Who was “the LORD” of the Old Testament? 
Part 7

John Plunkett

Last time in Part 6, we continued looking into the identity of the special angel (upper-case-capital-“A”) that is mentioned in the book of Exodus.

And we asked, “Was this angel and the LORD the same being?”

We looked at the mentions of this special angel and the LORD relative to the cloud and fire.

And we expanded our study into the scriptures in the book of Revelation and in Ezekiel Chapter 1 that mention angelic beings with multiple eyes and multiple wings and with associated wheels, rings and a firmament. 

Let’s go back to Ezekiel’s visions today; but let's move down to chapter 3 to pick up a couple of relevant verses there. 

But as we go through all this today, let’s not forget the main, central question of this whole sermon series: “Who was the “LORD” of the Old Testament?”

Ezekiel Chapter 3

Ezekiel 3:
12: Then the spirit
{the Holy Spirit? -- or the spirit of those angelic living creatures?} took me up, andI heard behind me a voice {Hebrew: kole} of a great rushing, saying, “Blessed be the glory {N.B.} of the LORD from His place.” 

What is “His place”? Is it the throne room above firmament as mentioned in chapter 1? 

13: [I heard] also the noise {kole} of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise {kole} of the wheels over against them, and a noise {kole} of a great rushing. 

There’s those living creatures again -- with their multiple wings and inherent wheels!

But what is this “great rushing noise”? 

The Hebrew word ra-ash is also translated in the KJV as quaking, shaking, rattling, fierceness, confused noise, commotion; but is most frequently translated as earthquake!

This might be similar to the instance we read about a couple of months ago in Jesus’ human lifetime, when He glorified His Father’s name and a huge voice/sound/noise came from heaven and some of the people present said that they heard it as thunder. 

Also, we recently looked at the account of the huge earthquake that occurred shortly after the death of the human Jesus.

Perhaps instances of great glory are marked by thunder and/or earthquakes? 

14: So the spirit {the Holy Spirit? -- or the spirit of one of those angelic living creatures?} lifted me up {repeated from verse 12}, and took me away, andI went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me {just as it was in chapter 1}.
15:  Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days...

Who wouldn’t be astonished after experiencing all that Ezekiel had experienced? 

Verse 22:  And the hand of the LORD was there upon me {repeated from verse 14}; and He {the LORD} said unto me, “Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with you.” 

Yet again, the LORD’s hand was upon Ezekiel.

There must be more to that repeated phrase than may be immediately evident.

The LORD spoke to Ezekiel.  He doesn’t specify how.  But the LORD told Ezekiel to go to the plain, where He’d speak with him again.

Why didn’t the LORD tell Ezekiel all He wanted to tell him right there and then?  Why send him from Tel-abib by the River Chebar to the plain to give him further instructions?

When it comes to the LORD’s actions, it is probably unwise to ask “Why?”

Perhaps “Y is a  crooked letter” when it comes to the LORD’s decisions!

Anyway, there must have been a good reason.  And of course, Ezekiel obeyed: 

23: Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar {in chapter  1}: and I fell on my face.

This “glory” must have been the LORD/YHVH Himself and not just one of the angelic living creatures… 

24a:  Then the Spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spoke with me… 

This reminds me of the many New Testament scriptures that mention the Lord Jesus being in his people through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. 

This verse reads like the LORD actually entered into Ezekiel via the Holy Spirit -- through which He spoke with Ezekiel:

24b: … And said unto me, “Go, shut yourself within your house.

Ezekiel Chapter 8
Ezekiel received lots more instructions too; but ones that are not really relevant to our study today.  So we’ll leave chapter 3 there and move down to chapter 8 to pick up a couple more verses there that are relevant to our study:

Ezekiel 8:
1: And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the LORD God
{Adonai-YHVH} fell there upon me.

Just like we read in chapters 1 and 3!
There are lots of similarities here, as we’ll see; but this event was 2 years and 2 months later than the chapter 1 event. 

2:  Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of His loins even downward, fire; and from His loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.

There's that amber colour again --  just as we read back in chapter 1!

Notice again Ezekiel’s repeated use of the words "likeness" and "appearance." 

Perhaps he was trying to attach some level of similarity of these indescribable and unfamiliar spiritual things of God to physical things that he was familiar with.

Ezekiel writes “his loins.”  Whose loins?   An angel’s?  A cherub’s?  A living creature’s? 

It certainly appears from the context that, in this case, the loins were the loins of Adonai-YHVH.

We won’t go into all the detail of this chapter right now; but let's just read the relevant verses that give an idea of who was speaking: 

3:  And He {Adonai-YHVH} put forth the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my head {ouch!}; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven {ouch again!}, and brought me in the visions of God {Elohiym} to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate {of the temple} that looks toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy. 

The detail of this is for another sermon for another time!

4:  And, behold, the glory of the God {Elohiym} of Israel was there, according to {like or similar to} the vision that I saw in the plain {back in chapter 3}… 

Was it the LORD/YHVH who spoke with Ezekiel in the plain that day?  Yes, it was!

