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May 5, 2007 / Daniel

Ezekiel

I’ve been studying the book of Ezekiel lately.  It’s pretty cool, a little weird at times.   Ezekiel was a man called by God to do some pretty odd things, to say some pretty strange things, and to see some very marvelous things.  As a priest, Ezekiel’s prophecy centers around God’s presence. 

The book starts with his vision of the “shekinah glory of YHWH” which normally dwelt in the Temple in Jerusalem.  However, Ezekiel is in exile in Babylon, far away from the Temple.  And yet, God’s shekinah glory  appears.  God’s visible glory is described as a throne-chariot.  Ezekiel sees the chariot covered by a pillar of cloud and fire (imagery from the Exodus).  

Four cherubs, composite creatures, guard the chariot.  In the Bible, cherubs are supernatural beings which keep sinful humans from a holy God (think Garden of Eden).  The statutes of cherubs were throughout the Temple, reminding Israel that God is holy and we must approach Him on His terms.

The wheels within wheels indicate that God’s throne chariot moves fast and in any direction at will.  To Ezekiel this indicated that God is sovereign to do what He pleases over this.  His power is just limited to Jerusalem.  He’s even sovereign over Babylon and the exiles.

Then, Ezekiel watches as the shekinah glory of God leaves the Temple because of Israel’s idolatry (chapters 8-11).  Solomon’s Temple was no longer a holy place for God’s glory to rest.  Israel had broken the covenant by turning to other gods, that weren’t actually gods at all. 

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