Ezekiel’s visions still astonish

Sixth Century B.C. prophet imparted warning against idolatry

The visions of the Prophet Ezekiel are some of the most evocative in the Old Testament, giving an image of God above “four living creatures” with four faces and four wings each “who sparkled like burnished bronze.

“Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of a throne in appearance like sapphire and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance,” says Ezekiel 1:26. “And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw, as it were, gleaming metal like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire and there was brightness around him.”

God gave Ezekiel, who was about 30 years old and married, a scroll on which were written “words of lamentation and mourning” because the Israelites would be punished for their rebellion, say ministers Leslie Boone of Andrews and William Mark Bristow of Odessa.

They say Ezekiel was a contemporary of the Prophet Jeremiah and that his writings are often linked to those of the Prophet Daniel, who also lived during the Sixth Century B.C. during the Babylonian captivity.

“Together with Daniel, he fits into that category of prophets who pointed out how far Israel had gotten away from God and what the consequences were,” said Boone, minister of the Andrews Church of Christ. “But God hadn’t given up on them. No matter where they were today, he was going to keep his promises and return them to Jerusalem.

“Ezekiel was still faithful to the expectations that God had.”

Asked if Ezekiel 28 is a picture of Satan before he was cast out of Heaven, depicting a guardian cherub who became so proud of his beauty and wisdom that he tried to supplant God, Boone said, “There is a lot of talk about the parallel possibility of Satan, but we have to be careful not to go too far from the primary focus, which is on the King of Tyre.

“The images that John used in Revelation are paralleled in some ways with Ezekiel’s and Daniel’s dramatic pictures of what God was doing, that he was going to bless them beyond their imaginations.”

Noting that Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel were all persecuted, Boone said, “When you’re telling people what they don’t want to hear, a lot of them will get unhappy with you.”

According to generationworld.com, Ezekiel was 14 years old, Daniel 20 and Jeremiah 40 in 608 B.C.

The Rev. Bristow, pastor of Parker Heights Christian Church here and Grace Fellowship in Monahans, said the images in the opening chapters of the Book of Ezekiel are astonishing. “Lord have mercy, the visions he had!” Bristow exclaimed.

“Erich von Daniken wrote in ‘Chariots of the Gods?’ in 1968 that Ezekiel’s visions were of a space ship. Ezekiel did say some amazing things, but I don’t think it was about a space ship. It was God who picked him up and carried him for miles and miles to see things behind closed doors that needed to be dealt with.

“I struggle to understand the imagery. I can see it and believe it, but to grasp it is a bit too much to wrap my mind around. Spiritual things are spiritually revealed. You can’t grasp them with your natural mind.

“Chapter 28 is about both the devil and the King of Tyre, going into things like the fiery stones before the throne. In the midst of the things of God were musical instruments like the pipes and tambourines that Lucifer had built into him. He was an anointed cherub who led the praise and worship with his instruments, which I think speaks about Lucifer the Light Bearer.”

Bristow said another famous image in Ezekiel’s book is of the “The Valley of Dry Bones” in verses one through 14 of Chapter 37 where the bones are resurrected into “an exceedingly great army.”

“God is saying he will return many thousands of Jews who are scattered all over the world to Israel,” he said. “I don’t know that you could say these are the end times, but there are some signs like the Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967 that seem a direct fulfillment of this prophecy of Gog and Magog going into the Megiddo Valley.”

Revelation 20:7-10 says Gog and Magog will be peoples who ally with Satan and fight against God at the end of time.

“Jesus said, ‘When you see these things, don’t fear,’” Bristow said. “’Look up. Your redemption is near.’ It makes you wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow. Some prophecies are certainly worth studying.”