For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough

10:1.  “Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.”


While chapter 1 was written to the Jews in exile in Babylon, chapter 10 is directed to the rebels remaining in Jerusalem and throughout the land.


See comments on 1:25-26, since this is the same throne as is described there.


10:2.  “And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city.  And he went in in my sight”


As always, fire is the symbol, not only of God, but also of His judgment, so that what is being symbolically portrayed here is the fact that Divine judgment was about to destroy the guilty rebels throughout the length and breadth of the land represented by Jerusalem.  This, however, is but a prefatory sketch of the terrible impending Tribulation judgments that will devastate the whole world whose rebellion is foreshadowed in that of the Israel which God destroyed.


10:3.  “Now the cherubims stood on the right (south) side of the house (Temple), when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court.”


The cloud was that of the Shekinah glory.


10:4.  “Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory.”


The cherub here was the throne-chariot of God, and it was from there that the Shekinah glory moved to above the threshold of the Temple, filling the whole building with the dazzling brightness of His glory.  The slow departure - from the holy of holies to the threshold, to above the cherubim, to the east gate of the Temple, and finally to the mountain - shows the reluctance with which God abandoned the unrepentant nation to judgment.


10:5.  “And the sound of the Cherubims’ wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh.”


So great was the sound of the Cherubims’ wings that it was like the thunder of God’s voice, and could be heard even in the outer court of the Temple.


10:6.  “And it came to pass, that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels.


10:7.  “And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.”


10:8.  “And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man’s hand under their wings.”


This indicates that the cherubims represent the second person of the Godhead Who became man; and the fire represents the judgment about to fall upon Jerusalem and the whole land.


He Who bore man’s judgment at Calvary is the One into Whose hands all judgment has been committed, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son,” John 5:22.


10:9.  “And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubims, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub: and the appearance of the wheels was as the color of a beryl stone.”


The “beryl stone” is a crystal clear gem.


10:10.  “And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.”


This means that they were so positioned as to form a sphere comprised of four intertwined wheels.


10:11.  “When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went.”


This means that, without turning, they could go in the direction towards which any one of the four faces looked.


10:12.  “And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had.”


The multiplicity of eyes indicates their omniscience.


10:13.  “As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel.”


Ezekiel heard the wheels described as “the whirling wheels.”


10:14.  “And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.”


This description differs from that of the cherubim in chapter one, for here the face of the ox is replaced with that of a cherub, this being in keeping with the fact that the description here is of the Lord’s coming in resurrection power and glory to execute judgment, rather than as God’s perfect Servant coming to die to expiate sin by His vicarious death.


10:15.  “And the cherubims were lifted up.  This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.”


The switch from the plural “cherubims” to the singular “creature” continues to emphasize that the four of them combined to represent the manifold attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ.


10:16.  “And when the cherubims went, the wheels went by (beside) them: and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them.”


As the cherubims combine to represent the Lord Jesus Christ, the wheels portray His eternality.


10:17.  “When they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also: for the spirit of the living creature was in them.”


The spirit of the living creature is simply another way of saying “the spirit of life that is in every living creature,” and reminding us that the One they represent is the Lord Jesus Christ of Whom it is written, “All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men,” John 1:3-4.


10:18.  “Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.”


This was the Shekinah glory which had resided between the two golden cherubims poised one at either end of the mercy seat, they being there as the manifestation of God’s presence in the midst of His people, but sadly, their sin had compelled His departure.


10:19.  “And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.”


It is instructively significant that the cherubims departed from the Temple by way of the east gate, for the east is invariably associated with sin and departure from the God of whom it is written that, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity,” Hab 1:13.


10:20.  “This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.”     


The “living creature” was the cherubic throne car of God borne by the four cherubims.


The change from the singular “creature” to the plural “cherubims” continues to emphasize that the four of them combined to represent the manifold glories of the Lord Jesus Christ.


10:21.  “Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.”


10:22.  “And the likeness of their faces was the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, the appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward.”


Since the things mentioned in these two verses have already been considered, there is no need to repeat that discussion here.

[Ezekiel 11]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough