Ezekiel was a prophet and a priest, for at least twenty-three years, that was exiled to Babylon in 597 B.C. He was very aware of God’s presence and power among the people and he spoke to both the exiles and those left in Judah with messages of warning and judgment, predicting the fall of Jerusalem. After Jerusalem’s fall in 586, Ezekiel prophesied hope and reassurance for the people of Judah, who had lost the focus of God’s covenant (the temple in Jerusalem). The vision he had of the valley of dry bones, found in chapter 37, is a picture of God’s ability to renew his people.
Now that you have a little bit of Ezekiel’s background, let’s begin to understand the four wheels in his visions and they meant.
The four wheels illustrate omnipresence and omniscience of God. These wheels were associated with the “four living creatures” found in Ezekiel 1:4, who were described in Ezekiel 10:5, 20 as cherubim. Cherubim are angelic beings appointed as guardians of the holiness of God.
Ezekiel 1:4 – As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal.
Ezekiel 10:5 – And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.
Ezekiel 10:20 – These were the living creatures that I saw underneath the God of Israel by the Chebar canal; and I knew that they were cherubim.
The “living creatures” were able to move in any direction instantly without to turn, like a flash of lightning, because each wheel was actually two in one, with one apparently set inside the other at right angles. These wheels had the appearance of chrysolite, which you can compare to a topaz. The outer rims are described as high and awesome with outer edges being inset with “eyes”.
Ezekiel 1:14-18 – 14 And the living creatures darted to and fro, like the appearance of a flash of lightning. 15 Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. 16 As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. 18 And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around.
Ezekiel 1:20-21 tells us that the living creatures were able to move any direction the wheels moved because the Spirit of the living creatures were in the wheels. Some biblical scholars say that the Spirit of God gave the wheels direction through direct knowledge of and access to the will of God. The mobility of the wheels suggests the omnipresence of God. The eyes being omniscience. The elevated position being omnipotence.
Ezekiel 1:20-21 – 20 Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
Ezekiel’s vision is powerful imagery of movement and action that demonstrates the characteristics of God’s divine nature. It presents God as being on a chariot-like throne, His glory supreme and immanent. Showing his existence in and extending into the created universe. The entire revelation by God in this vision, the cherubim, the chariot, the Spirit, and the wheels, emphasized their unity and coordination.
Even though the vision was a scary one, it vividly displayed the majesty and glory of God, who came to Ezekiel and the children of Israel in the middle of their Babylonian exile. He always comes through at the exact right time! It reminded them of His holiness and power as the Lord of ALL CREATION. Though His people were in exile and their nation was about to be destroyed, God was still on the throne and was able to handle every situation!
Ezekiel 1:28 – Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
The lesson we all need to take from this today is that, through His marvelous providence, God moves in the affairs of all nations to work out His own unseen plan, always at work, intricately designed, never wrong, and never late. I hope everyone who has read this has an amazingly blessed day. Jesus loves you!
Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.