Ezekiel Chapter 1 [KJVwc]

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1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the thirtieth year – The 30th year of what? We are not told. We suggest that the 30th year may have reference to the year of maturity. [Num. 4:3] Thus the spiritual understanding of this vision comes to those who are of mature age.

It may also be of interest to consider that Pastor Russell's 30th year (age 29 – born in 1852 and thus within his 30th year) was 1881 where his maturity of understanding had developed to the point of publishing "Food for Thinking Christians" (the precursor to "The Divine Plan of the Ages") and also "Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices."

Secondary thought

It may be that Ezekiel pictures the same thing as does John in the book of Revelation, i.e., the church in the flesh during the time or our Lord's Parousia (2nd presence.)

Primary thought

Ezekiel. In this book Ezekiel also pictures Pastor Russell. This becomes evident as we see how many times the phrase "Thou, Son of man" is used. In this book, when we see the phrase "Son of man" we should recognize that, while our Lord Jesus was the true "Son of man," He is pleased to send his message out through the instrumentality of an earthly representative, i.e., the Seventh Messenger – Pastor Russell.

Another possibility

It may be that Ezekiel pictures the church and that when the LORD refers to him as "the son of man" that he pictures Pastor Russell as His messenger, the chief member of the church class at the end of the Gospel Age.

The fifth day of the month – A rejected suggestion.
CLAIM: If the beginning year is 1878 then the 30th year 4th month 5th day of the month (using the Jewish calendar) comes to Jan. 1, 1909, the exact Date when the Watch Tower began to publish a series of articles on the correct understanding of the Covenants.
Why rejected: – reason 1. The Jewish New Year (Tishri 1) was on Sept. 20. The 4th month is Tevet. The 5th day would be Tevet 5 which corresponds to Dec. 29, 1908. It does come within 3 days of the suggested date, but it is not exact.
Why rejected: – reason 2. Since this interpretation revolves around Pastor Russell's understanding of the covenants and, it is claimed, was fulfilled Jan. 1, 1909, we ask the question: Where was Pastor Russell at that time? Was he "among the captives" as the scripture here declares? No, he was not.

Among the captives – While this sounds like his being among those still held captive in spiritual Babylon, i.e., prior to hearing the command to 'come out of her my people,' we think the thought here is just a bit different. Pastor Russell was not physically meeting with those of mystic Babylon, yet he was, to a degree, held captive by a certain lack of understanding. To see get his own perspective on this please see point (3) below and especially the R5909 reference.

The heavens were opened – This has reference to the Holy Spirit. Consider Matt. 3:16 (our Lord's baptism). Since this setting is at the end of the age it would seem likely to have reference to one of three dates:

(1) 1874 – the parallel to our Lord's baptism, when the heavens were opened to Him. – This is also the year Pastor Russell was immersed.

(2) 1878 – the parallel to when the Holy Spirit was given to the church.

(3) 1881 – the time when Pastor Russell described how the subject of the Tabernacle became to him, "as clear as the noonday sun" (fulfillment of Eze. 3:15-17). See also R5909 ('Harvest Gatherings and Siftings')

I saw the visions of God – He could see it well enough to "write the vision and make it plain upon tables that he may run that readeth it." Hab. 2:2
2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, The fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity – It was when Jehoiachin's captivity began that Zedekiah was set up as king. This was eleven years prior to the Babylonian captivity of 606 BC, or 617 BC. Thus 4 years had passed (making it the 5th year). This would correspond to 613 BC, or about 6-7 years prior to the beginning of the 70 years desolation of the land.

The release from captivity of spiritual Israel would seem to correspond to 1878 A.D. when the call went out to "come out of her my people." (Rev. 18:4) If this be correct then the 5th year of Jehoiachin's captivity would correspond to about 1872 A.D. (6,000 years from the creation of Adam).
3 The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. The word of the LORD – We suggest that the interpretation of this, in symbol, is "The understanding of the word of the LORD."

Came expressly unto Ezekiel – It did not come "expressly" to anyone else. The name Ezekiel means "God will strengthen." What a fitting name for the one who is pictured by Ezekiel, i.e., Pastor Russell.

