Ezekiel 10



1 “Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the

head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a

sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.”

2 And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in

between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand

with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them

over the city. And he went in in my sight.”  Then I looked, etc. There

follows on the work of judgment another theophany, like that of ch.1:15-28.

In the “expanse,” or firmament, like the “terrible crystal,” there is seen as before

the likeness of a sapphire throne (see ch.1:26, note). The form of the man who is

the manifestation of Jehovah is implied, though not named. It is He who

speaks to the captain of the six ministers of vengeance, Himself the seventh,

and bids him go in beneath the “whirling wheels” that are beneath the

cherub (collective singular, as in ch. 9:9), and fill his hands with

coals of fire (ch. 1:13), and scatter them over the city, as the

symbol of its doom. We are reminded of Isaiah’s vision (Isaiah 6:6);

but there the work of the fire was to purify, here simply to destroy.



The Throne of God (v. 1)


The Greek conception of God was intellectual; the Hebrew, moral.  To the

Hellenic thought He was the Supreme Mind; to the Jewish He was the

Supreme Will and Authority. The one conceived Him as the Architect of

the universe, displaying His intelligence in a vast design; the other, as the

Sovereign Ruler of all things. Thus the Hebrew symbol of the Divine is a

glory above a heavenly throne, and with the Jew the most significant

Divine thing is the throne. Each thought is true, and our later Christian

theology combines them both. But there is an awful sublimity in the Old

Testament religion springing from the moral and governmental view of

God, and to miss this is to sink into naturalism. The modern tendency is in

some respects diverting attention from the Hebrew Throne to the Greek

Mind. We need to revive the Old Testament element of the thought of

God. Perhaps greater regard to this will help us to face some of the

peculiar difficulties of our own day.





Ø      It is righteous. The justice of God’s rule is not treated in the Old

Testament as a source of terror, but, on the contrary, it is always

Praised and rejoiced in. The old cruel earthly tyrannies were felt

to be so horribly unjust, that men turned with a sense of relief to

the justice of the Supreme King. God is the Personal “Power that

makes for righteousness.” The end of His government is the

highest goodness.


Ø      It is therefore glorious. The old glory of mere brute force with the

triumph of cruelty is a low and vulgar folly by the side of this

Divine glory of righteousness. Here is the greatest glory of God —

not His omniscience nor His omnipotence, not the irresistible

might and overwhelming majesty of His throne, but ITS

RIGHTEOUSNESS!   It is not a blood stained glory of the

earthly conqueror, but the sapphire beauty of perfect purity,

truth, justice, and benevolence.



REVELATION. The Greek method of seeking for God is by the way of

intellect. The Great Mind is looked for in His plans. The Architect cf the

universe is to be found by using the “argument from design.” But lately

this Aristotelian method has been confused in the minds of some —

though, doubtless, only temporarily and by misunderstanding — through

the spread of THE DOCTRINE OF EVOLUTION.   Meanwhile our own

age needS to return to the Hebrew method. Our best teachers point us in this

direction. God is not chiefly the Infinite Intellect. HE IS THE WILL AND

POWER OF RIGHT!  We feel Him in all force. But we discern Him best

in our own consciences. The unanswerable voice within that whispers, “Thou

shalt or “Thou shalt not,” is an utterance from the throne of God, and it

bears witness to the existence, and more than the existence, THE



3 “Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the

man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court.  4 Then the glory of the

LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house;

and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the

brightness of the LORD’s glory.”  Now the cherubim stood, etc. The position of

the cherubim is defined, with a vivid distinctness of detail, which once more

reminds us of Dante. They had been standing on the right, i.e. the southern side of

the sanctuary. What follows is probably a reproduction of the change of

positions described in ch. 9:3, and the verbs should be taken,

therefore, as pluperfects. The cloud of glory, as in I Kings 8:10-11 and

Isaiah 6:1-2, THE SHECHINAH  that was the token of THE DIVINE

PRESENCE, filled the court, but the glory itself had moved to the

threshold at the first stage of its departure.



