In the previous post about the vision of Ezekiel 1, Ezekiel watches shocked as four living creatures powered by the Spirit of God fly out of a thunderstorm into close proximity to him. Now read verses 15-21 where Ezekiel describes these astounding beings further.
Near the feet of each creature, Ezekiel sees some unique wheels, covered in eyes, symbolizing the all-seeing knowledge of God. Each wheel is actually made of two wheels intersecting at right angles. The wheels don’t turn, but they do move with the living creatures, forward, backwards, up and down, as the Spirit guides them. This is a major theme in Ezekiel, the work and leading of the Spirit. Clearly, God is in this vision.
What Ezekiel describes next is that the four angelic creatures do not travel independently of one another. Instead, in unison, they form a very unique mode of transportation. This vehicle almost seems like a table in which each of the four living creatures are like a leg of the table, and each leg has wheels. But this table doesn’t just move along the ground. It flies, because the living creatures have wings, and more than that, it flies incredible fast, as fast as lightning. Most importantly of all, it is led by the Spirit.
Let’s keep reading, as the vision unfolds further. Read Ezekiel 1, verses 22-24. Now the table top comes into view. The NIV calls it an “expanse, sparkling like ice.” That word “expanse,” is sometimes translated by our English word, “firmament.” The same Hebrew word is used perhaps most famously in Genesis 1, which describes the creation of the universe. In Genesis 1, verse 6, we read that God created an expanse, or firmament, that separated waters below and waters above, and it was called sky. Symbolically this expanse refers to the separation between the dwelling of humanity and the dwelling of God. Now connect that idea to the table in Ezekiel’s vision, as it is a hint. What does it mean? Stay with me, as we’ll find out in tomorrow’s post.
For now, Ezekiel writes that the movement of the four creatures’ wings is essentially like a motor powering this astounding table, and they make a super loud noise. Ezekiel can barely describe it, so he tries three ways. It sounds like the roar of rushing water, or like the voice of God Almighty, or like the tumult of an army on the move.
This is quite a vehicle! It is powerful, it is led by the Spirit.
Interestingly, the four living creatures stop their movement, lowering their wings. Then the vision goes to a totally different level, which we’ll learn about in the next post.