The priest – Specifically the special member of the Royal Priesthood that is to deliver the understanding of the word of the LORD to God's people.

The son of Buzi – The son of disrespect, i.e., he is despised, disrespected. See mini-study "Buzi." We note the similarity to that condition of the Master who was "despised and rejected of men." Isa. 53:3. An appropriate description of one who followed so closely in the Master's footsteps.

In the land of the Chaldeans – Ezekiel literally was "in the land of the Chaldeans," in Babylon. It would seem to imply that, since he seems to picture Pastor Russell, that Pastor Russell would also be (at least to some extent) still in the land of the Babylonians at the beginning. – Please see 1907 Convention Report Sermons page 12.

Chebar – Strong's H3529
The same as H3528; length; Kebar, a river of Mesopotamia: - Chebar. Compare H2249.
From H3527; properly extent of time, that is, a great while; hence long ago, formerly, hitherto: - already, (seeing that which), now.
By the river Chebar – Since the name Chebar has to do with "extent of time," we suggest that its significance here is that it was the due time for Present Truth ("the glory of God") to be revealed.

The hand of the LORD was there upon him – The power of Jehovah expressed through the Holy Spirit giving him clarity of thought and strengthening him for the Harvest Work.

Jesus, since his resurrection, has been at the right hand of the Father. At this time He has returned and is Present, giving meat in due season to the household of faith through the instrumentality of "That faithful and wise servant." The one whom He specially laid His hand upon.

We also remember 1 Tim. 5:22 where Paul reminds Timothy to "Lay hands suddenly on no man." This was indicating approval, similar to saying "God speed." 2 John 10-11

The laying on of hands was the method used by the Apostles to confirm spiritual gifts to others. Acts 8:18

All this tells us that God was specially working with Pastor Russell in a very special manner.

4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. I – Ezekiel, picturing Pastor Russell. See Additional comments vs. 3. This would certainly explain why there are not as many comments on the Book of Ezekiel, and especially chapter 9.

A whirlwind – As we eventually find that this chapter is describing the glory of God, it is interesting to note that the whirlwind (the great time of trouble) is associated with God. This is demonstrated by the setting in Job 38:1 when God finally speaks to Job.

This may also suggest that the correct understanding of this prophecy cannot be reached until it is time for the great antitypical whirlwind (the result of the loosing of the four winds.)

Came out of the north – From God's throne. The north is associated with things divine. Psa. 48:2; Isa. 14:13

A great cloud – Clouds symbolize trouble. (Zeph. 1:15; Nah. 1:3) Once again we see trouble associated with God's throne. This does not mean God's throne is in trouble, but rather that the world, the old order of things set up by man (and influenced by the Adversary) is in trouble because God is about to bring trouble upon the old arrangement in order to clear it away for His new building, the New Covenant.

Fire infolding itself – It is as if this light was self-sustaining. Such is the case when we behold the Glory of God. He is immortal, not dependent upon any outside source for His existence, i.e., He has life within Himself, thus as a "fire enfolding itself". – Deut. 4:24; 9:3; Heb. 12:29

Likewise the Truth seems to have this same characteristic. Once we gain the spirit of the Truth, we find the Truth seems to be self-sustaining to those who love it for they continually dwell on it.

Brightness was about it – There is always brightness associated with spiritual beings. Here it is associated with the glory of God. Acts 9:3,5; 26:13

In the midst thereof as the color of amber – This is very similar to the color of burnished bronze – see Rev. 1:15

Amber (in this verse) is Strong's H2830
Of uncertain derivation; probably bronze or polished spectrum metal: - amber.

As we attempt to discover the Lord's meaning in this symbol we may not be too rigid in our interpretation considering that the noted linguist Prof. Strong declares that this is "Of uncertain derivation." It is clear that this vision relates to the Almighty and therefore we would expect gold (symbolic of things Divine) to be referenced. Amber is, in appearance, like transparent gold. This may be the correct understanding.
5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. Out of the midst thereof – Out of the midst of this "fire enfolding itself," this representation of Jehovah God.