The Brightness of the Divine Glory (v. 4)


The Shechinah glory in the holiest place was the visible representation and

symbol of the presence of the Eternal in the place set apart for special

communion between God and man. Appealing primarily to the sense of

sight, it did in reality appeal to the intelligence and the conscience of the

people. It was the same luminous cloud which Ezekiel beheld in his vision,

and in which he recognized the manifestation of the Divine presence and




ATTRIBUTES. The Jews ever required a sign. But whilst the multitude

may have rested in the sign, the enlightened and spiritual passed from the

sign to the thing signified. True glory is not in material splendor, however

dazzling, but in that excellence which is perfected in God, the Source of all

goodness. Whilst the less reflecting may be more impressed with the

omnipotence and omnipresence of God, which must indeed excite the

reverent admiration of all to whom He makes Himself known, such as are

morally cultivated and susceptible will find the highest and purest glory in

the Divine wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and love.



SPIRITUAL SUSCEPTIBILITY. As the man is affected by many things

which are neither felt nor noticed by the brute, so the spiritually living and

earnest are impressed and influenced by the contemplation of the Divine

character and attributes. These may have no interest for the worldly and

the selfish; but they are felt to be great, sacred, and precious realities by all

natures that are brought by spiritual teaching into sympathy with God.

“They are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).  There is a capacity

within us which is only developed and satisfied when brought into contact

with the purity and the grace of Him who is a Spirit, and who will be

worshipped in spirit and in truth.  (John 4:24)




heaven gaze upon the Divine glory, and by the vision are prompted to

unceasing adoration, it is the same with the enlightened and spiritual

among the sons of men. As the daybreak and the sunrise call forth the glad

song of the lark as it soars aloft, so the rising of “the brightness of the

Lord’s glory” upon a soul summons it to the glad exercise of exulting

adoration. Nor does this term the only response. Man’s active nature

renders the service which is due to Him who is recognized as the Source of

all good, of all blessing. Obedience is acted praise, as praise is uttered




REVELATION OF THE DIVINE GLORY. The evangelist tells us that he

and his fellow disciples beheld Christ’s glory, “the glory as of the Only

Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  And the

author of the Epistle to the Hebrews describes the Son of God as the

Emanation from the Divine glory.”  (Hebrews 1:3). They who look into

Christ’s face behold the moral attributes of Deity in all their resplendent

brightness, “They look unto him, and are lightened, and their faces are

not ashamed.”


The Moving Glory (v. 4)


It is difficult to follow the enraptured prophet through all the mystic mazes

of his vision, and catch the meaning of the many gorgeous symbols that he

discovers on every hand. But now and again certain points stand out with

an individual significance even when their relation to the whole shifting

panorama may strike us as somewhat obscure. Here we may take some

hints from the moving of the Divine glory. This radiance moved from over

the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house.



saw the radiance pass from the cherub to the threshold of the house.


Ø      The glory has visited earth. It is not confined to celestial altitudes.

Earth is not yet a godless hell. God, who talked with Adam before

the Fall, also talked with Moses after the Fall. There is a Divine halo

about every good life. Little children come “trailing clouds of glory,”

and “of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14).  But this

glory is most present in Christ. Thus the beloved disciple said, We

beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father”

(John 1:14).


Ø      The glory has reached common life. There were cherubim in the holy

of holies at the temple, and there the Shechinah was said to dwell.

But now Ezekiel sees the glory pass to the threshold of the house.

It moves from the high priest’s sanctuary to the way of the common

people, and seems to look forth from the doorway with cheering

radiance and a benediction towards the great world outside. This has

certainly happened in the free preaching of the gospel of Christ, and

the equal privileges of all Christians.  (See Acts 28:24-28). 

The Shechinah passed from the temple at Jerusalem to the Carpenter’s

workshop at Nazareth; and ever since it has dwelt among the familiar

haunts of men, consecrating daily toil, making simple lives beautiful

with the LIGHT OF GOD!