Verse 6:  He said furthermore unto me, “Son of man, see you what they do?  Even the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, that I should go far off from my {the LORD’s!] sanctuary {the temple’s Most Holy Place a.k.a. the Holy of Holies}?  But turn you yet again, and you shall see greater abominations” …
Verse 17:  Then He said unto me, “Have you seen this, O son of man?  Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here?   For they have filled the land with violence and have returned to provoke me to anger:  and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. 18:   Therefore, will I also deal in fury: my eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.” 

Yes, it was LORD/YHVH who said these words to Ezekiel!
The sins and abominations that were being committed there were, just as all sins are, against the LORD God and His laws.  Not those of any angel!

And once again we see that, in this case, the LORD is the one who retained the authority to judge and punish His people.  He did not give that authority to any angel.  Not even to a high-ranking one, such as a cherub or an angelic living creature.

However, the LORD did give certain angels the authority to carry out His just penalties, resulting from His just sentencing, as we see as we move down to chapter 9 for more details:
Ezekiel chapter 9

Ezekiel 9:
1:  He cried also in my ears with a loud voice, saying, “Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man
{actually "every angel"} with his destroying weapon in his hand. 

Other scriptures indicate that various righteous angels have overall jurisdiction over certain geographical areas -- as do their demon counterparts! 

2:  And, behold, six men {angels, of which at least one is a cherub… Maybe all six are} came from the way of the higher gate {of the temple}, which lies toward the north, and every man {angel} a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man {angel} among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in {into the temple courtyard} and stood beside the brazen altar {that was situated within the temple courtyard}.
3a:  And the glory of the God of Israel
{i.e. the LORD} was gone up from the cherub {probably the “man” clothed with linen and with inkhorn}, whereupon He {the LORD} was… 

The English grammar is unclear here; but it reads like the LORD -- in the form of the “glory of the God of Israel” had been resting on top of this cherub! 

3b: … to the threshold of the house {the actual temple building}.  And He {the LORD} called to the man {angel} clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side;
4:  And the LORD said unto him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem
{i.e. not just inside the temple precincts}, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men {physical human beings, in this case} that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
5:  And to the others
{the other five angelic beings} He said in my hearing, “Go you after him {the "lead angel" with the inkhorn} through the city, and smite.  Let not your eye spare, neither have you pity”... 

Please notice that it was the LORD who made the judgement and that the angelic beings merely carried out the death penalties.

Verse 11:  And, behold, the man {angel} clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, “I have done as you {LORD/YHVH} have commanded me.”  

Ezekiel chapter 10

Moving down now into chapter 10 for more details: 

Ezekiel 10:
1a:   Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim...

It seems quite obvious that this "firmament" is referring to the same “firmament” as the one mentioned in chapter 1.

And here we see that “cherubim” is another name for the living creatures mentioned in chapters 1 and 3.

The term "living creatures” is translated from the single Hebrew word “chay” (Strong's 2416) 
which appears 12 times in the book of Ezekiel. 

The plural “cherubim” and the singular “cherub” are left untranslated from the Hebrew word “kerub” (Strong's 3742) of which there are 22 appearances in the book of Ezekiel. 

1b: … there appeared over {above} them {these cherubim} as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of {N.B.} the likeness of {N.B.} a throne… 

Just like in Ezekiel’s first  vision in chapter 1.  And just like when Moses, Aaron and the others saw God in Mount Sinai, as recorded in Exodus 24:

Exodus 24:10:
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

Back to Ezekiel 10:

Ezekiel 10:
2:  And He
{the LORD} spoke unto the man clothed with linen {the same angelic being that was introduced to us in chapter 9}, and said, “Go in {into the temple} between the wheels, even under the cherub {singular}, and fill your hand with coals of fire from between the cherubim {plural}, and scatter them {the coals of fire} over the city.”  And he {the man/angel clothed with linen} went in {into the temple} in my sight.

The wheels and the coals of fire were also first mentioned in chapter 1 -- again relative to the angelic living creatures.

3: Now the cherubim stood on the right side of the house {temple} when the man {angel} went in {into the temple}; and the cloud filled the inner court {of the temple}.
4:  Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub and stood over the threshold of the house
{temple}; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’s glory.

Just as cloud and the LORD’s glory file’d the tent-tabernacle back in Moses’ day:

Exodus 40:
34:   Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35:  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 

And again at the dedication of Solomon's temple, right after the ark of the covenant was relocated there from the old tent-tabernacle: 

I Kings 8:
10:  And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
11:  So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

Back to Ezekiel 10:

Ezekiel 10:
5:  And the sound
{Hebrew: kole} of the cherubim’s wings was heard even to the outer court {of the temple}, as the voice {kole} of the Almighty God {the Hebrew “El-Shaddai” can literally mean “Almighty Mighty”} when He speaks… 

Yet another mention of the voice of God! 

