I don’t know about you, but many times throughout my life I have tried to picture what heaven and God would look like. It kind-of blows my mind to think about eternity for very long. It is beyond my comprehension that we will worship God and live with Him in perfection without end! Of course, Ezekiel wasn’t seeing a vision of God in heaven. His vision was God coming to earth to meet him and send him to deliver God’s message to the people of Israel. Ezekiel chapters one, two, and three give the account of his vision.
The vision starts with a stormy wind, a great cloud, and brightness with fire flashing, and gleaming metal. The next part, with the 4 living creatures is difficult. They had 4 faces, wings, and wheels. They are described as sparkling like burnished bronze (Ezekiel 1:7), and as burning torches darting about like lightening. I have heard these creatures described to be the servants of God carrying His “sedan chair.” I’m not going to spend too much time trying to imagine them, because the most exciting and beautiful picture comes next. Ezekiel 1:22-28
Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads. And under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another. And each creature had two wings covering its body. And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army. When they stood still, they let down their wings. And there came a voice from above the expanse over thier heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings.
And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, lin appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of His waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.
Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
I wanted to know what all the things described in this passage looked like, so I did a little searching to figure out what jewels and metals were being described. The first one is “awe-inspiring crystal” Click here to see what it may have looked like. I’m sure it was even more impressive than what I can find on the internet . . . combine that picture with the sound of rushing water. After this part of the vision, Ezekiel heard God speak, and then he saw the throne of God. He describes it as being carried by the 4 creatures who looked like beryl. Then he describes the actual throne as lapis lazuli, gleaming metal, fire, and a rainbow surrounding Him. After seeing all of this, Ezekiel fell on his face.
I am amazed at the next part of the vision (chapter 2). God picked Ezekiel up and set him back on his feet. Then he told him that he would be a prophet to rebellious people. God tells Ezekiel not to be afraid. I think after seeing and hearing something so spectacular as God coming down from heaven, Ezekiel wouldn’t be more afraid of anything else he saw or heard. Knowing that he was sent as a messenger of God and remembering this vision must have been a big encouragement to him as he followed God’s directions in prophecying to Israel.
Ezekiel was called upon to do some hard things in his ministry. He had to symbolize the seige of Israel by lying on his side for 390 days eating a prescribed type of cake cooked over dung. He also shaved off his hair and beard and scattered it as a picture of the destruction and captivity of Jerusalem. While the people watched, he had to dig through the wall of Jerusalem with his baggage as a picture of the exile. When his wife died, he had to put on his turban and shoes and not mourn as a picture of how Israel would respond when they lost everything that they loved. There were other things God told Ezekiel to do. I’m sure the people watching thought he was crazy, but he had seen and heard God, and because of this, he didn’t let what others thought of him stop him from being obedient. In Ezekiel 2:5-6, 8 God said:
And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions.
But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.
I am amazed at how God chooses certain people to go against the norm in order to proclaim His Word to those around them. Each of us, if we are believers, have a part to play in the display of God’s message of coming judgment, and the offer of loving forgiveness for restored relationship with God. Hopefully we won’t be called upon to eat cakes cooked over dung, but there will be hard things in life as we obey God. May He help me to keep my eyes on the vision of His beauty, power, and goodness so that I will not be rebellious when the going gets tough.