A FIRE INFOLDING ITSELF
Ezekiel 1:1 ¶ 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 and I saw visions of God. 2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, 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.
Ezekiel 1:4 ¶ 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. 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. 6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. 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 brass. 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. 9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. 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. 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. 12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. 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. 14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
We have previously seen in Deuteronomy 4:24 and in Hebrews 12:29 that “God is a consuming fire.” And Moses relates “even a jealous God.” And in Exodus 34:14 he writes, “whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:” Therefore we are lead to understand that this speaks of the fact that “God is love.” I John 4:8,16 And the flame of his love contains, and is even derived from, his holy jealousy and “envy” of his elect people!
Therefore we see that this fire infolding itself is the appearance of the Being of God to this priest/prophet Ezekiel while he was in Babylonian captivity. It is “infolding itself” – the same Hebrew word elsewhere translated “shall accept” and “he received” – for only God can accept and receive the full consciousness of his glorious Being. For in his glorious essence God is unknowable! John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
No created being can ever look upon the essence of the Eternal, Invisible God! We can only know Him in the revelation of the Person of the Son – the Lord Jesus Christ! Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
And glorious wonder! This fire contains “the color of amber” which when studied out in chapter eight reveals the matter of God’s glory. And it also contains the images of the “four living creatures.” God’s highest glory is revealed in his “good will towards man.” Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. These living creatures represent the new creatures in Christ Jesus: the very life of God in the soul of man, as chosen in him from the foundation of the world! For man is said to be the “glory of God.” Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
Therefore God does not appear without the fiery character of his eternal love for the souls he has chosen in his Son, and that for his glory! For election is nothing but love before time!
And that love within the heart of man is absolute proof of eternal redemption and salvation! 1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
These “living creatures” are also seen in “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him” (Revelation 1:1), as listed in chapter four, verses six through eleven. They are not only seen describing the character of each true believer’s spiritual personality, but also reveal to us the four gospels which were set forth to reveal Christ to these believers! The “lion” speaks of the Book of Matthew which reveals the kingdom of Christ. The “calf” speaks of the Book of Mark, which reveals christ as the suffering servant. The “man” speaks of the Book of Luke, a physician which reveals the man, Christ Jesus. And of course, the “flying eagle” speaks of the Book of John, entirely a different view of Christ from the other three, seen as the glorious man transcending into the spiritual heavenlies! John 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
We notice that the color of amber is “in the midst of the fire.” And as the infolding fire manifests the Being of God, as we have seen, it is not without his love of his elect creatures. But they are never presented without being presented as in Christ “before the foundation of the world.” Therefore as we read farther down into this chapter we see the reference to Christ, high and lifted up. Consider these verses:
Ezekiel 1:25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. 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. 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. 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.
For here in the shadowy images contained within the expression of The Fiery God is a gentle manifestation of The Eternal Word Himself! For it was only by him that everything was made! John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
For the Light that God calls forth on that first day of creation is none other that the Person of his Son! The sun, moon and stars were not created until the fourth day. Therefore we read in that John 1:4 verse, (just listed), that it was his life which was the light of men. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
But we must not fail to carefully consider that the amber color of the fire is also the amber color of the man on the throne. Reread that Ezekiel 1:27 verse. The infolding fire is the appearance of the Living God. And the image of the Living God is none other that the Lord Jesus Christ! Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) Colossians 2:9 For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
And being fire himself, he manifests himself to others of another captivity as being with them in their fiery trial. For He is God, but He “emptied himself” of that invisible glory in order to take upon him the responsibility of being made like unto his brethren so he could prove himself as their faithful High Priest! Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, (that is, ‘he emptied himself’), and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
For the Eternal Son is not only the same fire as God, but showed himself capable and willing to make his “brethren” into his spiritual fire by their redemption. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Daniel 3:24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
And this is a physical picture of the spiritual children of God who walk in the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit in this age. Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
For as the Son of God was in the fiery furnace with his brethren, so his brethren shall be in his fiery trials in this age, in order to purify them from the impure works of the flesh. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. Peter, like the Harlot Church, once warmed himself by the world’s fire, retaining his carnal mind; but was later brought into the purging fire of the Holy Spirit, to come to be usable by his Master!
1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
Pastor Gene Breed
August 19, 2022