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Bible commentary online - Ezekiel
Wheels within wheels - Ezekiel's vision of the wheel within the wheel. The Four Faces - The meaning of the four faces of the four living creatures.
In April 2000, I was caught up in the Lord's presence and had a vision of the "swirlings" of God. For the next seven days I spoke to no one. It was during this time of waiting on the Lord that I received the following revelation on Ezekiel's wheels.
Vision of the "Swirlings"
I saw what I understood to be the presence of God. There were many swirling clouds that closed in on each other in never-ending patterns and directions - these were His ways. They were unsearchable. The swirling wind of His presence gave way to more and more swirlings of His presence. I sensed that whole galaxies of them were about to unveil before me, and yet they would be unending.
A light shone in the midst of the swirlings and I could see a path. This was the highway to Zion, the roadway of His presence leading into greater and greater depths and revelations of His presence. The mist was so thick you could only see a short distance ahead, and the road turned frequently. It was impossible to predict or know where the swirlings would go. "You don't know which way the wind blows, so how can you plan tomorrow." The foolishness of man planning his future was apparent.
It was so easy to step off the road. One moment of not being aware of His presence and you stepped off into your own direction. The Lord was calling me to walk every minute in His unbroken presence if I was to stay on the highway. "Few walk this highway to the fulfilment of their calling. Most get distracted off it. Many never find it again. "
Seeing the "swirlings" all seemed very normal and natural to me, so I hesitated to call it a vision. Maybe it should be described as an impression, although I could definitely "see" what I was seeing, so it was more than just inspired imagination. When you "see" something like this, what else do you call it?
I had never had a vision before and I was very keen to take it further. I somewhat foolishly tried to get more of the vision than I had received but it didn't work. I couldn't take the vision any further than was given to me, although I was aware that if I failed to cooperate in His presence ( if I was to try to get up off the floor for example ) then what I had would soon disappear and I would leave that realm.
After receiving this vision I felt the Lord wanted me to spend some time seeking Him, so I rented a small cottage in a quiet place by the sea for this purpose. I felt the Lord instructing me to fast all activity and conversation for one week. "Shut in with God, in the secret place, there in the Spirit beholding His face. Be still and know that I am God. You will give the land rest. Stop profaning my Sabbath. You are my Sabbath, My place of rest."
The Lord was instructing me not to be so concerned about the activities of this natural life, and to walk moment by moment by the promptings of His Spirit. I found that a difficult proposition, because we live in a world where so much activity is necessary. I asked the Lord, "How am I going to live in this world where a certain amount of activity is necessary?"
I received the following answer: "There are different aspects of life and a corresponding type of activity that accompanies each one. Learn to recognise the moment, and in the time of activity there is an anointing to do what I've called you to do. Do not step beyond the activity of the function you are in. When you sense the Spirit lift you will know. Go to Ezekiel and I will show you."
The following revelation on Ezekiel's wheels unfolded over a seven day period.
An Interpretation of Ezekiel's Vision of the Four Faces
Ezekiel 1: 4-21
"Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. [ This is what I saw! ]
Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance:
they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings.
The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces. ...... And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.
Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels."
Ezekiel 3 : 13
"I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, and a great thunderous noise."
Interpretation - Ezekiel - wheels - four faces
God is a God of ceaseless activity and yet He is always perfectly at rest. This is because His activity flows from His purposes in eternity where everything is already perfectly accomplished.
The four living creatures had the likeness of a man. Man was made to reflect the purposes and glory of God in his activity. The four faces of the living creatures represent the four faces of man ( four purposes, direction or focus. ) The wheel beside each creature represents the particular activity associated with each of the four "faces of man" in the earth. The noise of the wings of each creature is first the activity in the spirit realm, and the noise of the wheels beside them is the corresponding activity in the natural realm. They are to work together, side by side, and not independently of each other.
"The wheels of activity are not meant to spin outside of My presence. My presence abides within the wheels of activity. It is only when My spirit lifts and you remain in your activity that the wheels spin out of control and produce nothing. I am the cog that is to spin your wheels. I am the wheel within the wheel. When My Spirit lifts, the wheels must lift with Me. Even your doings must be in My presence, and not just your times of waiting on Me."
Nothing is hidden from His sight. The rim of each wheel is full of the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. ( Heb. 4:13 )
The Four Faces
Man - Adam, son of earth. Natural responsibilities. Family obligations.
Lion - Kingdom authority. Spiritual gifts and ministry.
Ox - A man's labour.
Eagle - The spiritual dimension of a man's life. Prayer.
Notes on the Activity Represented by the Four Faces
The Ox - A man's labour
In all labour that is yoked to the Master there is rest.
"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
The activity of the ox is completely controlled by who or what it is yoked to.
