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Bible Commentaries

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

Ezekiel 10

 

 

Verses 1-22

Chapter Ten

The Divine Chariot Reappears

This tenth chapter gives a continuation of the vision, the first part of which is recorded in chapter 9. The man clothed with linen who had the inkhorn by his side is still before us and acts as the direct representative of God in judgment. Ezekiel’s attention was turned away from the earthly sanctuary to the heavens above. He says:

“Then I looked, and behold, in the firmament that was over the head of the cherubim there appeared above them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. And he spake unto the man clothed in linen, and said, Go in between the whirling wheels, even under the cherub, and fill both thy hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city. And he went in in my sight. Now the cherubim stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court. And the glory of Jehovah mounted 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 Jehovah’s glory. And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of God Almighty when He speaketh. And it came to pass, when he commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim, that he went in, and stood beside a wheel. And the cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubim unto the fire that was between the cherubim, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed in linen, who took it and went out. And there appeared in the cherubim the form of a man’s hand under their wings”-vers. 1-8.

So marvelous and sublime is this vision that it is almost beyond human power to fully understand and appreciate it. We see here, as in chapter 1, the divine chariot in which Jehovah rides majestically through the universe, ordering everything according to the counsel of His own will. The prophet looked up and saw in the firmament that was over the head of the cherubim, a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. It is the throne of the moral Governor of the universe. No matter how confused and confusing conditions may be on earth,

“God sits exalted on His throne,

And ruleth all things well.”

At His command the man clothed with linen was seen entering in between the whirling wheels under the cherubim. There his hands were filled with coals of fire from between these glorious beings-fire which was to be scattered over the city, indicating that the hour of its judgment had come.

We have something very similar in the book of the Revelation, in the eighth chapter, where the angel-priest is seen standing at the golden altar, offering up before God the smoke of the incense with prayers of His suffering saints on the earth. In response to these prayers the angel takes the censer and fills it with the fire of the altar and casts it upon the earth, thus indicating that the judgments of God are to be poured out upon this guilty world. And so here in Ezekiel 10, God’s patience having been exhausted, the people of Judah having sinned until there was no hope of repentance, the hour of their doom had struck. They could not see what was going on in the heavens; they did not realize that coals of fire from between the cherubim were being scattered over the city; but they were soon to know the meaning of all this in all its terror and its horror.

As the prophet beheld, the cherubim stood on the right side of the house when the man went in, and the cloud, we are told, filled the inner court. Then he saw the glory of Jehovah mounting up from the cherubim and standing suspended over the threshold of the house which was filled with the cloud, and the court, too, was resplendent with the brightness of Jehovah’s glory.

Though the ears of the sinners of Judah were deaf to it all, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of God Almighty when He speaketh. He commanded the man clothed in linen, bidding him take the fire from between the whirling wheels from between the cherubim-a command that was obeyed immediately. Hands that had been hidden formerly beneath the wings of these executors of the divine government, reached out and took the fire and put it into the hands of this man who received it and went out. It was the form of a man’s hand that was seen under the wings, suggesting that God was reaching down to clasp the hand of His creatures and would have poured out upon them His rich grace had they been prepared to receive it, but now He must deal in judgment.

“And I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside one cherub, and another wheel beside another cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like unto a beryl stone. And as for their appearance, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been within a wheel. “When they went, they went in their four directions: they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went. 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. As for the wheels, they were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of the 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”-vers. 9-14.

The wheels of government, as we saw in chapter 1, are intimately connected with the cherubim. There are wheels within wheels, because the counsels of God are being carried out even though man cannot comprehend them. At the very time that the Lord had to visit in judgment the city where He had placed His name, He was so overruling in connection with His faithful remnant that even the haughty Gentile oppressor would find it in his heart to show them mercy.

Nothing can turn aside these wheels of government to the place whither the head looked; that is, the head of the chariot. They followed it and turned not as they went. Puny man attempts to defy God, but it will result only in his being crushed beneath these mighty wheels. None who have ever hardened themselves against Him have prospered; and yet those wheels do not represent mere arbitrary fate, but the wheels themselves were full of eyes-eyes roundabout; eyes that speak of intelligence; the eyes of the Lord, in every place beholding the evil and the good. For the judgment of God is according to truth. There is nothing capricious about His government: He will not render unto man more than his right.

We have noticed already in our comments on the first chapter the significance of the four faces of the cherubim and so need not dwell upon that here.

“And the cherubim mounted up: this is the living creature that I saw by the river Chebar. And when the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the wheels also turned not from beside them. When they stood, these stood; and when they mounted up, these mounted up with them: for the spirit of the living creature was in them”-vers. 15-17.

Very definitely Ezekiel identifies this vision of the living creature with that which he saw previously by the River Chebar, but again he emphasizes the fact that the wheels were under the direct control of the cherubim. When they lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth the wheels also turned not from beside them; when the cherubim stood, the wheels were still; and when they soared up into the heavens the wheels were lifted up with them, for the spirit of the one was in the other.

“And the glory of Jehovah went forth from over 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 when they went forth, and the wheels beside them: and they stood at the door of the east gate of Jehovah’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above”-vers. 18, 19.

As Ezekiel continued to gaze upon this wondrous scene he beheld the Shekinah glory issue forth from over the threshold of the house and rise up into the heavens until it stood over the cherubim; and then, as though riding majestically through the universe in the divine chariot, it crossed to the door of the east gate of Jehovah’s house, and for a time seemed to be suspended above that entrance. It was as though Jehovah was loth to forsake His sanctuary. He lingered still in the place where He had set His name, but there was no evidence whatever of repentance on the part of the people, and so in a short time the glory was to ascend to heaven never to be seen again until the Lord Jesus Christ appeared on this earth.

“This is the living creatine that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim. Every one had four faces, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings. And as for the likeness of their faces, they were the faces which I saw by the river Chebar, their appearances and themselves; they went every one straight forward”-vers. 20-22.

Again the prophet identifies the vision with the living creature which he had seen by the River Chebar. Observe that the living creature is under the God of Israel. God Himself is invisible. His attributes are manifested in the cherubim. “Justice and judgment,” the Psalmist tells us, “are the habitation of Thy throne” (Psalms 89:14), and these attributes are exemplified in the angelic figures.

How solemn the repetition of the words “They went every one straight forward.” Oh, the folly of supposing that it is possible for human power to thwart the will of God!

 


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Bibliography Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Ezekiel 10:4". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/ezekiel-10.html. 1914.

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