  • GOD’S GLORY IS IN MOVEMENT. The fiery pillar of the

wilderness moved from place to place. When by the Red Sea, it stood

behind the camp and between this and the pursuing army of Egypt. In

travel, it went on before the host. The presence of God is not always

equally manifest at the same place. There are God-haunted realms, and

there are apparently God-deserted regions. Physically, God is equally

present everywhere. But morally, the conduct of men does not admit of

an equal revelation of the Divine.  (See John 14:23)


Ø      The glory may depart from its old seat. It left the temple, and it

deserted the Jews. Poor down-trodden Palestine is now only to be

called a “Holy Land” for the sake of its memories and associations.

North Africa and Asia Minor, once the brightest centers of the

Christian Church, have been left dark and deserted.  (Let America

beware as Europe has found out!  See Deuteronomy 6:12)  This is not

owing to God’s changing. His glory is not like the waning moon, or

the setting sun, or the flickering lamp. But as men forsake Him,

Ichabod!” must be uttered over their most sacred spots.  (I Samuel



Ø      The glory may visit new scenes. It has shone over the martyrs of

Madagascar and Uganda, and the native missionaries of the South Seas;

it is beginning to dawn in the great dark continent, and among the

teeming millions of India and China. There is no dark soul over which

it will not shine, if only pardon is penitently sought.


5 “And the sound of the cherubims’ wings was heard even to the outer

court, as the voice of the Almighty God when He speaketh.  6 And it came

to pass, that when He had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying,

Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then

he went in, and stood beside the wheels.  7 And one cherub stretched forth

his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the

cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was

clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.”  And the sound of the

cherubim. The use of God Almighty (El Shaddai; compare Exodus 6:3),

the name of God as ruling over nature, while Jehovah expressed His covenant

relationship to Israel, is, it may be noted, characteristic of the early stage of the

religion of Israel (Genesis 17:1; 28:3; 43:14; 48:3).  (I recommend Genesis 17 –

The Names of God – El Shaddai by Nathan Stone – this web site – CY – 2014)

Shaddai alone appears eighty-one times in the Book of Job. Psalm 29 explains

the voice of El Shaddai (though there it is “the voice of Jehovah”) as meaning

the roar of the thunder. The hands of the “living creatures,” now recognized as

cherubim, had been mentioned in ch.1:8, and it is one of those hands that

gives the fire into the hands of the linen vested minister of wrath. The

elemental forces of nature, of which the cherubim are, partly at least, the

symbols, are working out the purposes of Jehovah. The two words

translated wheels are different in the Hebrew. The first is singular and

collective (galgal, the “whirling thing,” used of the wheel of a war chariot,

ch. 23:24; Isaiah 5:28), and might well be translated “chariot”

here. The second, that used in ch. 1:15-16, also in the singular, is

applied to the single wheel of the four by which the angel, ministers stood.



 The Voice of the Almighty (v. 5)


The human voice deserves to be studied and admired as a most effective

and delicate and exquisitely beautiful provision for the expression of

thought and feeling. It is so ethereal, so semi-spiritual, that there seems

scarcely any anthropomorphism in attributing it to the Creator Himself. The

sounds of nature may indeed be designated the voice of God. But the

characteristics of the human utterance seem most justly attributable to Him

who comprehends in perfection within Himself all those thoughts and

emotions which are distinctive of the spiritual nature.



The voice is, among all the inhabitants of this earth, man’s prerogative

alone. And for this reason — man alone has reason, and therefore he alone

has speech. There are noises and sounds, and even musical sounds, in

nature; but to man alone belongs the voice, the organ of articulate speech

and intelligible language. (I marvel that when I think of people I have

known in my life, both living and dead, that I still can hear their voices

and they all have a different pitch or tone – CY – 2014).  When voice is

attributed to the Almighty God, it is implied that He is Himself in perfection

that Reason which He communicates to His creature man. Our intellect and

thought are derived from His, and are akin to His; our reason is “the candle

of the Lord” within.Proverbs 20:27)



BETWEEN GOD AND MAN. The purpose of the voice is that man may

communicate with his fellow man by means of articulate language, and by

means of all those varied and delicate shades of intonation by which we

convey our sentiments, and indicate satisfaction and disapproval,

confidence and distrust, tenderness and severity, inquiry and command.

