promised myself that when writing on this blog, I would not wait ’til I had come to some great conclusion before I wrote something. So this will sort be a work in progress.
I read through almost a dozen different books, Bible commentaries, Bible references, etc on the 1st chapter of Ezekiel. Almost everyone has a lot to say about dates, contemporaries, writing style, and personal history of Ezekiel. I’m surprised no one trotted out his DMV record. On the other hand, absolutely no one took a swing at looking at Ezekiel’s initial vision from a message standpoint. Lots of guessing about exact symbology and referencing to neighboring nations, but not much else. In the words of one commentary, “…to most of Christianity, Ezekiel remains a closed book….” I found this statement astounding.
To me, this means its fair game to take a fresh look at the book, at the vision as Ezekiel recorded it and see what message is in there for me,…just like the rest of scripture. What is the message?
Where to start? Everyone else seems to look to Jeremiah and Daniel for reference. To me Ezekiel’s vision speaks volumes from the desserts which Moses walked – the time in the wilderness of Isreal. See, I think, ……no I believe that God finally found someone who might be able to digest the message – the same message delivered every single day to the Israelites in the wilderness day after day: “I am with you”……or “I am” for short. God was on the move every step of the way with Israel, every battle fought, every time clarification was needed on points of the law.
And here we are, with Ezekiel, right back where Israel was way back in Egypt. Lets see, Israelites in bondage? Check. Large dessert between the people and the land of Promise? Check. Lots of unprincipled behavior going on amoung the people? Check. Where was their faith?
So God comes to Ezekiel and uses symbols that Ezekiel would recognize since he was a functioning priest. Ezekiel new about the Ark of the Covenant with little statues of cherubs on the lid with wings extending. That same Ark had to be carried around by four authorized guys of some spiritual authority. And the whole goal of Israel was to get that Ark into some kind of final resting place. And there it sat while the nation disolved over the centuries.
The thing about prophecy is that it is more than fortune telling, it is about bringing forth a greater truth to the situation at hand – and there is no greater situation than God on the move. God’s version of truth and reality that Ezekiel needed to accept was that God was right here, here in this dessert of enemies – just like ancient Isreal. God moved under his own power as shown by the four living creatures rather than statues. God goes where ever he wants, where ever he directs the spirit as shown by the motion of that miraculous chariot from the north. It’s up, it’s down, it goes here, it goes there. And above of this, it all is the throne of God, as marked by the same fires that Moses saw, and the same thunders and lightings that all of Israel saw at the Mount where the law was given.
And God’s hand rested on Ezekiel. The message? We’re back where we started, but this time we’re going to do things differently. I need you Ezekiel to carry a harder image of me to the people, and they will resist you worse than they resisted Moses. Moses worked through the plagues of Egypt to free my people. You will work through the plagues of Israel to free my people Israel from the bondage that they created. In short, stop pining for the way things used to be back in Jerusalem and in the temple, because it wasn’t worth preserving. Better things are ahead,…if you let the seed of truth be planted. I am God, I am where the people are who worship me with faith. There is a new kingdom worth creating and building.
And this, this is all the authority you need to carry My Word.