Vision of the Four Wheels (2)
Christian Military Academy Lecture 6
God showed Ezekiel four visions before commissioning him as a prophet.
The vision of the four living beings has the following characteristics.
Each of the Four Living Beings had a wheel beside them
The four living beings had a wheel beside them (Ezek 1:15). Secondly, the rims of the wheels were lofty and awesome. This indicates that the rims of the wheels were huge and fearful. Ezekiel 1:18 says, “As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about.” Here, “awesome” is yira (יִרְאָה) in Hebrew, which means “fear, terror, and reverence.” Hence, the mysterious image of the wheels was terrifying, majestic, and awe-inspiring.
The rims of all four of them were full of eyes roundabout
Ezekiel 1:18 says, “The rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about.” Thus, they could see very well. See also Ezek 10:12. Revelation 4:6 says, “And before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.” Many eyes indicate the ability to see many things. “Full of eyes” portrays how God, who works through the four living beings, “sees” all things. God “sees” the deeds of all people (Psa 33:13-15). “The wheels were full of eyes all around” implies that God sees and governs all realms of history (Psa 139:1, 7). Psalm 139 says, “Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”
The Movement of the Wheels
The wheels moved with the living beings whenever they moved. Ezekiel 1:19 says, “Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also. See also Ezekiel 1:21. Secondly, the driving force comes from the “Spirit of God.”
Ezekiel 1:20-21 says, “Wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction. And the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. 21 Whenever those went, these went; and whenever those stood still, these stood still. And whenever those rose from the earth, the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.” Here, the “spirit” of the living beings is “ruah” referring to the Spirit of God. Thus, the living beings did not move by their strengths but by the “Spirit” leading them. Therefore, the saints – who are like the wheels of God, must submit to the leading of the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit). Galatians 5:18 says, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
Vision of Something like an Expanse
Something like an expanse was over the heads of the living beings (Ezek 1:22). The word “expanse” is “raqia” (רָקִ֫יעַ), referring to “a firmament, broad space.” What Ezekiel saw above the living beings was not the actual expanse but something like an expanse, which was a visible, broad “space,” spread out over their heads.
Secondly, Ezekiel saw something like an expanse was like crystal (Ezek 1:22). Revelation 4:6 says, “And before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.” “Like crystal” portrays the image of an expanse as being very pure and transparent like glass. This implies that saints must be washed clean by Jesus’ blood on the Cross to approach the throne of God (Heb 12:14; Rev 7:14). Thirdly, something like an expanse was very fearful. Ezekiel 1:22 says, Now over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse, like the awesome gleam of crystal, spread out over their heads.” “Awesome” is “yare” in Hebrew, meaning “to fear, be afraid, or revere.” Hence, the mysterious image of an expanse provoked fear and reverence. Fourthly, a voice came from above the expanse (Ezek 1:25). Here, the Word was proclaimed by God who sat on the throne. The living beings dropped their wings when the Word was proclaimed. This shows that the commissioners must stop all their activity to listen when God’s Word is proclaimed (Ecc 5:1). Mary sat at the feet of Jesus as He proclaimed the Word (Luke 10:39, 42).
Vision of the Throne above the Expanse
Something resembling a throne was above the expanse, and its appearance was like a sapphire stone (Ezek 1:26). See also Ezek 10:1. God’s throne is above all the world of creation (Isa 6:1). Sapphire is a gemstone found on the second row of the high priest’s breast piece. It is a gemstone of “preeminent” beauty and worth (Exo 28:18). Secondly, “There was a figure with the appearance of a man” (Ezek 1:26, 28). This image foreshadows the incarnate God the Son, Jesus (Phil 2:6-8; John 1:14). Thirdly, “Its appearance of the surrounding radiance was like the rainbow in the clouds” (Ezek 1:28). God sets His bow in the clouds (Gen 9:13, 16). A rainbow has seven colors. Jesus’ seven words on the cross remind us of the rainbow in the cloud and Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory (Heb 1:3).
Conclusion: Ezekiel fell on his face and heard the voice of God (Ezek 1:28). Commissioners must fall on their faces when God’s Word is proclaimed. The word “hear” is “shama” in Hebrew, which refers not only to hearing but obeying and doing the Word. Hence, commissioners must reach the level of doing the Word. Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and [a]heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Ultimately, the king of Babylon is not the ruler over history; God in His glory is the sole Ruler.