A Revelation of the Son of Man Upon His Heavenly Throne — Ezekiel 1:26–28

A Revelation of the Son of Man Upon His Heavenly Throne - Ezekiel 1-26-28The eter­nal Son, the sec­ond Per­son in the Trin­ity, who after­wards took the human nature, is here denoted. The first thing observed was a throne. It is a throne of glory, a throne of grace, a throne of tri­umph, a throne of gov­ern­ment, a throne of judg­ment. It is good news to men, that the throne above the fir­ma­ment is filled with One who appears, even there, in the like­ness of a man. The throne is sur­rounded with a rain­bow, the well-known emblem of the covenant, rep­re­sent­ing God’s mercy and covenanted love to his peo­ple. The fire of God’s wrath was break­ing out against Jerusalem, but bounds should be set to it; he would look upon the bow, and remem­ber the covenant. All the prophet saw was only to pre­pare him for what he was to hear. When he fell on his face, he heard the voice of One that spake. God delights to teach the hum­ble. Let sin­ners, then, hum­ble them­selves before him. And let believ­ers think upon his glory, that they may be grad­u­ally changed into his image by the Spirit of the Lord.
 
Ezekiel 1:26–28 KJV 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.
 
All the other parts of this vision were but a pref­ace and intro­duc­tion to this. God in them had made him­self known as Lord of angels and supreme direc­tor of all the affairs of this lower world, whence it is easy to infer that what­ever God by his prophets either promises or threat­ens to do he is able to effect it. Angels are his ser­vants; men are his tools. But now that a divine rev­e­la­tion is to be given to a prophet, and by him to the church, we must look higher than the liv­ing crea­tures or the wheels, and must expect that from the eter­nal Word, of whom we have an account in these verses. Ezekiel, hear­ing a voice from the fir­ma­ment, looked up, as John did, to see the voice that spoke with him, and he saw one like unto the Son of man, Rev­e­la­tion 1:12–13 KJV And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden can­dle­sticks;  (13) And in the midst of the seven can­dle­sticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a gar­ment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden gir­dle. The sec­ond per­son some­times tried the fash­ion of a man occa­sion­ally before he clothed him­self with it for good and all; and the Spirit of prophecy is called the Spirit of Christ 1 Peter 1:11 KJV Search­ing what, or what man­ner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did sig­nify, when it tes­ti­fied before­hand the suf­fer­ings of Christ, and the glory that should fol­low. and the tes­ti­mony of Jesus, Rev­e­la­tion 19:10 KJV And I fell at his feet to wor­ship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fel­lowser­vant, and of thy brethren that have the tes­ti­mony of Jesus: wor­ship God: for the tes­ti­mony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
 
This glory of Christ that the prophet saw was above the fir­ma­ment that was over the heads of the liv­ing crea­tures, Ezekiel 1:26 KJV 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.
 
Note, The heads of angels them­selves are under the feet of the Lord Jesus; for the fir­ma­ment that is over their heads is under his feet.
 
Angels, prin­ci­pal­i­ties, and pow­ers are made sub­ject to him, 1 Peter 3:22 KJV Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and author­i­ties and pow­ers being made sub­ject unto him. This dig­nity and domin­ion of the Redeemer before his incar­na­tion mag­nify his con­de­scen­sion in his incar­na­tion, when he was made a lit­tle lower than the angels, Hebrews 2:9 KJV But we see Jesus, who was made a lit­tle lower than the angels for the suf­fer­ing of death, crowned with glory and hon­our; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
 
The first thing he observed was a throne; for divine rev­e­la­tion comes backed and sup­ported with a royal author­ity. We must have an eye of faith to God and Christ as upon a throne. The first thing that John dis­cov­ered in his visions was a throne set in heaven, Rev­e­la­tion 4:2 KJV And imme­di­ately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. which com­mands rev­er­ence and sub­jec­tion. It is a throne of glory, a throne of grace, a throne of tri­umph, a throne of gov­ern­ment, a throne of judg­ment. The Lord has pre­pared his throne in the heav­ens, has pre­pared it for his Son, whom he has set King on his holy hill of Zion.
 
On the throne he saw the appear­ance of a man. This is good new to the chil­dren of men, that the throne above the fir­ma­ment is filled with one that is not ashamed to appear, even there, in the like­ness of man. Daniel, in vision, saw the king­dom and domin­ion given to one like the Son of man, who there­fore has author­ity given him to exe­cute judg­ment because he is the Son of man, John 5:27 KJV And hath given him author­ity to exe­cute judg­ment also, because he is the Son of man. so appear­ing in these visions.
 
He saw him as a prince and judge upon this throne. Though he appeared in fash­ion as a man, yet he appeared in more than human glory, Ezekiel 1:27 KJV 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.
 
