Ezekiel 1: A Spectacular Vision! What Does the Glory of God Look Like?

Have you noticed that when you’re watching an action-adventure movie or show, they usually start with a spectacular action scene. That’s done to catch the viewer’s attention, pique their curiosity and get them to watch the whole show. The scene brings up a lot of questions in the viewers mind. The hopes are that the movie will answer the questions in an entertaining, worthwhile fashion. In comparison, the Book of Ezekiel doesn’t disappoint, as you will see. This is an important Bible Prophecy book and we’ll read prophecies from back then and prophecies that are happening right now. Let’s dig in…

But first, I want to give you an idea of what the Jews were going through exiled in Babylon in Psalm 137 …

Psalm 137

Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept
    as we thought of Jerusalem (Zion).
We put away our harps,
    hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.
For our captors demanded a song from us.
    Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn:
    “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”
But how can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a pagan land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
    let my right hand forget how to play the harp.
May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth
    if I fail to remember you,
    if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy.

O Lord, remember what the Edomites did
    on the day the armies of Babylon captured Jerusalem.
“Destroy it!” they yelled.
    “Level it to the ground!”
O Babylon, you will be destroyed.
    Happy is the one who pays you back
    for what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who takes your babies
    and smashes them against the rocks!

Psalm 137 NLT

The psalmist listened and remembered what Jeremiah had prophesied about Babylon.

Let’s go on…

Ezekiel 1

On July 31 of my thirtieth year, while I was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. This happened during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity. (The Lord gave this message to Ezekiel son of Buzi, a priest, beside the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians, and he felt the hand of the Lord take hold of him.)

As I looked, I saw a great storm coming from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. There was fire inside the cloud, and in the middle of the fire glowed something like gleaming amber. From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, except that each had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and their feet had hooves like those of a calf and shone like burnished bronze. Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.

10 Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. 11 Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. 12 They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.

13 The living beings looked like bright coals of fire or brilliant torches, and lightning seemed to flash back and forth among them. 14 And the living beings darted to and fro like flashes of lightning.

15 As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels touching the ground beside them, one wheel belonging to each. 16 The wheels sparkled as if made of beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. 17 The beings could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. 18 The rims of the four wheels were tall and frightening, and they were covered with eyes all around.

19 When the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. When they flew upward, the wheels went up, too. 20 The spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. So wherever the spirit went, the wheels and the living beings also went. 21 When the beings moved, the wheels moved. When the beings stopped, the wheels stopped. When the beings flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.

22 Spread out above them was a surface like the sky, glittering like crystal. 23 Beneath this surface the wings of each living being stretched out to touch the others’ wings, and each had two wings covering its body. 24 As they flew, their wings sounded to me like waves crashing against the shore or like the voice of the Almighty or like the shouting of a mighty army. When they stopped, they let down their wings. 25 As they stood with wings lowered, a voice spoke from beyond the crystal surface above them.

26 Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. 27 From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28 All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.

Ezekiel 1 NLT

Who was Ezekiel?

Ezekiel was a student of Jeremiah’s and an apprentice priest when he was taken to Babylon in the 2nd deportation. He lived among the exiles. (As we’ll see when we get to his book, Daniel, lived and worked in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Jeremiah was forced to go to Egypt with the remnant and we really don’t know what happened to him.)

Some Bible translations say it was “my” 30th year, which implied that Ezekiel was 30 years old. Other’s just say the 30th year, but the 30th year of what? It makes more sense that he was 30 years old, as Jewish priests started their ministries when they turned 30. Poor Ezekiel was a priest without a temple. (Yes, the guy pictured looks way older than 30!)

A Different Type of Book

When you compare the different prophets and their books, you could say that…

  • Isaiah wrote about God’s Salvation
  • Jeremiah wrote about God’s Judgment
  • Daniel, about God’s Kingdom
  • Hosea, about God’s Faithfulness
  • Ezekiel, about God’s Glory

Where was Ezekiel?

It says that he was camped by the Kebar River, also written as Chebar. That region in what is today Iraq, is called “Al Kifil” — Arabic for “Ezekiel”. The Kebar River was actually a canal built by King Nebuchadnezzar to connect the Euphrates and Tigres Rivers.

What Did He See?

Ezekiel must have been depressed along with his fellow Jewish exiles. God’s spectacular, supernatural vision needed to awaken him and give him hope in a special mission. He was to be more than a priest. He’d be another of God’s prophets.

  • God shows him His Glory in full, living color!
  • Compare this to John’s vision of Jesus’ throne in Revelation 1 and 4. They were 500 years apart, yet almost identical!
  • Imagine that we born-again believers will get to see this live, up-close and personal either seconds after we die or when we are Raptured — whichever comes first!
  • These winged, living creatures were cherubim — God’s angels and attendants.
  • They had 4 wings and 2 wheels each that traveled in all directions. Spirit-driven, quick, shows that God is everywhere.
  • 4-faces — revealing truth. Each depicts one of God’s characteristics.
    • Man — God’s Intelligence and Humanity as portrayed in the Gospel of Luke.
    • Lion — God’s Majesty, the Lion of Judah, as portrayed in the Gospel of Matthew.
    • Ox — God’s Faithfulness and Servant-hood, as portrayed in the Gospel of Mark (we’ll be covering Mark in-depth in March)
    • Eagle — God’s Sovereignty, His deity, as portrayed in the Gospel of John.
  • The wheels had eyes all over them signifying that God sees EVERYTHING.

Who Else Witnessed God’s Glory?

We, too can witness God’s Glory!

Paul wrote…

18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT

When we repent and surrender our lives to Jesus, He removes the veil so we can see His Glory. We then can reflect His Glory — be His Light — in this dark and evil world.

Seeing comes before serving and knowing comes before doing.

Pastor Sandy Adams

You can only KNOW Jesus when you…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
  • Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Ezekiel 1 with Pastor Sandy Adams


Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Holy, Holy, Holy



Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

Left Behind After the Rapture Series