1:1 Now it came to pass in the a thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], in the fifth [day] of the month, as I [was] among the captives by the river of b Chebar, [that] the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of c God.
The Argument - After Jehoiachin by the counsel of Jeremiah and Ezekiel had yielded himself to Nebuchadnezzar, and so went into captivity with his mother and various of his princes and of the people, some began to repent and murmur that they had obeyed the prophets counsel, as though the things which they had prophesied would not come to pass, and therefore their estate would still be miserable under the Chaldeans. By reason of which he confirms his former prophecies, declaring by new visions and revelations shown to him, that the city would most certainly be destroyed, and the people grievously tormented by Gods plagues, in so much that they who remained would be brought into cruel bondage. Lest the godly despair in these great troubles, he assures them that God will deliver his church at his appointed time and also destroy their enemies, who either afflicted them, or rejoiced in their miseries. The effect of the one and the other would be chiefly performed under Christ, of whom in this book are many notable promises, and in whom the glory of the new temple would perfectly be restored. He prophesied these things in Chaldea, at the same time that Jeremiah prophesied in Judah, and there began in the fifth year of Jehoiachins captivity. 1:3 The word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the d hand of the LORD was there upon him.
(a) After that the book of the Law as found, which was the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah, so that twenty-five years after this book was found, Jeconiah was led away captive with Ezekiel and many of the people, who the first year later saw these visions.
(b) Which was a part of Euphrates so called.
(c) That is, notable and excellent visions, so that it might be known, it was no natural dream but came from God.
1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a e whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness [was] about it, and from the midst of it as the colour of amber, from the midst of the fire.
(d) That is, the spirit of prophecy, as in ( Ezekiel 3:22 Ezekiel 37:1 ).
(e) By this diversity of words he signifies the fearful judgment of God and the great afflictions that would come on Jerusalem. 1:5 Also from the midst of it [came] the likeness of f four living beings. And this [was] their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
1:9 Their wings [were] g joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
(f) Which were the four Cherubims that represented the glory of God, as in ( Ezekiel 11:22 ).
(g) The wing of the one touched the wing of the other. 1:10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had h 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.
(h) Every cherubim had four faces, the face of a man, and of a lion on the right side, and the face of a bullock and of an eagle on the left side. 1:14 And the living beings ran and i returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
(i) That is, when they had executed Gods will: for before they returned not till God had changed the state of things. 1:16 The appearance of the wheels and their work [was] like the colour of a k 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.
(k) The Hebrew word is tarshish meaning that the colour was like the Cilician Sea, or a precious stone so called. 1:24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their l 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 m let down their wings.
(l) Which declared the swiftness and the fearfulness of Gods judgments. 1:27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire n around 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 on all sides.
(m) Which signified that they had no power of themselves, but only waited to execute Gods commandment.
(n) By which was signified a terrible judgment toward the earth. 1:28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so [was] the appearance of the brightness around. This [was] the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw [it], I fell o upon my face, and I heard a voice of one speaking.
(o) Considering the majesty of God, and the weakness of flesh.