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The Chapter opens with an account of the time and place of Ezekiel's prophecy. Some remarkable visions the Prophet describes, with which he was favoured.
Let the Reader call to mind, through the whole of this prophecy, the state in which the Prophet as well as the Church was, at the time of those visions with which he was favoured. God's people are peculiarly blessed, when brought into peculiar situations. Jeremiah was in the dungeon, Ezekiel in captivity; and John in exile in the desolate island of Patmos, when the Lord manifested his special tokens of favor. Reader! it is very blessed to be withdrawn wholly from men, in order to enjoy communion with God. It appears by this account, that four whole years had run out, in which we hear of no vision. And it should seem, that all this while the Church lay without ordinances and means of grace, or Sabbaths; as a Wife deserted of her Husband! Reader! think of your privileges, and mark the Lord's mercy to Israel. Though a wife of whoredoms; and though sent into captivity; yet the Lord hateth putting away. He will not leave himself without witness. Ezekiel shall be commissioned. Reader! look to those scriptures! Isaiah 42:22-25 ; Jeremiah 31:20 ; Malachi 2:16 .
I desire to speak with all possible diffidence, and with an holy awe upon my mind, when I say, that I conceive, the close of this fifth verse, throws a light upon the whole of this vision. Those four living creatures, are said to have the likeness of a man. Is not this evidently in allusion to the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ? If the Reader will compare the account which the beloved Apostle gives, of the vision he saw, in an age so distant as John lived from Ezekiel, (Revelation 4:6-8 ), he will I think, be led to conclude, that the vision is one and the same. At least it must have proceeded from one and the same Almighty Teacher. And the situation of both Ezekiel and John, at the time of this vision was similar. Ezekiel in captivity, and John a banished exile. Sweet thought to God's people! A prison or banishment may shut his people up; but nothing can shut God out!
It is worthy the Reader's closest attention, how often during this account the appearance of a man is spoken of. Was it, (for I only ask the question, and do not presume to decide,) to lead the Prophet, and the Church by the Prophet's ministry, to the contemplation of the assumption of our nature into the Godhead? Knowing the infinite importance of the thing itself, that the union of the Godhead with the Manhood was the grand comfort of the Church, by every way and in every representation the blessed doctrine shall be revealed. It was, and hath been from everlasting, the delight of the Son of God to marry our nature, for the grand purposes included in it, and therefore, the Church shall be comforted during their exile in these outlines of redemption. Precious Jesus! was it thus thou wert pleased to manifest thyself in those early ages, to show thy love to thy people.
Reader! observe the effect on the Prophet's mind! So was it with Daniel! So was it with John! So must it be with all the faithful! God is awful, in his very mercies. Dan_8:17-18; Dan_10:8 ; Revelation 1:17 .
READER! pause at your entrance on this sacred book of God, and ponder well over the great things recorded in this Chapter. Observe the grace of the Lord in following his Church into Babylon. Though his people, are led into captivity for their sins and rebellion: yet the Lord will not, because he cannot, forget his Covenant-relation to them. Blessedly was it said ages before this, that though he gave them into the hand of the heathen, and they that hated them ruled over them: yet he remembered for them his Covenant, and made them to be pitied, of all them that carried them away captives. Oh! for grace to remember this, in all and amidst all the unworthiness of our own hearts. The efficacy and worthiness of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world continues the same; though there be new transgressions in the Lord's people, from day to day.
Observe also, how graciously the Lord raised up for his people, this faithful servant the Prophet, that while the people had no temple, no service, no sanctuary, to repair to; the Lord's ministry by his servant, might be the Lord's witness. Oh! how sweet is it, in the absence of ordinances, to have a faithful friend sent from the Lord, to remind us of his grace, and that his mercy endureth forever!
And Reader! do not forget the awfulness of this vision, by which the Prophet was taught. No doubt, Ezekiel contemplated what he saw, with the most profound humility. And in the reading of it, may our souls go forth under similar impressions, crying out with the heavenly host, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty which is, and which was, and which is to come. What can be more becoming than for creatures such as we are, to fall low to the dust of the earth, in the contemplation of His divine majesty, before whom all the nations of the earth are but as the drop of the bucket, and as the small dust of the balance!
One word more by way of reflection, on this most sublime but precious Chapter. May both Writer and Reader never forget, that amidst all the mysteries of this vision, the face of a man was held forth in it, and a voice was heard by the Prophet, which he distinctly observed. Surely, this could be no other than the Lord Jesus: and the design of it to represent the incarnation of the Lord Jesus, as the most blessed of all revelations to the Church. Reader! pause once more over this view, and ask your own heart, whether such visions of the Lord hath been made to your soul's joy? Have you seen God in Christ, and hath the Lord the Spirit formed God's Christ in your heart the hope of glory? Oh! the blessedness of thus knowing Christ! Oh! the mercy manifested to any, and to every poor sinner, whom the Lord Jehovah hath given the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. Every place is then a Chebar, and every day then a Sabbath!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26