The likeness – In other words, Ezekiel did not actually see four beasts (living creatures) but something that had some kind of appearance similar in some fashion to the beasts he describes.

Four living creatures – The four attributes of God, i.e., justice, wisdom, love, and power (as in 1:10 which please see.)

Their appearance – This is how God's attributes appear to us.

The likeness of a man – This makes sense when we remember that since man was made in the likeness of God (Gen. 1:26; 5:1), God's likeness is like man. Not fallen man but perfect man. Consider our Lord's words to Philip in John 14:9.
6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. Every one had four faces – We need to be careful readers here. It does not say they had four faces, but rather each one of the four living creatures had four faces. Each face represents one of God's four attributes (see additional comments vs 10.) This does not mean that there are sixteen faces, but rather each of the four attributes operates in cooperation with all four attributes. When we see one of the attributes taking the more prominent role, we should also see that the other attributes are still in cooperative cooperation with that attribute (face) that is currently in the prominent position.

Every one had four wings – What is indicated by the Four Wings? We remember that the true church was given two wings like an eagle (Rev. 12:14 – the old and new testaments) and that by these she was enabled to "fly into the wilderness, into her place."

Psa. 17:8; Psa. 36:7; Psa. 57:1; Psa. 61:4; Psa. 63:7; Psa. 91:4

But why Four and not Two wings? One suggestion is that this might represent not only the Word of God (Old and New Testaments), but also the Spirit of these, i.e., the Old and New Testaments in both letter and spirit.

7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished copper. Their feet were straight feet – The word here for "straight" is Strong's 3477 which means "right, upright, righteous" etc.
From H3474; straight (literally or figuratively): - convenient, equity, Jasher, just, meet (-est), + pleased well right (-eous), straight, (most) upright (-ly, -ness).
The thought here is that God is perfect in all His ways. Deut. 32:4; Psa. 145:17

Like the sole of a calf's foot – Cloven and not flat like a human foot.

Please see additional comments Deut. 14:6

The color of burnished brass – "Burnished brass" = "Polished copper." Polished copper in the Tabernacle pictures perfect human nature. It is as if to say, "If God were a man, He would walk a perfect path." Again we refer to John 14:9.
8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. The hands of a man – Hands usually indicate strength and activity, or strength of activity. This activity is said to be of a man, i.e., it is being exercised on behalf of man.

Our understanding is that this vision is of God's Divine Plan of the Ages. This plan is for man and it's power (hands) are being exercised mainly on behalf of man.

Under their wings – Under the protection of Divine Power (see references under vs. 6.) This Divine Power is especially made available to the church via the Word of God (Old an New Testaments – The 2 Wings of a great eagle – Rev. 12:14.)

On their four sides – To show that each of God's four attributes is working on behalf of the church in the flesh for their protection and blessing.

We also suggest the following from 'The Finished Mystery' page 369:
The hand is symbolic of power and of execution of purpose. Overshadowed by the Word of God is the Divine power (hand) to execute the thing purposed, operating through human channels, through the power of men. He shows the qualities of the Divine mind through man. Shielded, protected, sustained by the Word (wings)� (Psa. 61:4), the work of the Almighty goes on through "the foolishness of preaching." (1 Cor. 1:21.) Men and women are "coworkers with God." (2 Cor. 6:1.) The hands (powers) of man are instruments for the operation of infinite Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom.
9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. Their wings were joined one to another – Remember, there are 4 wings. The Old and New Testaments are indeed joined one to another and together, as well as the Letter and Spirit of God's Plan. They tell the complete story of God's Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power as revealed in the Divine Plan of the Ages.

They turned not when they went – James 1:17; Heb. 13:8; Mal. 3:6.

They went every one straight forward – God's plan cannot be stopped. Not by Kings, Popes, Presidents, Angles nor the Devil himself. His Plan for man moves ever onward to its wonderful completion. And even after the Millennium is finished there will be "The ages to come." Eph. 2:7
10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
The Four Attributes of God
Please see Additional Comments vs. 6 for "Every one had four faces."

