Ezekiel’s vision of The Almighty’s flame-like glory

It was an immense delight soon after waking on this the last day of November 2017 that its meditation in Sanctuary returns to the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel. Over the past four weeks David Strutt shared many gems from the OT prophets as a preparation for next month’s Advent season. It was instructive to dip into the relevant scriptures whenever possible, but I focused especially on those from Ezekiel and upon his life after receiving his Call 2,600 years ago!

After having blogged or read posts and comments on visions of holy fire, my eyes almost popped out upon reading…

Day 335 – November 30th

‘We cannot leave Ezekiel without going back to the beginning, to meditate a while on the vision that first put fire and fear and awe-struck love of God into his heart, soul and mind. He was by the River Chebar [exiled with the Hebrews in Chaldea/Babylonia] when a vision of heaven began. He saw things indescribable that are difficult to fully understand although our spirits rise with his as we hear of the beauty of the angelic forces and the servant beings. But there comes a point when even those pale into insignificance. [Am using New King James Version of Ezekiel 1:25-28 because it conveys a slightly fuller description than the New American Standard Bible.]:

‘A voice came from above the firmament that (was) over their heads; whenever they stood they let down their wings.

‘And above the firmament over their heads (was) the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne (was) a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.

‘Also from the appearance of his waist and upward I saw, as it were, the colour of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around.

‘Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so (was) the appearance of the brightness all around it. This (was) the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.’

Selah!

This is where language fails to convey and do justice to novel experience. It was hard for Ezekiel to describe this staggering vision, as we may gather from his repetitions of ‘as it were’, ‘the appearance of’ and ‘the likeness of’.  In other words, we should infer that his description is not to be regarded as being totally definitive of the Almighty.

The important lesson for the prophet-in-training was that God was present in Babylonia as well in Jerusalem.

It’s particularly noteworthy from the vision that the throne above the ‘heavens’ has an occupant described as being human-like but composed of, as well as being obscured by, the brilliance of fire.

Note also Hebrews 12: after stating in verse 26 that God has promised “Yet once more I shall shake not only the earth, but also heaven’ (per Haggai 2:6) and explaining its meaning, the chapter closes with its reason:  For our God is a consuming fire’.

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