AMONG CAPTIVES BY THE RIVER CHEBAR
by Ethel C Pechman
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In the book of Ezekiel, you learn the heavens were opened and Ezekiel saw visions of God. The name “Ezekiel” itself purports to indicate thunder and lightning and fire. It shouts for attention. He is a priest and stands among captives, supposedly identifying him as a slave. In Chapter 3, verse 17 God said to him, “son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.”
The first chapter of the book of Ezekiel is a magnificent vision of Jehovah given to Ezekiel before God instructs him of what his commission is for Israel. Ezekiel is sitting in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar when God gave him this vision.
Ezekiel was looking north; “behold a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire unfolding itself (a fire within a fire), and a brightness was about it and out of the midst thereof, the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.”
“Also, out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
“And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass.
“And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
“Their wings were joined one to another, they turned not when they went; they went everyone straight forward.
“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle,
“Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
“And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
“As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
“And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
“Now, as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.
“The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
“When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.
“As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.
“And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
“”Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels
“When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood: and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
“And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the color of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
“And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.
“And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
“And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood and had let down their wings.
“And above the firmament that was over their heads over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone, and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
“And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
‘As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.
“And he said unto me, ‘son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.’”
“And the spirit entered into me when he spoke unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spoke unto me.”
“And he said unto me, ‘Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.’”
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The purpose of my writing is not to talk about what God wanted Ezekiel to reveal to the Jews, but rather, to tell you about the amazing, wonderful power of God almighty.
According to the Philadelphia Church of God, in their revelation of what God is supposed to have said, I believe that what Ezekiel saw in his vision of God was a vehicle in which God traveled. I think we ourselves should try to evaluate what God is telling us in the first chapter of Ezekiel.
I find this chapter in Ezekiel difficult to understand and I hope by voicing my opinion, someone will tell me what they believe about it.
Beginning with the interpretation that Jehovah is transported on such a vehicle, it motivates you to try to learn for yourself about who God really is, and what he does, and you end up coming to the conclusion that God is magnificent and resplendent, all powerful, mighty beyond description, and able to teach you what He wants you to know.
First of all, though, you must have repented of your sins and have asked Jesus to save you. Jesus is the way; there is no other. If you try to understand God’s word without knowing Jesus as your Savior, you will learn nothing. You need the Holy Spirit to illuminate you.
I believe when you study this vision of Ezekiel’s, you will realize that God himself does all things; that when you see him as Ezekiel did, you will realize why Ezekiel fell down because he had no strength in himself.
Copyright © September 12, 2012
by Ethel C. Pechman
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