Judah Judged [Chapters 4-24]
God's Glory Departing the Temple
The Calling of the Burning Coals (1-2)
Ezekiel's attention turned to the cherub where he again saw Yahweh's chariot-throne. These living beings were called cherubim because they guarded the presence and glory of Yahweh's throne.
Ezekiel noticed a sapphire blue throne above the lighted crystal dome. It would seem the glory of God had moved back over the cherub as it lifted, as described by Ezekiel in chapter nine (1).
God then told the linen-clad (signifying his mission was righteous) scribe with the writing kit to go among the whirling wheels. These were the wheels beneath the cherubim. It would seem the cherubim, the glory of God, had come to rest directly over the brazen altar. The wheels may have lit up the coals, and the scribe was to take the burning coals in his bare hands and go scatter them over the city. He did just as he was commanded (2).
Ezekiel Describes the Vision of the Burning Coals (3-8)
Ezekiel went back and described in detail the movement of the cherubim and the movement of the scribe God was calling to take the coals and scatter over the city.
Ezekiel detailed the vision of the scribe’s receiving the coals. The cherubim were standing on the south side of the the temple area (3). The glory of God went up from the cherub and centered itself at the threshold of the temple, filling the whole temple with a cloud and the court with great brightness (4).
The wings of the cherubim began to move and could be heard at some distance, sounding like the voice of the Almighty speaking (5).
The scribe then moved to the brazen altar where the cherubim had also moved, thus the movement of the wings were at the command of the Almighty.
The cherub stretched out one of his hands under his wing, a humanly-looking hand coming from between the cherubim and also from between the wheels hovering over the brazen altar. The cherub took some coals of fire and put the coals in the scribe's hands, and then the scribe went out (6-8).
The Glory Departs (9-22)
Ezekiel is making it clear that he is again going to describe the cherub he had described in chapter one. This time there are a few additions of detail.
The wheels in chapter one were full of eyes and their color was not given them, but it is given here. They were beryl of color, likely a transparent, sparkling, yellowish color. Ezekiel mentions again that each wheel was a wheel within a wheel and operated like a ball bearing (9-10).
As mentioned in chapter one, the cherub would move in the direction of the lead wheel, always forward, because of its four faces’ never needing to move from side to side. The creature always moved straight ahead with perfect unity and trust (11).
Not only did the wheels have eyes here, but Ezekiel expands on the detail and adds that the spokes of the wheels were full of eyes. Beyond the spokes’ being full of eyes, the wings of the creatures were full of eyes. Wherever the cherub moved, it saw perfectly. The creature was perfect in vision, all eyes on God, all eyes on the present, all eyes on where the creature was going. Just as a reminder of what was described in chapter one, this Creature was undoubtedly the great Zion of God, the church, the angels, the dead, and the living souls now and to come. This is a vision of the perfect obedience of the people of God and all God's devoted creatures, upon whom the glory of God and His throne rests (12).
Ezekiel adds the detail that the wheels were called "whirling wheels" or revolving wheels, and they set the cherub in motion. These wheels were the power of the cherub's movement, and we were told in chapter one that the wheels were where the life of the creature originated (13).
The faces were, as before, human, lion, and eagle. Then a change: the ox face was replaced or called the likeness of a cherub face. Likely, the faces did not change, but Ezekiel came to realize the face of a cherub was similar to the face of an ox or strong servant of Yahweh (14).
The same living Creature Ezekiel had seen by the Chebar Canal he is seeing here, and it was mounting up as if to move (15).
Then Ezekiel watched as the wheels began to move the Creature forward. It was like a plane preparing for flight. The movement in the wheels gave the Creature lift, and then the wings began to move the Creature to flight as the Being arose from the earth. As the Living Being lifted, the wheels stopped turning and the wings took over the control of the movement (16).
When the wings would move, the Creature would fly, and when they would stop moving their wings, the creature would remain stationary. Ezekiel adds here that the Spirit was not only in the wheels, but also in the wings. It gave the Creature power to move both on the ground and in the sky (17).
Then it happened: the glory of God began to move away from the temple, along with the cherubim. The glory, along with the Living Creatures, went to the east gate of the temple area and paused briefly (18-19).
Ezekiel makes it clear again and again that the Creatures, even though he added and clarified detail, were the same Creatures he described in the first chapters, the very Ones he saw at the Chebar Canal (20-21).