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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel 10: God's Glory Departs from the Temple


[Preliminary Comment: Understanding this chapter is helped by reference to v.15 that identifies ‘the four living creatures' with the ‘cherubim', angels serving God. [see also note with 9:3,4] We have highlighted the significance of this chapter in the Concluding Comment at the end of the chapter.]



v.1,2 The Lord instructs the recorder to now become a destroyer


v.1  I looked, and I saw the likeness of a throne of lapis lazuli above the vault that was over the heads of the cherubim. 

v.2 The LORD said to the man clothed in linen, “Go in among the wheels beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And as I watched, he went in. 


[Notes: The throne in the vision is revealed again, no doubt to emphasise God's role as supreme ruler. He instructs the man previously noted as a recorder [9:2] to take fire from the angels and scatter it over Jerusalem, a destructive effect. Now the man has marked out the faithful remnant, he has the role of applying the judgment.]



v.3-5 The move of the glory of God is reiterated [from 9:3]


v.3 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. 

v.4 Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD. 

v.5  The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks. 


[Notes: The glory of the Lord, already previously noted as having moved from its proper place over the cherubim in the Most Holy Place of the Temple, is stated again, as if to emphasise the move.]



v.6-8 The Cherubim give fire to the man


v.6  When the LORD commanded the man in linen, “Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,” the man went in and stood beside a wheel. 

v.7 Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand to the fire that was among them. He took up some of it and put it into the hands of the man in linen, who took it and went out. 

v.8 (Under the wings of the cherubim could be seen what looked like human hands.) 


[Notes: The man receives the fire from the angel.]



v.9-22 The Description of the Creatures/Cherubim reiterated from chapter 1


v.9 I looked, and I saw beside the cherubim four wheels, one beside each of the cherubim; the wheels sparkled like topaz. 

v.10 As for their appearance, the four of them looked alike; each was like a wheel intersecting a wheel. 

v.11 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the cherubim faced; the wheels did not turn about as the cherubim went. The cherubim went in whatever direction the head faced, without turning as they went. 

v.12 Their entire bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings, were completely full of eyes, as were their four wheels. 

v.13 I heard the wheels being called “the whirling wheels.” 

v.14 Each of the cherubim had four faces: One face was that of a cherub, the second the face of a human being, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. 

v.15 Then the cherubim rose upward. These were the living creatures I had seen by the Kebar River. 

v.16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the cherubim spread their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels did not leave their side. 

v.17 When the cherubim stood still, they also stood still; and when the cherubim rose, they rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in them. 

v.18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 

v.19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD's house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. 

v.20 These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the Kebar River, and I realized that they were cherubim. 

v.21 Each had four faces and four wings, and under their wings was what looked like human hands. 

v.22 Their faces had the same appearance as those I had seen by the Kebar River. Each one went straight ahead.


[Notes: The above verses echo those of the vision in chapter 1. The ‘four living creatures' are now clearly described as representing cherubim. The reader should remember the opening comments of chapter 1 that what we have here is a vision or prophecy seeking to convey to limited human minds the wonder of spiritual realities.]


[Concluding Note: Chapter 9 had presented the awful picture of God's glory starting to make a move to leave the Temple, the dwelling place of God in the midst of His people on earth and that is now reiterated strongly in this chapter, emphasised by the vision first seen in chapter 1 of the divine presence with His accompanying angels. If the concept of God's people being taken out of the Promised Land into exile, wasn't bad enough, this picture of the departure of God's presence from the midst of His people is even worse. It indicates that no longer was He there in the Temple to receive the offerings and sacrifices of the covenant people who now, it would appear, have no recourse to Him, no way for their sins to be removed by the sacrificial system, only now to be removed by judgment.]



Continue to Chapter 11