The employer determines your activity. Your time and energy is given over to him in exchange for your livelihood. The employer is the one who controls your activity, but as believers we are not to be "unequally yoked" to unbelievers in such a way that the course of our employment would dishonour God. In such a case the divine wheel would not be within the wheel of your activity.
Some of the things we do in life are slow, tedious and repetitive, but they are necessary. The labour of an ox is usually tiring. There often seems nothing "spiritual" about this form of labour and one can be tempted to disdain it. When we come in from the field we may feel like we need a good wash afterwards, but oxen toil in the dirt and getting dirty is part of the job. "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox." (Prov 14:4 KJV) Don't be tempted to try and stay clean by "not getting your hands dirty." The only way increase comes from the earth is by touching it. During the season of an ox, whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Let the ox exert its strength. Be focussed, be single-minded. Remember that even earthly labour has a heavenly origin. Get on with it , give yourself fully to the task at hand.
Due to the fall, man has a tendency to rely upon the strength of the ox. But God "delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man." (Psa 147:10 KJV) The legs or loins of a man is where his natural or ox-like strength lies. When the ox face remains "locked" to the wheel and does not relinquish it easily, God has to "touch the thigh" of man to break this self-reliance and free up the wheel! When the wheels of activity are yoked to the ox, we must remember who the ox is also ultimately yoked to, and not go beyond the due measure of labour assigned to this season.
The Lion - Kingdom authority -- Spiritual gifts and ministry
The activity of the lion is determined by a persons call and gifts.
To move in kingdom authority and power you must stay in the anointing of your calling. The purposes of the kingdom find expression through the calling of God in your life, and kingdom authority is established in the earth as you are obedient to this call. The wheel within the wheel of your activity is God's call upon your life. To step outside your grace-gifting is to "turn aside" from the direction in which the lion faces. When this happens, much frustration and trouble results. Misappropriated authority can cause a lot of harm. The lion must roar in the right jungle, and the Spirit of God must be in the roar.
The Eagle - The spiritual dimension of a man's life -- Prayer
Face to face with God, all activity is birthed in prayer. The eagle is the only bird that can stare into the face of the sun and yet not be blinded by it. Here, more than any other face, the activity of the eagle is in the direction of God. The eagles face seeks His face. Adam looks to the earth from which he came; the ox sees only the task in front of him; the lion sees his prey; but the eagle looks to God.
The eagle is the only face that has its own wings. The activity of the eagle is specifically controlled by the wings of Holy Spirit. Supernatural prayer is without human effort. We soar on wings of worship and pray in other tongues as the spirit gives us utterance. Our devotion catches the current of God's direction and flow. This activity is entirely spirit-lead.
There are times when the eagle loses all its feathers and ceases from all activity while its strength is renewed.
The Man - Adam, a son of earth -- Natural responsibilities -- Family obligations
"Thy kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven."
Adam springs from the earth, but he is God's heavenly representative in the earth.
The wheel of his earthly activity must bear witness to the noise of the wings.
The creature does not always have to roar like a lion or have the vigilance of an eagle. Adam is a creature of the earth and the earth calls. There are times for just being human and enjoying the pleasures of this life. There are natural responsibilities to enjoy, and in the human affairs of this life we get to choose our own lifestyle. Unlike the ox, the face of Adam is not yoked to the will of another in these matters. We do not have to "pray" about which roses to plant in our garden. We are free to choose where we live, who we will marry, and what we do with our free time. But even the noise of this wheel has a corresponding noise in the wings of the spirit. The wheel of his earthly activity must bear witness to the noise of the wings. There are times when God will call out, "Adam, where are you?" When the wheel of God's spirit is not within this wheel, the activity of man springing from the earth is corrupted.
The Importance of Balance in the Direction of Movement in Accordance with the Four Faces
"As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle."
Each face is looking in a different direction. When the creature moves it moves directly in one of these four directions. You can only go in one direction at a time.
There are four faces but only one wheel, so you can only engage in one function at a time.
If we are spirit-lead we will know when each face is to engage and disengage the wheel of activity.
Looking in all four directions in a balanced way
Every day has four faces ( usually ). Sometimes a face will have an extended season of days, weeks, even months. Whatever the case, it is important that man looks in all four directions in a balanced way.
If you are living a balanced lifestyle, the movements in the directions of the four faces will always bring you back to the centre point of God's will. For example, the face of the man looks in the opposite direction to that of the eagle. ( They are on opposite sides of the same head, back to back, facing away from each other. )
There will be times in a persons life, when looking towards God may require him to temporarily forsake his natural responsibilities, but this can only be for a season. If he is to remain in the perfect and balanced will of God, he will be listening to the changing of the wings ( there is one wing for each face ) and know when to disengage the wheel of prayer and be with his family. Imbalance, even in the things of God, will produce frustration and eventually rebellion against God. That is why it is important even after an intense time of prayer and seeking God to rest the natural man with some form of natural relaxation and refreshment.