Now, where we meet in Scripture with the phrase, “the voice of God

Almighty when he speaketh,” we are led to think of the purpose for which

He utters His voice. It is evidently to communicate with man — mind with

mind — that we may be acquainted with His thoughts, His wishes, His

sentiments with regard to us, if we may use language so human. The whole

of nature may be regarded as uttering the Divine thought, though, as the

psalmist tells us, “there is no speech nor language, and their voice cannot

be heard”  (Psalm 19:3).  But His articulate speech comes through the medium

of human minds — the minds of prophets and apostles, and (above all) THE

MIND OF JESUS CHRIST!  The Word speaks with the Divine voice; IN

HIM ALONE that voice reaches us with all the faultless tones, and with the

perfect revelation which we need in order that we may realize and rejoice

in the presence of the Divine Father of spirits, the Divine Saviour and Helper.





Ø      It is ours to listen with grateful joy to the voice of God. “The friend of

the bridegroom rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice”

(John 3:29).  Christ speaks, and His utterances are welcome to every

believing and sympathetic nature; they are as the sound of a voice long

expected and wished for, as it now fails upon the listening and eager

ear. The sinner may well dread the voice which can speak to him as with

the thunder of threatened vengeance. But the Christian recognizes the

tones of love and the accents of gentleness.


Ø      It is ours to listen to the voice of God with believing submission and

obedience. God’s voice is always with authority. Because He reveals

Himself as our Father, He does not cease to command. “Ye have not

heard His voice at any time,” was the stern reproach addressed by Jesus

to the unspiritual Jews. The exhortation comes to us all, “Today if ye

will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”  (Hebrews 4:7)


8 “And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man’s hand

under their wings.  9 And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the

cherubims, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another

cherub: and the appearance of the wheels was as the color of a beryl stone.

10 And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a

wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.”  The description of the theophany

that follows, though essentially identical with that in ch. 1 is not a literal transcript

of it. The prophet struggles, as before, to relate what he has actually seen in the

visions of God. The fact is stated as explaining the mention of the “hand”

in v. 7. That, as in ch. 1:8, was one of their members (see notes

on ch.1:15-17). All that had seemed most startling and awful to

him on the banks of Chebar is now seen again — the four living creatures,

now named cherubim , the wheel by each, the unswerving motion of the

wheels in their onward course.


11 “When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not

as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they

followed it; they turned not as they went.” Whither the head, etc. The

word has been taken, as in Job 29:25, for the “chief” or “principal” wheel,

that which for the time determined the course of the others. With all the

complex structure of the cherubic chariot, all was simple in its action. The

spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels, and that gave unity (ch.1:20).


12 “And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their

wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the

wheels that they four had.”  And their whole body. Here there is distinctly a

new feature.  In ch. 1:18 the “rings” of the wheels were “full of eyes.” Here the

eyes are everywhere. It is not hard to interpret this part of the vision. The

prophet receives a new impression of the all-seeing eye of Jehovah.

Everywhere, as he stands face to face with the forces of nature, he can say,

must say, within himself, “Thou God seest me” (Genesis 16:13). There

is an eye that looks upon him where he least expects it. The same thought

appears in the stone with seven eyes in Zechariah 3:9.  John

reproduces it in the same form as Ezekiel, with the exception of the

wheels, which form no part of his vision, in Revelation 4:6.


13 “As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel.”

