Year 3 Day 97
Read - Ezekiel 10:1-2
Message - Alan Burke
If you can think back to chapter 1 of the book of Ezekiel, there we were told of the vision that came to Ezekiel of the living God. It is one that many have tried to explain with such weird and wonderful theories. It is a vivid picture, a literary picture, there were no images, photographs, no drawings or doodles, yet it is a vivid picture that is full of the Glory of God and as He approached on His throne chariot. Once more the throne chariot of God approach but here it is something altogether different, this time the coming of the throne represents the departure of the Lord God from among His people.
This vision assumes that we know what had come before in chapter one, there is much detail given there that is not repeated here. In chapter one we were told of the four living creatures and now it is revealed to us that they are indeed cherubim. Cherubim are the servants of Lord God, they are the guardians of His holiness. They first appeared in scripture in the book of Genesis as they guarded the way into the garden of Eden with their flaming swords flailing back and forth to man from the tree of life and the presence of God (Gen 3:24). In chapter one of Ezekiel we are given much more descriptive language of the cherubim about their appearance, their likeness, but just as there, here in Ezekiel ten they are not the focus.
Rather the focus is on the throne itself, for this was the throne of the Lord, His chariot throne. These Cherubim, the servants of the Lord the guardians of His holiness have come bringing the throne of God to take the glory of God from His earthly dwelling place. The Glory of the Lord will depart on His sovereign throne, a sapphire throne, of deepest blue that was above their heads. To the man in linen who had gone and placed a mark on the foreheads of all those who grieved and lamented, to him the Lord says that he is to fill his hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.
Among the throne there is fire, with their burning coals. Just like for Sodom and Gomorrah where God’s fire rained down from heaven in Judgement (Ge 19:24) symbolically here as the man in linen is told to scatter the coals from among the cherubim among the city it is in judgement for the sin of God’s people. They had been warned by the Lord God, in Deuteronomy God had forbidden idolatry and warned His people that He is a consuming fire, a jealous God, here the burning coals from the throne chariot, comes to scatter coals over the city in judgement. God’s perfect holiness demands judgment for sin. Here the coals represented the purging of sin, Jerusalem and its inhabitants who had sinned and refused to repent would face the consequences and shortly after this prophecy, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem by fire (2 Kings 25:9; 2 Chronicles 36:19). But we also have to remember that these coals were scattered and the judgement that came was also part of God’s redemptive purposes to purify.
When we think of the judgement of God throughout the history of His people we should know that it is redemptive in its purpose. Just as in the flood it was redemptive, it was to purify the world, in Ezekiel’s day it was redemptive to purify His people so that a remnant would be maintained. From this remnant the Lord Jesus Christ would come and in the judgement He took it was redemptive that there could be purification who repent and believe. God’s purposes in judgment are redemptive and on that great and final day in the Judgement of God it is to redeem a people for Himself, but for all those who have not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ then they will not know redemption, but his judgment and a fire that is an unending punishment for sin. What God’s people faced was "pre-wrath wrath and pre-judgement justice” (GK Beale). They faced the consequences for their sin in this life and they are currently facing the consequences for sin in the next life right now.
Q91 How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, (1 Pet. 3:21, Matt. 3:11, 1 Cor. 3:6–7) and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them. (1 Cor. 12:13)