6: And it came to pass, that when He {the LORD} had commanded the man {angel} clothed with linen, saying, “Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubim”; then he {the man/angel} went in {into the temple}, and stood beside the wheels. 

Please notice that the LORD commanded the angel clothed with linen; therefore, they cannot be the same being! 

7:  And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubim unto the fire that was between the cherubim, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it and went out {out of the temple}.

Next, Ezekiel gives us another description of the four cherubim and their wheels:  

8:  And there appeared in the cherubim the form of a man’s hand under their wings.
9:  And when I looked, behold the four wheels by
{beside} the cherubim, one wheel by {beside} one cherub, and another wheel by {beside} another cherub: and the appearance of {N.B.} the wheels was as the colour of a beryl stone. 

Just as in Ezekiel’s first vision in chapter 1.  And there’s that same beryl colour again, to which Ezekiel seems to attach so much importance.

10:  And as for their appearances {N.B.}, they four had one likeness, as if {N.B.} a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.
11a:  When they went
{moved}, they went {moved} upon their four sides… 

How does that work?  I just can’t visualize this!  I'm not sure that Ezekiel could, either!  He seems to be trying his best to describe these humanly incomprehensible things; but is forced to use terminology like "appearances" and "likeness" and "as if".  

11b: … They turned not as they went, but to the place where the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went. 

This verse implies that “the head” is the decision-maker, at least as to where each cherub and his wheel went.

In the vision in chapter 1, it was “the spirit” who was the decision maker -- evidently the individual spirit of each living creature.

12:  And their whole body, and their backs {the Hebrew word is gab” -- the same word translated “rings” in chapter 1}, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had. 

Similar to chapter 1’s “four living creatures”; but those living creatures in chapter 1 only had their rings “full of eyes round about them,”  whereas these cherubim had eyes all over their whole bodies, all over their backs/rings, their hands, their wings and their wheels.  And especially their wheels as, for some reason, Ezekiel accentuates them.  

13:  As for the wheels {the usual Hebrew word “owphan”}, it was cried unto them in my hearing, “O wheel.”  

But this “wheel” is translated from a different Hebrew word -- from “galgal” (Strong's 1534), which can mean a rolling thing, to whirl, a whirl-wind, or heaven!

I'm not sure why anyone would ever cry to a wheel!
But, of course, these wheels were no ordinary wheels!
Back in chapter 1, Ezekiel told us that the spirit of each living creature is in its wheel.

Also, it seems that each wheel is permanently, inseperably attached to its own "host" cherub/living creature.

14:  And every one {obviously not every wheel; but rather, every cherub} had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. 

Once again. similar to the chapter 1 description -- except that one of the four faces is different.  

Both have the faces of a man, a lion and an eagle; but the first face in chapter 1 is that of an ox, whereas here, it’s that of a cherub.

Which seems a little strange!  Why would Ezekiel describe the cherub’s first face as being like that of a cherub?  Also, what does a cherub’s face look like?

Good questions; but let’s not allow them to hold us up.

15:  And the cherubim were lifted up.  This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.

Here we find confirmation that the living creatures of chapter 1 are the same as the cherubim of chapter 10.

16:  And when the cherubim went {moved}, the wheels went by {moved alongside} them: and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them.
17:  When they
{the cherubim} stood {still}, these {the wheels} stood {still}; and when they {the cherubim} were lifted up, these {the wheels} lifted up themselves also: for the spirit of the living creature was in them {in his associated wheels}.
18:  Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house
{the temple building} and stood over {above} the cherubim.
19a:  And the cherubim lifted up their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight… 

Try to imagine actually seeing these cherubim taking off -- along with the glory of the LORD!  What a sight to see! But, throughout the book of Ezekiel, we’ve read about him witnessing (in vision, of course) the glory of the LORD actively doing things!  e.g. standing, coming and going, going up, departing, etc.

Exactly what was Ezekiel seeing?  It is impossible for us to know right now, because Ezekiel doesn’t tell us.  He is able to describe some heavenly things -- to a limited extent.  But not this one!  Not the glory of the LORD!  Maybe it is just too much to express in mere words!

19b: … When they {the cherubim} went out {of the temple}, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
20:  This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar
{back in chapter 1}; and I knew that they were the cherubim.

The implication here is that Ezekiel recognized the difference in the inspired terminology and that, in his first visions in chapters 1 and 3, he was inspired to use the term “living creatures” (the Hebrew word “chay”); but in his later visions in chapters 9 and 10, he was inspired to use the term “cherubim” (Hebrew “kerubim”}.  

21:  Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the likeness of {N.B.} the hands of a man was under their wings.
22:  And the
likeness of {N.B.} their faces was the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar {in chapter 1}, their appearances {N.B.} and themselves: they went every one straight forward.

What I’ve been trying to get across to you here is the significance of the cloud, the fire and the multiple eyes -- relative to those seemingly high-ranking angelic beings.