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Ezekiel;- Seeing visions of God

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posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 05:01 PM
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Ezekiel is the prophet of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians.
He had been taken into exile, like half the population of Jerusalem, when Nebuchadnezzar took away King Jehoiakim, eleven years before the final catastrophe.
Therefore his mission began near the river Chebar, in Mesopotamia, where he “saw visions of God, when the heavens were opened” (ch1 v1)

This wording is important.
Ezekiel does not say that he “saw God”.
John rightly observes that “no man has ever seen God” in the true sense. At the most, they have seen images accommodating themselves to men’s understanding, designed to give them the sense that they are “in the presence of God”.
The “opening of the heavens” doesn’t come into the detail of his description. The phrase is a way of summing up the whole experience; in effect, he has seen into “the place where God is”.

The event is dated in several ways.
It was the fifth day of the fourth month in the calendar.
It was the thirtieth year, probably since the prophet’s birth.
It was the fifth year since the king was taken into exile.

“The hand of the Lord” was upon Ezekiel , and the vision followed.
He saw the approach of a “stormy wind”, accompanied with cloud and brightness and fire, which are all standard signs of the presence of the God of Israel (v4).
The approach of the storm from the north is probably meant to imply that God has come from his base in Jerusalem.
“Wait one moment!” cries the alert reader. “I have my atlas open in front of me, which clearly shows Jerusalem lying due west from Babylon, as the crow flies”.
Yes, but the armies of the ancient world were not crows, and even crows would not fly straight over the Syrian desert. The normal way of getting from one end of the Fertile Crescent to the other was to go north to the apex, in the first instance, and then turn south. When a Babylonian army approached Judah, or when bands of Jerusalem exiles were being led into
Babylon, they would arrive in either case from the north.
So Babylon and Jerusalem, like King’s Cross and Euston on the London Underground system, are both “to the north of” each other from the traveller’s viewpoint.

The four “living creatures” come out of the midst of this fire.
Since they attend the storm-centre of God’s place in heaven, the original concept may be that they represent the four winds.
Between them, they cover the four directions of the world, and thus the world as a whole.
They have wings, like many of the attendants of God, so that they can go swiftly and directly to their work. The same is implied by the statement that they always go straight forward, without turning.
They are approximately of human form, and therefore have an extra pair of wings to cover their bodies. Even if they have nothing that needs covering, the servants of God cannot be seen as going “naked”.
In a later chapter they are called cherubim, which identifies them with the attendant figures attached to the ark.

They are given four faces, those of a man, a lion, an ox (or “cherub”), and an eagle.
It’s been observed that each of these four living things has a kind of supremacy in its own sphere.
Thus the eagle can claim supremacy amongst the birds of the air (and it was “on eagles’ wings” that God brought Israel out of Egypt- Exodus ch19 v4).
The lion can claim supremacy amongst the wild beasts of the land (and Judah is called “a lion’s whelp”- Genesis ch49 v9).
The ox can claim supremacy amongst domesticated animals (and “horns” are a symbol of power all the way through the Old Testament).
While humanity, by God’s decree in Genesis, was given supremacy amongst all of them.
So I suggest that these four living creatures also represent God’s control over the living world at large.
Only the fish are missing. For In the symbolism of the Old Testament, the sea is not really part of God’s ordered world.

Their outspread wings are supposed to be touching one another, which implies that they are arranged in a square, facing outwards, and moving in that formation.
However, the formality of this picture is slightly spoiled by v14, which suggests a greater freedom of movement; “And the living creatures darted to and fro, like a flash of lightning”.
Since the place where God dwells is supposed to be coming down to Ezekiel, and therefore moving, it is presented as having wheels, one for each of the four living creatures.
Their form is “a wheel within a wheel”. Commentators explain this as two wheels arranged crossways, so that the wheels themselves may go in each of the four directions.
They have eyes in their rims, indicating that they are guided by the intelligence of the Spirit- by the spirit of the living creatures, in the first instance, but the living creatures themselves are guided by the Spirit of God.
They move with a great noise, like the loudest sounds which an Israelite can imagine (a heavy rain-storm, or the clamour of an army).

