ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bible: What Does Ezekiel 1, 4-5 Teach Us About the Prophet's Vision of God?

Updated on September 15, 2016

The Prophet Ezekiel


Ezekiel's Visions of God


The prophet/priest Ezekiel recounts visions of God which he witnessed near the river Chebar on a very specific date during the captivity of Jehoiachin (late sixth century B.C.) [vv. 1-3].

Notice that the word of the LORD comes to him, and the hand of the LORD is upon him (v. 3).

The first object Ezekiel sees is a fiery cloud moving with a northern whirlwind and radiating an amber brightness (God’s shekinah?) [v. 4].

Ezekiel's Vision


Four Living Creatures

From the cloud come four living creatures that manifest "alien" characteristics: each has four faces and four wings apiece (vv. 5-6).

The creatures also possess sparkling, bronze feet, straight legs, and human hands (vv. 7-8).

Flying in perfect control and harmony, they operate as a unit (v. 9).

Each being has man, lion, ox and eagle features (v. 10).

The prophet then provides more insight as to the position and function of their wings (v. 11), and he emphasizes their movements (v. 12).

Their appearance is like fire, perhaps indicating their holiness and their role in judgments (vv. 13-14).

[Fire or a synonym occurs six times in verses 13-14].

His focus subsequently shifts from the beings' appearance to their "wheels" (vv. 15-21).

They rest on the earth beside each creature (v. 15) and contain "works": other wheels inside the main wheels (v. 16).

In verse seventeen Ezekiel reiterates data about their movements (see vv. 9, 12).

The rims of these wheels feature many eyes--a characteristic that greatly impresses the prophet (v. 18).

Wherever the "spirit" of the creatures travels, the wheels follow (vv. 19-21).

The ease with which the object maneuvers itself fascinates Ezekiel!

Next, the prophet describes the splendor of the firmament, the creatures' overhead environment (v. 22).

Below the firmament, their wings cover their bodies behind and before them (v. 23).

Again, he mentions their movements, but this time emphasizes the impressive noise the wings make as they oscillate, likening it to three other mighty sounds within his experience (v. 24).

Then a majestic voice resounds from space overhead (v. 25).

Style of Language

view quiz statistics

The Language of Appearance

Enraptured by the ineffable glory of God, Ezekiel can only depict the scene with the language of appearance, for no human words can adequately express this vision (vv. 26-28).

[The words "appearance" and "likeness" occur thirteen times in these three verses alone].

The prophet sees something; it is not nothing, nor is it a dream.

A throne-like shape appears, having a Man-like Being seated upon it (v. 26).

Ezekiel describes the Man's appearance as fire-like and radiant, and he can discern His waist (v. 27).

He likens the sight of the appearance of the LORD's glory to a rainbow (v. 28).

Apparently, a colorful luminosity surrounds the throne and emanates from Yahweh.

Overwhelmed by this Glory, the prophet loses all strength and eventually consciousness.



Object Lessons of Judgment

Ezekiel 4

As God commanded Jeremiah to use objects to teach Judah about judgment, so He employs Ezekiel to do the same.

The LORD instructs him to construct a model of Jerusalem and then carry on all the operations of an army besieging it (vv. 1-3).

An even stranger lesson follows. In some way Ezekiel becomes the bearer of Israel and Judah's iniquity, by lying first on his left side and then on his right side for a total of 430 days.

Each day, God says, equals one year; what the terminii are, this writer does not know (vv. 4-6).

Apparently, the prophet symbolically lays siege against Jerusalem while lying on his sides (vv. 7-8).

[He must be performing this act in full view of an audience].

God also determines the exact measure of the food and drink that the prophet should consume during his "siege," as well as the "unkosher" manner in which he must bake his bread (vv. 9-12)—all, of course, as a portrayal to Judah of what will befall them (v. 13).

Since Ezekiel recoils from the prescribed method of baking, Yahweh allows him to prepare his bread in such a way that he does not feel that he would be defiling himself (vv. 14-15).

[Was this God's test of the prophet, or a preliminary lesson of “all things are clean”? (cf. Acts 10)].

The LORD assures him that Judah's privation, as depicted in this example, will surely come to pass because of their iniquity (vv. 16-17).

Result of Famine

view quiz statistics

God's Wrath Destroys the City

Ezekiel 5

Another object lesson is in the offing to teach Judah his destiny.

Yahweh orders His man Ezekiel to shave his head and face, and divide all the hair into three equal piles (with only a small "remnant" left for other purposes) [vv. 1-4].

Then the prophet must inflict separate “punishments” upon each third: the first, fire (pestilence and famine, v. 12), the second, the sword, and the third, banishment (v. 2).

The small remnant, however, Ezekiel should hide safely in his garment (v. 3).

Another small group—perhaps members from the ones to survive—must endure the "fire" (v. 4).

Then Yahweh begins a discourse about the awful punishment that He will permit to assault Jerusalem (v. 5).

Because her disobedience exceeded that of all peoples, even amid the greatest light—God's word (judgments, statutes) [vv. 6-7]—Jerusalem will feel the sting of the LORD's faithfulness to His vows.

He will bring horrible events to pass, including causing the city’s people to resort to cannibalizing family members (vv. 8-10).

Her idolatry especially contributes to the severity of His chastening (v. 11).

Verse twelve provides the reality behind Ezekiel's performance.

Wrath, anger, and fury all constitute very real divine reactions to human sin; this knowledge Jerusalem will experience first-hand (v. 13).

The destroyed city will serve as a lesson for the nations; their calamities will manifest what happens when Yahweh judges His people (vv. 14, 15).

God will also send famine among "them," that is, the nations, to destroy them as well as Jerusalem.

Yet, according to the word of the LORD, Jerusalem's famine will worsen (v. 17).

© 2014 glynch1


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • glynch1 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Yes. Sometimes trying to decipher this book has made me scratch my head. However, I taught Ezekiel years ago in a Sunday School class, and benefited greatly from the research of a gifted professor.

      By the way, if you wish to read my comments on chapters two and three, you will find them in a hub conparing Revelation 10 with them.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I've always found Ezekiel to be a rather difficult book, especially with all the imagery. Thanks for bravely taking on the challenge.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)