As for the wheels, etc.; better, with the Revised Version, they

were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels; or better still, to keep the

collective force of the singular galgal, the chariot. He recognized that as

the right name of the whole mysterious and complex form. It, was nothing

less than the chariot throne of the King of the universe. There is no

sufficient reason for taking the noun, with the Authorized Version, as a



14 “And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a

cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third

the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.”

The first face was the face of a cherub, etc.; better, with the

Revised Version, of the cherub. This takes the place of “the face of an ox”

in ch. 1:10, and it is first in order instead of being, as there, the

third. It is as though, in this second vision, he recognizes that this was

emphatically the cherubic form. Possibly the article indicates that this was

the form that had given the “coals of fire” in v. 7. Each form, we must

remember, had the four faces, but the prophet names the face which each

presented to him as he gazed.


15 “And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I

saw by the river of Chebar.  16 And when the cherubims went, the wheels

went by them: and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up

from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them.

17 When they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these

lifted up themselves also: for the spirit of the living creature was in

them.”  As he gazes, the recognition is complete. What he sees in

the courts of the temple is identical with the living creature by the river

of Chebar. It moves as that moved, wheels and wings and cherubim, all as

by one harmonious impulse.


18 “Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the

house, and stood over the cherubims.” Then the glory of the Lord, etc. The

chariot throne was, as it were, ready for its kingly Rider. The “glory”-cloud,

or Shechinah takes its place over them, and THE DEPARTURE BEGINS!

From that hour the temple was, in Ezekiel’s thoughts, to be, till the time of

 restoration contemplated in chapters 40-48., what Shiloh had been, A

GOD DESERTED PLACE!   We arc reminded of the voice which Josephus

tells us was heard before the final destruction of the second temple, exclaiming,

“Let us depart hence,” as the priests were making ready for the Pentecostal feast


"Besides these [signs], a few days after that feast, on the one- and-twentieth

 day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible

phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable,

were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it

of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting,

chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among

the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call

Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple,

as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the

first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they

heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence"

( Josephus - Jewish Wars, VI-V-3).




Glory Departed (v. 18)


In v. 4 Ezekiel says that the glory visited the threshold of the house. Now

he describes its departure and return to the cherubim.



The glory that visited the threshold of the temple brought a special

symbolical revelation, and when that revelation had been made the glory

retreated and left the scene in its normal earthly condition. Revelation has

come in epochs separated by periods of assimilation, when the newly

revealed truth has been left to work among man like leaven. God gave the

Law once for all from Sinai. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace

and truth came by Jesus Christ”  (John 1:17).   The gospel was brought

into the world by Christ and His apostles, and left there to spread — not

left without the aid of God’s Spirit and that inward revelation by which an

old truth becomes new in each fresh heart that receives it, but still given as

a completed thing in respect to its facts and substance. We have no more

prophets like Isaiah nor apostles like Paul. But we do not need them, for


Yet we cannot but feel that there was a wonder and a beauty in those old

days when the glory of the growing revelation was flashing out upon an

astonished world.



times when heaven is opened and we see the angels of God ascending and

descending upon the Son of man. Then we would fain build our tabernacles

and retain the rare delight. But it is not to be. These angel visits are few

and far between. Jacob wakes from his dream to the chill loneliness of the

desolate hills of Bethel. The disciples who have witnessed the

Transfiguration must descend from Hermon to the troubles of the plain,

and exchange the society of Moses and Elijah for that of a raving lunatic. It

is rare for the soul to be in a condition to enjoy the greatest bliss. But it is

not necessary that this condition should remain; indeed, it is better to be in

quieter moods for the homely tasks of life. Therefore we must still tread

this lower earth, though we may have some fine glimpses of the heavenly

splendor. The spray that is flung off from the great ocean of celestial bliss

may occasionally reach us in drops of gold. Yet our vocation is to WALK

BY FAITH!   Meanwhile the departure of this glory does not mean the

departure of God; He is with us in the dullest days. Nor does it mean our

fall and shame; it may be best for the faithful servant to work in quiet

without the full revelation of the Divine presence. We need ceaseless grace;

we can wait for eternal glory.