See Four Attributes in Symbol

Questions for verse 10
  1. Why was the face of a lion on the Right side?
    The right side is the position of honor, of strength. This would be appropriate for the attribute of Power.
  2. Why was the face of an ox (bullock) on the Left side?
  3. Why does it not tell us where the face of the Eagle is located?
    Perhaps because God's Wisdom is all pervasive. Remember, in the 3 symbolic descriptions of God's 4 attributes, wisdom is always mentioned last.
11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. Their wings were stretched upward – The wings (Old and New Testaments, Letter and Spirit of God's word) appear as though they are reaching for heaven, to be close to God.

Two wings of every one were joined one to another – This seems to indicate two pairs of wings, four in all. The fact that two are joined together would seem to indicate that two wings (Old and New Testaments) are indeed one testimony.

Two covered their bodies – In verse 5 we are told that they had the appearance of a man. This seems to suggest that these other two wings are for man's protection. – Psa. 91:4.

Consider Matt. 23:37

Also note the difference between the four wings here and the six wings as used in Rev. 4:7-8 and Isa. 6:2-3.
12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. They went every one straight forward – God's plan continues straight forward and cannot be altered by any force in the universe. See Isa. 55:8-11

Wither the spirit was to go – God's Holy Spirit.

They went – The wings went.

They turned not when they went – With "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Jas. 1:17
13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. The living creatures – The four attributes of God (see Four Attributes in Symbol)

Like burning coals of fire – The voice of God, the Truth. Psa. 18:13.

The appearance of lamps – "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psa. 119:105

Up and down among the living creatures – The Truth of God's great Divine Plan here is shown as traveling up and down among God's attributes. This is much like the dream of Jacob's ladder. "The ladder represents this thought of direct fellowship between Heaven and earth, between God and man." R5199:21

The fire was bright – While fire normally indicates destruction, it can also refer to the destruction of things undesirable such as dross (Mal. 3:1-3).

Went forth as lightening – Diffusions of knowledge. This is how the Divine Plan is revealed. – Consider Br. Russell's experience with the understanding of the Tabernacle. While he prayed and dropped all other considerations for three days, yet the understanding came to him at once, like lightniing. R5909:77.
14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. The living creatures – The Four Attributes of God.

Ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning – Lightning symbolizes diffusions of knowledge. This is as the appearance of a flash of lightning. It seems to be suggesting that God's attributes are seen everywhere (traveling, as it were, at the speed of light) within the Plan of the Ages so that no matter what part of the Plan you look, there you will see His Four Attributes.

15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth beside the living creatures, with his four faces. I – Pastor Russell.

Beheld the living creatures – Examined God's Four Attributes.

Behold – The 7th messenger particularly noticed.

One wheel – Notice that one wheel is associated with one of the cherubs.

   To better understand the symbolic meaning of "wheel" we need to consider the story of the children of Israel when they first entered into the land of promise under the leadership of Joshua. The account is given in Joshua chapters 4 and 5. Particularly in chapter 5 we are reminded that the reason they had wandered for forty years was because of disobedience in not taking the land when God first told them to do so. (see Josh. 5:4-6)

During that 40 years the males that were born were not circumcised. After they had crossed the Jordan river and before they went into battle the first thing they did was (from a worldly standpoint) very strange indeed. They incapacitated all their men of war by having them all circumcised. (To see the impact this would have on full grown men, see Gen. 34.)

The place where this all took place, and the importance of the use of "wheel" in Bible symbology is explained by Josh. 5:9.

"And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day."
Gilgal is Strong's 1537.
The same as H1536 (with the article as a properly noun); Gilgal, the name of three places in Palestine: - Gilgal. See also H1019.
A variation of H1534: - wheel.

We are thus given two thoughts from this term "wheel."
  1) The rolling away of reproach.
  2) Movement, i.e., a progression in God's Plan.
See also 2 Kings 2:1 Additional Comments.

Upon the earth – Upon organized society under religious restraint. R498

Beside the living creatures – As we see the progression from one wheel (age or dispensation) to the next, we see God's four attributes in action.