Above all this there is “the likeness of a firmament, shining like crystal”.
The dwelling-place of God is conventionally in the heavens, above the firmament.
That is where John goes in Revelation ch4, where he sees the throne of God surrounded by a “sea of crystal”- the firmament, that is, the sky seen from above.
In Exodus, the seventy elders of Israel are taken up the mountain to meet God, “and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness” (Exodus ch24 v10). This must be taken as a more portable version of the firmament, part of what was necessary to convey the sense that they were in the presence of God.
Since Ezekiel is in the plain, with no mountains around, the portable firmament has to come all the way down to meet him.

Man was made “in the image of God”- that is, with intelligent awareness and conscious will.
In recognition of that similarity, God is here depicted as “a likeness as it were of human form”, sitting above “the likeness of a throne”.
He appears to emerge from fire (which is the most basic Old Testament symbol of God), and above the waist he resembles “gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire enclosed round about”. Gleaming bronze was part of the original description of the fire, and the living creatures themselves “sparkled like gleaming bronze”. The same feature can be found in the visions of Daniel ch10 and Revelation ch1. I suppose the explanation is that bronze reflects light, as we might guess from the ancient use of bronze in mirrors. So any source of light which is not fire itself seems to resemble that metal.

There is also a brightness all around the image, “like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain”.
This bow was promised after the Flood as “the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth” (Genesis ch9 v17).
Thus there is a symbol of God’s mercy in place to accompany the symbols of his power.

It is not surprising that, upon the sight of this vision, Ezekiel was sufficiently stunned to fall to the ground, hiding his face.




posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 05:02 PM
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The four “living creatures” are included in the vision of Revelation ch4, though in that scene the four different faces are divided between them.
The Greek text in Revelation places the four creatures “in the midst of the throne” (v6). This phrase puzzles modern translators, who feel obliged to mistranslate it or leave it out altogether.
The puzzle is solved if we understand that John is trying to describe the same picture as Ezekiel.
The four creatures should be seen “in the midst of the fire”, and thus in the middle of the space under the throne.



posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 05:03 PM
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This passage is famously one of the examples used by Erich von Daniken in his “Chariots of the gods” theory. Yet that kind of approach to the passage provides more questions than it can answer.

When Daniken was writing, the rocket-propelled craft was a new toy, so he was obsessively finding rocket craft in every image that might bear that interpretation (like the people today who look for mobile phones in old photographs). But if these creatures were really capable of travelling between the stars, why would they still be using primitive rocket technology on the planetary surface?

And if the fire observed by Ezekiel is driving a physical craft, why does the fire continue burning while the craft is stationary and the occupant is talking to him? If you stop your car to speak to a friend standing on the side of the road, do you keep your engine running during the conversation, or do you switch it off?

And why are the supposed visitors from another star bothering to concern themselves with the details of the religious life of one of the local tribes? Why would they care whether Israel is wicked or righteous, and why would they threaten Jerusalem with the prospect of a Babylonian siege?

In a later chapter, the Glory of God rises up from the cherubim and rests on the threshold of the Temple (ch9 v3). In other words, the “passenger” of the vehicle is quite capable of detaching himself and moving independently. That event rather demolishes the idea that we are looking at the pilot
of a manufactured craft. However, it is in keeping with the symbolism of the relationship between the Creator God and the created world. He allows himself to be carried by his “chariot”, but does not depend upon it.

One reason for the appeal of these rationalising explanations is the mistaken assumption that the prophet sees visions with his physical eye. The same assumption is made about the visions in Revelation. That allows and invites a physical explanation of some kind, such as “drugs” or “misunderstood futuristic technology”.
But physical explanations become redundant once it is realised that the physical eye is not being used in these visions.
Indeed the vision of ch8 and the following chapters could not possibly be understood in a literal physical way.
Ezekiel’s mind, and John’s mind, are being shown symbols, relating to the God of Israel.
The symbolic explanation of Ezekiel’s vision is complete enough to eliminate the need for any other interpretation.



posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 05:04 PM
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So Babylon and Jerusalem, like King’s Cross and Euston on the London Underground system, are both “to the north of” each other from the traveller’s viewpoint.

