By way of context, the book of Ezekiel starts with visions given to Ezekiel, a priest (see Ezekiel 1:1-3), who would have likely been familiar with the Temple in Jerusalem before being exiled. There are living creatures with four faces and four wings in this vision (see Ezekiel 1:4-14), and there are these things that look like wheels.
Translations vary, but you might know the latter symbols as the “wheel in the middle of the wheel”, based on the King James Version and the song, “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel”. I’m not positive exactly what these were, but they kind of seem like two wheels at right angles, despite the fact that this doesn’t necessarily make a lot of engineering sense to me.
Continuing in a study of several chapters from Ezekiel, Ezekiel 10:1-2 shows us that the “scribe” (described in chapter 9) has another job to do, picking up coals and scattering them. This might sound painful, but the man goes to do what he is told. (Matthew Henry interprets this as a prophecy that the Chaldeans will burn the city of Jerusalem, and that makes sense to me.)
Much of what we’ve been reading here appears to be visions given to Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 11:14, God’s word comes to Ezekiel again, and in the remaining part of this chapter, we can read what God told him, and that he shared God’s word with “the exiles” (see v. 24-25), who are offered hope in Ezekiel 11:14-21 (which you might want to read – it contains a reference that you might recognize from elsewhere).
However, I’d like to jump to a passage in chapter 11:
Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. The glory of the LORD went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.
Ezekiel 11:22-23 NIV
We find that God’s glory in this vision leaves the city and goes to a mountain. (According to the Lookout, this is the Mount of Olives, which we read about in the New Testament.)
This is a remarkably sad event. The Israelite people, chosen by God to be His people, had fallen so far away from Him that His glory – visible evidence of His presence – left the temple, and departed even the city of Jerusalem.
In fact, I think that this is perhaps the worst penalty of Hell: to be separated from God who is the source of all good and perfect gifts (see James 1:16-18). For those who wish to not have anything to do with God, Hell is a place where they can get what they think that they want, but finding out what it means to be separated from God is a terrible, terrible thing.
The presence of God is not something to take for granted. Even after accepting salvation from Jesus, we need to live in such a way that not only allows us to be spared from the punishment of unrighteousness, but also influences those around us for good – to the point where God can dwell in our town, our country, and our world.
As the Lookout puts it, “God seems to like mobility. He likes to go where his people are, and he likes his people to go where he leads.”
After all, salvation isn’t just about “getting saved” and then waiting to go to Heaven. Accepting Jesus includes letting Him take control of our decisions and choices. If justification (being declared righteous) is the cause of our salvation, shouldn’t living a righteous life to honor God should be the result?
From Sunday School lesson prepared for August 28, 2022
- The Lookout, August 28, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). Matthew Henry. 1706, via BibleGateway.com.