With his four faces – Each of the cherub's (attributes) had four faces (as discussed above, each attribute works in cooperation with the other attributes.)
16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. Appearance of the wheels – The wheels represent the various ages in God's plan.

Like unto the colour of a beryl – Not the actual beryl but like its color. After seeing the wide variety of the mineral beryl we found the following on the internet which seems to help here.

Question: What Color is Beryl?
The mineral beryl comes in many shades from clear to blue to green (emerald) to gold or yellow to red (rare). The color name beryl is a blue or blue-green color.
Answer: Beryl, as a color name, usually refers to an aquamarine or turquoise shade of blue and green.

As we consider the symbology of color we remember that green pictures everlasting life and earthly restitution while blue pictures faithfulness. Thus "like unto the colour of a beryl" would seem to be telling us that the ages (wheels) of God's plan are faithfully (blue) progressing towards the complete restitution (green) of mankind.

They four had one likeness – This would suggest that there are four wheels (as in vs. 15 there was one wheel with one cherub.) There are four cherubs, therefore 4 wheels. They all have the same likeness. So we must look for each one of these wheels to be involved in "rolling away of reproach" (as seen in vs. 15.)

Their appearance and their work – This suggests that there is a specific work to do that is associated with each one of these wheels. It would appear that there would be both a similarity and a difference in the work of each of these.

A wheel in the middle of a wheel – As we look at the Chart of the Ages we see the various "wheels" or Ages and Dispensations on it. The wheel in the middle of a wheel seems to point us to the Harvest or overlapping periods of these wheels. It then seems that the work of these wheels (ages) is to develop the ripe wheat for that particular period and then the wheel within the wheel (the Harvest) is for the gathering of the ripe wheat of that age.

We suggest, therefore, the 4 Harvests are:
1 The Harvest of The World that Was (8 souls, Noah and his family)
2 The Harvest of the Jewish Age
3 The Harvest of the Gospel Age
4 The Harvest of the Millennial Age.

Please see Finished Mystery Comment

The following is taken from "The Finished Mystery" at the bottom of page 374 and relates to the progressive nature of the Divine Plan.

These golden cycles are the Divinely appointed ages in connection with the four attributes of [FM374] Deity. The Divine operations are not in one simple age, cycle, or manner of operation, but cycle within cycle, age within age, many operations working together "manifold' (Eph. 3:10), like a vast and complicated machine.
17 When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. They – The wheels.

They went upon their four sides – The word "sides" is Strong's 7253.
From H7251; a fourth (part or side): - fourth part, side, square.
In other words, "They went upon their four parts."

They turned not when they went – With God's Plan there is "no shadow of turning." Jas. 1:17

This tells us that the term 'wheel' is being used to describe its appearance and should not be thought of as something that would be rolling or spinning. – Thus "they turned not when they went."
18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. Their rings – Rims. The outline of the Divine Plan.

Were so high – As high as the heavens. To all who catch a glimpse of the outline of Gods Plan of the Ages recognize it as being from Him.

They were dreadful – The word here translated 'dreadful' is Strong's 3374 which, while usually translated as 'fear,' really carries the thought of 'reverence.'
Feminine of H3373; fear (also used as infinitive); morally reverence: - X dreadful, X exceedingly, fear (-fulness).

See 2 Sam. 23:3; Psa. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 16:6

"Reverence may be defined as a profound respect mingled with love and awe." – Ballard

Full of eyes – Showing the far-sighted Wisdom of God's Plan.

Round about them four – About the 4 wheels. God's Wisdom is clearly demonstrated in the progressive features of His plan of the Ages.
19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. When the living creatures went, the wheels went by them – Wherever God's attributes go, so go the features of His Plan.

When the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up – The phrase "lifted up from the earth" likely refers to one of the following:
1) Removal from the sight (the understanding) of the symbolic earth class.
2) The opposite, i.e., lifting up in the sight of the symbolic earth class.
20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. The spirit – Life, the Holy Spirit, understanding, etc.