Is God a shin­ing light? So is he: when the prophet saw him he saw as the colour of amber, that is, a bright­ness round about; for God dwells in light, and cov­ers him­self with light as with a gar­ment. How low did the Redeemer stoop for us when, to bring about our sal­va­tion, he suf­fered his glory to be eclipsed by the veil of his humanity!
 
Is God a con­sum­ing fire? So is he: from his loins, both upward and down­ward, there was the appear­ance of fire. The fire above the loins was round about within the amber; it was inward and involved. That below the loins was more out­ward and open, and yet that also had bright­ness round about. Some make the for­mer to sig­nify Christ’s divine nature, the glory and virtue of which are hid­den within the colour of amber; it is what no man has seen nor can see. The lat­ter they sup­pose to be his human nature, the glory of which there were those who saw; the glory as of the only begot­ten of the Father, full of grace and truth, John 1:14 KJV 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.
 
He had rays com­ing out of his hand, and yet there was the hid­ing of his power, Habakkuk 3:4 KJV And his bright­ness was as the light; he had horns com­ing out of his hand: and there was the hid­ing of his power. The fire in which the Son of man appeared here might be intended to sig­nify the judg­ments that were ready to be exe­cuted upon Judah and Jerusalem, com­ing form that fiery indig­na­tion of the Almighty which devours the adver­saries. Noth­ing is more dread­ful to the most dar­ing sin­ners than the wrath of him that sits upon the throne, and of the Lamb, Rev­e­la­tion 6:16 KJV And said to the moun­tains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sit­teth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: The day is com­ing when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flam­ing fire, 2 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 1:7–8 KJV And to you who are trou­bled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  (8) In flam­ing fire tak­ing vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: It con­cerns us there­fore to kiss the Son lest he be angry.
 
The throne is sur­rounded with a rain­bow, Ezekiel 1:28 KJV 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. It is so in St. John’s vision, Rev­e­la­tion 4:3 KJV And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sar­dine stone: and there was a rain­bow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emer­ald. The bright­ness about it was of divers colours, as the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, which, as it is a dis­play of majesty, and looks very great, so it is a pledge of mercy, and looks very kind; for it is a con­fir­ma­tion of that gra­cious promise God has made that he will not drown the world again, and he has said, I will look upon the bow and remem­ber the covenant, Gen­e­sis 9:16 KJV And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remem­ber the ever­last­ing covenant between God and every liv­ing crea­ture of all flesh that is upon the earth. This inti­mates that he who sits upon the throne is the Medi­a­tor of the covenant, that his domin­ion is for our pro­tec­tion, not our destruc­tion, that he inter­poses between us and the judg­ments our sins have deserved, and that all the promises of God are in him yea and amen. Now that the fire of God’s wrath was break­ing out against Jerusalem bounds should be set to it, and he would not make an utter destruc­tion of it, for he would look upon the bow and remem­ber the covenant, as he promised in such a case, Leviti­cus 26:42 KJV Then will I remem­ber my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abra­ham will I remem­ber; and I will remem­ber the land.
 
Lastly, We have the con­clu­sion of this vision. Observe, what notion the prophet him­self had of it: This was the appear­ance of the like­ness of the glory of the Lord. Here, as all along, he is care­ful to guard against all gross cor­po­real thoughts of God, which might dero­gate from the tran­scen­dent purity of his nature. he does not say, This was the Lord (for he is invis­i­ble), but, This was the glory of the Lord, in which he was pleased to man­i­fest him­self a glo­ri­ous being; yet it is not the glory of the Lord, but the like­ness of that glory, some faint resem­blance of it; nor is it any ade­quate like­ness of that glory, but only the appear­ance of that like­ness, a shadow of it, and not the very image of the thing, Hebrews 10:1 KJV For the law hav­ing a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sac­ri­fices which they offered year by year con­tin­u­ally make the com­ers there­unto perfect.
 
What impres­sions it made upon him: When I saw it, I fell upon my face. He was over­pow­ered by it; the daz­zling lus­tre of it con­quered him and threw him upon his face; for who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? Or, rather, he pros­trated him­self in a hum­ble sense of his own unwor­thi­ness of the hon­our now done him, and of the infi­nite dis­tance which he now, more than ever, per­ceived to be between him and God; he fell upon his face in token of that holy awe and rev­er­ence of God with which his mind was pos­sessed and filled. Note, The more God is pleased to make known of him­self to us the more low we should be before him. He fell upon his face to adore the majesty of God, to implore his mercy and to dep­re­cate the wrath he saw ready to break out against the chil­dren of his people.
 
What instruc­tions he had from it. All he saw was only to pre­pare him for that which he was to hear; for faith comes by hear­ing. He there­fore heard a voice of one that spoke; for we are taught by words, not merely by hiero­glyph­ics. When he fell on his face, ready to received the word, then he heard the voice of one that spoke; for God delights to teach the humble.
 
 
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