a glory which should be on us and abiding with us. All Christians are

called to be saints.” Few of us may behold the celestial splendor, but all

of us should wear the aureole of purity. When we have washed our robes

and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the new glory of pardon

and cleansing should abide. But, alas! even this glory too soon departs; the

cleansed garments are again dragged through the mire, and the Christian,

though renewed by Christ, dares not regard himself as a “saint.” When he

falls into a great sin the glory has indeed departed. If the fresh fervor of

youth fades, and a commonplace character is all that remains, must it not

be said that the glory has departed, though the faith and fidelity may remain?


19 “And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the

earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside

them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the

LORD’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them

above.”  The departure has the east gate of the Lord’s house for its

starting point. By that gate, in the later vision of the restored temple, the

glory of the Lord was to return (Ezekiel 43:4). For “every one” read

it,” sc. the galgal, or complex structure of the chariot. The Hebrew verb

is in the singular, but, as the italics show, there is no word answering to

every one.”  (See photos of the Eastern Gate in Ezekiel 43 – this web

site – CY – 2014)


20 “This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the

river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.

21 Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the

likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.

22 And the likeness of their faces was the same faces which I saw by

the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went

every one straight forward.”  Once more the prophet asserts, with fresh

emphasis, the identity of the two visions which it had been given him to see.

Now, as it were, he understands why the first vision was seen as coming

from the north. He does not tell us whether the journey of which he saw the

beginning was to end. For the present there was a halt, as we learn from

ch. 11:23, “over the midst of the city.” Even when the vision

ended, it had not gone further than the Mount of Olives. We may

conjecture, however, that he thought of its goal as that more sacred region

of the heavens in which it had at first manifested itself (see note on

ch. 1:4). It was, at any rate, no longer in the temple. The banks of

Chebar or any other place might become, as Bethel had been to Jacob

(Genesis 28:17), as “the house of God” and “the gate of heaven.”



Heavenly Changelessness (v.22)


There is great resemblance between ch. 1. and ch. 10. Ezekiel is

transported in spirit from the banks of the Babylonian river Chebar to the

temple at Jerusalem. Yet the cherubim which he sees in the one place are

exactly the same as those he has seen in the other. This fact of identity in

great diversity of circumstances strikes the prophet as remarkable, and he

chronicles it with emphasis. Earthly scenes change; heavenly facts remain.

(God is everywhere!  I spent my first 17 years in Somerset, Kentucky and

when I went to Florida Military Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,

the Lord God who had been with me all my life, was there also! – CY – 2014)




Ø      In various times. Divine grace is always essentially the same. On the

very threshold of history Abraham is justified by faith; today faith is

the one ground of the soul’s becoming right with God. The Psalms

of David express the inmost essence of religion for modern Christians.

The gospel of the first century is the gospel for the twenty-first century.

The Christ of history is the Christ of the future. If we can see the old

Familiar countenances of the essential Divine facts that cheered and

warned and guided our fathers (“Elijah was a man subject to like

passions as we are” James 5:17), we have just the vision that we need

today — though, indeed, the old truths are to have fresh applications,

and though, perhaps, we may have to remove the veils with which

the errors of the past have sometimes obscured them.


Ø      In various places. The cherubim of Chebar were the cherubim of

Jerusalem. The Christ of Nazareth is the Christ for Washington, D.C!

The religion that dawned among the hills of Galilee spreads like a day

over the whole earth, and shows itself as suitable for Europe as for the

Middle East, and just as suitable for China and Africa!


Ø      Under various circumstances. The quiet river bank was very different

from noisy Jerusalem. Yet the same wondrous cherubim looked down

upon both scenes, as the same stars of heaven gaze upon the city slums

and the country villages, on the blood stained battlefield and the

peaceful meadow.  THE SAME GOD IS OVER ALL!   The gospel

of Christ is THE SAME FOR ALL  — rich and poor, learned and

ignorant, young and old.