Was to go, they went – The thought here seems to be that the Plan of God and the Holy Spirit are joined together in such a fashion that for one to posses the Holy Spirit would be to posses the understanding of the Divine Plan. Or to state it in the reverse, where the Divine Plan of the Ages goes, there goes God's Holy Spirit. According to Hab. 2:2 the purpose of Vision (written on tables, i.e., the Divine Plan of the Ages) is so "that he may run that readeth it." In order to "run" (the race for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus) one needs to be spirit begotten. – Thus "Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went." Jas. 1:18

The spirit of the living creature was in the wheels – The understanding of God and His characteristics are manifested in the progressive nature of His Divine Plan of the Ages (wheels.)
21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. This entire verse demonstrates that God is revealed in His Word, His Plan.

In whatever direction the Divine Spirit is to act, whether in earthly things or among spirit beings, thither the operations of the Spirit go in the cooperative action of all God's attributes. When an age is finished and one attribute ceases its action, they all cease.[FM374]

22 And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. Likeness of the firmament – The sky. This would seem to be reminding us of the deep blue (faithfulness) of the Divine Character and Plan.

Upon the heads of the living creature – The Four Attributes.

The colour of the terrible crystal – The vastness of the sky.

Compare Rev. 21:10-11

The firmament is the air or atmosphere (Gen. 1:20), and symbolizes the powers of spiritual control. Above the attributes of God and controlling their operations is the Divine will. The expression of God's will during the time indicated by the vision is the Christ, Head and Body. "All power in Heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18) is given unto Christ, and will [FM375] be shared by His Bride and Joint-heir. (Rev. 20:4.) "The terrible crystal" – literally "the reverential ice" – suggests the reverence due to the ruling Christ Head and Body, and their own reverential attitude towards the Father. The color is that of ice, clear as crystal, pure, unmixed "truth in the inward parts" (Psa. 51:6), characterizing the new ruling powers in the spiritual phase of the Kingdom of God.
23 And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. Under the firmament – Since we know that the firmament is the earth's atmosphere (Gen. 1:6-7), and this is speaking of that which is under the firmament, it must be speaking of the earth (organized society.)

Were their wings straight – Wings = protection, Old and New Testaments (God's Word.) -- Straight = True, consistent (no variableness – Jas. 1:17.)

Two, which covered on this side .. that side their bodies – These wings (divine power, protection) covered completely their bodies. This indicates that the power of God protects His plan, His people completely. There is not the slightest thing that can for a moment interfere with His purposes. His children are so completely under His protection (Psa. 91:4) that the mightiest of mankind's weapons cannot so much as touch a hair on their head with God's permission. For an example of this please consider Daniel chapter 3.

Beneath, subject to the direction of the Christ, Head and Church triumphant, are the wings (Word of God – Rev. 12:14). Whenever Divine Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom are in action, the Word of God points straight up to the Father as the Source of every good thing. – [FM375]
24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. When they went – The living creatures.

I – Pastor Russell.

Heard the noise – The proclamation, the message.

Of their wings – The Old and New Testaments along with the Letter and Spirit of their testimony (Four wings in all.)

Like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty – Compare Psa. 93:4; Eze. 43:2; Rev. 1:15; 14:2

The voice of speech – Isa. 55:11.

As the noise of an host – Rev. 19:6

When they stood and let down their wings – See additional comments vs. 25.

The sound of the Father's Word is as the voice of great waters (Rev. 1:15), mighty truths, in "the voice of speech," for the benefit of His children. It is the voice of God, too, when spoken by His people. When Divine Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom operate upon human society, then the Word of God is in full harmony therewith. FM375
25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. A voice from the firmament – A voice from the Power of Spiritual Control, it is the voice of God.

Perhaps this voice is saying "Be still and know that I am God." Psa. 46:10

Which was over their heads – Over or controlling the 4 attributes and God's Divine Plan.

When they stood – Previously we have seen how that God's plan is progressive in nature and how the attributes move along with the wheels, the ages. This would seem to be showing us something a little different. Here it seems the Lord would have us recognize that we have reached that stage in His plan where some feature is stationary. We here suggest that this feature is the Mediatorial phase of His Kingdom, i.e., the New Covenant.

