Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Notes on Ezekiel's Cherub Part Six: Human Form Divine

Inside the cloud, or whirlwind, Ezekiel perceives a “fire infolding itself,” along with a “brightness” in th midst of the fire “as the color of amber.” The fire, like the opposing ruah of the whirlwind, create sin itself an energetic vortex of circular inward motion. The fire also reinforces the purifying aspect of the Presence of the LORD. The Psalmist sang, as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God (Psalm 68:2).” The dross is burned away, and only the strongest portions remain—Ezekiel looks to the LORD with his own answering flame.

The brightness Ezekiel witnesses is also indicative of the power of the Presence of God, but it is not God, whose appearance has yet to come. The brightness is the color of amber, fossilized resin of ancient time. Amber is a distillation of life, marrow of a tree, perhaps also old life to be supplanted by new life. The brightness will soon be replaced by diviner presences, and then the actual appearance of God Himself. The brightness actually makes it difficult to perceive God at first. I am reminded of Blake’s memorable quatrain:

God appears and God is light
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

Ezekiel, as a visionary of the highest order, certainly dwelt in realms of day, if anyone ever has.

And indeed, when the cherubim appear, they do display a “human form.” Ezekiel writes: “out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.” Ezekiel’s Cherub is in the form of a man. In interpreting Ezekiel’s Cherub, then, we are interpreting Ezekiel’s vision of what Man is. Divine Man is God’s Throne.

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