Friday, August 30: Ezekiel 1 – 4
As we journey into the 26th Book of the Bible we find ourselves contemplating the words of Ezekiel. Who was Ezekiel and what was the importance of his writing? These might be two questions to start off with as we begin our readings for the next week.
To answer this we don’t have to look too far, as Ezekiel tells us that he is 30 years old, living in exile on the Chebar River in Babylon. He is the son of a priest and has been living in exile for five years. All of this comes as introductory material just before Ezekiel has his vision of heaven. Now fair warning, this vision isn’t for the faint of heart. To some it might seem quite frightening being greeted by a eight winged creature with four faces and seeing a rolling wheel within a wheel. Rereading this text (its been a while) kind of shattered that old Sunday School Song, “Ezekiel saw the wheel, way up in the middle of the air.”
5 In the middle of it was something like four living creatures. This was their appearance: they were of human form. 6 Each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: 9 their wings touched one another; each of them moved straight ahead, without turning as they moved. 10 As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle; 11 such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies.
Ezekiel 1:5-11 NRSV
Interesting to note after reading this description of heaven is that the Four Gospels and/or their authors are each represented by one of the faces greeting Ezekiel. Matthew is represented by the Man, Mark by the Lion, Luke by the Calf, and John by the Eagle. While I can’t tell you why and how those symbols were chosen for the Gospels, it does seem to be a wonderful parallel between the vision that Ezekiel was having and the new life proclaimed in the Gospels. In both we find our Alpha and Omega, our beginning and our end, and the promise of new life that comes though God. This fact, provides us another key understanding of Ezekiel. He is proclaiming restoration and hope to the Exiles. New life is coming even while they are at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Together lets read on!
Readings for the next few days:
Saturday, August 31: Ezekiel 5 – 8
Sunday, September 1: Ezekiel 9 -12
Monday, September 2: Ezekiel 13 – 15
Tuesday, September 3: Ezekiel 16 – 17