet of these living beings were like those of a calf -- split hoof --and like burnished bronze. Bronze is the metal of sacrifice and judgment. Keep in mind that God says that the Word is double-edged (Hebrews 4:12), so it can speak of God’s grace or God’s judgment. The animal sacrifices in the dwelling places of God in the Older Testament were offered on the Brazen (Bronze) Altar -- the altar of shed blood and sacrifice. As Christ offered Himself a living, perfect and complete sacrifice for sin, Jesus wants us to willingly offer our lives sacrificially in service to Him and His Kingdom. The feet of these living beings faced downward toward earth but their wings reached upward toward heaven. Christ’s followers are to seek and save the lost on earth walking by faith in God and worshiping Him. Since Jesus left earth to return to the Father in heaven, Christ and the Holy Spirit in us now bridge the gap between heaven and earth.
Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1 in Matthew to show that He is the fulfillment of this scripture. “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’” Mt. 22:44 Jesus said this to also prove that He is God to those who were questioning Him. And Matthew 5:35 says that the earth is Jesus’ footstool. The earth was also under the feet of these cherubim who are a picture of Jesus and His Body. We are to put the devil who is the prince of the world under our feet. The right hand of the Father is the place reserved for Jesus alone. The writer of the Book of Hebrews said in 1:13, “To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’?” Only Jesus can sit at the right hand of the Father because He is God’s only begotten Son who has all power and authority given Him by the Father.

God's people could eat the flesh of any animal with a split hoof who chews the cud. These were considered clean and edible in God's eyes. A calf is the young of a domestic (tame) animal. Jesus walked according to God's will and the two testaments in purity and in faith. Because Jesus is the only “clean” (sinless) One to walk the earth, He tells us that we are to eat His flesh and drink His blood in remembrance of all that He has done for us. We are to also walk according to the “split” Word that becomes One Word in Christ. It is walking according to the Word of God that makes our way straight. Activity is not a substitute for holiness.

(Next week:  Spirit-led)


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