Ø      Inherent truth. Our better changes come largely from the correction of

mistakes. We are always having to unlearn our errors, to slough the old

skin. But TRUTH ABIDES!   In heaven all is true. God’s Word is true.

Therefore while “all flesh is grass… and the grass withers… the Word

of the Lord abideth forever”  (I Peter 1:24-25).  Jesus said, “Heaven

and earth will pass away but MY WORDS SHALL NEVER PASS

AWAY.”  - Matthew 24:35)


Ø      Absolute perfection. Revelation came by stages of growth and

development and through human channels. Hence its changes and the

putting away of the old form of it in the Law for the new form of it in

the gospel. But when we see through these earthly manifestations THE

REALLY DIVINE behind them, we come upon ABSOLUTE



Ø      Stable constancy. God is not fickle. His representative agents,

symbolized by the cherubim, must be constant too. God will keep to

His Word!   Therefore we may build upon His promise as on a

granite rock. We change; He abideth faithful.  (II Timothy 2:13)



The Machinery of God’s Providence (vs. 1-22)


A man must be embodied ignorance who should suppose that all the activities of

God’s government come within the range of his vision. Our knowledge is not the

measure of existence.


“There are more things in heaven and earth

Than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”


What we know is an infinitesimal fraction of what we do not know. Hence





for man to comprehend the nature and government of God lies, not on the

part of God, but on the part of man. His spiritual nature is so environed

with bars of flesh that he cannot discern spiritual realities. Truth finds its

way into his mind mainly by the use of sensuous images. The difficulty is

aggravated by long habits of neglect and self-indulgence. Under these

circumstances, the marvel is that he knows as much about the world as he

does. We can form no definite conception of the Infinite or of the Eternal;

yet it appears to our reason that GOD MUST BE INFINITE IN CAPACITY

AND ETERNAL IN DURATION!  Possibly, God is above the conception

of the oldest archangel. Possibly, God cannot reveal the whole extent of His

nature to any created being. Certain it is that the wing of human imagination

soon tires in its attempt to soar to the height of the Godhead. (When a child,

I used to do that and it made my head swim. – CY – 2014)  All the machinery

of His rule is in harmony with Himself — majestic, ethereal, sublime! How

shall man measure himself with God? Surely he is but a mote in the

sunbeam, incomparably minute, yet to God incomparably precious!



INSUPPORTABLE. On every occasion on which God has condescended

to reveal Himself to men there has been the attendant circumstance of a

cloud. “God is light;” but to human sensibilities the full blaze of light is

insufferable. When God appeared to Moses among the solitudes of Horeb,

the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud” (Exodus 19:9).  The presence

of God among the Hebrews in the desert was symbolized by the pillar of

cloud. At the moment when the first Jewish temple was consecrated to the

service of Jehovah, a mysterious “cloud filled the house of the Lord” 

(I Kings 8:10; II Chronicles 5:14).  God was known to  abide in the holy

of holies, in the cloud that covered the mercy seat. When Moses and Elijah

descended to commune with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, “a cloud

overshadowed them,” and the voice of the Father “was heard out of the cloud”

(Matthew 17:5).  At the close of our Lord’s earthly mission He ascended from

earth to heaven from the heights near Bethany, “and a cloud received Him

out of the apostles’ sight”  (Acts 1:9).  So too the prophecies which announce

the next appearance of our Lord indicate the surroundings of a cloud: “Behold!

He cometh with clouds” (Revelation 1:7); “Ye shall see the Son of man coming

in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62).  Clouds distribute and

attenuate the fierce light of the sun, and enhance the splendors of the

scene. They are a manifestation of the component parts of light. They

reveal its beauty and its power. So God tempers the brightness of His

essential glory to suit the necessities of men.