People end up in strange deceptions when they totally remove Adam from out of the earth where he naturally belongs. Ministers of the gospel must be especially careful with regard to their humanity. When a minister continually ignores his need for rest and daily diversion from the pressures of ministry, his soul will one day scream for some balance. It is at this point that he becomes very vulnerable to temptation because a natural need has not been met for so long and is now out of control. Many an eagle has fallen because he ignored his hind-side's vulnerability. He forgot he was not only an eagle, he was also human.
Those in the ministry need to make a distinction between those seasons of activity where they are employed in the Masters service, and those times where they are just seeking Him and ministering to Him. An eagle is quite different to an ox. Service for the Lord cannot be a substitute for ministry to Him. Seeking God's face for a sermon is not the same as having sweet communion.
You can be fooled into thinking that because you are actively engaged in spiritual service and flowing in the gifts of the Spirit that somehow your relationship with God is on track. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the minister, this spiritual service equates with the layman's secular employment. This is the face of an ox whether ones employer is a man or God. For the minister, he must know when to disengage the wheel from the face of the ox, stop working for God, and engage the face of the eagle again and spend time just communing in His presence. The wheel only engages one face at a time. You can be working for God and be fooled into thinking that you are engaging the face of the eagle. You are not. Many a preacher has ended up backslidden in the pulpit.
Just as the face of the man and the face of the eagle look in opposite but complimentary directions, so too do the other two remaining faces. We are told that the ox faces to the left and the lion faces to the right. How often it is that believers neglect their kingdom responsibilities by spending their time almost exclusively in the pursuit of their earthly livelihood. We are not here to be plumbers, doctors, secretaries or anything else, regardless of how noble or fulfilling these occupations may be. We are here to roar for the kingdom. But neither are we to engage in kingdom warfare to the exclusion of our natural responsibilities. A lion that doesn't know when to "about face" and become an ox, will soon become a very hungry lion.
Understanding the balance of each of these four roles in the life of an individual, will assist the person in giving themselves wholeheartedly to each role in its due season, without feeling the guilt that often comes from not being able to be everywhere at once. The wheel will only engage one face at a time, and it is the Spirits' direction that prompts our obedience to engage and disengage faces appropriately. A simple understanding of these four roles in the life of a man, will help us maintain perspective, and increase our awareness and sensitivity to the Spirit's direction in this regard.
We can live life in the pace of the 21st century in perfect peace and fulfilment, knowing that all is well. God Almighty, who enfolds the entire universe in the palm of His hand, is ordering the complexity of the wheels of our lives with a precision and care that assures us that He has everything under control. He is the wheel in the midst of the wheel. At the centre of everything, He Himself, is the still point in our turning world.
The Wheel in Prayer
Man's wheel of activity lifts from the earth at the end of each day. It must not touch the earth again until the wheel has spent time in the Divine Presence listening to the noise of the wings and making sure that the Divine Wheel is connected within the wheel of his activity before it descends to the earth again. A day not connected to the Divine Wheel will be a day outside of the purposes of God, resulting in much frustration and loss.
This is the real purpose of prayer. In order for a man's will to be yielded to the Master's will, he must first spend time in His Master's Presence. Here, in the Divine Presence, man's spirit becomes entwined with the divine attributes and purposes of God. Prayer is the perfect act of submission. All activity that flows out of prayer will be blessed because it has within it the touch of God. Prayer is where the Divine wheel connects within man's wheel. If we are to be fully yielded to the mind and purposes of God through the day, we must pray without ceasing, ever mindful that at any moment the human wheel could disconnect itself and go its own way, independent of the Divine wheel.
Ever since the fall, the wheel of man so easily turns to his own way. Our independence is a result of the fall. But God has redeemed us, and promised to write His ways on the very tablets of our heart that we might know and walk in His ways. He promised us a new spirit. His Spirit has connected with ours. He has promised to be the wheel within our wheel, which guarantees our holy walk with Him.
I had an impression once of a man who had long hair, and it was caught up in the wheels of some factory machinery. He was about to come to a terrible end. The hair speaks of glory and separation. We had better keep our hair out of the world's wheels, or wheels that are none of our business, or it will get us caught and we will come to a terrible end.
A Nazarite was not to cut his hair. This spoke of a life separated in activity for God. Samson was not careful with his hair. He allowed the holy to be touched by the unholy and he lost his anointing.
When a man becomes independent in spirit and rebels at the thought of being yoked to the Divine wheel, he will ultimately find himself chained to the wheel of a Philistine in forced labour and slavery. There is no such thing as a free-wheeling wheel that is free to go where it pleases. We have a choice. It is the wheel of God or the wheel of a Philistine. There are unsubmitted wheels everywhere, but they soon come under bondage.