Monday 13 February 2017

Bible Book:

Ezekiel 1:2-11, 24-28 Monday 13 February 2017

Psalm: Psalm 105:1-15


We are told in verse 1 that Ezekiel received this vision amongthe exiles by the River Chebar, which is thought to be a river inBabylon. He also uses the term "the heavens were opened" (Ezekiel 1:1) which helps us place this bookvery firmly in the literary genre of apocalyptic. In other words,it represents a heavenly perspective and revelation on earthlyevents.

The chief event affecting Ezekiel and his fellow Israelites wastheir exile in Babylon following the defeat and imprisonment ofKing Jehoiachin in 593 BC by the Babylonian army. So to havereceived such a vision as a member of a people whose sense of Godwas tied to a place from which they were exiled is very remarkable.This was truly revelatory and must have profoundly challengedEzekiel's sense of who God is.

The vision itself seems incredibly strange and difficult tounderstand. But this very otherness holds a clue to its meaningbecause it conveys a sense of the holiness of God, defined not bymorality but by separateness. But even this is not a true image ofGod; it is instead "the appearance of the likeness of the glory ofGod". In other words, God three stages removed from the truereality. Ezekiel falls on his face when he saw it and no doubtbelieves that he would have died had he seen God face to face.

Yet there is something to see, starting with the four creatureswho were like human beings except that they had wings, cloven feetand four faces - a human, a lion, an ox and an eagle. In Ezekiel'seyes, the human is the foremost in creation, the lion representsthe highest form of wildlife, the ox the foremost domestic animaland the eagle the highest of the birds of the air. Above them sitsa dome with a throne on top upon which sits a fiery figure in humanform. God may be 'other', but there are some identifiable aspectsto which Ezekiel could have related.

To Ponder

  • The people of Israel had a sense of God's presence beingprimarily in the temple in Jerusalem. The exile and this visionchallenged that profoundly. What limits your understanding of God?And what might you do about it?
Previous Page Sunday 12 February 2017
Next Page Tuesday 14 February 2017