AND COMPLEX SYSTEM. Human agency is intimately allied with the

dynamic forces of nature on the one side, and with the active powers of

angels on the other. The wheels (with the numerical symbol, four),

impressive from their magnitude and their rotatory speed, indicate the

mighty forces of nature. Even in these wheels the prophet discovers eyes,

which are the symbol of intelligence. The cherubic beings are represented

as combining the strength of the ox, the courage of the lion, the swiftness

of the eagle, and the intelligence of man. Beneath their wings there is seen,

ever and anon, a human hand — the index of human agency and action.

Resting on this complex system of cherubic life is seen the cerulean throne

of God, bright as a sapphire stone. In the destruction of Jerusalem the

Chaldean armies did not act alone. Nebuchadnezzar, probably, was not

conscious that any power, other than his own will, was instigating him to

the war. Nevertheless, he was an instrument of justice in the hand of God.

There is much service done for God which is not intended. Said God

respecting Cyrus, “I girded thee, though thou hast not known me” 

(Isaiah 45:5).  Human kings and warriors are only parts of a complex system.

Human will has a very limited circle in which to play; yet it has its place.



IMPORTANT PART. (v. 2.) “The man clothed with linen” clearly

represents the great High Priest — the Divine Mediator. He who brings

mercy to men is also the Minister of judgment. He who proclaims “the

acceptable year of the Lord” announces also “the day of vengeance of

our God” (Isaiah 61:2).  God will “judge the world by that Man whom

He hath ordained” (Acts 17:31).  If the great Shepherd will preserve His

flock, He must destroy the wolves.  Justice and mercy go hand in hand.

As we see here the ministrations of angels, along with God’s Son, in the

work of destruction; so in later days we see, in fact, the alliance of angels

with Christ in the work of men’s salvation. Nor should we fail to overlook

the promptitude with which the Son fulfilled His Father’s word, “Go in

between the wheels,…and fill thine hand with coals of fire,…and scatter

them over the city. And He went in in my sight.” Is not this a practical

commentary upon Messiah’s words, “I do always the things that please

Him”? (John 8:29)  So with all God’s servants, “They go straight forward.” 

(ch. 1:9,12; v. 22)



AND RELUCTANTLY. We read in v.4 that the glory of the

Lord withdrew from the inner court of the temple, and stood over the

threshold of the house. Again, we read in the v. 18 that “the glory of

the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood

over the cherubim. And the cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted

up from the earth in my sight.” Again, in the next chapter the record runs,

“And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood

upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city” (ch. 11:23).  With

slow and successive steps God departed from the sanctuary which He had

chosen for His residence.. All this prefigured the “leaving the house

desolate  (Matthew 23:38; Luke 13:35) and the ascension from the Mount

of Olives, by our Lord. SO HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN!  The axe is laid at

the root of the tree  (Matthew 3:10) — a delay of judgment — that the

tree may yet become fruitful. Infinite patience belongs to God. He “is slow

to anger, while plenteous in mercy”  (Psalm 103:8).   A great truth is

embodied in the old adage:


“The mill of God grinds slowly,

But it grinds exceeding small.”

            (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)


            (An obvious reference to Matthew 21:44 – CY – 2014)



SCRIPTURE. Between this unveiling of God’s purposes respecting Israel,

and His purposes towards the world revealed in the Apocalypse of John,

there are instructive resemblances. The cherubic forms again appear.

Angels have special charge over the forces of nature — winds and fire and

earthquake. So far as human vision reaches, kings and armies act by their

own free will, and to accomplish their own ambitions; but when we are

lifted up to God’s pedestal, and are shown the progress of events from that

high standpoint, we see that a series of Divine agents is employed — men

fulfilling their part in subordination to angelic ministers. In God’s great

army we have generals and captains and lieutenants, as well as the rank-

and-file. In the government of the universe, men fill a humble though an

honorable place; and consequent on their diligence and fidelity now will

be their promotion to higher office by and by. “Be thou ruler over five

cities!” “Be thou ruler over ten cities!” (Luke 19:17,19) “I appoint

unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me.”

(Ibid. ch. 22:29)





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