This comparison is not very international, so it probably need to be explained.
In the London Underground system;
The northbound Victoria line passes through Euston and King’s Cross. In that order.
The northbound Metropolitan line passes through King’s Cross and Euston. In that order.
So a passenger who takes the first “north” line from Euston and then changes to the other line at King’s Cross can bounce back and forth between the two stations indefinitely, without ever ceasing to be travelling “northwards”.



posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 05:39 PM
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How could he possibly know he was seeing a vision of the future, a flight of H_E_L_I_C_O_P_T_E_R_S.



posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 05:43 PM
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a reply to: intrptr
An explanation in terms of symbols actually matches the details of the description much better. See the third post, where the "futuristic science" issue is discussed.
I presume you also subscribe to the "time-travellers in old photos" theory.


edit on 5-1-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


presume you also subscribe to the "time-travellers in old photos" theory.

No. I subscribe to the next dimension. Everyone will when they pass.

Edit: You of all people so steeped in theology and the written word, MUST be familiar with passages where the angel calls the 'prophet' to come up here to see what must happen after...

Its the future they are shown. Over there all time is visible at once, just like you can be in more than one place at once.


edit on 5-1-2018 by intrptr because: Edit:



posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 06:06 PM
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a reply to: intrptr
I've already pointed out that the details don't match.
There is no reason why a flight of helicopters should have the faces of eagles, lions, oxen, and men.
There is no reason why a flight of helicopters should have a central fire between them or engulfing them.
There is no reason why a flight of helicopters should have a "likeness of a throne" immediately above them, rising out of the same fire.
Nor would they work well down among the buildings of Jerusalem in a later chapter, after lifting Ezekiel out of his room and then returning him without being noticed by the other people in the room. Nothing physical could have done that.

That is the flaw in all these "futuristic science" explanations. Ingenious, but trivial and superficial, ignoring half the content of a passage, if it doesn't fit the story, and ignoring all the context.

The explanation in terms of symbols is complete and workable, both as regards the detail and as regards the overall context of the book.




edit on 5-1-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 06:54 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI



They have eyes in their rims,



Amphibious craft with hubcaps. Just the Controllers checking up on their lab rats in the Middle East.



It is not surprising that, upon the sight of this vision, Ezekiel was sufficiently stunned to fall to the ground, hiding his face.


Or he was so shocked as to the true reptilian nature of the Controllers.



posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 06:58 PM
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originally posted by: TheConstruKctionofLight
Amphibious craft with hubcaps. Just the Controllers checking up on their lab rats in the Middle East.

As I was saying to Intrptr, finding an ingenious match for a single detail isn't enough.
We need to explore the whole picture, including the context.



posted on Jan, 5 2018 @ 11:09 PM
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To Ezekiel it was GOD. It was his God, the only one he knew. Thus, it was GOD



posted on Jan, 6 2018 @ 01:24 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


He saw the approach of a “stormy wind”, accompanied with cloud and brightness and fire, which are all standard signs of the presence of the God of Israel

It's possible that Ezekiel was describing a transformational way of viewing the God of Israel. The new, clearer vision piercing through the clouds of the traditional storm god view to reveal the hidden Cosmic God.


Picture credit: Ezekiel's Vision 16x20 Framed Print revelationillustrated.com...

This picture is the closest that I could find, doing an image search, to how I read the description in chapter 1.

Compare to the common Mesopotamian/Hebrew model of the cosmos of the time.

Not exactly the best depiction I've seen, but it's public domain.

Imagine the cosmos map as 3d rather than 2d, with 4 corners.

Heavens: Form and structure

In the Old Testament the word shamayim represented both the sky/atmosphere, and the dwelling place of God.[30] The raqia or firmament - the visible sky - was a solid inverted bowl over the earth, coloured blue from the heavenly ocean above it.[31] Rain, snow, wind and hail were kept in storehouses outside the raqia, which had "windows" to allow them in - the waters for Noah's flood entered when the "windows of heaven" were opened.[32] Heaven extended down to and was coterminous with (i.e. it touched) the farthest edges of the earth (e.g. Deuteronomy 4:32);[33] humans looking up from earth saw the floor of heaven, which was made of clear blue lapis-lazuli (Exodus 24:9-10), as was God's throne (Ezekiel 1:26).