Had let down their wings – This letting down of the wings (power and protection) seems to indicate that God's power is now being let down to cover the earth, i.e., this is the time for the New Covenant to go into effect. Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14

26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
"THE HEAD OF CHRIST IS GOD." (1 Cor. 11:3.) Above the triumphant Christ, Head and Body, is the Throne of Almighty God. "The Son [is] subject to Him that put all things under Him." (1 Cor. 15:28.) The Throne represents the dominion of God. As the blue sapphire (symbolic of faithfulness) is the rulership of the Almighty. "God is faithful." (1 Cor. 1:9.) In the contemplation of the watchers, the faithfulness, unchangeableness of God, is seen shining through the Christ, the firmament, like the [FM376] soft blue of the sapphire stone. Man is in the image and likeness of God. Reigning over all is One whom men can understand, a Deity whose perfect Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom elicit complete consecration. God is seen to be not a ferocious demon, belying His own command of love, but a just, reasonable, loving God, able to save all the willing and obedient. Jesus, the friend of sinners, was and is the perfect image of the Father.

The likeness of a throne – A reminder that this is now describing the Kingdom of God.

The appearance of a sapphire stone – The deep blue of a sapphire, faithfulness.

As the appearance of a man – There may be an additional thought here being conveyed, i.e., man, as we have seen in vs. 10, is the symbolic representation for the attribute of Love. It is God's Love that is most clearly on display during the time when His Kingdom is over all the earth.
27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the colour of amber – Please see additional comments vs. 4.

As the appearance of fire – While fire is usually symbolic of destruction, that destruction is often used as a purifier (Mal. 3:1-3) and spirit beings are often described in terms that indicate brightness (like a fire.)

Round about and within – Both about and within would indicate that this appearance of fire is complete.

Loins even upward .. downward – In other words, his entire body.

The appearance of fire and it had brightness round about – This is the way the scriptures describe the appearance of spirit beings. Acts 9:3,5; 26:13

"God dwelleth in light whereto no man can approach." (1 Tim. 6:16.) Radiant is the Almighty with the golden glow of the Divine nature. "Our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29); only the perfect can stand in His presence; for all dross, not refinable (Mal. 3:2, 3), is consumed by Justice. The essence of the Divine Revelation is Love, the golden light radiating in every direction from Our Father. "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light" (1 John 2:10), in the Divine love light that surrounds the Throne and pervades the entire spirit realm. This love is the light of the world, to light men unto God. [FM376]
28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. The appearance of the bow that is in the cloud – A reference to the rainbow is a reference to a covenant (Gen. 9:8-17) and is so used throughout the scriptures.

So was the appearance of the brightness round about – This covenant is to be one that is full of light. This is the Abrahamic covenant which embraces the Grace Covenant, the Law Covenant and the New Covenant made with Israel (Jer. 31:31-34) and eventually the entire world (Gen. 28:14). Rev. 21:23,25

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD – This appearance is the Divine Plan of the Ages. It is the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When we look at the Chart of the Ages, that is what we should see: The Truth, The glory of the Lord, i.e., that which reveals His Glory.

When I saw it – When this grand view of God's Divine Plan was understood by Pastor Russell...

I fell on my face – He was so appreciative of it that he thoroughly worshiped its author and became His servant – completely.

There is little doubt that the prophet Ezekiel is describing what he actually saw in vision and it seems to be that of a spiritual being, probably an angel, messenger from God. Our focus is more on what is the deeper, symbolic meaning.

I heard – Hearing indicates understanding.

Voice of one that spoke – This seems to be the voice of our Returned Lord Jesus. The time setting here is the second advent and the one who hears this is Pastor Russell, the Messenger to the church of the Laodicean period. Our Lord Jesus was, before he became a man, the Logos, the Word of God. He is the most appropriate one, therefore, to be the Father's representative in delivering the message of Present Truth to the church via the agency of His choosing, i.e., Pastor Russell.
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