“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 color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.” Ezekiel 1:4
God is the Creator of all things, both seen and unseen. It is by His design we were made to bring glory to Him. He has gone all out in showing us how to live this gift for Him in contentment and joy. In the New Testament, Paul was led by the Spirit through the rest of his life after his Damascus experience. The apostles grew to learn what faith is and they, too, desired to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself, God in the flesh, showed us how it’s done being submissive to even death on a Cross. But God does not change, and we can see the spiritual life of a Spirit led believer portrayed in the opening pages of the book of Ezekiel – in the Old Testament.
“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.” Ezekiel 1:5
This is no accident that these creatures (creations), coming from the fiery pillar which is God, look like men. It’s to remind us that we, too, are created by God. Further, they are to show us, who live in the physical, how to live in the spiritual. They may be cherubim, but their example is perfect and should be adhered to as well as we can if we truly wish to follow Christ in Spirit and in Truth.
“And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. 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 color of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.” Ezekiel 1:6-9
There is a lot of interpretation of the appearance of these creatures, and it’s readily available, so I will not really go into it. However, notice two things:
1. Their feet sparkled like the color of burnished brass. There is another mention of this characteristic in Revelation. The feet in Revelation belong to the Lord Jesus. So, these spiritual beings were very closely like Jesus. Besides appearing like a man, they have the feet that appear like God’s. Isn’t that the goal? To become Christlike as we walk?
2. They had the hands of a man under their wings. Their hands were doing nothing because their hands were under their wings. This speaks a lot of things. One thing is that there is no work being done by their hands. They aren’t doing anything, and, as we’ll see, they simply follow. Another thing is that this subtly speaks of how God keeps us under His wing. Our greatest efforts are but filthy rags in and of themselves, but even in our fumbling attempts, God’s got us covered, if we’ll stay under His wing and hidden in Christ. The idea that they merely follow the lead of the Spirit is buttressed by the fact that their wings touched and they did not turn when they moved. They only moved forward, and they looked not to the left or to the right, only straight.
“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. 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. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.” Ezekiel 1:10-12
They had two sets of wings. The second set covered their bodies. This speaks of humility. These creatures humbled themselves in their servitude. They did not grumble, nor were they prideful. They simply submitted totally to the Spirit, to the God Who created them, and were humbled in His Presence. And again, the Holy Spirit repeats the fact that they followed only the straight path.
“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. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.” Ezekiel 1:13-14
The Spirit of the Lord is a cleansing fire and God alone is perfect. This fire went up and down among the creatures (meaning it covered them all) and, bright as it was, would have found fault in them and burned it away. Man is not the only creation to have fallen. Lucifer was once an angel and he fell. This is written, and was seen, to show us that God will not allow sin in the camp. These creatures were proven to be worthy of this task. The fire burned brightly, yet did not harm them at all.
Now, this truly gets interesting:
“Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color 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.” Ezekiel 1:15-16
In the midst of the creatures appeared a wheel. This wheel represents the Holy Sprit and His work here on earth. Then, within that wheel was another wheel – wheel in the middle of a wheel. This second wheel is described as “their appearance and their work,” which means that what they were doing in spirit was within the will of God (as demonstrated as being in the outer wheel), that being the work of the Holy Spirit. So, they four having one likeness is gonna be the likeness of Christ. Christ-likeness, as previously hinted to by brass feet, is the only way to achieve anything for God. When others see Christ in us, they are drawn to Him. When we lift up Jesus by lifting up the Cross, people see Him. We’re about to see this, too, as our spiritual life example continues.
“When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. 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. 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. 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.” Ezekiel 1:17-21
God sees all, and if we remain submissive to Him, He will be faithful to reveal things to us about ourselves and about this world around us, using those spiritual eyes. With that in mind, see Christ in this message!
Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto Me.” (John 12:32) Well, if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. (Gal 5:16) Therefore, walking in the Spirit, that is follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, as these creatures did, lifts up the Lord Jesus. We demonstrate Him to those around us in our actions, thus lifting Him up. What’s more, when we lift Him up, we are, in turn, lifted up by God. Our spirits are, just like theirs, in the wheels. We are inseparably linked to our God. We are hidden in Christ, a part of His very Body. Where He goes, we go. Where we go, He goes. He is with us always, until the end of the age. Praise God! Praise Jesus!
“And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the color of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. 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. 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. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.” Ezekiel 1:22-25
It is spoken again of the humility of proper service in the Presence of the Almighty God. He is herein shown by His creation. The firmament above them goes on and on, just as our eternal God. The rest of the chapter goes on to speak of the throne of God and God Himself appearing above the creatures, before the very eyes of the prophet. So, all of these things are done before and in the Presence of God. He sees it all, and participates in it, too. Which brings up the last point of this example of our walk.
We are to do only those things in which we are led by the Spirit. God will speak with us through prayer, through His Word, and possibly through others. But we are not to move, not to do anything, before His time. His timing is perfect, and so we must listen. We must study to learn the Voice of our Lord, and to understand what it is He wishes us to hear and do.
Notice that while they moved, and followed the Spirit, they were not working. Their wings were lifted, and there was a noise from them, but their wings do not move. It is a spiritual movement demonstrated in this spiritual example – a wheel within a wheel. The work wasn’t really being done by them. It was being done by God through them. Yet, within that noise was the Voice of the Lord. God was talking to them as they followed His lead. And even when they stopped moving, lowered their wings and stood in wait, God still spoke.
God speaks to us always, but sometimes, it is solely for our growth, and not to accomplish anything in that moment. Just like Moses knew he was supposed to free his brethren, God didn’t ask him to move in that regard for 40 years. Jesus was 30 before the Holy Spirit told Him to go and reveal Himself. We all must wait from time to time. While we wait, all He expects us to do is stand and be faithful to the call, readying ourselves for when He does call. If we move ahead, we may find ourselves outside of His will, doing things we aren’t supposed to.
May we all see in these creatures a bit of ourselves and how we are expected to walk before the Lord, in spirit and in truth. All we have to do is use our spiritual ears, keeping open our spiritual eyes, and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He does the rest. He grows us into strong spiritual beings if we surrender our own will and follow Him. So, I pray that we all find that we are able to stand in Him and wait upon Him and be led by the Spirit – wheels within the Wheel.