Eze 10:1-22. Vision of Coals
of Fire Scattered over the City: Repetition of the Vision of the
1. The throne of Jehovah appearing in the
midst of the judgments implies that whatever intermediate agencies be
employed, He controls them, and that the whole flows as a necessary
consequence from His essential holiness (Eze 1:22, 26).
cherubim—in Eze 1:5, called "living creatures." The
repetition of the vision implies that the judgments are approaching
nearer and nearer. These two visions of Deity were granted in the
beginning of Ezekiel's career, to qualify him for witnessing to God's
glory amidst his God-forgetting people and to stamp truth on his
announcements; also to signify the removal of God's manifestation from
the visible temple (Eze 10:18)
for a long period (Eze 43:2).
The feature (Eze 10:12)
mentioned as to the cherubim that they were "full of eyes," though
omitted in the former vision, is not a difference, but a more specific
detail observed by Ezekiel now on closer inspection. Also, here, there
is no rainbow (the symbol of mercy after the flood of wrath) as
in the former; for here judgment is the prominent thought,
though the marking of the remnant in Eze 9:4, 6 shows that there was mercy in the
background. The cherubim, perhaps, represent redeemed humanity
combining in and with itself the highest forms of subordinate
creaturely life (compare Ro 8:20).
Therefore they are associated with the twenty-four elders and are
distinguished from the angels (Re 5:1-14). They stand on the mercy seat of the
ark, and on that ground become the habitation of God from which
His glory is to shine upon the world. The different forms symbolize the
different phases of the Church. So the quadriform Gospel, in which the
incarnate Saviour has lodged the revelation of Himself in a fourfold
aspect, and from which His glory shines on the Christian world, answers
to the emblematic throne from which He shone on the Jewish Church.
2. he—Jehovah; He who sat on the
the man—the Messenger of mercy
becoming the Messenger of judgment (see on Eze
9:2). Human agents of destruction shall fulfil the will of
"the Man," who is Lord of men.
wheels—Hebrew, galgal, implying
quick revolution; so the impetuous onset of the foe
(compare Eze 23:24; 26:10); whereas "ophan," in Eze 1:15,
16 implies mere
coals of fire—the wrath of God about
to burn the city, as His sword had previously slain its
guilty inhabitants. This "fire," how different from the fire on the
altar never going out (Le 6:12, 13), whereby, in type, peace was made with
God! Compare Isa 33:12, 14. It is therefore not taken from the
altar of reconciliation, but from between the wheels of the cherubim,
representing the providence of God, whereby, and not by chance,
judgment is to fall.
3. right … of … house—The
scene of the locality whence judgment emanates is the temple, to mark
God's vindication of His holiness injured there. The cherubim here are
not those in the holy of holies, for the latter had not "wheels." They
stood on "the right of the house," that is, the south, for the Chaldean
power, guided by them, had already advanced from the north (the
direction of Babylon), and had destroyed the men in the temple,
and was now proceeding to destroy the city, which lay south and
the cherubim … the man—There was
perfect concert of action between the cherubic representative of the
angels and "the Man," to minister to whom they "stood" there (Eze 10:7).
cloud—emblem of God's displeasure; as
the "glory" or "brightness" (Eze 10:4) typifies His majesty and clearness in
4. The court outside was full of the Lord's
brightness, while it was only the cloud that filled the
house inside, the scene of idolatries, and therefore of God's
displeasure. God's throne was on the threshold. The temple, once
filled with brightness, is now darkened with cloud.
5. sound of … wings—prognostic of
great and awful changes.
voice of … God—the thunder
6. went in—not into the temple, but
between the cherubim. Ezekiel sets aside the Jews' boast of the
presence of God with them. The cherubim, once the ministers of grace,
are now the ministers of vengeance. When "commanded," He without delay
obeys (Ps 40:8; Heb 10:7).
7. See on Eze 10:3.
one cherub—one of the four
his hand—(Eze 1:8).
went out—to burn the city.
8. The "wings" denote alacrity, the "hands"
efficacy and aptness, in executing the functions assigned to them.
9. wheels—(See on Eze
1:15, 16). The things which, from Eze 10:8 to the end of the chapter, are repeated from the first
chapter are expressed more
decidedly, now that he gets a nearer view: the words "as it were," and
"as if," so often occurring in the first chapter, are therefore mostly
omitted. The "wheels" express the manifold changes and revolutions in
the world; also that in the chariot of His providence God transports
the Church from one place to another and everywhere can preserve it; a
truth calculated to alarm the people in Jerusalem and to console the
10. four had one likeness—In the
wonderful variety of God's works there is the greatest
"In human works, though labored on with pain,
One thousand movements scarce one purpose
In God's one single doth its end produce,
Yet serves to second, too, some other use.
(See on Eze 1:16).
wheel … in … a
wheel—cutting one another at fight angles, so that the whole
might move in any of the four directions or quarters of the world.
God's doings, however involved they seem to us, cohere, so that lower
causes subserve the higher.
11. (See on Eze
turned not—without accomplishing their
course (Isa 55:11)
[Grotius]. Rather, "they moved
straight on without turning" (so Eze 1:9). Having a face towards each of the four
quarters, they needed not to turn around when changing their
whither … head looked—that is,
"whither the head" of the animal cherub-form, belonging to and
directing each wheel, "looked," thither the wheel "followed." The
wheels were not guided by some external adventitious impetus, but by
some secret divine impulse of the cherubim themselves.
12. body—literally, "flesh," because a
body consists of flesh.
wheels … full of eyes—The
description (Eze 1:18)
attributes eyes to the "wheels" alone; here there is added, on
closer observation, that the cherubim themselves had them. The
"eyes" imply that God, by His wisdom, beautifully reconciles seeming
contrarieties (compare 2Ch 16:9; Pr 15:3; Zec 4:10).
13. O wheel—rather, "they were called,
whirling," that is, they were most rapid in their revolutions
[Maurer]; or, better, "It was cried unto
them, The whirling" [Fairbairn].
Galgal here used for "wheel," is different from ophan,
the simple word for "wheel." Galgal is the whole
wheelwork machinery with its whirlwind-like rotation.
Their being so addressed is in order to call them immediately to put
themselves in rapid motion.
14. cherub—but in Eze 1:10 it is an ox. The chief of the
four cherubic forms was not the ox, but man. Therefore
"cherub" cannot be synonymous with "ox." Probably Ezekiel, standing in
front of one of the cherubim (namely, that which handed the coals to
the man in linen), saw of him, not merely the ox-form, but the whole
fourfold form, and therefore calls him simply "cherub"; whereas of
the other three, having only a side view, he specifies the form of each
which met his eye [Fairbairn]. As to the
likelihood of the lower animals sharing in "the restoration of all
things," see Isa 11:6; 65:25; Ro 8:20, 21; this accords with the animal forms
combined with the human to typify redeemed man.
15. The repeated declaration of the identity
of the vision with that at the Chebar is to arouse attention to it
(Eze 10:22; 3:23).
the living creature—used collectively,
as in Eze 10:17, 20; 1:20.
16. (See on Eze 10:11;
lifted up … wings—to depart,
following "the glory of the Lord" which was on the point of departing
17. (Eze 1:12, 20, 21).
stood—God never stands still
5:17), therefore neither do
the angels; but to human perceptions He seems to do so.
18. The departure of the symbol of God's
presence from the temple preparatory to the destruction of the city.
Foretold in De 31:17.
Woe be to those from whom God departs (Ho 9:12)! Compare 1Sa 28:15, 16; 4:21: "I-chabod, Thy glory is
departed." Successive steps are marked in His departure; so slowly and
reluctantly does the merciful God leave His house. First He leaves the
sanctuary (Eze 9:3); He
elevates His throne above the threshold of the house (Eze 10:1); leaving the cherubim He sits on the
10:4); He and the cherubim,
after standing for a time at the door of the east gate
(where was the exit to the lower court of the people), leave the house
altogether (Eze 10:18, 19), not to return till Eze 43:2.
20. I knew … cherubim—By the
second sight of the cherubim, he learned to identify them with the
angelic forms situated above the ark of the covenant in the temple,
which as a priest, he "knew" about from the high priest.
21. The repetition is in order that the people
about to live without the temple might have, instead, the knowledge of
the temple mysteries, thus preparing them for a future restoration of
the covenant. So perverse were they that they would say, "Ezekiel
fancies he saw what has no existence." He, therefore, repeats it over
and over again.
22. straight forward—intent upon the
object they aimed at, not deviating from the way nor losing sight of
the end (Lu