What I suggest is that the vision is a vision of the cosmos. The position of the LORD is above and outside of the cosmos, indicating someone greater than the storm god, which was the previous view of the deity. A transition from henotheism to monotheism.

edit on 6-1-2018 by pthena because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 6 2018 @ 06:11 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


There is no reason why a flight of helicopters should have the faces of eagles, lions, oxen, and men.

Only the heads of pilots are visible in the cockpit. When they turn their heads their profile changes. Some pilots wear helmets, sometimes the visors are up or down, some have other equipment like night vision goggles or masks.

This would distort the view of their faces, make them 'look' strange.

Anyway at close quarters during flight only the 'faces' are apparent inside the canopy. If I had no idea what a helicopter was I might think it was alive, because I saw faces inside it.

I was hoping you would bring details of these visions.

I'm hoping you will bring some more...

'faces of men'



edit on 6-1-2018 by intrptr because: bb code



posted on Jan, 6 2018 @ 08:05 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr

Again, you can only do this by taking a segment in isolation, twisting yourself in knots trying to make it work, and ignoring the rest of the passage and the whole context of the book.
The interpretation in terms of symbols is actually simpler and more straight-forward, and is preferable on Occam's principle.

I was hoping you would bring details of these visions.
I'm hoping you will bring some more...

This series continues up to and including Gog of the land of Magog.
It's all about looking at the whole context of the book.


edit on 6-1-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 6 2018 @ 08:35 AM
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originally posted by: pthena
It's possible that Ezekiel was describing a transformational way of viewing the God of Israel. The new, clearer vision piercing through the clouds of the traditional storm god view to reveal the hidden Cosmic God.

There are two questions involved here. There is the significance of the vision, and on that point I think I can endorse what you say above.The picture looks close enough, though no picture can quite convey the sense of dynamic movement.

The other question is how much this is really a new development, and how much it simply brings out and makes conscious what was already implicit in "You shall have no other gods but me" and the crisis episode at Shiittim.
I've always thought that the importance of the distinction between henotheism and monotheism was overrated.
To my mind, the essential point of monotheism was already in place when the God of Israel was understood as controlling his people's environment, the natural environment and the human environment.
The whole point was that the gods of other nations are inferior, making them "gods" only in a lesser sense. That is as clear to Elijah and Hosea as it is to Ezekiel.
So I can't see the transition from "other gods are mere subordinates" to "other gods don't exist" as being such a big deal.

What was shown to Ezekiel is spelling out the implications of the traditional belief, in a way that they have not had to think about before.


edit on 6-1-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 6 2018 @ 09:55 AM
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a reply to: intrptr


That is how Cortez got the Mayans.. They'd never seen ships before that.


* Is it just 'coincidence' that a foreign power would go looking to exploit what they deem to be "Lessers" resources?

I understand Cortez had a hard-on for Oro.

Stay Hydrated...



posted on Jan, 6 2018 @ 11:55 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Yes, of coarse.

When I wrote "A transition from henotheism to monotheism ", that was an afterthought, defined as something spewed out after thought has ended. I will gladly walk back from that.



posted on Jan, 6 2018 @ 12:34 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I realize you must escape into hyperbole, your conditioning requires it.

I just want you to focus on the specifics recorded from Ezekiel's vision.

Dust storm? Whats the whirlwind of dust churned up by rotors in the desert?

Sound of many chariots? The sound of beating rotors. A flight of helos would indeed sound like an army of beating hooves. It would be the only thing they could compare it to, in their experience.

How about wheels within wheels? Spinning rotor blades.

Stings, fire, thunder?

Rockets and guns.

You take way too much for granted in the modern world, are stuck in the past for symbolic interpretation. These were not symbols, these were real objects they 'envisioned' and struggled to make sense of, from their ancient perspective.

They weren't literally locusts, just 'looked like' them...




posted on Jan, 6 2018 @ 12:37 PM
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a reply to: JimNasium


That is how Cortez got the Mayans.. They'd never seen ships before that.

Or horses, mounted calvary, armor, swords, musket or cannon.

All proceeded by a priest holding up a cross.

In the name of God(Gold), of course.

Hydrated indeed...

edit on 6-1-2018 by intrptr because: additional



posted on Jan, 7 2018 @ 02:03 PM
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This thread is the first in a series which will cover Ezekiel as far as ch39.




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